Friday night topic: Is inequality still a winning motivator?

I’ve been watching the Occupy Wall Street effort and its associated attempts in other U.S. cities with some fascination. The running joke is that the "Occupy" protesters don’t know what they want or don’t have a single, coherent message. That seems wrong to me, although it’s of course true that today’s left is an assemblage of folks with sometimes very different motivating issues. The common focus of these protests is the income gap between "the 1%" of top earners versus "the 99%," or everyone else. That particular beef—and, heck, everything about the Occupy effort—seems to be ripped from a very old chapter of the leftist playbook.

The fascinating question for me is: Does it still work? Can complaints about inequality still generate substantial political traction in today’s America? Can they even move the electorate to accept an unpopular President for a second term? That is, after all, the goal here, right?

I’m not sure it can’t work. Al Gore ran a very traditional campaign sounding many of the same themes, and he essentially tied with Bush. Still, we do tend to have a strongly ingrained ethic that accepts outstanding and achievement and reward, one that focuses on opportunities and hard work rather than the sheer equality of outcomes.

So… we’re not really looking to hear what you think about the really overdone size-of-government debate. The question of the night is: can concerns over inequality really unite a substantial political movement in today’s conditions?

That, my friends, we shall… discuss.

Comments closed
    • trackerben
    • 8 years ago

    Big thread. It’s about time to jump in and comment. I see many good points on the whys and hows of “unequal outcomes” between people in a society according to various material and moral measures. Yet the arguments are mostly at cross-purposes, because their premises conflict.

    At this level they usually do. So, a “premise check”:

    1 – Social inequality (in prosperity outcomes) should be seen as deep injustice.

    Justice is basically about honoring those things which are equal as equal, and those which are not as not. It’s not firstly about making things equal which aren’t, or making things unequal which are. What most people mistake for justice, is social policy to establish the general welfare and peace and order. Only to those general ends are prescriptions for “minimizing social inequality”, equitable. And to the general ends of the Old Republic and its phenomenal idea of the “self-evident” individual fruits of liberty, by constitutional protections afforded its pursuit, admirable.

    2 – The consensus that inequalities are unfairly entrenched is a good basis for public proscription of the systematically privileged.

    Any move for forceful proscription not explicitly formalized by political expression in polls and forums, after broad public debate, is no more legitimate than wars justified on minimizing “inequalities” elsewhere in the world through the forceful undoing of privileged foreign elites.

    It does not mean such movements cannot succeed. It just means they are usually justified only on successful outcomes, given the disruptions in the polity and economy they inevitably bring. (see Napoleonic and Revolutionary and Civil War history). Done repeatedly enough and often enough, democracies subject to such divisive tides would come to resemble the ancient Roman republic in its last days, with successive contrary lists of proscription against various “enemies of the people”.

    3 – Deep injustices should be remedied through governance.

    One reason why we tolerate governments. But long-term success is in knowing what level of governance and response is equal to a social demand. And private authorities can be more effective than governments in many cases.

    By example, we usually leave it to local and federal agents to assume the burden of managing regular issues like common criminality. But what happens when people lose the old character, the will to bear one’s own regular burdens, would they consent to national agents forcibly collecting a share of their neighbors’ wealth towards an immense bureaucratic fund, to their own eventual use? Or would each continue to look to their own families or communities for help as prior great generations managed to do, with support from city and state offices as well as private charities and churches?

    Good governance is rare, those which last in their foundational form are exceedingly rare. To the point that many are convinced it is pretty much providential wherever it is found. Obviously, it is not found today in the Springs of Greece, Italy, or Egypt.

    4. The topic implies that perceptions of social inequality do motivate individual action.

    Definitely, but only if that motivation is grounded in the conviction that injustices are things grossly against Judeo-Christian teachings and examples. Not only because our western notions of laws, property rights, and cultural best practices are incoherent and weak outside of that tradition, but also because having an objective measure provides the moral basis for forcefully assessing violations and prescriptions. Particularly when one is mightily on the “winning” side and wants to serve more than justice to the “losers”.

    Which are all easy things to say when people are going hungry and homeless, I know. But it’s best to say it, before in their hunger for “action”, they go feral and lawless.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      A very well thought and expressed number of observations/POV, particularly your concise summation. Although I don’t know how I missed this post, I plead simple oversight due to the voluminous number of other comments/replies on this topic.

      I can’t believe your post has received absolutely no votes (either way) yet. Time to fix that with a “+1″…

    • oldog
    • 8 years ago

    I believe that inequality still a winning motivator and that the next victims will the public employees’ unions.

    • EV42TMAN
    • 8 years ago

    “All men are created equal” it means we all have the equal chance to be successful or to fail miserably. I agree that the tax situation needs to figured out (buffet law) but i don’t agree with people protesting successful people claiming inequality because the 1% are successful and the middle class isn’t.

    Personally i look at it as motivation, if i want to be “successful” then it gives me motivation to work harder.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Again, you’re missing the point. Occupy isn’t protesting that the rich are successful; far from it. They’re protesting that the system has been gamed by the wealthy and the corporations to tilt things in their favor so that it becomes more difficult for the rest of us to succeed.

      They protest that the wealthy are /cheating/ to become successful.

    • shaq_mobile
    • 8 years ago

    I’m a little disappointed about this being brought up on TechReport. I really enjoyed how R&P were respectfully tabooed. I myself have strayed onto those topics, but it is quite nice to have a tech site that stays civil (mostly) and avoids the 6 oclock news hot topics. :/

      • Umbragen
      • 8 years ago

      Tabooed? How long did that CATO Institute Ad run on the home page?

        • shaq_mobile
        • 8 years ago

        Hehe, I never saw that. Generally speaking, they try to limit the R&P discussions. It’s nice to have a nerdy refuge. It’s near impossible to avoid those topics in every day conversation. Besides, most R&P discussions aren’t really discussions, they’re just two or more parties stating their own views and sometimes their interpretation of other parties views. Those interactions are almost never productive in our current culture. It’s pretty rare to have people change stance or even admit strong points in other people’s cases.

        Forget this, I’m going to Occupy Tech Report for not limiting R&P on this post. 😉

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          I enjoy the R&P on the main page. I think they’re typically rather genial (especially compared to other sections of the internet, or this site), and they are friday night discussions, not news.

    • danazar
    • 8 years ago

    I think the question is phrased wrong. You’re asking, “Is inequality a winning motivator?” But you’ve framed it as being about whether “complaints” about inequality can generate “political traction”. The real question is whether the [b<]existence[/b<] of inequality can [b<]motivate individuals to achieve more[/b<]. After all, this is the theory on which conservative free-market principles are based. Their idea is that inequality is a motivator of individuals. Those who have less want more, and those who both have less and have valuable skills/ideas will be able to profit and rise up to the top through their merit and hard work. It's a great theory, and ultimately it's a theory premised on the idea that inequality is okay, we should allow and even encourage it, because inequality motivates people to do better and greater things. The more we impose rules or restrictions on economic systems, the more we interfere with this, or so they claim. The problem is that it's just not true. Capitalism actually cannot work in a truly unregulated free-market state. Those who already have wealth will do everything they can to hold onto it, and will gladly increase their profits at the expense of the lower classes, only furthering the wealth divide. People with wealth manage to leverage it in ways that can make lots of money but damage an entire economy if it goes wrong (the derivatives market) or use their wealth to advertise, promote, and offer loans at unreasonable terms and then resell the loans to investors before the debtors default (the housing bubble). People do not behave themselves and simply make way for superior products and merit, they lie and deceive and use their wealth unless they're unable to get away with it. And our response has been to actually [b<]reward[/b<] the behavior of many of these groups. Rather than permit misbehaving banks to fail, we bailed many of them out. Rather than criminally prosecute many of the individuals responsible, or push new reforms and regulations that would ensure the parties responsible [b<]could[/b<] be punished next time, we're now seeing politicians [b<]attack[/b<] government regulations as [i<]constraints[/i<] on the economy. People see this, and they see those politicians as funded by the very people they're angry with, the very people who defrauded America for profit and got away with it. The inequality continues and grows, because those who were profiting before have used their wealth to defend and even increase their profits going forward. This is why people are angry. They are angry because the inequality is growing worse, and it is growing worse in a way that makes it harder for people to earn their way up through the classes. People are angry because the inequality is too great to motivate achievement through merit anymore. People are angry because the inequality is so great that it will be used to drown out those who want to call for reform, unless those people actually take a stand and make their presence so loud and maintain it for so long that people have no choice but to listen. The inequality is so great that people have lost faith in the system, have lost faith in their ability to earn a good living and profit from their own success, without being continually fleeced by rich banking types. They don't just want Obama re-elected; if Obama won't fix this, they won't want him in office, either. What they want are politicians who will restore their faith in the system instead of keep selling out to corporate interests. And they probably won't go away until they get their faith back.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I think that the current flat tax proposals many republicans are pushing get more traction with many members of this movement since it would put everyone on a relatively level playing field, remove currently existing barriers for social mobility.

    While their are plenty of studies showing the fiscal benefits to a progressive taxing structure actual implementations of that in the real world tend to reveal it falls apart. The easier you make it to be poor, the more poor people you will have, plain and simple that has been evident for centuries. To layer tax cuts, rebates, whatever on top of that is just not legitimate. I do believe a large part of our income gap is generated by elevating the poor to a lower middle class living standard with government assistance and the commercialization of higher education (lowering standards, increasing cost, providing irrelevant fields of study) The devaluation of education has driven many middle class earners down to live low income life styles while working. I make the same per hour at my current job as an industrial designer/minor in manufacture engineering as I would being a manager at jewel(a local grocery chain) I could have started working right out of high school and gathered more personally equity by now than what I have from going to school.

    The thing here is that the occupy wallstreet has behind it more than anything was that while the middle income earners got hurt by seeing their property value crash, and seeing their ability to borrow and earn a reasonable income has taken a major hit… Wallstreet and wealthy people suffered nothing while they profited from the recession as is evident. There was allot of illegal and immoral activity and the government did NOTHING to reprimand guilty individuals or shut down criminal companies.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      I get a kick out of how republicans have spit in the face of this movement(especially fox) when in fact there are a great many protesters out their promoting the exact same things that the current republican presidential candidates are selling.

      The movement isn’t about proposing specific policy as much as it is pointing out…AMERICAN ISN’T WORKING Her people can’t get jobs, the criminals rule the country. And the non corrupt of the politicians out there can’t get a voice to yell over the grand standing puppets currently manhandling the house and senate.

      I’m not republican or democrat I’m just upset.

      • mattthemuppet
      • 8 years ago

      flat rate taxes rarely benefit the poor as their effective tax rate (after tax free sums, graduated lower tax rates etc) is usually lower than the proposed flat rate, other than Cain’s pie-in-the-sky 9%. The main beneficiary, unsurprisingly, is the rich, who will pay less tax on the bits of income that they can’t squirrel away from the IRS.

      That’s not saying that flat rate taxes aren’t a good idea in terms of simplifying the tax code, cutting bureaucracy and potentially increasing the tax take by making it less appealing to move profits off-shore. The experiments in flat rate taxation in Eastern Europe don’t really answer this one way or the other though and, for Perry’s plan at least, there’s a get out clause so that homeowners and the like (obviously an enormous part of the electorate) can still claim a subsidy for their mortgage payment.

      I think that there are a lot more things that can be done to simplify and streamline the US tax system, but sadly tax codes only ever seem to get added to, not simplified, and that goes for pretty much every country.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    For reference, here’s a draft declaration from OWS. Notice what they’re for:

    [url<]https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/[/url<] edit: This is not the final document; this is a suggested list for the national assembly to vote on.

      • Suspenders
      • 8 years ago

      And would you look at that, not a single reference to Obama, Democrats, or Republicans. I guess they just plain forgot about the big goal of getting Obama re-elected. Or something.

      • Suspenders
      • 8 years ago

      The top four suggested list of grievances are insightful:

      1. [b<]Elimination of the Corporate State.[/b<] Implementing an immediate ban on all private contributions of money and gifts, to all politicians in federal office, from individuals, corporations, "political action committees," "super political action committees," lobbyists, unions and all other private sources of money or thing of value to be replaced by the fair, equal and total public financing of all federal political campaigns. We categorically REJECT the concepts that corporations are persons or that money is equal to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest people and corporations would have a voice. The complete elimination of private contributions must be enacted by law or Constitutional amendment because it has become clear that politicians in the United States cannot regulate themselves and have become the exclusive representatives of corporations, unions and the very wealthy who indirectly and directly spend vast sums of money on political campaigns to influence the candidates’ decisions when they attain office and ensure their reelection year after year. Our elected representatives spend far too much of their time fundraising for the next election rather than doing the People's business. The current system's propagation of legalized bribery and perpetual conflicts of interests has reduced our once great republican democracy to a greed driven corporatocracy run by boardroom oligarchs who represent .05 to 1% of the population but own 38% of the wealth and whose incomes have increased 275% since 1979. 2. [b<]Rejection of the Citizens United Case. [/b<] The immediate abrogation, even if it requires a Constitutional Amendment, of the outrageous and anti-democratic holding in the "Citizens United" case proclaimed by the United States Supreme Court. This heinous decision equates the payment of money by corporations, wealthy individuals and unions to politicians with the exercise of protected free speech. We, the People, demand that this institutional bribery and corruption never again be deemed protected free speech. 3. [b<] Elimination of Private Contributions to Politicians. [/b<] Prohibiting all federal public employees, officers, officials or their immediate family members from ever being employed by any corporation, individual or business that they specifically regulated while in office; nor may any public employee, officer, official or their immediate family members own or hold any stock or shares in any corporation they regulated while in office until a full 5 years after their term is completed; a complete lifetime ban on the acceptance of all gifts, services, money or thing of value, directly or indirectly, by any elected or appointed federal official or their immediate family members, from any person, corporation, union or other entity that the public official was charged to specifically regulate while in office. In sum, elected politicians and public employees in regulatory roles may only collect their salary, generous healthcare benefits and pension. Any person, including corporate employees, found guilty and convicted of violating these rules in a court of law by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, shall be sentenced to a term of mandatory imprisonment of no less than one year and not more than ten years. 4. [b<] Term Limits. [/b<] Members of the United States House of Representatives shall be limited to serving no more than four two-year terms in their lifetime. Members of the United States Senate shall be limited to serving no more than two six-year terms in their lifetime. The two-term limit for President shall remain unchanged. Serving as a member of Congress or as the President of the United States is one of the highest honors and privileges our culture can bestow. These positions of prominence in our society should be sought to serve one's country and not provide a lifetime career designed to increase personal wealth and accumulate power for the sake of vanity.

        • SPOOFE
        • 8 years ago

        “We categorically REJECT the concepts that corporations are persons or that money is equal to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest people and corporations would have a voice.”

        “We, the People, demand that this institutional bribery and corruption never again be deemed protected free speech.”

        The first sentence requires institutional bribery; the second decries it.

        Internally inconsistent. Perfect descriptor of the Occupy movement.

          • mattthemuppet
          • 8 years ago

          “We categorically REJECT the concepts that corporations are persons or that money is equal to free speech”

          “We, the People, demand that this institutional bribery and corruption never again be deemed protected free speech.”

          they’re both saying the same thing – corporations are not people and therefore not protected by the right to free speech i.e. campaign contributions (in this case).

          Seems perfectly internally consistent to me. I think you’re getting hung up on the bit after “because if that were so”, which is illustrating what happens when corporations ARE allowed to make campaign contributions as individuals.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Good stuff.

          • Geistbar
          • 8 years ago

          I particularly like the term limits- it seems Congress spends just as much (if not more) time running for reelection than actually legislating. Term limits won’t remove the problem entirely, but it should help.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Banning lobbying would help a lot.

    • sreams
    • 8 years ago

    I disagree with your assumption that Occupy = Left. Many of those protesting are looking at it from a libertarian perspective. They believe it is big centralized government, along with central banking, that allows and encourages these kinds of problems. By framing Occupy as a universally left-leaning, Obama-supporting movement… you distort the discussion.

      • SPOOFE
      • 8 years ago

      No, the Occupy movement is just a repeat of Vote Or Die from 2004. The Youth Vote upset that the Youth Vote sucks.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        how old are you? what do you do for a living? your posts are very silly, and you seem like a white boy who’s doing well under the current system.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          I think he’s actually debating/trolling pretty well. Without him this thread would never have reached >350 posts.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          SSK, you can stop with the race-baiting ‘white boy’ remarks at any time, thankyeewvurrymuch.

          You’re starting to disappoint me. I’ve seen much better trollery on your part than this. I know you can do better.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            First off, Why? are they hitting to close to home? Race is a huge factor in financial success, and you know it.I will not take the word of a person of majority on almost anything that has to do minorities. They just dont know.
            Second some of my posts might be trolley, but not all. Some are legitimate.

            Omg!!!!! Typing on android tablet makes me want TODIE!!!! WILL FINISH LATWR WHEN I havemy keyboard!!!

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            1> You’ll get no argument from me that race plays a rather large factor, but not as large as you seem to think, nor is it even a primary factor.

            2> My point is that your baiting was uncalled for, as you made no case for it being a factor in the poster’s particular case. It also is typical democrat plantation-speak/tactics to play the race card off the bottom of the deck like that.

            3> Your race-baiting as a counter to for the poster’s comment is no better than violating Godwin’s law or flying in the face of Occam’s razor when it comes to discerning the poster’s >motive<.

            4> Get an Asus Transformer. 🙂

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            You’re correct that i didn’t make a case for it, and that’s valid. I don’t agree that it isn’t quite a large motivator. I would say that if you are a member of minority, it IS going to be harder. there are plenty of broke ass white people though too. In Canada, it’s especially an issue with Natives. People call them names, insult them, and blame them for not having a job. You ask those people if they would hire them, you get a “no way!”. I would say it can certainly be a primary factor. Is it insurmountable? no. people have done it, but it’s a huge barrier. now, that’s hardly the crux of this discussion, but it does come into play with equality, and the majority of the wealthy ARE white men, and since he’s in such favor of the current system, it’s likely that he might very well BE one of these white men. I should also say that I am a white male, and whilst i’m not rich, I have no problem eating, or paying my bills. I never have. I do fall under the official poverty line in Canada, and there really is something to be said about living within your means, and taking responsibility for you financial situation. HOWEVER, I’m not considered “Normal” anywhere, not here, not in my town, or my school. I do agree that a major part of this crisis is people, businesses, and governments borrowing WAY to much money, with no ability to pay it back, but not everyone has the upbringing or capacities I have, and when the culture is OBSESSED with materialism, and an individual hasn’t been taught how to get past it, that can cause some major problems. Again, I think they issues at hand are spiritual in nature, and the economic crisis is but a symptom.

            I have a touchpad running cyanogenmod. I would never purchase a tablet for more than 100$. they’re just not useful enough. I’ll never purchase android again either. it’s buggy, and slow. I realize it’s an alpha on the touchpad, but i’ve had, and used many different devices, and it’s simply inferior to WP7 or windows 8. I’ll stick to MS or ubuntu for my OS’s. I’ve had more luck.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            “I have a touchpad running cyanogenmod. I would never purchase a tablet for more than 100$. they’re just not useful enough. I’ll never purchase android again either. it’s buggy, and slow. I realize it’s an alpha on the touchpad, but i’ve had, and used many different devices, and it’s simply inferior to WP7 or windows 8. I’ll stick to MS or ubuntu for my OS’s. I’ve had more luck.”

            I’m leaning in a similar direction myself. Right now, android tablets aren’t really thrilling me either, and I prefer to wait for Windows 8 myself. I’m hoping Asus offers a Win8 Transformer not too far down the road.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            yeah, a windows 8 transformer would be cool.

          • shaq_mobile
          • 8 years ago

          Please hold the racism. I know that it’s only against white people, so it doesn’t count as much. But I appreciate you treating all forms of racism equally, even anti-white (even on the internet). By the way, we’re not white people, we’re “European-Americans”. Thank you. 😉

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            hold the racism? what racism? I’m white. read my reply to mutarasector. Race is part of the discussion on equality. I realize you might not like it, but if you are white, you get the benefits of it, so you might as well deal with the reality that you [i<] are benefiting, and therefor shouldn't be upset if people mention that you're benefiting. [/i<]

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            I agree on racial benefit inequality. There aren’t enough white basketball and football players.

            I can’t wait to see what can of worms I just opened – maybe now I can finally top Neely in the “-1” department.

            • shaq_mobile
            • 8 years ago

            poor Neely. It’s so tempting to -1 him for no reason, even if I agree with him. 🙂

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Oh, so [i<]you're[/i<] the one!

            • shaq_mobile
            • 8 years ago

            “No, the Occupy movement is just a repeat of Vote Or Die from 2004. The Youth Vote upset that the Youth Vote sucks.”

            “how old are you? what do you do for a living? your posts are very silly, and you seem like a white boy who’s doing well under the current system.”

            So because he thinks that this is a similarly vain attempt to get the younger generation more politically active as a previous event, he’s a young white boy who is successful today? I had no idea that historical comparisons were an attribute of well off “white boys”. Please.

            You are right in the respect that race is an issue. In more ways than one.

            Rooted in freedom, bonded in the fellowship of danger, sharing everywhere a common human blood, we declare again that all men are brothers, and that mutual tolerance is the price of liberty. -Will Durant

            This is why R&P is such a touchy subject. We all have heavily tainted, at best, views of the world. Sometimes those views are so incredibly ugly or politically charged, it’s best that acquaintances keep them private. I don’t think I’ve read a single thread in this discussion that’s ended in a positive or constructive manner. It’s just the coldest side of each of us rearing in defense of our own beliefs. We’re so afraid to be wrong we don’t even listen. Sometimes we even resort to petty apathy and anything but name calling. The best part is, I bet this discussion would be half as volatile in any one on one conversation, but volatile none the less. In any case, until we as a culture can learn to tolerate each other, accept being wrong and discuss personal topics congenially, we’ll continue to polarize. As long as we behave like this, political progress will be difficult.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            Well i can certainly agree with your last paragraph, my point about well off white boy was more about his TOTAL posts, as opposed to this one alone.

            • shaq_mobile
            • 8 years ago

            Ah well, I didn’t see any of those. Then my suspicions were wrong and I do apologize. 🙂

    • Squeazle
    • 8 years ago

    My entertainment; as a capitalist society (at some point) we lifted these people into the positions of wealth that they hold. How would redistributing be anything more than opening up the market again?

      • sreams
      • 8 years ago

      The term “capitalism” is one of the most abused terms in the English language. “Capital” is the means of production. Every economic system is capitalism. The question is… who owns the capital? Is it the king? The majority? Individuals? When individuals own the capital, you have free market capitalism. In the United States, we have crony capitalism, where the most powerful corporations abuse government power in order to control the capital. We do not have a free market, and have not for many decades.

      When it comes to those who became successful without abusing government power to do so… I don’t see them as owing anything back to anyone who “lifted” them, as you say. The voluntary exchanges between people that lead to success are the payment. Nothing more is due.

        • Squeazle
        • 8 years ago

        Oh I don’t think they owe anything either. But as you said, it’s cronyism. And certainly it is on the backs of the masses that they rest. I merely think that if they were to be removed from the top, it could hardly make anyone else’s life worse.

        I will definitely keep that definition in mind though, as I know I have misused the word as defined above.

    • Suspenders
    • 8 years ago

    Here’s one demand I bet OWS and the 99% of us can support: no more bailouts of the financial system. Refusing to bail out the bankster clowns again (and there will be an “again”) is the best way to oppose their power and weed out their lackeys in government and the media.

      • sreams
      • 8 years ago

      What many don’t seem to understand is that it is corporate control of our massive central government which allows the bailouts to happen. You can’t stop them by asking nicely. The only way to stop corporate favoritism at the federal level is to distribute power away from the federal government. Take away the incentive, and you solve the problem.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        That’s a completely mistaken view. You think that magically now that the corporations have even less oversight nationally they won’t be able to own local elections?

        There is no taking away the incentive. The answer isn’t in neutering the federal government but by changing the rules allowing lobbying, repealing Citizens United, and removing corporate personhood. None of those will even be remotely possible with a weakened central government.

        But that’s why the Koch brothers and their ilk are spreading that particular poison around.

          • sreams
          • 8 years ago

          None of these are possible with a strong central government, because the government has already been co-opted. It takes a lot more effort to control thousands of local governments than it does to control one president. Think Lord of the Rings. The one ring is centralized power. Sauron is evil: he is drawn to and owns centralized power. Gandalf is good: he rejects centralized power because he knows it will corrupt him. Like Gandalf, you know you would use the bloated federal government in an effort to do good… but that no good would ever come of it. History has shown this to always be the case.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            All government has already been co-opted. It is nothing to the very rich and corporations to funnel money to the states – they’re already doing it!

            The president is not nearly as “owned” as the Senate and House are.

            Your Lord of the Rings commentary is bizarre and off topic.

            We’ve had a decentralized government – back in the Articles of Confederation days – arguably during the Civil War. It worked horribly then – and there’s absolutely no evidence it won’t work horribly now.

            I urge you to stop listening to right wing propaganda and actually read some history.

            And in case you’d forgotten – without a strong central government we’d still have slavery, women wouldn’t have the right to vote and the civil rights struggle would still be going on. Not to mention we wouldn’t have a 40 hour work week, food and product safety standards and on and on.

            • sreams
            • 8 years ago

            Compared to what we have now, we had a hugely decentralized government when the federal government was truly limited by the Constitution… as in, post-Articles of Confederation. 90% of what the federal government has its nose in now is not authorized and was never intended by the founders. What’s going on today is exactly what people like Thomas Jefferson were afraid of and warned against.

            When your representatives are answerable to a few hundred or thousand people, it is a lot harder for them to be bought without those people noticing and tossing them out. When they are answerable to several million… there is a complete disconnect and corruption inevitably takes hold. I know my city councilmen… and they know I know them. I’ll never, ever have any connection to my Senator or Congressman, and neither will you. That’s the problem.

            If you think the Lord of the Rings connection is “bizarre”, then you haven’t researched Tolkien. Look up “Themes of The Lord of the Rings” on Wikipedia, and then find the section entitled “Power and Temptation”. The One Ring was unique in that it “ruled them all”. It was the living embodiment of centralized power.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            My points and comments have not been responded to. This is a mere restatement of what you wrote earlier.

            You cannot deny that without a strong central government that desegregation or even abolition would not have happened. Yet you persist in saying that it serves no purpose and there are no positives to it. Furthermore you provide no examples that support your theory despite stating that it is somehow universal.

            Please show how a decentralized government is beneficial. Cite real, extent examples. If your example is denying women Roe vs. Wade you lose.

            Please refrain from using Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, A Song of Ice and Fire, libertarianism or any other fantasy world to explain your logic.

            I’m happy you know your city councilman – I know mine too – and he knows damn well he doesn’t have my vote. That doesn’t mean that money politics doesn’t exist *on every single level of government*.

            “I’ll never, ever have any connection to my Senator or Congressman, and neither will you. That’s the problem.” That depends – do you write yours? Make attempts to talk to them at public meetings?

            The crux of your argument is that it is “impossible” to hire enough lobbyists to corrupt politicians at the state level or more locally – which is a fallacy. You base this on sheer numbers instead of having something to back it up with. In my state PG&E owns the CPUC. Owns it and owns a wide variety of city politicians statewide. And PG&E is nothing in comparison to much larger corporations.

            • sreams
            • 8 years ago

            “You cannot deny that without a strong central government that desegregation or even abolition would not have happened.”

            Yes I can. The world was moving away from these regrettable concepts with or without government.

            “Please refrain from using Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, A Song of Ice and Fire, libertarianism or any other fantasy world to explain your logic.”

            To lump libertarianism in with these is dishonest and degrades the conversation. The libertarian philosphy is just as valid as your statist philosphy. If your approach is to call someone’s core philosphy a fantasy and demand that they not refer to it to explain their logic (huh?)… I honestly have no idea why you ever engage in conversation with anyone who disagrees with you.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “Yes I can. The world was moving away from these regrettable concepts with or without government.”

            By magic no doubt. Otherwise the south would still be segregated. Only by force did it occur. You could have tried to speculate under which circumstances – and perhaps you could have made a good case of it – but you didn’t. Regardless you have no precedent on your side and my argument has the weight of historical fact. What ifs and could have beens are worthless without an examination of the causal forces involved and historical examples.

            Without government? Are you an anarchist? Maybe just someone with an exceedingly poor grasp of history.

            Libertarianism is a ridiculous concept that has no bearing on reality – any more than “free markets” “level playing fields”, capitalism as meritocracy or communism (let alone anarchy). There isn’t a successful country on earth that uses libertarianism and never has been which is what would _have_ to happen for it to be valid. There are a finite amount of systems that are functional – the most prevalent being a mixed economy married to a multi (not two) party democratic political system. If you know some other models that actually do and have worked and have something to back it up with I’m all ears. Otherwise you’re merely a lunatic rattling on about what might be if only -fill in the blank-.

            And let’s talk about honesty for a minute – you dropped your point about weakening the central government because it’d been bought and paid for just as soon as I showed how that happens on every level of government. Funny how that worked out. Nor did you show any examples of where a decentralized government has actually worked.

            I’ve been lucky enough to engage with people of every political stripe who brought interesting things to the table including right wingers – though sadly those have been exceedingly few. The majority of those on the right fit the “useful idiot” category or subscribe to some lunatic philosophy that is entirely unworkable.

            If you want someone to take your concept seriously you have to show that it’s a workable option – and cite something historical to back it up. Just saying that diminishing the central government is going to (magically) fix things doesn’t make it true – and frankly smacks of astroturfing.

            So – are you a useful idiot or merely astroturfing?

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            WE ALL KNOW WHETHER I’M AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      They bailed out government insured banks only to prevent having to come up with the cash to pay us back when the banks folded. If they hadn’t bailed them out they would have gone under and if they went under the government would have had 10 trillion or more in dept added instantly with no way to borrow to pay it back. Not saying the method of bailing em out was right but that the fundamental idea of preventing our government from defaulting was a solid one. I do wish they had bailed em out and dissolved them simultaneously rather than bailing out a bunch of banks so they could turn around and cannibalize 2/3 of the banking sector that wasn’t getting government assistance. The big banks are officially 3 times as big now as they were before the recession and flush with cash.

        • Suspenders
        • 8 years ago

        Not at all. Deposits are guarenteed only up to $100 000, so had any of the banks gone under anyone with stakes in them larger than that would have to take a haircut. Which, conicedentally, happens to be a large number of multi-millionaire bankers and moneymen, and also why they were bailed out in the first place, to protect said multi millionaires who also happen to be the ones with the most political influence on government.

        Additionally, the US government, or any entity for that matter that controls its own currency, as a practical matter cannot be in “default”. They can just legally print the money if they need it. Which is essentially what happened anyway, except that the parasite banker class wasn’t wiped out and their power base destroyed like it would have been had the financial system been allowed to go bankrupt and cleaned up properly.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 8 years ago

          I stand corrected, thanks. You are right and this puts more power behind the movement. I still don’t see higher taxes as doing Jack squat beyond forcing money overseas. At no point when taxes where higher did wealthy ever honestly pay more they just move their money.

          But in light of that I would argue yeah, we could have stood to see the larger banks go under. The government could have used its money to prop up the smaller banks that it let get whiped out because of the bad business of the larger ones.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Well, you’re right too in that it would have been a huge godawful mess had they allowed the banks to go under. The American financial system was/is so highly leveraged and so full of crazy deals, CDS, derivatives etc that the whole thing would have imploded had they let anyone gone bankrupt, so really they took the easy way out (with A LOT of prodding from Wall Street) and backstopped the whole rotten edifice with the full faith and credit of Uncle Sam. That created the unfortunate side effect of handsomely rewarding those who created the mess in the first place, which is 10 kinds of insane. If you run your firm into the ground, you should bear the conesquences (ie: bankruptcy), not be rewarded. Instead the rest of us bore the conesquences, and the folks responsible paid themselves bonuses.

            Better, as you say, to have let them go under, let the folks who created the mess take a haircut, and then wound down the big banks and move on. Don’t get me wrong, this would have been extraordinarily painful to the economy, but it would at least have been a lot briefer than the years of “deleveraging” that’s gonna be needed to clear out all the trillions of dollars of losses on the books.

            And what you say is absolutely true in that banking is even MORE concentrated than it was before the crisis, even though almost everyone agrees that “too big to fail banks” was one of the main contributors to the crisis. But that’s what you get when the same folks who broke everything are still running the show(!), and are rewarded for doing so.

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 8 years ago

            yeah 🙁 it sucks. I had so many hopes going into this presidency, and I’m not pinning obama for everything just lost allot of faith in government over the last 4 years, probably lost more faith in the congress than anyone. They are all the same, dishonest showboating goofballs who are slaves to their party and can’t make legislation that would ruin their chances of moving to the top.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    HERE’S SOMETHING WE CAN ALL AGREE ON. THIS IS LIKELY THE ONLY TIME I’VE MADE MORE THAN ONE POST IN A DISCUSSION, AND HAVEN’T HAD AT LEAST ONE IN THE NET MINUSES!! CAN WE ALL SAY “WELL DONE SSK!!!”???

    EDIT: BASTARDS11!!!!!!!!!11111

    • Dauntless72
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve been a long, long time lurker here, all the way back to the initial K7 release days, but I finally felt motivated enough to actually make a post.

    Let me start out by saying that I am a software engineer, and I make a comfortable living.

    Yes, the inequality IS enough to unite many people together…aren’t the protests proof enough? Here is the latest information on income inequality by the Congressional Budget Office (bipartisan):

    [url<]http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/taxdistribution.cfm[/url<] This shows that this isn't some "leftist" propaganda stunt. Real Americans are feeling this and getting mad about it. Once in awhile, I actually watch Fox news to see what dross they are saying. It would seem that what they (and other right wing "news" groups like the American Enterprise Institute, the National Review or The Weekly Standard) are trying to get across to conservatives is that: 1) Liberals hate rich people 2) Occupy Wall Street wants a Socialist America I don't think this is what Occupy Wall Street (or the 99% movement or whatever you want to call it) are about at all. Look at that income inequality chart again. What the %99 movement wants is fairness. Is it fair that the top 10% are getting bailouts and tax breaks that are paid for by everyone else? That in a nutshell is what this is about....fairness. Is it fair to Even Ronald Reagan said it makes no sense for the rich to pay less in taxes than the working class. I have of course seen the rebuttal to this from conservatives that JFK proposed tax cuts. But this argument makes no sense, because in the early 60s, the upper 10% were paying more than 30% in taxes, and today, they are only paying about 17%. Also, back in the 60s, corporations accounted for about 1/3rd of our revenue. People who say that all our economic woes are caused by overspending obviously haven't learned from history, and are still buying into the disproven "trickle down" theory. Look at what David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's former budget director has to say about raising taxes (go ahead, just Google him). Or what about Alan Greenspan, who says that the Tax breaks have to go. I make ok money, and I am very fortunate for what I have. I find it very funny that conservatives speak on one side of their mouth about being the most religious, and on the other side about how they "earned" their money and that only socialists would want to "redistribute" it. I guess they didn't read the part where Jesus said "it's easier for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle". This was in reply to a rich man who asked Jesus how he could go to heaven, and Jesus said, "“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” I guess somehow, that part of Jesus teachings isn't very palatable to conservatives. And by the way....I'm Buddhist.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      well said, sir.

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      LOL yeah, Fox News is world famous for being one of the worst news outlets in existence today.

      There’s the article about “three-thirds of Americans” (LOLWUT?) not liking the current actions of the Obama administration, and that everything not from the right is automatically “socialist/communist.” Well basically it’s their mindset of “you’re either with me or against me.”

        • Suspenders
        • 8 years ago

        Fox news pro establishment bias was clear as day when they got rid of Glenn Beck, their poster boy who became too anti-establishment.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          no?

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Yeah that struck me as a bizarre comment too. Fox has always been biased – since day one.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Of course they’ve always been biased, that’s the whole point of their operation. Fox is a place willing to hire a drug addled, raving psychotic as long as they’re good at pushing a radical corporate agenda. Beck ended up being not coherent/consistent enough for that role, so they canned him, just like they’ll can anyone else who isn’t useful in pushing out their agenda. It’s just more obvious when it’s someone high profile getting canned, which was my point.

      • humannn
      • 8 years ago

      Odd last paragraph, given that conservatives have been shown to give more to charity (or the poor, in keeping with your example) than liberals. Conservatives are merely asking that you not take away their money by gunpoint (gunpoint=police officer arresting you for not paying the IRS) to distribute it to people that may or may not truly need it.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        “Odd last paragraph, given that conservatives have been shown to give more to charity (or the poor, in keeping with your example) than liberals”

        Oh really? I’d love to see the statistics for this. Please provide them – provided they exist at all.

        Although your version of charity might well be funding Pat Robertson than actual charity.

        When those people pay in charity all the money that they’ve saved since all the tax breaks they’ve recieved since the fifties you might have a leg to stand on.

        Oh and by the by – not every rich person considers themselves a conservative.

          • sreams
          • 8 years ago

          Actually, humannn’s comment makes some sense from a logical point of view. Those who believe in the state as a provider believe in charity through force… which isn’t charity at all.

          That said… there are certainly those “conservatives” who are also statists… and this logic does not apply to them.

          Ultimately… those who would use the force of government (or any force at all, for that matter) for the sake of rightiousness have no interest in voluntary charity.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            “through force”? Are you one of those nutters to whom /any/ taxation is theft?

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            My Magic 8 ball says “Yes”.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        The difference is that liberals probably see that caring for the poor is a legitimate function of government and expect their taxes to be used for this purpose.

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    WHAT!!!!! compared to athlete and actors CEO are way underpaid

    Alex Rodriguez salary alone is 32 million a year.
    Decaprio salary sit a 77 million.

    Ford CEO salary is 1.4 millions. And thats to high for those moron @Occupy ?

    BTW, if you do a “lenin” and give 100% of Ford CEO compensation (salary and all bonus) to the employee, that equate to 100$ per.
    WTF are people going to do with an extra 100$ a year before tax? buy more plastic junk from China ?

    If anything, CEO need to be paid more not less.

    The problem we have is no that Opra is worth 2.7 billions, or that real estate agent take 5%, or that Dave Matthews is paid 55 million a year, but the fact that we have so many parasite living on the tax funds.

    The only way to clean the system is to dramatically reduce tax collection, not increase it.

    This occupy movement should be all about reducing tax, only that will make a positive difference in their lives.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      you’re insane

    • WaltC
    • 8 years ago

    It’s always amusing to note that the people continuously in favor of “income redistribution,” that is, taking money from people who earned it to give to people who didn’t, is always the right and proper thing to do [i<]so long as you are the person on the receiving end[/i<] as opposed to the giving end. That disparity in itself is a monstrous inequity. If this was actually a socially just proposition, then it should be as clear to givers as it is to the receivers. For example, pretty much everyone, rich or poor, understands the truth of "it's more blessed to give than to receive," as far as I know. And we certainly expect the wealthy guy to give a lot more in $ than the poor guy--it's understood. But the catch-all is that we expect *everybody* to give something, not just the wealthy--and there you have the beginnings of the socially unjust problems that we see evinced by these so-called "spontaneous protests." They don't want to give *anything*--their whole gripe is that they "ain't receiving but their neighbor down the street sure is, and oh, boy, that's just wrong!" The fact that their neighbor down the street endured the comparative torture of years of college and med-school to become a physician to bring home the bacon, while they majored in partying and bitching and dropped out of college to go to WalMart where they got canned because couldn't bother to be sober enough to show up for work regularly--well, that's just completely irrelevant to people who think the chief and primary role of government is to take money from those who earn it to give to those who don't. What should we do, pass a law that says that NASA has to hire as many high-school dropouts as it does PhD scientists and pay them all the same? I think not, else we'd never get a greasy spittoon off the ground! Or, should we pass a law that states for every NASA position paying >$75k the government has to pick the same number of people making $20k a year and take away just enough money from the NASA scientists to "equalize" the NASA and non_NASA incomes? Sounds great except for one small detail: you've just removed any incentive for anyone to want to go to school to become a PhD and go to work for NASA--I mean, especially if he can do something far less intellectually taxing and earn the same amount of dough--guaranteed, by his government! That's what's so incredibly idiotic and stupid about all of this "equality" of incomes nonsense. In America what we strive to offer is equality of opportunity--not equality of outcome. IE, anyone who wants to go to school and become a physician understands going in that the rewards at the other end will be great. That opportunity is open to everyone. But the simple fact is that most people *opt out* of that particular rat race and choose a professional rat race that requires far less time. But that doesn't change the fact that we had the same opportunity as the people who chose medical school--they chose to avail themselves of it and we didn't. That's what equality of opportunity means. And that is precisely why "equality of incomes" is among the most spurious and brain-dead notions around. I'm just waiting on Michael Moore and George Soros to drop 50% of their wealth into the laps of people who don't have it...;) (I think I will have a very long wait, as in it will never happen.) The fact is that in America a person is free to decide his own approach to creating a happy and meaningful existence for himself. IE, [i]not everybody chooses to be rich[/] in this country--some people opt for many other things apart from material riches. You can do that in this country--and you may never be rich, but you may never be unhappy about it, either. OTOH, people who want other people to earn money just so that they can have their government take it away and give it to those who don't earn it are, I think, among the lowest form of sentient life on the planet. That's my opinion. Speaking of these so-called spontaneous rallies and so forth, it would really be interesting to know who is financing them and why. Most working people these days don't have the money to attend these things--and unemployed people surely do not. When the media begins investigating these avenues I think they will prove to be politically motivated and financed. The bulk of the American people surely cannot be so stupid as to fall for this empty-headed nonsense. It is full of sound and fury, and signifies nothing. Edits: typos

      • Voldenuit
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]It's always amusing to note that the people continuously in favor of "income redistribution," that is, taking money from people who earned it to give to people who didn't[/quote<] So, are you talking about the OSW protesters, or are you talking about the CEOs? 😛 Humans are communal animals. They cannot survive without the cooperation, coordination and mutual sacrifice of all the members of the community. Obviously, some individuals pull less weight than others, this is a function of social and economic conditioning, but there is nothing that says the current balance (which is and always has been historically tilted towards the elite) is sacrosanct.

        • sreams
        • 8 years ago

        “Humans are communal animals. They cannot survive without the cooperation, coordination and mutual sacrifice of all the members of the community”

        I’m all for this idea. But… it is only meaningful if it is voluntary. Voluntary interaction and sacrifice is wonderful. Force is wrong on any level.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      whilst I have plenty of respect for individual responsibility and initiative, and agree that every person needs to be responsible for their own lives, you have some fundamental issues with your position. IF (which they’re not) everyone was equal, then equal opportunity would be enough. Sadly, everyone has different capacities, and though it is [i<] technically [/i<] possible for everyone to [i<] apply [/i<] to med school, it doesn't mean they're going to get in or finish. Some people are smarter. some people are more patient, some people are physically stronger, we pay hospital cleaners garbage, but bankers a ton. It's hardly fair. Family counselors make relatively little, but sports players make a lot. You can argue "they're the best at what they do", and "the free market can maintain those prices, then that's what they should be paid!!!!1!", but the fact is, our society is inherently unjust, and we're willing to pay for things that [i<] entertain adults [/i<] but not for things that improve our children and futures. The problem with the current system is that IF you start higher, you're 99x more likely to stay there. IF we all were starting from an equal level, then perhaps that would be more just. Sadly, however, there are things like inheritance, and better parenting that skew it all. Does that mean that because i was born into a better upbringing i will [i<] likely [/i<] be a more productive person? sure, that's reality, and nobody is calling for a totally equal society. We WOULD however, like to see improvements in education, so that children ALL have good educations. I'm sure you're likely to agree that public school quality is not a great place to put your children. It doesn't have to be like that, and isn't in many nations. The issues with the world are spiritual in nature. people see little value in doing what's "right", instead they want to do what's "fun". There shouldn't even be a discussion about "wealth distribution", because the people who have wealth shouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing people are starving to death. That's not to say they should give them all their money, but they should be laboring to improve the world, every income level should be. Telling somebody to "get a job, you lazy bastard" simply isn't doing enough, and sadly, that's the reason the rich get so much flack. Too much blame, from people who, in many cases, not all, have never been in the situation they're criticizing somebody else for. Until we solve the fundamental issues with our behavior, and realize our unity, none of this will be resolved.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      The only empty-headed nonsense I see is how you’ve made an extended post acting as an apologia for the 1 percent. That same 1 percent that’s ensured that it pays as little as it can in taxes so that we – who make vastly less also due to their gaming the system – pay vastly more.

      It is inarguable that trickle down economics does not work. It is inarguable that the rich and the very rich pay taxes vastly less than they did in the 1950s while the lowest earning pay vastly more. Our jobs have been offshored as well as much of the wealth.

      Your excuses – for those that act as sociopaths – make me sick.

      Capitalism never is and never was a meritocracy no matter how hard you try to make it one.

      • CBHvi7t
      • 8 years ago

      Those doing the work are not the 1%. Your post is confusing. You are talking about educated vs. uneducated, about qualification, about well fare, the protesters are not.

      • kc77
      • 8 years ago

      You do know that businesses of all shapes and sizes redistribute wealth don’t you? In fact, that’s the whole point of starting/running your own business.

      The “redistribute wealth” argument is probably the worse argument ever uttered. All economic instruments redistribute wealth unless you’ve got a printing press in your basement.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      It’s interesting… people who represent your line of thought always sum things up that ‘it’s not fair that rich people are getting their hard earned monies taken away’ and you always sum up the people who are taking it away as ‘no good leechers that put nothing into the system’.

      You can dress it up however you want, but the majority of rich people in this country are not astrophysicists, psychologists, NASA engineers, bread and butter workers that make this country go around, but rather they ARE the leeches which are sucking the system dry.

      People think that leeches are only at the bottom siphoning off healthcare and free services, but when you look at society as a WHOLE the people at the top contribute NOTHING. Only a tiny portion of the people at the top today have made their way up there through hard work rather then inheriting or sucking dick till they get in. You can even look at the purest acts such as Gates donations to the Gates Foundation, which is really just an excuse for a tax break and looking good, it is a tiny fraction of the amount of money he makes. How much better would it be if the people or entities who need help from the Gates foundation could actually pay for it themselves?

      It’s not like the money magically comes out of thin air too, they have to make money first before they decide to give it back on a whim.

      The people at the top do NOTHING for society as a whole, all the people you’re talking about don’t make millions… Tenured professors at universities, while they do receive quite a few benefits, do not receive that much money. Unless you’re talking about chancellors, which aren’t even the bread and butter workers anymore. All they do is sit at the top and stew for the most part, implementing political decisions to attempt to make the campus look better.

      BTW the ‘work hard and you’ll be a millionaire’ ideology is pure BS. Maybe at one day, back before the country was dominated by businesses that could snuff out other ones merely by driving their prices down, but not anymore.

      • Dauntless72
      • 8 years ago

      Unfortunately, not only is income inequality out of whack, what you state here…the desire for upwards mobility….is also out of whack

      America’s upward mobility is worse than many other nations-
      [url<]http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/EMP%20American%20Dream%20Report.pdf[/url<]

    • CBHvi7t
    • 8 years ago

    “Is inequality still a winning motivator?”
    > If propaganda has not uneducated people entirely, yes.
    Inequality does not only motivate people to work, as it is more often portrayed, it also causes most problems:
    1) people born into different starting positions.
    2) lack of consume and excess supply of capital
    3) social unrest
    4) poverty
    5) One person, many votes.

    Scott Wasson should stick to what he is good at, political analysis is not it.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      cranky poster should get a hug, and enter discussion, rather than attacking my dear, sweet, sweet, dear, angel, dear, sweet, scotty.

        • CBHvi7t
        • 8 years ago

        [b<]Sorry[/b<], for all I respect him and like this page [u<]some[/u<] of what he wrote gives me the sense that he has fallen for the propaganda: [quote<]everything about the Occupy effort—seems to be ripped from a very old chapter of the leftist playbook.[/quote<] That is like saying that the stuff about a healthy environment is getting old. [quote<]Can [u<]complaints[/u<] about inequality [u<]still[/u<] generate substantial political traction in [u<]today's[/u<] America?[/quote<] This is not some outdated minor problem that people should have gotten over long ago. This is and will be, the biggest non environmental issue. [quote<]Can they even move the electorate to accept an unpopular President for a second term? That is, after all, the goal here, right?[/quote<] No. No, it isn't. [quote<]Still, we do tend to have a strongly ingrained ethic that accepts outstanding and achievement and reward, one that focuses on opportunities and hard work rather than the sheer equality of outcomes.[/quote<] True and there is nothing wrong with that, there is no contradiction. This is in part what it is about: The chance to get rich by merit.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          That’s the post you should have made to begin with 🙂

    • VILLAIN_xx
    • 8 years ago

    I’m certainly not the 1%, but for them to say they represent the 99% means theyre representing me and I don’t lump my self with them either. So, im not really feeling the unity of equality here at all.
    Instead, its creating something in my head about what cant Tea Baggers and OWS’s hipsters work something out to really get something done. They have more in common than they think if you talked to either one. Which I have, so i dont wanna hear that approach. Sacramento, CA does have a small OWS movement and a much larger TeaParty movement.

    It also puzzles me that OWS’s are so less organized and had a riot in Oakland and seems to be accepted vs if a teabagger had rioted.

    Something strange about that.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      My understanding of the Oakland thing is that it /wasn’t/ a riot until the police decided to get frisky.

      Also, (stereotype mode ON) your average teabagger/conservative has a higher respect for authority in itself, so will tend to obey the police.

      Really, IMO, the only thing the two groups seem to agree on is that there is something wrong with our political system. Teabaggers say the problem is too much government and too high taxes, Occupy says it’s because of the government being captured by the rich and powerful.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        Exactly.

        • VILLAIN_xx
        • 8 years ago

        BINGO. “Really, IMO, the only thing the two groups seem to agree on is that there is something wrong with our political system.” Well, what better place to collaborate than the system failing because the government is obviously the one that made it so because of the dirty rich and powerful. So, why trust any administration that wants more of it, or changes laws that allows the rich and powerful to corrupt it more? I know, i know its a God damn pipe dream to think Teabaggers and OSW’rs would collaborate, but maybe some one will start another party since its the popular trend nowadays. We all be seeing some crazy shiz nowadays.

        Also, i respectably disagree with the police got “frisky”. They had to tell the OWS’rs to move on, but not because they didnt respect their 1st ammendment rights. The locals were starting to complain that the OWS’s were starting to poop and peeing on neighborhood private properties. They even started fighting AMONGST themselves for who knows why. Reporters who wanted to wander deeper into the camps to interview people, were starting to see aggressive behavior to themselves if they brought cameras inside. Even vermin were starting to come for the garbage that was accumulating within the camps. Upon clean up they found lots of drug paraphernalia(s). Oakland is a rough neighborhood city to begin with and they have rough police to be careful about this type of thing. Everyone who lives in Cali KNOWS that and i drive through there to go to the foot games there. A lot of the “good” occupiers were leaving because of the situation was starting to become quite gross and unsafe.

        The thing im seriously disappointed is that returning soldier from Iraq who got bonked on the head from the projectile tear gas. While his friends were dragging him off and checking his status, some one fired another tear gas next to them to keep them moving along and it was apparent he was injured bad.

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          I don’t think ‘change’ qualifies as having a lot in common. That’s like saying people who buy gas should all work together. There is quite a bit of ideological differences between the two groups you’re talking about, which bthy pointed out. What they want, how they’re approaching problems, and what they intend to do about it are all veryyyy different.

            • VILLAIN_xx
            • 8 years ago

            Did you not catch the part where I said it’s also a “pipe dream” ??? 😛

            It’s wishful thinking that the smartest and most open minded of the bunch of two parties would make something more of this. Fully aware of where they are on the spectrum of economics and socially, but one is getting the media attention and one is way more organized.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        “Really, IMO, the only thing the two groups seem to agree on is that there is something wrong with our political system. Teabaggers say the problem is too much government and too high taxes, Occupy says it’s because of the government being captured by the rich and powerful.”

        Essentially, both are correct to a certain degree. They’re the proverbial blind men trying to describe an elephant by feeling it from different directions.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          if you work hard, you might find the prize under the belly!

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Why did I just >know< someone was gonna go there? 😉

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            cause you know some of us like to make dick jokes 😉

    • crose
    • 8 years ago

    USA 2011: it’s like watching a traffic accident in slow-motion.. everything going to pieces and it’s horrible but you still have to watch it. Osama got the effect he wanted. 9/11 made you spend unimaginable amounts of money you didn’t have and now you’re stuck with the bill and bickering about who should pay how much.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      I thought that was what WWII did. And Vietnam. And Korea. And Desert Storm ?

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      USA 2011? not EUROPE 2011 ?

      Not sure what news you are looking but the US is actually not doing that bad. Its Europe that is in total shamble.

      • Grigory
      • 8 years ago

      Replied to the wrong comment.

    • obarthelemy
    • 8 years ago

    I think you’re misunderstanding the issue: it’s not inequality, but unfairness. And YES, that concern will stick.

    1- It’s unfairness because the issue, really, is not the rich being rich, or the poor being poor; not even the rich gettin richer and the poor, poorer; but about the rich paying less taxes than the poor, companies raiding employees’ (but not executives’) pension funds, blue collars paying the bonuses of the croooked bankerd who put us there in the first place…
    )
    2- study after study after study has shown that the brain has an hard-coded unfairness detector, same has it has a nurturing circuit for kids and a “let’s get thosegenes” circuit for sex.

    • jjj
    • 8 years ago

    You don’t quite get what this is Scott.
    This thing (at least this year) started in Spain with the indignados and it’s not so much about inequality it’s about “government of the people, by the people, for the people ” (as Lincoln put it in the Gettysburg Address) not a government by a political aristocracy for the big corporations. It’s about people getting tired of politicians,about corporations having too much power,about wanting to have a voice. It’s not about left or right it’s about reviving democracy and regaining some basic rights.
    If it can work? Sure it can,look at the Pirate party,both movements are similar in many ways,except this one can gain a lot more traction and grow a lot faster once they start getting organized and define a clear agenda.In US it might be harder because the country is too used to have only 2 sides but this is a global movement,so the question should be if it can become significant on a global scale not in one specific country.

    PS: I’m not associated in any way with the movement.

      • zoom314
      • 8 years ago

      Where’s a Teddy Roosevelt when We need Him again?

    • mesyn191
    • 8 years ago

    “Can they even move the electorate to accept an unpopular President for a second term? That is, after all, the goal here, right?”

    What? No. Many of them dislike Obama quite a bit. Just because he is a democrat doesn’t mean he is enacting policies consistent with left ideologies. The guy is basically a Bush clone when it comes to most things and is very pro status quo.

    edit: some hard info: [url<]http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/protesters-at-occupy-wall-street-disapprove-of-obama-a-survey-finds/?partner=rss&emc=rss[/url<] "Sixty percent of those surveyed said they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and about three-quarters now disapprove of Mr. Obama’s performance as president. A quarter said they were Democrats, but 39 percent said they did not identify with any political party. Eleven percent identified as Socialists, another 11 percent said they were members of the Green Party, 2 percent were Republicans and 12 percent say they identified as something else." The OWS guys aren't really adovcating for any politician, they're advocating for POLICY and LAW changes. Some of these things you can consider leftists (ie. tax the rich more, which is played up by the media as "eat the rich" and "class warfare") and other things are just good common sense (ie. put the bankers responsible for crooked deals in prison and re regulate them banks so they can't pull this crap off again). Most don't actually care who implements these changes so long as they're implemented.

      • zoom314
      • 8 years ago

      In My opinion the Repugs are worse than the Disease, so It’s the incumbent who gets My vote here, liked or not, He’s at least given a better Congress(read less obstructionist Repugs in 2012), workable and maybe even pliable. His main problem is He thought He could work with the other side, the other side has wanted Him out of office since day 1, He’s a black man in the White House and He’s the POTUS and the far right I think hates that…

        • mesyn191
        • 8 years ago

        “Oh no Republicans!!” is half of how we got Obama in the first place.

        We need to stop focusing on the man or the R or D next to the candidate or representatives’ name and start calling out the bullshit policies they all seem to support regardless of what they say on TV.

          • zoom314
          • 8 years ago

          Well a sit-down strike like happened in 2010 or should I say sit-out strike helps no one, except the far right. Evil grows more powerful, If good people do or say nothing, particularly in an election.

            • mesyn191
            • 8 years ago

            That was a joke. They’d strike and then cave on everything that actually was worth anything. So it really wasn’t much of a strike so much as it was a dog n’ pony show to distract people from the BS they were pulling off.

            Also if you continue to vote for assholes like Obama don’t be surprised if nothing changes and further right policies are enacted. Evil will grow regardless of who you vote for from current R or D parties. You just get a “choice” as to whether it happens slow or fast.

            That is why people have to focus on polices and law and not the people involved since the law and policies are the only thing that actually matter in the end anyways. As long as you’re focused on people and ideology you’re distracted.

    • ratborg
    • 8 years ago

    It’s not envy that those at the top 1% are better off, it’s anger that they’ve rigged the game:

    [url<]http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/owss-beef-wall-street-isnt-winning-its-cheating-20111025?link=mostpopular2[/url<] I don't think people are pissed off at the athlete or star who makes it big or even the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the world. But when the bankers can make huge bets that almost completely cripple our economy and then don't lose their job (or go to jail) that is not capitalism.

    • Xylker
    • 8 years ago

    In a word: Yes.

    As long as there is envy and people who measure their worth according to the material possessions of other people, this kind of inequality will remain a winning motivator.

    To the question of whether this will be sufficient to earn Obama another term…that’s debatable .

    • DrJ
    • 8 years ago

    For a different opinion, see

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pq79lYauZo[/url<]

      • mesyn191
      • 8 years ago

      Nothing different about what he is saying on a mainstream news channel. He is just another pro status quo Chicago school scumbag.

      • Kaleid
      • 8 years ago

      Ah a libertarian. I have the freedom to become ultra rich and you have the freedom to starve.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    “The running joke is that the “Occupy” protesters don’t know what they want or don’t have a single, coherent message.”

    They are protesting against corporations that have destroyed our economy, by way of senseless wasting of monies and labor, then transferring business overseas. I think that is more than coherent.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 8 years ago

    The “they don’t know what they want” is lazy journalism. It blow off the protests safely keeping them irrelevant to the mainstream audiences, and it keeps the journalist from actually having to analyze the situation.

    It is a very leftist idea, but they do have a point, which is businesses wield a considerable amount of influence in politics, and that influence is harmful to the consumer and general public.

    There is not a balance between producer and consumer right now. The balance is heavily tilted towards producer. For instance, the Obama administration is owned by Big Content, and as such, they implement policies that are favourable to RIAA/MPAA members while being detrimental to consumers and fair use.

    Basically the US government is corrupt. Business drop tons of cash into election coffers, and in exchange, they get special access to the strings of political power.

    2000 was a different time. There has been a lot of stuff in the meantime that has thrust the corruption of the government into the face of the general public. People are generally ok with stuff that happens behind the curtains, but overt actions generally get people mad.

    • heinsj24
    • 8 years ago

    “The principle of equality does not destroy the imagination, but lowers its flight to the level of the earth.”
    -Tocqueville

    “Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”
    -Tocqueville

    As far as I know, no one in this country has been told that they cannot earn money; that they cannot seek to better themselves, or they cannot dream. From conversations I’ve had with those lamenting the lack of jobs; it seems to me that most don’t want to use their imagination to better themselves.

    The freedom to succeed or fail ought to apply to corporations, as well, so long as the the average citizen is paying the bill. Unfortunately, the bailouts will just encourage the same behavior in the future.

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]A witty saying proves nothing. -Voltaire[/quote<] Slavery is so far distanced from this current debate that I can not see how it has any connection to be worth mentioning, even indirectly through a quote. If all it took was imagination and a desire to better yourself, than I can't imagine (pun unintended) how there would be a single poor person in the world. It takes money, persistence, connections, intelligence, and no small amount of luck to better yourself. Most people try, or are trying, their best. Otherwise they would not be going to college, educating themselves further, while taking on a substantial amount of debt. You do not need to tell someone that they can't earn money, that they can't better themselves if your actions (not hiring, dramatically increasing the cost of education) do it for you. Also.. [quote<]The freedom to succeed or fail ought to apply to corporations, as well, so long as the the average citizen is paying the bill. Unfortunately, the bailouts will just encourage the same behavior in the future.[/quote<] How does one sentence (average citizen footing the bill for failed corporations) not contradict the other (bailouts bad)? They seem completely opposed to each other. Am I reading them wrong?

    • liar
    • 8 years ago

    Did anyone else, reading the above comments, hear Yeats “The Second Coming ” echoing softly in their head?

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    The real inequality is the one which allows certain choice instituitions to become ‘too big too fail’ and then duly receive bailout funds. If that hadn’t happened the protestors would not be out on the streets, at least if they were it would be at the White House and not Wall Street.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Privitizing profits and socialising losses – the American way.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But the situation was pretty awful before the bailout… it’s just that people weren’t collectively angry enough to do something about it.

    • My Johnson
    • 8 years ago

    Exxon Mobil made $10 billion in 90 days. I’m definitely envious.

      • SPOOFE
      • 8 years ago

      What’s their profit margin?

        • Geistbar
        • 8 years ago

        How is that relevant? If their profit margin is 0.0001% or 99.9999%, they’re still making an exorbitant amount of profit. To give you numbers though, in 2010 ExxonMobil made $52.9 billion in profit, on $383.2 billion in revenue; about 13.5% of their revenue was profit.

        That said, I’m not sure that ExxonMobil is particularly relevant to the OWS protests. It is worth mentioning though that they are a highly visible member of an exceedingly profitable sector that is receiving government subsidies in the range of billions of dollars. Subsidies that their profit total would indicate they probably do not need in order to provide their services.

          • SPOOFE
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]If their profit margin is 0.0001% or 99.9999%, they're still making an exorbitant amount of profit.[/quote<] Because YOU'RE an authority on how much a person or company should make. No, you're wrong. They make less than a 10% profit. That's silly small. I guarantee you that small businesses seek a greater percentage than that.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            Justify why they should continue getting subsidized by taxpayers while they’re making such large profits.

            FYI, grocery stores are lucky if they see a 3% profit.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    What I’m worried about in the back of my mind is that things are going to keep getting worse because Congress can’t agree to get anything done, so people would start looking for a strong leader who can do things like get a jobs bill passed, make the trains run on time, and so forth, and maybe things snowball and we end up with a very strong executive and a weak legislature, because at least then Stuff Will Get Done.

    Weimar Germany, in other words.

      • SPOOFE
      • 8 years ago

      Conversely, it can be argued that things HAVE to get worse before they can get better. The housing market is still grossly inflated and will need a correction, for instance. A lot of it comes down to The People; will they accept someone that tells them “I want to do something that will make things worse in the short term but much better in the long term” or will they prefer someone saying “Things are great, it’s just those [insert difficult-to-defend scapegoat here] that are ruining it”?

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        Typically it’s the latter – and people on the right – as well as the uninformed and the simple gobble it up. It doesn’t play so well on the left.

        I never thought I’d see the day that coup, dictatorship or secession were actually on the cards. Just shows how bad things are – and how much worse they’re likely to get.

          • SPOOFE
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]It doesn't play so well on the left.[/quote<] That IS the left!

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Yes, it’s the left that uses race-baiting, blames the lower classes for their own misery, and advocates raising giant walls between us and that dirty Mexico. Definitely us!

            Go you! You’ve cleverly beaten me!

            • Grigory
            • 8 years ago

            Yes, I agree they are race-baiting like there is no freaking tomorrow but they do not blame the people of “the lower class” as you put it. They blame the people who made something out of themselves. And they most definately do not want to keep America safe from illegals. In fact they are doing everything in their power to elevate illegals over legals to the point the illegals can vote for them. But one out of three is not bad.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “They blame the people who made something out of themselves.”

            Again – capitalism is not a meritocracy. The vast majority of the very rich were rich to begin with. They didn’t make anything of themselves – they merely capitalized on an already uneven playing field. Merely by stating that they supposedly made something of themselves you are blaming the lower classes as if they made a conscious decision to be poor. That is a condemnation.

            There is zero evidence of there being any significant problem with illegals. It’s a right wing bugaboo to keep those people too stupid to see the real issues focused on demonizing other members of the lower classes. That is unless you’re willing to pick lettuce, strawberries, ad nauseum at minimum to sub minimum wages – or hang out at the Home Depot hoping to get some day labor job where you won’t actually get stiffed by your white middle class entitled boss.

            Right wing ideology has a simple problem – once you’ve met any of the people they’re busy demonizing you know they’re full of horsepucky. And so are your arguments.

            • sreams
            • 8 years ago

            We will never have a truly even playing field for as long as you describe other people as being in a “class” that is “lower” than your own. You see “lower classes”. I see individuals.

            No one was ever “rich to begin with”. If someone’s father worked his ass off to provide for his family, his family has every right to the property he worked hard for. The only time being “rich” is a crime is when it involves the taking of property by force or fraud.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            You know what would be great? If you actually responded to the posts you’re posting after – and made a cogent point. Because so far you’re just coming across like some lunatic objectivist that can’t seem to even stay on topic.

            If you actually think the Rockefellers somehow earned all that money (and didn’t just do so by shortchanging their laborers) – and without gaming the system you need your head examined. Hard work != riches and never has otherwise migrant farm workers would be the richest people on the planet.

            • sreams
            • 8 years ago

            The Rockefellers in particular have been in bed with governments for generations. By controlling the system in which they exist, they guarantee success beyond what they deserve. This goes right back to the points I have been making.

            The trouble is… you group all people who have significant wealth together, whether they are criminals or not. You have a problem with the Rockefellers and the criminal way in which they came by their property, so you want them to pay a very large percentage in taxes as recompense for the crimes they committed. Fine. But you also want anyone who came by their wealth via hard, honest work to pay the same taxes. Why? Do you believe it is impossible to come by significant wealth without doing it in a criminal manner?

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            I want the rich to pay the 90 percent tax bracket they paid in the 1950s. It isn’t punishment – you reap the most from the system then you pay the most (percentage wise) back.

            Likewise corporations should not be able to privitize profits and socialize costs or get out of paying their fair share of taxes.

            Is that really that hard a concept to grasp?

            • sreams
            • 8 years ago

            “I want the rich to pay the 90 percent tax bracket they paid in the 1950s. It isn’t punishment – you reap the most from the system then you pay the most (percentage wise) back.”

            What’s the motivation to even be in that tax bracket, then?

            “Likewise corporations should not be able to privitize profits and socialize costs”

            Absolutely!

            “or get out of paying their fair share of taxes.”

            So… is it you who determines what a “fair share” is? If 90% is fair, why not 95%? How about 100%?

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “What’s the motivation to even be in that tax bracket, then?”

            Why *should* there be motivation to be in that tax bracket? It’s not my job, or the government’s job to guess what that motivation is or should be. However there were people in that tax bracket then and there would be now.

            Corporations have never paid a 90 percent tax in this country to the best of my knowledge. If you’re a billionaire a 95 percent tax might not at all be out of the question. 100 percent after a certain amount – I don’t see a down side to it. No one needs all that money. If anything a small amount of people with billions of dollars sets up just the undemocratic situation you were decrying elsewhere. It undermines and destabilizes both democracy and the nation.

            What your post conveniently sidesteps is that corporations are offshoring wealth, lobbying to make themselves as immune as possible from taxation, and taking every advantage of the system the vast majority of us pay for – and we pay for more of it than the corporations do that profit off it.

            We should count ourselves lucky that the Koch brothers prefer a propaganda campaign to hiring Blackwater and using them as thugs outright. Not that I don’t expect that to happen in the next few years.

            If you think that I bleed whatsoever for the rich under any circumstance you’re dead wrong. Nor do I feel that property or wealth are more important than raising people out of the gutter. People – the vast majority of whom are poor – matter much more than individuals with more than they need. Any other position is frankly selfish and immoral.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Why *should* there be motivation to be in that tax bracket?[/quote<] It's better than motivating people to stay in the bottom 40% so they pay NO taxes. [quote<]Corporations have never paid a 90 percent tax in this country to the best of my knowledge.[/quote<] Even when we had a 90% tax rate, taxes actually collected never exceeded 20.6% of the GDP. That is the hard limit, as determined by history. [quote<]If you're a billionaire a 95 percent tax might not at all be out of the question.[/quote<] Other than it being morally repugnant to take almost all of someone's stuff just because you're jealous of what they have. If it does no good to help the country, there's no point in doing it. [quote<]What your post conveniently sidesteps is that corporations are offshoring wealth, lobbying to make themselves as immune as possible from taxation, and taking every advantage of the system the vast majority of us pay for[/quote<] All directly stemming from the government's need for silly accounting tricks that allow it to spend a trillion and a half more than it actually has. [quote<]We should count ourselves lucky that the Koch brothers prefer a propaganda campaign to hiring Blackwater and using them as thugs outright.[/quote<] Yup, the second amendment's a wonderful thing. [quote<]Any other position is frankly selfish and immoral.[/quote<] And I think your position is selfish and immoral and many other positions, that don't demand we jack most of a person's stuff just to make lazy people feel better about their laziness, are excellent.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            you REALLY tempt me to get some ad hominem going on…..

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Breathe deeply and slowly, SSK. It’ll soon pass, trust me… 😉

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            AND IT DID!!! <3

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            This fact free post disappoints me.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            “Fact free post”? Sounds like selective reading to me…

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            O rly? Care to enlighten me?

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Not particularly. The burden of proof falls onto you to support your assertion that none of the points he raised are valid. The only thing we seem to be able to get out of you these days are “Koch propaganda” alarmism.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            So you had nothing to say and decided to say something anyway. So two content free posts preceded by a fact free post. Nice!

          • sreams
          • 8 years ago

          Actually… I find it sad that secession has ever been a bad word. It’s how this country started. It is people deciding their own destinies. The kind of attitude many have toward secession today would have us, and many other parts of the world, as British colonies. When people find that their government no longer represents them, they have every right to walk away from that government.

        • sschaem
        • 8 years ago

        Not sure you want this to happen. Already the price of property is low enough to be very attractive to foreign investor.
        Unless you want your kids to pay rent to a Chinese investment firm you would hope for prices to stabilize Vs crash for a third time.

          • cynan
          • 8 years ago

          Not sure that it’s not inevitable.

          In the corporate sector, this has been happening in Canada for decades now. Every time a moderately successful Canadian company gets large enough to get noticed, it gets snapped up (and usually by American corporations). In the past decade or two, this has happened from everything from our national brand beer companies to retail to core industries such as mining and steelworks. ATI being bought by AMD is just the tip of the iceberg.

          Why does this happen? In general, it may be something to do with Canada’s economy being so similar to/intertwined with the America’s economy, yet on an approximately 1/10th scale, so it is easy for larger American corporations to cherry pick. But I think you’d have to be naive to ignore the fact that it is politically not in Canada’s best interest to deny corporate America… And so it continues.

          Whether this is a problem is debatable. At the end of the day, because the overall identity of Americans and Canadians are not dissimilar, it may not be much of an issue for most.

          But what will prevent China from doing the same thing to the US in the years to come as it continues to grow relatively as an economic powerhouse and decides to flesh out it’s corporate portfolio?

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            AND WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAYING A CHINESE FIRM VS ONE FROM ANYWHERE ELSE? HUH? HUH? YOU RACIST.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Either a great leader shows up on the left or the right – or the U.S. will need to break up.

      Personally I’m in favor of the latter unless we can find a way out of this mess. I have no faith in the so called leadership of this country to do so unfortunately. The one great leader thing always turns out horrifically but simpletons love the concept.

        • sreams
        • 8 years ago

        “Either a great leader shows up on the left or the right – or the U.S. will need to break up.”

        This is one point I wholeheartedly agree with you on.

        Where we probably disagree is on what kind leader it would take to save the U.S. From my perspective, we can choose a tyrant, or we can choose a leader who gives power back to the individual.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          If your goal is more power for the individual – and not actually ensuring poverty for the masses for the benefit of a very few – then it shouldn’t be a leader you’re looking for but a change to a more participatory democracy with less representation. In other words flattening the model to remove more of the representatives out of it.

          How that would look – and maintaining the separation of powers I”m not sure. There’s no model extent that I’m aware of.

          Keep in mind that someone being a tyrant is in the eye of the beholder. To the upper middle class – and moreso the rich – Chavez is a “tyrant”. To the poor he is considered much more charitably.

            • Ringofett
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t know why such radical things appear necessary.. I actually just think modifying the first amendment so that campaign finance can be drastically curtailed, forcing politicians off the TV’s and in to, hopefully, more deliberative mediums, would go a long way towards clearing out poor influences in government. No need for tyranny or massive revision of the constitution. The framers got it largely right, and unlike, say, the Lisbon Treaty, and other modern documents that are thousands of pages long and full of legalese, our constitution is brief and clear. Rewriting it is a recipe for losing everything previously fought for.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            bthylafh is concerned about how our government is creeping towards becoming a Weimar Germany – and we were talking about how things typically go from there (sorry if this is obvious to you).

            I don’t necessarily disagree with your points – though I don’t know that campaign finance can be changed at all in the current climate (going back to bthylafh’s original post – nothing can get done in congress) .

            I find it strange that you support the constitution and yet – elsethread we talked about NAFTA a bit – and its chapter 11 undermines the sovereignty of nations for the benefit of corporations and capital.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        Ummm… would that “latter” favorite be the “right” great leader, or the “breakup” of the U.S.?

        Clarify specifically, please. I don’t want to get confused because of grammar mangling, y’know, but because one one hand, your last sentence appears to indicate you lean towards an anarchistic outcome.

        Oh, and your use of the the term ‘simpleton’ in the context of this discussion could be construed as the very ‘namecalling’ you’ve expressed a loathing of/disdain for elsewhere in this topic, no? Not to mention, it looks to be a rather fact-free post in itself…

        Pot, meet Kettle…

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          lol you go mister ad hominem.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Your lack of refutation of your contradiction is duly noted.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            I get a kick out of your haughty indignation particularly when it follows an arrogant post that didn’t even try to get the argument right.

            But hey, whatever works for you.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      If you’re looking for ‘trains that run on time’, wouldn’t that be more like the “Mussolini model”? 😉

      Having said that, I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. +1

    • vrstein
    • 8 years ago

    Thank you Scott for this topic and your analysis. Personally, I do believe that the purpose of these demonstrations is to support president Obama, progressive policies, and the democratic party. I am not surprised that many of the participants don’t get that (i.e. they are useful idiots). But I am surprised that so many in this forum don’t get it either! They might ask themselves who is providing the free food and supplies that keep these demonstrations going.

    Many of us want to be objective and avoid taking sides in pointless political battles. It’s easy to feel that both sides are bad and neither is worth supporting. But we can and do make a difference by the way we choose to vote and the way we spend our dollars. I no longer choose to buy products from GE or GMC because they take government subsidies and tax breaks and then send jobs overseas. We must all make our own choices. Sometimes we just don’t realize who those choices really benefit.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      If you really think that, go visit your local Occupy demo and ask people why they’re there & what they think about the two big parties.

      I expect you’ll be surprised if you make the effort, but if you’re dismissing them as useful idiots without first making that effort, I don’t think you will.

        • SPOOFE
        • 8 years ago

        I would, but apparently the Occupy LA people have set up their own Free Speech Zone and won’t let you speak your mind outside of it.

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          Cite?

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            My own ears, listening to John Kobylt(sp?) of KFI walk around telling OLA-ers that he wants to “give individuals a chance to express themselves”.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            So you’ve surely got a link to a recording of that, yes?

      • cynan
      • 8 years ago

      [i<]I no longer choose to buy products from GE or GMC because they take government subsidies and tax breaks and then send jobs overseas.[/i<] By that logic, shouldn't you be going out of your way to support these companies so that they'll be less motivated to reduce costs by shipping jobs overseas and require less subsidies? How can voting with our pocketbooks do any real good in a system where the larger a company becomes (and the more influential it is in the economy) the more immune it becomes to the market pressures and rules that govern everyone else (ie, due to bailouts or lobbying power)?

        • zoom314
        • 8 years ago

        Me I’m buying an old GE percolator cause I’ve had 3 drip coffee makers quit on Me(1-Krups and 2-Mr Coffee’s) and It’s a type My parents used while I grew up, they don’t quit as they work right as their not cheaply made slipshod crap…

    • Hsew
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkebmhTQN-4[/url<] [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-gMWWnsslw[/url<]

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    I believe the “crux” of the problem lies with personal responsibility. We have moved away from it and continue to allow the most sociopathic and ruthless people to run the show.

    We all help to create the current monster known as our current government by letting more and more layers and agencies to control and regulate every area of our daily lives. These layers allow certain parties to advantage of the situation and exploit to their own benefits. It also makes it impossible for any single individual to have a grasp or impact of how the system works.

    The people running the show continue to distant and isolate themselves. They only focus on their benefactors and forget the rest of the world even exists expect being another resource to exploit.

    Our government is no longer a demographic republic. It functions like an oligarchy of a small, corrupted cabal who only look out for themselves. The masses have been marginalized to the point they little more than economic labors with the illusion of choice and enough distractions to keep them from rebelling. It is bread and circuses redux. The greatest tragedy of it all, is that the masses have passively allow this to happen.

    How did all of this started? It is difficult to say, but I believe that one of the contributing factor is our society. It help build a culture that discourages people from taking personal liability and responsibility for their own actions. This creates an atmosphere of people who like to blame others for their own faults and failures. They refuse to step up to plate and want to reap all of the benefits with none of the caveats. It also discourage enterprising people from taking chances because they fear the consequences for better or worse. The only people who get ahead in this system are the ruthless, backstabbing sociopaths.

    The growing inequality and protests about it are a merely a symptom of this.

    People are starting to wake up to it, but I am afraid that the only way that the current status quo will change is through blood.

      • cynan
      • 8 years ago

      You make some good points. Part of this has surely arisen due to the present political system where it is somehow OK for wealthy people to throw around their influence (via money), effectively reducing the relative influence of the masses.

      In a proclaimed democratic society, why is it acceptable for things like lobbying to exist? Or for political campaigns to be sponsored by wealthy people/companies who obviously have their own personal agenda for doing so? How is this system fair for the majority who don’t have the luxury of throwing money at politicians to get their voice heard?

      Sure, if taxpayers had to foot the bill for political campaigns, etc, this would add slightly to government expenditure (tax burden), but it wouldn’t it surely promote a more “equal” system of government? One where there is not often a huge temptation for politicians and lawmakers to have their hands in the pockets of certain interest groups (those of the wealthy – who’s main goal is to become even more so, regardless of the ramifications for everyone else)?

      And in the long run would this not even reduce public expenditure by avoiding or reducing the severity of fallout that occurs when people with money are granted exemptions or exceptions or loosening of regulations or restrictions so that they can attempt to accumulate even more wealth without consequence (IE, such as those that helped create the recent mortgage crisis and recession that is largely attributable to the preceding relaxing of banking regulations, etc)?

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      This is exactly what I wanted to say but lack the writing ability to actually type coherently. Well said. Sadly, I am one of these people about 25% of the time.

      But how exactly does society break up such an elaborate system the lawmakers have produced?

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    “The question of the night is: can concerns over inequality really unite a substantial political movement in today’s conditions?”

    The cynic in me says no, because those who fund campaigns for Democrats and Republicans have no interest in equality, or perhaps better said, they have an interest in maintaining whatever environment that keeps them wealthy, or in control, depending on which they value more.

    I don’t believe the majority of Congress has an interest (other than professing it to those whose votes they wish to sway) either. Some may have had that interest when elected, but the trappings of power either attract those already corrupt, or tend to corrupt those who were not, over time.

    Finally, a large portion of the country doesn’t care about a lot of things they perhaps should, as long as they are well fed and “Survivor” comes on on time. Or if they do care, they don’t care enough to raise the stink necessary en masse to accomplish something. Those truly mired in poverty who probably need change the most probably have survival as their top priority, something I can fully understand.

    The substantial political movements I have read about through history require something that we may not have. The Civil Rights movements of the sixties, the Russian Revolution, French Revolution, all had greater inequalities than we have today. Also, many movements that effected change (for good, or bad) historically have ignited heavy violence. Is that something we wish to stomach –or perhaps better yet, are the stakes high enough to warrant it? And if they are, do enough people really care enough to take that step?

    • JLW777
    • 8 years ago

    Capitalism drives innovation, Capitalism improves efficiency, Capitalism ensures quality, Capitalism incentivise competition. All of u hippies in ‘occupy yadyada’ Campaigns are hypocrites who think urselves as ‘entitled’ but just didn’t receive ur loots yet. Now go get an education or something! U get the ‘teach the man to fish’ and the ‘pick fishes over fishing’ crowd..

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t know anyone who has any issues with the right to trade, people DO have issues with the current system. Bailouts for people who don’t need them, tax breaks on people who don’t need them, etc. Obviously an individual having the chance to produce something, and trade it is needed. what isn’t needed is the skewing of society in favor of the rich.

      • Anarchist
      • 8 years ago

      Capitalism is a very efficient, powerful and ruthless mechanism for profit seeking. Left to itself capitalism will devour society of any sense of justice, morality and fairness and soon rip the fabric of society to shreds. That is why there are (or were) rules and regulations to check the reaches of capitalism. Problem we have is that years of deficit spending have left the country in such deep debt that any sign of economic contraction can be a devastating blow to country’s finance. Therefore the government, as a debtor, have increasingly pandered to interests of banking system to dismantle regulations and tweak rules in favor of bankers, and towards multi-national corporations. End result so far have been the birth of TBTF banks who actually gets rewarded if they fuck up. I believe OWS is protest against this and not for some petty grievances. OWS is a voice of public and their anger towards crony capitalism and the government that caters to the abomination.

        • JLW777
        • 8 years ago

        Government’s regulatory adjustments, legislative implementation and tax directives imo are more of a macro aspect (I see it as setting course of direction) and the micro aspect (getting to the goals of the direction set) relies heavily on the actions of the masses. Speaking to my portuguese friends and they told me that their social welfare system was so unbalanced that an unemployed person gets paid more than an honest working person. Which ultimately led to the deficit and decrease in gdp which resulted in their current situation.

        My point above is, one have the right to protest. But the time utilized presents an opportunity cost of been productive. Especially against the concept (capitalism) which had bought USA to world super power in the first place. I blame it on the unmotivated, uninspired, arrogant 3rd generation for slacking

          • Geistbar
          • 8 years ago

          Ah yes, it’s always the younger generation’s fault. Why, back in my day, [i<]everyone[/i<] was a hard working, red blooded perfect Americans. Even the ones not in America mind you! Not these younger kids, oh no, they're all lazy, communist, socialist, fascist, stupid, lazy, and undisciplined. /sarcasm Everybody always thinks their generation is the best, and all the generations after it are lazy. People have been saying it for centuries. Unless you believe the peak of human work ethic was 500 years ago, then that argument is built entirely on a false premise. And applying blanket statements of poor motivation, lack of discipline, and uneducated to an entire generation is foolish, wrong, and outright insulting. The state of the Portuguese welfare system is irrelevant to an American protest group (group used lightly, as there is no centralized leadership of any sort) protesting the state of inequality. Right now, the United States has a worse income inequality than China, Russia, Iran, and India; our GINI coefficient ranks 93rd in the world. After adjusting for inflation, average wage income has remained flat over the past 50 years. To contrast that, CEO pay has increased by 300% in the past 20 years. Corporate profits are at an all time high, wages as a percent of GDP are at an all time low. Taxes on the highest income earners is at the lowest it's been since 1932 (which, you might recall, was not a wonderful time). The top 5% of the country own 69% of the financial wealth, with the bottom 80% of the country owning only 7%. That is what OWS is trying to fix; do you think they are lazy for being fed up with that? Uneducated, with no work ethic? They have many ideas, and yes, many of those ideas are outright terrible, for fixing the system. The point should not be to see some of their ideas as bad, so much as to see their goal, fixing the terrible income inequality, as absolutely necessary. On capitalism, there are many wonderful things capitalism has brought us. I doubt many of the products shown here would exist, or perform so admirably, in a different system. Capitalism has also brought us many terrible things; banks foreclosing on homes that don't even have a mortgage, shipping jobs overseas, terrible work conditions in many of the lowest end jobs, the horribly convoluted bureaucracies of some of the larger corporations (e.g. the telecom giants), a food industry overwhelming reliant on corn for just about everything... I could go on. And those [b<]are[/b<] the direct result of capitalism; cutting costs in every stage, refusal to take risks at the higher ends, seeking profit above anything and everything else. Government regulations are meant to allow the good aspects of capitalism to remain, while removing the bad aspects. You can find bad regulations if you try, for certain, but those are endemic of the corruption in the system. Regulations are entirely needed, unless you want to return to the conditions of the industrial revolution, with company towns, horribly unsafe conditions, etc.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            Plato complained about the youth of his day, and no doubt his father complained about Plato’s generation. So it goes.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Plato was a smart fella, and certainly understood a lot of things, but he wasn’t perfect.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            My point being that griping about Da Yoof isn’t something that started 500 years ago, as the poster I was replying to asserted, but is probably as old as humans.

            • Geistbar
            • 8 years ago

            I was just using 500 as a big number that was a decent while ago. Did not mean to imply that the practice started then or anything of the sort.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]To contrast that, CEO pay has increased by 300% in the past 20 years.[/quote<] Really?!? Citation? 'Coz I think you're missing a zero there..

            • Geistbar
            • 8 years ago

            I linked to it earlier, but I didn’t make a big point of it, so here:

            [url<]http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1[/url<] There's a lot of bits to it, but if you search for "300%" it'll take you right to the source for that. All the charts have sources written in on them, if you want something more specific. Looking at it again, I do have the caveat that I earlier missed that it was income after adjusting for inflation.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Ah thanks.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Capitalism has also brought us many terrible things; banks foreclosing on homes that don't even have a mortgage, shipping jobs overseas,[/quote<] I haven't heard of banks foreclosing on homes that don't have mortgages... I mean, how is it even possible?? Shipping jobs overseas... a tricky situation. Saying that jobs shouldn't be "shipped overseas" implies some sense of entitlement. Shipping them overseas means the countries that are poorer than the US can have a chance to pull themselves up from poverty, sharing the wealth to some extend... It is correcting inequalities between countries, and I see this as a good thing. It causes a lot of pain here in the USA, though, because there is inherent 'local' inequality here that has resulted in lack of 'safety nets'. The pain is not shared across the board from poorest to the richest; instead, the pain is focused towards the bottom. The pain in the bottom 5% of the USA still isn't nothing compared to the bottom 5% of India, China etc. On the other hand, the pain in the bottom 5% in the socialist Northern Europe is nothing compared to that of the bottom 5% in the USA. The idea that free market and competition can improve the quality of life of everyone involved is somewhat valid... but the belief that the US companies being successful means USA is successful is no longer true. Their success still benefits "everyone involved", but those "involved" more and more reside in other countries where development and manufacturing or US companies' products is happening - not the folks in the USA. I think this is inevitable, but that's why I think safety nets need to be in place, because it's the morally right thing to do... and if it doesn't get done, riots will make sure it will happen (but it just takes longer to reach the equilibrium). Thinking back about what took the USA down the debt canyon, the few things that come in mind are the unregulated financial institution causing the meltdown (requiring stimuli for correction), tax breaks, and the wars. The first two I dislike because they increase the inequality instead of reduce it, but actual global "wealth" mainly stayed the same (it was just moved around a bit)... this can be corrected by policies and redistribution of wealth. What I completely hate, though, are the wars. They actually destroy wealth - they destroy resources. They cause global net losses. They are used to redistribute the wealth one way or another, but they destroy some in process... Most financial processes are net-zero-games, but wars are always net-negative-games in a global sense.

            • Geistbar
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]I haven't heard of banks foreclosing on homes that don't have mortgages... I mean, how is it even possible??[/quote<] If you google around there's a lot of stories on it. Here's two quick ones I found: [url<]http://abcnews.go.com/Business/bank-america-sued-foreclosing-wrong-homes/story?id=9637897[/url<] [url<]http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100121/NEWS/1210334[/url<] From all I read it's tied very closely with the "robo signer" issue that they had; no one was doing due diligence on ensuring that they had the right address, the right home, or that they even had a mortgage on that home. I don't think it's wide spread, but it's not a one-off mistake either. [quote<]Shipping jobs overseas... a tricky situation. Saying that jobs shouldn't be "shipped overseas" implies some sense of entitlement. Shipping them overseas means the countries that are poorer than the US can have a chance to pull themselves up from poverty, sharing the wealth to some extend... It is correcting inequalities between countries, and I see this as a good thing.[/quote<] You're right; I worded that one poorly. "Terrible" wouldn't be the right word to describe it. It more accurately falls under a case of a bit of capitalism that does not help the "home team" so to speak, which I feel your other paragraph states better than I. I pretty much agree with your other points.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            RE: the foreclosing of homes with no mortgages and other illegal shenanigans have been something that the blog Naked Capitalism has been following for some time. [url<]http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/[/url<] Great place for anyone interested in finance

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Capitalism drives innovation[/quote<] Have you visited the Third World recently? All of our innovations end up gobbled up by the First World. [quote<]Capitalism improves efficiency[/quote<] Have you visited the Third World recently? It's only efficient for transnational/multinational corporations. [quote<]Capitalism ensures quality[/quote<] Have you visited the Third World recently? Quality is only ensured for transnational/multinational corporations. [quote<]Capitalism incentivise competition.[/quote<] Have you visited the Third World recently? "Competition" is only "incentivised" for transnational/multinational corporations.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        Most of the people spewing this type of inane rhetoric haven’t been out of their own state let alone this country.

        You can’t educate people who’re so attached to their belief systems that no amount of facts will change their minds. Ergo comments like “get the government out of my medicare” and the like. And the usual “zomg the market will save us all” while conveniently sidestepping the past horrors of unregulated capitalism.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      This is a technology website, so it’s safe to say the people here are somewhat more highly educated then most. Should we take bets on if he’s actually trolling or he actually believes everything he is saying?

      I really don’t want to believe people like this actually exist. 🙁

      • Kaleid
      • 8 years ago

      Go get an education? Many cannot afford higher education. Cost skyrocketed during Bush.
      Improves efficiency? To whom? For corporations like Halliburton to extract money from the taxpayers?
      Entitled? Sorry but, people work harder than before, they should benefit too and not just the already rich. People have difficulties making ends meet. Something is wrong when a president who works three jobs laughs you in the face after he has asked her joking ‘get any sleep?’.
      Americans have little vacation, why is that?

      Teach a man to fish? Right, first we take a huge profit out of that education by putting you in debt. Then when you know how to fish the rich will sell it to you anyway as you cannot compete with big business who receive special favors through government, like for instance not paying any taxes at all.

      But at least they can offer to borrow more money at high interest rates. They can even borrow money to home ownership even though they themselves do not have the money. Thanks to all the deregulations.

        • JLW777
        • 8 years ago

        @Bensam assuming a ‘computer hardware/gaming website’ have more highly educated ppl is like assuming one likes puppies therefore won’t committe murder. I visit techreport to seek different opinion.

        Geistbar and neelycam contributed valid and debatable points towards my opinion.

        @Kaleid, I think the ‘blame government, blame unfair legislation therefore can’t afford to get out of the rant as every stage one reach will be hampered by unfair leverages’ Maybe speak when u are less disgruntled and when u have reach the tax bracket and realize they using ur hard earned money for crap.

    • focusedthirdeye
    • 8 years ago

    Relevent comic image:

    [url<]http://weknowmemes.com/2011/10/they-dont-really-seem-to-know-why-they-are-protesting/[/url<] unknown origin - Doug Rochford

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 8 years ago

    Scott I find it interesting that you think Al Gore ran a “traditionally leftist” campaign. I don’t know anyone on the left that found him appealing. At best it was a hold your nose and vote.

    Al ran a terrible campaign and refused Clinton’s assistance. He ran as the Pepsi to Bush’s Coke in particular by adding the reviled Lieberman to the ticket. Even prior to running a lackluster campaign he was well known to the left for being the husband to the “family values” Tipper Gore who started the PMRC in the eighties.

    There was a reason that Nader did better that year than any other and that was because no one was representing the left at all.

    Edited to add – I very much doubt that had Nader won we’d be anywhere near this degree of mess to begin with.

    • Ashbringer
    • 8 years ago

    A. If protesters protesting wasn’t working, then we wouldn’t be here talking about it.

    B. Bush won due to crap pulled in Florida.

    C. Concerns over inequality is a start. If you’re willing to sit back and take it, then you’re just going to get rolled over. Particularly by the 1%.

    Money doesn’t vanish, and neither do jobs. They get moved around, from place to place. If you don’t have the money, and I don’t have the money, then somebody has to have the money. Same goes for jobs.

    Statistically speaking, the rich and poor are more divided then ever before. The government is sleeping, and it doesn’t matter if you’re republican or democrat. Everyone was bought by corporations, which are owned by the wealthy. 2009 was a record breaking year, in terms of how many poor people appeared.

    • My Johnson
    • 8 years ago

    The Banks own the Senate. That’s worth protesting.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Not just banks – many corporations are also Senate “shareholders”.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        …and of course, this begs the question as to just what party currently owns the Senate?

        As Arsenio used to say, it kind of makes you go “Hmmmm….”

          • LoneWolf15
          • 8 years ago

          There was once a character on the TR Forums by the name of Crackhead Johnny. I keep around something he said.

          “I’d like to see politicians painted/stickered/decaled like NASCAR. That way you know who owns them at a glance.”

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 8 years ago

            Nice.

          • Suspenders
          • 8 years ago

          That’s an easy answer; the Republicrats.

          Some would say the Money party, but I have a secret hunch that they’re one and the same.

    • PixelArmy
    • 8 years ago

    OWS may have a valid grievance (money and politics). However, I think the target of their grief is incorrect. Also, whenever I hear anything specific, it seems to me their own personal choices would have a far greater impact on their problems than anything Wall Street could do to them. To paraphrase, they hate the game, but they protest the player. (I’m also not sure they know what game they’re playing). [url=http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2011/10/world/hires.occupy.irpt/index.html?hpt=hp_t2<]This[/url<] for example... most of this has nothing to do with Wall Street, tenuous at best. Money and politics: People are free to associate into a corporation/union/lobby/whatever and can use their money/time for politics. Perhaps, too much influence since politicians are scum but this is on the politicians not these groups (unless they are in fact breaking laws). Housing: Sorry, your ability to finance this properly comes into play way before any crazy bank play. Student Loans: You can't repay your loan cause you're not employable? Sucks, but you made a failed investment in yourself. Jobs: See above, failure to invest in self properly. Bank bailouts: These are supposedly repaid before OWS even started, so what's the point? Jailing Wall Streeters/Bankers: Well, if they did something illegal, sure. I'm not sure just being greedy bastards is against the law though. (Political prisoner anyone?) Rich get richer: Does not compute. Why would you logically expect the poor to close the gap, given the rich have more to invest and have more opportunities? However, just cause the gap gets bigger doesn't mean you can't improve your life in a meaningful way. Etc., etc. I have anecdotes for housing/job/student loans for both sides and the biggest difference is the sense of entitlement causing unrealistic expectations that inevitably fall short. They treat things as certainties when they aren't. I'm not even gonna stand here and say hard work will always pay off, it won't, but it definitely increases the odds. - The 25% (?) A debt-free, gainfully employed son of immigrants.

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      I made a failed investment in myself by getting a tech degree, paying off my auto/student loans while I lived at home, and watching Sun send my job to India (which triggered my chronic depression)? Please…

        • PixelArmy
        • 8 years ago

        No, in the sense that you did have a job… but what about “reinvestment”? I have a tech degree too…

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        Lost your job?
        Option 1: Claim “chronic depression”, sit on unemployment, whine about state of the world.
        Option 2: Find a new job.

        Harsh but true ?

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Try losing your job and finding a new one, so you’ll know how harsh it really is.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            I know quite a few people that have done just that. In fact, one of my buddies has received two promotions since early ’09 and is about to get his third early next year. Know what he did? Worked his butt off. Oh, and he made a baby girl in that time, too!

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            What’s his field? Education level? Experience? A single “happy” example cannot be extended to everyone…

            I have an opposite one for you: my roommate effectively lost her job because she had a baby (i.e., was a “temporary worker”, and couldn’t go back after having the baby). Spending six months to take care of the baby, she started looking for a job full-time. Couldn’t find one for over 2.5years, in spite of applying to four jobs every week (requirement for keeping unemployment benefits… which ran out). And no – she was not lazy, she was working her butt off to try to find a job and make herself more employable (taking relevant courses, getting certificates etc.).

            She had enough savings and was able to borrow enough money to handle the period between running out of unemployment benefits and finally finding a job… but that was an extended period of time (1 year). And, the new job pays $15/h – great considering what the minimum wage is, but barely over the poverty line.

            EDIT: Oh, and she has a B.Sc. degree from a Top50 university, just so we’re clear.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            And things like that never happened pre-2008? The overall point being is that individuals will always experience happy things and sad things, and that it’s utterly impossible (and really stupid) to try to even it out.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Your decision not to reply to my questions about your ‘buddy’ must mean that you realized your example was invalid.

            “These things” have happened pre-2008. But post-2008 they are happening more and more. Check out those unemployment graphs, and the length of unemployment. And your opinion about trying to even things out being stupid is your opinion. My opinion is different. I think there should be an effort to try to shrink the income and wealth gaps instead of widening them.

            I think taxes should be increased for those who make over $100k (and progressively even more for those who make $200k, $400k etc.), and the increased tax revenue should be used to fund universal health care (because it’s a humane thing to do to make sure everyone can get some basic level of health care), education (because everyone should be able to educate themselves to reach their personal potential, and because this would benefit the society as a whole in the long term), and tax credits to the bottom 25%.

            • mesyn191
            • 8 years ago

            Bootstraps + Just World Fallacy aren’t really arguments since both are objectively false. You’re falling for and repeating pro status quo meme’s.

            There are many working their butts off and going nowhere because the system is rigged to distribute wealth to the top 1% and top .1% in particular.

            There is a reason why the middle class keeps shrinking and wages keep stagnating or going down for the last 30 years or so regardless or not if you’ve got a college degree. The US is slowly turning into a 3rd world clone where you have vast amounts of poor, a tiny middle class and an even smaller but mind blowingly wealthy upper class.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]There are many working their butts off and going nowhere because the system is rigged to distribute wealth to the top 1% and top .1% in particular.[/quote<] Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare. Sorry, but redistribution goes both ways.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            sorry, but you’re wrong. what percent of the economy does the top 10% control?!??? right….

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Those don’t do enough – clearly the trend is that money is moving up, not down.

            • mesyn191
            • 8 years ago

            People pay into those programs, and can’t even collect on most of them until after several decades of “investment”, how the hell is that wealth distribution from the top to the bottom?

            The rich aren’t even paying their fair share for SS/Medicare at the very least. FICA taxes top out at the $106K bracket, its actually regressive since effectively the poor, middle class, and upper middle class end up paying for the vast majority of it. A progressive system would have the rich paying more.

            Also progressive tax systems aren’t socialism or communism either, they’re common sense and effectively required or else you get high wealth disparity like we’re experiencing right now.

          • crabjokeman
          • 8 years ago

          Note that depression is something I’ve battled with most of my life (even when my external circumstances were great), and has a deep history in my genetics. It’s not just something I made up to get a welfare pittance (although a lot of judgemental morons with no understanding of mental health and no personal experience with depression are quick to levy the charge)..

            • zoom314
            • 8 years ago

            Yeah, I know this all too well, they aren’t qualified and yet they shoot their ignorant mouths off, Me I’m Disabled, some sob said cause I can type online that I’m not disabled, duh, I have a spellchecker, as I have concentration problems that relate to an under performing thyroid, I also have depression and anxiety too, eyesight problems, I’ve taken thyroid hormone pills, which with Me don’t work, tried them and they only raised My core temp, I also have joint problems from a fall where I broke a leg(left) and dislocated a hip(right) and now a bad knee that means I can’t climb steps using My right leg anymore, plus I have arthritis in My shoulder blades and most likely in My left elbow too, back problems, plus I weigh near 400lbs since the accident in 2002, which gave Me two scars on My left ankle where 3 Titanium screws were inserted, so I receive SSI(Supplemental Security Income) which is not Social Security, Social Security just manages SSI, being in CA, other SSI recipients & I who live in CA don’t get Food Stamps, but that’s an issue between CA Government and the USDA/SSA.

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 8 years ago

            Given the limited amount of info you gave, it is an easy assumption to make. Having a genetic disposition does change that factor a great deal, and all I can say for you “well that sucks”.

      • David
      • 8 years ago

      Other than the student loans, I think you make good points.

      College costs grow too much year over year. Even someone employed full time will have significant trouble paying tuition at any 4-year college.

        • PixelArmy
        • 8 years ago

        I agree that college costs are way out of control. But if someone loans you the money, aren’t you somewhat responsible for making sure the money is used “properly”? Maybe they shouldn’t loan you the money in the first place? Maybe pick a different major? Maybe don’t go to that fancy school when it doesn’t buy you anything when you get out?

        I’d have loved to have gone to a better, more prestigious out of state school. But you know, the cost analysis just didn’t come out right.

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          You make a good point about not overspending on college. That’s why I went with a smaller state university after doing my first couple years at community college.

          However, what if you do things right but are still left with student loans and no job because the economy’s in the crapper? I graduated in ’03 when that recession was still going strong and it took a couple years before I was able to get an IT job. Things weren’t as bad then so I was able to find a crappy job I didn’t like, though it paid the bills, but it’s quite a bit worse now.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            Yes, it’s possible for a person to get screwed by circumstances beyond their control. Welcome to the entirety of human history.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            AAA would miss the point again.

          • mesyn191
          • 8 years ago

          You know most 18-25 years olds are probably not going to make the right judgement calls on those things right? Especially when you’ve got hordes of assholes in colleges telling them all the wrong things to do. The colleges and banks giving out the loans are clearly part of a rigged to take advantage of ignorant people and regularly misinforms them of just how valuable a given degree is or isn’t.

          If you made the correct calls good on you but guess what you’re the minority in that situation. You judge a system based on how it effects the majority not the minority. And right now the majority are getting screwed.

            • PixelArmy
            • 8 years ago

            First, I’m not sure the majority do make the wrong decision. I think enrollment in community colleges have been skyrocketing. It wasn’t a secret when I went to school (’98-’02) and it certainly isn’t now given the amount of info available to these kids. Especially in terms of school costs and salary info, etc. (heck, google wasn’t even mainstream when I started).
            [url=http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/winter/art02.pdf<]From '02![/url<] [url=http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2009/10/29/college-enrollment-hits-all-time-high-fueled-by-community-college-surge/<]First link googling for "community college enrollment trends decade"[/url<] Second, basing the wrongness of the system on the judgement of young twenty year olds?!? There's a high probability of making wrong decision in a "good" system. Anyways, even for the sake of argument, if I accept this, there's still tons of "levels" of blame/responsibility before those big bad bankers... (and even then only thing they're in control of is loan). a) the student b) parents c) advisors (ie. guidance counselors, teachers) d) college/university for costs e) gov't for loan guarantees f) bankers a-c) where's the personal responsibility? d-e) why aren't they protesting here? edit: formatting

            • mesyn191
            • 8 years ago

            Enrollment into community college or any college for that matter is not automagically a good thing. You can still get screwed over if you’re lead into a predatory loan for even “cheap” community college, and then there is the little issue of getting lead down the path into a nearly useless degree which takes years to earn. And many don’t find out how truly useless their degrees are until they actually get out and try to find a job.

            Sure they can go back to college…get in more debt, and spend several more years getting a more valuable degree. None of that is even remotely good or defensible.

            As for your second point the discussion was about college tuition costs and the pushing of certain degrees on the students and such. When talking about the college system yes 20 somethings are going to be the vast overwhelming majority.

            Also “personal responsibility” is a pro status quo talking point that ignores the fact that in a broken and corrupt system people trying to practice “personal responsibility” are the ones who get fucked over. Which is why so many OWS’s are so angry about getting screwed after trying to “do the right thing” which is being played up by the pro status quo media and politicians as “looking for a hand out”.

            Looks like they’ve got you suckered but good.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 8 years ago

    You know what gets me? Obama is part of the establishment that is causing all these problems. All the people he’s appointed are from wall st, and these leftist zombie “wall street protesters” want to reelect Obama. They really don’t get it.
    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bFVR9Nv43J4[/url<] extreme leftists: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-H47tHjR5oA[/url<] "They should be printing ungodly amounts of money." lol. Adam vs the Man for the rest of the interviews. Then we got Michael Moore running around saying we must end capitalism. Corporatism != Capitalism. [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=l97SuV6DThQ[/url<] Not that all the protesters are radical leftists, because there are regular people there, but the leftists did start this movement, and are heavily involved in keeping it going. [url<]http://www.theblaze.com/stories/video-exposing-occupy-wall-street-was-organized-from-day-one-by-seiu-acorn-front-the-working-family-party-and-how-they-all-tie-to-the-obama-administration-dnc-democratic-socialists-of-america/[/url<] OWS isn't even that big of a deal. As it is, it's just something that gets on the news and displaces more important topics, such as: Libya, which was illegal, and now Al Qaeda is basically in charge. Operation Fast and Furious. TSA/DHS is now on the streets. Tennessee. Code name: VIPR (Papers Please?) Obama circumventing Congress. (Dictatorship)

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh2Nu2aTPP0<]What?[/url<] [quote<]"They should be printing ungodly amounts of money." lol. Adam vs the Man for the rest of the interviews.[/quote<] Finding an idiot in a large crowd of people is an exceedingly trivial task. Discounting OWS for the fact that some of them are crazy in front of a camera is just as stupid as dismissing the whole Tea Party movement because of the ones with signs like "Keep your government out of my Medicare". [quote<]leftist zombie[/quote<] [quote<]extreme leftists[/quote<] [quote<]the leftists[/quote<] You keep using "leftist" as a derogatory term, as if something being on the left side of the political spectrum is sufficient to win any debate against them. This is just as absurd as dismissing someone solely for being "right wing". If your only attack against someone is that their political identity on a two dimensional scale is opposite of yours, then you don't really have any good argument against them. [quote<]OWS isn't even that big of a deal. As it is, it's just something that gets on the news and displaces more important topics[/quote<] I'd say the fact that it's managed to establish significant protests in major cities across the nation would indicate it is at least somewhat of a "big deal", regardless of if someone agrees with it or not. Even if it is, in fact, less important than many other matters at hand, that does not suddenly mean it should be ignored completely. Any advanced society, especially one as large as the US, is going to have a significant number of simultaneous problems. They can not be solved one at a time, only paying attention to a problem once all those that are more significant than it have been solved. Problems of this nature must be solved concurrently. [quote<]Libya, which was illegal, and now Al Qaeda is basically in charge.[/quote<] The legality of the initial US actions in Libya are debatable, at best. There are many arguments by people far more knowledgeable than you or I on Constitutional and legal matters on it's legality. My cursory scanning would indicate that most feel it is legal, which, while not meaning that it is, does at least indicate that it isn't cut and dry whether or not it is. Every report, news article, fact sheet, or anything of the sort has indicated that there is zero, or at worst, very minimal, Al Qaeda influence in Libya. Claiming that they are [i<]in charge[/i<] is completely disingenuous. There was some (mainly US) worry early on in the campaign that they would take advantage of the situation, but that has not materialized. [quote<]Obama circumventing Congress. (Dictatorship)[/quote<] How did you even draw that conclusion? The most "circumventing" of Congress Obama is doing is going to the various agencies in the Executive branch and asking them what they are empowered to do without explicit Congressional approval. Seeing as how he's in charge of the Executive branch, and Congress granted those agencies to the Executive with past laws, claiming that he is circumventing them, and thus a "dictatorship" is, at best, a non-sequitur. The various agencies, in order to be run with any form of efficiency, have to have latitude to act without Congressional approval; in creating the agency and empowering them to perform their functions, Congress pre-approved their actions, so long as their actions fit within their operational scope and powers. If it did not work this way, Congress would have to spend effectively all of their time approving myriad trivial and non-trivial actions by 15 different agencies within a completely separate branch of government. So long as the president doesn't ask the agencies to exceed their authority or otherwise break the law, then the president doing exactly what they are supposed to do; overseeing the Executive branch.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Your biased partisan post doesn’t belong here. Lack of equality is a non-partisan issue. It’s a human issue. Blame, political maneuvering, power plays… all these needs to stop.

      Issues need to be fixed soon by congress, or protests like OWS will grow and eventually take over the broken system. This would be a disaster, and the result would largely destroy our ability to compete with countries whose systems are more equal. But that is still better than the complete trainwreck we are continuously heading in the current greed-based society.

      Our society is unstable. We either correct it to be sustainably stable, or we help it reach the tipping point faster so a new, more stable society can rise from the ashes.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t think it does work. Americas political system is becoming quite corrupt. When the people the protestors are protesting against are the ones that keep the candidates in office, it’s not a win/win situation. That wont change till the system is changed… where people if office can’t receive any sort of ‘rewards’ from those outside the system (reads lobbying and ‘gifts’). Where they’re in office for the good of the many, rather then to be a piece in giant corporations game.

    The problems of our government are more complex then the typical American realizes. They just think that because there are problems associated with the government, it’s the government itself that is at fault. It’s sad there are even groups that are trying to take power away from the government because they think it will solve the corruption in the government. To some extent that is true, but that will give even more power to corporations which have the government dancing on their strings.

    We’re past the day and age where the government is totalitarian. Their actions are watched so much and so heavily regulated by the people that they essentially tie them from forcing us into a regime where they’re in control (like in third world countries). Instead we’re emerging into a system where totalitarian control is falling on those behind the scenes (corporations), which fund campaigns and push through really stupid laws that would normally never make it through.

    Power in first world countries with capitalism isn’t derived by who holds the most guns or who has the most troops, but rather who has the most money. And if you don’t have money in a capitalist society it’s no different then being a leper.

    The worst possible solution at this point is reducing the amount of control the government has. The best solution is cleaning up the government and pushing out what is infecting it. First world countries rely on their government just as much as it relies on them. Google quality of life index and look at all the countries that are at the top of the list. None of them have governments that simply stand aside.

    • Buzzard44
    • 8 years ago

    It’s not “fair” that some 7 and 8 year old kids get terminal illnesses.
    It’s not “fair” that some people are born into poverty stricken, dysfunctional families.
    It’s not “fair” that some people are born with good looks, athletic ability, money, or intelligence that others aren’t.

    If you haven’t figured out that life isn’t “fair” and “equal” yet, you’re clearly not one of those people blessed with intelligence.

    This is the problem:
    What IS happening:
    Every morning, millions of Americans are waking up and saying to themselves, “Man, I want to be one of those ultra-rich people instead of being broke, which I am. I’m going to go protest/collect welfare/draw unemployment for extended periods of time.”
    What SHOULD BE happening:
    Every morning, millions of Americans are waking up and saying to themselves, “Man, I want to be one of those ultra-rich people instead of being broke, which I am. I’m going to go work my butt off, and study, and get skills, so that one day I might be rich and successful too.”

    People are lazy. People want something for nothing. Always is, always will be.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Sir seems to be blissfully unaware that unemployment is just under 10%.

      PRIVILEGED WHITE MAN DETECTED.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        If only there were jobs available for the unemployed… like the tens of thousands readily available online on the various job-hunting websites……..

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          You mean the ones where “YOU CAN MAKE $30,000 IN A WEEK !!!1!1!”

          Or the ones that are 10,000mi away, and you can’t afford to move there (especially if your house is underwater)?

          Or the ones that pay a “competitive rate of $9.50/h (no benefits)”?

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 8 years ago

            And thank you for making the typical lazy, defeatist argument. Yes there are fake and bad jobs on those sites. There are also plenty of legitimate ones.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Sorry, but addressing only one of my three examples and dismissing others makrs you the lazy one.

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      Terminal illnesses aren’t man-made.

      Poverty, especially if it is rampant, is cause by the prevailing system and is not an “individual” problem.

      Dysfunctional families, well that’s the only thing that you mentioned that is entirely up to the people involved.

      “born with good looks, athletic ability, money, or intelligence that others aren’t.” – that wasn’t even being disputed in the first place, why bring that up?

      [quote<]If you haven't figured out that life isn't "fair" and "equal" yet, you're clearly not one of those people blessed with intelligence.[/quote<] "Fairness" is not necessarily the same as "equality." Take, for example, a theoretical boxing match between a featherweight and a heavyweight. It is "unfair" because of the weight disparity, size difference, height gap, etc. These are all inherent to both of them, they cannot be changed much at all, if ever it's possible to change (like the weight, but losing that much weight would be pointless, and unless you can somehow increase height, well there's nothing you can do with that). BUT the fight is deemed "equal" because the referee would manage the fight equally, the judges would still be scoring them under equal terms, they both underwent training. "Fairness" usually involves those things you can't truly change. "Equality" is more dependent on what system is in place, and since society is man-made, well obviously something made by man can also be changed, modified by man.

        • Buzzard44
        • 8 years ago

        I think a lot of people are missing my point. My point is that life isn’t fair, and nothing we can do will make it fair. Get over it. The only thing you can do about it is work hard and try.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          Your point is that we should all just shut up and do what we’re told. We get it – really we do.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      I’m really tired of seeing this ideology that if you work hard you’ll get somewhere in life. So many of the people who seem to be waving this around and banging their drums are ones with a lot of money.

      JUST working hard WILL NOT make you a millionaire. You’ll end your life with a decent job and a family… If that’s all you ever want from life, then all the more power to you.

      The system is locked. If John Doe goes to work and XYZ Fast Food joint every day and works hard EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE, do you think he’ll eventually arrive on the board for that company? I have friends that are doing just this in a couple major corporations. Those systems do not recognize hard work. They recognize ass kissing and favoritism. They’re systems where simply kissing ass, BSing, and floating through a day at work will get you further then doing a good job. God forbid you actually try to improve the company you’re usually verbally reprimanded for it.

      Punishing John Doe because he only makes $7.50 an hour and can barely afford health care even though he works full time and puts in 110% will not yield anything productive.

      The generations with lines of thinking in it like you described needs to die out before anything will move forward in this country (reads baby boomers). People need to get past the ‘me me me’ or ‘I I I’ syndrome and look at the country as a whole not the little pitfalls of every program.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      You know what’s really lazy? Deeply intellectually lazy? Your post.

      Thanks for re-posting the usual talking points brought to you by your sponsors the Koch brothers, the Murdochs, Rush Limbaugh, ad nauseum.

      I hope you’ll post something one day that is informed on the issue at hand – and not just repeating something you heard on the radio.

      But hey, I’ll play along a moment. We’ll remove voting rights from women because they’re too weak and hysterical to vote (actual reasoning from the early 20th century and before). We’ll put the black man and the yellow man back in chains since they’ll never be able to be our intellectual equals and are only good for hard work (1800s-1960s).

      How about we only allow landed individuals to vote? Procreate?

      The history of civilization is in attempting to ameliorate the disparities – not in excusing or institutionalizing them.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        WOMEN CAN VOTE!?!?!?!? THIS NEEDS TO BE FIXED!!!!! REPEAL IMMEDIATELY!!!!!

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Did you forget to ask your wife if you’re allowed to post today…?

            • entropy13
            • 8 years ago

            lol I remember Flight of the Conchords:

            “My dad is a women’s rights activist.”

            “Really? Why not your mom?”

            “My dad wouldn’t allow it.”

            LOLOLOL

    • anotherengineer
    • 8 years ago

    “Is inequality still a winning motivator”

    Yep

    for WAR.

    Well all know the majority if not all civil wars came about from inequality. Let’s hope the few calling the shots smarten up and history does not repeat itself.

    • Jambe
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]although it's of course true that today's left is an assemblage of folks with sometimes very different motivating issue[/quote<] As if the right isn't as well? As others have said, this right/left schism is anti-productive in the extreme and the cynics and black-helicopter nuts among us aren't entirely wrong in suggesting that such a polarized environment is hugely beneficial to serving politicians — you know, the ones with record low approval ratings.

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      As I understand it this “schism” is more because the right is “COUNTER EVERYTHING!” while the left just tries its best to ignore them.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      The exacerbation of the schism is definitely being done – however in order for the average person to vote right there has to be a massive disinformation campaign – one that takes millions and billions of dollars to do.

      Thankfully for the right we have a completely cock-eyed system since the removal of the Equal Time rule and that folks like the Murdochs and the Kochs have a stranglehold on the media and the message.

      The schism itself is very real however. Valuing property and wealth over human dignity and decency is a fundamental tenet of right wing ideology.

    • Kaleid
    • 8 years ago

    First, let a comedian summarize the situation a bit:
    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI[/url<] Then, let's move on into actual studies, income inequalities hurt societies: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw[/url<] CEOs earn 343 times more than typical workers [url<]http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/19/news/economy/ceo_pay/index.htm?hpt=C2[/url<] Americans work harder than before, but they not moved on step forward in three decades. But the rich, even after the 2008 screwup have become richer: Study: Top 1 percent in U.S. saw incomes rise 275 percent in just 28 years [url<]http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/26/study-top-1-percent-incomes-rise-275-percent/[/url<] U.S. Loses $63 Billion Each Year Due to Overtired Employees [url<]http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=90713[/url<] Why is America the 'no-vacation nation'? [url<]http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/05/23/vacation.in.america/index.html[/url<] Childhood poverty comes at great cost to U.S. economy [url<]http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/25/news/poor.php[/url<] During taxcuts, when the wealth was supposed to trickle down... it didn't. First let's bring up Reagan: [url<]http://img822.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=tricklerea2.jpg[/url<] Result? Wages decline, more unemployment, higher income inquality. Let's look at Bush, more taxcuts. "Extent of Americans' Suffering Under George W. Bush Revealed by Census Data" "While Bush was president, median income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more dramatically, and there was an upsurge in Americans without health insurance." [url<]http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/09/closing_the_book_on_the_bush_legacy.php[/url<] How'd it go for the wealthy? $500,000: The average tax reduction for people earning more than $10 million a year thanks to President Bush's tax cuts, according to new data showing the cuts "have significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans.": [url<]http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/business/05tax.html[/url<] Contrast with: Average family incomes, after adjusting for inflation, fell to $70,700 in 2004, a drop of 2.3 percent when compared with 2001. That was the weakest showing since a decline of 11.3 percent from 1989 to 1992, a period that also covered a recession. The average incomes had soared by 17.3 percent in the 1998-2001 period and 12.3 percent from 1995 to 1998 as the country enjoyed the longest economic expansion in history. (yahoo news) The Rich Are Now Richer Than Before The 2008 Credit Meltdown [url<]http://blogs.forbes.com/stevenbertoni/2011/07/12/the-rich-are-now-richer-than-before-the-2008-credit-meltdown/[/url<] They got special treatment: Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed (2008) [url<]http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html[/url<] Wall Street firms donated $11.2 million to members of debt ‘super committee’ [url<]http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/18/wall-street-firms-donated-11-2-million-to-members-of-debt-super-committee/[/url<] Federal Reserve Rains Money On Corporate America -- But Main Street Left High And Dry [url<]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/federal-reserve-qe2_n_778392.html[/url<] How about the people? U.S. Incomes Declined More During Recovery Than In Recession: Study [url<]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/us-incomes-declined-recovery-recession_n_1003165.html[/url<] The system is corrupt. The Road to Riches Is Called K Street Lobbying Firms Hire More, Pay More, Charge More to Influence Government [url<]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/21/AR2005062101632.html[/url<] There are far more lobbyists @ DC than there are politicians.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      What a great collection of links. If only these discussion sections had “stickies”..

      One thing, though: your focus on Reagan and Bush is steering this post a bit towards a partisan attack… the honest truth (IMO) is that both “sides” are to blame – even Obama.

      I hold on to my position that this situation is a non-partisan problem. I also believe that if partisanship is eliminated from the discussion, neither ‘side’ has to feel blamed or attacked, and is willing to get together to come up with solutions.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        I disagree that it isn’t a partisan problem. You have two right wing parties jockeying for position. One cloaks itself in the occasional left wing rhetoric just prior to elections and one does not.

        Equating the Democratic party with the left is a fallacy that many make. It is the steering further and further to the right that got us in this mess to begin with – and why the Democratic party most resembles the 70s and 80s Republican party at least where fiscal issues come into play.

          • The Dark One
          • 8 years ago

          You right. You know things are skewed when Reagan-style policies are being proposed by today’s Democrats. Any politician running on Nixon’s platform would be viewed as a crazy socialist.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          It’s no stretch in equating the Democratic party with the left. While I’ve often heard statements by democrat voters such as “this isn’t the democrat party I knew”, and that there are >conservative< democrats, they do seem to be a dying breed. Their party has been co-opted by leftists, or more accurately, extremist types of the variety that (in recent years) have re-embraced their ‘progressive’ label after decades of distorting and co-opting the ‘liberal’ moniker…

          I get tired of these folks trying to control the lexicon, and the chameleon name games they play.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Only an American would think that todays Democrats are a “leftist” party. The Dems are composed of what most people in the world would call conservatives, and corporatists. The Dems are even more right wing than the conservative parties of places like Canada and Great Britain. So think about that; what we call Conservatives are actually more “leftist” than your “leftist” party! Democrats today are essentially moderate Republicans from 30-40 years ago.

            The idea that the Democrats have been “co opted by leftists” is absurd. Co-opted by corporate money (along with the rest of the polity) certainly. There is no major party that truly represents the left, and just looking at what goes for a leftist party in other countries will tell you that pretty quickly.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Don’t mind mutarasector – he doesn’t listen to anything that he doesn’t want to hear.

            Sadly he’s a dittohead through and through like a lot of people on the right making uninformed comments.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Maybe he will 😉

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Hope springs eternal.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “I get tired of these folks trying to control the lexicon, and the chameleon name games they play.”

            Boy, being a right wing hardliner like yourself and all the flip-flopping, dogmatizing and changing the facts as well as the lexicon must really make you exhausted since Fox News etc. do that every five minutes.

            I guess the “blue dog” demos must not have co-opted the party at all since they’re still right wingers.

            Hypocrisy – the underlying quality of the right.

            • Kaleid
            • 8 years ago

            From my European perspective the democratic party is to the right of all of our own parties.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            That’s what makes all the whining about how Democrats are “socialist commies” so damn amusing to me.

        • Kaleid
        • 8 years ago

        Both are corporate rightwing parties. Nader is right when he says that the only difference is how fast they kneel to their corporate masters. But as the yahoo link shows the Clinton years actually increased wages.. but of course, that was a bubble too, it burst.

    • Xenolith
    • 8 years ago

    A TED talk on why economic inequality is harmful to society – [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw[/url<] Best quote from the talk, "If you want the American Dream, move to Denmark".

    • RAMBO
    • 8 years ago

    if the people don’t have a say in government, then its not the peoples government, is it. At that point you must take the government back or wind up as a police state where the government can do whatever it wants. The Marine hurt in the protests is absolutely horrible. That Devil Dog came back to unemployment, inequality and violence. WTF! Seems like there is going to be a people/military uprising if things don’t change.

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      In many ways, we are already are a police state (relevant tech story = the guy that found the iphone prototype and had a SWAT team bust into his apartment). The U.S. military could use force and technology to quickly and brutally subjugate the civilian population if they wanted/had to. The politicians and execs saw the Egyptian military stand by doing nothing, and I have a feeling they’re not going to let that happen here.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        A police state wouldn’t last in a country which has an underlying belief in people’s rights. Even if the crackdown would succeed in the beginning, the uprising would be tremendous in the long run (to the point of the police/SWAT team members ‘switching sides’ because these individuals will realize they are have been on the immoral side of things).

          • Suspenders
          • 8 years ago

          Why not? You’re assuming those beliefs still hold true. What I’ve seen over the last decade is a country willing to give up its’ civil liberties with nary a whimper. You haven’t been able to even keep the basic standards of rule of law in place.

          The rhetoric is certainly there, but then even places like North Korea like to call themselves “democratic republics”…

    • Suspenders
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t know why, Scott, you’d think the goal of these protests is getting Obama elected again. You seem to be operating under the misconception that the only valid forms of political activism is either support for the Democratic party or the Republican party, which is untrue and frankly exactly what the corporate interests that are behind public policy in America want people to believe (as both parties are little more than craven lackeys to the corporate state). Hell, many self described “progressives” and Democratic partisans are [url=http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/09/27/why-establishment-media-the-power-elite-loathe-occupy-wall-street/<]openly disdainful of the protests[/url<], so thinking this is something endorsed or supported by the Democratic establishment or Obama would be very wrong. In any case, the idea that Obama and his Democrats are somehow champions for the bottom 90% of Americans is absurd. [url=http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/06/05/analysis-shares-obama-idUKNOA53525520080605<]Wall Street was one of his biggest campaign contributors [/url<], and his administration (and the treasury especially) is filled with former Wall Street people. He whipped his party to help pass the bankster bailout bill during Bush lame duck session. In the Senate, I can let the second ranking Democratic senator in the senate, Dick Durbin, speak for himself when he said in 2009 [url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/29/dick-durbin-banks-frankly_n_193010.html<]that the banks "own the place".[/url<] If you want a single message to take away from these protests, it's simply that it's time people became aware of and start opposing the corporate coup that's taken place in the United States. The coup that has entrenched the transfer of huge sums of wealth to a few elites at the expense of the rest of us (quite literally in the case of the banksters, who were paying themselves billions in bonuses while crashing the financial system and being bailed out by the government).

      • Jambe
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:American_Corporate_Flag.svg[/url<] I think that sums things up quite nicely, and I love seeing protesters holding them. Scott's premise is egregious.

        • Suspenders
        • 8 years ago

        Heh, that flag is probably more true than most of us would be comfortable with.

    • holto243
    • 8 years ago

    This is happening all over the western world but particularly in the UK and USA.
    First off though, ignore the protesters that the media interview; they always pick the crazies who want to “stick it to the man, man” or blame it on “the illuminati! they’re everywhere!” That’s just how media like to mess with your mind.
    We have a massive problem when the directors of FTSE100 companies can increase their salaries by 49% in the last year despite all the redundancies, foreclosures and massive government cutbacks.
    Another massive issue is companies not paying taxes. The cutbacks to tertiary education in the UK saved less money than the unpaid tax bill of Vodafone UK. Did the government force Vodafone to pay what they legally had to? of course not! they said ‘give us 1% of it and we’ll just ignore it’. Steve Jobs didn’t insist on the $1 salary because he valued Apple more than his own money, he did it to avoid tax. bonuses and stock options have far lower tax levels, hence the large regular bonuses for so many corporate boards.
    And, as previously stated by others, when the economy is doing well, the 1% take almost 50% of the wealth increase. when the economy is going down the toilet, the governments bail the companies out with taxpayer money (keep in mind that the 1% pay substantially less tax than the 99%) and the executives grant themselves bonuses again.
    All this is why people are protesting. Its not left or right. It is a sense of massive unfairness that is so ingrained that the disparity between rich and poor keeps widening. Heck, the disparity is already worse than in Victorian times.
    Seriously, this effects all of us and it is time to make ourselves heard all over the world. Democracy is the rule of all people, not just the ones with money.

    • blitzy
    • 8 years ago

    I dont like the lack of transparency in banking and monetary systems like the stock exchange, all they serve to do is give those with money and inside knowledge the ability to screw others. They also don’t produce anything of meaningful value.

    The fact that banks can lend out more money than the actual capital they own is wrong too, it’s the same as madoffs ponzi scheme just on a smaller more managed scale. Certainly freedom to lend does allow for more growth than would otherwise be possible, but we have clearly let it go way too far with the current state of the world economy. The big ticket item for me is why do we allow the system to be so corrupt when it is so fundamental to our society, the banks get bailed out despite it all and joe average takes the beats. Thats the rich protecting themselves.

    The problem with the occupy wall street movement is they really don’t understand what they want, as said in the OP. The legislation that has been established around banking, shares, trading is all so convoluted how can anyone create a meaningful argument against it? Let alone understand it. The rich have created a very difficult system to assail.

    That said, many of the occupy wall street people have lots of loopy ideas, are generic lefties and paranoid conspiracy nuts who would jump on any bandwagon with a leftish tilt. Bringing up global warming and all the other bs things that are not totally relevant. These kind of lefties don’t help the cause at all, they’re just a distraction.

    Some of the people of the movement just seem to be there because they feel like the world is #$%#$ed up, maybe they lost their jobs or their situation is bad and they feel helpless. They want change in the system so that there is more equality. It’s really rough out there, some people don’t have many opportunities so I can understand those in that type of situation who support the movement.

    I don’t think the movement will succeed, because it is too complex of a problem for these people to articulate and focus on as a whole. And because it is not in the interests of the rich to change the system.

    • Ardrid
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Can they even move the electorate to accept an unpopular President for a second term? That is, after all, the goal here, right?[/quote<] That, of course, misses the entire point of the Occupy movement. It has nothing to do with the political motivations of old and, as such, does not subscribe to the same set of "rules" or machinations. The movement has everything to do with what has become a staple of the American way: manifest injustice and inequality propagated on the backs of the poor and working class in the name of the market and capitalism.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Thanks for succinctly and eloquently responding to this point. I’m not at all sure where Scott got this idea; and you did a much better job than I could have.

      • My Johnson
      • 8 years ago

      What we have now can hardly be called capitalism anymore. If it doesn’t get fixed we may have to exhume and re-animate Pol Pot to reset it.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        This comment makes absolutely no sense. Care to elaborate?

          • blitzy
          • 8 years ago

          Pol Pot wanted to create a communist utopia and murdered those who were educated or had western ideals, he is suggesting that we could get Pol Pot to clean house.

          I’m sure Pol Pot would love the job, but nobody wants to bring back a crazy communist murderer.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            I know who Pol Pot is – how he relates to capitalism – and how My Johnson defines his version of capitalism are what I’m after.

            • blitzy
            • 8 years ago

            I can only assume that he is referring to the lack of culpability of large corporations that have been bailed out, it’s not real capitalism. But yes, only he can answer your question.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      “That, of course, misses the entire point of the Occupy movement. It has nothing to do with the political motivations of old…”

      Oh, I wouldn’t be so certain about that. Just as the Egyptian uprising/revolution had it’s steam ‘harnessed’ by a political entity (more like “co-opted”) known as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Democrats/Obama certainly seem to be willing to utilize the energy of the discontent driving the occupy movements. The Republicans did the same thing with the Tea Party movements.

      Politics may not start these movements, but they certainly do feed off of them…

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        If Kucinich is smart he might be able to get a boost out of it – Obama’s shown his true colors again and again and I don’t think he’ll see anything out of it at all unless he follows with some serious actions and not more rhetoric and bullpuckey.

        A pretty lucid comment for you without the usual partisan stench. I like.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    Also, I really think this has nothing to do with reelecting Obama. I expect it you went and talked to your local Occupy demo you’d find that a lot of them are pretty disgusted with the man. The only (tenuous) claim you could make is that probably they’d vote for him simply because the likely Republican nominee would be worse.

      • Jambe
      • 8 years ago

      I have a few old acquaintances in NYC who were on Wall Street during one of the bigger gatherings and they were Ron Paul supporters.

      Ron Paul is a nut in many ways, but he’s not Barack Obama.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      If anything I’d say the average OWS person is more interested in seeing Kucinich than Obama take the 2012 election.

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      “Better the devil I know!” Maybe Obama’s relatively better, but that’s the kind of thinking that got us here (believing that our vote is limited to the two candidates ordained by the major parties, and voting based on fear instead of real representation). I hope the Ocupados are smart enough to see that.

      • zoom314
      • 8 years ago

      Yep, sounds on target to Me. He’s not all that great, but the Repugs are worse, so It’s better the Devil We already know than the Devils that We don’t…

    • Peldor
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t think the OWS movement is in and of itself a platform for election success even if we accept the premise that it is “the goal here”. Political campaigns are many splendored things after all. We’ll collectively pass judgement on his/her social status, political record, friends, neighbors, clergy, misstatements, public records, fashion sense, general appearance, one-liners, campaign managers, donors, etc. Various segments of the population will be swayed by each of those. And I think (or think I think) that cognitive scientists would find most of us have made our decision before and for much simpler reasons than we believe.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 8 years ago

    “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”

    Ayn Rand.

      • Suspenders
      • 8 years ago

      The only “rights” you have are those that you are willing to fight for.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 8 years ago

        Spoken like you’ve actually laid down your life for freedom from tyranny. You probably haven’t.

          • Suspenders
          • 8 years ago

          Exactly so. Precisely why I have certain rights IS because someone else died for me to have them.

          But you make a good point, so I should rephrase; the only “rights” you have are the ones other people earned for you, usually by suffering and and sometimes dying. As a society, the only rights we keep are the ones we are willing to fight and sometimes die for.

          “Rights” as we percieve them simply do not exist in the real world. Any rights that we aren’t willing to fight for are little more than privilages granted to us by the powers that be, which they can take away at their earliest convienance. Unless of course we create consequences to that happenning, hence the “fighting”.

      • Kaleid
      • 8 years ago

      Communists tried to destroy the ego, Ayn rand tried to kill altruism. They are both doomed to fail as both are part of human nature. The ego survives better with the help of others, even cave men understood this, even animals have it as a system because it is a tried and true method for success in the evolutionary process.
      Btw, that witch took medicare money. And her laissez faire state would make it difficult to protect minorities because it ignores the fact that certain people, those with a lot of money would be making the rules. The rest would have to bend over. A small state cannot create laws which forbid child labor.

        • SPOOFE
        • 8 years ago

        Did Ayn Rand try to kill altruism, or merely observe that it was never there to begin with?

        Did you know that if you do something nice for someone else, you make yourself happier than if you had done an equivalent nicety for yourself? In that regard, being selfless is selfish.

          • Kaleid
          • 8 years ago

          Right, again I say this… even cave men understood the need for co-operation. It’s easily observable in animals too, look for instance at “battle at kruger” on youtube.

          PZ Myers talks here about how beneficial it is for the many species:
          [url<]http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/16613244[/url<] If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might Be Only Natural [url<]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/27/AR2007052701056.html[/url<] Rand had bad experience with communism (understandable) but she went on the other extreme end instead. Think about this scenario. A rich man in his 40ths asks a young kid, why should I care about your schooling? Well, says the kid, I could one day become your doctor. This easily demonstrates the need for others to succeed too. People also give blood without getting paid for it. Because they might need it someone day too. This I scratch your back and you scratch mine is an incredibly efficient tool for survival not just on individual level but also as a group as a human species. But It is also observable that certain animals help each other even though they are not related one bit. Again, this helps survivability.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]even cave men understood the need for co-operation.[/quote<] No, they didn't. It was written into their genes. But that didn't stop them from cheating, stealing, murdering, or manipulating. [quote<]Think about this scenario. A rich man in his 40ths asks a young kid, why should I care about your schooling? Well, says the kid, I could one day become your doctor.[/quote<] Yes, if people rationally pursued their own self-interests, they would see a benefit for themselves in helping and caring for others. The rich man in his 40s you reference was just not thinking things through.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            Ah, libertarianism. “If people would just…”. It’s exactly the same basic failure to understand human nature that communism has.

            • Kaleid
            • 8 years ago

            You proved my point. It’s evolutionary beneficial, these genes have been passed on because they have worked. Who’s to say that cave men weren’t aware that they were helping each other? They likely received a form of reward for doing so.

            They didn’t understand co-operation but they understood cheating murdering, manipulation etc? Within a tribe this makes little sense as a fellow tribesman might bring in food for the entire group.

            Cobras fighting over a female do not fight each other to death either.

            Thinking things through is just the problem. It’s the mine-mine-mine mindset which makes sure that so many lack care for others. It’s the winner takes it all mentality which is so harmful.

            American Roulette
            In our winner-take-all casino economy, the middle class is getting royally screwed. A call to arms for populism, before it’s too late.
            [url<]http://nymag.com/news/imperialcity/26014/[/url<] The invisible hand isn't there. And if the rich man loses everything then the laissez faire won't offer a helping hand, because laissez faire doesn't care. It's utterly indifferent.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Ayn Rand – a hypocrite that was on welfare at the end of her life.

      • kc77
      • 8 years ago

      If there was anyone who could teach narcissism it would be her.

      • Jambe
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Ayn Rand.[/quote<] [url<]http://www.michaelprescott.net/hickman.htm[/url<] Ayn Rand's "philosophy" is odious, hateful, and borderline sociopathic, and she herself was a hypocritical fruitcake. You should be ashamed, and every sane, compassionate person should mock Randian studies and objectivism wherever they crop up. Cripes.

      • Coulda
      • 8 years ago

      Ahh…Ayn Rand. Opiate of pseudo-intellectual morons…

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      If Ayn Rand was right then us here in the 3rd World shouldn’t be considered as “3rd World.”

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      I’m sure a lot of protesters are worried about the blatant trampling of rights, but at the moment, I see more worry about minimizing the power behind the rights we have and making them useless in all but name.

      • Xenolith
      • 8 years ago

      Many people have made “tyranny of the majority” quotes. Unfortunately the OP is from Ayn Rand.

      [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority[/url<] A society needs to respect the rights of the minority and the powerless.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    IMO the crux of Occupy’s complaint is that there’s too much money in politics, which distorts the political process in favor of the rich and large corporations, which then allows said constituencies to further distort things in their favor; it’s a terrible feedback loop. This leads to the rest of us (the 99% in their parlance) to become increasingly powerless and poor.

    The most important difference between them and the teabaggers is that Occupy is genuinely a spontaneous and leaderless movement, rather than one that was ginned up by Professional Conservatives because their team lost an election, badly.

      • Cuhulin
      • 8 years ago

      Actually, the tea party movement was similar. It simply was captured by the Republican right to support its “don’t tax our rich supporters” movement.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        Well, /no/. It started during the ’08 elections with the Ron Paul demographic (which was and is small), then once Obama won the elections by a landslide the commentariat ran around with its collective head cut off until Glenn Beck and Limbaugh seized on the idea of manufacturing a protest movement now that their boys were safely out of power. They started talking up the movement to their legions of true-believers and the rest is history.

        The attempted capture by establishment Republicans didn’t come until a bit later when they Tea Party Express group was formed (as opposed to the TP Patriots, which is more grassroots but IMO deluded by said commentariat) and later on when their pols started taking notice.

        As to who captured whom, that’s debatable.

    • kc77
    • 8 years ago

    In a word YES! This most certainly is NOT a “leftist” thing. What do you think the Arab Spring, the uprisings in France, UK, Italy, and even Greece are about? It’s not about left or right. It’s about right and wrong. It’s about the few dictating to the many and that should piss you off whether you’re liberal or conservative.

    If we do not stop the right vs left thing we are doomed for failure. The tea party even though they were conservative largely spoke about the same exact things as the Occupy people do and that is a corrupt government (few) dictating to the many (99%). It’s the same thing just with different labels.

    This whole left vs right thing is exactly what they want. They want two groups bickering at each other while completely unaware that both “parties” (if you can even call them that any more) are robbing you blind.

    Do you realise that the latest banking scandal is the first where absolutely no one went to jail? The last one (SnL) people went to jail. People had to give back money. Well not this time. Everyone kept their money and assets (houses) even though the institutions or companies they were supposed to be managing were bankrupt. Now how does that work again?? Anyone else would have lost it all and most have. You don’t see bail outs for your neighbour? No they lose their stuff and go on unemployment and then move back in with their parents (if they are alive).

    Again this isn’t about right or left this is about right vs wrong.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      The austerity protests are entirely by the left. You seem to have gotten confused somewhere along the line. Conservatives = capital, property> the welfare of the citizenry. The left is the exact opposite of that.

      What you’re referring to as the left appears to be the Democratic party – which at this point in time is a center – rightist party (that pays the occaisional lip service to leftist views and causes). There very much is a giant schism between left and right.

      The rest of your points however are excellent.

        • kc77
        • 8 years ago

        Not entirely from a historical reference point of view. For example, in the 50’s and 60’s joining a union was neither left or right in terms of how the demographic voted. You had Republicans, Democrats, left, right, liberal and conservative who understood the value of working together as middle class Americans. They understood the power of banding together for collective bargaining, etc. They knew their neighbors, and had no problems helping them.

        This was largely spawned from the from the late 1800’s and came to ahead in 20’s and 30’s where once again corporations had made large in roads in transferring personhood to that of corporations, while the common man / woman suffered. Federal Child Labor laws weren’t established until 1938 at the federal level. This issue wasn’t right or left amongst the lower rungs of the economic ladder. The middle class wasn’t really established yet.

        It wasn’t until much later where people largely understood the side effects of letting corporations go unchecked. Somehow we have forgotten that. We have gone from “We the people” to Me the people. So when I speak of it not being left or right I’m speaking from a point of view which references what the middle class went through before it was established, the time it prospered, and now.

        This issue to me isn’t left or right since this is something we’ve seen before. However, it takes us to stop bickering as left vs right, conservative vs liberal and understand who or what the real enemy is.

        (As an aside yes I understand that from the late 30’s to the 60’s Democrats controlled Congress largely)

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          A union member voting right is merely a person that votes against their interest – no different from today. Those labor struggles that got unions recognized in the early part of the twentieth century were run, organized by and peopled by those on the left.

          The difference is that now the left has been demonized by the same vocal minority and its castle defenders that leftists like those in OWS are trying to bring down to size.

          I completely agree with you that the elites are trying to keep the rest of us divided – however some folks in the lower classes need to realize that they are working against their own good – and that is always the right. I know plenty of union members that were talking smack about “those greedy teachers etc. in Wisconsin”. It doesn’t make them informed – nor does it take away from the fact that there would have never been any unions at all if these right wingers had been in charge at the time. By dismissing the struggles of labor as being a battle shared by the right does a great disservice to the labor movement and the people that fought and died in order to bring us these rights.

          Some people are merely fighting for the wrong side.

          As I said I otherwise agree with your other excellent points.

            • kc77
            • 8 years ago

            I see what you are saying and I completely agree. I guess I’m speaking from a place that understands the power of the elites to divide us. Yes I understand that largely it’s the left that has brought us Child Labor Laws, 5 day work week, maternity leave etc. However, I just don’t want the country to be divided.

            Divided we fall, together we prosper.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            This is completely a side argument – but I think that a certain percentage of the left’s view that there is no reason for gun ownership is, and has been, alienating much of those that might otherwise see themselves that way. The funny thing is that at times like these, when it is most imperative for the citizenry to be armed, this insistence on personal disarmament is fundamentally undermining their cause.

            This, combined with the removal of the Equal Time in Broadcasting rule has really set us up for some hurt.

            We absolutely must find a way to convince those that are working against their interest to join in. I just don’t know how we can do that.

            The bright side is that the longer this goes on the more people are getting involved – and that will make it harder for the media and the usual talking heads to spin it.

            • kc77
            • 8 years ago

            I agree.

      • rechicero
      • 8 years ago

      The first “Occupy” movement was in Spain (in May) and it wasn’t strictly about inequality, was about politicians governing for their friends, about being capitalist with benefits and socialist with losses. Right now almost every country has a debt problem… And that debt is, in part, consequence of the bailing out billions we had to give to banks and other companies (and spend in unnecessary public works to activate the economy).

      And about inequalities, we’ve seen how the management have an order of magnitude more of difference in salaries in a few decades. I don’t remember the exact figures, but it was something like 60-80% more than the average in the same company in the ’60 and about 343% now.

      They have a point.

      EDIT: I changed the 343% as per other post. Anyway, an order of magnitude more in inequality within the working class.

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    Sums it up quite nicely,

    [url<]http://youtu.be/N2qqRFYv3ao[/url<]

      • liar
      • 8 years ago

      On the other hand…
      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZgZeAOaq4U[/url<] (from about 1:10, especially) [Transcript] “No, listen Bill, I have no trouble understanding what they are talking about.” O’Rourke asked Grayson, “You passed econ?” Grayson answered, “I was an economist for more than three years, so I think so…Now let me tell you about what they’re talking about. They’re complaining that Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody’s held responsible for that. Not a single person’s been indicted or convicted for destroying twenty percent of our national net worth accumulated over two centuries. They’re upset about the fact that Wall Street has iron control over the economic policies of this country, and that one party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, and the other party caters to them as well.” O’Rourke joked that Occupy Wall Street has found their spokesman, then Grayson continued, [Transcript] “Listen, if I am spokesman for all the people who think that we should not have 24 million people in this country who can’t find a full time job, that we should not have 50 million people in this country who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick, that we shouldn’t have 47 million people in this country who need government help to feed themselves, and we shouldn’t have 15 million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home, okay, I’ll be that spokesman.” [url<]http://www.scoop.it/t/business-model-engineering/p/536988155/daily-kos-on-99-ows-alan-grayson-slams-p-j-o-rourke-on-bill-maher-video[/url<]

      • Kaleid
      • 8 years ago

      Another guy who doesn’t understand a thing. It’s one thing to use products made by corporations but a completely different thing to live in a country in which the already rich have special care, who can purchase politicians pretty much making elections pointless.

      “Just go get a job”. Yes, go to fantasy island, they have plenty of them.

    • Voldenuit
    • 8 years ago

    People aren’t angry because they want preferential treatment for the poor. People are angry because the rich are getting preferential treatment.

    Equality of opportunity implies equality of responsibility. And the rich have managed to avoid their social responsibilities by securing ridiculously low tax rates for themselves, all the while that taxpayers are supporting corporate bailouts while executives receive large bonuses and offshore jobs.

    This is what OWS is protesting, even if not everyone (the protesters included) can vocalize this precept.

      • Suspenders
      • 8 years ago

      Exactly this. People like to whine about “socialism” for the poor, yet the rich managed to escape the consequences of their own greed and corruption via TRILLIONS of dollars of government backing. And people are, gosh, *surprised* that there are protests?

      Give me a break…

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    The thing about capitalism is that it is the great equalizer. Yes, those with a higher education/more money are more apt to succeed, but even the most dirt poor person has a shot at success. All you need is one good idea, one oppurtunity and you be in the top 1%. Let’s look at Bill Gates, Michel Dell, Mark Zuterburg. All 3 of them were just your common university nerd in Univeristy. Or to go even more broke, look at the Dragons/Sharks in Dragons Den (Canadian) or Shark Tank. They were all poor, broke with not much going on, yet they made themselves successful. None of the above listed names were whining about inequality or government handouts.

    Your life is what you make it, and America (and Canada) provide the most ripe ground for you to get ahead. I sincerly believe that it’s your drive that makes you, not your pocket book.

    Now I’m off to create a business proposal…

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      You just made a comparison of a handful of people while the rest of us are talking about [i<]millions[/i<] . There is no way that the average person can do that. Nor will any amount of entrepreneurial boosterism change just how bad it is for the lower classes which most of us are.

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Let's look at Bill Gates, Michel Dell, Mark Zuterburg. All 3 of them were just your common university nerd in Univeristy.[/quote<] Did you do any research on those three people? Just scanning wikipedia we get: Gates: [quote<]Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Gates's maternal grandfather was J. W. Maxwell, a national bank president.[/quote<] Dell: [quote<]Michael Dell was born to a well-off, Texan Jewish family, on February 23, 1965. The son of an orthodontist and a stockbroker, Dell attended Herod Elementary School in Houston, Texas.[/quote<] Zuckerberg: [quote<]Zuckerberg was born in 1984 in White Plains, New York to Karen, a psychiatrist, and Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist.[/quote<] There is no way you can classify them as not being well off: their parents were lawyers, dentists, stockbrokers... Also, a handful of people landing a shot on a reality TV show does not somehow mean that anyone can "will" themselves into wealth. Having a good idea is a huge help for becoming obscenely wealthy. You will need resources (money, connections) in order to make that idea more than just an idea however. Most people who end up poor are poor not because of a lack of drive, it's because their parents were poor, and thus they were raised in poverty. This meant they had less time for their classes, less chances to meet people that could help them get ahead, more exposure to crime, less parental influence... These are all important for building the foundations of success.

      • BestJinjo
      • 8 years ago

      The problem with your model is that not everyone can make it to the top because they are not given an equal opportunity. There is nothing wrong with having income classes. The problem is when an average person makes $30-40k and the top are making 5-10-20x that amount. So essentially, you are perfectly happy with a society where 90% or more are essentially poor, a small middle class, and a top 5% that are incredibly wealthy. Sounds like a page from the feudal societies. I guess as long as YOU made it, you’d be OK with a society where you became a lord and had a castle and 100s of people working for you for pennies on the dollar you made.

    • yokem55
    • 8 years ago

    To me the problem isn’t inequality itself – its the rising level of it. Productivity gains over the past 30 years have far outstripped growth in wages for lower & middle class folks, while at the same time the folks in the top 1%, have seen far faster income growth. In other words – it isn’t the state of things that bothers me – it’s the trajectory. As for solutions? I would look for a convoluted top bracket (say applying to folks over $500K/year) that would hit a 50% surtax on year over year income growth (wages, capital gains, everything) that is more than than twice GDP growth. So if a person made $500K last year and makes $550K this year, and twice GDP is in the neighborhood of 4%, a 50% tax surtax would apply to income above $520K. Fair? Well, it would mean that faster GDP growth could mean a lower tax bill….

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      … let’s say the trigger point is $100k a year, and I’ll call it a reasonably fair compromise to try to fix this.

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      Up until the end of Reagan’s presidency, the highest income bracket was in excess of 50%. When Reagan entered office, the highest rate was 70%, and that was [i<]the lowest it had been since 1931[/i<]. From the 40's through to the early 60's, the highest rate exceeded 90%. Contrast that to now, when the highest rate is 35%, and many of the richest manage to avoid even that, as popularly shown by Warren Buffet (currently the 3rd wealthiest person alive) paying a tax rate of 17.4%, due to the 15% tax rate on capital gains. To fully sink that in, with the current US income brackets, all income over $34,500 is taxed at 25%, with $8,501-$34,500 taxed at 15%. Essentially, if you earn more than ~$46,000 a year, the percent of your income that you pay in taxes will be higher than most of the wealthiest people in the country. I think the very first step towards fixing the inequality would be to stop treating capital gains as a special, "sacred", type of income, and treat it exactly like normal income. After that, introducing higher brackets (the highest bracket right now starts at $379,151; we should have higher brackets that kick in at $1,000,000, $5,000,000, $10,000,000.. etc.) Edit: Did the math, ~$45,000 was actually really close, but $46,000 is significantly closer.

      • BestJinjo
      • 8 years ago

      I think the solution is not raising taxes, but raising wages for workers and for CEOs to be paid less. There are plenty of people who’ll do a good job if not better for way less $ than current CEOs and higher end executives. I am not sure where the idea came about that CEOs/executives are all so gifted that they can’t be replaced. Almost anyone can be replaced. The argument often presented is that to find “top talent” companies have to pay them millions. There are plenty of CEOs who get paid millions and yet haven’t done a good job in terms of turning their company around or increasing shareholder value: HP, AMD, Netflix, etc. come to mind.

      Also, a lot of firms tout to hire “the most talented employees”. So suddenly every S&P 500 firm has the best employees? And yet those same employees are just getting paid “industry average” wages….

      I don’t think raising taxes on the wealthy will solve much. The problem is income inequality – created by the people who are running these firms. If an average employee made $75k instead of $50k and that CEO was paid say $1M instead of $25-30M a year, then things would start to turn around.

      If workers earned more $, then they’d spend more, thus increasing profits for firms (and offsetting the higher cost of wages). No one is propagating taking $ from the rich by force. It’s just that the rich executives are only concerned about making $ for themselves, not to keep their workers happy. So as a result, they won’t really raise wages for their workers unless there is a shortage of employees. When you have so many unemployed people, you aren’t worried that your employees might quit the firm since:

      1) There are not as many better paying jobs
      2) There are thousands of people willing to take that vacant job

      As a result, the outcome is that firms can ‘force’ current employees to work longer hours for the same or even lower pay. In efficient markets, a worker would be able to find as good of a job. But where? Right now, you’ll probably go from your current job to another job and work the same awful hours.

      The problem is the thinking of the entire society. Americans and Canadians mostly define their life through work and family. A lot of them don’t really work to LIVE, but live to WORK. Where is the 9-5 hour work week? It’s gone. I make about the same wage as I did in 2009, but my hours of work have increased, not decreased, because my group laid off 10 people and I’ve been picking up the slack for the last 2 years……

      The result of laying off workers is:

      1) More profits for corporations since the wage costs decline due to a smaller amount of salaried employees;
      2) Remaining employees now have to work 20-30% harder, reducing their quality of life; and,
      3) Unemployed are often forced to take lower paying jobs.

      Then people go out and buy an iPhone or an iPad 2 thinking it’ll make them “feel better” in life about their 60-85 hour work week.

      Corporations aren’t people – – they don’t make decisions. People who run these corporations make decisions. The reason we get paid what we get paid is because your boss doesn’t want to pay you more $, which in turn will “lower his group’s profitability” for the year, and thus his/her own bonus. And if you have a reasonable boss, he’ll probably be stopped in giving you a fair amount by HR anyway. Of course wages are ultimately dictated by what the Market is willing to pay for a certain skill. But when the entire market is concerned with making the most $$$, what you’ll eventually have is stagnating wages and rising profits, unless employees take a stand.

      The only way for workers to increase real wages is to stop working until their demands are met. But how realistic is that scenario? Under the current system, the income inequality will only grow, and real wages will continue to stagnate.

      As long as you and I come to work for $xxxx, companies will BARELY raise real wages. The entire problem lies in the fact that on the whole, all of us doing our jobs are actually OK with working for what we get paid. This means the society has not reached a point where the majority feels they are getting paid unfairly!

    • Coydog74
    • 8 years ago

    America is a land of Equality of Opportunity. This land was never founded on equality of outcome. If you start to listen to some of these protesters talk you realize what they are wanting are Socialistic/Communistic governments. One guy was even saying how he wants everyone in the U.S to be making $1M, like somehow that would solve the problems.

    They have some valid complaints, but thinking that going Socialist is going to solve all the problems they face now, should go and talk to people who have actually lived under Communism/Socialism. I know two of them from Russia and they have no desire to live in such a system again.

    George Orwell summed it up best, of which these protesters don’t realize.

    Some animals are more equal than others.

      • willyolio
      • 8 years ago

      If a person grows up poorly fed and barely seeing their parents because they’re both working 60+ hours a week to make ends meet, they are not getting an equal opportunity as those with comfortable incomes.

      If one person can never afford to get post-secondary education because their parents are having a hard enough time making rent, they are not getting an equal opportunity as those who can afford to go to whatever school they’d like.

      If a person must work 20 hours a week while attending school, they are not getting an equal opportunity at succeeding as those who get to spend 20 extra hours sleeping or studying.

      If a person must choose between paying medical bills or paying for necessities or a home, they are not getting an equal opportunity at not dying as those who can afford it.

      If a person has to work 60-80 hours a week to make ends meet, then they can never have enough time to get an extra education or improve their skills to get a better job, and will be forced to stay at low wages for life.

      The US is far, far away from being the land of equal opportunity right now. In fact, it’s probably close to last at the moment (out of the democratic countries). take a look at nearly any other westernized country before you start ranting about communism.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        See also

        [url<]http://whatever.scalzi.com/2005/09/03/being-poor/[/url<]

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          If only this was a joke, but it’s not…

          *sad*

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Trotting out “OMG SOCIALISM” or “OMG COMMUNISM” should be a corollary to Godwin’s Law and an automatic loss of whatever argument you were in.

      It’s not that hard to make a cogent argument without going straight to namecalling.

        • kc77
        • 8 years ago

        It was only a matter of time. Wait until they figure out we’ve had socialistic programs since this country’s inception.

        • Geistbar
        • 8 years ago

        Thank you. I don’t think I could have said the same thing with quite as much brevity. I hate how people just toss out ideas as “too socialist” without any attempt for explaining how. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even seen something that was derided as socialist that actually was at all. If you hate an idea, fine, disagree with it, vote against it, or against people who encourage it, that’s fine. But resorting to name calling, especially [i<]inaccurate[/i<] name calling, is absurd.

          • kc77
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]especially inaccurate name calling is absurd[/quote<] I think it's more than just inaccurate though. First in order to make that comment you would have to be completely oblivious of our current system, how it was established, and even what it's core values were. The US is one of many hybrid systems. We have the Commons ( Military, Parks, Land, Schools, Roads and Services ) and we have the private sector. It's always been this way. This notion that we've ever had this super small government with no power or assets is wrong, very wrong. The Civil War was specifically about the role of government and it's effect on commerce, which re-enforced and enumerated the federal role of government over the States.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        Can’t agree with you on this one however. Simply identifying socialist leanings of others it is hardly “going straight to namecalling”, nor does it rise to the level of a Godwin’s Law-like violation. In some circles, it may be considered to have a pejorative connotation (particularly in this forum these days, it seems) , but calling it worthy of consideration of a “nuclear option” under some corollary to Godwin’s law simply appears to be an attempt to ‘shout down’ an opposing view which, if anything, also appears to lend credence to those who see the socialist leaning influences within/behind the OWS movement.

        Coydog74’s stated view may be a tad broad brushed, but essentially I believe he is quite correct that there is indeed a socialist/communist influence at play >within< the OWS movement, if not directly or completely behind it. If there is a corollary here, it may just be that the OWS movement certainly is being co-opted by the elements of the American political spectrum not unlike what the Muslim Brotherhood has been/currently is doing with the Egyptian revolt.

        Similarly, Scott’s initial comment about it being the “goal” of the movement to get Obama reelected >might< be construed as equally broad bushed. While I’m fairly certain there are indeed those among the OWSers with that agenda as well, on one hand, it may simply appear to him as the overarching purpose behind the movement, but even then, OTOH, he did express that thought more as a >question< than any presumptive or otherwise declarative statement of fact. Therefore, I wouldn’t presume to make any qualitative observation on that aspect of his initial comment either, or make any presumptive statement of his intent by that comment as some have done in this topic

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Equality of opportunity is based upon actually having a level playing field. That doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.

      A clue – every country in the world is a combination of socialism and capitalism. Socialism is merely the existence of a command economy with facets of a safety net. Just because here we believe it’s just and right for people to freeze to death in their homes because ConEd, PGE, etc. “should” be able to make a couple more bucks or that grandmas eat cat food doesn’t mean that that is an acceptable outcome to more civilized people.

      Most people, if they had been exposed to German, Scandanavian, etc. standards of living – and the fact that they get 6 weeks vacation by law – would generally love that situation. It’s castle defenders – through some solid propaganda work – that deliberately work against their own interests.

      • Kaleid
      • 8 years ago

      Orwell was a socialist. But he was also against the extremist communist as much as he was against the fascists and the nazis. In animal farm he writes that in the end you cannot differentiate between the communists and the capitalists. See how much love the capitalists give to China.

      • RAMBO
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah thats bullshit from the right. You don’t want to see the inequality because you are one of them, and they are not for peace and prosperity, they are for control and oppressing the minority in this country-like you.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        … I would be a bit nicer, and say that they want to keep the status quo because it’s working for them. Sort of a natural thing to try to hold on to… especially if that’s what you grew up with.

        Change is scary, but sometimes it’s inevitable.

      • entropy13
      • 8 years ago

      Socialism is very different from Communism.

      Also, there are still various types of Socialism.

      Also, the Soviet Union was an extreme form of Communism.

      Also, George Orwell’s Animal Farm only applies to (cadre) Communism, whereas you just replace “political/financial elites” with “high-ranked party members”. This is especially more obvious now in China, whereas a relatively poorer low-ranked party member who witnessed the corruption of a higher-ranked one would be the one sentenced to prison for corruption.

      Then there’s “Social Democracy” as well, a compromise between the “typical” Western democracy and the “typical” socialist style of governance. Scandinavian countries are usually the example used for this.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe I’m pointing out the obvious here, but the world as a whole has changed in the last 300 years… A LOT. We’re past the land of discovery and opportunity era. You walk outside, you don’t see open land ripe for making your mark on as far as the eye can see. You see sky scrapers, product models, laws governing everything you can do, and fast food joints you’ll probably end up working at.

      The top five countries with the highest quality of living are quite socialist. Go look for yourself.

      [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-life_Index[/url<] The way of life you're describing IS DEAD. It died over a century ago.

        • cynan
        • 8 years ago

        [i<]The way of life you're describing IS DEAD. It died over a century ago. [/i<] I'm not arguing with your overall sentiment; I agree that much of the opportunity that enabled our forefathers to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" doesn't exist to the extent it did. However, you don't have to look back 100 years; more like 3 or 4 decades. While perhaps overly simplistic, here is my view on this matter: Economically speaking, America was relatively well-off after WW2. It was this advantage that largely enabled it to expand industry/technology faster than any other single developed country. As a result, in the decades following the war, capitalism worked very well for both corporate and job growth. At least at first this occurred more or less "organically" and both fed off of each other. Relative to what they were used to at the time, and what was going on elsewhere in the world, corporations were able to do very well, while at the same time creating record numbers of jobs for the American public. It was a Win Win. This, however, was never sustainable and room for economic growth began to diminish. Novel contributors to this end stemmed from increasing pressures of a rising global economy, complete with emerging workforces (largely Asian) that were/are relatively cheap. To maintain/raise profits and the appearance of economic growth (at least for the corporation in question) many jobs were/are exported... Also, as good ol' fashioned economic growth was harder and harder to come by, a certain element began to turn to more and more "creative" waves to turn profits, leading to the Wall Street boom of the 80s and, eventually the sorts of horrific shenanigans of recent years that is largely the subject of this protest. This is why the recent relaxation of banking and trade regulations (ie, allowing banks to leverage many times more than their net assets) was so horribly ironic as they were needed/are need now more than ever. The last piece of the puzzle is that, whether rich, or slaving away making a modest standard of living for your family, nobody wants to accept the fact that, at least from a purely economic perspective, due largely to circumstance, the Americans from the first few post WWII generations had it better than we do: They were simply fortunate to find themselves in the position where many could make a very comfortable living working an "honest" job for an reasonable number of hours/wk. The fact of the matter is that today it's just not possible for anywhere near as great a proportion of Americans to do the same. While nobody likes to spend more than they have to, it is certainly arguable that this declining wealth and increasing wealth inequality helped cement the ubiquitous adoption of products manufactured oversees, entrenching us, rightly or wrongly, more securely in a downward spiral. And as for life 100+ years ago... well that certainly wasn't all peaches and cream for the majority of European immigrants. I don't know if many of us realize just how hard some of those lives actually were (myself included). Long story short, I've heard many stories of European immigrant families who came to North America and lived very difficult lives eking out a bare existence, coming with nothing to work a small plot of land, etc, battling poverty, starvation, sickness, with no social net to turn to... While perhaps it's part of some cosmic balance that America is up for some harder times ahead as it's had it so good (relatively) for the last few decades, there sure as heck isn't any justice in those at the top trying (and succeeding) to claw more than their fair share, simply so then can jettison away from the sinking ship when there is nothing left. And it is this that is the crux of the whole movement in question.

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      Animal Farm is not limited to warning against leftist “utopian” thinking. It’s far more cynical than that. So what do we have now? “All of the animals aren’t equal, and they’re never going to be, so why have a system that perpetuates hope by encouraging a strong and flourishing middle class? Let’s take all of the wealth for ourselves!”

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      You know, back a long time ago, poor people in europe were gathering all the money they could, to move to the Land of Opportunity.

      I bet now some of the truly poor desperate folks here would try to gather everything they had to move to Europe, to try to get more equal oppotunities… but they don’t because 1) they have no idea how different it could be, and 2) they can’t obtain visas to go there.

      Your example of Communist Soviet Union is what Americans were told back in the cold war ages. “Socialism is BAD”. But European countries with social safety nets in place, including the highly “socialist” Northern Europe are very different from the oppressive dictatorship that was the Soviet Union.

      Please, travel. See other societies. Educate yourself on this. Maybe then you’ll realize that there is something very very wrong in how the USA is, and see how different it could be.

    • blastdoor
    • 8 years ago

    I think that what Americans support is equality conditional on merit. Those who produce output of equal value should be equally rewarded.

    Thus I think Americans support unconditional inequality (more money for the more productive) but do not support a situation where people are being paid more than they are worth.

    So I think that a substantial political movement can be united if people are persuaded that we have inequality conditional on merit. I am persuaded of that, and tentatively am in favor of OWS for that reason. But I would stop supporting it the moment there is a movement towards equality that would undermine a meritocracy.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      One man’s person of merit is not another’s. I see no way in which this could work.

      Example – the right love to demonize illegal aliens, yet a very high percentage of illegals work in our fields as migrant farm workers, in construction etc. These are very labor intensive jobs and they’re paid exceedingly low wages and can’t count on workman’s comp etc. when they get hurt. Yet these people are the evil enemy according to a certain percentage of the population.

      A cap on executive pay? Workable. Making the piecing of the corporate veil easier – workable. Taxing the highest “earners” at the level they were taxed in the 1950s – workable.

      I don’t see a consensus happening on people being paid what they’re worth.

        • sreams
        • 8 years ago

        “Yet these people are the evil enemy according to a certain percentage of the population. ”

        No. The “evil enemy” is the company that skirts workman’s comp laws by hiring people the law does not allow them to.

        “Taxing the highest “earners” at the level they were taxed in the 1950s – workable.”

        That one sounds nice… but the fact of the matter is that revenues were not measurably higher even when the highest tax brackets were at 90%. The reality is that any population can only afford so much… and we want more than we can afford.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          “… but the fact of the matter is that revenues were not measurably higher even when the highest tax brackets were at 90%. :”

          I’ve heard this a lot – and this is part of what ALEC and the Kochs want people to believe but it is not true.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        One man’s person of merit is not another’s. I see no way in which this could work.

        “Example – the right love to demonize illegal aliens, yet a very high percentage of illegals work in our fields as migrant farm workers, in construction etc. These are very labor intensive jobs and they’re paid exceedingly low wages”

        The real issue is just >why< to some of these jobs pay exceedingly low wages to begin with, not necessarilly who holds these jobs, no? What economic/political forces allow…no, actually >encourage< this? Please don’t say “capitalism”. It’s >cronyism< which permeates >both< economic AND political spheres. I also think the notion that all these jobs held by illegals are “low paying” is a erroneous notion that relies on fallacious logic that these jobs are “jobs that American workers don’t want, or won’t do”. Yes, a lot of jobs are low paying, but there are many an illegal who are also working jobs at $15(plus) an hour as well (particularly in construction).

        “and can’t count on workman’s comp etc. when they get hurt. Yet these people are the evil enemy according to a certain percentage of the population.”

        But they often can count on welfare, foodstamps, free medical care, and deep discounted secondary education even more so than natural born U.S. citizens.

        “A cap on executive pay? Workable. Making the piecing of the corporate veil easier – workable. Taxing the highest “earners” at the level they were taxed in the 1950s – workable.”

        What corporate veil do you refer to? Why do you think those seeking asset protection are running to forming LLCs both domestic and offshore these days? Because the corporate veil has been pierced on the liability front for _ages_ now. You need to catch up with the times

        “I don’t see a consensus happening on people being paid what they’re worth.”

        Depends – just *who* determines what they’re worth? Just what criteria do you advocate for determination of “worth”?

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          I don’t think that you’re ever going to get me to agree that cronyism isn’t inherent to capitalism but you certainly have the right to try – I certainly won’t try to stop you.

          ” I also think the notion that all these jobs held by illegals are “low paying” is a erroneous notion that relies on fallacious logic that these jobs are “jobs that American workers don’t want, or won’t do”.”

          Most of the jobs people here won’t do – not all. Sure. As someone that’s worked a variety of jobs that most people do their level best to look down upon and not do I think you’re on shaky ground. The number of white folks in the fields anywhere is minute. Most blue collar work is now done by people of color as we’ve downgraded the status of honest work.

          We agree that illegals work in construction – however not getting paid is a real and significant issue – and they are still being used as a bugaboo on the right which is wholly unearned.

          “But they often can count on welfare, foodstamps, free medical care, and deep discounted secondary education even more so than natural born U.S. citizens.”

          Cite? That more so than citizens comment has been made by many right wing ideologues without citation and it would have to be true in more than one or two isolated instances in order to be a valid argument.

          The larger discussion has gotten a bit sidetracked though – we were discussing what gets valued and why and how agreement is made. My position then and now is that merit is in the eye of the beholder and getting a consensus on that will be exceedingly difficult. All of this other stuff is just side commentary.

          BTW- it’s a miracle I saw this post and I want to take the time out to thank you for your civility and discussion even if these ended up being side points.

      • clone
      • 8 years ago

      global competition…..

      Blastdoor how does an engineer making $56 per hour in the U.S. compete with an engineer in India doing the same work for $12 per hour…. 2 hungry engineers who need to survive will work just as hard regardless of where on the planet they call home.

      IBM didn’t understand why it should pay either and moved most of their engineering to India as have a great many other corporations, corporations leverage their ability to harness cheap labor to undercut all small business destroying the foundation of society.

      they don’t pay based on merit, their is no “fair” or “the right thing to do”, those are abstracts, corporations have a legal obligation to take as much as possible while giving as little as possible, this is the legally enforced mandate placed on every corporation.

      information, technology and skills are all portable.

      the concept of a hard days work for a hard days pay is universal, large corporations that can take advantage of that will move all the work elsewhere because a hungry Indian in India will work just as hard as a hungry American in America just like a hungry Korean will work as hard as a hungry Mexican just like…….. this ignores the regional climate extremes that pressure wages as well because a worker in the Northern United States needs a home, needs to heat it in winter all of which is reflected in his minimum wage requirement vs a Mexicans who requires less to survive.

      unfettered capitalism inevitably leads to atrocity because capitalism has no social contract.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Blastdoor how does an engineer making $56 per hour in the U.S. compete with an engineer in India doing the same work for $12 per hour.... 2 hungry engineers who need to survive will work just as hard regardless of where on the planet they call home.[/quote<] This is an interesting concept. The ones in the US have a slight advantage at the moment because of 1) societal pressure for US companies to keep the jobs "home", 2) location, as proximity to peers and colleagues improves efficiency in many engineering jobs - cross-cultural projects are difficult to handle, partly because of time difference, and 3) so far the quality of engineering in the USA has been higher than in Asia. The last two are under constant pressure: 2) The more of the engineering workforce you outsource, the more it will benefit from the proximity... entire projects can be outsourced altogether, and entire departments built in India, Taiwan etc. 3) The quality of engineering is a strong function of education, and with things going bad in the USA, the US-educated foreigners are more inclined to go back to their countries of origin where the engineering fields are growing and thriving... not to mention that the education in these countries is getting better. 1) is a temporary effect, coming from the backlash against outsourcing, but global competition cannot be ignored. Samsung is already beating Apple. The flip side is, growth in these emerging markets invariably increases the wages there, and over time the global salaries will mostly equalize. The salaries in this equilibrium will probably be lower than what the current US engineers have, but it won't be that bad. The pain is coming from the transition period from the current situation to the eventual equilibrium... people in the US will lose jobs to outsourcing, while emerging countries will take turns offering the cheapest resources for a given quality (when they themselves are growing). I think the sooner we reach that equilibrium, the better off everyone will be.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          You have a glowing opinion of how globalization will work – at least the way you see it. A great many people see it as terrible and about the worst thing to happen in decades. Local production is necessary in order to preserve the sovereignty of nations and peoples over corporations.

          I’m not going to say free trade = bad because that’s an oversimplification – however it’s much closer to that than it is being [i<]good[/i<].

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Agreed, it’s far more bad than good. The problem is that equilibrium part that NeelyCam mentions is A LOT farther down standard of living wise for Americans. That whole “meet in the middle” might be good for foreigners but is disasterous for Americans. Happens to be awesome for the elite though…

            James Goldsmith got a lot things right, and his views on the subject of global “free trade” are very much worth taking a look at, [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI&feature=related[/url<]

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            I know that moving towards this equilibrium is a bad thing for the USA. I’m just saying it’s inevitable, and it’s a great thing for a lot of other countries.

            The idea that USA deserves to be much richer than other countries is selfish. It’s similar to saying that the top 1% in the USA deserves to be there, and the 99% should just deal with it – the only difference being that in one case it’s internal to the USA, while in the other case it’s global.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            I understand and agree with your position, tiff. I don’t know if you’re necessarily pro free trade, as that isn’t really raised in your post. What you DO say is that our current system is moving jobs overseas, for better or worse, and yeah it sucks for the USA, but what right do you have to complain, when your standard of living is still better than 75% of peoples?

            We’d like to see ALL peoples working, and improving.

            • mattthemuppet
            • 8 years ago

            free trade is what forced American manufacturers (especially car firms) to start producing quality products (same as Australia, UK, Germany etc) as they no longer have a captive market to abuse. Free trade is what gives developed countries cheap products to buy, which keeps down inflation, allowing more people to afford mortgages and buy houses. Free trade would also allow the US to import Brazilian ethanol for less than 1/2 the price of US produced ethanol, resulting in cheaper petrol and fewer government subsidies to ethanol producers (with it’s own problem of raising food prices via competition for food stuffs) BUT the corn lobby have made sure that’s not going to happen.

            So, most people only see the bad side of free trade (jobs going overseas) and never think about the good side (better products for us, more jobs in construction, more stable business environment). They also don’t see how blocking free trade, as per the ethanol tariffs example above, costs us money we can’t afford.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Putting ethanol in your gas tank is a horrible waste of a good drink.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            This is an oversimplification of free trade – and your argument skews heavily towards the pro side.

            While the U.S. was not nearly protectionist enough to support its own autoworkers – Japan was extremely protectionist at the same time it was taking significant market share in the US. As a somewhat side issue despite the success of small cars – the Beetle and others – the executives in Detroit kept pushing enormous gas guzzlers – all the way through the Oil Crisis and beyond. They figured that they didn’t have to address significant markets and their lunch got eaten by their competitors. I point this out because it wasn’t even so much as free markets that caused this – as it was bullheaded stupidity by management. [That same management that fought airbags for decades, fought against seatbelts, fought against fuel efficiency standards, safety standards etc.]

            Your ethanol argument is skewed largely due to the fact that we’re subsidizing corn farmers now and I suspect that you’re factoring that equation in to your argument. Ethanol does not burn cleanly and is a poor usage of land, water and crops. Further – by supporting Brazilian ethanol we would further be contributing to the clear cutting of the Amazon rainforest which in turn further destabilizes global weather patterns and warming.

            Protectionism isn’t a bad thing and in many cases is necessary. Figuring out where to do it (and doing so judiciously) – and why is more important than storming ahead into free trade when there are few benefits. It (through NAFTA) certainly hasn’t helped Mexicans.

            • Ringofett
            • 8 years ago

            NAFTA hasn’t helped the Mexicans? I must’ve been mistaken, reading about the massive industrial output in the North of Mexico, employing tens of thousands, which feed the export market to the US, everything from cars to sunglasses.

            Free trade agreements help some, hurts others, by equalizing the field. The fact there’s a net benefit isn’t debated among people that, you know, study economics. Even those that it hurts initially can boost in the long run, by forcing them to boost productivity to remain afloat. It’s no mistake that when NAFTA was initially being negotiated, all three national leaders had economics degrees.

            You’re mixing a lot of things that fall in categories other then trade, like importing Brazilian ethanol and the rainforest. The Amazon falls within South American sovereign borders and benefits the South American people, economies and ecosystem. Encouraging its protection is valid, but derailing hemisphere-spanning trade talks over something that is inherently little of our business could be rightly called arrogant and a rich-world luxury by the people that live south of the equator.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Have you seen the shanty towns the mexicans who work in those factories live in? Their condition is deplorable.

            People who study economics do not, on a universal scale, support free trade. Unless the only school you are considering is the University of Chicago. Apparently you think that since someone – anyone – who has studied economics has also studied the fallout from free trade and we should all just put up or shut up.

            There is a whole raft of downsides to free trade which is exactly why I mention those very things. They may not have to do with trade directly but they have global impact nonetheless.

    • gorillagarrett
    • 8 years ago

    It’s not about equality here, it’s more about the upper class vs the middle class in a society.

    The upper class in the US, the 1% who own the media, the banking system, and most of the big corporations, shalom, just don’t give a damn about the rest of the people.

    You think you have freedom of choice? Think again.Cuz the country has owners, and those owners are the ones who move things around, not the politicians, the politicians are put there to give the idea that have you freedom of choice…You don’t!!

      • Coydog74
      • 8 years ago

      Businesses and Corporations job is not to care about people, their job is to make a profit for their shareholders.

      And the core reason we have these ‘handlers’ is having Professional Politicians. The job of a Politician is not to serve his constituency but to get re-elected since it is their job. Take the money/power out of the position and see the control others can exert over them wane.

        • entropy13
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Businesses and Corporations job is not to care about people, their job is to make a profit for their shareholders. [/quote<] Of course they're not AUTOMATICALLY should be "caring for the people", but if doing the opposite, "not caring for the people" would eventually lead to them not making "a profit for their shareholders" (I mean, you can't really gain much when your source of demand has greatly reduced disposable income through the years) then they're just shooting themselves. But then again most businesses are sorely short-sighted (at most 2 years) at worst, and medium-term (2-5 years) at best. Unless there's an invasion in the United States, the citizens won't be turning poor in such a "short" period of time.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      I see that “shalom” there. Is this a thinly-disguised anti-semitic rant about Jewish bankers?

        • wierdo
        • 8 years ago

        I thought it was about AIPAC’s disproportionate influence on foreign policy as the second most powerful lobby in the US after the NRA.

        If it’s about Bankers then that’s a silly way to single out a subset of bankers to pick on, not sure what to make of that part, but the rest of the post made sense imo.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          Last I heard AIPAC was *the* most powerful lobby followed by the financial sector.

      • kc77
      • 8 years ago

      You have a good message. But please don’t make this an anti-Semitic, or racial thing. This is about money and power controlling our government and nothing more.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        I saw it as a reference to AIPAC but that’s a good point.

        In past times Jews were associated by the far right as essentially bolshevik.

      • My Johnson
      • 8 years ago

      Yep. Less personal Freedom and economic Liberty for me. And in it’s place more regulations on my personal life.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    Inequality is the biggest problem risking the viability of our society – not the debt. Even if the debt is fixed but the inequality remains, the riots will continue. Tax those who can afford it, funnel the money to those who can’t -reverse the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    The debt discussion is a completely separate issue that, also, needs to be addressed, but if we need to pick one or the other, fixing inequality is #1 priority.

    EDIT: I would actually extend the discussion to the larger elephant in the room: how to improve the competitiveness of the future USA, in preparation for the looming global economic battle with the emerging economies? My first choice would be crazy funding of education, from K to PhD. Make it free, and institute very very selective national exams.

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      I agree. I’m loathe to link elsewhere for arguments, as I find it generally ineffective, but I think the charts [url=http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1<]here[/url<] do a far better job than I ever could of showing how extensive the redistribution of wealth to the wealthy has been for the past few decades. Extensive education funding will be a central pillar of anything to increase our future competitiveness (and not just the USA I would think, but Canada, Europe, and other already developed nations as well), I'm not sure if it would be enough. I'd think we would need a significant increase in research funding to go with it. To make the educational investment have best returns there would also probably need some work on society's stigmatism against "nerds" or "nerdy" subjects; I've met far, far too many people that are "afraid" of math (or science, but that's usually due to its association with math), or had trouble with math when they were younger and just gave it up because they thought they weren't smart enough.

        • Suspenders
        • 8 years ago

        Education can’t on it’s own do the trick; at some point you need to start talking about ending policies like “free trade” that hurt US workers. China and India, just by their population advantage, will easily be able to “out educate” you, especially now that you’ve spent the last 20 years bringing them up to speed on all the latest tech that you invented and traded away for cheap consumer goods.

          • Geistbar
          • 8 years ago

          I feel my point did emphasize that education alone won’t cut it. I’ve never had the time to read up enough on free trade to certain if it’s a net positive or net negative, and I’ve read and heard far too many conflicting opinions on it to be willing to make a quick conclusion of my own.

          The sheer size of China and India should make education harder for them, not easier, I’d think, as it seems one of the biggest troubles facing K-12 education here in the states is the huge scale of it. We have one of the most (possibly the most.. haven’t checked) diverse populations in the world, and it’s a large breadth of diversity as well: cultural, ethnic, lingual, geographic, even religious. We’re also the 3rd most populated country in the world, albeit a [i<]distant[/i<] third place. I think a point tying to that and education is the world's "brain drain". From all I've seen and read, the United States has a very positive net brain drain, with many other societies sending their best and brightest to get their graduate and doctorate degrees here, with a decent number of them staying here. Sufficient education investment will be required in order to maintain that in future years. It'd be bad enough if that ended, I imagine it would be outright disastrous if it were to reverse. Edit: added some stuff.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Well, when I say they’ll beat you in the education game, I mean they can train far more PHd’s, engineers and university graduates than the States can (even with a shoddy primary school system, or % pop with university level education). In fact, I believe they already do. Sure, maybe the quality isn’t the same, but it’s improving, and given that you’ve outsourced your industrial base you can expect it to improve a lot more with all the free industrial experience.

            Hell, the numbers are probably even worse as a lot of American graduates aren’t even American anymore, and will end up going home to compete against you. Hilarious isn’t it? And you might have a positive ‘brain drain” now, but don’t count on that continuing forever, especially if you have a collapse at some point a la Russia in the 90’s. If that happens (and at this point I happen to think it’s probable) you can kiss these people goodbye.

            The real game changer for the future, I think, is finding an alternative energy source to oil and rapidly deploying it. The society and economy that can figure out this problem will be the true economy of the future.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Yep, except China already found the alternative energy source, solar, and is rapidly (and with aggressive government backing) pursuing it and its supporting technologies (lithium-based batteries and their replacements).

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Nowhere near as much as they’re exploiting coal, oil, & hydroelectric, however.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            An emerging market is pretty much forced to tap coal and oil to get the ball rolling. What should be concerning to the USA is that China is investing [i<]heavily[/i<] in solar, because their crystal ball says they'll need that in the future. Meanwhile, USA is stuck in a political gridlock where proposals for government investment in anything environmental is dead in the water... mostly because it would reduce short-term profits of companies who hold the power.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Well, solar may be dead for the moment in this country thanks to the Solyndra scanda anyway. I agree, we do need to develop this technology big time, but thanks to the Obama administration’s bungling on this, and getting ahead of themselves on progressive political powergrabbing, I just don’t see it really taking off here for quite some time. A shame actually…,

            • mattthemuppet
            • 8 years ago

            Out of state and out of country university students pay so much more to study at a given institution for the sake of saying that they have a certain degree that they’re essentially subsidising college education for in state and in country students. That’s not just in the US either, the UK and Australia (possibly Canada too) are the same.

            Blaming other countries/people/races etc for your own woes is a lazy game. We should fix our own problems first before blaming others.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      The interesting thing that most people miss is that in most countries where there is this degree of income inequality a healthy percentage of the population has already taken up arms. If OWS is unsuccessful that 1 percent will have no one but themselves to blame when this goes from protest to riot to executive kidnappings and executions.

      Either this will be solved peaceably – or it will devolve into terrorism out of necessity.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Terrorism uses fear as a weapon. I think if the equality isn’t addressed, the weapons will go way beyond mere fear.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          Agreed which is why I explicitly mentioned executive kidnappings and executions. We’re a long ways off from the worst this is likely to get if something doesn’t change.

      • JohnC
      • 8 years ago

      “Tax those who can afford it, funnel the money to those who can’t” – in other words, “give both groups even less incentive to be a productive member of society”?
      I am not actually opposed to idea of paying more taxes when my income increases even further, but I am unquestionably opposed to giving these $$$ to people who actually don’t want to work at all and instead want to “feed off” off the billions of government wellfare programs or who constantly try to live above their means by leasing/financing/renting various property which they can’t really sustain paying for in long term and which isn’t really necessary for their personal survival or to the people who, for some really screwed-up reason, think that their “labor” as an “american” should be valued more (and they, therefore, should receive more $$$) than the people overseas who are willing to work for less amount of $$$ while producing same exact quality of products, and from my personal (non-internet-based) experience I’ve seen A LOT of such types of people.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        There are vastly more millionaires and corporations receiving hand outs and welfare – and to a much greater degree – than any poor individual actually doing so.

        But basically you’re for the 1 percent and we know that now.

        One day when you see that your job is sent overseas and you’re demanded to either make the same wages they get in Thailand or have no job you’ll perhaps see the ludicrousness of your comment.

          • JohnC
          • 8 years ago

          “One day when you see that your job is sent overseas and you’re demanded to either make the same wages they get in Thailand or have no job…” – I’ll think about it THAT day, I have no reason to think about it NOW (I WILL actually be able to sustain paying for my leased BMW and financed house for a very long time, even if I’ll lose my current $40k salary TODAY). In any case I won’t come crying to the government or try to blame “fat capitalist pigs” or start “teh revolution!!!!11”, I will simply “thank” all the actual people who made that (my job shifted overseas) possible – people from the ever-growing groups that I’ve listed in my previous post.

            • kc77
            • 8 years ago

            If you need to cry to the government in order to survive you’ll do it. It’s human nature to want to survive and you’ll do it by any means necessary. Not like they will save you anyway considering you don’t want them to help anyone. Least of all yourself if you should happen to need it later. See how that works?

            You don’t want the government to help the middle class and poor. So you vote that way and they don’t. So later you complain about the government being corrupt and not doing anything. Do you not see the self defeating prophecy?

            • LaChupacabra
            • 8 years ago

            Dude. A leased BMW and a mortgage on 40k a year? Plus you can make your payments on savings? No. You may have had a leg to stand on before you boasted about 40k a year and driving a beamer, but clearly you are making things up.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “First they came for the jews – and because I wasn’t a jew I paid no mind…”

            • RAMBO
            • 8 years ago

            Killing innocent people-ok with you, not cool. You are probably for the Nazis back then and now you dusche bag.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            *whoosh*

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            what? You should probably google what he said. his position is that people who do nothing when injustice is happening are responsible. he’s saying johnc’s position is paraphrased through the nazi quote. He’s not infavor of murder, and never presented that he was.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Martin Niemoller – look him up his story is interesting and you’ll learn something. He learned his lesson and it was a painful one.

            Edited for clarity and to sound less preachy.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Selfish and short-sighted.

            You may have made the “right” and “low-risk” choices, planning everything perfectly so you can sustain your payments for a “long time” (“long time” is relative… you’re probably thinking something like 6-12mo, but what if it’s 5 years..?). Unfortunately that doesn’t matter. Those around you may have made riskier choices and failed – partly due to their own greed, partly because they were simply lied to and they didn’t know better, while the underlying ‘current’ of money has been slowly trickling up, making these folks even less able to handle their mistakes.

            Regardless of what you’ve done, you’re in this mess, and you will eventually end up paying for others – like it or not, or if it’s fair or not. At that point, you will only hear others saying “you should’ve worked harder to share your wealth when you had a chance… now we just have to take it from you… sorry, life is not fair.”

            The sooner you realize where this inequality is going and what the result will be, the sooner you realize that this mess is real and everyone will have to make sacrifices. And I mean [b<]everyone[/b<]

        • kc77
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]give both groups even less incentive to be a productive member of society"? [/quote<] You do realise that we are the most productive country in the world right? [quote<]but I am unquestionably opposed to giving these $$$ to people who actually don't want to work at all and instead want to "feed off" off the billions of government wellfare programs [/quote<] Are you really comparing someone on welfare of that of Bill Gates. When I was younger I knew people who were on WIC, welfare and more and I would NEVER want to live that. It's not glorious and it's the furthest thing from prosperity I've ever seen. Women trying justify WIC allowances of Cheerios versus oat meal at the check out line.... please. [quote<]who constantly try to live above their means by leasing/financing/renting various property which they can't really sustain paying for in long term and which aren't really necessary for their personal survival[/quote<] If the median income decreases what do you want them to do? Pretend they didn't have parents who were more prosperous than they were? They unfortunately took advantage of easy credit, which had huge downsides. However, this was inevitable as 2 bedroom homes had sky rocketed to 200K + because of the bubble in the housing market. They had a choice of either pulling out credit, or not buying a home for 10 years until the bubble burst. Especially considering many people were given sub prime when they were eligible for prime. All of that is before we even talk about student loans. You get out of college with somewhere between 50k and 90k worth of debt. You get a decent job. However where are you going to live? At that time rent was the same rate as a sub prime mortgage. So pretend like you're 21. What do you do? Do you move back in with your parents or do you get a ARM with the promise that the housing market would continue to rise and before the higher rate kicks in you would be able to refinance? For a lot of people this sounded like a sound thing to do. You cannot fault them for not realising the market for home sales was going to burst and decline when it had never before. [quote<]think that their "labor" as an "american" should be valued more (and they, therefore, should receive more $$$) than the people overseas who are willing to work for less amount of $$$ while producing same exact quality of products, and from my personal (non-internet-based) experience I've seen A LOT of such types of people. [/quote<] So now you are comparing people who sleep in cots AT WORK for days at a time in China (who get paid 2 -3 dollars an hour...if that) with American workers??!?! Really???? I thought things were supposed to get better not worse.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        I would wager that the young generation in society realizes that they will never make it to anything close to millionaire society despite putting in a good hard days work.

        It seems to be all the rich people that push this ‘just be a cog and do a good job and you’ll reap the rewards’. That doesn’t happen anymore. It destroys motivation when you realize the entire system people are pushing on you is a lie and you have nothing to look forward to besides being another person who spits out a couple kids and that’s your only real accomplishment in real life when you’re on the way out.

        CEOs are no different then the aristocrats of old society. There is no way to become one unless you ride the wave of new segments of the market that takes off, which is very rare (how often do you think inventions like the TV or the internet will come around?).

        That aside, there will always be leechers in any society, in any model, in any part of the world. If you think they lack motivation, maybe you should figure out why they just want to coast through life and why something like that appeals to them, rather then condemning them for it.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Yes.

          The “leechers” are a bit of a concern, but when the system works well, they can be an acceptable 5% minority. Fixing the situation for the rest of the population is worth that small sacrifice.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Have you tried living off the minimum wage? Didn’t think so.

        The cost of obtaining equal-quality labor overseas has gone down with enabling technologies (internet) and societal changes there (China). But does that justify letting those who live in the same country as you fall into misery and poverty – potentially even dying out of famine (unlikely, but theoretically possible) or poor/no healthcare (much more likely)?

        Those who somehow manage to amass wealth (saying that they “create” it by having work done overseas is a bit disingenuous.. it’s the Chinese workers that are actually creating the wealth – the “job creators” mainly just gather the benefits), should be sharing it with those sharing the society with them. This is basic human decency and sympathy.

        If that doesn’t happen, the society will become unstable and dangerous to live in – those with nothing to lose will commit desperate acts. They will rob and steal… and saying that this is wrong is a matter of opinion… an equally (if not more) valid argument is that not sharing the wealth with them in the first place is wrong… by “robbing and stealing” they are just claiming the share that enables them to live a somewhat dignified life in the society in which the cost of living has been pushed up by those with wealth.

          • zoom314
          • 8 years ago

          Minimum wage, there’s worse than that, particularly If one is unable to work and then being razed by Mooses who think they know It all…
          But yeah the Minimum wage isn’t really livable, not without Food Stamps, which some clueless idiot Republican says is a sign of corruption since more people are in need of It cause of the recession, could I use Food Stamps? Sure, but cause of a stupid State vs Fed argument I doubt I ever will…
          SSI isn’t even adequate(It’s lower than the Minimum wage), as I can’t rent about 99% of the apartments in the USA and neither can anyone who gets SSI(SSI is not Social Security, SSI is Supplemental Security Income) and some would rather cut My throat than be compassionate, but that would be asking too much of heartless Troglodyte Repugs I guess…

      • KeillRandor
      • 8 years ago

      The one thing that is also HEAVILY contributing to this problem, is the extensive, structural focus on short-term thinking – including planning and its rewards.

      If business is, by design, all about the next quarter, then that’s what will get the focus, not the next 1,2 or even 5, let alone 10 or 20 years.

      This is so entrenched now, even within government, for being all about the next 4 years at most, (though usually 2 it seems in the USA), that the long-term thinking that is REQUIRED for a country to be successful in the long-term, doesn’t seem to exist any more.

      This was the primary reason why the House of Lords in the UK was NOT set-up originally to be an elected house – by taking its members from the established ‘aristocracy’ – it was supposed to be able to take a long-term view, in relation to the House of Commons more short-term perspective. Obviously, this has now been affected too.

      President Obama’s healthcare bill is also suffering from the lack of long-term thinking and planning – both for what it contains, because the politicians won’t think that far ahead, (for various reasons), and also by people within the country, because some of what it offers, (even if beneficial), is not coming into affect immediately.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        On Obama’s healthcare bill – the main reason why it’s suffering from lack of long-term thinking is that if long-term thinking was pursued, it would be dead in Congress because it would reduce profits of those who are funding the representatives that are supposedly representing people (and no – companies are not “people”).

        Ban lobbying now.

          • KeillRandor
          • 8 years ago

          Which is why I said politicians thinking short term and being rewarded for it, is part of the problem 😉

          So much of this problem has been allowed to snowball and grow, that at this rate, the only way to fix it will be a revolution/civil war. It’s not quite as bad in the UK in some respects, (though maybe worse in others), but it’s still generally heading in the same direction, just a way behind the USA – (thanks to our ‘socialist’ benefits system etc.) – but we’re still heading downhill in general…

          The problem, is that the economy globally is completely out of balance now, and too many people are doing their best to keep it that way, because it’s in their interests to do so for a variety of reasons, at the expense of humanity itself in general.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Yes, and I didn’t disagree with you – I just gave my 2c.

            The last paragraph is so good I wish I could give it +5.

            [quote<]The problem, is that the economy globally is completely out of balance now, and too many people are doing their best to keep it that way, because it's in their interests to do so for a variety of reasons, at the expense of humanity itself in general.[/quote<] Couldn't agree more.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          Just an observation: If lobbying would have been banned, Obamacare would have never passed in the first place.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            It was the Insurance Lobby that neutered it.

            Why the hell is there a clause requiring everyone to [b<]buy[/b<] insurance from the established players?!?!? Why aren't the profit-making insurance companies simply bypassed by a single payer? Why do these insurance companies still exist? What do they bring to the table that a central governmental agency can't provide better? Insurance companies do nothing but obfuscate the procedure-cost link. I try to find out how much my doctor's visit costs, and I get NO ANSWER (in spite of the fact that the cost comes directly out of my health savings account). Ridiculous. For-profit health insurance companies need to be dismantled and replaced by a non-profit entity such as the government.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            “It was the Insurance Lobby that neutered it.”

            Agreed. They had some help from Big Pharma as well…

            “Why the hell is there a clause requiring everyone to buy insurance from the established players?!?!? Why aren’t the profit-making insurance companies simply bypassed by a single payer?”

            In principle, I agree. I just have an issue with a centralized federal government being that single payer.
            I’d rather see it attempted at the state level first, more on a Romneycare model to start out.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            That’s fair. That’s how we passed it in Canada, with Sask leading the way.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]I just have an issue with a centralized federal government being that single payer. I'd rather see it attempted at the state level first[/quote<] You know, I keep hearing this stuff from a lot of folks. Personally, I don't understand why people insist that everything should be done at a state level instead of federal level. Why is there this trust towards state governments but mistrust of federal governments? The scale of the federal government can bring cost efficiencies in things like insurance... federal negotiating power is far stronger than that of an individual state.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      I agree. It’s sad despite the education, a lot of the American populace is controlled by what is shown on TV, not their own brains. It’s something that will need to be broken before we can move forward with any sort of national scheme to push forward America as a whole. The current zeitgeist in america needs to die out, that includes anyone that is unable to use a computer, which is the majority of the baby boomer generation.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        I think a basic course in household economics and planning (including loans, credit cards, budgets etc.) should be mandatory. People need to learn how to protect themselves from predatory financial and commercial institutions.

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          I agree with this as well. This should be part of a highschool curiculum. This could even be mixed with some sort of business managment classes to help people figure out how to manage money and what to and not to do. We already educate kids on unsafe sex practices, working with money is no different. If you don’t wear a condom it can be a lifetime responsibility.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Absolutely. Actually, I meant it should be part of K-12 education, I just forgot to mention it specifically.

            In Finland, home economics is part of “home room” class (which is mandatory).

            • odizzido
            • 8 years ago

            We have that in Canada as well. A mandatory course is high school called Career and Life Management, though as the title of the course suggests it goes far beyond just economics.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            yeah. you have to learn all kinds of dork stuff. the problem with it is, that because there is so many different views on what the best policies are, they present a whole bunch, and confuse most of the class. I remember when i took “career and personal planning” (what it’s called in the sd i went to), it was a mixture of neoclassical economics with “spending is great!, etc” mixed with “some people have other views, like socialism!”. it’s apparently a pretty political topic, that seems to get a lot of people chomping at the bit. MY EXPERIENCE with the course was that it sucked. That’s not to say it has to, but mine did.

      • PixelArmy
      • 8 years ago

      Selective national exams? Have you seen the PC blowback for anything that can possibly rank and sort people by merit? The lawyers will sue. The exams will deemed a form of bias and no longer be used. Everyone gets in and goes for the best degree, cause hey, why not? Massive costs, no one learns anything. It also furthers what we have now, degree inflation. Somehow we do need to raise our standards.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        His point about free education – at least prior to the PhD level has a lot of merit and would help make us much more competitive globally. Particularly if we go back to funding trade schools as well.

        There are proven disparities in how people learn and who tests better. There is some solid evidence of that.

        Your pessimism though doesn’t help anything.

          • PixelArmy
          • 8 years ago

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for education. We seriously lack math skills, among others. I’m a product of public schools and state university. We pretty much have “free” education now K-12. And yes there are testing and teaching disparities, but my point is that at some time you have to accept standards instead of fighting them endlessly or lowering them which we do now. Trade schools are a good option, but once again we lower the bar for “normal” college so why wouldn’t kids go that route? (Telling a kid to go to trade school can also be seen as calling ’em dumb, a no-no).

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            You should ask yourself who is fighting these standards and for what reasons. As well you should ask if the standards are to any real benefit or if they’re only real reason is to undermine public education.

            Back in my day children were kept back a year, sometimes two in order to get them back on track. This had the negative effect of making some kids feel dumb – but even worse it made parents mad because they didn’t want to feel like they’re not doing their job (or are bad parents. But let’s face it – the time one can spend on parenting now is much lower than it was in the 70s and in some states, like mine, the schools are deliberately starved of income). That adds up to a situation where it’s nigh impossible to keep kids back any more.

            Further – people learn most optimally in 1-2 different ways (out of six total). Students are not tested in how they learn best and are not matched to teachers that can teach those styles most optimally.

            Additionally students in poorer areas get teachers that are not as good as those in rich areas.

            It makes sense to send students to a trade school that do those things better. Not everyone is cut out for academia. That isn’t a value judgement – people just have different aptitudes, skills and abilities. Instead of forcing a one size fits all methodology we should be working to students’ strengths.

            Last of all you appear to believe in some objective form of “merit”. I don’t think you’ll be likely to find a lot of consensus on what constitutes merit – or who best personifies it.

            A side issue of what is being taught and why is due to the vastly disproportionate number of fundamentalist christians on curriculum councils – and how the majority of them are trying their level best to take science out of the classroom. And don’t get me started on how stilted american history (and to a slightly lesser extent world history) is.

            [Unfortunately my browser ate the first version of this post]

            • PixelArmy
            • 8 years ago

            I actually couldn’t care less how you teach or test them. But they have to be reflective of the standards and obviously that’s not happening. This is what I mean by merit, the person passing judgement decides based on the standards. How you determine again, I don’t care, just stop lowering the bar.

            How about the standard they apply when they say “the US is behind country XYZ in whatever”?!? How about when they say “X% of of students in grade Y don’t read at level Y?!?!?

            For all this amorphous talk, I think we can agree we’re falling short.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “I actually couldn’t care less how you teach or test them. ” That’s really the problem right there. There are some very real hurdles to cross in regards to education – participation by the community and funding just being a few pieces.

            The person passing judgement can be unqualified or be deliberately trying to tear down public schooling for their own ends. None of this is simple stuff.

            We agree that we’re falling short. I disagree that it is amorphis.

            • PixelArmy
            • 8 years ago

            I’m saying let’s assume you can teach and test perfectly, but make sure the content is up to par and don’t lower par…

            Now you’re gonna say, who determines par? And then we’ll assume there’s the [i<]bad[/i<] guy in charge and then we'll just continue on with no real standard right? The fact that this seems controversial is why I'm pessimistic, proves my point exactly. But wait, I see we agree we're falling short? How'd [i<]you[/i<] make that determination of "short"? I think the country as a whole has just been ranked unfairly...

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            We’re falling short in my estimation because we’ve simply stopped investing in our own populace. There’s been a push for women/girls to learn engineering and other math dominated sectors since roughly the late 70s. The funding for that has largely come to an end. Additionally there is no emphasis on it at all for men/boys – who are slipping horribly (across the board education wise) according to the latest statistics I’ve seen.

            We allow companies to hire from overseas instead of putting money into schools (H1-B visas for one example).

            As a nation the first thing that gets cut in the vast majority of states is education.

            Since there’s no price tag on the future – and we refuse to reel companies in and make them accountable we can look forward to seeing all our jobs off shored as a result. And then we’ll all be screwed.

            How does California – a state that would (and should in my opinion) be roughly the 8th largest economy spend less per capita than Tennessee? Because of greed, propaganda and short -sightedness – all of which are adding up to making the students there less competitive than elsewhere.

            Further the right has been campaigning against public schooling nation wide for over 30 years – adding up to why there are so many charter schools – schools that are completely unaccountable to anyone.

            I think that testing in and of itself is a largely flawed way to determine someone’s skills. How people best respond to how a test is conducted, by whom etc. all have an effect on how well some people do. Just as interviews don’t find the best person for the job – they find the best person _at interviewing_ that comes up for the job (which continues to perpetuate the human resources departments and justify their existence). If you’ve ever raised children then you’ve gone over a test and said “hey, why did you miss this – I know you know it – you just showed me you knew it yesterday” you’ll grasp that testing has some downsides to it.

            Just as some people learn in more of an auditory, visual, kinesthetic etc. way – testing should be broad as well.

          • sreams
          • 8 years ago

          There is no such thing as a service (education) being free.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Likewise there is a social cost for an uneducated populace.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            Finally! A point we can completely agree on.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        You can do it wrong, or you can do it right. Whining, arguing against ranking and sorting, lawsuits… the wrong way to do it.

        Check out national exams in various countries outside the USA. Those systems aren’t perfect in measuring individual skills, but they help weed out those who don’t really have the intellectual ability to succeed in college.

        And I’m not talking about today’s “succeeding” in college. I’m talking about real success – learning something truly useful that will benefit the society some day.

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          You know, adding to this, I think you should be able to get into college ‘for free’ if you pass such exams OR by the traditional method of paying. I personally wouldn’t have gotten into college on a highschool exam (that was how long my motivation was at the time), but after I finally got into college I really started to enjoy the actual experience and learning a specific topic. Normal highschool and lower was a boring experience for me and as such I didn’t really care enough to do the busy work to get a ultra awesome grade or memorize everything. k-12 really is quite easy. Getting a good grade in it is highly dependent on memorization and pretty much just memorization.

          I digress, there are entire areas of psychology devoted to learning and numerous different methods for teaching. Options are always a good thing to have though.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            I have to disagree about the “traditional method of paying”. That promotes inequality and is against merit-based admission. Monetary resources should not play any role in admission or ability to attend – if they do, we’re going down the same income-gap-increasing path that has gotten us into the current mess.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Not all people have the same preparation to pass such exams. This is why IQ tests are highly subjective. You can take one IQ test and do terrible on it and take another do amazing on it. The whole subject of testing is another contested area… What actually constitutes being smart or intellectual?

            Why would being able to get into a school with money work against admission based on a test? Both parties can get in, there are multiples routes. A degree isn’t based solely on being admitted, there is plenty of work to do before they receive it. Paying a penalty and pay tuition could be used as a gating method as well. If their grades end up high enough then they could be put onto the same route as people who entered with a test.

            There doesn’t need to be one or the other, there can be both.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      “…reverse the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.”

      An impossibility. One cannot redistribute wealth from poor to rich. One needs wealthy poor to do so, and that is an oxymoron.

      Perhaps you meant to say “force distribution of wealth”?

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        are you silly? of course you can take what little wealth the poor have and give it to the rich. it happens all over the entire world, and has for ever. You know that.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          The concepts of “poor” and “wealth” are mutually exclusive terms. A “poor” person having a “little wealth” is like a pregnant woman only being “a little bit pregnant”.

          Now, I ask you, which sounds more nuts – “forced distribution of wealth”, or “wealthy of the poor”?

          The phrase “wealth of the poor” is a concept straight from the leftist loon lexicon coined to obfuscate the issue, not to mention technically innaccurate. If the poor, by some stretch of logic do have any meaningful wealth to speak of, then the rich somehow extracting this wealth is not a >redistribution< of any sort, but quite the opposite in fact – a >concentration< of wealth, no?

          This is exactly the kind of progressive perversion of the lexicon I’m referring to. First they steal and twist words, then get others to mindlessly parrot these thought stopping cliches, or mindless & illogical catchphrases composed of mangled word usage to suit an agenda.

          Words DO mean things.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            You’re simply not right.
            “having little or no money, goods, or other means of support:” from [url<]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/poor[/url<] it's not the same at all. your position is to put everything in a complete black/white perspective, which is foolish, and wrong. You know better than that. I've said before you're either trolling, or dumber than you appear.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            Or he’s astroturfing. Regardless his posts typically show no sign of grasping facts, history or honesty.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            You’re right. I have no grasp of deconstructed history. You however come off as arrogant and condescending with constantly berating those who simply hold an opposing view to your own. That makes you look ideological and hence foolish. You’re arguments are always either partisan, and loaded with ‘right winger’ labeling perjoratives, or demonizing. Typical behavior of leftist/socialist lovin’ loons. Whether you are one or not, I won’t say. But don’t think for a moment that those of us who’ve actually lived longer than you have apparently (and have a better, more thorough grasp of >actual< history) simply know better than you and see you’re drivel for what it really is: the same crappola policies of the current administration, and ideas of Saul Alinsky, Clower/Pivens, and Marx/Engels,

            We can smell folks like you a mile off….

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Now you’re just trolling, and it’s not even very respectable trolling.

            At least when I’m trolling I’m careful about not using personal attacks, and I try to have some evidence behind my comments. You have nothing but opinions.

            BTW, off topic a bit, but why does this site still go down periodically? I had written a long response to one of muratasector’s other posts, but it got dumped into the infinite emptiness of cyberspace by a non-responsive server… again. I find this quite annoying.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            I’ll give you a cyber hug

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Thx, I needed it! <3

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            “Now you’re just trolling, and it’s not even very respectable trolling.

            At least when I’m trolling I’m careful about not using personal attacks, and I try to have some evidence behind my comments. You have nothing but opinions.”

            Personal attacks have been launched by DAM towards me first and far more. It does get a little old after awhile, and even I have my limits and fall victim to doing so in response. But you’re right, I should be more careful.

            “BTW, off topic a bit, but why does this site still go down periodically? I had written a long response to one of muratasector’s other posts, but it got dumped into the infinite emptiness of cyberspace by a non-responsive server… again. I find this quite annoying.”

            I noticed the same thing. Quite often in the wee hours of the morning. I just assumed I’ve been running across some server maintenance/update window or something.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 8 years ago

            “Personal attacks have been launched by DAM towards me first and far more.”

            You and I both know that’s untrue. I’ve attacked your posts but I’ve stayed away from ad hominem arguments. Who’s the one that started calling names – you in another thread. Not that any of that matters but painting yourself as the victim seems more than a little disingenuous.

            If you don’t want to get hammered for posting nonsense then don’t post it. I enjoy a well thought out post from anyone – it doesn’t matter where they consider themselves politically – but cut and paste of the usual Koch-fueled propaganda isn’t something that I want to read and furthermore adds nothing to the discussion.

            However, you have a tendency to not give examples and post opinion as fact – without even showing *why* it is you believe it. I’m happy to take your posts seriously if you’re going to show your work instead of going off half cocked.

            We’ve given each other props in tech discussions so it isn’t a personal thing at least on my side.

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Because of that I always write my responses on wordpad or some such first, and copy paste them 🙂

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            I beg to differ. I’m >spot on< in fact. You’re missing the point. I’m taking issue with the sloppy usage of the phrase “reverse the redistribution of wealth”. Redistribution of wealth is what was being discussed. This is an ideology espoused by leftists. That is a simple undeniable >fact<. Argue the point all you like, but doing so will look rather foolish. OTOH, >reversing< such is more akin to what conservatives and libertarians want – got it now? It’s this kind of obfuscation and word mangling that I have a problem with. “reverse” + “redistribution of wealth”, when combined as such means you >don’t< want distribution of wealth, got it now? (Gawd, I hate having to make the other side’s arguments for them…)

            All of this is foolish anyway. The discussion of forcing redistribution of wealth is immoral and assinine. If the OWS movement want to protest something meaningful, don’t be so ‘wealth’ focused, but >OPPORTUNITY< monopolization oriented, and bitch about how corporamerika is outright >stealing< that. Bitch about the >means< and opportunities of achieving wealth being ripped off, not the reward of wealth itself. It plays right into an appearance of class enviousness, which itself is selfish and stupid.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            No – you’re wrong, just like SSK said (and I your arrogance hilarious).

            Your failure is in the word “wealth”. You take it to mean a large amount of property, cash or other items/things of value. I meant “[i<]an[/i<] amount" - not "[i<]a large[/i<] amount". Even poor can have wealth... for instance, $500 on their bank account, some furniture etc. [url<]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wealth[/url<] [quote<]"Wealth: 3. Economics. a. all things that have a monetary or exchange value. b. anything that has utility and is capable of being appropriated or exchanged."[/quote<] "Redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich" meant taking what the poor have and in effect transferring it to the rich. Reversing this flow means taking wealth from the rich and transferring it to the poor. You're also stuck with the idea that this term "redistribution" has been used to describe "leftist" policies, and somehow believe that's its only appropriate use of the word. I disagree, and I used it in a different context. You calling my argument "sloppy", "word mangling" etc. just because [i<]you[/i<] failed to understand what was meant is a weak argument. Also, calling transferring something of value from the rich to the poor "foolish", "immoral" and "assinine[sic]", and saying that someone raising the property/income gap as an issue is "bitching" is arrogance, poor form and all-around bad debating. If you fail to see how the current system is supporting the rich at the expense of the poor through lobbying, you should perhaps try to look at the situation with a slightly more open mind. I don't know why you're so upset about all this, and why you can't take an impassionate look at the other side's argument.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            No – you’re wrong, just like SSK said (and I your arrogance hilarious).

            “Your failure is in the word “wealth”. You take it to mean a large amount of property, cash or other items/things of value. I meant “an amount” – not “a large amount”. Even poor can have wealth… for instance, $500 on their bank account, some furniture etc.”

            “I’m well aware of “small amounts” of wealth as a definition, but surely you weren’t discussing or advocating the idea that this too should be targeted for redistribution, or that the ‘wealth’ being referred to in >this< discussion is the wealth of poor folks? Sounds like more mental gymnastics to me…

            [url<]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wealth[/url<] "Wealth: 3. Economics. a. all things that have a monetary or exchange value. b. anything that has utility and is capable of being appropriated or exchanged."" Semantics... "Redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich" meant taking what the poor have and in effect transferring it to the rich." Which is a >concentration< of wealth (just as I said), not "distribution", or "redistribution" of any kind. If the rich are the so called "1%" and the everyone else falls into the "99%", transference of wealth from the latter to the former (as implied by the context of the discussion) is not >distributing< anything, but a >concentration< of it, rather like the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics applied in reverse. Generally, "distribution" or means an apportionment,or "spreading around" or across, between, amongst. The usage of the phrase redistribution >is indeed< a sloppy usage of the word at best, and immoral/asinine at its worst because it implies taking something, or someone's actual possession (that which they already have or entitled to by virtue of having earned it) and reassigning distribution of the same. Playing fast and loose with the two terms synonymously is indeed "word mangling"... ------ dis·trib·ute (d-strbyt) v. dis·trib·ut·ed, dis·trib·ut·ing, dis·trib·utes a. To spread or diffuse over an area; scatter: distribute grass seed over the lawn. b. To apportion so as to be evenly spread throughout a given area: 180 pounds of muscle that were well distributed over his 6-foot frame. 4. To separate into categories; classify. Synonyms: distribute, divide, dispense, dole1, deal1, ration These verbs mean to give out in portions or shares. "Reversing this flow means taking wealth from the rich and transferring it to the poor. You're also stuck with the idea that this term "redistribution" has been used to describe "leftist" policies, and somehow believe that's its only appropriate use of the word. I disagree, and I used it in a different context." The term "redistribution", when tied to "wealth" >is< a traditional leftist view, but your notion that I'm stuck with only an understanding of the >progressive< meaning/application of the word is 1> presumptive, and 2> glosses right over the context of the discussion which prompted my comment. That, or perhaps you are of a >regressive< view that poor folk's wealth should be targeted for distribution as well? All the arguments for such 'redistribution' seem to always be based on "according to need" justifications, and not any "according to deeds" variant of socialism. This gives the appearance of a leaning towards jumping right to a more radical form of redistribution because it also opens to door to such things as >property redistribution< (ie: eminent domain), or >nationalization< of property, or regulations ordering owners to make their property available to others, or inheritance taxation, all of which devalue the concept of personal property. "You calling my argument "sloppy", "word mangling" etc. just because you failed to understand what was meant is a weak argument." I understood *exactly* what you meant. I simply disagree with it AND the sloppy usage of the phrase. "Also, calling transferring something of value from the rich to the poor "foolish", "immoral" and "assinine[sic]", and saying that someone raising the property/income gap as an issue is "bitching" is arrogance, poor form and all-around bad debating." Agreed, it would be arrogant and all around bad debating. Unfortunately it is also a non-sequitur logically misapplied in >this< case - I said absolutely >nothing< about reducing the income/property gap. That's either a strawman of your making, semantic wordplay for subtle goal post shifting purposes, or at the very least, mangled logic. If you are talking about redistribution of economic means and >opportunities< (as provided by more stringent >regulation<, or reigning in of corporate/financial predatory/monopolization practices), I'm all for exploring, weighing, considering this - *provisionally*. If we're talking about a simple 'raise taxes on the wealthy' just >because< they're already wealthy, I'm opposed to such because the 'wealth' of wealthy isn't always just sitting dormant, simply being hoarded in some private vault by old scrooge types. That simplistic view is pure class envy drivel that ultimately ignores a positive aspect of capitalism, and leads to economic stagnation due to invoking the protective fear instincts of the very folks who are by nature, entrepreneurial investors that provide economic growth engines. Any argument contrary to this fact is rooted in no less than a Marxist utopian position (hence, immature/naive') or view - EOS. Furthermore, and I never said there wasn't some validity to 'bitching' (as implied by your arbitrary devaluation of the word), either. It's simply rather myopic to focus on class envy as a singular root cause of societal ills without ALSO looking at the cohorts in crime that led us into this scenario - in this case, our own government, AS WELL AS the multinational corporations with no real allegiance to this country. Broad brushing/demonizing >all< rich folks however, is just as immoral, asinine, and selfish as the Wall Street criminals themselves.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            Most of your post was TLDNR, but:

            “Broad brushing/demonizing >all< rich folks however, is just as immoral, asinine, and selfish as the Wall Street criminals themselves.”

            I agree that it’s not a good way to proceed, and that generalizing people into groups is ALWAYS a bad idea. I’m not sure there is an easy way out. I don’t agree that wealth redistribution is any less moral than the current system, it MAY however make us ALL worse off in the long run. I think it comes back to rampant decadence in our world, and a fundamental immorality in our lifestyles.

      • CBHvi7t
      • 8 years ago

      “Inequality is the biggest problem risking the viability of our society – not the debt.”
      > It is the same thing. Where there is inequality there is a lot of money that needs to get “invested”. The rich and powerful need the government to go into debt to have a “place” to store their wealth.
      At the root of nearly all problems is bad distribution / inequality /greed, pretty much the same thing.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      “Inequality is the biggest problem risking the viability of our society – not the debt. Even if the debt is fixed but the inequality remains, the riots will continue.”

      I would agree that inequality (like so many other things) has escalated beyond control. But even it has a proper place/role in the universe

      “The debt discussion is a completely separate issue that, also, needs to be addressed, but if we need to pick one or the other, fixing inequality is #1 priority….”

      JMO – I’d say the two issues are far more interdependent than one might realize, however I would agree that discussion of both is absolutely required, and up until recently, inequality has taken more of a back seat.

      Oh, and BTW, be careful of any discussion of elephants on this issue – SSK already went there. <g>

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