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Feb 19 2014

KBφ

So the obscenely rich aren’t just profiting off us, they’re laughing at us. The wealthy scum floating at the top of New York society have an annual dinner at which they dress up and sing parody songs and gloat about their money and privilege, and this year a reporter crashed the party and wrote it up. It’s as disgusting as you might imagine.

He was eventually caught out and escorted out. It’s a good sign that he wasn’t summarily shot or even knouted, but that the frantic billionaires tried to bribe him not to run the story.

I wasn’t going to be bribed off my story, but I understood their panic.  Here, after all, was a group that included many of the executives whose firms had collectively wrecked the global economy in 2008 and 2009. And they were laughing off the entire disaster in private, as if it were a long-forgotten lark. (Or worse, sing about it — one of the last skits of the night was a self-congratulatory parody of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” called “Bailout King.”) These were activities that amounted to a gigantic middle finger to Main Street and that, if made public, could end careers and damage very public reputations.

Young, naive, idealistic reporter (they still make those?)! They knew nothing would end careers or damage reputations — they don’t really care that much about what the little people say about them, except that they might face a slight loss of dignity with people they normally just wipe off their shoes.

The press is in their pocket. Nothing will be done. No outrage will follow. The Occupy movement dribbled away into ineffectiveness. The next presidential battle will be an absurdly extravagant event between an array of corporate stooges who are entirely reliant on donations from billionaires to get elected. They can piss on us all they want, and we’ll argue ferociously over which grand protector of the pissoire we should vote for.

438 comments

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  1. 1
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    I saw this yesterday (I think it was… I work nights, so keeping track of what day I do things is confusing at times) and I just shook my head and sighed. This really should get a lot more focus and attention, but it probably won’t.

  2. 2
    mildlymagnificent

    I’m not so sure that the Occupy “dribbled” away. Does anyone think that the current general awareness of inequality, esp of the difference between the 1% and the rest of us, would have happened without something like the protests to drive the idea to start with? I knew about it before, and lots of people I know were aware of it – most of them had read The Spirit Level by Wilkinson and Pickett – but it seemed for several years that it was just an interest of the kind of social justice types we mixed with.

    But once Occupy did their thing, the whole notion of inequality got a big push right into the centre of politics – at least in the USA.

  3. 3
    pyrion

    I never understood how you can call the US a democracy if the whole funding of parties is dependent on rich people. It’s absolotely clear that with such a system all parties have to cater for the needs of the rich.

  4. 4
    Nick Gotts

    pyrion@3,

    But of course (as I’m sure you know) it’s useful to the rich to call it a democracy, so that’s what it’s called.

  5. 5
    urbanwitch

    Instead of limits on donations, what the US needs are limits on spending for campaigns. Then it won’t matter how much money a candidate can attract; if spending goes over the limit he is disqualified. Obviously, the way things have gone in recent years, this would have to include all spending on behalf of the candidate – even the ads that they don’t arrange themselves.

  6. 6
    Rob Grigjanis

    The conditions which led to Occupy haven’t improved, have they? I’d say ‘abated for the moment’ rather than ‘dribbled away into ineffectiveness’.

  7. 7
    Anri

    Again, the sort of thing I’d expect to be in The Onion. Seriously:

    “There’s the semi-secret cabal of Wall Street Execs who get together to eat lamb and make fun of the people they’ve bankrupted! And it started during the Great Depression, man!”

    It’s depressing when telling the difference between nutty conspiracy theories and real events becomes categorically difficult.

  8. 8
    wcorvi

    It seems to me this IS a real problem. The 1% pay the rest so little, the poor can’t buy any of the junk their companies produce. So, we need the government to give out money to poor people to fix that. Actually, there isn’t any real need to give it to poor people, since it should end up in the hands of the rich – that’s just a waste of a step. What we really need is for the government to just give the handouts to the rich!

  9. 9
    Ronald Couch

    Where we are is where we’ve always been. I was Jay Gould who said: “I can hire half the working class to kill the other half.” Plus change, etc.

  10. 10
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Occupy Wall Street didn’t really dribble away (in my useless opinion). It was killed. Deliberately and with malice. It was killed by corporate media who lick the ass of the one percent. It was killed by propaganda so shameless that Pravda would blush. It was killed by police who have been militarized and, now that they have the combat power of infantry companies, look for excuses to use that power. It was killed by fairness in media. It was killed by media that tries desperately to prove that it is not liberal. It was killed to make it possible for the malefactors of great wealth to hold parties such as the one described.

  11. 11
    bargearse

    NOW can we get the tumbrels rolling?

  12. 12
    irisvanderpluym

    Seconding Ogvorbis.

    We live in an oligarchic kleptocracy.

    Quoth PZ: “They can piss on us all they want, and we’ll argue ferociously over which grand protector of the pissoire we should vote for.” Lesser of two evils, blah blah blah. I have a headache just thinking about it.

    America’s Owners will never let a real reformer (or an actual lefty) anywhere near power.

  13. 13
    jblumenfeld

    First: #5 Urbanwitch – I totally agree. Also limit the time spent campaigning. In the UK its what, 6 weeks? Do they really get worse elected officials than we do?

    Now, for the main event. Cards on the table, I know a fair number of the people present at that event, and they are not shy about their assholery. Can we really be shocked that they are even worse when they think that nobody’s looking? They’ve always hated poor people and always been grandiose about themselves.

    But here’s what I think is new – they don’t just hate the stereotypical poor and minorities. Nowadays they hate everybody who makes less than about $250,000 a year. I have had to restrain myself at meetings with some of these jerks several times and it is definitely entering my thought process when considering doing business with them.

    Now, I don’t mind people getting rich, but the attitude of these people is just disgusting – one day they may find that their fears are a self-fulfilling prophecy because the kind of inequality they love is just unsupportable.

  14. 14
    anteprepro

    Thirding Ogvorbis. The Occupy movement didn’t dribble away. It was stomped out.

  15. 15
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Guillotines.

  16. 16
    Randide, Mais il faut cultiver notre jardin

    Guillotines

    Yes. The ones from the French Revolution.

    The rusty ones. That may take two or three times to get the job done.

  17. 17
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    @15 – Josh

    Well, that is what happened the last time the divide became too great. Updated technology might allow us to skip the whole literal beheading part, but I can’t say that some of me doesn’t think the sheer presence of one of those horrible things would speed up the acceptance of the notion that 99%ers aren’t just going to slink off home quietly anymore.

  18. 18
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    It’s good to see that, like Anne Frank and her family, the super-wealthy can still find simple pleasures in life while hiding from the scourge of the Poverty Nazis.

  19. 19
    zb24601

    Is it just me, or does anyone else see parallels between where the society in the US today is heading, and French society in the mid to late 18th century, i.e., just before the French Revolution? How did that work out for the French 1%?

    IMHO: A society cannot function well without some income inequality, but it will tear itself apart if there is too much income inequality. There is a sweet spot where it works well for all levels of society, and we are well past that sweet spot and going farther.

    Personally, I want to be in a society where no one goes hungry, everyone has access to quality medical care (including mental health care) and no one is homeless. If I have to pay higher taxes to make that happen, that’s fine by me. If that means I can’t be rich, so be it. I’d rather be poor in a society like that than rich in a society where chronically hungry homeless people die on the streets for lack of health care.

  20. 20
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I’m tellin’ ya, sooner or later it’s gonna be guillotines or the modern equivalent. And it will be no surprise at all.

  21. 21
    Michel Fortin

    This remind me of a documentary by Pierre Falardeau, filmed under false pretense, describing a similar evening of Québec’s big shot at the Beaver Club : “Le temps des bouffons” (jesters’ days). The movie was released in 1993 and was largely copied and distributed underground at the director’s suggestion.

    A few highlights:

    We’re in 1957, Ghana. Every year, cult members celebrate the british colonial system. They’re possessed by gods called governor, general, governor’s wife, … Once a year the poors eat dog.

    We’re 1985, Québec. Every year, the colonial upper class celebrate at the Beaver Club. Here, no possessed, just possessors. [...] Here the masters play the role of masters, the slaves remain slaves.

    Today’s upper class full of shit disguised in yesterday’s upper class full of shit celebrate the good old days. [...] The good old days are 200 years ago. The fur gang slowly form the elite of the time. The robbers slowly become respectable citizens. They launder dirty money by becoming bankers, lords, politicians, judges. That’s the Beaver Club at the beginning.

    All the rapacious assholes are there. Every benefactor of humanity. Vultures to whom we put up statues, profiteers regarded as philanthropists, some blokes friends of the system disguised as senile senators, …

    That’s Québec’s history in miniature. Québec’s reality summarized : clear, definite at last, magnified. [...] They shout loud and clear, without shame, their rights to profit, their rights to exploit, their rights to other people’s sweat. [...] They sing that everything’s alright, nothing can change, it will be forever.

    [...] Full of shit, round-neck, by dint of stupidity and pretentiousness. Dishonests, liars, thiefs. And they breed from father to son. A disgrace to humanity!

    In Ghana, the poors eat dogs. Here, the dogs eat poors. And they’re puzzled when we put one in a trunk [refering to a politician's assassination by a terrorist cell of the FLQ in 1970; yes, he did go there].

    An excerpt from the club’s president closing speech:

    …never any club has been so honoured and so magnificently rewarded on its two-hundredth anniversary to have such a magnificent membership as you are. To all of you, our members, to all of us, let’s applaud ourselves. We are magnificent people and I raise my hat to all of us. Bravo. You are as beautiful as I think I am.

    It ends with a quote from La Boétie : “They are great only because we’re on our knees.”

    The movie is on Youtube

    Wikipedia

  22. 22
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Amazing how many people will find this behavior to be a shock. The American capacity for overlooking the obvious contempt and dehumanized way in which the rich see the rest of us is bottomless.

    They have always hated the poor, or the merely not rich. Always. And when they’re allowed to aggregate Gilded-Age-level wealth they *always* show their true colors this way. These are the same people who had union workers killed in the early 20th century. They’ll do it today, too.

    Rich people fucking hate you. They don’t care that you, self-pwning “middle class” person, vote Republican (though I do and I despise you for it). They hate you, and they’d see you starving and powerless or dead before they gave a thought to your humanity.

  23. 23
    proudofcoincidence

    The Occupy movement didn’t get anyone elected and didn’t pass any laws. If you want to accomplish something those are the two things that need to happen. Anything else amounts to throwing yourself a pity party. Let’s be productive for a moment and come up with a regulation that needs to be passed to improve the situation.

  24. 24
    ashleybell

    I’m still optimistic about Occupy’s effect. These movements come in stages… The march at Birmingham was by no means the first march per Civil Rights Movement…And look at what happened (totally ignored my MSM however (for now)) in NC. That protest gathering was HUGE. And prostest gatherings in general, albeit smaller, are WAY more frequent than before the Occupy movement. The presence at the TX leg. HQ when Wendy Davis gave her filibuster…It could be argued that was possible only because of the ‘new’ threshold set by Occupy. And finally, this level of inequality is ultimately unsustainable…Something will happen, and some of it to the wealthiest,, ie ruined fortunes because no one can afford to buy their shit…

  25. 25
    David Marjanović

    Now, I don’t mind people getting rich, but the attitude of these people is just disgusting – one day they may find that their fears are a self-fulfilling prophecy because the kind of inequality they love is just unsupportable.

    “Fears” is the keyword here. As it says in the article:

    “The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.”

    BTW, PZ, that’s a lowercase phi you got there. The uppercase is Φ: ΚΒΦ.

  26. 26
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Proudofcoincidence, that’s right. Blame the Occupy people who don’t have the benefit of money and power for not having the money and power to get taken seriously by regulators. Yep, it’s just a pity party. No structural imbalance at all. Just whiny kids, right?

  27. 27
    penumbra

    to zb24601 really like your last statement and agree.

    Over the last few cycles, it’s never been so apparent to me that the presidential campaign is a ruse. The president is still just that — the president is not “king” (although GW’s administration came close). We gotta get rid of these jerks who broke a world economy, stole money from us all and were treated as if they broke their mama’s favorite vase with absolutely no consequences.

    So, the most important races are those closer to home, campaigns in which we still matter and can participate in. Find a commissioner or state rep or even congress critter or senator you actually like and support them.

  28. 28
    SallyStrange

    I have my issues with Occupy, but to say they’re doing nothing is inaccurate. One of the things I think has promise, but isn’t get much play in any kind of media, is their project to buy up medical debt and disburse it. Basically they’re taking advantage of the finance laws that allow credit collection companies to buy debt for pennies on the dollar, then just using donations to pay it off and free ordinary people of their debt, one person at a time. It’s not the biggest project ever, and it isn’t doing anything to change the structural problems that gave rise to income inequality in the first place, but it isn’t nothing.

  29. 29
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    proudofcoincidence @23:

    The Occupy movement didn’t get anyone elected and didn’t pass any laws. If you want to accomplish something those are the two things that need to happen. Anything else amounts to throwing yourself a pity party. Let’s be productive for a moment and come up with a regulation that needs to be passed to improve the situation.

    You’re right. They didn’t manage to get the federal minimum wage raised. They didn’t manage to get stronger regulations to cut down on corporate malfeasance. They didn’t manage to reduce, by even one iota, the sickening inequality between the rich on one side, and the poor and middle class on the other. Why? Because, with corporate media in their back pocket, the rich portrayed the protesters as scum, rapists, un-American, antisocial criminals. In other words, the 1% won. Again. As always.

  30. 30
    Maureen Brian

    I dunno. The Halifax Gibbet – forerunner of the guillotine – stands awaiting some action. OK, it’s a replica but a minor adjustment would surely do it and it’s very conveniently sited – I just went past it on the bus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Halifax_Gibbet_-_geograph.org.uk_-_350422.jpg

    And the Serious Fraud Office in London actually managed to charge 3 Barclays people with fraud over the Libor rigging.

    Perhaps there is a little hope. Just a little.

  31. 31
    robro

    If you aren’t familiar with Paul Piff’s research, you might check out this TEDx talk or this News Hour report.

  32. 32
    kevinalexander

    Let’s be productive for a moment and come up with a regulation that needs to be passed to improve the situation.

    Have you been reading any of this thread? The people who would have to pass any such regulation are OWNED by the 1%
    I love the irony of calling what’s happened in the last few decades The Reagan Revolution. It’s a counterrevolution that’s cancelled every gain made in America since 1776. You’ve gone from being pissed on by the British Lords who owned you then to being pissed on by the Wall Street Lords who own you now.
    The conservatives deep understanding of human nature has so fine tuned the propaganda that the Tea Partiers are on the side of the Redcoats now. So, yeah, tumbrils is what will probably happen. Then everybody left standing will turn on each other the way that happened in Iran and is now happening in Syria and Egypt.

  33. 33
    ashleybell

    Being admired at large is no longer part of their ‘benefits’ package. I think that is one of the most powerful things we have on our side at the moment. Open loathing and hatred for them. Now with internet!. Again, that is going to be the feature that adds an unknown to what normally would be an inevitable outcome. Our loathing can be shared and spread and unified in a way never before possible. I know all this ‘goes w/o saying’, but I think sometimes we forget the game changer we have in our hands and that it will always be better utilized by progressives than artless brain-dead authoritarian shitwads.

  34. 34
    robro

    Sophia

    Well, that is what happened the last time the divide became too great.

    The French Revolution wasn’t the last time, of course, but it was an exemplary experience. As with any revolution, many of the very rich could afford to flee. In fact, Louis and Antoinette attempted that but were caught, leading to charges of treason and their eventual execution 4 years after the revolution started. The vast majority of those who died, whether on the guillotines or drowned in the Loire, were not aristocrats.

    And then there are the untold numbers who died in the ensuing wars.

  35. 35
    proudofcoincidence

    #26 Josh

    I don’t blame them for not having money. I blame them for not having a plan our a coherent message. I engaged them weekly when I was working in New York. Their organization, their discipline and their messaging sucked. Hate the tea party all you want but they had those qualities, put together a purity test and got people elected. The left has more bodies and should be able to do the same thing.

  36. 36
    LykeX

    Sometimes I wonder if there ought to be a maximum limit to how much you could own. I’m sure some people would moan that this would undermine the economy and drive us all into a new stone age, but frankly, I doubt it (all the while recognizing that I know next to nothing about economy).

    It would certainly remove incentives for some people, but mostly for people who aren’t doing much good anyway. The people who are driven by personal achievement (as opposed to hoarding instincts), those who want to make a better world or those who want to earn the respect and admiration of other people; they will still be motivated to create, invent and produce.

    The people who just want to be rich will be demotivated, but I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.

  37. 37
    hillaryrettig

    @2 Mildlymagnificent – agree 100%

    PZ I understand your outrage and discouragement, but please don’t disparage the Occupy movement. They did exactly what MM said, and that’s a big deal. If/when we do get meaningful change, Occupy – which involved a lot of personal sacrifice from many people – will have lain the foundation.

  38. 38
    Scr... Archivist

    Another blog that I read recently asked why the super-rich are expressing their anxiety now.

    http://amormundi.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-now-what-timing-of-plutocratic-pity.html

    The answer may be that the cultural issues the U.S. right-wing has been using for decades are starting to fail. This weakens the political coalition between the 1% and the authoritarian followers who are needed for votes. Maybe there is a crack in the armor that we can exploit before they assemble a new coalition.

  39. 39
    anteprepro

    Hate the tea party all you want but they had those qualities

    The Tea Party had a coherent message? WHAT!?

  40. 40
    Dunc

    The Tea Party had a metric fuck-tonne of money, elite backing, and a co-operative media. They were a fucking astroturf operation for the oligarchy. That is how they got people elected, not because they had a coherent message, discipline, or organisation.

  41. 41
    proudofcoincidence

    Anteprepro.

    Your ignorance is cute. Meanwhile they swung the house and it hasn’t swung back.

  42. 42
    anteprepro

    The Tea Party had a metric fuck-tonne of money, elite backing, and a co-operative media. They were a fucking astroturf operation for the oligarchy. That is how they got people elected, not because they had a coherent message, discipline, or organisation.

    They also didn’t have their peaceful protests quashed by police forces.

    But honestly, remember the Tea Party of Christmas Past: Allegedly just a group that hate hate hated taxes, mysteriously forming just as soon as a black president took office, that purported to be non-partisan, not just an arm of the Republican party, and a group with a libertarian bent.

    The Tea Party of Christmas Present: unhinged far-right loons that only influence politics insofar as they want their Republican candidates to be even more extreme and unhinged than average.

    Coherent message for the win!

  43. 43
    anteprepro

    Your ignorance is cute. Meanwhile they swung the house and it hasn’t swung back.

    Ironic much? If you think that any right-leaning group in the U.S. has anything approaching “coherence”, though, “ignorance” is the least of your problems.

  44. 44
    proudofcoincidence

    So what I gather from the reaction is that you think that their is a conspiracy to keep 99% percent of people down and there is nothing you can do about. But you will sit here and whine like a baby. If there is nothing you can do about things than why are you going to vote? I know in 2 years this site will argue till you are blue in the face for a democrat. But why? You have decided that the game is rigged. There seems to be an excuse for everything but results.

  45. 45
    anteprepro

    proudofcoincidence: When did you decide to become an apologist for the status quo? Were you born that way, raised that way, or did just happen gradually as your income level rose?

  46. 46
    smhll

    One of the things I think has promise, but isn’t get much play in any kind of media, is their project to buy up medical debt and disburse it.

    That gives me an idea. I am now getting an ACA subsidy that reduces the cost of my previously self-funded health insurance. If I could overcome my desire to cling to dollars with an iron grip, I could give at least one month’s worth of subsidy to the medical debt wipeout fund.

  47. 47
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    proudofcoincidence:

    Corporate media, an end to honesty and transparency in election funding, redistricting plans drawn up by ‘interested parties’, corporations writing the laws that will regulate their corporations, demonization of the poor, anathematization of unions, declaring any attempt to be paid a living wage to be class warfare, transference of wealth, via tax ‘cuts’ and corporate welfare, from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, the disappearance of any center or liberal media on a national scale, privatization of education and disaster relief, and then you write:

    You have decided that the game is rigged.

    Are you claiming the game is not rigged? And, knowing that the game is rigged does not necessitate apathy.

  48. 48
    anteprepro

    proudofcoincidence: What is your proposal for ending income inequality? You’re actual fucking proposal? You tut-tut us for “crying” about it and for not having a clear, concise message. Well, then what is the fucking solution then? What are these easy answers that we should apparently be spouting? Please, educate us, Oh Knowledgeable One.

  49. 49
    mjgoold

    Normally, I would balk at any approach to a problem that doesn’t try to solve it as thoroughly as possible, including making things right by those who suffered in the past. If we had a government that actually represented the interests of the people, rather than the super-rich, I would oppose a bill that merely requires bankers to pay back their bonuses and salaries without requiring them to pay reparations for the economic collapse out of future earnings and/or forced labour.

    However, if forced into the unenviable position of having to compromise between what is clearly right and just and what the rich and powerful will tolerate, it seems we can do wonders to address the wealth inequality problem with a very simple policy change that won’t actually affect the rich: ban inheritance.

    When you die, you can leave $100,000 to anybody you want, and the government takes the rest. Any money you gave to other people in the 10 years before you died counts towards that $100,000, so if you gave away more than that, the recipients have to pay back the excess. By limiting the accumulation of assets to the duration of a single human’s lifespan, the natural tendency of wealth to accumulate in fewer and fewer hands is offset, and the creation of a de facto aristocracy is prevented along with it— and today’s 1% are not affected at all, so they have no rational cause to object.

    And when we’ve passed that, we can get started on the $28 quadrillion we owe in reparations for slavery (based on the estimated economic value of slave labour performed in the US between 1781 and 1865, plus 150 years worth of interest). Because one thing that’s been made abundantly clear is that the 1% aren’t just rich and selfish— they’re petty. It’s not enough that they get billions of dollars for contributing less than nothing to society, it’s not enough that they be able to buy influence and power with that, and it’s not enough that they be treated as better than the people who actually earn a living. The 1% oppose health care reform not because it will cost them money or affect their lives in any way, but because they believe people dying of preventable diseases is a good thing in and of itself. They oppose minimum wage increases not because it would make them less rich (people being able to afford their products would actually make them richer) but because they believe poverty is a positive virtue— all because seeing poverty and disease makes them feel even richer for not having either. So telling the 1% that they can spend the rest of their lives living like kings on the money they stole but they *can’t* personally nominate another person to do the same after they die would be treated as a personal offence against their “right” to act out their fantasies of being feudal lords.

  50. 50
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    proudofcoincidence: What is your proposal for ending income inequality?

    I think proudofcoincidence is too busy masturbating to pictures of famine victims and police beatings to give us details at this point.

  51. 51
    millssg99

    The next presidential battle will be an absurdly extravagant event between an array of corporate stooges who are entirely reliant on donations from billionaires to get elected. They can piss on us all they want, and we’ll argue ferociously over which grand protector of the pissoire we should vote for.

    And the current grand protector is not just bought by them – he is one. His administration is a revolving door into the political and economic elite. When his tenure ends he will be (as he does now) hanging out in Martha’s Vineyard and exclusive golf resorts with other members of club. I’m sure in his private moments he is just as disdainful of the common person as any of the rest. Dubya is much more of a regular guy than the drone master has been in a long time. Whether power corrupts or the corrupt are drawn to power matters little. I don’t think it is going to be changed from the inside.

  52. 52
    proudofcoincidence

    I am not an apoligist for the status quo. The games is the game and you play to win it. The way to win is to pressure the lever you have. You get involved in the nominating process for the Democratic party. You tell them that you would rather see them fail than elect a corporatist. Tell them that the abortion issue is not enough to get your backing in any way. If they want anything they must have a platform that returns the regulation that banks cannot invest in non bank lending entities, an inflation based increase in minimum wage that removes any exemption for tipped workers, reducing the interest rate on college loans to 0. There are more ideas out there but you have to lasso them to one of the parties and make sure there are consequences. If you aren’t willing to let your side fail they will never move left. I have told my representative that my donation can be 0 or the max but I’m willing to let him fail.

  53. 53
    eveningchaos

    Meanwhile in the Ukraine people are fighting tooth and nail to end corruption and the exploitation of the common people. What would it take to bring the masses in the West off their collective asses and take down the equally corrupt governments of our ilk? We have been fed our bread and given circuses to keep us marginalized and there is no outrage or desire to change.

  54. 54
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Dubya is much more of a regular guy than the drone master has been in a long time.

    Yeah. The Yale graduate, with the assumed good ol’ boy drawl, scion of a wealthy and politically connected family who had life handed to him on a silver platter (which he shit on when he owned an oil company, a baseball team, and was President of the US) is one of us. If you are a one percenter.

    I’m not a fan of Obama. But, at the very least, he earned those scholarships and his political power. It wasn’t handed to him as part of daddy’s legacy.

  55. 55
    mjgoold

    OK, proudofcoincidence is clearly a moron and I hate to play troll’s advocate but…

    I’m pretty sure I recall PZ talking about how he voted for Obama in 2012. Yes, the game is rigged, and yes the candidates from the two mainstream parties are more or less equally hand-picked for their willingness to do whatever the wealthy want, but if you can see that then why vote for them anyway? In the 2012 Presidential race, there was a Green Party candidate on the ballot who would have presumably been better than Obama, so why not vote for her? And don’t give me the usual line about “wasting your vote” or that she simply had no chance of winning. The green party candidate had no chance of winning because a majority of Americans looked at her and said: “I agree with her on most points and I believe she’s the most qualified candidate for the job, but I’m going to vote for a mainstream candidate that I don’t support ANYWAY.” If the outcome of the 2012 election was so predetermined that voting third-party is “wasting” your vote, then the outcome was so predetermined that there was no need to vote for the (minimally) lesser evil because he was going to win anyway.

    Although given that the United States Congress has resorted to asking Edward Snowden exactly what the NSA is doing because it’s decided it’s no longer subject to their oversight, I can’t help but wonder how much power the “official” branches of government actually have. If the NSA director told Obama himself that he doesn’t have clearance to know what they’re doing so he should just sit back and not think too much about it, we wouldn’t even know; Obama himself wouldn’t say and the mainstream media probably wouldn’t report it if he did.

  56. 56
    anteprepro

    You get involved in the nominating process for the Democratic party. You tell them that you would rather see them fail than elect a corporatist.

    *facepalm*

    The problem is that Democrats are also corporatist.
    This is part of the reason for why we need things like OWS: to push the Overton Window and get them to stop sucking up to corporations . If you are playing as just one person and one person’s personal donations, instead of trying to get as big of a group as possible to play the game the same way, you will do jack shit . You will be able to feel self-righteous and pure, but you will not have changed a fucking thing unless you are getting other people to do the same thing.

  57. 57
    kevinalexander

    Lotto Democracy. Get rid of the election campaigns.
    Pick the House of Representatives by lot. You’d get half women, about one tenth gay, thirty percent Catholic and so on. In other words a House that actually represents.
    A newly elected member would spend the first two years not voting and not speaking. She/he would listen and learn. There would be classes in Constitution, law, economics, science, etc.
    The Executive branch would be HIRED by the House from a pool of professional civil servants. They would propose the bills and explain to an educated House the purpose of the bill. Then the House would vote on it.
    The Judicial branch would keep it legal.
    .
    I’m not saying that the rich couldn’t still have too much influence, it would just be much harder for them to do.

  58. 58
    latecomer

    Ending income inequality sounds great in principle but the measures required to achieve that ideal require a fundamental change to our society. Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals which the US is based on, anr that is sonething I am strongly against.

  59. 59
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Ending income inequality sounds great in principle but the measures required to achieve that ideal require a fundamental change to our society. Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals which the US is based on, anr that is sonething I am strongly against.

    What the HELL are you talking about?

  60. 60
    anteprepro

    In the 2012 Presidential race, there was a Green Party candidate on the ballot who would have presumably been better than Obama, so why not vote for her? And don’t give me the usual line about “wasting your vote” or that she simply had no chance of winning.

    “Answer my question, and NO, don’t you dare give me the right answer!”

    Our system makes only two parties possible and the amount of people who would want to vote Green wasn’t enough to win, even if they were all aware through some magical means of the actual number of voters who would vote Green if they thought they had a chance. There might be circumstances where there would be no harm in voting for the Green party. The circumstances where they might win, however, would involve an incredible and obvious uproar of support or complete restructuring of the way we do elections. So, yeah, it is “wasting your vote”. Which is another issue on which we need to rally for a change.

  61. 61
    anteprepro

    Ending income inequality sounds great in principle but the measures required to achieve that ideal require a fundamental change to our society. Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals

    “Ending income inequality is anti- egalitarian!”

    I swear these people are going to break my brain.

  62. 62
    yazikus

    The circumstances where they might win, however, would involve an incredible and obvious uproar of support or complete restructuring of the way we do elections.

    Hell, I was tempted to vote for Rocky “My first act will be to dismantle the imperial presidency” Anderson, but then I realized if I wanted my vote to count I should go ahead and vote for Obama.

  63. 63
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    <but then I realized if I wanted my vote to count I should go ahead and vote for Obama.

    Yeah. Many people refuse to accept the idea that voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for less evil. Or voting for the candidate who comes closer to your views on economics, society and government is voting for the candidate who comes closer to your views on economics, society and government.

  64. 64
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    Yeah. Many people refuse to accept the idea that voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for less evil. Or voting for the candidate who comes closer to your views on economics, society and government is voting for the candidate who comes closer to your views on economics, society and government.

    While I wholeheatedly agree with this in principle, the realpolitik of the US system means that the party with a less fractured base will always win.

    In a Westminster Parliamentary system, that ideal is better represented by multiple parties, and with said parties getting more money and influence with every vote, *even if they do not win a single seat* (at least untill Our Lord And Master Harper manages to thrust through his reforms to do away with that silly little bit of our election process)

  65. 65
    latecomer

    Thats actually not what i was saying anteprepro, but then again, how would it not be anti-egalitarian? By definition egalitarian involves equality of opportunity. Eliminating incom inequality completely involves forcing everyone to be equal.

  66. 66
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    latecomer #57

    Ending income inequality sounds great in principle but the measures required to achieve that ideal require a fundamental change to our society. Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals which the US is based on, anr that is sonething I am strongly against.

    Let me just remove some of the verbiage…

    Ending income inequality … requires a shift away from … egalitarian ideals …

    Wut?

  67. 67
    anteprepro

    Many people refuse to accept the idea that voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for less evil.

    Or as I might decide to henceforth phrase it:
    Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the less ungood.

  68. 68
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    I don’t think any of us are arguing for total income equality. Reducing inequality, though, is doable while, if anything, making the US more democratic and more egalitarian. Prop up unions. Prosecute illegal financial shit. Increase taxes on the wealthy to 1950s level. Lots of shit.

  69. 69
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Thats actually not what i was saying anteprepro, but then again, how would it not be anti-egalitarian? By definition egalitarian involves equality of opportunity. Eliminating incom inequality completely involves forcing everyone to be equal.

    Oh for fuck’s sake, what is being proposed is some combination of eliminating policies that actively promote GROSS inequality, and perhaps limiting it, not literally requiring everyone’s assets and liabilities to be exactly identical.

    Be smarter.

  70. 70
    anteprepro

    By definition egalitarian involves equality of opportunity…Eliminating incom inequality completely involves forcing everyone to be equal.

    Wingnut redefinition alert!

    Dictionary.com:
    adjective
    1.
    asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life.

    Merriam Webster:
    egal·i·tar·i·an·ism
    noun \-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\
    1
    : a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
    2
    : a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people

    Wikipedia:

    Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning “equal”)—or, rarely, equalitarianism[1][2]—is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.[3] The cultural theory of risk holds egalitarianism as defined by (1) a negative attitude towards rules and principles, and (2) a positive attitude towards group decision-making, with fatalism termed as its opposite.[4] According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English.[5] It is defined either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights[6] or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people or the decentralisation of power

  71. 71
    latecomer

    Actually there are 2 types of egalitarianism.
    From Wikipedia: “Egalitarianism in economics is a controversial phrase with conflicting potential meanings. It may refer either to equality of opportunity, the view that the government ought not to discriminate against citizens or hinder opportunities for them to prosper, or the quite different notion of equality of outcome, a state of economic affairs in which the government promotes equal prosperity for all citizens.”

    I personally favor equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome.

  72. 72
    Lynna, OM

    The über rich at the meeting were also misogynistic and homophobic:

    The jokes ranged from unfunny and sexist (Q: “What’s the biggest difference between Hillary Clinton and a catfish?” A: “One has whiskers and stinks, and the other is a fish”) to unfunny and homophobic (Q: “What’s the biggest difference between Barney Frank and a Fenway Frank?” A: “Barney Frank comes in different-size buns”).

    To misogynistic and homophobic, add a love of the confederacy. I’m surprised they didn’t invite Ted Nugent.

    • Warren Stephens, an investment banking CEO, took the stage in a Confederate flag hat and sang a song about the financial crisis, set to the tune of “Dixie.” (“In Wall Street land we’ll take our stand, said Morgan and Goldman. But first we better get some loans, so quick, get to the Fed, man.”)

    As for the excuses for inexcusable behavior, and the inadequate bribe:

    Once we made it to the lobby, Ross and Lebenthal reassured me that what I’d just seen wasn’t really a group of wealthy and powerful financiers making homophobic jokes, making light of the financial crisis, and bragging about their business conquests at Main Street’s expense. No, it was just a group of friends who came together to roast each other in a benign and self-deprecating manner. Nothing to see here.

    But the extent of their worry wasn’t made clear until Ross offered himself up as a source for future stories in exchange for my cooperation.

    “I’ll pick up the phone anytime, get you any help you need,” he said.

    “Yeah, the people in this group could be very helpful,” Lebenthal chimed in. “If you could just keep their privacy in mind.”

  73. 73
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I personally favor equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome.

    Isn’t “equality of outcome” a straw man made up by textbook authors to poison the well against arguments that more kinds of inequality of opportunity than the most stupidly simple and explicit de jure establishments of it?

  74. 74
    anteprepro

    I personally favor equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome.

    And yet you were asserting that equality of outcome wasn’t egalitarianism….why?

  75. 75
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    …should be recognized. Fucking computer.

  76. 76
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    why won’t anyone notice my post about non-american politics

    youre all ruddy facists*

    *is there a sarcasm tag I can use?

  77. 77
    anteprepro

    Isn’t “equality of outcome” a straw man made up by textbook authors to poison the well against arguments that more kinds of inequality of opportunity than the most stupidly simple and explicit de jure establishments of it?

    And the popular imagination of “equality of opportunity” seems to take the usual right-wing tactic of assuming that there are barriers to opportunity as long as the government isn’t actively erecting legal barriers. Any other kind of inequality of opportunity, whether it is caused by other people, businesses, or nature itself, can be safely ignored. Or in other words “no Jim Crow Laws means no racism” and other similar arguments that conveniently ignore the ways that inequalities arise, even without governments actively causing them.

  78. 78
    SallyStrange

    equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome.

    “equality of outcome” is a fictional construct invented by plutocrats to discredit the idea of equality. It’s a good shibboleth. Anyone who uses the phrase for any purpose but mocking libertarians isn’t worth taking seriously.

  79. 79
    magistramarla

    Did anyone else notice the irony of the name of this association?
    Kappa Beta Phi is the mirror image of Phi Beta Kappa.
    This group is the polar opposite of Phi Beta Kappa, which has a membership made up of very intelligent and well-educated people. This association of bigoted wealthy scumbags are anything but intelligent.

  80. 80
    anteprepro

    Fuck.
    Should be:

    …of assuming that there are no barriers to opportunity…

  81. 81
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    The Occupy movement dribbled away into ineffectiveness.

    i.e. I took a shit this morning and CNN didn’t cover it, ergo, no one ever shits!

    I’m amazed how many people seem to think Occupy vanished merely because it’s not on major news stations anymore. How quickly we forget and/or ignore the fact that they are, right now, saving people from being evicted due to mortgage fraud, etc.

  82. 82
    Rey Fox

    Reducing inequality, though, is doable while, if anything, making the US more democratic and more egalitarian.

    But but but, then latecomer wouldn’t be allowed to get obscenely rich. And you know, latecomer just needs a few things to break latecomer’s way through the magic of equality of opportunity.

  83. 83
    latecomer

    “And yet you were asserting that equality of outcome wasn’t egalitarianism….why?”

    What happened was that i thought that egalitarianism referred only to equality of opportunity, so when you posted your dictionary definition, I went and checked wikipedia,

  84. 84
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tashiliciously Shriked #75

    I think what you want is:
    &lt;snark&gt;Snarky comment&lt;/snark&gt;
    which produces: <snark>Snarky comment</snark>

  85. 85
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    but snark is so mean didn’t you get the memo

  86. 86
    Paul

    All this, against a background of a growing outcry for a minimum wage of $15 per hour. A much better route toward equalization would be to peg the minimum wage for employees of any organization at, say, $3% of the CEO’s gross compensation, or better, peg the latter at a “mere” 30 time that of the lowest paid employee.

    The result would be that for every $million paid to the CEO, the floor sweepers and burger flippers would receive ~$30,000 per year, or conversely the CEO’s compensation would be limited to about a $million for each $30,000 or so paid to the lowliest corporate slave.

    I realize that this is a mere pipe dream, but imagine the difference it could make!

  87. 87
    latecomer

    But but but, then latecomer wouldn’t be allowed to get obscenely rich

    I dont have any fantasies about being enormously rich but why shouldn’t I be allowed to be “obsenely” wealthy if I really wanted to? If I come up with some product or service, etc thst allows me to earn a shitton of money, what’s it to you?

  88. 88
    anteprepro

    If I come up with some product or service, etc thst allows me to earn a shitton of money, what’s it to you?

    i.e. “I’ve got mine, fuck you”.
    Nailed it!

  89. 89
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Azkyroth #58

    What the HELL are you talking about?

    Standard liberturd canting; they insist that true liberty and equality comes only from authoritarian dog-eat-dog capitalism, and any deviation from same is exactly equivalent to Stalinism and Fascism rolled into one (nevermind that it effectively is fascism, or at any rate require same to be fully implemented; see Pinochet’s Chile)

  90. 90
    Anthony K

    If I come up with some product or service, etc thst allows me to earn a shitton of money, what’s it to you?

    And the myth of the do-it-yourselfer billionaire who doesn’t depend on publicly funded infrastructure paid for by the 99% for their wealth rises again. Go, Bootstrap Man, go!

  91. 91
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Ah, I see. Here we are talking about people getting paid equally for equally skilled/dangerous/arduous/etc jobs, but latecomer would prefer to talk about equal opportunities for entrepreneurs.

    Latecomer, why does one have to be preferred over the other? Are you claiming that they’re somehow incompatible?

  92. 92
    Anthony K

    what’s it to you?

    Population health, for one.

  93. 93
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I dont have any fantasies about being enormously rich but why shouldn’t I be allowed to be “obsenely” wealthy if I really wanted to? If I come up with some product or service, etc thst allows me to earn a shitton of money, what’s it to you?

    The same reason you shouldn’t be allowed to stuff your face at a restaurant and then walk out without paying because, HEY, you chewed every bite ALL BY YOURSELF.

  94. 94
    latecomer

    i.e. “I’ve got mine, fuck you”.
    Nailed it!

    No, it’s I “earned” my wealth and you should too.

  95. 95
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    …actually, even that’s not a fair comparison. Your teeth and hands and jaw muscles would all have to be separate people, and you just owned the stomach and had the idea of going out to eat. Well, maybe you could be one of the teeth. I’ll be generous.

  96. 96
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    No, it’s I “earned” my wealth and you should too.

    Probably no one has ever actually “earned” an amount of wealth that could be described as “obscene.” Certainly, no one who ever earned it was ever paid it. Your deliberate, dishonest equivocation between “earning” as a synonym for “being paid” (we should probably stop using it for precisely this reason – you fantasize about “becoming part of the top 1% of income receivers“) and “earning” in the moral sense is problematic.

  97. 97
    Rey Fox

    Questions on “earning” aside (and thanks for including the sarcastic quotation marks for me), I think that amassing the kind of wealth that the richest people currently have is morally obscene. I would absolutely cap maximum wealth/income if I could. I’d even be generous and cap it at some level that would still be enough for the owner to live a few hundred very comfortable lifetimes with (because heaven knows that horrible people need something to strive for in life). Because it would still be a net improvement for society (you know, all the people who have to live on this planet). Oh, it would violate the principle of economic freedom, but principles are highly overrated, and I think we’ve had enough of ideological systems based entirely on principles (that happen to align very well with sociopathic selfishness).

  98. 98
    Anthony K

    Probably no one has ever actually “earned” an amount of wealth that could be described as “obscene.” Certainly, no one who ever earned it was ever paid it. Your deliberate, dishonest equivocation between “earning” as a synonym for “being paid” (we should probably stop using it for precisely this reason – you fantasize about “becoming part of the top 1% of income receivers“) and “earning” in the moral sense is problematic.

    I think this is unfair to latecomer. While your point about the incoherence of the concept of ‘earned’ is well put, based on other conversations I’ve had with people arguing similarly to latecomer, it seems to me more that people simply have adopted the inchoate definition of ‘earned’; it’s not necessarily an indication of dishonesty.

  99. 99
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Are income from stocks, bonds, and other investments earned? Is the sale of an idea, and the resultant residuals, earned?

  100. 100
    anteprepro

    Your deliberate, dishonest equivocation between “earning” as a synonym for “being paid” (we should probably stop using it for precisely this reason – you fantasize about “becoming part of the top 1% of income receivers“) and “earning” in the moral sense is problematic.

    This. Sadly, it is standard procedure, too.

    latecomer, think about HOW someone gets obscenely wealthy. Think of what they are actually doing to gain that money, and how that money winds up in their pocket. Exactly WHY do they deserve that quantity? You pretend that you want people to be rewarded for their merits, but really you are simply defending a system in which wealth is earned on either the basis of luck or using previous wealth as a means to generate even more. That’s the system. Don’t you dare fucking pretend that that counts as “egalitarian” and that the people who get massive amounts of cash from our economy are doing it because they are just that smart and/or hardworking. It’s delusional, it is victim blaming, it is fucking Just World Fallacy to the fucking core.

  101. 101
    nich

    Ending income inequality sounds great in principle but the measures required to achieve that ideal require a fundamental change to our society. Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals which the US is based on, anr that is sonething I am strongly against.

    Is that you Patrick Bateman?

  102. 102
    latecomer

    I would absolutely cap maximum wealth/income if I could. I’d even be generous and cap it at some level that would still be enough for the owner to live a few hundred very comfortable lifetimes with (because heaven knows that horrible people need something to strive for in life). Because it would still be a net improvement for society (you know, all the people who have to live on this planet). Oh, it would violate the principle of economic freedom, but principles are highly overrated, and I think we’ve had enough of ideological systems based entirely on principles (that happen to align very well with sociopathic selfishness).

    My viewpoint is that income should not be considered public property which can just be taken away or capped by government fiat, supposedly for the benefit of everyone. How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering? I strongly favor personal freedom and autonomy, and if I means that some people make what some consider “obscene” amoun/ts of wealth, then so be it.

  103. 103
    anteprepro

    it seems to me more that people simply have adopted the inchoate definition of ‘earned’;

    It’s true, but the various connotations of the word are aspects that people do tend to use to their advantage quite often in these kinds of discussions. It is pretty damn typical for a conservative or libertarian to bleat about how money was “earned”, implying that it was fairly gained and entirely proportional to the work put in. That’s why the word is used so often, without caveats or elaboration. They rely on the baggage of the word. Plausible deniability, dog whistles, etc.

  104. 104
    anteprepro

    How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?

    latecomer has discovered that money is an infinite resource! Go wild everyone!

  105. 105
    anteprepro

    My viewpoint is that income should not be considered public property which can just be taken away or capped by government fiat, supposedly for the benefit of everyone.

    Again, boils down “I got mine, fuck you”. Libertarianism is so sophisticated. And such a novel, iconoclastic point of view at that. Knee-jerk opposition to gubmint, support for the absurdly rich, all in the name of Freedom (i.e. Property)? Rebel, rebel.

  106. 106
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?

    Check to see the predatory nature of Walmart in driving small town store owners out of business. Then say “everybody” can get rich, when the rich behave without ethics and consideration for others.

  107. 107
    latecomer

    think about HOW someone gets obscenely wealthy. Think of what they are actually doing to gain that money, and how that money winds up in their pocket. Exactly WHY do they deserve that quantity?
    You pretend that you want people to be rewarded for their merits, but really you are simply defending a system in which wealth is earned on either the basis of luck or using previous wealth as a means to generate even more. That’s the system. Don’t you dare fucking pretend that that counts as “egalitarian” and that the people who get massive amounts of cash from our economy are doing it because they are just that smart and/or hardworking. It’s delusional, it is victim blaming, it is fucking Just World Fallacy to the fucking core.

    I don’t operate under the delusion that all wealthy people got their wealth through hard work or smarts. I don’t like that some people can work hard and barely get by, while others can get by and never have to work a day in their lives. The system as it is now is not completely egalitarian (meaning equality of opportunity), but I’m not in support of a system that erodes personal freedom in order to achieve that egalitarian ideal, even if it does mean that some people will be at the bottom.

  108. 108
    Anthony K

    How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?

    Obviously, you didn’t read my link in 91, nor are you familiar with the work of Richard G Wilkinson, which answers that very well.

    Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals which the US is based on, anr that is sonething I am strongly against.

    Now that either is outright dishonesty or complete ignorance. Here’s an article (Huffpo, I know) about Richard Wilkinson in which he suggests, among other things, that making making companies more democratic and egalitarian will also reduce economic inequality.

    It’s true, but the various connotations of the word are aspects that people do tend to use to their advantage quite often in these kinds of discussions. It is pretty damn typical for a conservative or libertarian to bleat about how money was “earned”, implying that it was fairly gained and entirely proportional to the work put in. That’s why the word is used so often, without caveats or elaboration. They rely on the baggage of the word. Plausible deniability, dog whistles, etc.

    Or in this case, also insinuating that one’s status quo-preserving position is the only one that “FREEDOM!”

  109. 109
    Anthony K

    but I’m not in support of a system that erodes personal freedom in order to achieve that egalitarian ideal

    Since you’re the only one here who seems to think that reducing inequality constitutes some egregious erosion of personal freedom, then what’s that to the rest of us?

  110. 110
    Anthony K

    Folks, I’m just going to type “PERSONAL FREEDOM!” in all caps for several comments. I think you’ll all be convinced that my position is the “PERSONAL FREEDOM!” one.

  111. 111
    latecomer

    Again, boils down “I got mine, fuck you”.

    No, it boils down to me preferring to live in a country that protects private property, which includes income. Whatever money people earn should be theirs to spend as they wish regardless of whether you’re rich or poor, provided the money was earned legally.

  112. 112
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    latecomer #106

    but I’m not in support of a system that erodes personal freedom in order to achieve that egalitarian ideal, even if it does mean that some people will be at the bottom.

    The bottom are sleeping in carboard boxes and starving. Fuck your “freedom.” Try “Empathy.” It tastes better.

  113. 113
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    The top 1% of earners in the US can halve their wealth and give it equally to the rest of the 99% (or 90%, to cut out the ones NEAR obscene wealth), and still have enough to live for centuries WHILE making sure that the rest of the country doesn’t live in fear of a bill sending them into povrety for generations.

    And *still* people are opposed to it somehow.

  114. 114
    anteprepro

    The system as it is now is not completely egalitarian (meaning equality of opportunity), but I’m not in support of a system that erodes personal freedom in order to achieve that egalitarian ideal, even if it does mean that some people will be at the bottom.

    “I don’t care if massively large section of the population struggles to get nothing, gets sick, and dies early deaths! Sure, that’s bad, but think about FREEEEEEDOM!!! Can you really deny rich people THE FREEEEEEDOM to get even richer? Who cares if it means dozens, hundreds, or thousands of others suffer more due to the greed of one person, at least we have FREEEEEDOM!!”

    I’m glad that you will not let the wellbeing and livelihoods of the majority of your fellow countrymen sway you from your unrelenting pursuit of liberty, which just happens to be in support of the status quo. Wouldn’t want your emotional sympathy for your fellow human beings to undermine your emotional obsession with some fantasy of complete and utter freedom from any kind of government influence. What is your opinion regarding drowning governments in bathtubs?

  115. 115
    anteprepro

    No, it boils down to me preferring to live in a country that protects private property, which includes income.

    Property trumps people. Money trumps justice. Wealth trumps health. We know that is your perspective, as it is with every libertarian. Try to grow a tiny semblance, at least attempt to see things from our perspective, or just fuck off.

  116. 116
    anteprepro

    “tiny semblance” of empathy, that is.

  117. 117
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    latecomer,

    How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?

    You don’t amass enormous wealth by working really hard for 12 hours a day.
    You amass enormous wealth by paying people extremely low wages, by finding all kinds of loopholes to avoid paying all kinds of taxes or benefits for your employees, by lowering the amount of money invested in quality nature-friendly and safe infrastructure, by outsourcing work to countries where labor is ridiculously cheap (and the workers abused, underpaid and working in abysmal conditions).

    Those are just a couple of things that first come to mind.

  118. 118
    latecomer

    Since you’re the only one here who seems to think that reducing inequality constitutes some egregious erosion of personal freedom,.

    It’s not so much that reducing income inequality in itself is bad. I’m mainly arguing against some of the ways that I’ve heard suggested to combat income inequality that involve high income taxes, or income caps, wealth confiscation, and things like that which involve treating income as a public resource which can be taken and redistributed as the government wants. I’m not just talking about the rich. I’m taking about everyone’s income. Having a large government apparatus in place to prop everyone up is nice, but it comes at the cost of high taxes and a loss of autonomy. And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

  119. 119
    Anthony K

    No, it boils down to me preferring to live in a country that protects private property

    Of course, the laws that support private property and the infrastructure that provides it are social, public goods. Without social contracts that infringe upon others’ freedoms, there is no private property but that which you must defend from theft yourself.

  120. 120
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Having a large government apparatus in place to prop everyone up is nice, but it comes at the cost of high taxes and a loss of autonomy.

    Nobody is arguing with this.

  121. 121
    latecomer

    “The top 1% of earners in the US can halve their wealth and give it equally to the rest of the 99% (or 90%, to cut out the ones NEAR obscene wealth), and still have enough to live for centuries WHILE making sure that the rest of the country doesn’t live in fear of a bill sending them into povrety for generations.

    And *still* people are opposed to it somehow.”.

    Assuming that’s true, that would be great if the 1% decided to do that on their own, but to be forced to do it by the government is something I oppose.

  122. 122
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Assuming that’s true, that would be great if the 1% decided to do that on their own, but to be forced to do it by the government is something I oppose.

    Why?

  123. 123
    Anthony K

    things like that which involve treating income as a public resource which can be taken and redistributed as the government wants

    Your concept of ‘earning’ and ‘public resources’ verges on baraminology.

    Having a large government apparatus in place to prop everyone up is nice, but it comes at the cost of high taxes and a loss of autonomy.

    Protecting your private property comes at the cost of high taxes and a loss of autonomy. So you’re clearly okay with taxes and loss of autonomy.

    And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

    Oh, hello healthcare outcomes in countries with publicly funded healthcare systems vs the US. I didn’t see you there, but of course there’s a libertarian in the discussion so we’re all feelings here and you’re a fact.

  124. 124
    Anthony K

    Nobody is arguing with this.

    Latecomer is, but only selectively.

  125. 125
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    Assuming that’s true, that would be great if the 1% decided to do that on their own, but to be forced to do it by the government is something I oppose.

    Because the top 1% and their rights to have more money than they can reasonably spend in twenty lifetimes is more important than everyone elses rights to be able to feed, clothe, house and care for their sick.

  126. 126
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    *feed house and clothes themselves, and care for their sick, without falling into crushing innescapable debt.

    note to self drink less before commenting

  127. 127
    anteprepro

    And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

    It doesn’t help that roughly half of the people involved in government think that government is BAAAD and shouldn’t do shit except bomb people. And those same people are most opposed to giving hard-earned tax dollars to the undeserving poor. People opposed even to idea of taxes, since it views the hard-earned money of red-blooded Americans as “a public resource which can be taken and redistributed.” And that’s just BAAAD. Redistribution of wealth, or “wealth confiscation” is just plain ol’ socialism and socialism is BAAAD. Nope, all they need is pure, undiluted FREEEEEDOM.*

    *Applicable only for cis, white, straight, Christian males only.

  128. 128
    Anthony K

    PERSONAL FREEDOM!

  129. 129
    Anthony K

    note to self drink less before commenting

    Eh, we’re talking with a libertarian on a blog. Go nuts; it’s not like they’re amenable to fact- and science-based argumentation.

  130. 130
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    so you’re telling me to drink more?

    villenous curr, but I like the cut of your jib

  131. 131
    anteprepro

    Assuming that’s true, that would be great if the 1% decided to do that on their own, but to be forced to do it by the government is something I oppose.

    Why?

    The Libertarian Mantra:

    Property trumps people.
    Money trumps justice.
    Wealth trumps health.

  132. 132
    David Marjanović

    You get involved in the nominating process for the Democratic party. You tell them that you would rather see them fail than elect a corporatist. Tell them that the abortion issue is not enough to get your backing in any way.

    When that happens, the Republicans win – corporatists get elected, and abortion is made impossible.

    Go ahead, show me how you want to get rid of the two-party system without completely overhauling the big-C Constitution.

    reducing the interest rate on college loans to 0

    Abolish college loans altogether. Make university education free for everyone. There are countries that do it that way, you know.

    A newly elected member would spend the first two years not voting and not speaking. She/he would listen and learn. There would be classes in Constitution, law, economics, science, etc.

    I really like this.

    Kappa Beta Phi is the mirror image of Phi Beta Kappa.
    This group is the polar opposite of Phi Beta Kappa, which has a membership made up of very intelligent and well-educated people.

    Interesting.

    No, it boils down to me preferring to live in a country that protects private property, which includes income. Whatever money people earn should be theirs to spend as they wish regardless of whether you’re rich or poor, provided the money was earned legally.

    …So… you’re against all and any taxes, at any level, right?

    And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

    Translation: the US government is the only government that has ever existed.

    Do you even listen to yourself!?!

  133. 133
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Azkyroth

    Why?

    Cuz FREEEEEEEDOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!! (Cue Mel Gibson as William Wallace) FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!, which only stems from unlimited private property rights, lethally enforced, because anything else is TYRANNNNEEEEE!!!! and STATISM!!!!! and COMMUNISM!!!!!! and not FRREEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  134. 134
    Anthony K

    so you’re telling me to drink more?

    I’m not able to advise on individual health matters.

    villenous curr, but I like the cut of your jib

    They don’t come much worse than I.

  135. 135
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    “Yes officer, I know I was doing 125mph past a school gate when I ran the red light. I stand on my right to PERSONAL FREEEEEDOM!!!!”

    “Right you are, sir. On your way then. Sorry to bother you.”

    Because the idea of freedom-within-bounds is never applied to anything.

  136. 136
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

    Government full of rich people isn’t spending the money efficiently (pouring too much under the table into the coffers of other rich people mysteriously connected to the former by familial of friendly relations), ergo don’t give anything to the government. Wouldn’t the right answer be to take care of that tiny little teensy problem called conflict of interest?

  137. 137
    nich

    NoR@105:

    Check to see the predatory nature of Walmart in driving small town store owners out of business.

    He said he believes in the egalitarian principle of equality of opportunity! Well, those owners have the same opportunity to get a 5 dollar an hour job at Walmart as anybody else!

    lc@110:

    …provided the money was earned legally.

    Above a certain wealth threshold, that adverb at the end of your sentence is pretty meaningless.

  138. 138
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    nich,

    It’s legal to outsource production into Indonesia. It’s totally not the rich guy’s problem that the factory roof is two days from caving onto the workers there, or that they are earning a dollar a day.
    All legal!

  139. 139
    ChasCPeterson

    *stamps foot*
    Mine!
    You can’t take it it’s MINE!
    It’s NOT FAIR!
    I WANT IT! MINE!
    *stamps foot, falls to floor and pounds it withy fists and feet while screaming*

    libertarian or 3-year-old?

  140. 140
    nich

    LC@105:

    I strongly favor personal freedom and autonomy…

    Do you have a favorite snakeskin jacket by any chance?

  141. 141
    anteprepro

    latecomer, your views are incredibly naive, and the only thing you offer resembling reasons for positions all seem to amount to a gut-level aversion to anything decreasing “liberty”. Your lack of realization that “liberty” is necessarily restricted by laws (and that this isn’t an inherent evil), and your inability to even imagine how wealth is accumulated at the expense of other people’s wealth make you seem either tragically misinformed or incredibly disingenuous. As always, I am betting on “both”.

  142. 142
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

    Medicare overhead is about 1.3 per cent. Please show me a private health insurance company that spends 1.3% of revenue on overhead. (Source: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/may/30/barbara-boxer/barbara-boxer-says-medicare-overhead-far-lower-pri/ )

    Here’s a good quote:

    Yet investigations by the Government Accounting Office and various blue-ribbon commissions have found that waste amounts to only a small fraction of that figure. Al Gore’s National Performance Review, conducted when he was vice-president, examined the federal bureaucracy in great detail and discovered that waste consisted of less than two cents of every tax dollar.

    (source: http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=20 )

    Please show me a private company with revenue and expenditures of over $500million that only loses 2% to waste.

    What about federal workers?

    * Federal government employees were less expensive than contractors in 33 of the 35 occupational classifications POGO reviewed.

    * In one instance, contractor billing rates were nearly 5 times more than the full compensation paid to federal employees performing comparable services.

    * Private sector compensation was lower than contractor billing rates in all 35 occupational classifications we reviewed.

    * The federal government has failed to determine how much money it saves or wastes by outsourcing, insourcing, or retaining services, and has no system for doing so.

    (Source: http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2011/co-gp-20110913.html#sthash.gDe58oX6.dpuf )

    So federal workers do the same work as contractors for less in 33 out of 35 occupational classifications.

    And, compared to what we, as individuals spend, the federal government spends far less:

    * In 2006, Americans spent an average of around $117 per person on weight loss techniques; the government spent just $6 per person to ensure food safety

    * In 2005, the government spent about $184 per person on non-military research and development; Americans spent an average of $426 per person on alcohol

    * Americans spent $288 per person on tobacco in 2004; State governments spent around $2 per person on anti-smoking education

    * The Federal government spends $280 per person on public education; Americans spend around $215 per person on illegal drugs

    * The Federal government spent $42 per person providing Pell grants to send low-income children to college; the average American spent about $56 on Valentine’s Day.

    * Many similar comparisons can be made. Pressed to narrow the Federal deficit that was created by his tax cuts, the President has proposed to reduce Federal spending for the State Children’s Health Care Program (SCHIP), which provides health insurance to the children of low-income parents. This important program costs us only about $20 per person—about the amount the average American gambles away in a month.

    (Source: http://www.greattransformations.org/what-is-market-fundamentalism/market-myth-two-government-always-spends-money-worse-than-the-private-sector )

    So the government is always a spendthrift, always inefficient?

    How about the Post Office:

    The postal service is required to deliver the type of mail no one else wants to deliver, at low prices no one else wants to charge. For example: Advertising mailers and first class everywhere.

    For about $.45 you can send a letter anywhere in America, including Hawaii and Alaska. Who else will do that, even for triple the price? For even less, you can send advertising mailers all over the nation, and have them hand-placed right in mail boxes.

    Yesterday, I mailed four books for $2.35, total postage. Fed Ex would have charged me more than $10 for 3 day service. I can mail a 5lb. box anywhere in the country for about $5, two-day service. That same box will cost me at least $15 if shipped by FedEx 3-day service.

    (Source: http://mythfighter.com/2012/04/01/the-myth-of-private-enterprise-superiority-reduced-government-and-ronald-reagan/ )

  143. 143
    Rey Fox

    Remind me again why I hate principles so much. (Chief among them being “freedumb”)

  144. 144
    latecomer

    Let me make an analogy to government surveillance. In principle, we could all be safer if the government were keeping constant tabs on everything we do, including all phone calls, emails, what websites you frequent, what you’re doing at any point in the day, etc. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to commit a crime because you’re always being watched. The problem is that while there might be lower crime, but the price is that you are living in an authoritarian society like China where personal expression is severely restricted under the threat of punishment. If you’re living in the US, then it’s a safe bet that you would be willing to tolerate crime up to a certain extent, rather than give up your constitutional rights. Similarly, the cost of living in our democratic society, which favors personal freedom, is that some people will suffer at the bottom. It’s not desirable for people to suffer, but there’s a price to pay if you want to have a large safety net.

  145. 145
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Similarly, the cost of living in our democratic society, which favors personal freedom, is that some people will suffer at the bottom. It’s not desirable for people to suffer, but there’s a price to pay if you want to have a large safety net.

    Yep. Why are you not willing to pay that price, to alleviate that suffering?

  146. 146
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    (Please note, my 141 only counts overhead and actual waste — things like corporate welfare are a different matter. In my opinion, that is waste, but the bureaucrats distributing the corporate welfare are still doing it efficiently.)

  147. 147
    Anthony K

    @135:

    Hello, Beatrice. Can I interest you in an amazing new product called Third Way®? It cures everything from taxes that pay for things that aren’t property-protecting police forces to structural inertia! You see, there are initially two types of basal particles in the universe: republicons and democratrons. These particles are evil and corrupt, and wage wars in YOUR name. You hate war, right? Well, Third Way® miraculously transforms these particles into libertariarks, which are FREEDOM! So, can I interest you in several cases?

    Wait, you’re not black, latin@, otherwise non-white, female, GLBT, someone who uses a wheelchair, or otherwise didn’t read Atlas Shrugged and immediately swoon, are you? FREEDOM says I don’t gotta sell to you or employ you in those cases. Get fucked.

  148. 148
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    There is like, a whole scale of things between the bolded kind of PERSONAL FREEdOM and letting government put you into efficient little egg things hanging from the walls of some cave-like place, where you are fed just the right amount of nutrients and having a government-sanctioned virtual life.

    The scale even takes into account things like ethics, not being a selfish whiny asshole and not letting less lucky folks suffer.

  149. 149
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    you are evading and not answering

  150. 150
    anteprepro

    libertarian or 3-year-old?

    3 year old libertarians would make for the worst/best television program in existence.

    Working Titles: “Lil’ Ayns”, “Atlas Huggied”, “Storytime at Glenn Beck’s Gulch”, “Somalia Street”, “Mr. Greenspan’s Neighborhood”, “Tea Party with The Tea Party”, “Libertotians”, or “Going Galt, Junior”.

  151. 151
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Are income from stocks, bonds, and other investments earned? Is the sale of an idea, and the resultant residuals, earned?

  152. 152
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    Are income from stocks, bonds, and other investments earned? Is the sale of an idea, and the resultant residuals, earned?

    Further, which is more important and worthy of being payed more? the creation of a work of art, or the selling of it?

  153. 153
    Anthony K

    The problem is that while there might be lower crime, but the price is that you are living in an authoritarian society

    And we pay this price so that private property can be defended. It’s fucked up, I know, dude, you don’t have to tell me. Fucking governments.

  154. 154
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    *sadface*
    But libertariarks are so easily pronounceable and sound kind of cute.

    Actually, they reminded me of Langoliers.
    Coincidence?

  155. 155
    Lynna, OM

    Regarding the “as long as the money is earned legally” caveat: the money is not earned legally.

    See http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/ex-morgan-stanley-chief-jams-foot-in-mouth-complains-of-ceo-abuse-20140213 In this article we see a 1%-er whining about persecution while also getting away with various illegal earning schemes.

    See also: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214 In this article we can read the details of how bankers broke every law in the book.

  156. 156
    Anthony K

    There is like, a whole scale of things between the bolded kind of PERSONAL FREEdOM and letting government put you into efficient little egg things hanging from the walls of some cave-like place, where you are fed just the right amount of nutrients and having a government-sanctioned virtual life.

    Yes, but latecomer has staked out exactly the perfect spot on that scale, for reasons he refuses to share with us. Drones, I guess.

  157. 157
    anteprepro

    In principle, we could all be safer if the government were keeping constant tabs on everything we do, including all phone calls, emails, what websites you frequent, what you’re doing at any point in the day, etc. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to commit a crime because you’re always being watched. The problem is that while there might be lower crime, but the price is that you are living in an authoritarian society like China where personal expression is severely restricted under the threat of punishment. If you’re living in the US, then it’s a safe bet that you would be willing to tolerate crime up to a certain extent, rather than give up your constitutional rights. Similarly, the cost of living in our democratic society, which favors personal freedom, is that some people will suffer at the bottom. It’s not desirable for people to suffer, but there’s a price to pay if you want to have a large safety net.

    Again, you are saying that, universally, we should favor freedom over quality of living. We obviously don’t, but you don’t even fucking do that either. You are just obfuscating. WHY do you think that the large incomes of the super rich is important enough of a freedom to justify the suffering of the poor?

  158. 158
    Anthony K

    Coincidence?

    Must be. I never read that much fiction, which is probably why I need to have latecomer explain these libertarian claims to me.

  159. 159
    Anthony K

    WHY do you think that the large incomes of the super rich is important enough of a freedom to justify the suffering of the poor?

    Libertarians seem congenitally unable to consider the loss of freedom that poverty entails. I mean, they’re all for allowing you to vote, time and time again, even if you fuck it up by spoiling your ballot or voting for some half-wit plagiarizer like Rand Paul. You’re allowed to speak, time and time again, even if what you say is egregiously stupid, wrong, or dangerously offensive. But being able to participate in economic activity? That’s reserved. Because FREEDOM.

  160. 160
    anteprepro

    But being able to participate in economic activity? That’s reserved. Because FREEDOM.

    I remember way back in one of the libertarian troll infested threads, the commentariat was poking a libertarian with a stick long enough for him to bleat out his entire, reluctant, incoherent vision for what America should be: no government much bigger than a state government, no police unless you pay for it, no fire department unless you pay for it, private ownership of roads including being able to buy roads near business competition to fuck them over, the ability to shoot people who come on your property, only being able to complain about air pollution if smoke enterred your property, and basically making it so everything in life had a price. For a libertarian, money buys everything. If you don’t have money, you ain’t nothing and shouldn’t be allowed to do anything. That’s “equality of opportunity” for ya, folks!

  161. 161
    latecomer

    latecomer, your views are incredibly naive, and the only thing you offer resembling reasons for positions all seem to amount to a gut-level aversion to anything decreasing “liberty”. Your lack of realization that “liberty” is necessarily restricted by laws (and that this isn’t an inherent evil), and your inability to even imagine how wealth is accumulated at the expense of other people’s wealth make you seem either tragically misinformed or incredibly disingenuous. As always, I am betting on “both”.

    Except Im not arguing that any loss of freedom is bad. Living in a society requires one to give up some of your freedoms, which any mature person accepts. The question is, how much freedom are we all willing to give up for the sake of protecting the public good. Also, I don’t deny that some people amass their wealth at other people’s expense. But to what extent is it proper to use the power of government force to counteract that. Generally, I prefer the least amount of government force.

  162. 162
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Also, I don’t deny that some people amass their wealth at other people’s expense. But to what extent is it proper to use the power of government force to counteract that. Generally, I prefer the least amount of government force.

    Why not “the amount of force that does the most good”?

    Scenario A: stealing because you are poor.
    Scenario B: stealing while wearing a suit and shaking some other suit’s hand

    The first scenario ends up with use of government force, the second one usually ends with more hand shaking. That’s senseless. That’s what you are advocating for keeping.

  163. 163
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    What I meant to say is, government force is already being used plenty, but it’s being used in a less than optimal way. You are not really arguing for least amount of government force, you are arguing that it’s used the least in relation to the “right” kind of people.

  164. 164
    alkaloid

    @latecomer, #117

    It’s not so much that reducing income inequality in itself is bad. I’m mainly arguing against some of the ways that I’ve heard suggested to combat income inequality that involve high income taxes, or income caps, wealth confiscation, and things like that which involve treating income as a public resource which can be taken and redistributed as the government wants.

    In other words, you’re opposed to income inequality but you’re also opposed to those types of measures that have proved historically successful at alleviating it. It’s sort of like being opposed to people dying from a treatable disease-but also opposing people doing research on curing it, or otherwise administering a cure.

    I’m not just talking about the rich. I’m taking about everyone’s income. Having a large government apparatus in place to prop everyone up is nice, but it comes at the cost of high taxes and a loss of autonomy. And even in the best of circumstances, since when has the government spent our tax dollars efficiently to combat poverty anyway?

    Other people have addressed the last sentence, so I won’t join in on that beyond saying that I disagree with you. However, the status quo has lots of ways in which most people already have lost autonomy from the rich even beyond the ones that have already been mentioned. If corporations collude to spy on your internet activities in order to prevent ‘copyright infringement’ (and fraudulently charge you even if you’re not guilty) then you’re certainly losing autonomy that way. Massive overcharging, which is rife throughout the health insurance industry, certainly causes you to lose autonomy because it isn’t really like you can ‘choose’ to die (or should have to) and the money that you’ve spent on them that mostly goes to corporate profits certainly could’ve been used for something else.

    Ultimately, the autonomy that you are so afraid of people losing isn’t really something that most people ever really had the chance of either having or using anyways, as compared to the very real losses of autonomy that we are facing every day in a system that caters to the parasitic rich.

  165. 165
    LykeX

    @latecomer
    Please explain why it’s not an egregious restriction of freedom to tell government agencies that they can’t spy on the public? Surely, if they want to spy on you, they shouldn’t be restricted from doing so, right?.

    If it’s a matter of personal freedom, then please answer the same question in regard to a free association of individuals. E.g. if I were to join together with a group of like-minded individuals and we decided to register and correlate certain publicly available information, would that be wrong?

  166. 166
    latecomer

    Are income from stocks, bonds, and other investments earned? Is the sale of an idea, and the resultant residuals, earned?

    From my viewpoint, if you’re bringing in an income, then it’s earned. I’m not interested in deciding whether it fits some ideal of “earned” or not.

  167. 167
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    From my viewpoint, if you’re bringing in an income, then it’s earned. I’m not interested in deciding whether it fits some ideal of “earned” or not.

    I wonder. Do things like unemployment benefits count for you?

  168. 168
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    latecomer

    Simple question: why do you think dog-eat-dog is a better base to build a society on than mutual aid?

  169. 169
    Anthony K

    From my viewpoint, if you’re bringing in an income, then it’s earned. I’m not interested in deciding whether it fits some ideal of “earned” or not.

    Hey, you’re the one who used the term ‘earned’. I’m cool with you walking away from it, since as several had predicted including myself, you don’t have a meaningful definition for it. But then please note that sentences like:

    No, it’s I “earned” my wealth and you should too.

    …are completely meaningless.

  170. 170
    LykeX

    Indeed, if “earned” simply means “acquired”, then it’s literally impossible to not have earned what you have.

  171. 171
    Anthony K

    Based on what you’ve said, latecomer, I cannot see how you can disagree that if the government handed every person a million dollars with which they buy stocks and receive dividends, every person would then be ‘earning’ the resultant wealth.

  172. 172
    Anthony K

    Indeed, if “earned” simply means “acquired”, then it’s literally impossible to not have earned what you have.

    Right. Press harder though, and I predict there’s an underlying morality schema with which latecomer distinguishes between “earning” and “not really earning”, which won’t have anything to do with effort, knowledge, or merit.

  173. 173
    lpetrich

    The problem with the US and also the UK is first-past-the-post elections: whoever gets the largest fraction of votes wins. This forces convergence on a two-party system, because votes for additional candidates are “spoiler” votes.

    Duverger: The Electoral System

    To quote his own words:

    (1) a majority vote on one ballot is conducive to a two-party system;
    (2) proportional representation is conducive to a multiparty system;
    (3) a majority vote on two ballots is conducive to a multiparty system, inclined toward forming coalitions.

    The first system is First Past The Post. The third one is a top-two runoff with the runoff being a second election. That’s how the French President is elected. The second one is very common, and most of the newer democracies have versions of it.

    So why can’t we Americans have proportional representation?

  174. 174
    latecomer

    WHY do you think that the large incomes of the super rich is important enough of a freedom to justify the suffering of the poor?

    You keep saying that the super rich are causing poverty just by virtue of being rich, and that is simply not true. There are many reasons why poverty is so high, some of which no doubt involve the rich colluding with government (Ex: lax regulation of wall street and the banks), but the mere fact that someone is very wealthy doesn’t mean that someone else is prevented from also gaining wealth too. If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education. Not through ridiculous efforts to pull the rich down to everyone elses level.

  175. 175
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    You keep saying that the super rich are causing poverty just by virtue of being rich, and that is simply not true.

    How do people become obscenely rich?

  176. 176
    alkaloid

    @latecomer, #173

    If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education.

    Encouraging people to get a college education, though, isn’t inherently going to help if industries that would otherwise hire them have been massively outsourced by the wealthy-or the wealthy use their money to destroy unionization attempts so those college educated people that do work for them constantly do so on an uneven playing field which again favors the massively wealth against everyone else.

  177. 177
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education.

    How about jobs?

    Just a thought.

    College education is nice and all, but it doesn’t pay the rent if you can’t actually find a job (at least not one paying a living wage).

  178. 178
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    latecomer:

    If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education.

    Ah, so you are for free or at least heavily subsidized college education?
    Finally a good idea from you!

  179. 179
    latecomer

    Hey, you’re the one who used the term ‘earned’. I’m cool with you walking away from it, since as several had predicted including myself, you don’t have a meaningful definition for it.

    Im not walking away from it. I’m just not interested in saying that if you grt your income through returns on investments, then you haven’t truly earned your income. I’m using earned to mean that you engaged in some economic activity like working or investing, and you got some sort of conpensation for it.

  180. 180
    Anthony K

    You keep saying that the super rich are causing poverty just by virtue of being rich, and that is simply not true.

    We know that while high income insures one somewhat against illness and injury, countries with high wealth inequity have lower levels of health generally (at least among developed, industrialised nations). And we know that poverty has all sorts of negative health outcomes, often resulting in feedback loops (sick people have a harder time working and studying for those magical income-generating degrees.)

    So ‘simply not true’ is wrong, even without considering all of the nasty, freedom-reducing ways in which very rich people become that way.

  181. 181
    chigau (違う)

    One of the best ways to become rich is to be born into a rich family.
    It’s dead easy to ‘earn’ an income that way.
    I blew that one.

  182. 182
    Anthony K

    I’m using earned to mean that you engaged in some economic activity like working or investing, and you got some sort of conpensation for it.

    As I said, you’re simply using it incoherently at worst, and circularly at best. So, your argument is that people should only gain wealth through ‘work’ or ‘investment’. (Both terms can use some unpacking, but we’ll get to that.)

    So, if the government was the bank, and all citizens shareholders who received guaranteed monthly stipends from the money the government invested (by lending to those who wanted to make more via start-ups, home businesses, and charging interest on the loans), you’d be okay with that?

  183. 183
    anteprepro

    There are many reasons why poverty is so high, some of which no doubt involve the rich colluding with government (Ex: lax regulation of wall street and the banks), but the mere fact that someone is very wealthy doesn’t mean that someone else is prevented from also gaining wealth too.

    Money is still infinite in your world, huh?

    The top 1% of earners take in 20 fucking percent of the income earned in the U.S. The top 10% take in almost half of the money earned. By what magical means is their gaining of this money NOT preventing everyone else from getting a decent sized share of the money in our economy? The only way I can imagine is if virtually every dollar is spent and given back to the other 99/90%. Which is basically the assumption of trickle down economics. Spoiler alert: Trickle down economics are bullshit.

  184. 184
    Anthony K

    It’s dead easy to ‘earn’ an income that way.

    But as latecomer explained, inheritance isn’t ‘earning’ (it’s neither work nor investment.)

    So presumably, there would be no problem confiscating the estates of the deceased, since the “you should too” part of “No, it’s I “earned” my wealth and you should too” presumably also refers to the scions of the wealthy.

  185. 185
    The Mellow Monkey

    latecomer @ 173

    If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education.

    I’m sympathetic because this “get educated!” rhetoric is one I hear from well-meaning people constantly, but it doesn’t address the systemic problems causing poverty. People who are more educated generally make more money than people with less education, because they have access to better job opportunities. How much will those opportunities increase by having more educated people?

    Education is a supply-side method for reducing poverty. It can make for a better prepared group of workers, but won’t necessarily improve the quality or the quantity of jobs. If your economy itself is still structured to produce lots of low-wage jobs, it’s not going to help much.

    Education is fantastic and I support it wholeheartedly, but there has to be more to help people. Not everyone is going to get a higher education and lots of jobs would not benefit from workers with degrees, but those jobs are still vital and important. People doing such necessary work still deserve to eat and live.

  186. 186
    CJO

    the mere fact that someone is very wealthy doesn’t mean that someone else is prevented from also gaining wealth

    Not just “someone else”: it means that nearly everybody else is prevented from also gaining wealth.

    Because that “mere fact” isn’t some kind of happy accident. The fact is, individual wealth orders of magnitude greater than the median income can only be amassed under a system deliberately constructed to facilitate it. Such systems absolutely require the poor and the middle class to subsidize the institutions that act as the mechanism of capital accumulation –in our society, transnational corporations and gargantuan financial firms.

  187. 187
    Anthony K

    How much will those opportunities increase by having more educated people?

    Oddly enough, the rich people that influence the political system here in Alberta aren’t very interested in college educated workers. They need a handful of engineers, hydrogeologists, and skilled tradespeople, and a lot of roughnecks willing to trade workplace safety and health for salary. They also rely on a large number of foreign workers, many of whom aren’t aware of their legal rights in Canada.

    “Get an education” is something the wealthy and their supporters say, but not necessarily something the wealthy actually want, or importantly, will pay for.

  188. 188
    Rey Fox

    WHY do you think that the large incomes of the super rich is important enough of a freedom to justify the suffering of the poor?

    Because if the reward of getting super rich weren’t there, then there wouldn’t be incentive to build a better mousetrap. Or something.

  189. 189
    latecomer

    countries with high wealth inequity have lower levels of health generally (at least among developed, industrialised nations).

    But all you’ve done is allege a correlation, not causation. It’s not simply the case that being super rich in itself is the cause.

  190. 190
    anteprepro

    Yes, “correlation does not imply causation, meep meep meep.” A favorite canard for denialists. Robust correlations, found time and time again , controlling for multiple factors and approached from multiple angles, suggests something . At that point, propose your confounding variables, or shut the fuck up.

  191. 191
    latecomer

    So, your argument is that people should only gain wealth through ‘work’ or ‘investment’

    Ideally, yes that should be the case.

    So, if the government was the bank, and all citizens shareholders who received guaranteed monthly stipends from the money the government invested (by lending to those who wanted to make more via start-ups, home businesses, and charging interest on the loans), you’d be okay with that?

    No, I wouldn’t because our tax dollars shouldn’t be used in that manner. People should invest their own money.

  192. 192
    Anthony K

    But all you’ve done is allege a correlation, not causation. It’s not simply the case that being super rich in itself is the cause.

    No, and I didn’t actually claim that, though you would be right to argue I intimated that. More specifically, I countered your “and that is simply not true” claim, which you haven’t so far produced any evidence whatsoever to support (and, of course, would need to violate some laws of physics to do so, since actual resources are finite. Not everyone can own beachfront property, and the more beachfront property you own, the less others can, notwithstanding the coastline paradox.)

  193. 193
    chigau (違う)

    How do they become super rich?

  194. 194
    anteprepro

    If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education. Not through ridiculous efforts to pull the rich down to everyone elses level.

    Seriously? Fucking seriously? You are naive to the fucking extreme. Crying about “government corruption” when corrupt business practices are FAR MORE relevant to the economy? Saying that we can fight poverty simply by getting more kids into college, totally ignoring crippling student loan debt and the fact that the job market for kids out of college right now is notoriously bad? Claiming that putting a cap on the level of wealth is trying to “pull the rich down to everyone elses level”, implying that this is unfair and completely ignoring the massive number of ways that we have already mentioned, illustrating how their obtaining that wealth in the first fucking place wasn’t fair either? On top of the fact that you have been completely indifferent to justice, unless it involves touching a rich person’s profit margin?

    You are a fucking disgrace. Fucking ridiculous parody of your political position. Fucking learn something or shut your mouth and spare us all the stress of foolishly attempting to educate a fucking brick wall.

  195. 195
    Anthony K

    No, I wouldn’t because our tax dollars shouldn’t be used in that manner. People should invest their own money.

    But you cannot explicate why, of course.

    Do you know what baraminology is, and why you’re much like a baraminologist, even if you are an atheist?

  196. 196
    Anthony K

    Notably, it requires a shift away from the democratic, egalitarian ideals which the US is based on, anr that is sonething I am strongly against.

    So, this is a claim that has been demonstrated to be false, as I’ve proposed a mechanism by which all members of a society would have earned income (according to the half-assed and tautological definitions of ‘earned’ here), only to be met with some sort of presumably biblical distinction between ‘kinds’ of money, and some thou shalts and thou shalt nots.

    We’ve also demonstrated that we’re all okay with some levels of authoritarian society that uses coercion and curtails freedom.

    I think the only thing left (and intimated by latecomer’s last comment) is some sort of moral distinction that latecomer won’t come clean about, but I can guess having something to do with the poor deserving their lot in life, which is to be sacrificed for the sake of freedom.

    Thanks, latecomer. Lots of libertarians are much more thoughtful and knowledgeable than you, but you illustrate the paucity of thought that undergirds most of the ideology very well.

  197. 197
    CJO

    For latecomer, from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, by Kurt Vonnegut

    “The what?”

    The Money River, where the wealth of the nation flows. We were born on the banks of it. We can slurp from that mighty river to our hearts’ content. And we even take slurping lessons, so we can slurp more efficiently.

    “Slurping lessons?”

    From lawyers! From tax consultants! We’re born close enough to the river to drown ourselves and the next ten generations in wealth, simply using dippers and buckets. But we still hire the experts to teach us the use of aqueducts, dams, reservoirs, siphons, bucket brigades, and the Archimedes’ screw. And our teachers in turn become rich, and their children become buyers of lessons in slurping.

    “It’s still possible for an American to make a fortune on his own.”

    Sure—provided somebody tells him when he’s young enough that there is a Money River, that there’s nothing fair about it, that he had damn well better forget about hard work and the merit system and honesty and all that crap, and get to where the river is. ‘Go where the rich and powerful are,’ I’d tell him, ‘and learn their ways. They can be flattered and they can be scared. Please them enormously or scare them enormously, and one moonless night they will put their fingers to their lips, warning you not to make a sound. And they will lead you through the dark to the widest, deepest river of wealth ever known to man. You’ll be shown your place on the riverbank, and handed a bucket all your own. Slurp as much as you want, but try to keep the racket of your slurping down. A poor man might hear.’

  198. 198
    latecomer

    A favorite canard for denialists. Robust correlations, found time and time again , controlling for multiple factors and approached from multiple angles, suggests something

    When you’re tired of sanctimoniously insinuating that I’m such a horrible person, maybe you can point out this evidence of causation, because your link didn’t provide it. It said tgat high income inequality was correlated of poverty and mortality, but I didn’t see anything suggesting that the super wealthy were the ultimate cause of that. In fact, at best you could point to corrupt countries like Equatorial Guinea or Libya before Ghaddafi was killed, as examples where the super rich literally stole the wealth of their fellow citizens. On the other hand, even in those cases the issue has more to do with weak, corrupted, governments, than with the rich in particular.

  199. 199
    lochaber

    latecomer> you’re doing a pretty good job of insinuating yourself as a horrible person.

    You are condemning a large portion of the population to crime, shorter lifespans, health problems, in addition to abuse by employers, police, government officials, and landlords.

    And you seem to think that’s a good thing.

    wonder why people think libertarianism is morally bankrupt?

  200. 200
    anteprepro

    It said tgat high income inequality was correlated of poverty and mortality, but I didn’t see anything suggesting that the super wealthy were the ultimate cause of that.

    Largely because you imagined that part of Anthony’s post. He didn’t say that. He didn’t say that the super wealthy, themselves, were causing health problems. When I read your post, I didn’t notice that that was your interpretation. And Anthony has already mentioned that you misread him.

    I didn’t give the depths of your stupidity enough credit.

    . On the other hand, even in those cases the issue has more to do with weak, corrupted, governments, than with the rich in particular.

    Classic libertarian. Just as creationists have “Goddidit” for everything good, libertarians have “Gubmintdidit” for everything bad. Joy.

  201. 201
    Marc Abian

    Latecomer

    You keep saying that the super rich are causing poverty just by virtue of being rich, and that is simply not true.

    The money supply is finite. If some people are rich then some people are poor. If some people are very rich, then many are poor.

    So, do you retract this statement?

  202. 202
    anteprepro

    The money supply is finite. If some people are rich then some people are poor. If some people are very rich, then many are poor.

    “B-b-b-but…correlation ain’t causation!”

  203. 203
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Latecomer

    You keep saying that the super rich are causing poverty just by virtue of being rich, and that is simply not true.

    Since 1980, the real income of the wealthiest 10% of Americans has skyrocketed. The real income of the middle class, the purchasing power of a middle class family, has flatlined. The real income of the poor has dropped. Fast. As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. And the middle class get squeezed. All the economic expansion of the last 30+ years has gone to the rich and super rich. Or is that another one of those correlation is not causation casuistry of which you are so fond?

  204. 204
    Marc Abian

    The money supply is finite

    Well technically that’s not true, and I shouldn’t have said that.

    Terms like rich and poor depend on the proportion one has of the available money supply at the time, and in that sense people can not be rich if others are not poor.

  205. 205
    Travis

    Since 1980, the real income of the wealthiest 10% of Americans has skyrocketed. The real income of the middle class, the purchasing power of a middle class family, has flatlined. The real income of the poor has dropped. Fast.

    No, no, we middle class and poor are just lazy and the rich are working so much harder than they did in the past. They “earned” it.

  206. 206
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    No, no, we middle class and poor are just lazy and the rich are working so much harder than they did in the past. They “earned” it.

    Right. Nothing to do with massive tax cuts for the rich and industry-written deregulation.

  207. 207
    anteprepro

    Well technically that’s not true, and I shouldn’t have said that.

    Technically it is true, since the alternative to having a finite money supply is ridiculous, absurd inflation. In addition, the gubmint is control of the money supply, and if latecomer cries crocodile tears over stopping the rich from stealing from the poor, imagine the tantrum we would have on our hands if Big Gubmint devalued the rich people’s riches in order to give to the poor! Assuming they even understood what was going on, they would surely pitch a fit. Because FREEDOM.

  208. 208
    latecomer

    a claim that has been demonstrated to be false, as I’ve proposed a mechanism by which all members of a society would have earned income (according to the half-assed and tautological definitions of ‘earned’ here), only to be met with some sort of presumably biblical distinction between ‘kinds’ of money, and some thou shalts and thou shalt nots.

    No, you proposed to pool taxpayer money and then distribute it equally amongst everyone. That’s not what I or anyone I know of would consider earned wealth. I’m not even the one who was making distinctions about the definition of earned. That started with other posters quibbling about whether making money from investments is worthy of being called earned wealth.

    We’ve also demonstrated that we’re all okay with some levels of authoritarian society that uses coercion and curtails freedom.

    Thats true to some extent. The only question is how much government control are we willing to accept under the pretense of preserving public order.

    having something to do with the poor deserving their lot in life, which is to be sacrificed for the sake of freedom.

    Well I don’t know where you got that from, but my point was that freedom and security are in opposition. There’s a level of security that we all sacrifice in favor of having mote control over our lives, despite knowing that not everyone will have an equal chance to prosper.

  209. 209
    anteprepro

    There’s a level of security that we all sacrifice in favor of having mote control over our lives, despite knowing that not everyone will have an equal chance to prosper.

    And the level that is TOO FAR OH NOES for you is having a maximum on income? It is TOO MUCH to get “unearned” money to support the poor? Even high taxes are UNACCEPTABLE to you? And previously you implied that poverty is the natural cost of our glorious free American democracy? You only seem to have a nuanced view of the value of freedom when it suits you.

    Have you considered the possibility that you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, and are making an utter ass of yourself?

  210. 210
    thecynicalromantic

    Lynna, OM, that “Gangster Banker” article is absolutely fucking terrifying.

  211. 211
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Nothing like a sloganeering liberturd to show the theology has no basis in history, economics, politics, or morality. Bankrupt and ignorant all the way around. And they think they are “deep” thinkers. About as deep as a level sidewalk puddle….

  212. 212
    Ing

    You know if the wealthy were actually investing their money well we wouldn’t be complaining. Because money isn’t wealth, money is used to generate wealth. Ideally capitalism would increase the wealth of a society as money is spent. (A single dollar costs so many resources to make but inspires people to create things of value as is it is traded through buying, thus generating wealth as it passes hands) the problem is that the money isn’t passing hands. There is no flow. People are hording and taking more and more to horde. It is rotting.

    And it is not ethical at all. People have more money than they could possibly spent if they tried. At this point they have the power to either cause suffering or by action reduce suffering and we consistantly see them chose to increase suffering for the sake of hording more.

    And thus ethics fail, and the economy fails as the flow stops.

    Money is not the wealth of a soceity, we use money to get a population to generate wealth. It is worth nothing if no one is spending it.

  213. 213
    Ing

    And furthermore a problem is that we have a class of people whose job it is TO BE WEALTHY.

    They are not just acting immorally and obscenely they are activly insulting us.

    Imagine if you had the wealth of a Koch or something. The freedom that gives. The freedom to not have to work to persue any dream you want. To persue a talent in art or writing or invest in research or do anything you wanted. ANYTHING YOU WANTED.
    and what do they do with this gift? They use it to get more money and shit on others. It’s a farce. It’s an insult. Their triffling “philanthropy” doesn’t begin to make up for the sheer defication they put on the human spirit. Somewhere the next Mozart or Einstine is toiling away in menial labor (if they’re lucky) while some rich asshole earns 30K just for sitting in his office and wacking off.

  214. 214
    Marc Abian

    209 Antprepro

    Technically it is true, since the alternative to having a finite money supply is ridiculous, absurd inflation.

    Sorry if I’m missing sarcasm. Up late at night.
    No, it isn’t true. Fractional reserve banking increases the money supply. Outside of that you have central banks printing money and policies of quantitative easing. “Absurd” inflation is in the eye of the beholder, but we do not have a finite money supply and the alternative is what you see everyday.

  215. 215
    Ing

    @Marc Abian

    Anteprepro meant that there is a PRACTICAL limit put on money supply so for all intents and purposes the supply is finite at any given time.

  216. 216
    Ing

    Or to put it more appropriately the resources to which money represents a legal claim to are finite.

    Hording money is preventing the use of resources by others

  217. 217
    anteprepro

    Yes, Ing has it right. I meant finite as the opposite of infinite, not to imply that it is a number that can’t increase (though it can’t be increased too drastically either, but what counts as too drastic is up for interpretation [and probably a little luck too!] as you acknowledge).

  218. 218
    latecomer

    .But you cannot explicate why, of course.

    Because people should invest their own money and bear the risk of that investment themselves.

    blockquote> Do you know what baraminology is, and why you’re much like a baraminologist, even if you are an atheist? I know what it is, but what I don’t know is what point you’re trying to make.

  219. 219
    Anthony K
    So, if the government was the bank, and all citizens shareholders who received guaranteed monthly stipends from the money the government invested (by lending to those who wanted to make more via start-ups, home businesses, and charging interest on the loans), you’d be okay with that?

    No, you proposed to pool taxpayer money and then distribute it equally amongst everyone.

    I apologise. I argued with you under the assumption you could at least read, if not think. It’s the government schools, right? They let you down?

    (A meritocracy would eat you alive.)

  220. 220
    Anthony K

    Because people should invest their own money and bear the risk of that investment themselves.

    That’s restating your claim, not providing reasons for it.

    I know what it is, but what I don’t know is what point you’re trying to make.

    You might, if you tried to think.

  221. 221
    latecomer

    You are condemning a large portion of the population to crime, shorter lifespans, health problems, in addition to abuse by employers, police, government officials, and landlords.

    And you seem to think that’s a good thing.

    wonder why people think libertarianism is morally bankrupt?

    No one is condemning anyone to anything, and no one has said that crime, shorter lifespans, etc, are a good thing. That’s just demagoguery. Also, I’m not a libertarian, so I don’t really care whether it’s morally bankrupt or not.

  222. 222
    anteprepro

    No one is condemning anyone to anything, and no one has said that crime, shorter lifespans, etc, are a good thing.

    “Condemning” is the effect of your policy choices (or lack thereof). The “you seem to think that’s a good thing” refers to the “condemning”, not the “crime, etc.” itself.

    Here, let me just repeat Brownian, because he beat you to it:

    “I apologise. I argued with you under the assumption you could at least read, if not think. It’s the government schools, right? They let you down?

    (A meritocracy would eat you alive.)”

  223. 223
    latecomer

    And the level that is TOO FAR OH NOES for you is having a maximum on income?

    That would be 1 thing that I would consider unacceptable. I consider it no different from Prohibition. Sure, I may not drink alcohol, but I don’t accept being told that I can’t drink if I want to.

    It is TOO MUCH to get “unearned” money to support the poor? Even high taxes are UNACCEPTABLE to you?

    I’m not against a safety net. Like I previously said, I’m against the idea that income is public property that can be taken and used as much as deemed necessary for the alleged public good. How much are people expected to be taxed in order to help others?

    And previously you implied that poverty is the natural cost of our glorious free American democracy? You only seem to have a nuanced view of the value of freedom when it suits you.

    I didn’t imply it. It’s a fact tht in a market economy in a country based on freedom of determination that some will be rich, some will be in the middle, and others will suffer at the bottom. It’s unavoidable.

  224. 224
    anteprepro

    That would be 1 thing that I would consider unacceptable. I consider it no different from Prohibition. Sure, I may not drink alcohol, but I don’t accept being told that I can’t drink if I want to.

    Lolwut.

    Why am I even bothering?

  225. 225
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall
    And previously you implied that poverty is the natural cost of our glorious free American democracy? You only seem to have a nuanced view of the value of freedom when it suits you.

    I didn’t imply it. It’s a fact tht in a market economy in a country based on freedom of determination that some will be rich, some will be in the middle, and others will suffer at the bottom. It’s unavoidable.

    Again: Wut?

  226. 226
    mikeyb

    The obvious rational solution to all of this is to simply introduce a more robust progressive tax system on income as well as capital gains, and return the booty, in which the unjust gains have been obtained back to the public where they belong to fund science research, health care, public education, etc, etc. This simple obvious solution would solve 99% of the problems.

    99% of the super rich inherited their wealth and the other 1% were primarily obscenely lucky to get where they are (e.g. the Bill Gates of the world) or extremely ambitious psychopaths like the attenders of this party. The liberturd idea that we deserve the fruits of our labors, would only be true if you can demonstrate that a CEO is 10000% more productive than the average worker, therefore deserves 10,000X the wages. (I know these numbers maybe are exaggerated, but probably not that far off the truth). Besides the fact than no one has a choice in his/her natural endowments (genetic, environmental, cultural) which make him/her have abilities allowing him/her to succeed.

    I contend this simple solution would solve almost all our problems, if it could get through the liberturd fascist elite – which ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. In the past we had extremely high marginal tax rates during anti-communist American nonetheless, and there were plenty of rich people then, and they didn’t seem to lack incentives to get ahead.

    Yes the super rich do affect all of us. Are decaying public schools, infrastructures, poor health care services, total paralyzing fear of loosing your crappy job, etc etc can be directly linked to the grotesque hording of resources by the super rich.

    I know this sounds like raving Marxism, but it really has nothing to do with that. This doesn’t involve gulags, collective farms, collective planning, bla bla bla, exactly the opposite. I frankly don’t know of any other simple practical solutions comparable to this. Unless we want to increasingly live in a world of ever hierarchical groups of cantor sets of the super rich. We need to get rid of liberturd fascism once and for all.

  227. 227
    Azuma Hazuki

    They’re psychopaths. End of story. I would very much like to assume that they simply can’t hear the screams of history, see the oozing rivers of grief-blood, but that’s dangerously naive: they can, and they love it.

  228. 228
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor note:

    Please remember not to use mental illness as a slur.

  229. 229
    Anri

    latecomer @ 174:

    You keep saying that the super rich are causing poverty just by virtue of being rich, and that is simply not true. There are many reasons why poverty is so high, some of which no doubt involve the rich colluding with government (Ex: lax regulation of wall street and the banks), but the mere fact that someone is very wealthy doesn’t mean that someone else is prevented from also gaining wealth too. If you want to decrease poverty then the way to doit should be through things like decreasing government corruption or encouraging people to get a college education. Not through ridiculous efforts to pull the rich down to everyone elses level.

    Bolded for obliviousness.
    Also, we can “encourage people” to go to college ’till the cows come home, but if we don’t have a basic school system in place that gives them the grounding to go to college (which we can’t tax those poor rich people for, presumably)…
    and if we don’t have a method in place to allow people to pay for college once they are able to go (for which, again, we can’t tax those poor, poor rich people)…
    and if we can’t demonstrate that a college education is actually an effective way of making one’s way in the world (for which we can’t reduce those poor, poor, sad rich folk’s cut of the corporate pie)…

    then what good will ‘encouragement’ do?

  230. 230
    Azuma Hazuki

    @228/Daz

    That wasn’t a slur. Is this not the very definition of psychopathology? The complete, utter lack of a conscience, perhaps innate lack of one?

    It’s incomprehensible to any “normal” person. No one with a conscience would condemn another human to suffer like that for the sake of accumulating more money than can be spent in a hundred lifetimes.

  231. 231
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Azuma Hazuki #230

    Is this not the very definition of psychopathology?

    No. Psychopathology is the study of mental disorders. I don’t intend to derail the thread with discussion of what is and is not considered a lack of conscience, empathy etc to the point where it should be considered a mental disorder, rather than just plain ordinary nastiness, especially when basing any diagnosis on nothing but a short news-article. Please, just drop this.

  232. 232
    shockna

    It’s a fact tht in a market economy in a country based on freedom of determination that some will be rich, some will be in the middle, and others will suffer at the bottom. It’s unavoidable.

    You don’t honestly think that’s the case, do you?

    The simple fact is that those at the bottom have effectively zero “freedom of determination”. Every so often, a handful will get extremely lucky and manage to move upward, but they’re far from the norm, nor is it possible for everyone, even through tremendous hard work, to do so.

    A market economy, without a strong regulatory network and a very large social safety net (which can only be provided by the government), inherently moves toward social stratification and wealth concentration.

    A market economy in practice has nothing to do with “freedom of determination”, unless you can construct it as beginning with everyone having precisely equal wealth (lacking this, the uneven initial distribution guarantees stratification from the start), which obviously can’t be done in the real world.

    I get the “personal freedom” angle; it’s beaten into our heads from birth. But people very rarely consider just how much poverty robs one of that freedom. The claim that freedom and security (at least of the economic sort) are opposed is nonsense; being poor severely constricts your ability to choose and act as you will. More wealth is correlated with more freedom (up to a certain limit, beyond which you gain absolutely nothing for extra income; I don’t claim to know precisely where that is, but I think it’s a discussion worth having).

    As such, having more people in poverty causes a net loss of freedom throughout the population as a whole (since those with the absurd wealth concentration aren’t gaining anything from having all that extra money, while the poor would demonstrably benefit from having a portion of it). If you want to maximize net freedom in society, the best general way to do it is to ensure that income inequality is minimized.

  233. 233
    unclefrogy

    “How do the rich prevent the poor from becoming rich?”
    I don’t know if that is how to phrase it or not but it will do.

    I started to make a list of all the different ways but stopped it is too stupid.
    The way the rich get rich has not changed for millennia at some point they used unethical means if not outright illegal means to get and retain their wealth.
    They may even in later days try to make amends with charity and good works but you do not get to be in the 1% by being a “christ like figure” you have to have the ruthless ambition of a “Mack The Knife” or Harry Lime

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsOUFoC0dTY

    uncle frogy

  234. 234
    unclefrogy

    and further the rich do not contribute to the general welfare of the society they live in and profit from in any way proportional to the benefit they received. They have seldom in all of history done so.
    uncle frogy

  235. 235
    opposablethumbs

    having more people in poverty causes a net loss of freedom throughout the population as a whole … If you want to maximize net freedom in society, the best general way to do it is to ensure that income inequality is minimized.

    QFFT
    latecomer is giving a good demonstration of what uncritically swallowing the glibertatian (mis-)use of the notion of freedom will do. How about freedom from starvation, freedom from treatable illness, freedom to learn – any of these is infinitely more valuable than the FREEEEEDUMMMMMMB to emulate the billionaire-exploiter-parasite class as much as you possibly can.

  236. 236
    opposablethumbs

    Oh, and for anyone who thinks “equality of opportunity” is already here? Don’t forget to give everyone an equal starting point in life. That means equal access to education – in reality, not just on paper – and equal access to health and equal access to time and intellectual resources and equal freedom from discrimination – in reality, not just on paper. Equal freedom from microaggressions, from chilly climate, from being excluded from learning opportunities … and hey, if all those are just little things that don’t matter, because a real BraveHeroEntrepreneur would just power right through them? Well then it won’t matter if the wealthy-parented white boys are deprived of ‘em as well, right? You want that kind of equality of opportunity, you have to abolish inheritance and all private schooling just for starters. And of course no legacy places at uni, no seed money from dad, no job for the bosses’ kids ….

  237. 237
    carlie

    All the new members of that group also appear to be men, who are made to dress up as women for their degrading hazing ritual. Just in case anyone wondered if there was really still a glass ceiling at the top no matter how hard you work.

  238. 238
    jefrir

    Latecomer:

    I dont have any fantasies about being enormously rich but why shouldn’t I be allowed to be “obsenely” wealthy if I really wanted to?

    And the level that is TOO FAR OH NOES for you is having a maximum on income?

    That would be 1 thing that I would consider unacceptable. I consider it no different from Prohibition. Sure, I may not drink alcohol, but I don’t accept being told that I can’t drink if I want to.

    You do realise people don’t just decide to become rich, right? Like, that’s really not how it works. If it did, I’d be a fucking billionaire by now.
    Also, we are not suggesting income caps or inheritance taxes or high upper rates of taxes as some kind of punishment for the rich. It doesn’t matter if the very rich are directly responsible for the effects of poverty or not. The fact is, people are suffering because of poverty and income inequality. Reducing that suffering takes money. The rich have all the damn money. If we want to do something about inequality and suffering, we’re going to need to take some of it off them.

  239. 239
    SallyStrange

    It strikes me as interesting that latecomer asserts no relationship between the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by the super-rich and the correlated (but definitely not causated!) decline in earning power and assets among the poor and middle class. If it’s true, as he says, that the wealthy can grow their wealth without depriving other people of that same wealth, then this would seem to suggest that there’s no relationship between wealth generation and the production of useful products and services. Latecomer seems to be taking as a starting premise that there’s no relationship between wealth creation and, you know, actually moving raw materials to manufacturing facilities, transforming raw materials into useful goods that can be sold or used to facilitate the sale of services, and moving those goods to the markets where they are needed. If wealth generation really is related to the actual production and movement of actual goods and services, then there are non-wealthy people participating in that production at every turn. And thus, if wealth creation IS related to the production of goods and services, AND the incomes of the rich are growing faster than the incomes of the poor, THEN we can conclude that at least part of their growing wealth comes at the direct expense of other participants in the process of production.

    On the other hand, if, as latecomer claims, it’s true that the wealthy get wealthier without affecting the incomes of middle class and poor people, it stands to reason that their wealth is coming from somewhere other than the actual physical economy where tangible objects and services are being exchanged.

    I just can’t really conceive of where that wealth would be coming from in that case. Space aliens? Bitcoin investments? Are they all members of the mafia? Well, no, the mafia participates in the physical economy too, just not the legal one (much).

    Anyway, it’s a mystery. And based on latecomer’s contributions so far, my hopes that they’ll be able to resolve it for us are not high.

  240. 240
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Latecomer #102

    How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?

    I know I’m late to the party, but seriously, you know there’s a finite amount of money in the world, right?

  241. 241
    cgauthier

    As a lurker, I’d like to point out to Latecomer, and that other asshole further upthread, that ignoring very good arguments and questions is damning to your case. You can scroll back up there, read them and answer them anytime you actually want to be taken just a tiny bit more seriously. The time to have flounced and left everyone wondering whether you had the chance to read them or not has passed. Anyone not already familiar with the deliberate ignorance and intellectual dishonesty of libertarian thought can learn a lot from this thread.

  242. 242
    Anthony K

    Latecomer asked this

    How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?

    and then at least partially addressed it with

    It’s a fact tht in a market economy in a country based on freedom of determination that some will be rich, some will be in the middle, and others will suffer at the bottom. It’s unavoidable.

    …though ‘freedom of determination’ is another meaninglessness by latecomer, who seems to have a fetish for the status quo. (Fuck yeah, Bruce Hornsby and the Range!)

    With regards to both American business culture and latecomer’s first question, “How does 1 person amassing enormous wealth prevent others from prospering?”, here are few examples of billionaires doing that very thing (again, their ability to innovate and find solutions compared to latecomer’s, even to the question “how can I fuck over those with less than I?” suggests that he’d fair very poorly against these dog-eating-dogs without government to rein them in):

    http://www.salon.com/2014/02/20/5_billionaires_who_are_making_life_miserable_for_ordinary_americans_partners/

    Unlike latecomer, who claims to love freedom and ostensibly innovation, but does not actually seem to think that we are free to innovate, I think it’s a problem of North American business culture. Others outside of North America can probably speak to the differences between North American business culture and business culture outside of it better than I can.

    One thing we do need less of is people like latecomer, unable to conceive of anything other than what already is*, defending this kind of erosion of actual humans’ (poor people who desire not to starve) freedoms in favour of theoretical humans’ freedoms (the ultra rich who desire to become hyper-rich.) Or, to put it in free market terms, What kind of savvy capitalist stumps on behalf of billionaires’ rights without getting so much as a gold pen from them? Stop that.

    *Did you know that human culture has changed substantially over time and varies across the globe even now? It’s a fact.

  243. 243
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Anthony K

    Link’s borked, mate.

    Others outside of North America can probably speak to the differences between North American business culture and business culture outside of it better than I can.

    I’m not sure “business culture” is substantially different, just the support for it. Non-USAians as a group don’t really have the same general, pathalogical fear of leftism. And outside of the USA, “Libertarian” is not necessarily synonymous with “Rand-fetishising fuckwitted supporter of laissez-faire free-market capitalism”; whereas if an American self-describes as a libertarian you can be pretty damn certain that that’s what they mean. All in all, it means high-flying fuck-over-the-poor business arseholes don’t have the quite the same popular support, though it’s by no means nonexistent. Lack of popular support means they have to be less blatant about it, which doesn’t mean they’re not doing exactly the same thing more subtly.

  244. 244
    Anthony K

    @Thumper,

    Oh, no! Which link? Bruce Hornsby & the Range (it’s the song “The Way It Is”) or the article in Salon? Both work for me, but I’ll try actually linking the latter again: 5 billionaires who are making life miserable for ordinary Americans: Nothing like using your immense fortune to stick it to the little guy

    Mentions Pete Peterson’s bullshit “Kick the Can” campaign, another phony ‘grassroots’ campaign, (seriously, the tea party had a message? Yeah, the message was whatever the Koch brothers paid them to say. Other than that, the only tea party message was “we hate non-whites”.)

  245. 245
    SallyStrange

    Also, as evidenced by Anthony K’s links, hyper-rich people don’t act like they think their acquisition of wealth is an independent variable to the acquisition of wealth by people in lower classes.

  246. 246
    cim

    Lotto Democracy. Get rid of the election campaigns. Pick the House of Representatives by lot. [...]

    I can’t say it wouldn’t be better than the current system, but I don’t think this would give as representative a government as it’s often hoped to – if you don’t make it compulsory to enter the lottery and serve if selected, then you’ll get quite a bias in who is selected (in much the same directions, I expect, as now, even if not quite as strongly); if you do make it compulsory – leaving aside the technical issues in getting a list of “everyone” in the first place – you’re going to have to do some things to your government representatives which hardly seem a fair punishment for poor luck.

    The training provided over the first two years would have to be extremely good – and coming up with a programme which was both seen to be politically fair and didn’t have a massive small-c conservative skew to it would I think be impossible. Without a lot of careful work in this area the rich could continue to have immense influence through control of the press and other sources of information.

    Since you reminded me of it, though: there is a way to get proportional representation and no candidates for whom a vote is guaranteed to be wasted while maintaining single member seats and a single round of elections: select one of the votes cast in each constituency at random and discard the rest. Statistically it will tend to nationally elect parties in proportion to their nationwide vote, and people have a strong incentive to both vote at all and vote for their genuine preferred candidate. Conversely, it keeps a strong link to the constituency which opponents of PR often cite.

  247. 247
    brianpansky

    speaking of voting, wikipedia talks of being able to select more than one option (all the ones you like) as a way to end some of the nonsense.

    progressive people could vote for ALL progressive candidates, rather than splitting between them.

  248. 248
    LykeX

    There’s also the system they use in some Oscar nominations:

    1) Each voter hands in a prioritized list.
    2) The votes are assembled in piles according to the first priority.
    3) The candidate with the least votes is taken out of the running. Votes are then redistributed according to the new highest priority, ignoring that candidate in the vote listing (i.e. if, for a given vote, the #1 priority was the excluded candidate, you go by #2, otherwise, you still go by #1).
    4) Repeat step 3 until the candidates have been narrowed down to the desired number.

    This would allow a single round of voting to establish all representatives, while allowing people to vote for marginal candidates without fear of wasting their vote. It can be used both for single-seat offices (like the presidency) and for multiple-seat offices (like congress).

  249. 249
    Anthony K

    There’s also the system they use in some Oscar nominations:

    “Huh. Honey, the chyron says our newest representatives are Forrest Gump and Marisa Tomei.”
    “Don’t blame me. I voted for the special effects team from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It’s a shame, too. Stan Winston is supposed to be a real whiz with economic policy.”

  250. 250
    kevinalexander

    Cim @246

    – if you don’t make it compulsory to enter the lottery and serve if selected, then you’ll get quite a bias in who is selected

    I agree but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
    The lotto machine spins nine digit numbers and the results are matched against the Social Security lists. A letter to the winner is sent. It informs the winner what their duties are and that they have a place in the capitol and a salary. They can then accept or decline.
    Think of who would decline. People on a career path that they don’t want to give up or else anyone who for whatever reason just isn’t interested in the job. The selfish, in other words.
    Think of who would accept. Wouldn’t it be an improvement to government if the occasional Wal-Mart associate got a step up and a chance to help others like her?
    I agree that the rich would still have undue influence, it just would be more difficulty for them since they would be denied their strongest current advantage which is to buy the elections through campaign contributions.

  251. 251
    anteprepro

    Think of who would decline. People on a career path that they don’t want to give up or else anyone who for whatever reason just isn’t interested in the job. The selfish, in other words.

    What about people who don’t think they are smart enough? Don’t feel like they are interested enough in politics to be good at their job? Don’t want to (or aren’t able to) move away from their extended family to D.C.? Don’t want to risk lose a long-term career to serve in a career that most likely wouldn’t be long-term?

    “Selfish”? Really? That’s the only reason you can think of for why people wouldn’t want to uproot their lives to work in D.C.?

  252. 252
    LykeX

    There are many other measure that might be considered, like term limits, mandatory breaks, etc. I’m reminded of a system I came up with in my youth: All representatives have all property confiscated upon taking office and are then given a stipend equal to the official minimum wage.
    Lean back and watch the minimum wage skyrocket.

    One of the most annoying things about this subject is how little debate there really is about how the system should be organized. Surely, this is one of the most important subjects in any democracy, given how it controls every other aspect of the government. How come we never have any serious discussion of the matter?

  253. 253
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    LykeX #252

    How come we never have any serious discussion of the matter?

    Because the Holy Constitution which was handed down by God unto the Founding Fathers and has remained sacrosanct unchanged and inviolate* since the inception of this most perfect country on the Earth says so.

    * I know, but this is basically what a lot of people seem to believe.

  254. 254
    David Marjanović

    So why can’t we Americans have proportional representation?

    Because you lack the separation of head of state and head of government, and instead have a separation of government and parliament. This way, elections for a new government always narrow down to a duel.

    Each of these two candidates then accrues a party behind themself for support, and then the parties continue to exist after the election and choose candidates for the next election.

    To fix that would require amending the big-C Constitution.

    That’s why you can’t have nice things.

    It’s also why it’s even possible to shut down the government, for instance – over here, when the government loses its majority support in parliament, it is thereby fired, and new parliamentary elections are triggered (no fucking matter how long ago the latest election was) so that a new government can be formed. But I digress.

  255. 255
    anteprepro

    Surely, this is one of the most important subjects in any democracy, given how it controls every other aspect of the government. How come we never have any serious discussion of the matter?

    Because of worship of those venerable saints known as The Founding Fathers, and of their sacred, infallible text dubbed The Constitution. Even the slightest of variation from which would cause conservatives across the country to explode in indignation, confusion, and rage.

    There will not be serious discussion involving a restructuring of our government, because our government has a vested interest in staying the same, and because the American public is easily led into fearful complacency when anything resembling drastic change, anything involving nuance or uncertainty, is set before them.

  256. 256
    David Marjanović

    unchanged and inviolate

    It’s almost true, because it’s so fucking hard to amend. For comparison, try to count the amendments to the Swiss constitution of 1999. You’ll have to squint hard at the footnotes, where you’ll find that some articles were deleted by referendum before they were even implemented, some were deleted later, and some were added; and the deleted text isn’t shown. Here (in the unofficial English translation on the official site of the Swiss government) are examples or some of these.

  257. 257
    latecomer

    Also, we are not suggesting income caps or inheritance taxes or high upper rates of taxes as some kind of punishment for the rich.

    Oh I beg to differ. The general feeling seems to be that the rich in general, especially the 1%, are guilty of amassing their wealth through supposedly nefarious means, and that they deserve to be punished through massive taxes, or via other ways of making them live like the 99%. I find this to be nothing more than silly scapegoating, no different than the scapegoating of poor people by conservatives. I say we stop the class warfare.

  258. 258
    anteprepro

    The general feeling seems to be that the rich in general, especially the 1%, are guilty of amassing their wealth through supposedly nefarious means, and that they deserve to be punished through massive taxes, or via other ways of making them live like the 99%.

    Yes, that is exactly what we are proposing. We want to simply punish the 1%. Make them live like everybody else. Oh, wait, we punished them by stripping away some of their wealth? Where did that wealth go? Oh well, who carse. It is all about PUNISHMENT. All about dragging them down to our level. No positive goals in mind. Has nothing to do with those other 99% of people at all .

    You really see our plan quite clearly, latecomer. Super brilliant, as always.

    I find this to be nothing more than silly scapegoating, no different than the scapegoating of poor people by conservatives. I say we stop the class warfare.

    Yay for false equivalence! I say go fuck yourself, you disingenuous fucker.

  259. 259
    Anthony K

    Think of who would accept.

    Oh, hell. People like me.

    “Senator, what is your position on the bill up for debate today? Earlier you declared your support for increased childcare allowances for single parents as well as, um, windmills? What does that mean?”
    “I was misquoted. You know those windmills on the Old Dutch potato chip boxes? I meant those ones; they’re really quiet. Don’t move much, though. The one at the living history museum had chains on the blades, so they wouldn’t turn in heavy wind. That’s probably why we’ve been so slow at integrating wind power into the grid. We need to rid ourselves of those chains. You can quote me on that.”
    “Alright Senator, but we’d like to hear your thoughts on the current bill.”
    “Well, we’ve been pushing for childcare support for some time. I expect my colleagues in the House would agree that—is it hot in here? It seems hot to me. You stay here and chat among yourselves; I’m just gonna pop downstairs and see if the furnace folks could turn it down a notch. You can quote me on that. Note that I said, ‘Gonna’. It’s short for ‘Going to.’ You can quote me on that, too. Literacy is important.”
    “Is that why you voted against the adult literacy bill last week?”
    “I did not! I voted ‘neigh’, like a horse might, when affirming something. I come from a region with lots of ranches, though I’ve always lived in the city. I’m not actually fluent in Equiese, though I’ve been studying.
    “Yes, Senator, there have been rumours that you’re actually Canadian. Is that true?”
    “Of course it is. Aren’t you? Aren’t we all?”
    “But you’re sitting as a US Senator.”
    “Of course I’m not. I’m standing here, talking to a bunch of reporters. Ha! ‘Scrum’! I used to play rugby too. Wait, where is here? This isn’t Ottawa?
    “Sir, this is Washington.”
    “Oh, I used to love catching crabs with friends who lived just off of Puget Sound. You can quote me on that.”
    “Washington DC.”
    “Sorry, I never got into superhero comic books.”
    “Senator, how were you selected?”
    “Did you know the American people are terrible at locking their mailboxes? You can quote me on that.”

    How come we never have any serious discussion of the matter?

    Sorry. My fault.

  260. 260
    Anthony K

    Ah, here’s latecomer, back to not read a fucking thing.

  261. 261
    anteprepro

    Some people are willfully ignorant. People like latecomer (and the Cothrans from what is now a three day old thread) take it a step further and are willfully illiterate. Very conveniently aren’t able to read or comprehend certain things. Blatantly picking and choosing what to read over and what to respond to. The world is their “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

  262. 262
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ah, here’s latecomer, back to not read a fucking thing.

    Of course, liberturds are arrogant in their ignorance. If they learn something, their house of cards falls apart. Must do two out of the three monkeys, not hearing or seeing their fuckwittery, but they certainly speaking their fuckwittery. Which is why they are dismissed as anything other than sloganeering mouths….

  263. 263
    lpetrich

    So the problem with the US is the Presidency? Most Latin American countries are counterexamples. They have a US-style President and a proportionally-elected legislature. If they can do it, then why can’t my fellow North-American gringos?

  264. 264
    anteprepro

    So the problem with the US is the Presidency?

    ????

    What are you responding to?

  265. 265
    Rey Fox

    I say we stop the class warfare.

    I agree. The rich should cease fire.

  266. 266
    unclefrogy

    I can not believe anyone would seriously advocate a new constitution. Hasn’t anyone been watching the state of politics lately. they can just barely call a quorum without getting into a dispute. Would anyone trust anyone to come up with a system that would work any better then what we have now ? Really.

    Latecomer, yes I would advocate increasing taxes on all upper brackets to include capital gains with a one home and a modest retirement fund exemptions and an increase in the minimum wage across the board, would require all political funding be completely transparent and would find a way to insure that all outsourced manufactured goods and all imported goods would require that all workers involved would be paid a living wage with substantial penalties for none compliance,

    the increased revenue would go to single payer health care, much higher subsidized education at all levels completely rebuilding our infrastructure and enforcement of all regulations to include not just environmental regulations but financial and corporate as well you want to be involved in our market you will play by our rules and are only if it can be shown that it is a net positive that is just for a start
    uncle frogy

  267. 267
    lpetrich

    I was responding to David Marjanović #254 about how a US-style Presidency supposedly means that the legislature cannot be elected by proportional representation.

    The US Constitution is supposedly one of the world’s hardest to amend, but it’s been amended 17 times since the initial batch of 10 amendments. Even so, one does not need to amend it to make each state’s House of Representatives delegation elected by proportional representation.

  268. 268
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Even so, one does not need to amend it to make each state’s House of Representatives delegation elected by proportional representation.

    Actually it does. The elections are really up to the states. The only thing the Feds can do is ensure that minorities aren’t discriminated against, and one-man one-vote is adhered to.

  269. 269
    anteprepro

    The US Constitution is supposedly one of the world’s hardest to amend, but it’s been amended 17 times since the initial batch of 10 amendments.

    17 amendments over 220 years? 3 of which were all made at the end of the Civil War? And 1 of which was just the repeal of another amendment? Sounds pretty hard to amend to me.

    Even so, one does not need to amend it to make each state’s House of Representatives delegation elected by proportional representation.

    No, but you do happen to conveniently ignore that we would need to make an amendment in order to deal with the fact that the existence of the Senate screws up that proportional representation by its very nature.

  270. 270
    kevinalexander

    anteprepro @251

    What about people who don’t think they are smart enough?

    They probably aren’t. How is that a loss?
    Anthony K @259
    You have illustrated the number one objection that I get for the idea by ridiculing ordinary people for their supposed stupidity. It’s not only insulting it’s also wrong and even if it was true you couldn’t do worse than the Republican caucus.
    I did reread what I posted and realized that I left out an important part. The members of the House act as a jury. The Executive does the actual working in the government. The passengers don’t drive the bus, they tell a professional driver where they want to go. Then if he takes them for a ride, they fire him and hire a new driver.

  271. 271
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    latecomer @257:

    Oh I beg to differ. The general feeling seems to be that the rich in general, especially the 1%, are guilty of amassing their wealth through supposedly nefarious means, and that they deserve to be punished through massive taxes, or via other ways of making them live like the 99%. I find this to be nothing more than silly scapegoating, no different than the scapegoating of poor people by conservatives. I say we stop the class warfare.

    (I wish you’d have included at least the nym of the person you were responding to, if not nym and comment number. It took some time scrolling back to see you were responding to jefrir @238)

    You can beg to differ all you like, but you’re wrong.
    Let’s re-read what was said:

    Also, we are not suggesting income caps or inheritance taxes or high upper rates of taxes as some kind of punishment for the rich. It doesn’t matter if the very rich are directly responsible for the effects of poverty or not. The fact is, people are suffering because of poverty and income inequality. Reducing that suffering takes money. The rich have all the damn money. If we want to do something about inequality and suffering, we’re going to need to take some of it off them.

    You seem to think income caps or inheritance taxes or high upper rates of taxes are some sort of punishment. While I can sorta, kinda, see what you’re talking about (if I squint my eyes reeeeally tight), that’s not the point. It isn’t so much to punish the rich, as to help the poor and middle class. You know, the people who are suffering in the country. If that means that some rich white dude can’t buy a small island in the Carribbean because they have to pay higher tax rates, boo fucking hoo. They’re not going to suffer to any great degree. This “punishment” is anything but. But the people at the bottom, who are suffering from the income inequality *are* suffering. They’re struggling to put food in the mouths of their children. They’re struggling to pay rent. They’re going from one struggle to the next, day in, day out. Month in, month out. While politicians do their best to give breaks to *them*, rather than the people who are struggling.

    Fuck that shit.

  272. 272
    anteprepro

    They probably aren’t. How is that a loss?

    The point is that not everyone who would reject moving half-away across the country to do a job they aren’t trained in are “selfish”, you smug fuck.

  273. 273
    latecomer

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls @ 262:

    Of course, liberturds are arrogant in their ignorance

    I know right! It’s a good thing that I’m not one of those guys.

  274. 274
    anteprepro

    I know right! It’s a good thing that I’m not one of those guys.

    Out of all of the criticisms, that is the only you decide to respond to?

    *clap*

    *clap*

    *clap*

    Well done, sir. Well done.

  275. 275
    latecomer

    anteprepro@ 258:

    Yes, that is exactly what we are proposing. We want to simply punish the 1%. Make them live like everybody else. Oh, wait, we punished them by stripping away some of their wealth? Where did that wealth go? Oh well, who carse. It is all about PUNISHMENT. All about dragging them down to our level. No positive goals in mind. Has nothing to do with those other 99% of people at all .

    You really see our plan quite clearly, latecomer. Super brilliant, as always.

    It’s nice to see you’re honest about it. I’m sure that helping the poor is important to you, but in addition, some of you guys despise the rich, and if you can really stick it to them under the pretense of helping the poor, that’s just the icing on the cake.

    Yay for false equivalence! I say go fuck yourself, you disingenuous fucker.

    There’s no false equivalence. Whenever the economy’s down you get the poor blaming the rich for their lot in life and vice versa. It’s nothing new. It sounds good in a populist sort of way to blame everything on 1 group, but it’s counterproductive.

  276. 276
    Anthony K

    @kevinalexander:

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ridicule ordinary people. That was a fairly accurate representation of my conversational style in the workplace. I see no reason that randomly selected ordinary people, given some civics background, wouldn’t make a reasonable caucus.

    I would suggest disqualifying people who’ve served on condo boards though.

  277. 277
    anteprepro

    I’m sure that helping the poor is important to you, but in addition, some of you guys despise the rich,

    Cue world’s tiniest violin.

    Whenever the economy’s down you get the poor blaming the rich for their lot in life and vice versa. It’s nothing new.

    Wow. Just wow. I mean, I guess it was obvious the whole time that you are nothing but a mindless right-wing apologist for the extremely wealthy, whose view of the world is tinted through Limbaugh-tinted glasses, but I didn’t expect you to be so blatant about it all of a sudden. What with all of the evasiveness and all that.

    But, regardless, you remain incredibly fucking stupid. Truly pitiful. You are a walking cautionary tale.

  278. 278
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I know right! It’s a good thing that I’m not one of those guys.

    Sorry, the evidence says otherwise. You are nothing but a sloganeering morally bankrupt fuckwitted idjit. Show me otherswise by shutting the fuck up on your OPINION, and cite evidence from say Google Scholar to show your idiotology actually works.

  279. 279
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    There is a finite, though elastic, amount of money, amount of wealth, available within an economy. As more wealth, more money, is hoarded by a tiny group of people, it makes the rest of us poorer. Not only that, it makes it far, far, far more difficult for anyone, no matter how smart, no matter how lucky, no matter how skilled, no matter how hard working, to become wealthy. When large amounts of money are hoarded, are used only to make more money, are used only to manipulate the economy to preserve obscene wealth, that money is not creating jobs, is not creating opportunity, is no longer a real part of the economy.

    You claim not to be a libertarian yet you are parroting their talking points with alarming regularity. You may want to re-examine your political philosophy — what you claim and what you espouse are at odds.

  280. 280
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I wrote this some years(?) back, but it is germane to the comments that latecomer has made about class warfare”

    One of the claims I hear, quite often, from conservatives is that taxing the rich is class warfare; if we don’t let them keep all their money, we are communistsocialists who want everyone to earn the same amount of money and have the same benefits. Then, when a union stands up for workers and says, ‘no, you cannot cut their wages and benefits which the workers earn,’ suddenly you get the bullshit about similar workers earn less and have shitty benefits and it is suddenly okay to want everyone to earn the same amount of money and have the same benefits. It is commiesocialism when we ask the rich to pay a little more but capitalism when we do the same to the workers.

  281. 281
    anteprepro

    I love that latecomer is accusing us of “hating the rich” in the comments of an article about this:

    I wasn’t going to be bribed off my story, but I understood their panic. Here, after all, was a group that included many of the executives whose firms had collectively wrecked the global economy in 2008 and 2009. And they were laughing off the entire disaster in private, as if it were a long-forgotten lark. (Or worse, sing about it — one of the last skits of the night was a self-congratulatory parody of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” called “Bailout King.”) These were activities that amounted to a gigantic middle finger to Main Street and that, if made public, could end careers and damage very public reputations.

    I mean, really. Really. Reminds me of homophobes whining about how people are “intolerant” towards their religious views. Complete, disingenuous, blinkered, assbackwards, obfuscating, Republican Party Approved, Grade-A horseshit. And speaking of “it’s nothing new”, the beginning of the article PZ links to:

    Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved. Venture capitalists are comparing the persecution of the rich to the plight of Jews at Kristallnacht, Wall Street titans are saying that they’re sick of being beaten up, and this week, a billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross, proclaimed that “the 1 percent is being picked on for political reasons.”

    But at least they have useful idiots like latecomer to believe in this bullshit. So I guess some spin doctor, doing cocaine off of a hooker’s corpse while on chatting up Rupert Murdoch on the phone, was definitely worth the money they paid him. That’s one billionaire that “earned” his wings.

  282. 282
    Al Dente

    Tom Perkins, the guy who whined that the 1% were being hounded like Jews in 1930s Germany, was asked what his greatest fear was. He worries most about taxes. Here is a guy who makes more in a year than most people make in their lifetimes and he’s afraid he might have to pay money which could benefit people who aren’t him.

  283. 283
    latecomer

    I mean, I guess it was obvious the whole time that you are nothing but a mindless right-wing apologist for the extremely wealthy, whose view of the world is tinted through Limbaugh-tinted glasses

    I’m not an apologist for anyone, and I assure you that I’m not even remotely like Limbaugh. I’m just stating a fact that when hard times come around, the 1 thing that never changes is people’s tendency to pin the blame on whatever group they perceive to be the cause of their suffering, hence the rich vs poor class warfare I stated earlier. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  284. 284
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    We have been. With no more effect than a marshmallow traveling at 1mps hitting 9.2 inches of Chobham layered armour plate.

  285. 285
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    latecomer:

    It’s nice to see you’re honest about it. I’m sure that helping the poor is important to you, but in addition, some of you guys despise the rich, and if you can really stick it to them under the pretense of helping the poor, that’s just the icing on the cake.

    Did you even read my #27?
    If you did read it, do you understand it?

    And wow, you couldn’t detect the snark in anteprepro’s comment @258?

  286. 286
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    latecomer:

    I’m just stating a fact that when hard times come around, the 1 thing that never changes is people’s tendency to pin the blame on whatever group they perceive to be the cause of their suffering, hence the rich vs poor class warfare I stated earlier. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    People have been trying, but you’re so dense its off the scale.

  287. 287
    anteprepro

    I’m not an apologist for anyone, and I assure you that I’m not even remotely like Limbaugh.

    The sum of your previous statements beg to differ. All you have been doing is defending the rich this entire time, and now you are doing so via the despicable, yet common, tactic of assuming that we are only concerned by the ridiculous amounts of income inequality in this country because we hate the rich and/or because of personal hardship (or jealousy or greed or whatever you are implying). You are a vivid demonstration of why we do not and most likely will not get anywhere on this issue politically. You, just like your Republican kin, are obstructionists, denialists, and propagandists. You will do whatever you can to disrupt a conversation you don’t like. You will deny the facts in order to get the argument going around in circles. And you will outright distort or fabricate or other clever manipulations and distractions in order to make sure that you still, somehow, look good to the right audiences while erecting your logic-immune brick walls to hide behind. You are what is wrong with our political system, writ small. Congratulations.

  288. 288
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oops, my #285 should read:

    Did you even read my #271?

  289. 289
    anteprepro

    No Tony, you should have wrote:

    Did you even read?

    Spoiler alert: No.

  290. 290
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Did you read my 279 & 280? And you claim the only reason I want to reduce income inequality is because I hate rich? Reading comprehension fail on an epic scale.

  291. 291
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis @ 279: I just want to make this clear. I’m not disputing that extreme income equality is a bad thing. I’m just not in favor of decreasing it through methods that involve increasing treating people’s income as a well that you can just dip into and take from and redistribute as many times and by whatever amount is deemed necessary, everytime the economy is struggling. If certain groups of people are using their money and/or influence to cheat their way out of paying taxes, then that should be dealt with, but massive taxation or other forms of wealth redistribution shouldn’t in my opinion be used as a primary means of alleviating poverty.

  292. 292
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Why is it okay with you that US government policies, since 1981, have been redistributing income from the poor and middle class to the wealthy?

  293. 293
    anteprepro

    latecomer just wants to make it clear: income inequality is bad, but doing anything about it is also bad. So suck it up, you rich-haters! Sit back, and let the Holy Might of The Great and Powerful Capitalism do it’s thing, you filthy commies.

  294. 294
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    latecomer:

    If certain groups of people are using their money and/or influence to cheat their way out of paying taxes, then that should be dealt with, but massive taxation or other forms of wealth redistribution shouldn’t in my opinion be used as a primary means of alleviating poverty.

    “If”?

  295. 295
    latecomer

    anteprepro @ 281: I share in the collective disgust at the rich people detailed in the article PZ discussed, put clearly, as I’ve explained earlier, the animosity towards the rich goes deeper than a bunch of idiots mocking the poor.

    Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved. Venture capitalists are comparing the persecution of the rich to the plight of Jews at Kristallnacht, Wall Street titans are saying that they’re sick of being beaten up, and this week, a billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross, proclaimed that “the 1 percent is being picked on for political reasons.”

    But at least they have useful idiots like latecomer to believe in this bullshit.

    Actually, I don’t share Mr. Perkins’ viewpoint, although it does seem to be true that the 1% are targeted as being the cause of the recession.

  296. 296
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Latecomer

    n my opinion

    Since your opinion is all you offer, since you provide no third party evidence, Chritopher Hitchens comes to mind.

    What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

    Your inane and supported ravings are dismissed, as they lack third party evidence to back them up. Nothing you say will make an impression on most of us here for that reason. Funny how folks like you wont pony up the evidence.

  297. 297
    latecomer

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!@285:

    Did you even read my #27?

    No, sorry I’m a little busy.

    And wow, you couldn’t detect the snark in anteprepro’s comment @258?

    Yes, I got the snark, but thanks for pointing it out to me.

  298. 298
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    As latecomer will not respond to me, can someone point me in the direction of comments in this thread that support this (emphasis mine):

    … that the 1% are targeted as being the cause of the recession.

  299. 299
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    although it does seem to be true that the 1% are targeted as being the cause of the recession.

    The 1%, and their lackeys, did cause the recession. Do you think it was the poor begging that the wall of separation between commercial, retail and investment banking be removed? Was it the middle class bribing congress to change the rules regarding how loans can be marketed? Did you, or I, tell loan officers to approve every loan, whether it can be repaid or not, knowing that we would just sell it to another company? Did any of the 99% buy toxic loans, hoping we could resell them before the bottom dropped out (a game of financial hot potato)? Did the poor beg for fewer regulators to keep an eye on financial institutions? No. But the 1% did. The obscenely rich did. Once Clinton and W Bush deregulated the financial system, and tore down the Great Depression fire wall, a crash, and a concomitant recession, was inevitable. Because the rules that reigned in the greed were dismantled at the behest of the malefactors of great wealth.

    And this has nothing to do with punishment. This has to do with getting the economy working again. With giving government the funds to do its job. With freeing up that hoarded capital so that we can start to rebuild the country after 33 years of infrastructure neglect. With finding a way to bring half of the wealth of the United States back into the actual economy.

  300. 300
    latecomer

    anteprepro @287:

    All you have been doing is defending the rich this entire time,

    I’m not defending anyone. I’m not losing any sleep over you guys demonizing the rich. My goal is to counter what I see as an intrusion of government into people’s lives without adequate justification.

    and now you are doing so via the despicable, yet common, tactic of assuming that we are only concerned by the ridiculous amounts of income inequality in this country because we hate the rich and/or because of personal hardship (or jealousy or greed or whatever you are implying).

    I’m not saying that everyone here is motivated by a desire to punish the rich, but certain posters bave made comments indicative of some sort of animosity. For example, unclefrogy’s comments at 233&234 indicate to me that he feels that the rich generally for millenia have been gaining their wealth through nefarious means.

    You, just like your Republican kin, are obstructionists, denialists, and propagandists. You will do whatever you can to disrupt a conversation you don’t like. You will deny the facts in order to get the argument going around in circles. And you will outright distort or fabricate or other clever manipulations and distractions in order to make sure that you still, somehow, look good to the right audiences while erecting your logic-immune brick walls to hide behind

    All I’ve done is politely present my point of view on the subject. While others have engage in demagoguery, and handed out insults, I have stayed calm, while avoiding any victim blaming or ad hominems.

  301. 301
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.@292:

    Why is it okay with you that US government policies, since 1981, have been redistributing income from the poor and middle class to the wealthy?

    It’s not ok and I never said it was.

  302. 302
    latecomer

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls @ 296: My argument that I made in post 291 isn’t a true/false argument. It’s simply my preference for how much government action I’m willing to accept .

  303. 303
    latecomer

    latecomer just wants to make it clear: income inequality is bad, but doing anything about it is also bad.

    I’ll take “Strawman Arguments” for $1000 Alex!

  304. 304
    Rob Grigjanis

    Nerd @296: The original Latin is punchier, and lacks the hypocritical stench of a self-serving warmonger and intellectual bully with more respect for fame than for truth.

    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

  305. 305
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. @299:

    The 1%, and their lackeys, did cause the recession. Do you think it was the poor begging that the wall of separation between commercial, retail and investment banking be removed? Was it the middle class bribing congress to change the rules regarding how loans can be marketed? Did you, or I, tell loan officers to approve every loan, whether it can be repaid or not, knowing that we would just sell it to another company? Did any of the 99% buy toxic loans, hoping we could resell them before the bottom dropped out (a game of financial hot potato)? Did the poor beg for fewer regulators to keep an eye on financial institutions? No. But the 1% did. The obscenely rich did. Once Clinton and W Bush deregulated the financial system

    You just pointed out an important point. Yes, the 1% played a large part in causing the recession but the government enabled it through reckless deregulation.

    This has to do with getting the economy working again. With giving government the funds to do its job. With freeing up that hoarded capital so that we can start to rebuild the country after 33 years of infrastructure neglect. With finding a way to bring half of the wealth of the United States back into the actual economy.

    If capital is sitting underutilized, then its because businesses feel that the business environment is not healthy enough. The way to combat that should be to make the environment more attractive for investment via stimulus or some sort of incentive.

  306. 306
    Rey Fox

    but massive taxation or other forms of wealth redistribution shouldn’t in my opinion be used as a primary means of alleviating poverty.

    But you’ve never said WHY. Other than vague mutterings about freedom.

    My goal is to counter what I see as an intrusion of government into people’s lives without adequate justification.

    The well-being of millions of Americans isn’t adequate justification to make the super rich slightly less right. Gotcha.

    While others have engage in demagoguery, and handed out insults, I have stayed calm, while avoiding any victim blaming or ad hominems.

    That ain’t a badge of honor. And we haven’t been using ad hominem arguments. And…victim blaming? Learn what the buzzwords mean before flinging them around.

    I think antepro had you pegged pretty well in #287.

  307. 307
    Azuma Hazuki

    In the end, it comes down to this: is money a means to an end, or an end in itself?

    The rich must ask themselves this. Is the accumulation of wealth and specie so important, so valuable in and of itself, that it is worth wrecking entire economies and destroying large segments of society for? How much blood will you spill for those green pieces of paper? What kind of legacy will you be leaving this world when you leave your body, poor, faithful clay, behind?

    The hideously ironic and horrible part of this is that our money is both fiat and floating. It’s not tied to anything and it only worth what it’s said to be worth. Because we are a consumer economy, the hyper-rich are sawing away the very branch they sit on by demolishing the middle (read: spending) class this way. Our money only has value when it’s moving, because it’s an abstraction to the barter system. A friend of mine on Facebook put it thus, that they will be “sitting on top of a mountain of scratchy green toiler paper” when this is done.

    Stop the planet; I want off.

  308. 308
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    latecomer #305

    The 1%, and their lackeys, did cause the recession. […] Once Clinton and W Bush deregulated the financial system

    You just pointed out an important point. Yes, the 1% played a large part in causing the recession but the government enabled it through reckless deregulation.

    If you’re not placing “government” in the category “lackeys,” you are seriously misreading what Ogvorbis was saying.

  309. 309
    thecynicalromantic

    Latecomer, you seem to be falling into the trap of “If people think it then it must be wrong.” I’m sure this makes you feel very smug and superior to all us silly sheeple who have opinions about stuff, but in this case, we’re blaming the 1% for the economy’s financial fuckupedness because we have mountains and mountains and mountains of solid evidence going back decades that it is actually their fault.

    You also seem to be insisting on some sort of complete distinction between the government and the 1%, to the point where if someone in the government does something, that itself is proof positive that the uberrich had nothing to do with it. I am therefore curious about how it is that you are posting on this comment thread at all, since you clearly live in a completely different universe than the rest of us, and it would appear to be a universe with no access to any kind of information about the US government or economy whatsoever.

    One of the main ways in which the 1%ers cheat (and it is absolutely cheating) is by using their massive amounts of money to muck about in politics and get the laws rewritten to make it easier for them to hoard money at other people’s expense. Threatening the government into giving you tax breaks for no reason other than that you want to sit on an even more obscenely large pile of money than the one you’re already sitting on is just as much “cheating your way out of paying taxes” as failing to report income on your returns (which, by the way, many of the uberrich also do; it’s what the Cayman Islands is for).

    I would strongly suggest you walk away from this thread and read a book or three about the financial crisis. A good short one is Charles Morris’ The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown; Michael Lewis also has a nice, short, easy-to-read book on the housing bubble called The Big Short. If can’t handle handle a whole book (although I specifically picked books under 200 pages), try any of the magazine articles linked in this thread.

  310. 310
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Why is it okay with you that US government policies, since 1981, have been redistributing income from the poor and middle class to the wealthy?

    It’s not ok and I never said it was.

    Yes, you have. NOt in so many words, but you are defending, tooth and nail, exactly that. Every time you defend the status quo, you are telling everyone that you are for continued income redistribution from the poor and middle class to the rich.

    the government enabled it through reckless deregulation.

    Holy shit, you are dense. Who bought congress? Who pushed for deregulation? Who told everyone that, without regulations, banks will not do the same shit they did back in the 1920s? The rich.

    you are seriously misreading what Ogvorbis was saying.

    Of course latecomer is misreading what I wrote, Daz. That is what latecomer does.

    This whole thread has been a Gish gallop of libertarian gibberish of epic proportions.

  311. 311
    Anthony K

    This whole thread has been a Gish gallop of libertarian gibberish of epic proportions.

    But he’s not a libertarian, you see. Much in the same way that Ruhollah Khomeini wasn’t a Muslim.

  312. 312
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Anthony:

    Much the same way that neither George W. Bush nor Mitt Romney were conservatives.

  313. 313
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Ogvorbis #310

    Of course latecomer is misreading what I wrote, Daz. That is what latecomer does.

    Here was me thinking that what latecomer does is usually along the lines of not reading. I s’pose misreading is a slight improvement…

  314. 314
    cim

    @kevinalexander: to reply to your points in opposite order

    [people who don't think they're smart enough] probably aren’t. How is that a loss?

    Between the Dunning-Kruger effect and Imposter Syndrome I suspect the correlation between “would be a good politician” and “thinks they would be a good politician” is basically non-existent.

    I agree but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. [...]
    Think of who would decline. People on a career path that they don’t want to give up or else anyone who for whatever reason just isn’t interested in the job. [...]

    “Who for whatever reason” is accurate but hardly limited to various rephrasings of “selfishness”: for some more examples
    – people who have immediate family or caring commitments (inc people who are soon to or recently have given birth). More likely than not to be women.
    – people who have secrets they wish to keep from being widespread public knowledge (e.g.: sexuality, gender identity, mental health, minor criminal pasts, other perceived or actual deviations from the Holy Morals)
    – people without a postal address tied to an SSN and who can’t be found if their number comes up
    – people with disabilities incompatible with what if done well is an extremely physically and mentally intensive multi-year commitment.

    Now, obviously, the current system for a wide number of structural reasons also largely excludes those people … but the current system is self-evidently unfair. Random selection seems self-evidently fair, so what do you do to make it actually fair? (And if so, would doing the same thing to the current system be a possibility?)

  315. 315
  316. 316
    anteprepro

    No, sorry I’m a little busy.

    Too busy to read, not too busy to comment. Because we all need to hear comments from someone who isn’t reading the thread and has no intention of actually engaging us.

    latecomer thinks awfully highly of himself. My greatest fear is that all of this attention is merely feeding his ego, instead of making him realize how foolish he is.

    I’m not defending anyone. I’m not losing any sleep over you guys demonizing the rich. My goal is to counter what I see as an intrusion of government into people’s lives without adequate justification.

    “I’m not defending the rich, I am just saying that you are demonizing them, and that you don’t have adequate justification for criticizing them, is all”

    Do you even know how words work, latecomer?

    I’m not saying that everyone here is motivated by a desire to punish the rich, but certain posters bave made comments indicative of some sort of animosity.

    Where’d I put that violin?

    All I’ve done is politely present my point of view on the subject…I have stayed

    Politeness : For when you can’t muster up any empathy, facts, or logic. Politeness will make you seem like you are confident and holding your ground in an argument, even if you are performing miserably. Just watch as we use Politeness to act smug and pretentious and convince naive authoritarians that we are doing a bang-up job debating those dirty, swear-using hooligans!

    Politeness , because when you are an aristocrat, even your bullshit don’t stink!

    It’s not ok and I never said it was.

    Now, you have just whined and whined at length about how UNFAIR (or something) it is to reverse that siphoning. It seems that the only reason you have is that you think money is sacred and have a religious devotion to holding onto money and religious taboo against government and government doing anything to get its dirty mitts on money. I’m afraid that your irrational dogmatic preferences and gut feelings don’t pull any more weight than any other’s. I know that will hurt your feeling, but we can’t stop society and let people suffer just because it will hurt the sensitivities of money worshppers.

    I’ll take “Strawman Arguments” for $1000 Alex!

    Prove it. The only solutions you have presented that don’t disgust your religious sensitivities are ones that would do jack shit in terms of bridging the divide that currently exists. I’m pretty much dead on.

    You just pointed out an important point. Yes, the 1% played a large part in causing the recession but the government enabled it through reckless deregulation.

    You realize that “reckless deregulation” isn’t the government doing something: It is the government NOT doing something. Are you telling us that with all your bleating about Big Gubmint, that you are anti-deregulation and pro-regulation? Because I’m calling bullshit on that one.

  317. 317
    anteprepro

    You foolish libruls should know it is only class warfare if it is poor people complaining about injustice. Rich people actually doing unjust shit doesn’t count as class warfare. It’s just “finance”.

  318. 318
    kevinalexander

    cim@314

    “Who for whatever reason” is accurate but hardly limited to various rephrasings of “selfishness”: for some more examples

    Your point is well taken. I was giving a short answer to a long problem. It reminds me of another objection that I get -that the people who would accept would be over-represented by those who were poor or had nothing better to do. Right now we end up with people who are rich and have nothing better to do. I still think my system would be an improvement.
    .
    In any case it wouldn’t be fair, it would be more fair than the system we have now. And it would save billions in campaign costs and reduce the influence of the big money.
    Look at the system as it stands. The lower house is called the House of Representatives ostensibly because they represent the people of their district. In reality they don’t. They represent whoever put up the money to get them there and it’s only remotely possible that one of the Koch brothers lives in his district.

  319. 319
    Anthony K

    You foolish libruls should know it is only class warfare if it is poor people complaining about injustice.

    And despite it being so-called ‘warfare’, the only actual casualties are the poor.

  320. 320
    SallyStrange

    I don’t think latecomer has ever really thought about how wealth is generated in the first place.

  321. 321
    anteprepro

    And despite it being so-called ‘warfare’, the only actual casualties are the poor.

    Just like regular war!

  322. 322
    David Marjanović

    Nerd @296: The original Latin

    Isn’t the original by Aristotle or suchlike, and therefore Greek?

    (…Of course, a lot more people will understand the Latin version, so quoting it makes more sense…)

  323. 323
    unclefrogy

    @321 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    uncle frogy

  324. 324
    David Marjanović

    I was responding to David Marjanović #254 about how a US-style Presidency supposedly means that the legislature cannot be elected by proportional representation.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. The fact that the head of state is the head of government in the US (is that really so in any other democratic country? Even Russia pretends so) causes the two-party system. Proportional representation for these two parties would of course be possible.

    The US Constitution is supposedly one of the world’s hardest to amend, but it’s been amended 17 times since the initial batch of 10 amendments.

    17 times in 250 years? You have… no idea how… cringeworthy this tiny number is, do you?

    You’re probably the only democratic country that even counts its amendments.

    And it’s not “supposedly one of the world’s hardest to amend”. It is the world’s hardest to amend, and has been since Yugoslavia collapsed over twenty years ago!

    massive taxation or other forms of wealth redistribution shouldn’t in my opinion be used as a primary means of alleviating poverty

    But if you don’t take the money for that from where it is, where do you take it from?

    Did you even read my #27?

    No, sorry I’m a little busy.

    Wow.

    Wow!

    Dude, if you don’t have time to read every comment in this thread, why in the fuck do you believe you have time to add to it?!?

    While others have [...] handed out insults, I have stayed calm

    :-) If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.

    …as you just admitted.

    And please explain in your own words what an ad-hominem argument is.

    My argument that I made in post 291 isn’t a true/false argument. It’s simply my preference for how much government action I’m willing to accept .

    But what do you base this preference on?

    This isn’t a matter of taste, you see. It’s a matter of testable hypotheses about which causes will have which effects.

    If capital is sitting underutilized, then its because businesses feel that the business environment is not healthy enough. The way to combat that should be to make the environment more attractive for investment via stimulus or some sort of incentive.

    What would that “stimulus” or “incentive” be?

    To give them more money they could have lying around? Because that’s what tax breaks are.

  325. 325
    latecomer

    Red Fox@306:

    But you’ve never said WHY. Other than vague mutterings about freedom.

    1. I like to believe this is still a free country.
    2. I don’t agree with the notion that it’s anybody’s right to force others to give their income or wealth to others for the “good of the people”. It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another. I wouldn’t force anyone to do it for me, and I expect the same in return.
    3. These initiatives to decrease poverty or alleviate other social issues through jacking up tax rates are many times proposed at times when dislike between the rich and poor is at a high point. I don’t want to se tax policy used in a way to punish certain groups as part of some populist drive by politicians.

  326. 326
    Anthony K

    1. I like to believe this is still a free country.

    lol

    But not too free:

    Yes, the 1% played a large part in causing the recession but the government enabled it through reckless deregulation.

    What a fucking dipshit.

  327. 327
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    So, latecomer, when you’ve got a situation where some large percentage of people are destitute, how should they be helped? Where should that money come from?

  328. 328
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    latecomer #325

    I don’t agree with the notion that it’s anybody’s right to force others to give their income or wealth to others for the “good of the people”. It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another. I wouldn’t force anyone to do it for me, and I expect the same in return.

    Protip: If you don’t want people to assume you’re a libertarian, don’t crib your ‘arguments’ from Ayn Rand.

    3. These initiatives to decrease poverty or alleviate other social issues through jacking up tax rates are many times proposed at times when dislike between the rich and poor is at a high point. I don’t want to se tax policy used in a way to punish certain groups as part of some populist drive by politicians.

    Great blow-snorting Buddha, I know libertarians are incapable of understanding context, but this is a whole new level. Correlation is not the same thing as causation; the reason dislike between the rich and poor is at a high point at the same time that discussions of raising taxes on the rich come up is because when policies have been slanted towards the rich badly enough and long enough to let them fuck over the economy, people tend to be kind of annoyed, and also want to fix said economy. Libertarians really are unspeakably dense on top of being total shitheads.

  329. 329
    latecomer

    thecynicalromantic @309:

    Latecomer, you seem to be falling into the trap of “If people think it then it must be wrong.”

    I have no idea where you got that from.

    You also seem to be insisting on some sort of complete distinction between the government and the 1%, to the point where if someone in the government does something, that itself is proof positive that the uberrich had nothing to do with it.

    No, what I’ve been trying to say is that they have worked together. The rich are able to get their lobbyists into the government and extract whatever concessions they want out our politicians. In return, those government officials have been rewarded with cash and/or jobs, and the cycle repeats itself. I get it.

  330. 330
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis@310:

    Every time you defend the status quo, you are telling everyone that you are for continued income redistribution from the poor and middle class to the rich.

    I’m all for change, just not the particular change you guys are in favor of.

    Holy shit, you are dense. Who bought congress? Who pushed for deregulation? Who told everyone that, without regulations, banks will not do the same shit they did back in the 1920s? The rich

    You can only be bought if you’re for sale.

  331. 331
    SallyStrange

    I know it’s rough to get piled on, latecomer. So I won’t yell at you for ignoring what I said.

    I’ll try again.

    Premise 1: Wealth is generated via a process of production, movement, and exchange of tangible goods and services. This is a process in which non-wealthy people must needs participate in great numbers.

    Premise 2: The incomes of the super-wealthy have been growing, while the incomes of the non-wealthy have remained stagnant.

    The conclusion I draw from these two premises is that the disproportionate increase in the incomes of the super-wealthy has come, at least in part, at the direct expense of the non-wealthy.

    You have drawn a different conclusion. You assert that it’s possible for the super-wealthy to have rising incomes without simultaneously depriving the non-wealthy of some of their income, despite the chronological correlation between the two processes.

    So, I am wondering: where is that extra money that the wealthy have been accumulating for the past 30 or 40 years coming from? How do you figure that works?

  332. 332
    Rob Grigjanis

    DM @322:

    Isn’t the original by Aristotle or suchlike, and therefore Greek?

    Good question. I shouldn’t be so hasty with my use of ‘original’. I’ll poke around a bit tomorrow…

  333. 333
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    The rich are able to get their lobbyists into the government and extract whatever concessions they want out our politicians. In return, those government officials have been rewarded with cash and/or jobs, and the cycle repeats itself.

    Very good!

    Now:
    (1) is this situation bad?
    (2) if so, is it bad enough that we [collectively] should try to stop it?
    (3) if so, how?

  334. 334
    latecomer

    But he’s not a libertarian, you see. Much in the same way that Ruhollah Khomeini wasn’t a Muslim.

    Im not a libertarian in the same way that Obama’s not a Muslim.Or is he?

  335. 335
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    latecomer @334:

    Obama’s not a Muslim.Or is he?

    What.

    If you believe that nonsense, we’ve got issues. See, I think most people here have been operating on the assumption that you have a functional central nervous system.

  336. 336
    chigau (違う)

    latecomer
    Your #334 is very like a troll.
    Trolling is not welcome here.

  337. 337
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Im not a libertarian in the same way that Obama’s not a Muslim.Or is he?

    Gee, you’re just another person giving us nothing but liberturd slogans, and being arrogant, ignorant, and illiterate, just like a liberturd, without supplying one iota of academic third party evidence to back your claims. You walk, quack, shit, and wade like a duck (liberturd). Guess what, you are a proven liar and bullshitter, so call yourself anything you want. Nobody will believe a word you say. That is what comes from not being able to go beyond your inane and ignorant opinion to reality.

  338. 338
    jefrir

    Latecomer, #325

    I don’t agree with the notion that it’s anybody’s right to force others to give their income or wealth to others for the “good of the people”. It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another. I wouldn’t force anyone to do it for me, and I expect the same in return.

    So, are you against all taxes then? Because this makes it sound like you are. And if so, how do you propose that we fund a functioning society?
    Also, how can you spout shit like this and still claim not to be a libertarian?

  339. 339
    PZ Myers

    You’ve got a choice, latecomer. Keep digging your own grave here, or stop trolling.

  340. 340
    thecynicalromantic

    I have no idea where you got that from.

    You’re using “I have noticed that people are angry” as your argument for why it is a bad idea to do anything to fix the things that people are angry about.

    No, what I’ve been trying to say is that they have worked together.

    If that’s what you have been trying to say, you have failed spectacularly in actually saying it. The words that you have actually written down in your comments–particularly in the actual order you put them in and in the context of the words they were apparently in response to (“apparently” here meaning “in accordance with the established norms of English conversational pragmatics”, not that there’s any real reason to believe you personally understand pragmatics)–posited governmental action as a refutation of the idea of action by the uberrich, thus implying that the two were mutually exclusive. Otherwise, you’ve got fucking nonsense of the second-grader-showing-off-their-half-assed-grasp-of-big-words variety (“It’s not raining, it’s precipitating!“).

    When two parties work together, it means they are both at fault. You cannot use one party being at fault to say that the other is not at fault. That is what “working together” means.

    You can only be bought if you’re for sale.

    Not in the wonderful world of modern finance! You can be threatened, extorted, starved of funds, or subject to hostile takeover. You can be made redundant and replaced by someone more pliable. You can also be flat-out lied to, tricked, and manipulated so you’re unaware of how bought you are.

  341. 341
    Rob Grigjanis

    It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another.

    Translation to Thatcherese: There is no such thing as society.
    Translation to English: Theft is OK, as long as you can get away with it, or pay lawmakers to ensure you get away with it.

  342. 342
    latecomer

    anteprepro@316:

    “I’m not defending the rich, I am just saying that you are demonizing them, and that you don’t have adequate justification for criticizing them, is all”

    Do you even know how words work, latecomer?

    I’m not on some rich person’s payroll(aside from my actual job).My argument actually has nothing to do with the rich or money. They’re incidental to to crux of my argument which pertains to individual rights. So, once again, I’m not defending the rich.

    Politeness : For when you can’t muster up any empathy, facts, or logic. Politeness will make you seem like you are confident and holding your ground in an argument, even if you are performing miserably. Just watch as we use Politeness to act smug and pretentious and convince naive authoritarians that we are doing a bang-up job debating those dirty, swear-using hooligans!

    Politeness , because when you are an aristocrat, even your bullshit don’t stink!

    Politeness is debating a topic, even a contentious topic like politics, without hurling insults like several posters have done, or insinuating that someone is a psychopath totally lacking empathy. On that front, I’ve done a bang up job.

    It seems that the only reason you have is that you think money is sacred and have a religious devotion to holding onto money and religious taboo against government

    Money isn’t sacred, just freedom. And I don’t have a taboo against government. There’s just certain things Im willing to accept when it comes to government force.

  343. 343
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Since 1981/82, US tax policy has transferred massive amounts of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. Why do you have a problem with using tax policy to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class and poor, but have no problem with it going the other way?

  344. 344
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    There’s just certain things Im willing to accept when it comes to government force.

    Such as transferring wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. That you are okay with. Gotcha.

  345. 345
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    And one other thing: Taxes = government force. You sure you’re not a libertarian?

  346. 346
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Money isn’t sacred, just freedom. And I don’t have a taboo against government. There’s just certain things Im willing to accept when it comes to government force.

    Spoken like a true believer Liberturd™, including the arrogance, ignorance, and lack of evidence, make your opinion dismissible. Just like all the fuckwitted idjits. Now, time to show some honesty and integrity, by showing evidence to back your assertions, shutting the fuck up about them, or, by tacitly acknowledging your are nothing but lying and bullshitting troll by neither putting up or shutting up. But then, the latter has been obvious to any rational thinker from your first post…..

  347. 347
    Rey Fox

    So, more vague mutterings about freedom then. It’s better for millions to suffer than a few be not quite as rich as before. “I got mine, fuck you.” But not a libertarian.

  348. 348
    Rey Fox

    On that front, I’ve done a bang up job.

    That means absolutely nothing.

  349. 349
    latecomer

    anteprepro @316:

    I’ll take “Strawman Arguments” for $1000 Alex!

    Prove it. The only solutions you have presented that don’t disgust your religious sensitivities are ones that would do jack shit in terms of bridging the divide that currently exists. I’m pretty much dead on

    Prove it? I think the lack of any posts of mine coming out against reducing income inequality is proof enough.

    You realize that “reckless deregulation” isn’t the government doing something: It is the government NOT doing something.

    “Deregulation” means that there were regulations, but now the regulations are either weakened, or completely “removed”. Therefore, the government is actually “doing something”. You get how definitions work?

  350. 350
    SallyStrange

    Prove it? I think the lack of any posts of mine coming out against reducing income inequality is proof enough.

    Mmmhmm. You don’t oppose reducing inequality. But you are against what seems to most folks to be a reasonable, achievable way to do it. And you have no alternate suggestions.

    Funny way of not opposing reducing inequality.

    Funny way of not being a libertarian.

    Troll.

  351. 351
    SallyStrange

    “Deregulation” means that there were regulations, but now the regulations are either weakened, or completely “removed”. Therefore, the government is actually “doing something”. You get how definitions work?

    “Stopping doing something” counts as “doing something,” if you’re tendentiously trolling, yes.

  352. 352
    chigau (違う)

    latecomer
    Have you read #339?

  353. 353
    latecomer

    David Marjanović@324:

    But what do you base this preference on?

    See post 325.

    What would that “stimulus” or “incentive” be?

    To give them more money they could have lying around? Because that’s what tax breaks are.

    I don’t know. It could be continued unemployment checks, more infrastructure spending, or maybe even having a government that actually works instead of merely surviving through these manufactured debt ceiling crises

  354. 354
    latecomer

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy @328:

    Protip: If you don’t want people to assume you’re a libertarian, don’t crib your ‘arguments’ from Ayn Rand.

    Aha, someone noticed! Seriously, I happen to agree with her line of thinking on this point, so I decided to use it, libertarian or not.

    the reason dislike between the rich and poor is at a high point at the same time that discussions of raising taxes on the rich come up is because when policies have been slanted towards the rich badly enough and long enough to let them fuck over the economy, people tend to be kind of annoyed, and also want to fix said economy.

    In this particular recession, I agree, but generally speaking recessions tend to inspire people to lash out at each other, particularly with the help of government, which is the point I was making.

    Libertarians really are unspeakably dense on top of being total shitheads.

    Yeah, I totally hate those guys.

  355. 355
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    It could be continued unemployment checks, more infrastructure spending, or maybe even having a government that actually works instead of merely surviving through these manufactured debt ceiling crises

    Where does the money (tax revenue) come from to pay for unemployment extensions and infrastructure spending? And don’t claim ‘making government more efficient.’ Two percent waste is about as efficient as you can possibly get.

  356. 356
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    Yeah, I totally hate those guys.

    Then why are you parroting their philosophy? Why are you using their language?

  357. 357
    chigau (違う)

    Because the parrot is a troll.

  358. 358
    SallyStrange

    Sexist troll.

  359. 359
    latecomer

    Sallystrange @ 331:

    So, I am wondering: where is that extra money that the wealthy have been accumulating for the past 30 or 40 years coming from? How do you figure that works

    The wealth of the 99% has has fallen over time due largely to increased foreign competition and improvements in technology taking away jobs that used to be done by humans. The shift of the US to a service and knowledge based economy, in addition to increased foreign investment to developing countries means that jobs will continue moving abroad. Obviously, the 1%, represented by the largest multinational corporations, are in the best position to expand to other countries, often with lower labor costs, the wealth is going to disproportionally go to them.

  360. 360
    anteprepro

    2. I don’t agree with the notion that it’s anybody’s right to force others to give their income or wealth to others for the “good of the people”. It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another. I wouldn’t force anyone to do it for me, and I expect the same in return.

    “I’ve got mine, fuck you” again. You keep repeating it. And you also, half the time, keep framing this as a matter of your own personal preference or opinion. Your preference is sociopathic. Your opinion is based on nothing but handwaving and bullshit. Why should we give a fuck about your “opinion”, save for the fact that it hurts people if you act upon your “opinion” politically?

    3. These initiatives to decrease poverty or alleviate other social issues through jacking up tax rates are many times proposed at times when dislike between the rich and poor is at a high point. I don’t want to se tax policy used in a way to punish certain groups as part of some populist drive by politicians.

    Go fuck yourself, you little shit. Your faux paranoia and crocodile tears for “the rich” is simply revolting. That you think your repetition of this bald assertion is consistent with you being “polite” illustrates just how useless “politeness” really is.

    I’m not on some rich person’s payroll(aside from my actual job).

    Who was just whining about strawmen again?

    My argument actually has nothing to do with the rich or money.

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

    Politeness is debating a topic, even a contentious topic like politics, without hurling insults like several posters have done, or insinuating that someone is a psychopath totally lacking empathy. On that front, I’ve done a bang up job.

    Even if I granted this, which I don’t (as noted, you are insinuating that we are arguing out of blind hatred for the rich, which is hardly complimentary), you are still woefully wrong. Politeness doesn’t change that.

    And I don’t have a taboo against government. There’s just certain things Im willing to accept when it comes to government force.

    Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a taboo at all…

    You are terrible at word games, by the way. Possibly the worst I have ever seen at this. And that is saying something!

    Prove it? I think the lack of any posts of mine coming out against reducing income inequality is proof enough.

    No, you only oppose every sensible means of reducing income inequality and have no significant alternatives to present. But I’m sure you super-duper devouted to reducing that inequality, despite that. Absolutely sure.

    “Deregulation” means that there were regulations, but now the regulations are either weakened, or completely “removed”. Therefore, the government is actually “doing something”. You get how definitions work?

    Again, terrible at word games. How about you keep things simple and answer whether you support regulation and oppose deregulation? I’m sure we would all love to see you talk out of both sides of your mouth on the issue.

  361. 361
    latecomer

    You’ve got a choice, latecomer. Keep digging your own grave here, or stop trolling.

    Seriously! It’s called a joke! I guess some people don’t get sarcasm.

  362. 362
    anteprepro

    Seriously! It’s called a joke! I guess some people don’t get sarcasm.

    *blinks*

    I…I don’t even…

  363. 363
    anteprepro

    latecomer’s lack of a clue is plain in this thread, obviously, but I found that last comment especially baffling considering latecomer’s contribution to another thread. Just daft in every possible way. But that’s right-wingers for ya.

  364. 364
    latecomer

    So, are you against all taxes then? Because this makes it sound like you are. And if so, how do you propose that we fund a functioning society?

    To tell the truth, I’d prefer not to have taxes automatically taken out of my paycheck, but I accept some level of taxes as a necessary evil. The issue has to do with balancing the level of taxes with allowing people the freedom to spend their money in whatever way they choose.

    Also, how can you spout shit like this and still claim not to be a libertarian?

    If agreeing with some libertarians point makes 1 a libertarian, then I guess I’m guilty as charged.

  365. 365
    brianpansky

    @364
    latecomer

    The issue has to do with balancing the level of taxes with allowing people the freedom to spend their money in whatever way they choose.

    yes, and this is why your contributions to this thread are so empty. because you have an arbitrary cut off point and nothing to back it up.

  366. 366
    SallyStrange
    Comment #358 | SallyStrange | 8:22 pm

    Sexist troll.

    Comment #359 | latecomer | 8:42 pm

    Sallystrange @ 331:

    So, I am wondering: where is that extra money that the wealthy have been accumulating for the past 30 or 40 years coming from? How do you figure that works

    The wealth of the 99% has has fallen over time due largely to increased foreign competition and improvements in technology taking away jobs that used to be done by humans. The shift of the US to a service and knowledge based economy, in addition to increased foreign investment to developing countries means that jobs will continue moving abroad. Obviously, the 1%, represented by the largest multinational corporations, are in the best position to expand to other countries, often with lower labor costs, the wealth is going to disproportionally go to them.

    Hahaha.* Is that all it takes then? Next time I’ll just pull out the Sexism Card right away.

    So the question was basically “where is all the extra wealth the super-wealthy are accumulating coming from,” and your answer is that they’re getting more profits because they’re paying poorer people even less to do the work that slightly poor people used to do.

    This does not support your previous hypothesis that the super-wealthy can gain income at a disproportionate rate from the non-wealthy without it coming at their expense.

    *Only slightly bitter laughter

  367. 367
    latecomer

    thecynicalromantic @ 340:

    You’re using “I have noticed that people are angry” as your argument for why it is a bad idea to do anything to fix the things that people are angry about.

    That was meant to express my belief that government policy should be based on logic and not on anger or a desire to punish.

    When two parties work together, it means they are both at fault. You cannot use one party being at fault to say that the other is not at fault. That is what “working together” means.

    Yes, I know. It’s both parties working together, greasing each other’s wheels. Glad we’re in agreement.

  368. 368
    chigau (違う)

    latecomer
    You are too obtuse to continue.
    Go away.

  369. 369
    anteprepro

    That was meant to express my belief that government policy should be based on logic

    Unlike your arguments.

    not on anger or a desire to punish.

    Go fuck yourself.

  370. 370
    SallyStrange

    If agreeing with some libertarians point makes 1 a libertarian, then I guess I’m guilty as charged.

    Clearly, using words and labels in an accurate manner is too mundane and limiting for a big thinker like yourself.

  371. 371
    anteprepro

    SYNONYMS MAKE THINKY MEAT HURT

  372. 372
    latecomer

    Rob Grigjanis@341:
    No need for a translation. It should already be clear, but let me give an example. If I’m dying of liver failure and there’s no available donors except you, I don’t believe it’s my right to demand that you donate a piece of your liver because I’m dying, and because your liver will eventually regenerate itself. I would instead kindly ask you to donate out of the kindness of your heart, because it’s “your” liver, and therefore your “choice”, regardless of the fact that we live in a society together.

  373. 373
    brianpansky

    @372

    that’s a person’s BODY.

    see my 365, you have nothing, you are done.

  374. 374
    SallyStrange
    It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another.

    Translation to Thatcherese: There is no such thing as society.
    Translation to English: Theft is OK, as long as you can get away with it, or pay lawmakers to ensure you get away with it.

    Rob Grigjanis@341:
    No need for a translation. It should already be clear, but let me give an example. If I’m dying of liver failure and there’s no available donors except you, I don’t believe it’s my right to demand that you donate a piece of your liver because I’m dying, and because your liver will eventually regenerate itself. I would instead kindly ask you to donate out of the kindness of your heart, because it’s “your” liver, and therefore your “choice”, regardless of the fact that we live in a society together.

    Poor libertarian. Can’t tell the difference between a dollar and a liver. Life must be ever so challenging.

  375. 375
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis@344:

    Such as transferring wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. That you are okay with.

    I’m not ok with it. I just accept that some level is inevitable as a result of our capitalistic economic system

  376. 376
    SallyStrange

    Latecomer says: “That was meant to express my belief that government policy should be based on logic and not on anger or a desire to punish.”

    Latecomer does: Ignores everyone who speaks in a dispassionate tone in favor of responding to the more emotional commenters

  377. 377
    SallyStrange

    Tag fail. Sorry.

    Latecomer says: “I’m not ok with it.”

    Latecomer does: just accepts that some level is inevitable as a result of our capitalistic economic system

  378. 378
    anteprepro

    If I’m dying of liver failure and there’s no available donors except you, I don’t believe it’s my right to demand that you donate a piece of your liver because I’m dying, and because your liver will eventually regenerate itself.

    Because taking extra money from someone with billions of dollars is just like invasive surgery. I can only imagine what current taxes are in your twisted world. A dentist that breaks into your house every year and pulls out one of your teeth? A vampire? A rabid monkey that pulls out human hair?

  379. 379
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis @345:

    And one other thing: Taxes = government force.

    Well taxes are forced upon everyone by force of imprisonment by the government, so yeah, it is kinda true.

  380. 380
    SallyStrange

    Well taxes are forced upon everyone by force of imprisonment by the government, so yeah, it is kinda true.

    The existence of penalties for nonpayment of fees does not automatically render a transaction a theft.

    Err…

    Ahem…

    “Sexist Troll!”

    (Hey, it worked last time.)

  381. 381
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m not ok with it.

    Who gives a shit about your uneducated and fuckwitted liberturd OPINION? Nobody here. Pontificate all you want. Nobody will believe or care about a word you say until you back up your opinions with third party evidence from the academic literature. Since you are incapable of that minor feat, you shouldn’t even bother stating your opinion. It will be dismissed.

  382. 382
    anteprepro

    Well taxes are forced upon everyone by force of imprisonment by the government, so yeah, it is kinda true.

    Supporting a libertarian meme with another libertarian meme.

    But not a libertarian, nosireebob.

  383. 383
    SallyStrange

    Or, in other words…

    Well taxes are forced upon everyone by force of imprisonment by the government, so yeah, it is kinda true.

    Translation to Thatcherese: There is no such thing as society.
    Translation to English: Theft is OK, as long as you can get away with it, or pay lawmakers to ensure you get away with it.

    We’ve come full circle!

  384. 384
    latecomer

    SallyStrange@351:

    “Stopping doing something” counts as “doing something,”

    Yes, making legislation to remove or weaken regulations is “doing something”. I don’t know why that’s so confusing.

  385. 385
    anteprepro

    (Hey, it worked last time.)

    Worth a shot, but I think he is going down the thread in order, so he’s got 35 more comments to skim and maybe “respond” to before he reaches the present.

  386. 386
    SallyStrange

    Yes, making legislation to remove or weaken regulations is “doing something”. I don’t know why that’s so confusing.

    What gives you the impression anyone is confused? You’re obfuscating and trolling. Let’s all do a little dance about what “something” really means. Or “doing”. You’re making Bill Clinton envious.

  387. 387
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I don’t know why that’s so confusing.

    Easy, you can’t prove with evidence that is the desired direction to go. Hence, the null hypotheis is that more regulation and taxes are required to even out the income maldistribution. But, your mere evidenced OPINION won’t change one mind here, because we don’t give a shit a fuckwit thinks, since they don’t.

  388. 388
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I just accept that some level is inevitable as a result of our capitalistic economic system

    Except that it is not.

    Up until Reagan’s supply-side economics, the poor, the middle class and the wealthy shared in economic growth. While real income rose for all three groups, their share of the pie stayed about the same. Since Reaganomics, the poor have gotten poorer — they have less spending power than they did in 1980 — the middle class has stagnated, and the wealthy have gotten all of the economic growth. If you look at a graph of actual purchasing power, all three groups were going up at about the same rate until 1981 or 82. After that, the line for the rich takes off, the middle class wavers about even, and the poor get poorer. So no, it is not an inevitable byproduct of capitalism. It is deliberate and was created by the economic and tax policies of the Reagan administration and has only gotten worse since then.

    Once again, you are wrong. And we have been pointing out all the different and myriad ways you are wrong for quite a while.

  389. 389
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Dang, that should be UNevidenced opinion in #387.

  390. 390
    anteprepro

    Yes, making legislation to remove or weaken regulations is “doing something”.

    There once were two siblings living in a wooden cabin. One was named Demo and the other Repub. Young Demo loved to work on the cabin, always wanting to work on little projects to make the cabin better. But Repub didn’t want that. “It costs money” he said, sitting on the couch, watching Demo work. Demo eventually gave up, and stopped doing home improvements. Eventually, following Repub’s lead, Demo even stopped doing daily maintenance. And then one winter, the roof collapsed in the living room.
    Repub shouted at Demo “How could you do this!? This is all your fault! If you were maintaining and improving this house like you used to, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

  391. 391
    SallyStrange

    Sitting on the couch totally counts as “doing something.” As does mocking people for doing things you think they shouldn’t do.

    Right, latecomer? Passing legislation to ensure nothing gets done is totes “doing something.”

  392. 392
    anteprepro

    Sitting on the couch totally counts as “doing something.”

    Only if you are rich. Because freedom.

  393. 393
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Since latecomer can’t say anything worthy of consideration in an evidenced based argument, all he deserves is this: Latecomer —> hushfile, to be ignored as a fuckwitted sloganeer, unlike the responses to them.

  394. 394
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis@355:

    Where does the money (tax revenue) come from to pay for unemployment extensions and infrastructure spending? And don’t claim ‘making government more efficient.’

    Well we could, improve efficiency of government through tamping down this game of whack-a-mole we’ve been playing with Al Qaeda, we could also bring back jobs by giving incentives to businesses to invest here, get people to spend through temporary tax breaks targeted towards the middle class and poor.

  395. 395
    anteprepro

    get people to spend through temporary tax breaks targeted towards the middle class and poor.

    OMG DISCRIMINATING AGAINST RICH PEOPLE!!! Taking even LESS from the poor and middle class!? Who do you think you are, Robin Hood!? SOCIALISM!! SOCIALISM!!!!

  396. 396
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Since the top 20% pay half the percentage of their income in taxes (all kinds!) as the bottom 20% do, I suppose even a flat tax would be “punishing the rich”. Imagine if we actually had progressive taxes! I’m sure that would be worse than Hitler!

  397. 397
    anteprepro

    I’m sure that would be worse than Hitler!

    Or at least comparable. latecomer seems to be implying that we are on the verge of being a lynchmob, out to send the rich to concentration camps and burn them as witches. Or something.

  398. 398
    SallyStrange

    Shucks. And all I wanted to do was grind them up for my Friday meatloaf!

  399. 399
    latecomer

    anteprepro@360:

    “I’ve got mine, fuck you” again. You keep repeating it. And you also, half the time, keep framing this as a matter of your own personal preference or opinion. Your preference is sociopathic.

    Let me just apologize on behalf of “the real world” for being extremely shitty, and not having some sort of law or built in obligation, making those that are well off care for those who are less well off.

    Again, terrible at word games. How about you keep things simple and answer whether you support regulation and oppose deregulation?

    I’m sorry that using words as they’re defined is a game to you. In general, I support regulation as long as it’s used in the least restrictive manner possible while ensuring that consumers are adequately protect from abuse. Clear enough?

  400. 400
    chigau (違う)

    latecomer
    Do you have a point?
    Or a position on something … anything?

  401. 401
    SallyStrange

    I’m sorry that using words as they’re defined is a game to you.

    latecomer describes their own trolling technique.

  402. 402
    latecomer

    SallyStrange@366:

    This does not support your previous hypothesis that the super-wealthy can gain income at a disproportionate rate from the non-wealthy without it coming at their expense.

    The thing being alleged was that the rich are practically stealing the wealth of the 99% through the tax system and other means. My point was that the wealth isn’t being stolen. It’s shifted to other countries because competition and a changing economy have left American workers behind. Basically, it’s the fault of capitalism, but if you believe that assessing even higher taxes on the rich will bring jobs back then have at it.

  403. 403
    SallyStrange

    The thing being alleged was that the rich are practically stealing the wealth of the 99% through the tax system and other means. My point was that the wealth isn’t being stolen. It’s shifted to other countries because competition and a changing economy have left American workers behind.

    Or, in other words, it is being stolen, but because the theft is labeled “capitalism”, you’ve turned off your capability for moral reasoning. All Hail the Invisible Hand!

    Basically, it’s the fault of capitalism, but if you believe that assessing even higher taxes on the rich will bring jobs back then have at it.

    Simply taxing the rich won’t do it. Taxing the rich and investing it in infrastructure and services, two options you already mentioned you approved of, will do the trick.

    And of course, people noted that the things you approved of cost money, and wondered where you imagined the money would come from.

    If you’re not trolling, you’re denser than a singularity.

    So which is it, latecomer? Are you lying or stupid?

  404. 404
    latecomer

    Ogvorbis@388:

    Except that it is not.

    No, it actually is, which is why attempts are made to artificially level the playing field. There“s always been poor (especially among certain groups of people) despite all the money spent on poverty, and despite influence of unions to preserve a healthy middle class. Reaganomics may have contributed to the current stagnation of the middle class, but to some extend it was always inevitable due to increased competition from the rest of the world.

  405. 405
    latecomer

    Or, in other words, it is being stolen, but because the theft is labeled “capitalism”, you’ve turned off your capability for moral reasoning

    Sure, if you define the natural operation of the economy as stealing. It’s kinda like claiming that the universe hates you because your house got demolished by a tornado. Your moral outrage is irrelevant.

    Simply taxing the rich won’t do it. Taxing the rich and investing it in infrastructure and services, two options you already mentioned you approved of, will do the trick.

    And of course, people noted that the things you approved of cost money, and wondered where you imagined the money would come from.

    That’s one possible solution, and who knows, it might actually. Then again, the jobs could continue to move overseas to new, untapped markets for a time until the American workforce adjusts.

  406. 406
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    latecomer359

    The wealth of the 99% has has fallen over time due largely to increased foreign competition

    For given values of ‘competition’, this is not completely wrong. Good job, I’m amazed. However, treating the outcome as a law of nature is still wrong; it could be prevented, and indeed reversed, by tariffs on import goods based on the difference in wages, environmental standards, etc. This has been done here in the past, and is done now elsewhere, and it works.

    and improvements in technology taking away jobs that used to be done by humans.

    No, that’s the reason why per-worker productivity has skyrocketed in the past half-century. The monetary gains from this productivity increase have gone into the pockets of the rich, not those of the workers, which is one of the reasons people keep pointing out to you that the extremely rich get that way at the direct expense of everyone else.
    #372
    Property =/= person, stop pretending it does.

    #375

    I just accept that some level is inevitable as a result of our capitalistic economic system

    You do realize that many people here are noting that system as a major part of the problem, and something that needs to be changed, right?
    #402

    Basically, it’s the fault of capitalism,

    Yes, yes it is, you complete idiot. Capitalism is a shit system, for precisely this reason.

    but if you believe that assessing even higher taxes on the rich will bring jobs back then have at it.

    It’s what’s done with the money after the taxation happens that creates jobs, jackass. You see, when the government does things like build roads rails, and dams people have to be hired to do that. When the government pays for healthcare and education, people have to be hired to provide it. The list goes on. These people, in turn, spend money on groceries, computers, and all the other myriad goods and services of 21st century life, and people have to be hired to provide those things. Etc.
    #405

    Sure, if you define the natural operation of the economy as stealing.

    There is no such thing as the ‘natural’ operation of an economy anymore than there is the ‘natural’ operation of a jet engine. Economies and economic systems are human-built systems, not natural laws; like machines they are constrained by some natural laws, but do not represent such laws themselves.
    Also like machines, they operate in predictable and calcualble fashions, and changes to their operation have predictable and measurable effects. They can, therefore, like machines, be fine tuned by deliberate action to acheive defined outcomes.

  407. 407
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    404
    latecomer

    No, it actually is, which is why attempts are made to artificially level the playing field. There“s always been poor (especially among certain groups of people) despite all the money spent on poverty, and despite influence of unions to preserve a healthy middle class. Reaganomics may have contributed to the current stagnation of the middle class, but to some extend it was always inevitable due to increased competition from the rest of the world.

    Calling it now: that’s racist. It’s going to turn into “minorities are just naturally poorer and artificial attempts to level the playing field are needed because racism (e.g. denying the systematic injustice against them).”

    And really? All the money spent on poverty? All the money? You act like the U.S.A. has actually taken steps to end poverty. It’s simply financed the working poor minimally at best (and the funding is currently shrinking) in order for the 1% and corporations to exploit them.

  408. 408
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Drat. I thought I said this, but apparently forgot. The bolding in my #404 is my own doing, not included in latecomers original comments.

  409. 409
    SallyStrange

    That’s one possible solution, and who knows, it might actually. Then again, the jobs could continue to move overseas to new, untapped markets for a time until the American workforce adjusts.

    Exactly, which is why we really need to stop treating capitalism as anything but a giant society-wide Ponzi scheme. I don’t know that straight socialist policies are enough to change the tide, but more socialistic policies would be good, and an economics that doesn’t treat the foundation of life (i.e. our ecosystems) as an externality.

  410. 410
    SallyStrange

    Sure, if you define the natural operation of the economy as stealing. It’s kinda like claiming that the universe hates you because your house got demolished by a tornado.

    Market exploitation is as natural, mindless, and inevitable as tornadoes.

    All hail the Invisible Hand!

  411. 411
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Fascinating. The thoughts one person can hold at the same time, without their head exploding.

    Capitalism is an unchangeable natural force.
    but
    Taxes on the other hand, are man made evil.

    Government is at fault for the poverty, because they have been paving the way for the rich for decades since forever and they should do something about the poverty.
    but
    Government shouldn’t do anything about all these benefits they’ve given rich people, because that’s just evil.

    Rich people are outsourcing work to poor countries with horrible, abusive working conditions and miserable pays.
    but
    Rich people aren’t doing anything bad to the poor people. No. They wouldn’t. They are really nice people who happen to sleep on money they wouldn’t spend in ten lifetimes.

  412. 412
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    And now I’ll just copy paste my first comment here, which got ignored by latecomer.
    (with some additions).

    I’d like to institute one rule: You’re not allowed to comment on any of this with something like “oh well, that’s capitalism for you”

    1. You amass enormous wealth by paying people extremely low wages,
    If I have more money than I can ever spend, and I have a good prosperous business, there is no excuse not to pay my workers decently.
    I don’t even mean just a living wage, but that would be a start.

    2. by finding all kinds of loopholes to avoid paying all kinds of taxes or benefits for your employees,
    Yeah, government helped here. Now they should take away that help. That’s government doing something to stop poverty.
    They should also look into back-taxes to check whether those loopholes even existed or there were just loopholes invented by a crafty lawyer with good connections.

    3. by lowering the amount of money invested in quality nature-friendly and safe infrastructure,
    You said some shit about deregulation.
    well, there’s another way this can go. Regulation.
    Again, government doing something, which you advocate as long as it means government taking money from thin air and in no way inconveniencing the rich.
    make regulation for the environment and public good. Safety regulations already exist, don’t employ them selectively. Add regulations for outsourcing work so that companies can’t just move their factories to poor countries and indirectly abuse workers there, but have to abide to at least some standards (bonus: you’re helping people in another country that way too!)

    4. by outsourcing work to countries where labor is ridiculously cheap (and the workers abused, underpaid and working in abysmal conditions).
    covered above

    So, thought, latecomer?
    I mean, all of these are unethical. You have to be shit of a person to do this kind of thing. And yet, we’re being unfairly harsh to the rich? Seriously?

  413. 413
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I have caught up with the thread.
    I have exploded my head.
    That is all.

  414. 414
    zenlike

    Hmmm, I’m beginning to see the root cause of latecomers rotten thinking: they seem to think the current economic system is ‘Natural Law’, and therefore any change to it is immoral. If you adopt this mindset their reasoning makes somewhat sense.

    But since the natural law bit is total bullshit, everything unravels of course.

  415. 415
    Maureen Brian

    latecomer @ 325,

    It is not a free country if legislators can be bought and sold.

    It is not a free market country if the price of legislators only ever goes up. (cf. Adam Smith)

    As for the ‘inbuilt obligation’ at which you sneer @ 399, I find myself completely unsurprised than someone as self-obsessed and as gormless as you is unaware of the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the social contract and the vast libraries and whole university departments which have flowed from it.

    The words in that last sentence are not, by the way, rude: they are merely my opinion though I do speak as the retired chair of a political think-tank. You’re outclassed, kid. Just admit it.

  416. 416
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    latecomer:

    which is why attempts are made to artificially level the playing field

    Why do you refuse to acknowledge that the playing field, already somewhat tilted, has been tilted more and more and more in favour of moving wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy? And that proposals to raise the taxes on the rich are working towards going back to what it was in the 1945-1980 period?

    Yes, there have always been poor, middle class, and rich in economies. From the Great Depression until Ronald Reagan took office, the US Government did a pretty good job of fostering economic growth through education funding (construction jobs to build the schools, teachers), transportation infrastructure (construction jobs to build the airports and highways), power grid infrastructure (construction jobs to build the hydro-electric dams), desegregation and the passage and enforcement of non-discrimination laws (during the 1960s and 1970s, minorities saw their actual buying power increase more than any other group, though they still lagged behind).

    How was this paid for? Through taxes. Graduated income tax. The more money you earned, the higher your tax rate. And it worked. Until the oil shocks of the 1970s, it seemed that the US economy, and the standard of living for all, even with the occasional recession, would continue to expand and grow for all.

    The economic playing field was still tilted towards the rich. Far less than it was in the Gilded Age, or, really, at any other time in history. The rich were still getting richer, middle class families were becoming wealthy families, and poor families were becoming middle class. It was working. Not perfectly, but it was working.

    Then along come the radical conservatives. The new conservatives slashed taxes for the rich (and no, those tax cuts did not even come close to paying for themselves — we were, even then, on the down side of the Laffer Curve). They deregulated almost everything (curiously, one thing they wanted to reregulate was the railroads — coal, industrial, and chemical interests didn’t want to actually pay fair prices for transportation) and allowed companies (Eastern Airlines, Pan-Am, Enron) to destroy themselves. They rolled back environmental protections (which was touted as creating jobs, but it actually destroyed the jobs of the people monitoring and cleaning up, and the companies just took bigger profits). They decided that earned income and investment income are completely different and slashed taxes on capital gains. They refused to raise the minimum wage to match inflation. And they ran the money supply to suppress inflation even at the expense of job growth (and one corrolary of that was the disappearance of savings accounts and a shit tonne of money going into stocks and bonds (which benefitted the wealthy, of course)).

    So a playing field that was already tilted a little bit was tilted even more and more and more. And now, any attempt to tilt it back to achieve a more equitable economy is theft? What do you call the economic policies of supply siders?

    Today’s economic system is not natural. Nor was the post World War II paradigm. Nor was the Gilded Age. Nor was the economy of Restoration England, or 15th century Venice. All of these economies are created by government under the influence of someone. In the US, from about 1945 to about 1980, the dominant paradigm was New Deal economics, with massive infrastructure investments, support of unions and education paid for through artificial limits on inheritance and income. Since 1980, the Supply Side paradigm has been in the fore, with massive disinvestment in public works and education, destruction of unions, artificial suppression of wages, and financial and industrial deregulation. Which one is a natural economy? The one that worked for all? Or the one that works for one percent?

  417. 417
    anteprepro

    Let me just apologize on behalf of “the real world” for being extremely shitty, and not having some sort of law or built in obligation, making those that are well off care for those who are less well off.

    Weren’t the one pretending that you gave a shit about safety nets?

    In general, I support regulation as long as it’s used in the least restrictive manner possible while ensuring that consumers are adequately protect from abuse.

    In general, you want minimal regulation then. Just like Republicans. In general, you would support less regulations than we have now. Just like any other mindless opponent to government activity. So you would have most likely supported the deregulation that you are now labeling “reckless” and only consider “reckless” now due to the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. You aren’t fooling anyone.

    Sure, if you define the natural operation of the economy as stealing.

    Says the person who defines taxes as stealing.

  418. 418
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Let me just apologize on behalf of “the real world” for being extremely shitty, and not having some sort of law or built in obligation, making those that are well off care for those who are less well off.

    Well then, show me the “real world” law which states that those who make no contribution to society—produce no goods, provide no services—should live a life of ease at the expense of those who do.

    There’s a name for that. Parasitism.

  419. 419
    opposablethumbs

    Yes, it’s funny how latecomer is unwilling even to consider the notion that governments – and societies – can actually choose economic strategies – other than the most rapacious form of capitalism, that is, which he seems to regard as some sort of immutable natural law despite the fact that it is neither eternal nor universally and identically applied.

  420. 420
    David Marjanović

    Hey, latecomer, your comment 325 demonstrates that you hadn’t read my comment 324 before you wrote yours.

    Often this happens when a thread is just too active; but you submitted yours at 5:10 FreethoughtBlogs time, when mine had been sitting there for two hours (since 3:08).

    Why do you waste your time writing about points that have already been addressed? I don’t get it.

    It’s not anybody’s responsibility to live for the sake of another.

    Live for the sake of another? What would that even mean?

    David Marjanović@324:

    But what do you base this preference on?

    See post 325.

    No, that just repeats that you have this preference; it doesn’t even try to answer my question. Please try again.

    What would that “stimulus” or “incentive” be?

    To give them more money they could have lying around? Because that’s what tax breaks are.

    I don’t know. It could be continued unemployment checks, more infrastructure spending, or maybe even having a government that actually works instead of merely surviving through these manufactured debt ceiling crises

    How would that help the rich?

    The wealth of the 99% has has fallen over time due largely to increased foreign competition and improvements in technology taking away jobs that used to be done by humans.

    …Then why has this happened in the US but not in so many other rich countries???

    I just accept that some level is inevitable as a result of our capitalistic economic system

    Except that it is not.

    Up until Reagan’s supply-side economics, the poor, the middle class and the wealthy shared in economic growth. While real income rose for all three groups, their share of the pie stayed about the same. Since Reaganomics, the poor have gotten poorer — they have less spending power than they did in 1980 — the middle class has stagnated, and the wealthy have gotten all of the economic growth. If you look at a graph of actual purchasing power, all three groups were going up at about the same rate until 1981 or 82. After that, the line for the rich takes off, the middle class wavers about even, and the poor get poorer. So no, it is not an inevitable byproduct of capitalism. It is deliberate and was created by the economic and tax policies of the Reagan administration and has only gotten worse since then.

    I have to add, because latecomer clearly doesn’t know it, that Reaganomics hardly spread beyond the US. The country I’m from had full-blown Keynesianism at that time.

  421. 421
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Latecomer seems to subscribe to the is-ought fallacy, the idea that what is is what ought to be. It is as if all of the policy of the past 150 years never happened and “capitalism” (as we now know it) was always the way people lived. We have had capitalism forced on us by people who benefitted from it. If we can make the scales fall from the eyes of the domesticated animals we have become, we can choose a different path.

    Indeed we must choose a different path, as this one is leading us to environmental and economic destruction. Revolutions are never pretty. I sincerely hope we choose a different path before revolution becomes inevitable.

  422. 422
    PZ Myers

    #420, David Marjanović:

    This behavior is characteristic of trolls. They’re not here to have a conversation — he’s monologuing, using other people’s comments as a springboard to keep flapping his fingers, nothing more. You can’t expect him to actually read and comprehend what other people say, because that’s not why he’s here.

  423. 423
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    David Marjanović @420:

    The country I’m from had full-blown Keynesianism at that time.

    Well, yeah, but that aintent Amercuh so it don’t count. We Amercuns are speshul. And uneek! and nothing that the rest of world does would work here because we are exceptshunal!

    Translation: Here in the USofA, we do not speak of what the Barbarian Nations do.

  424. 424
    jefrir

    Let me just apologize on behalf of “the real world” for being extremely shitty, and not having some sort of law or built in obligation, making those that are well off care for those who are less well off.

    The world also doesn’t have a law or built in obligation to allow people to keep the money they have “earned”, or to allow them to hand that money on to their descendants. Hell, money isn’t built in; it’s a human invention. These things aren’t matters of natural law; they are social values, and we can change them. We can choose, as a society, if we want to live in a world where a few get very rich and those at the bottom starve, or in a world where the very rich do their part in funding the society they benefit from and where we can afford a functioning safety net.

  425. 425
    kevinalexander

    Let’s try a new metaphor! The economy is a living thing. Money is blood. In order for the body to survive the blood must circulate to every part or gangrene will set in.
    Now imagine a giant hemorrhoid starts taking more and more of the blood until there is not enough to go around. The bone marrow keeps making more and more but the bloody polyp just keeps sucking it up as the finger tips and toes turn black and fall off.
    ‘Who cares, don’t need ‘em’ says the hemorrhoid ‘We can get the Chinese to pick it up’
    Pretty soon organ failure starts but the anal protuberance doesn’t care. ‘I’ve got enough to buy a heart that will pump blood even if I don’t let him have any.’

  426. 426
    David Marjanović

    This behavior is characteristic of trolls. They’re not here to have a conversation — he’s monologuing, using other people’s comments as a springboard to keep flapping his fingers, nothing more.

    Thought so. I’m trying to shame him for it.

    If it works, and he starts thinking through his assumptions, yay!

    If not, he’ll inevitably troll more blatantly, hastening his encounter with the banhammer; in that case, good riddance.

  427. 427
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    David, I don’t think that latecomer is capable of shame (based, of course, on hir writings, of course — this all could be an act).

  428. 428
    latecomer

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy@406:

    However, treating the outcome as a law of nature is still wrong;

    I’m not treating it as a law of nature. It’s just an inevitable consequence of a free market economy that the opening up of new markets abroad with lower labor costs and untapped potential, will move investment and wealth abroad at the expense of decreased growth at home.

    it could be prevented, and indeed reversed, by tariffs on import goods based on the difference in wages, environmental standards, etc. This has been done here in the past, and is done now elsewhere, and it works.

    You can prevent it in some cases, but it doesn’t always work, particularly if other countries respond through tariffs of their own. It’s a zero sum game. Someone’s going to lose no matter what.

    The monetary gains from this productivity increase have gone into the pockets of the rich, not those of the workers, which is one of the reasons people keep pointing out to you that the extremely rich get that way at the direct expense of everyone else.

    But that in itself is not nefarious. Like I said, the wealth disparity is partly a result of workers being caught in the middle of the transitioning economy away from manufacturing.

    #372
    Property =/= person, stop pretending it does.

    It’s an analogy. It’s not supposed to be interpreted as if they’re equal. The point, once again, is that charity is “your” choice, not “other people’s” choice to make for you.

    You do realize that many people here are noting that system as a major part of the problem, and something that needs to be changed, right?

    Yes, and as long as the changes keep the level of government I’m comfortable with, then they might be something we can agree on.

    It’s what’s done with the money after the taxation happens that creates jobs, jackass.

    Wow, nothing gets past you! Thanks for pointing that out.

    You see, when the government does things like build roads rails, and dams people have to be hired to do that. When the government pays for healthcare and education, people have to be hired to provide it. The list goes on. These people, in turn, spend money on groceries, computers, and all the other myriad goods and services of 21st century life, and people have to be hired to provide those things. Etc.

    Yes, in the idea case our tax dollars get used to invest in infrastructure and provide needed services, hopefully resulting in long term jobs. The problem is that increased spending doesn’t always lead to sustainable impact. For instance, there’s Amtrak, which despite government funding, has never been able to operate on a sustainable for-profit basis. Another example is Obama’s 2009 stimulus which sent billions of dollars to state’s for education reforms and to keep teachers employed among other things. The problem is that once all the money got used up, what were states supposed to use to support all the additional jobs and programs created?

    There is no such thing as the ‘natural’ operation of an economy anymore than there is the ‘natural’ operation of a jet engine

    By natural, I meant that a given type of economy works in a predictable way based on research into past events.

  429. 429
    latecomer

    JAL @407:

    Calling it now: that’s racist. It’s going to turn into “minorities are just naturally poorer and artificial attempts to level the playing field are needed because racism (e.g. denying the systematic injustice against them).”

    No, I pointed out that certain groups (including blacks, gays, jews, immigrants) have not fared equally because, get this, they actually haven’t fared equally. I didn’t pass judgement on anyone. It’s just a statement of fact that for whatever reason, there have always been those who disproportionally fell to the bottom. I’m just stating what is, not what ought to be.

    And really? All the money spent on poverty? All the money?

    Yeah, all the billions upon billions spent. The actual amount spent has been disputed, with some suggesting figures as high as 15 trillion. Whatever the amount, it’s still a lot of money to spend, only for poverty to still persist at stubbornly high level.

  430. 430
    latecomer

    SallyStrange@409:

    Exactly, which is why we really need to stop treating capitalism as anything but a giant society-wide Ponzi scheme.

    Ponzi scheme or not, it did result in America’s status as the top economy today.

  431. 431
    latecomer

    SallyStrange@410:

    Market exploitation is as natural, mindless, and inevitable as tornadoes.

    The point was that inequality is as natural as tornadoes. We can hopefully minimize it, but no one has ever succeeded in changing that fact.

  432. 432
    Rey Fox

    Yes, and as long as the changes keep the level of government I’m comfortable with, then they might be something we can agree on.

    Yes, nothing’s more important than your comfort, you’ve made that abundantly clear.

  433. 433
    PZ Myers

    60 of the comments in this thread are from one person, and he just shat out four in a row. Please do check section II of the commenting rules. Yeah, we’ve definitely got a monologuing asshole here.

    Note also that the OP was about spoiled billionaires pulling a Marie Antoinette. From his very first comment, this monologuing asshole can’t find anything wrong with that, and instead declares that interfering with the excesses of the extremes is a violation of egalitarian principles — that somehow, being an egalitarian must mean you have to support exploiters and parasites on society.

    Latecomer, this is my banhammer. It’s how I treat parasites, fairly and with finality. Bye.

  434. 434
    chigau (違う)

    Well, then…

  435. 435
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Late come, early go.

  436. 436
    anteprepro

    Well that was doing latecomer a favor. He was clearly running out of ways to rephrase the same argument over and over anyway.

  437. 437
    unclefrogy

    thank you Doc
    . I could not draw myself away. I kept reading hopin’ someone would finally find the perfect way to say it so clear that he could actually understand and get it or at least admit that he just does not care and fuck you I got mine.
    now I can do something else. Though it is good to go over all this stuff thoroughly once in a while.
    uncle frogy

  438. 438
    nathanaelnerode

    The more people who get fed up with this, as PZ has, the closer we come to overthrowing these corrupt criminals who have suborned our government.

    I’m still not quite sure how it’s going to happen. It could be as simple as Clement Atlee’s election was… or it could be as nasty as the French Revolution. But one thing is sure: this situation is not sustainable.

    People who lack food and jobs will not tolerate much longer this sort of continued abuse from a criminal elite who laughs at them. Maybe 20 more years at most.

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