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I Totally Support the Occupy Movement...Follow

#502 Nov 19 2011 at 10:45 AM Rating: Decent
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I completely agree there are many who abuse the system. But on the bright side at least the systems are in place for us to use, and if I never have to use them, then I never have to use them. But I will happily support them because If I do need them I want to know 1. I made my fair contribution to get the help, and 2. that the program is still there.
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#503 Nov 19 2011 at 8:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Of course it's "fair". That sucks, but that's nature. Is it fair that the slow guy gets eaten by the lion? Is it fair if an entire village starves because of a drought? It's not about fair.


In terms of what is happening now in the name of fairness, you are close with this analogy, but not quite there. The slow guy isn't getting eaten just because he's slow, its also because the faster guy trips him. And the drought is because the guy with the most water realizes he can have a little more if he slows the supply to everybody else.

This is how I am seeing the rich vs. poor in this country. Is the rich guy getting richer through his own work and innovation? Or is he getting richer because he is not spending as much on the little guy? I am seeing scenerio 2 at my work right now. They mention our location is doing better, but it really isn't. Business is the same as it was a year ago, but after demoting staff, making full-time workers into part-time, and replacing jobs with computers, expenses have decreased. I hear talk about "if you work hard, you will succeed". That may have been sound advice 20 years ago, but the same opportunties to succeed have all but dried up in today's world.
#504 Nov 19 2011 at 10:33 PM Rating: Excellent
gbaji wrote:
Of course it's "fair". That sucks, but that's nature. Is it fair that the slow guy gets eaten by the lion? Is it fair if an entire village starves because of a drought? It's not about fair.

The people around the slow guy help him fight off the lion. A nearby village with food and water helps out. It's called civilization. Some of us don't view the world as a winner takes all competition anymore.

Edited, Nov 20th 2011 5:32am by Lubriderm
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#505 Nov 19 2011 at 11:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?
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#506 Nov 20 2011 at 3:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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#507 Nov 20 2011 at 10:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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Nilatai wrote:
In capitalist America, bank rob you.

Haha, I love that. gonna steal it.
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#508 Nov 20 2011 at 10:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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Debalic wrote:
Nilatai wrote:
In capitalist America, bank rob you.

Haha, I love that. gonna steal it.

Go for it, I stole it from someone else.
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#509 Nov 20 2011 at 7:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
The only way to remove intergovernmental debt is via tax increases or program spending cuts.


No. This is simply, completely, and utterly false.


Incorrect. There are no other options.

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The only difference between the two debt types is that you are paying interest on the non-intergovernmental debt via intragovermental loans or public treasury bond offerings.


What the **** are you talking about!? There's a lot more difference between the two than just interest rates on the debt itself. Their relative impact on bond rates for one. The degree to which one affects current economic outcomes and future, while the other affects only future. And that pesky fact that an arbitrary amount of one of those may never need to be repaid at all.

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They both count as debt to the public, and the "zeroing out process" is Gbaji speak for cuts to programs because he is politically motivated to not speak about these processes like an adult and purposefully obfuscate our options in a structural manner.



Sigh. There's no cuts involved. If Congress budgets $200M to a program for each year, and it only spends $150M each year, then each year it has an extra $50M. It will *never* spend that money, unless they invent a time machine. It didn't need that money. Congress over budgeted. It's an accounting issue. You can eliminate that "debt" instantly just by writing a bill that erases it and there's no cut to the program. You're "cutting" money you didn't need in the first place. No one is affected.


Seriously, you guys act like you've never in your life heard of this. Which, frankly, I find to be an amazing display of arrogant ignorance.


Seriously? Your argument is "It can't be a choice between a spending cut or revenue increase, because if we cut the spending we spend less money, therefore don't need to have spending cuts or revenue increases!"?


Edited, Nov 20th 2011 8:10pm by Timelordwho
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#511 Nov 21 2011 at 3:54 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.
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#512 Nov 21 2011 at 4:09 PM Rating: Decent
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Timelordwho wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
The only way to remove intergovernmental debt is via tax increases or program spending cuts.


No. This is simply, completely, and utterly false.


Incorrect. There are no other options.


No. You're wrong. If the intergovernmental debt exists purely because we budgeted a program with more money than it actually needed, the debt can be erased by just erasing it legislatively. You honestly don't understand at all what I'm talking about do you? This is funny. I've explained this in clear language, but you're still clinging to ignorance for some reason.

Quote:
Quote:

Sigh. There's no cuts involved. If Congress budgets $200M to a program for each year, and it only spends $150M each year, then each year it has an extra $50M. It will *never* spend that money, unless they invent a time machine. It didn't need that money. Congress over budgeted. It's an accounting issue. You can eliminate that "debt" instantly just by writing a bill that erases it and there's no cut to the program. You're "cutting" money you didn't need in the first place. No one is affected.


Seriously, you guys act like you've never in your life heard of this. Which, frankly, I find to be an amazing display of arrogant ignorance.


Seriously? Your argument is "It can't be a choice between a spending cut or revenue increase, because if we cut the spending we spend less money, therefore don't need to have spending cuts or revenue increases!"?


Maybe it's a semantics issue? "Spending" is the money the program actually spends in a given year doing whatever it is it does. "Budget" is the amount of money the government must give to the program in a given year by law. Intergovernmental debt happens when the budget is higher than the spending and the treasury buys the excess from the program and pays it in t-bill (or equivalent notes).

So in the example I provided above, the program spends $150M each year, but is budgeted for $200M each year. Thus, each year it generates $50M of intergovernmental debt. We can erase that debt just by having congress pass a bill which erases it. There's no need to cut spending, nor even to cut the budget. And there's certainly no need to raise taxes. Why would you? You're already raising sufficient revenue to pay for the program (more in fact).

I think you are making assumptions about this that aren't true. Drop the assumptions. Read what I'm writing. I'm apparently explaining something to you that's completely different than what you expect.
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#513 Nov 21 2011 at 4:10 PM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


Apparently, this touched a nerve. Even more interesting. No one's willing to explain the assumption though?
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#514 Nov 21 2011 at 4:14 PM Rating: Excellent
gbaji wrote:
gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


Apparently, this touched a nerve. Even more interesting. No one's willing to explain the assumption though?


Well, let's see. You somehow interpreted that statement to say something that it doesn't even come close to actually saying.

Then you're whining about karma.

Good job!
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#515 Nov 21 2011 at 4:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


People are poor because we've constructed a socioeconomic system that requires them to be poor. Stop acting like capitalism is the natural order of things--it, like Socialism, Manorialism, Marxism, etc., are all human constructs. They are merely ways in which wealth and labor are organized and related to.

We have a construct that takes the limited amount of wealth and spreads it so that the vast majority of it is controlled by the few. The NECESSARY RESULT is that people end up poor. HOW MANY is relative to the way wealth is distributed, and ours has led to a huge percentage of the population to being poor.

Systems that spread wealth and labor evenly (or at least more equitably) are equally possible, it's just a matter of choosing to use them.

Whether or not it's something to feel guilty about is one question (which you were clearly trying to confuse it with, by evoking the negative connotations of giving/taking). But the absolute fact of the matter is that, for you to be rich, many others need to be poor. That doesn't mean all rich people are **** (and that isn't something that OWS is saying, at all).

What OWS is protesting is the small group of the richest peoples who DO actively seek to take from the lower classes, and feel absolutely no remorse over the fact that they have forced them into their situation (which they realistically have), nor see any reason to stop exploiting them just because they are suffering. PLENTY of upper class peoples are speaking out for OWS. It's called Occupy WALL STREET for a reason. It's not Occupy Beverly Hills, Occupy The Upper East Side, etc.
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#516 Nov 21 2011 at 4:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


Apparently, this touched a nerve. Even more interesting. No one's willing to explain the assumption though?


World is a competitive environment. You don't have winners without losers.
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#517 Nov 21 2011 at 4:47 PM Rating: Default
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
We have a construct that takes the limited amount of wealth and spreads it so that the vast majority of it is controlled by the few. The NECESSARY RESULT is that people end up poor. HOW MANY is relative to the way wealth is distributed, and ours has led to a huge percentage of the population to being poor.


So you *are* arguing that people are poor because rich people take money from them (or fail to share it equitably with them). I thought I couldn't have been that far from the mark.

I don't agree that wealth is a zero sum equation, doubly so in modern industrial based economies.

Quote:
Systems that spread wealth and labor evenly (or at least more equitably) are equally possible, it's just a matter of choosing to use them.


I believe that because wealth isn't a zero sum game, attempts to spread it more evenly will cause there to be less of it. You're arguing for a larger slice of pie. I'm arguing for a bigger pie.

Quote:
Whether or not it's something to feel guilty about is one question (which you were clearly trying to confuse it with, by evoking the negative connotations of giving/taking). But the absolute fact of the matter is that, for you to be rich, many others need to be poor. That doesn't mean all rich people are @#%^s (and that isn't something that OWS is saying, at all).


That's a strange argument. I didn't say anything about emotion. You assumed it because I used words like "take" and "give". But your own position assumes this, doesn't it? I mean, the rich guy doesn't have to be mean or anything, but you're still arguing that by him making money on Wall Street, he's somehow hurting the poor guy. Isn't that your position? Isn't that what OWS is claiming?

If not, then what is it?

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What OWS is protesting is the small group of the richest peoples who DO actively seek to take from the lower classes, and feel absolutely no remorse over the fact that they have forced them into their situation (which they realistically have), nor see any reason to stop exploiting them just because they are suffering.


So they just want the rich people doing exactly what I said you were saying they were doing to pay for it. Ok... But how do they decide who "the rich" are? So if we raise taxes on everyone making over $250k/year, aren't we targeting everyone? I've yet to see anyone propose a system of taxation which can just target those who do what you talk about, nor do I think we should attempt to build one. It would rapidly become about attacking political enemies (technically, it already is).

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PLENTY of upper class peoples are speaking out for OWS. It's called Occupy WALL STREET for a reason. It's not Occupy Beverly Hills, Occupy The Upper East Side, etc.



Sure. But can't you see that this is far more about political targeting than economic? And I'll ask again: What changes do you want, and how would you implement them? You talk about how just "some" rich people are big meanies, but I've yet to see proposals for what to do about that. Which kinda makes one wonder what the point is.
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#518 Nov 21 2011 at 4:54 PM Rating: Default
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


Apparently, this touched a nerve. Even more interesting. No one's willing to explain the assumption though?


World is a competitive environment. You don't have winners without losers.


Yes. But is that really a human construct? Or is that simply the way the world works? That was why I challenged his statement. It makes an assumption that IMO just isn't true.


Is it possible to construct a system in which no one is poor? And how do we define poor? How do we define rich? The problem I see with such ideas is that they sound great until you actually start looking at implementation. Then they fall apart. Someone has to control the distribution of wealth. That someone becomes "rich", while everyone else becomes "poor". I believe that it's impossible to eliminate differences in economic outcomes between people. All we can really do is change what determines those outcomes. A free market system, while not perfect, at least ties outcomes to output more than any other system. You are wealthy if what you do produces wealth (we can argue about "how" later).

Other systems attempt to use government to equalize outcomes. But the result is a system in which the wealth you have isn't tied to the wealth you produce. Clearly this will have an adverse effect on the total wealth produced (in this case, we're using "wealth" in a very broad context btw). Also, it shifts the power of who determines who is wealthy from the people and their own actions and choices, to the government. The route to power and wealth is through government now.


I just don't see how alternative systems work better in any real way. And I reject most of the arguments used for them because they fail to address the real problems.
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#519 Nov 21 2011 at 5:03 PM Rating: Excellent
If we are thinking beings, capable of making our own choices, then things are unfair because we MAKE then unfair.

I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing, just that it is. We become stronger and better through competition.

However, it's a matter of degrees. If there is no room in civilization for compassion, then we have failed. If the "haves" are completely unwilling to help the "don't haves" at all, then we have failed.

People are unhappy at the moment because we have politicians that refuse to work together to make things better. We have billionaire bankers that have defrauded their customers, and walked away from it.

Will things get better? Maybe.

Just claiming things are bad because life is unfair however, is a cop out.
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#520 Nov 21 2011 at 5:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Yes. But is that really a human construct? Or is that simply the way the world works? That was why I challenged his statement. It makes an assumption that IMO just isn't true.

Is it possible to construct a system in which no one is poor? And how do we define poor? How do we define rich? The problem I see with such ideas is that they sound great until you actually start looking at implementation. Then they fall apart. Someone has to control the distribution of wealth. That someone becomes "rich", while everyone else becomes "poor". I believe that it's impossible to eliminate differences in economic outcomes between people. All we can really do is change what determines those outcomes. A free market system, while not perfect, at least ties outcomes to output more than any other system. You are wealthy if what you do produces wealth (we can argue about "how" later).

Other systems attempt to use government to equalize outcomes. But the result is a system in which the wealth you have isn't tied to the wealth you produce. Clearly this will have an adverse effect on the total wealth produced (in this case, we're using "wealth" in a very broad context btw). Also, it shifts the power of who determines who is wealthy from the people and their own actions and choices, to the government. The route to power and wealth is through government now.


I just don't see how alternative systems work better in any real way. And I reject most of the arguments used for them because they fail to address the real problems.


Sure "Survival of the **** is certainly natural, so is the well-being of the other members of your pack. But I'm one of those people who like to think of moral values as the embodiment of the pack instinct in the individual, so they're kind of one and the same to me. If we want to talk about things like that, there are benefits to both more and less harsh avenues of thought. The degree to which we need a social safety net is certainly debatable, as is how we reward those who are more productive. Times get tough and more 'normal' people have problems, and we re-assess whether or not we're happy with the way things are. I just see the occupy movement, and the Tea Party as well, as the natural result of the economic downturn.

I'm not necessarily sold on the alternatives either, but I can hardly fault others for trying to think them up.

Anyway, what do you think are the real problems?

Edited cause I can't spell Smiley: tongue

Edited, Nov 21st 2011 3:24pm by someproteinguy
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#521 Nov 21 2011 at 5:29 PM Rating: Default
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Technogeek wrote:
If we are thinking beings, capable of making our own choices, then things are unfair because we MAKE then unfair.


Are things "unfair" though? I seem to recall there was a disagreement on the definition of fair earlier in this thread. If we can't even determine a common definition for the term we're using, how the **** can we make broad sweeping conclusions about anything at all?

Quote:
I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing, just that it is. We become stronger and better through competition.


So does everything else in the world, regardless of how much thinking is involved. And btw, we'd call those systems "fair" as well. The fact that a taller tree gets more sunlight and therefore thrives is "fair". The fact that the faster antelope escapes the lion while the slower doesn't is "fair". I'm questioning this odd idea that this is some kind of human construct that applies only to us and that things somehow become "unfair" when we do it.


We might argue that our advanced moral capabilities might encourage us to do things that prevent the natural "fair" outcomes from happening, but to call it unfair if we fail to do so is somewhat absurd.

Quote:
However, it's a matter of degrees. If there is no room in civilization for compassion, then we have failed. If the "haves" are completely unwilling to help the "don't haves" at all, then we have failed.


But this is what we've been dancing around those whole thread. And we keep going in circles. Compassion is the rich person choosing to help someone. The government forcing him to do so via higher taxes and big government assistance programs *isn't*. It's a third party stealing from one person to give to another and is a whole different animal.

I just find it odd that you speak of degrees, but them make an absolutist argument. If there's "no room for compassion"? Really? There's a whole huge range of compassion by the rich for the poor that exists completely outside of a political system which taxes those rich people to provide better outcomes for the poor. I just think it's fallacious to use that as an argument here.

Quote:
People are unhappy at the moment because we have politicians that refuse to work together to make things better.


I think this is a overly simplistic cop-out. People may say that, but they'd be less happy if the compromises their politicians make are things they care about. The politicians refuse to work together because the people they represent are so polarized. Let's not put this all on the politicians here.


Quote:
We have billionaire bankers that have defrauded their customers, and walked away from it.


Strange. The billionaire bankers paid back all the money they borrowed with interest. The portions of TARP which haven't been repaid are the parts that went to bail out the auto industry (the unions really), and the teachers (for some reason no one can see to explain). Yet, everyone points their fingers at the rich bankers.

No politics in this at all though! Smiley: lol

Quote:
Just claiming things are bad because life is unfair however, is a cop out.


I was responding to someone else who said that equalizing outcomes would be "fair" (or something like that, I've honestly forgotten the specifics).
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#522 Nov 21 2011 at 5:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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Strange. The billionaire bankers paid back all the money they borrowed with interest. The portions of TARP which haven't been repaid are the parts that went to bail out the auto industry (the unions really), and the teachers (for some reason no one can see to explain). Yet, everyone points their fingers at the rich bankers.

No politics in this at all though! Smiley: lol


So, they paid back the money from the bail out... They still defrauded millions of dollars from their customers. How many got foreclosed on because of this? How much jail time did they serve for doing so?

Yeah, no politics in your response at all...
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#523 Nov 21 2011 at 6:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
The portions of TARP which haven't been repaid are the parts that went to bail out the auto industry (the unions really), and the teachers (for some reason no one can see to explain).

Smiley: laugh
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#524 Nov 21 2011 at 6:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
I'm arguing for a bigger pie.


So you believe the earth's resources are unlimited?
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#525 Nov 21 2011 at 6:44 PM Rating: Default
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Technogeek wrote:
Quote:
Strange. The billionaire bankers paid back all the money they borrowed with interest. The portions of TARP which haven't been repaid are the parts that went to bail out the auto industry (the unions really), and the teachers (for some reason no one can see to explain). Yet, everyone points their fingers at the rich bankers.

No politics in this at all though! Smiley: lol


So, they paid back the money from the bail out...


Which would seem to be relevant to the OWS cause.

Quote:
They still defrauded millions of dollars from their customers.


Defrauded? That's a strong word to use. And which customers? Lots of people lost money during that bubble collapse. Most of them were wealthy people btw. As you correctly point out, bailing out the banks themselves didn't help the people who's investments lost tons of value. But it's unclear how directly that affects the average working class renter. So I'm curious how this translates into the rich vs poor dynamic that keeps cropping up.

Quote:
How many got foreclosed on because of this?


Um... Zero? Everyone who got foreclosed on was foreclosed on because they couldn't afford to pay the mortgage payments they'd agreed to pay. It was the rate of sub-prime and underwater loans in the market which caused the problem, not the other way around. Anyone who purchased a home that they could actually afford didn't have any problems. Even those who lost value in their homes when the bubble collapsed are still not being foreclosed on (unless they choose to) as long as they can make the mortgage payment (which hasn't changed).

Quote:
How much jail time did they serve for doing so?


Was there a crime committed? I know it's become popular rhetoric to call a group of people criminals because you don't like them, but can you say which law was actually broken here?
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#526 Nov 21 2011 at 6:50 PM Rating: Decent
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Olorinus wrote:
gbaji wrote:
I'm arguing for a bigger pie.


So you believe the earth's resources are unlimited?


No. Why do you ask?

You're making (implying really) the all-or-nothing argument again. A pie can be bigger without needing to be infinitely so. It's a matter of degrees. Which would you rather have:

1. 1/10th of a pie of X size.

2. 1/12th of a pie that is 1.3X size.

It's wrong to look only at the relative size of your slice to other people. It's why the whole "gap between rich and poor" argument is fallacious. You're only looking at half the equation, and honestly the wrong half. Which matters more? How big your pie slice is relative to someone else, or whether you have more pie than you would otherwise?


Most people *should* care more about the latter. However, an increasing number of people are being convinced that the former matters the most and is the thing they should focus on exclusively. I happen to think that they're being mislead.
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#527 Nov 21 2011 at 6:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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You trying to obfuscate the issue by talking about it in terms of taking/giving isn't impressing anyone.

Protip: If you are grounding your argument in the functions of a system, but that system is what your opponents are attacking, then you don't have a meaningful defense.
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#528 Nov 21 2011 at 6:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Olorinus wrote:
gbaji wrote:
I'm arguing for a bigger pie.


So you believe the earth's resources are unlimited?


No. Why do you ask?

You're making (implying really) the all-or-nothing argument again. A pie can be bigger without needing to be infinitely so. It's a matter of degrees. Which would you rather have:

1. 1/10th of a pie of X size.

2. 1/12th of a pie that is 1.3X size.

It's wrong to look only at the relative size of your slice to other people. It's why the whole "gap between rich and poor" argument is fallacious. You're only looking at half the equation, and honestly the wrong half. Which matters more? How big your pie slice is relative to someone else, or whether you have more pie than you would otherwise?


Most people *should* care more about the latter. However, an increasing number of people are being convinced that the former matters the most and is the thing they should focus on exclusively. I happen to think that they're being mislead.
Yeah but in order for continued expansion of wealth to the 1% at current rates and to also continue to have enough pie for 99% to stay content in order to continue building the buy bigger and buying their little piece, the size of the pie will have to grown exponentially.

How big is your pie pan?
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#529 Nov 21 2011 at 7:04 PM Rating: Default
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
You trying to obfuscate the issue by talking about it in terms of taking/giving isn't impressing anyone.


I don't see how that's obfuscation at all though. The arguments for higher taxes on the rich to pay for benefits for the poor is precisely about taking/giving, right? It seems like I'm trying to actually focus on the real issue, while others want to talk about everything else instead.

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Protip: If you are grounding your argument in the functions of a system, but that system is what your opponents are attacking, then you don't have a meaningful defense.


I'm honestly not sure what you're talking about here.
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#530 Nov 21 2011 at 7:10 PM Rating: Default
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Elinda wrote:
Yeah but in order for continued expansion of wealth to the 1% at current rates and to also continue to have enough pie for 99% to stay content in order to continue building the buy bigger and buying their little piece, the size of the pie will have to grown exponentially.


It'll have to grow in proportion. That may be exponential. It may not. But in any case, it's not "infinite". So saying that my position fails because there aren't infinite resources is fallacious, right?

Quote:
How big is your pie pan?


How big is it now? Who cares? We're speaking in abstract terms here. Over a period of time, the relative wealth held by the rich versus everyone else has grown. But during that same time period, the standard of living of everyone else has grown. In analogous terms, each person has more pie than a similar person did back in the past. So who cares what the ratio of our slice is to the whole pie?


Why obsess on that? Isn't your own quality of life more important? Let me put it the other way around? What if we collapsed the economy entirely but gave everyone an equal share? So you get to live in an unheated shack, with rotten food, no clean water, and no hope, but everyone else is in the exact same boat, so it's fine? Clearly, relative economic outcome is *not* the best way to measure the economic success of a system. So how about we not use that so much?
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#531 Nov 21 2011 at 7:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Who linked that really great piece by the former Bush-administration speech writer?

He's a perfect example of a conservative I can respect. I fundamentally disagree with him on many, many levels. But he's not so foaming-at-the-mouth blind to realize that sometimes people need help from their gov't, and that's okay.
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#532 Nov 21 2011 at 7:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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I wonder if the top 1% would rather be told they can't be paid millions every year, instead of the possibility of getting taxed at rates lower, then they were in the 80's.

When you watch the CEO of the company you work for make more in one year, then you may make in your lifetime, it doesn't take long to get upset and think of speaking up. Add the fact that most of the middle class have seen their spending power drop over the last few years, to the point they can no longer dream of keeping up with the Jones, we have a power keg just waiting for someone to light a match.

Sure I could spend the little money I have on a new TV or fancy smart phone, but that doesn't justified the widening income gap.

Of course if the OWS protesters were smart, they would do what unemployed workers did back in the 30's and camp out on the Mall in DC. Right now they are only making workers trying to get to their jobs upset.
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#533 Nov 21 2011 at 7:26 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
You trying to obfuscate the issue by talking about it in terms of taking/giving isn't impressing anyone.


I don't see how that's obfuscation at all though. The arguments for higher taxes on the rich to pay for benefits for the poor is precisely about taking/giving, right? It seems like I'm trying to actually focus on the real issue, while others want to talk about everything else instead.

Quote:
Protip: If you are grounding your argument in the functions of a system, but that system is what your opponents are attacking, then you don't have a meaningful defense.


I'm honestly not sure what you're talking about here.


1. Giving/taking both have connotative meanings that don't apply here.
2. Not all upper class peoples have "taken" from the lower classes. They may function in a system that has propped them up, but most aren't actively preying on them. There are plenty of people who got rich without trying to fuck someone over, but because they had a good idea (the capitalist dream). I would argue that the system gave them too much, but I wouldn't agree that they took anything. I WOULD, however, say that the Banking industry has taken from the people quite heavily. By using these terms in a broad sense, you lose the intricacies of the problem which are important.

And it's a really, really, really simple statement, gbaji.

When you have 1 billion dollars, and the gov't tells you to give 900 million to the homeless, you are going to say that it's your money and that they have no right to it, no? You think you are entitled to it.

And that's true, relative to the capitalist system you live under.

But what people are complaining about isn't the fact that you have 1 billion dollars, it's the system that allowed you to have 1 billion dollars. You are only entitled to that money if that particular capitalist system (or one sufficiently like it) holds. If the people choose to adopt a socialist system, you are no longer entitled to your money.

Why? Because the system that gave you power was one big social construct. And it no longer exists. There's no objective fact about the universe that says that the money was yours. It was yours because the people agreed it was yours. Once they no longer agree, tough luck.

And before you make some stupid claim that says the people can take your money at any time, realize what an actual shift in systems would mean. It's a massive undertaking, and requires a huge amount of public support. I'm not talking about a military regime--I'm talking about the people collectively standing up and telling people exploiting them that they are out of line.

And OWS isn't about the destruction of economic classes. Certainly, many people who support it believe in dismantling them, but it's not a central theme of the movement. At most, they believe in reducing the distance between them. If you are working, or have a legitimate reason you can't work, then you should be able to live a comfortable life. You shouldn't have to be terrified that you might get sick and miss a paycheck or two. You should have access to health care. You shouldn't need to worry about your bank **** you over, or that your credit is going to plummet because you can't pay back the loans you took out so that you could pay your medical bills. Etc.

The distinction between rich and poor matters a **** of a lot less when you don't have people terrified that their next pay check can't cover their rent, but they are already overdrawn on their bank account. That's the point of OWS. Feel free to support a capitalist system, but people shouldn't be starving when others have 30 billion in their bank account.
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#534 Nov 21 2011 at 7:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Who linked that really great piece by the former Bush-administration speech writer?

He's a perfect example of a conservative I can respect. I fundamentally disagree with him on many, many levels. But he's not so foaming-at-the-mouth blind to realize that sometimes people need help from their gov't, and that's okay.


It was me who linked it - David Frum - here for people who missed it

I really strongly disliked the guy for a long time but this essay really redeemed him. He nailed a lot of the problems with the right wing ideology festering in the states right now
-- like this quote:

Quote:
When contemplating the ruthless brilliance of this system, it’s tempting to fall back on the theory that the GOP is masterminded by a cadre of sinister billionaires, deftly manipulating the political process for their own benefit. The billionaires do exist, and some do indeed attempt to influence the political process. The bizarre fiasco of campaign-finance reform has perversely empowered them to give unlimited funds anonymously to special entities that can spend limitlessly. (Thanks, Senator McCain! Nice job, Senator Feingold!) Yet, for the most part, these Republican billionaires are not acting cynically. They watch Fox News too, and they’re gripped by the same apocalyptic fears as the Republican base. In funding the tea-party movement, they are actually acting against their own longer-term interests, for it is the richest who have the most interest in political stability, which depends upon broad societal agreement that the existing distribution of rewards is fair and reasonable. If the social order comes to seem unjust to large numbers of people, what happens next will make Occupy Wall Street look like a street fair.


Edited, Nov 21st 2011 5:31pm by Olorinus
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#535 Nov 21 2011 at 7:41 PM Rating: Decent
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ElneClare wrote:
I wonder if the top 1% would rather be told they can't be paid millions every year, instead of the possibility of getting taxed at rates lower, then they were in the 80's.


Who would tell them this, and would anyone have the authority to force them to make a choice?

Quote:
When you watch the CEO of the company you work for make more in one year, then you may make in your lifetime, it doesn't take long to get upset and think of speaking up.


Then by all means, go up to the board of directors of the corporation and ask them why the decided to pay the CEO that much? I'm sure they'll give you a good answer.

I guess the question is: What's the alternative? If not the board of directors of a corporation (made up of the largest investors and therefore those with the most financial stake), then who should be deciding how much a CEO's labor is worth? You? A government task force? I'm honestly curious why people think this is wrong.

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Add the fact that most of the middle class have seen their spending power drop over the last few years, to the point they can no longer dream of keeping up with the Jones, we have a power keg just waiting for someone to light a match.


The last couple years is not the same as the longer term trend though. Looking just at the immediate dip after a large recession is a bit unfair. Also, the same question as before: What is the alternative? Do you think there's some other way of doing things that would produce better results, fewer economic downturns, and whatever other criteria you want to use?

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Sure I could spend the little money I have on a new TV or fancy smart phone, but that doesn't justified the widening income gap.


It's not supposed to. The question is whether or not the widening income gap has actually hurt you. And over the whole time period in which that gap has grown, the overwhelming answer is: No. During the time in question the average working and middle class lifestyle has improved dramatically. I suppose you could try to argue that you'd have been even more better off with some alternative system, but I've yet to see anyone actually make that argument. At the very least we can say that this increased gap has not hurt "the 99%".

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Of course if the OWS protesters were smart, they would do what unemployed workers did back in the 30's and camp out on the Mall in DC. Right now they are only making workers trying to get to their jobs upset.


The OWS protesters seem to exist primarily to instigate, not to push any sort of real agenda. That's why their claims are vague. They're trying to capture broad support in opposition to "something" without nailing down what it is exactly, much less what to do about it. I suspect that at this point, it's more about forcing people to oppose them and their ridiculous antics so that others may attack those people for opposing "the people". It's pretty much a joke at this point IMO.

It could have become a real movement. Now its just aimless people with no clue what they want or how they're going to get it.

Edited, Nov 21st 2011 5:41pm by gbaji
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#536 Nov 21 2011 at 8:14 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
1. Giving/taking both have connotative meanings that don't apply here.


And some which do. I'll point them out to you.

Quote:
2. Not all upper class peoples have "taken" from the lower classes. They may function in a system that has propped them up, but most aren't actively preying on them. There are plenty of people who got rich without trying to fuck someone over, but because they had a good idea (the capitalist dream). I would argue that the system gave them too much, but I wouldn't agree that they took anything. I WOULD, however, say that the Banking industry has taken from the people quite heavily. By using these terms in a broad sense, you lose the intricacies of the problem which are important.


So you acknowledge that your method of distinguishing between "good rich people" and "bad rich people is based on whether they "took" their wealth. And you wonder why I talk about giving/taking?

Um... I'd also question your assessment anyway. Somewhat by definition, in order for a banker to make money, he first has to give it (loan actually) to someone else. It just seems like you're being circular here. You're defining who is good or bad based on whether they gained their wealth by taking it, but you seem to decide whether an industry "takes" wealth based on whether you like them or not. Is there an objective measure going on here at all? Cause I don't see it.

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When you have 1 billion dollars, and the gov't tells you to give 900 million to the homeless, you are going to say that it's your money and that they have no right to it, no? You think you are entitled to it.


Yes, of course. But not because they're entitled to it, but because it's their money. We can quibble over how they got that money, but the word "entitled" in this context suggests something you don't have, but should have. Which is the "giving" part of the "giving/taking" I spoke of earlier. You seem to want to define money a rich person has as being 'given' to them, but I disagree with that assessment. More on that later.

Quote:
And that's true, relative to the capitalist system you live under.

But what people are complaining about isn't the fact that you have 1 billion dollars, it's the system that allowed you to have 1 billion dollars. You are only entitled to that money if that particular capitalist system (or one sufficiently like it) holds. If the people choose to adopt a socialist system, you are no longer entitled to your money.


Again, I'd stop using the word "entitled" if I were you. It has a meaning that isn't exactly correct here. Your argument is correct though, under any economic system, a person "gains" money (or equivalent) based on the rules of the economic system itself. If our system says that people with big noses get twice as much as everyone else, then that's the system. I get it.

Quote:
Why? Because the system that gave you power was one big social construct. And it no longer exists. There's no objective fact about the universe that says that the money was yours. It was yours because the people agreed it was yours. Once they no longer agree, tough luck.


Ok. But here's where the giving/taking bit comes in. The free market is called a "free market" because it requires very little regulation to operate. The objective is to make it as close to what economics would be absent any rules at all, while still protecting property rights and preventing abusive behaviors. The core concept of "earning" money isn't part of the construct though. It's based on very real factors that apply whether there's a "system" in place or not.

If you are alone in the wilderness and you don't produce enough food, shelter, etc to survive then you will die. No system needs to be constructed to make this happen. If you produce lots of those things, you will survive, perhaps even thrive. A group of people is an extension of that one person. They must collectively produce enough for all of them to survive. Following this so far?

What the free market does is attempt to reward those who produce the most for the whole by applying as much of the rules of a solitary survival model as possible. The more you produce, the better your outcome is. The same should apply to a larger society. The thinking is that the more people who are producing more things, the better *everyone* is. But that only works if we allow those who produce the most to retain the most.

This is not as arbitrary as you're making it out to be. And I think it's a mistake to say that such a system is no more legitimate or "fair" than any other. This smacks of people who try to argue that rights/liberties/freedoms are also just arbitrary social constructs and can be whatever society's whim of the moment is. While it's true that we *can* make them whatever we want them to be, it's also true that some sets of those things follow a set of objective rules that derive from natural laws, while others do not. It's wrong to pretend that they're all equally valuable or useful.

Quote:
And before you make some stupid claim that says the people can take your money at any time, realize what an actual shift in systems would mean. It's a massive undertaking, and requires a huge amount of public support. I'm not talking about a military regime--I'm talking about the people collectively standing up and telling people exploiting them that they are out of line.


So a communist revolution?

You know what the biggest problem with a communist revolution is? Actually convincing people that they're being exploited to such a degree that they must rise up. This is hard to do when most of the population has never known real hunger, or want, nor been denied basics, and in fact most of whom live lives which would be considered ridiculously luxurious in historical context.

But good luck on that! I don't think it's going to happen. You will, however, potentially get people to give one group of politicians power instead of another and if you think that there's more to this than that, you are horribly naive.

Quote:
And OWS isn't about the destruction of economic classes. Certainly, many people who support it believe in dismantling them, but it's not a central theme of the movement. At most, they believe in reducing the distance between them. If you are working, or have a legitimate reason you can't work, then you should be able to live a comfortable life. You shouldn't have to be terrified that you might get sick and miss a paycheck or two. You should have access to health care. You shouldn't need to worry about your bank **** you over, or that your credit is going to plummet because you can't pay back the loans you took out so that you could pay your medical bills. Etc.


Ok. But which is it? Either you're chucking out the whole "system" based on simply allowing people to retain whatever the market will bear for their labor in favor of some other supposedly more equitable alternative, or you're not. But you cant or wont say exactly what that alternative is, and when I point out that problems with it, you insist that your not proposing anything that extreme.


But it has to be one way or the other. Either it's a minor change, in which case the "rules" of the system I've been talking about are still in place, and the assessments in terms of "giving/taking" are valid to make *or* you're chucking the whole thing out, in which case it's legitimate for me to question what that other system would be, how it would encourage people to produce, who would be in charge of deciding what a "fair" distribution of wealth should be, and dozens of other questions which seem to always be left unanswered. You can't have it both ways.

Quote:
The distinction between rich and poor matters a **** of a lot less when you don't have people terrified that their next pay check can't cover their rent, but they are already overdrawn on their bank account. That's the point of OWS. Feel free to support a capitalist system, but people shouldn't be starving when others have 30 billion in their bank account.


I think that's a false comparison though. Do you think people will be less likely to be afraid that their next pay check wont cover their rent if the rich aren't as rich relative to them? Unless you assume that by making the rich less rich, you'll make everyone else a bit more rich? But that's the zero sum game issue I spoke of earlier. I don't agree that things work that way. In fact, I don't think you agree things work that way. Heck, I could provide a clear example showing that it doesn't if you want. It's not even hard math. Even if we assumed that we could just take X dollars from "the rich" and give that money to everyone else to help them out, and it wouldn't affect any other economic factors at all (patently false), it would not change the likelihood that the same percentage of the population will end out in the same overdrawn, paycheck to paycheck, always worrying about money situation.


And that assumes that doing that wont reduce the number of paychecks available in the first place (which it would).


I keep coming back to the same problem. It's easy to point out problems with something. It's a **** of a lot harder to propose an alternative and show that it would be better and would introduce fewer problems itself. But if you can't do that, then complaining about the current system is just that: Complaining. It's completely useless in terms of actually solving anything. The fallacy here is that of assuming that anyone starves because someone has 30B in the bank *and* that if you somehow eliminated that $30B in that person's bank it would help the alleged starvation going on. This is often assumed to be true, but very few people even attempt to argue it. Usually because the argument breaks down very quickly. It's easier to just pretend it must be true and rail about rich people having lots of money while poor people don't.


Sorry. I'm going to ask you to explain why you think that's a problem and what you think we should do differently to prevent this problem from occurring. Because while you may insist that my free market system is arbitrary, within that system the same rules that allow that guy to have $30B in his bank account, allow you and me to have $100, or $1000, or $10,000, or to own a car, or a home, or anything at all. If we take away his property rights, aren't we taking away ours as well?

Edited, Nov 21st 2011 6:21pm by gbaji
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#537 Nov 21 2011 at 9:57 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


They way I see the idea of the rich taking from the poor is when the rich profit because of the way the poor were treated. If a CEO gets a bonus because he came up with a great idea and income increased because of this, more power to him, he found a niche that works.

However, if the CEO got a bonus because he fired workers and reduced expenses, that is the path I have an issue with. This is the rich taking from the poor. Because he saved 200k/year by slashing the payroll, do you think it's right for him to get a 100k bonus? The only reason he gets paid in this case is because he screwed over the little guy.
#538 Nov 21 2011 at 10:03 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:

However, if the CEO got a bonus because he fired workers and reduced expenses, that is the path I have an issue with. This is the rich taking from the poor. Because he saved 200k/year by slashing the payroll, do you think it's right for him to get a 100k bonus? The only reason he gets paid in this case is because he screwed over the little guy.


If he saved 200k/yr with no penalties to the company, then they didn't need those workers. Making the company more efficient is worth a bonus, perhaps not to that relative level.
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#539 Nov 22 2011 at 1:39 AM Rating: Excellent
Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:

However, if the CEO got a bonus because he fired workers and reduced expenses, that is the path I have an issue with. This is the rich taking from the poor. Because he saved 200k/year by slashing the payroll, do you think it's right for him to get a 100k bonus? The only reason he gets paid in this case is because he screwed over the little guy.


If he saved 200k/yr with no penalties to the company, then they didn't need those workers. Making the company more efficient is worth a bonus, perhaps not to that relative level.


Seems to me the people toward the bottom of any given company working efficiently and helping the company make a profit should be getting a nice bonus, too. In many cases, they don't.
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#540 Nov 22 2011 at 6:59 AM Rating: Excellent
Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:

However, if the CEO got a bonus because he fired workers and reduced expenses, that is the path I have an issue with. This is the rich taking from the poor. Because he saved 200k/year by slashing the payroll, do you think it's right for him to get a 100k bonus? The only reason he gets paid in this case is because he screwed over the little guy.


If he saved 200k/yr with no penalties to the company, then they didn't need those workers. Making the company more efficient is worth a bonus, perhaps not to that relative level.
What generally happens in this case is that the workers who don't get laid off have more work to do and don't any more money for doing it. The companies subtly remind people that 'they are lucky to have a job in this economy' and manage to get away with it.
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#541 Nov 22 2011 at 8:24 AM Rating: Decent
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Duke Lubriderm wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:

However, if the CEO got a bonus because he fired workers and reduced expenses, that is the path I have an issue with. This is the rich taking from the poor. Because he saved 200k/year by slashing the payroll, do you think it's right for him to get a 100k bonus? The only reason he gets paid in this case is because he screwed over the little guy.


If he saved 200k/yr with no penalties to the company, then they didn't need those workers. Making the company more efficient is worth a bonus, perhaps not to that relative level.
What generally happens in this case is that the workers who don't get laid off have more work to do and don't any more money for doing it. The companies subtly remind people that 'they are lucky to have a job in this economy' and manage to get away with it.
Or, the employees actually have to do a full days work while getting paid a full days wage. Sometimes, it actually is about efficiency and productivity.
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#542 Nov 22 2011 at 8:41 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Over a period of time, the relative wealth held by the rich versus everyone else has grown.
...and why is this so important to you?'

I know you know the story of the tragedy of the commons. The resources that corporations are using up - air, water, land, minerals, mountains, people etc etc, start out belonging to all of us equally.

The relative wealth of the rich only grows because they're using a disproportionate share of the resources. So, even if we could imagine a self-cleaning world with limitless resources, the fact still remains that the corporations are being greedy and taking more of the pie than they need. That's inefficient....and besides, it's pretty clear, our resources are not unlimited.






Edited, Nov 22nd 2011 3:42pm by Elinda
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#543 Nov 22 2011 at 8:51 AM Rating: Excellent
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The OWS protesters seem to exist primarily to instigate, not to push any sort of real agenda

I'd say their "agenda" is to call attention and steer the national conversation to what they see are problems; primarily wealth distribution and government interaction with financial sectors. In that, they've succeeded very well. I don't believe that they ever claimed to have all the answers and arguments that they've "failed" because they can't roll out a ten point plan is a bit of a strawman.
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#544 Nov 22 2011 at 12:11 PM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, comparing economic situations that are PURELY the result of a human construct to events of nature, which are largely out of our control, is just being inherently disingenuous. But since when has gbaji cared about that?


Interesting. People actually think poor people are poor because rich people take from them? Or (even more bizarrely) fail to give them enough? Anyone care to explain this assumption? Cause it make no **** sense to me at all.


Something about this seems kind of odd. While not the full reason it is a fact that rich people generally cut payroll in order to make money, or prevent bleeding money. So yes some of the poor in this country are a result of Rich people taking others livelihoods. Instead of taking a 30K hit a year for employing someone they just dump them to save a buck.

This isn't just from an economic downturn, I see robots replace people all the time in my line of work. Robots are cheap, and more reliably consistent, they do nothing but make money. For every job a robot has, a rich person has taken food from someones mouth.


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#545 Nov 22 2011 at 12:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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Hold on here. How can you call making cuts to keep from bleeding money, taking from the poor?
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#546 Nov 22 2011 at 12:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Hold on here. How can you call making cuts to keep from bleeding money, taking from the poor?


I'm with the Sasquatch on this one. The logic applied by a lot of you guys here is totally bizarre.

Should I turn in my Dem card?
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#547 Nov 22 2011 at 12:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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And in related news, it turns out that military-grade pepper spray is a food product.
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#548 Nov 22 2011 at 1:11 PM Rating: Default
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Hold on here. How can you call making cuts to keep from bleeding money, taking from the poor?


Oh I dunno cutting people from jobs means they have no (or limited) money. A rich dude will cut 10 guys on the floor before he takes a cut in pay.

(its not so much taking from the poor as it is helping to create poor in the first place.)


Edited, Nov 22nd 2011 2:12pm by rdmcandie
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#549 Nov 22 2011 at 1:13 PM Rating: Good
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Timelordwho wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
Hold on here. How can you call making cuts to keep from bleeding money, taking from the poor?


I'm with the Sasquatch on this one. The logic applied by a lot of you guys here is totally bizarre.

Should I turn in my Dem card?
What does being a democrat have to do with agreeing with Ugly?



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#550 Nov 22 2011 at 1:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Ugly's a total Republican. Trufax.
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#551 Nov 22 2011 at 1:16 PM Rating: Good
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rdmcandie wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
Hold on here. How can you call making cuts to keep from bleeding money, taking from the poor?


Oh I dunno cutting people from jobs means they have no (or limited) money. A rich dude will cut 10 guys on the floor before he takes a cut in pay.

(its not so much taking from the poor as it is helping to create poor in the first place.)


Edited, Nov 22nd 2011 2:12pm by rdmcandie

That's stupid. New technologies may replace a person in one place but they only spur on more technology elsewhere.

If the company can make more widgets for less money with a robot, then the price of the widget comes down and the guy who's out the job can now save enough money to go to school to learn to be a robot repairman.

The company selling the robots needs techs and engineers and scientists to develop better robots, etc, etc.

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