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#202 Oct 27 2013 at 4:17 AM Rating: Good
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rdmcandie wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
Are you sure it's 12.5% of profits and not 12.5% of revenues? Profits really doesn't sound right from a franchiser.


That is correct, mislabeling on my part, point still stands however.
Actually no. It changes the amount of money earned and it's effect on the owners drastically more.
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#203 Oct 27 2013 at 8:41 AM Rating: Decent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
Are you sure it's 12.5% of profits and not 12.5% of revenues? Profits really doesn't sound right from a franchiser.


That is correct, mislabeling on my part, point still stands however.
Actually no. It changes the amount of money earned and it's effect on the owners drastically more.


Well I wouldn't say drastically. 11.5% more revenue would still be 11.5% more money left at the individual franchise, which still equates to making more money at the end of the year to be distributed out at the end. So no it really wouldn't change the outcome of a franchise being able to increase their employees pay, with the proprietor of the franchise retaining his expected income as well.

Whether you add it in before or after 11.5% is 11.5%. of whichever number, and +11.5% is more than -12.5% In any calculation.


Edited, Oct 27th 2013 10:41am by rdmcandie
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#204 Oct 27 2013 at 11:54 AM Rating: Good
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Percent of profit incentivized higher wages in a way that percentage of revenue does not.
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#205 Oct 27 2013 at 9:50 PM Rating: Default
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Timelordwho wrote:
Percent of profit incentivized higher wages in a way that percentage of revenue does not.


No not really. In fact coming from revenues provides more incentive to apply wage increase simply because wages come out before the money gets taxed, If it applies to profits only that it has already been taxed and owner/operator doesn't really have any reason to increase wages. 12% before or after costs is still extra income to go around, no matter how you cut it.


Alternatively though, a profit sharing on corporate profits (not local franchise business profits) is an entirely different thing and doesn't actually impact on the local level at all, well except more people having more money to spend in the community, which gives everyone more money. Which really makes the discussion of franchise profits redundant, because its the Corporation of McDonalds making 8.9B not the local McD's owners. (they get ****** just as much as everyone else.)


But no, 12.5% from revenue, or 12.5% of profits doesn't really change how people get paid, people get paid based on what their bosses feel like paying them, and all across the world some of those occupations pay to **** low.

Edited, Oct 27th 2013 11:51pm by rdmcandie
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#206 Oct 31 2013 at 8:56 PM Rating: Default
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rdmcandie wrote:
Do you know why Median is not relevant, and why the average must be done step by step through various income levels? ~55% of your population does not even reach that median according to US Census Records. Ergo its not really a median is it. I mean it is close, but it is inaccurate. The Median personal income is more so along the lines of about 28K. Which is about a 49/51 Split, the average is a little on the under side at about 27500, which happens to coincide with the value of income required to live a life without government assistance. I mean sure if you feel like misrepresenting 5% of your population Median is a great number, in actuality it is highly incorrect, especially when discussing why 52% of your population needs some for of Government assistance, and over half of them being below the poverty line.


Median tells us where a given percentile (50% in this case) lies. Same concept with dividing up into other portions (quintiles, for example). It allows us to see how a given segment of the population is doing economically relative to other segments of the population. Simply spouting averages doesn't do this since it tells us nothing about how the income levels are distributed across the population.

As a general rule, you use average when comparing a set of values to another different set of values. You use median (or some other measurement) when comparing a value or subset of values to the set within which it exists. Trying to do otherwise will result in either useless or misleading results.

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Um... which means that 65% of Americans are earning more relatively speaking today than they did in the 1950s. How is this a disaster?


100% of Americans are paying more that they have gained.


False. My statement included "relatively", specifically meaning "relative to cost of living". 65% of Americans earn more in adjusted dollars compared to cost of living today than they did in the 1950s. The middle class has grown over that period of time, not shrunk. What this also means is that the poor are more starkly less well off relative to a median income though. We can argue the social impact of that, but we have to first agree on what exactly is actually going on in terms of relative economics. Just saying "everyone is worse off!!!" over and over isn't helpful.

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Personal Income has not kept up with Cost of Living at all, and has barely maintained pace with inflation. So while 65% might make a higher dollar value, they are spending much more. For example in the 50's 21% of income went to housing, in 2012 that value was 45%. Fantastic you are making twice as much as someone in 1950, you are also paying over twice as much just to put a roof over your head, and that is a similar trait across pretty much anything one purchases in todays society.


The typical 1950s home was much smaller than the typical home today though. Lots more people lived in one room tenements, with shared facilities back then (something that's nearly unthinkable today). Homes are more expensive because they come with things like fireproofing, hot and cold running water, electricity already wired up, phone lines installed, cables run, washer/dryer hookups, stoves, etc. Things that were less common in 1950.

The distribution of our costs have changed over time, but that doesn't automatically mean that total costs have increased by that same amount. Housing represents a larger total slice of our costs. But the flip side is that food represents a much smaller slice because it's become much cheaper and more available today compared to back then. You're looking just at things that have increased, and missed the things that have gotten much less expensive, and/or much higher quality, or simply didn't exist back then at all (we live a relatively luxurious lifestyle if you stop and think about it, even those of us in "poverty").

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Of course don't take my word for it, go ask the middle class who are the fringe people, go ask them how they have enjoyed shrinking bank accounts and rising personal debt over the past decade. Ask the vast majority of them who for the first time in their lives are dependent on government assistance of some form. The robust middle class of the American Dream era is crumbling, and the majority are losing the fight between cost increases and stagnant wages.


You're also selectively picking the last 10 years, which have been horrible in terms of historical economic performance in the US. I'd also argue that most of that has occurred as a result of actively pursuing more government assistance at the cost of private success. That's obviously just opinion, but you can't just say "more people are on government assistance today" and conclude that this means that the free market has failed.

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I'm not questioning the data. I'm questioning your interpretation of it.


I don't understand how you can question the fact 52% of Americans are at or under the income value to live a life without government assistance, nor the fact that every year more and more enter poverty because they can not keep up with increased costs.


Because, at the risk of repeating the statement I just made, I'm not questioning the data, but your interpretation off that data. I'm talking about *why* more people are on government assistance today than in the past, and what to do about it. You seem to conclude that the free market has failed, and so we need more government assistance (which seems strange given that you use that as a measure of failure), I conclude that non free market forces (like say increased government spending and regulation) are actively weighing down the market, making it less free, and thus making it perform worse than it should.

I believe that we need less government in our market, not more. I think that looking at the numbers and coming to any conclusion other than "big government is a complete failure" is moronic. But that's just how I see things.


What do you think we should do? What do you think has caused these failures? I'm not arguing that there aren't problems in our economy. I'm just disagreeing with your shotgun approach to just spewing out a list of problems, not making any sense of them, and (I guess?) calling for some action to solve them. Failing to identify the actual problem at hand, and assess possible causes and solutions results in people leaping to solutions that may (likely will) just make things worse.
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#207 Oct 31 2013 at 11:36 PM Rating: Decent
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Gbaji wrote:
Median tells us where a given percentile (50% in this case) lies. Same concept with dividing up into other portions (quintiles, for example). It allows us to see how a given segment of the population is doing economically relative to other segments of the population. Simply spouting averages doesn't do this since it tells us nothing about how the income levels are distributed across the population.

As a general rule, you use average when comparing a set of values to another different set of values. You use median (or some other measurement) when comparing a value or subset of values to the set within which it exists. Trying to do otherwise will result in either useless or misleading results.


The actual amount of Americans under the 27Kish point of living without Government Assistance is over 50%. You can see this simply by looking at the census data. Median really has no merit in discussion when you have data on the actual percentage value of people. But continue to argue about how Median means this and median means that when A) Your median value is wrong (do the math yourself if you know how) and B) Median doesn't represent the % of Americans only the dollar amount of Americans.

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False. My statement included "relatively", specifically meaning "relative to cost of living". 65% of Americans earn more in adjusted dollars compared to cost of living today than they did in the 1950s. The middle class has grown over that period of time, not shrunk. What this also means is that the poor are more starkly less well off relative to a median income though. We can argue the social impact of that, but we have to first agree on what exactly is actually going on in terms of relative economics. Just saying "everyone is worse off!!!" over and over isn't helpful.


False the American middle class remained relatively the same size as a percentage of the population up until about 1986 (also in your census records). Since 1986 the American middle class has been declining on the negative side. Some have become more wealthy many more have become less wealthy. The % of population deemed middle class is smaller than it was from 1950-1987. So relatively speaking the cost of living increases have outpaced income increases resulting in more people entering poverty.

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The typical 1950s home was much smaller than the typical home today though. Lots more people lived in one room tenements, with shared facilities back then (something that's nearly unthinkable today). Homes are more expensive because they come with things like fireproofing, hot and cold running water, electricity already wired up, phone lines installed, cables run, washer/dryer hookups, stoves, etc. Things that were less common in 1950.


Right the cost of a house has risen, I said that. I also said that income has not grown to match the increase. I mean all of those things you mentioned are required by law to be in a home (they are called building codes). If the average income of America was keeping pace with the required spending then a house today would still be 21% of Income. It isn't because houses cost more, and bills associated with them have as well, if as you say Income has risen proportionately to cost of living, then the average expenditure of Americans for housing would not be 45% of their income...would it.

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The distribution of our costs have changed over time, but that doesn't automatically mean that total costs have increased by that same amount. Housing represents a larger total slice of our costs. But the flip side is that food represents a much smaller slice because it's become much cheaper and more available today compared to back then. You're looking just at things that have increased, and missed the things that have gotten much less expensive, and/or much higher quality, or simply didn't exist back then at all (we live a relatively luxurious lifestyle if you stop and think about it, even those of us in "poverty").


Actually it hasn't food cost has only decrease by about 14% since 1950. So ya you can get 14% more food for your house that costs you 24% more. Still 10% short on your Cost to Income %...and we haven't even discussed health care or auto insurance yet.

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You're also selectively picking the last 10 years, which have been horrible in terms of historical economic performance in the US. I'd also argue that most of that has occurred as a result of actively pursuing more government assistance at the cost of private success. That's obviously just opinion, but you can't just say "more people are on government assistance today" and conclude that this means that the free market has failed.


No actually it has been a common trend since around 1984. Prior to that most Americans were doing well. The first real issue arose about midway through the 80's and was hastened by the Savings and Loans issues. It rebounded through the 90's and began to decline again in the late 90's entering the 2000's when Enron and such were @#%^ing markets. Its exclamation point was in 2008 with the Derivative Market collapse. It is not a selective cherry picking, the number of Americans earning bellow the rate of required assistance and entering poverty has been growing on an almost consistent average since 1986. (this is in your Census records)

There are more people as a percentage of population in the US on government assistance than any period in history. (maybe the 30's but there is no real data since social programs didn't really exist). again this is easily noted in the stark rises to cost of government assistance programs, also in your census records. Simply average out the annual increase vs the average cost of living and you can see that annually since the 80's more people have entered some form of government assistance program be it health care, food stamps, or housing assistance. (again it is very simple math and the numbers are all available via your countries census records.)

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Because, at the risk of repeating the statement I just made, I'm not questioning the data, but your interpretation off that data. I'm talking about *why* more people are on government assistance today than in the past, and what to do about it. You seem to conclude that the free market has failed, and so we need more government assistance (which seems strange given that you use that as a measure of failure), I conclude that non free market forces (like say increased government spending and regulation) are actively weighing down the market, making it less free, and thus making it perform worse than it should.


More people are on government assistance because they can not afford to live without it. Houses consume 45% of income, increases to REQUIRED health and vehicle insurances have compounded the cost of living, the amount save in basic foods is minimal and does not cover the increases to cost. If incomes grew at the same rate a costs then the values to cost of living would not be some 20% out of whack with income growth. But they are and people require government to help. This is clearly exemplified in all your governments data going back over 50 years.

The free market is dead and has been since it was conceived. Free market capitalism bred only one thing, control. In 1960 there were over 3000 individual media distributors in the USA. Today there are 6. If not for anitmonopoly laws in the US there would be less, look no further than Microsoft, and AT&T as examples of antimonopoly. Free market Capitalism is essentially highlander, there can be only one. But, that being said, Free market capitalism also breeds corporate capitalism, where corporations who can't continue to buy out instead buy government. This is documented throughout US politics and Global politics (everyone wants to buy influence.), but when government grants outright protections to corporate entities (see Monasanto) there is now a breach of trust and of the free market.

Capitalism is great, if done properly. Unfortunately the belief of equal opportunity died a long time ago in the US and all thats left is greed. When they dissolved the gold standard and changed the game from Value of currency, to amount of valueless currency. It is an insolvent system that is designed to decay, it has no other path than deterioration. It is unsustainable because it dictates minimization, less and less competition every year, maximize profits, and dominate the market. Hardly free in any sense of the term.


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What do you think we should do? What do you think has caused these failures? I'm not arguing that there aren't problems in our economy. I'm just disagreeing with your shotgun approach to just spewing out a list of problems, not making any sense of them, and (I guess?) calling for some action to solve them.


First thing we need to do is force corporations to distribute profits. There is no reason corporations should be experiencing over twice as much growth as the nation or its people. Secondly we need to stop banks from printing cash, National growth hasn't kept up with profits, personal income hasn't kept up with profits, yet they are sky rocketing at over 2 times either....where is the money coming from. Thirdly we need to abolish international currency standard and rely on our trade to dictate international value.

If everyone in the US was making 60K/yr on average, and it only cost 27K/yr to provide for ones self without government, this would eliminate government assistance spending. Furthermore it provides every working person in the US 33K spending money, which is in turn put back into the economy of the US. Now imagine that globally, everyone making 30K more than they need to live, this drives up extra spending globally which means more product must be produced globally, this means more jobs (and more money) globally.

What we have is a decaying cycle, money and money value are ever cycling towards an inevitable minimalist system, what we need is money to be expanded to a maximizing system, a positive growth cycle. The more money people have the more they will spend, the more they spend the more product is needed the more is needed the more people needed to make it, the more people making it the more money entering the system.

We Capitalist societies need to do a stark 180 and move from a Free market society into a Social society, where you have the opportunity to succeed based on what you do, not on a companies stock value, or their ability to borrow money. Society needs to put money back in the hands of people, we need our positive growth cycle, not continued degeneration by design.



Edited, Nov 1st 2013 1:54am by rdmcandie

Edited, Nov 1st 2013 10:02am by rdmcandie

Edited, Nov 1st 2013 10:02am by rdmcandie
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#208 Nov 01 2013 at 2:42 PM Rating: Default
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rdmcandie wrote:
The actual amount of Americans under the 27Kish point of living without Government Assistance is over 50%. You can see this simply by looking at the census data. Median really has no merit in discussion when you have data on the actual percentage value of people. But continue to argue about how Median means this and median means that when A) Your median value is wrong (do the math yourself if you know how) and B) Median doesn't represent the % of Americans only the dollar amount of Americans.


Then so is your average. Assuming both are using the same base data, the same problem will exist for both. So if it's "average income" or "median income", we assume it includes the set of income earners. Obviously, this means it wont include folks who are not working for one reason or another. To say that invalidates the calculation using one method but not the other is silly.

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False the American middle class remained relatively the same size as a percentage of the population up until about 1986 (also in your census records). Since 1986 the American middle class has been declining on the negative side. Some have become more wealthy many more have become less wealthy. The % of population deemed middle class is smaller than it was from 1950-1987. So relatively speaking the cost of living increases have outpaced income increases resulting in more people entering poverty.


This really depends on how one defines "middle class" though. Honestly, that's a whole topic by itself. I do believe that you're the victim of very selective data analysis. Step back and look at the big picture and it's hard to say that the "middle class" (meaning people who earn a comfortable living) did not grow between 1950 and 1986. You have to do some very strange math on income levels to tweak the data to make it look that way.

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Right the cost of a house has risen, I said that.


But the average quality has risen as well. Dramatically.

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I also said that income has not grown to match the increase. I mean all of those things you mentioned are required by law to be in a home (they are called building codes). If the average income of America was keeping pace with the required spending then a house today would still be 21% of Income. It isn't because houses cost more, and bills associated with them have as well, if as you say Income has risen proportionately to cost of living, then the average expenditure of Americans for housing would not be 45% of their income...would it.


It's less about required spending though. Yes, building codes have changed and driven some of those costs, but the bigger factor is choices. People don't tend to live with entire families (2 or 3 generations) in a 1000 sq ft home anymore. When they do move away from the family home (for work perhaps), they move into fully featured homes themselves, not simple tenement rooms. There are far far more single occupant dwellings, and far more large single family homes today than back in 1950. The rise of the suburbs alone accounts for a huge amount of that increased cost. And most of that is choice. We live on larger plots of land, in larger homes, with more luxuries, and fewer people in each dwelling than we did back then.

We could all choose to live in shared living spaces with minimal luxuries, while still meeting all the required building codes, and likely it would cost us less than 21% of our earnings to do it. But we choose not to. Complain about that if you want, but those are choices. Oh. And they're choices made because... wait for it... a larger percentage of our population has a greater amount of disposable income now than they used to. More people can afford to spend 40% of their income on housing so they choose to do so. That's the key point that you're missing. If we really were just struggling along, that number would not have increased like it has.



The rest of your post devolved into a diatribe about capitalism, free markets, and the usual stereotypical "sound money" garbage that I really don't feel like debating right now. Let's just accept that I disagree with about 95% of your positions in those areas.

Edited, Nov 1st 2013 2:52pm by gbaji
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#209 Nov 01 2013 at 3:11 PM Rating: Decent
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You guys keep tossing facts out there like they mean something.


#210 Nov 01 2013 at 3:41 PM Rating: Good
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#211 Nov 01 2013 at 3:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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#212 Nov 01 2013 at 3:53 PM Rating: Good
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#213 Nov 01 2013 at 5:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just saying "everyone is worse off!!!" over and over isn't helpful.

The middle class is worse off relative to the wealthy. By a fair margin. Fairly easy to demonstrate by comparing GDP per capita adjusted for inflation to median income adjusted for inflation. The two measures track each other fairly closely from the 40's to about the 80's when they begin and then continue to diverge markedly with GDP per capita far outpacing median income. The rising tide may have very slightly lifted all boats since the 80's but it's certainly lifted yachts much, much, much higher than fishing boats.
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#214 Nov 01 2013 at 5:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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A tide that rises that fast is going to swamp a fair number of boats, too.
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#215 Nov 01 2013 at 5:47 PM Rating: Good
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A tide that rises that fast is going to swamp a fair number of boats, too.

Only the crappy boats, and who cares about them?
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#216 Nov 01 2013 at 5:50 PM Rating: Good
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I'd suggest a canoe, but that's kinda my stock advice.
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#217 Nov 01 2013 at 6:14 PM Rating: Default
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Smasharoo wrote:
Just saying "everyone is worse off!!!" over and over isn't helpful.

The middle class is worse off relative to the wealthy. By a fair margin.


So what? Is the middle class worse off today than they were in 1950? Isn't that was really matters? Is the fact that your 50" flat screen HDTV is better than the 32" CRT equivalent from 20 years ago negated by the fact that someone with more money owns 5 of them? I think that's a ridiculous way of determining "better/worse off".

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Fairly easy to demonstrate by comparing GDP per capita adjusted for inflation to median income adjusted for inflation. The two measures track each other fairly closely from the 40's to about the 80's when they begin and then continue to diverge markedly with GDP per capita far outpacing median income. The rising tide may have very slightly lifted all boats since the 80's but it's certainly lifted yachts much, much, much higher than fishing boats.


Again: Who cares? Why does this matter? You are measuring the wrong thing.
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#218 Nov 01 2013 at 10:32 PM Rating: Excellent
gbaji wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:

The middle class is worse off relative to the wealthy. By a fair margin.


So what? Who cares? .
This is all you need to say, gbaji.

This is all you ever say, really.
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#219 Nov 02 2013 at 12:14 AM Rating: Decent
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Elinda wrote:
I'd suggest a canoe, but that's kinda my stock advice.

What about a used second(third?)hand kayak?
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#220 Nov 02 2013 at 6:53 AM Rating: Excellent
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So what? Is the middle class worse off today than they were in 1950? Isn't that was really matters?

No, it isn't what really matters. The wealthy would be much better off today than they were in the 50s if we currently had Eisenhower era income tax brackets. Suddenly it's not what "really" matters any more, is it? What really matters is the rationale for getting to the current divide. The idea was that removing restraints on capital use by the wealthy would increase economic growth. It hasn't. It doesn't. There is literally no economic model that postulates this would happen. What most economists said would happen was that the wealthy would acquire more and more of the existing wealth of the US as well as taking up a larger and larger share of GDP relative to the middle class. Amazingly, that's what happened. In a shocking turn of events, when you let the wealthy keep more money, they keep it, and when you distribute less of it to the middle class, they have less of it.

So what "really matters" is the best outcome for the most people. The current state of affairs is the best outcome only for the top quintile of people, and really only the very best outcome for those with 8 figure net worth.
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#221 Nov 02 2013 at 8:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
The middle class is worse off relative to the wealthy. By a fair margin.
So what? Who cares? .
This is all you need to say, gbaji.

This is all you ever say, really.

I, for one, am shocked that the GOP loses almost every demographic that's not middle/upper class older white dudes these days.
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#222 Nov 02 2013 at 9:54 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Is the fact that your 50" flat screen HDTV is better than the 32" CRT equivalent from 20 years ago negated by the fact that someone with more money owns 5 of them?


I keep my 50" flat screen HDTV in the trunk of my used Lexus!
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#223 Nov 02 2013 at 10:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:

We could all choose to live in shared living spaces with minimal luxuries, while still meeting all the required building codes, and likely it would cost us less than 21% of our earnings to do it. But we choose not to. Complain about that if you want, but those are choices. Oh. And they're choices made because... wait for it... a larger percentage of our population has a greater amount of disposable income now than they used to. More people can afford to spend 40% of their income on housing so they choose to do so. That's the key point that you're missing. If we really were just struggling along, that number would not have increased like it has.



Today the largest % of Americans in history live in poverty, the largest % of Americans in history struggle to provide basic living requirements, the largest % of Americans in history are on Government Assistance (again 30's could have been worse but there isn't really any data on social spending on the government level as most of it didn't exist until well into the great depression). The simple fact is the majority of your population doesn't really have a choice, their choice is to go looking for Government assistance, or slip deeper into the negatives...Most American families can not afford a home, so they rent, or sublet, most American families can not afford basic medical insurance, so they go without or get government assistance, 17% of American families can not afford both dwellings and food, so they go without or they look for government assistance.

Most Americans can not afford to live in America. That is what it comes down to, and that is what the data shows. Poverty is rising, strain on Government assistance and dependence is rising, the middle class is shrinking every year by nearly 10% of wealth value, and there are more and more people who simply fall out of the system all together and wind up living in the streets. over half (ie. Most) of your nation can not provide a moderate standard of living without assistance from the Government....this means they don't have disposable money, they don't have enough money, they can not afford moderate living without assistance from others...its very very simple math.

Quote:
The rest of your post devolved into a diatribe about capitalism, free markets, and the usual stereotypical "sound money" garbage that I really don't feel like debating right now. Let's just accept that I disagree with about 95% of your positions in those areas.


Of course you disagree with it, it is why you are also obtuse enough to believe that everything is hunky dory and people have money shooting out their ***, and just choose not to spend it how they should be spending it. I think its great you stick to your convictions how ever mathematically incorrect they are. Free market Capitalism has run its course whether you wish to believe otherwise or not, it doesn't take long to find markets where the free market no longer exists, Media, Telecom, and Financial institutions have already expired in the Free Market, barring some revocation of antimonopoly laws these sectors have reached their free market Zenith.

But hey, those are just the facts.





Edited, Nov 2nd 2013 1:14pm by rdmcandie
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#224 Nov 04 2013 at 5:47 PM Rating: Default
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So what? Is the middle class worse off today than they were in 1950? Isn't that was really matters?

No, it isn't what really matters.


It isn't? Why? If I were to propose the following two scenarios and ask people which would be better for them, which do you think most would pick:

1. Your earnings increase $1000/year, but your neighbors earnings increase by $10,000/year. Nothing else changes.

2. Your earnings stay the same and your neighbors earnings stay the same. Nothing else changes either.

Most people would say that they're better off in condition 1. And they'd be right. But your argument is that they are worse off because what really matters is that they are making less money relative to their neighbor than they did before. I'm sorry, but I think that's a moronic way of looking at things.

Quote:
The wealthy would be much better off today than they were in the 50s if we currently had Eisenhower era income tax brackets.


I disagree, but without defining what "better off" means in this context, it really doesn't matter.

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Suddenly it's not what "really" matters any more, is it? What really matters is the rationale for getting to the current divide.


No. It isn't. Because the current divide isn't what really matters either. So how we got to a condition that doesn't matter also doesn't matter. Get it?


Quote:
The idea was that removing restraints on capital use by the wealthy would increase economic growth. It hasn't. It doesn't.


Of course it does and has. By any sane measurement of economic growth, this is a pretty solidly accepted fact.

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There is literally no economic model that postulates this would happen.


Wrong. I know you want to say this over and over, but the reality is that the only economic models which predict anything else are those which have been so thoroughly proven to be wrong (command economy theories used by the Soviet Union, for example), that they are laughable today. Every rational economic model assumes that increased wealth in the hands of the wealthy will increase the total economic growth over time. The counter isn't about whether this works, but whether there's some social reason to cut into that growth as a cost to pay for social benefits for the poor. Your argument is not really an economic one, but an ethical one. Or it should be, if you were being honest.

I have no problem with someone arguing that it's worth the loss of economic growth to pay for things like food/housing/healthcare for the poor. But I have a big problem with someone tries to argue that there's no economic cost for doing this at all. Stick to the ethical argument and you might just win more people over. When you have to lie about the economic effects of what you're doing, you create opponents which might not otherwise have existed.

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What most economists said would happen was that the wealthy would acquire more and more of the existing wealth of the US as well as taking up a larger and larger share of GDP relative to the middle class. Amazingly, that's what happened. In a shocking turn of events, when you let the wealthy keep more money, they keep it, and when you distribute less of it to the middle class, they have less of it.


Why is this shocking? I'm not saying that this isn't what happens. I'm saying that this isn't a problem. I'm not saying that the share of wealth for the middle and working classes isn't smaller. I'm saying that the fact that their share is smaller isn't a problem because the size of the entire pie is sufficiently larger such that their share still results in a greater standard of living that it would have otherwise.

Quick: You can have 5% of $100 or 1% of $1000. Which do you choose? Clearly, the size of your share relative to the whole isn't the only issue.

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So what "really matters" is the best outcome for the most people. The current state of affairs is the best outcome only for the top quintile of people, and really only the very best outcome for those with 8 figure net worth.


No. It's whether the outcomes are "better" or worse compared to that same persons outcome under a different economic system. Who does the "best" is irrelevant if everyone does "better" than they would have otherwise.

I'll say again that you are focusing on the wrong part of the issue.
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#225 Nov 04 2013 at 9:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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1. Your earnings increase $1000/year, but your neighbors earnings increase by $10,000/year. Nothing else changes.

2. Your earnings stay the same and your neighbors earnings stay the same. Nothing else changes either.
Is this neighbor singular or neighbor plurality? If it's the plurality you'd be worse of because fiat currency is a placeholder for value, not real wealth. If money is raining from the sky and falls primarily in your neighbors yard, and some in your yard, sure whatever, go pick it up. It's fantasy land at any rate.

Quote:
command economy theories used by the Soviet Union, for example
They had problems due to a focus not on creating consumer wealth but entrenching a bureaucracy.

Quote:
but whether there's some social reason to cut into that growth as a cost to pay for social benefits for the poor.
There is an argument to be made for infrastructure in lieu of transfers, but in the current economic landscape arguing for austerity is a strategically foolish third way.

Quote:
Quick: You can have 5% of $100 or 1% of $1000.
Again your microeconomics en masse isn't the same thing as macro petit, much the same way the plural of anecdote is not data, nor is the reverse. There are other problems with this, but i'm going to try to make a concise point.


Edited, Nov 4th 2013 10:56pm by Timelordwho
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#226 Nov 05 2013 at 10:46 AM Rating: Decent
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gbaji wrote:
So what? Is the middle class worse off today than they were in 1950? Isn't that was really matters? Is the fact that your 50" flat screen HDTV is better than the 32" CRT equivalent from 20 years ago negated by the fact that someone with more money owns 5 of them? I think that's a ridiculous way of determining "better/worse off".
I think you could probably argue that even the homeless are better off today than many people in the 1950s. It's rather silly to say that is all that matters though.
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#227 Nov 05 2013 at 10:53 AM Rating: Good
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They're still homeless, but they have Obamaphones in case someone calls them with a job offer?
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#228 Nov 05 2013 at 11:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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The middle class might be better off today than in the 1950s when it comes to gadgets. They're probably not better off when it comes to general economic stability. I don't think the general perception of "middle class" in 1955 was living paycheck to paycheck and worrying that an illness would bankrupt you or risk your home to foreclosure.

I posted this once before but...
TheMiddleClass.org wrote:
The middle class is more than an income bracket. Over the past 50 years, a middle-class standard of living in the United States has come to mean having a secure job, a safe and stable home, access to health care, retirement security, time off for vacation, illness and the birth or adoption of a child, opportunities to save for the future and the ability to provide a good education, including a college education, for one's children. When these middle-class fundamentals are within the reach of most Americans, the nation is stronger economically, culturally and democratically.


Is the "middle class" better off today than in the 1950s by that definition and not just how many mp3 player and flat screen TV options you have? Probably not. Almost certainly not.

Edited, Nov 5th 2013 11:07am by Jophiel
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#229 Nov 05 2013 at 11:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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Just for fun.

For the record I think the 1950's is really not a very good decade to compare to just in general. The biggest reason is that it's right in the middle of a historic post-war world-wide economic expansion. With the U.S. being the only major industrial power that didn't have to rebuild their country we were in a perfect position to benefit from it and leverage the new technologies that the war had brought (think things like cheaper cars, housing, really anything manufactured, etc.).

It's a little disingenuous to think we could easily get back to those economic conditions; without blowing up half the world again, of course. Smiley: rolleyes

Edited, Nov 5th 2013 9:36am by someproteinguy
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#230 Nov 05 2013 at 11:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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Hey, he picked 1950, not me.

Of course, it's obvious that he picked it because his concept of "middle class" begins and ends with how many consumer electronics you can buy and ignores minor things like job security, owning a home or health care.
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#231 Nov 05 2013 at 11:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
The middle class might be better off today than in the 1950s when it comes to gadgets. They're probably not better off when it comes to general economic stability. I don't think the general perception of "middle class" in 1955 was living paycheck to paycheck and worrying that an illness would bankrupt you or risk your home to foreclosure.

I posted this once before but...
TheMiddleClass.org wrote:
The middle class is more than an income bracket. Over the past 50 years, a middle-class standard of living in the United States has come to mean having a secure job, a safe and stable home, access to health care, retirement security, time off for vacation, illness and the birth or adoption of a child, opportunities to save for the future and the ability to provide a good education, including a college education, for one's children. When these middle-class fundamentals are within the reach of most Americans, the nation is stronger economically, culturally and democratically.


Is the "middle class" better off today than in the 1950s by that definition and not just how many mp3 player and flat screen TV options you have? Probably not. Almost certainly not.

Edited, Nov 5th 2013 11:07am by Jophiel
Lol, I want my mtv on a flat HD screen.

I've not yet afforded myself one of them flat screeners. My middle class status is in question.

Ideally a middle class is the biggest chunk of the population. Thats clearly not the case in the US. Most of our population lives well below 'middle-class' standards at, or just above poverty. They probably have tvs.

Our incarceration rates have skyrocketed since the 80's, our life expectancy is plateauing for the first time ever, premature births rates up since the 80's. Public education has completely crapped out - classroom sizes are once again on the increase, arts, music, shop classes - gone from many schools. These are all indicators of a larger pool of people with fewer resources.

Income inequality is not simply one guy has a gazillion dollars and the other only has a million, therefore they're both financially comfortable. It's distribution of wealth, distribution of resources - resources like health and education. But also, and probably what's most detrimental to the country is that the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few allows those few to buy legislation that serves the interest of those few, versus the interests of the many - duh.
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#232 Nov 05 2013 at 11:50 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Hey, he picked 1950, not me.

Of course, it's obvious that he picked it because his concept of "middle class" begins and ends with how many consumer electronics you can buy and ignores minor things like job security, owning a home or health care.

I was sure it was all tied to Leave it to Beaver.

Ward was the best middle-class dad ever.
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#233 Nov 05 2013 at 12:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
Hey, he picked 1950, not me.

Of course, it's obvious that he picked it because his concept of "middle class" begins and ends with how many consumer electronics you can buy and ignores minor things like job security, owning a home or health care.
I know, I just find the whole "The 50's were great, so vote for me!" thing to be humorous, you just happened to be the last poster. You lucky guy, you. Smiley: wink
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#234 Nov 05 2013 at 12:27 PM Rating: Excellent
The idea that owning a flatscreen instead of a CRT somehow indicates an increase in standard of living is quite amusing.
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#235 Nov 05 2013 at 2:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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I know, right? Flat screens aren't even as good as CRTs for competitive video gaming due to display latency!
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#236 Nov 05 2013 at 2:44 PM Rating: Good
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The best gamers don't even need screen. Remember Tommy?
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#237 Nov 05 2013 at 2:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean Call of Duty: Ghosts....
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#238 Nov 05 2013 at 4:40 PM Rating: Good
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That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean Call of Duty: Ghosts....
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
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#239 Nov 05 2013 at 6:47 PM Rating: Default
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Timelordwho wrote:
Quote:
1. Your earnings increase $1000/year, but your neighbors earnings increase by $10,000/year. Nothing else changes.

2. Your earnings stay the same and your neighbors earnings stay the same. Nothing else changes either.
Is this neighbor singular or neighbor plurality?


Singular. I'm specifically excluding larger scale macro economic effects here (hence, my statement that "nothing else changes"). The point is to show that just because one person's earnings increase more than another person's over a given period of time does not mean that the second person is "worse off" as a result. I'm disproving Smash's assumption by presenting a simple case where his assumption fails. That's it.

Quote:
If it's the plurality you'd be worse of because fiat currency is a placeholder for value, not real wealth. If money is raining from the sky and falls primarily in your neighbors yard, and some in your yard, sure whatever, go pick it up. It's fantasy land at any rate.


It's not. And that wasn't remotely the point I was making. The argument that a gap between rich and poor all by itself is "bad" rests on the assumption that if person A's wealth/income increases faster than person B, that this is bad for person B. My case was designed to specifically show that this assumption is false, therefore the assumption that a growing gap between rich and poor over a period of time is bad is also false.

Pretty basic logic, right?

Quote:
Quote:
command economy theories used by the Soviet Union, for example
They had problems due to a focus not on creating consumer wealth but entrenching a bureaucracy.


The bureaucracy became unmanageable *because* the government was in charge of making economic decisions. Which is what will inevitably occur when you have the government make those decisions rather than the free market. It's not about where the "focus" is, but the very attempt to use the government to control market outcomes.

Quote:
Quote:
but whether there's some social reason to cut into that growth as a cost to pay for social benefits for the poor.
There is an argument to be made for infrastructure in lieu of transfers, but in the current economic landscape arguing for austerity is a strategically foolish third way.


You're completely missing my point. I'm simply saying that there is a cost for social benefits and we should not lie to ourselves about it.

Quote:
Quote:
Quick: You can have 5% of $100 or 1% of $1000.
Again your microeconomics en masse isn't the same thing as macro petit, much the same way the plural of anecdote is not data, nor is the reverse. There are other problems with this, but i'm going to try to make a concise point.


Ok. But then you have to make the argument that there are macroeconomic factors involved beyond "The gap between rich and poor has increased". Like actually arguing why you think this is a bad thing. What's amusing is that I've directly asked people to provide such an explanation several times in this thread, and so far not a single person has actually done it. Folks have tap danced around the issue, but none have directly addressed it.
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#240 Nov 05 2013 at 6:53 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
Hey, he picked 1950, not me.

Of course, it's obvious that he picked it because his concept of "middle class" begins and ends with how many consumer electronics you can buy and ignores minor things like job security, owning a home or health care.


I didn't pick it. rdm picked it:

rdmcandie wrote:

In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost about 27 cents.
In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.
In 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.
In 2012, a first-class stamp will cost you 45 cents.
In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.
In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men are employed.
In 1950, the average duration of unemployment was about 12 weeks.
In 2012, the average duration of unemployment is about 40 weeks.
In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing.
In 2012, the average family spends about 43% of its income on housing.


I responded to this post by pointing out that he was cherry picking stats, while ignoring a host of things that are better today than in 1950, and also ignoring that some of his stats don't quite mean what he thinks (like my point that people pay more for housing as a percentage of their income because more people can afford to pay a higher percentage for housing and choose to do so). I also think people are grossly overestimating job security, home ownership rates, and health care rates back in 1950 compared to today.
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#241 Nov 05 2013 at 6:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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Gbaji wrote:
Singular. I'm specifically excluding larger scale macro economic effects here (hence, my statement that "nothing else changes"). The point is to show that just because one person's earnings increase more than another person's over a given period of time does not mean that the second person is "worse off" as a result. I'm disproving Smash's assumption by presenting a simple case where his assumption fails. That's it.


"On the whole Smash is right, but if you ignore the big picture and look right at this specifically isolated portion of the data it shows nothing changes and disprooves Smash."

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#242 Nov 05 2013 at 7:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
while ignoring a host of things that are better today than in 1950

Color TVs, yay!

Foreclosure rates are about 100x what they were in 1950 but... color TVs! Middle America never had it so good! Everyone shut up and stop complaining and watch your cheap color televisions!
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#243 Nov 05 2013 at 7:11 PM Rating: Good
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I like where this thread is going.

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#244 Nov 05 2013 at 7:11 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
while ignoring a host of things that are better today than in 1950

Color TVs, yay!

Foreclosure rates are about 100x what they were in 1950 but... color TVs! Middle America never had it so good! Everyone shut up and stop complaining and watch your cheap color televisions!


No no Joph don't you see, I picked the 50's because it skews the data in my favor. That was my master plan. Never mind the amount of people entering poverty is the highest its been in the entire history of the US, my cherry picking of the first economically stable decade since 1900 skews the data.

I should have compared it to the 60's, 70's, 80's or 90's where today still has the highest percentage of people entering poverty. See the difference of me cherry picking the dates makes.
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#245 Nov 05 2013 at 7:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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I like where this thread is going.


I've seen those graphics before. Was that guy playing Everquest?
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#246 Nov 05 2013 at 7:19 PM Rating: Good
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I can't watch that video in my country because it contains the word ****** and is banned here.
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#247 Nov 05 2013 at 7:19 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Ok. But then you have to make the argument that there are macroeconomic factors involved beyond "The gap between rich and poor has increased". Like actually arguing why you think this is a bad thing. What's amusing is that I've directly asked people to provide such an explanation several times in this thread, and so far not a single person has actually done it. Folks have tap danced around the issue, but none have directly addressed it.

Hey! I did. Smiley: glare

It concentrates political power, undermining the democratic process. As much as those Republican types leverage arguments about the Democrats buying off the poor people with promises of free health care and such I figured it'd be a fairly straight-forward argument to make. Smiley: tongue
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#248 Nov 05 2013 at 7:19 PM Rating: Good
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Singular. I'm specifically excluding larger scale macro economic effects here (hence, my statement that "nothing else changes"). The point is to show that just because one person's earnings increase more than another person's over a given period of time does not mean that the second person is "worse off" as a result. I'm disproving Smash's assumption by presenting a simple case where his assumption fails. That's it.


No, you're not, because his assumption is in the context of macroeconomic analysis. Which Is why I positioned my statement as such, so you could see why. You've really outfoxed that strawman though. You've got him good.

Quote:
It's not. And that wasn't remotely the point I was making. The argument that a gap between rich and poor all by itself is "bad" rests on the assumption that if person A's wealth/income increases faster than person B, that this is bad for person B. My case was designed to specifically show that this assumption is false, therefore the assumption that a growing gap between rich and poor over a period of time is bad is also false.

Pretty basic logic, right?


Currency isn't wealth. Wealth is not currency. Fiat currency is most especially not wealth.

Stop conflating them and you'll understand this discussion better. It's two different growth rates, linked via inflation and other distributary functions.

Quote:
Ok. But then you have to make the argument that there are macroeconomic factors involved beyond "The gap between rich and poor has increased". Like actually arguing why you think this is a bad thing. What's amusing is that I've directly asked people to provide such an explanation several times in this thread, and so far not a single person has actually done it. Folks have tap danced around the issue, but none have directly addressed it.


There are, and various arguements have been toss into the ring in this very thread. "The gap between the rich and poor has increased" is data analysis not a qualitative judgement. There are studies out that show the correlation between a Gini skew and various social Ills. If you are lazy you can look at wikipedia

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#249 Nov 05 2013 at 7:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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rdmcandie wrote:
I can't watch that video in my country because it contains the word ****** and is banned here.

Actually, that video has that verse cut. Because censorship.
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#250 Nov 05 2013 at 7:23 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
I can't watch that video in my country because it contains the word ****** and is banned here.

Actually, that video has that verse cut. Because censorship.


Well thats sh*t. Im glad I can't see it then. Id rather not watch or hear anything thats cut to sh*t because some ****** got emotional.


Edited, Nov 5th 2013 8:23pm by rdmcandie
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#251 Nov 05 2013 at 8:05 PM Rating: Good
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The bureaucracy became unmanageable *because* the government was in charge of making economic decisions. Which is what will inevitably occur when you have the government make those decisions rather than the free market. It's not about where the "focus" is, but the very attempt to use the government to control market outcomes.


No, the focus was not on wealth creation, at least insofar as the consumer markets, the focus was on creating control, and generating certain ideological outcomes.

China uses same sort of command apparatus to create enormous wealth, because, shockingly, it's one of their objectives.

The US used strategies of a command economy to create wealth during one of it's largest booms.

There are certain aspects of wealth generation that the private sector services better due to various structural efficiencies, and are positively affected by vulnerabilities that the publicly funded pursuits can wall themselves off from. eg. cummulative morass effects.

Quote:
You're completely missing my point. I'm simply saying that there is a cost for social benefits and we should not lie to ourselves about it.


And there is an opportunity cost to not do so. If economic conditions were such that it was not a good bargain this could be a very different discussion. We could manage to agree on things then but you'd still not know why.

Since you're fond of analogies, would you purchase gold if it's price was going to grow exponentially (in the positive direction) assuming it's fungible and liquid?
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