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  1. #16

    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    I could write a very long essay about it, but since it is late I'll just say that:

    1) Indeed nothing better than capitalism and democracy has been invented yet. Still there are quite a few long term problems with both.

    2) Capitalism comes in different "flavors" and some are significantly better managed than others. Sadly US belongs to the latter not the former... The system practiced in many continental European countries (Germany, Switzerlan, Scandinavia, even France) seem to be a lot more livable for ordinary people while still allowing some particularly lucky or ambitious types to become fabulously wealthy.
    Roger forever

  2. #17
    Grand Slam Champion jjnow's Avatar
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Per the numbers Chuck Schumer highlighted on the floor of the Senate just a few minutes ago, the Bush tax cuts, which it appears Obama will now concede on in order to save an extension of unemployment benefits, break down as follows:

    Make $60,000, get $2,500.
    Make 1 million, get $43,000.
    Make 10 million, get $400,000.
    Make 100 million, get 3.8 million.
    Blue Steel

  3. #18
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by jjnow View Post
    Per the numbers Chuck Schumer highlighted on the floor of the Senate just a few minutes ago, the Bush tax cuts, which it appears Obama will now concede on in order to save an extension of unemployment benefits, break down as follows:

    Make $60,000, get $2,500.
    Make 1 million, get $43,000.
    Make 10 million, get $400,000.
    Make 100 million, get 3.8 million.
    I'm very suspicious of those numbers. With wealth comes greater access to deductions and tax shelters that generally aren't available to middle class and lower income workers.

    ::

    So, if the president ultimately ends up bending over for congressional Republicans, how are they going to be able to keep accusing him of raising taxes? I know they'll find a way, but I'm curious what the ammunition will be.

  4. #19

    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats Saturday defeated a bill to reauthorize unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and a plethora of tax provisions for the middle class not because of the bill's trillion-dollar deficit impact, but because it did not include tax cuts for the rich.

    "In economic times like these, 9.8 percent unemployment, you should not raise taxes on anyone," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told HuffPost.

    Two bills were defeated. By a vote of 53-36, the Senate rejected a measure by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) that would have preserved Bush era tax cuts for lower- and middle-income taxpayers, but would have allowed cuts for people earning more than $200,000 a year to expire. Democrats Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), Russ Feingold (Wisc.) and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman (Conn.) joined Republicans in voting nay. The Senate also rejected a bill by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would have extended all the cuts, but not for anybody making more than $1 million.

    The Baucus bill would have preserved Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits Programs created in 2008 as a customary response to rising unemployment. The programs provide up to 73 weeks of federally-funded benefits for when layoff victims exhaust the standard 26 weeks of state-funded aid. The programs lapsed last week, threatening a holiday cutoff for two million unemployed.

    After Saturday's vote, it seems the only way Democrats will be able to overcome Republican opposition to the benefits will be by attaching them to a reauthorization of tax cuts for the rich.
    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said after the vote that he expected a tax cut deal to be reached by Thursday.

    Sen. Schumer said at a press conference that some Democrats would be willing to drag the tax debate on into January. "There are lots of people in our caucus who do have that appetite, there are some who don't. We'll have to see what happens."

    Corker declined to say whether he thought unemployment would be included in the deal, as did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

    (...)

    During debate on the Senate floor before the vote, Schumer asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about Republicans' different positions on deficit reduction.

    "Could he please explain to me why it is OK to take $300 billion of tax cuts for those at the highest income levels, above a million, and not pay for it," Schumer said, "and yet we have to pay for unemployment insurance extensions?"

    "The taxpayers are smarter than we in Congress are," Grassley responded. "They know that if they give another dollar to us to spend it's a license to spend $1.15. So it just increases the national debt. And when it comes to paying for unemployment compensation, we can pay for unemployment compensation because the stimulus bill was supposed to stimulate the economy and it's not being spent. And if you put money from stimulus into unemployment, you don't increase the deficit and you'll also have the money spent right away.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/1..._n_791995.html
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  5. #20
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    A talking head said the other day that every dollar put toward unemployment compensation results in about $1.50-$2.00 being spent by recipients in the wider economy. I have no documentation for it, but that's what he/she said.

    ::

    For the life of me, I can't see how anyone could have opposed the Schumer bill and the $1 million taxable income threshold. By that point, you're no longer talking about small business owners, which could have been the problem with the Baucus bill.

    I'm also not sure how I feel about 73 weeks of unemployment compensation on top of 26 weeks of initial aid. That's almost 2 years of living off the taxpayers. If you can't find a job in less than 2 years, you either need to: 1) move to where the jobs are, and they ARE out there, or 2) start picking up cans along the highway.

  6. #21
    Grand Slam Champion owendonovan's Avatar
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    I'll walk in the shoes of the GOP for a moment. As a republican, the majority of voters in CA voted for gay marriage to be banned so the voters have spoken and the majority has decided no gay marriage should be allowed, and that should be the end of it. 75% of Americans feel the tax cuts should not be extended to the top 2% of Americans that have 34% of the money in this country, so as a republican, those numbers don't matter, the tax should be extended to the rich because we said so.
    Open wide.

  7. #22
    Grand Slam Champion owendonovan's Avatar
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by manolo View Post
    Well, some countries have tried socialism to varying degrees, I invite you to take a look at their great economic record: may I suggest North Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam or Zimbabwe?

    Look, I don't want to be mean with this, but that kind if analysis is overly simplistic and easily falls into demagogy. "Corporate greed is bad": really? where would we be without corporate greed? Would we be able to type in computers that are getting better by the minute, would we have medicines to prolong life, would we be able to go to Europe to watch Slams? Most probably not... "Oh, yes, but they could invest more and create more jobs, they're obsessed with the bottom line": well, somebody needs to remunerate capital, which, as hard as it is to believe, is a scarce resource and needs to be allocated to where it produces most; I'm sure the folks of biotech and internet companies were all too happy to remunerate those "bad, greedy" venture capitalists that risked huge losses by investing in them; oh, they could do it for "humanity": ok, please go and find those people willing to risk everything for a risky idea without expecting financial compensation and see if they can finance all those start-ups... "Yes, but they could re-invest more", "they should earn less", "we should place salary caps": of course, look at all that money that we could make if we confiscated all those traders' salaries; well, that money won't be always there for the taking, money and people are mobile and your analysis takes place in an non-existent static world: or do you really think that the high earners will stay happily there to watch how their money is taken away? it's simple, they would be poached by other countries; companies would move their headquarters to Hong Kong or another friendly country and it is then that people will realize who has been funding Medicaid and Social Security all these years; just look at the states' finances, look at New York and see how their tax receipts fell when those "bad, mean" traders started losing their jobs, look at who pays the lion's share of taxes in this and every country... And the reinvesting thing? look at how companies that hoard cash and don't reinvest are punished by the stock markets, look at how Apple keeps spinning better and better products, or Pfizer, or Genzyme, or whatever company: isn't that reinvesting? No, but they're bad companies. And it's not like they're employing millions of people already.
    Capitalism, as flawed as it is, and as imperfectly as it has been applied in America (because, let me assure you, golden parachutes, bailouts and subsidized home ownership are not what we capitalists are for) is still the best that we have come up with, it (and not the government) is the hand that is actually feeding you. It makes some riches richer, yes, but the poor are not poor because the rich and rich: part of the beauty of it is that it is not a zero-sum game, far from it. It's just that the rich and corporations and capitalism make perfect scapegoats, until the day when they're no longer there.
    Good luck getting into that higher level of management in those financial co.s if you're a woman or not from the frat houses of Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth , Wharton etc.
    Open wide.

  8. #23
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    For the life of me, I can't see how anyone could have opposed the Schumer bill and the $1 million taxable income threshold. By that point, you're no longer talking about small business owners, which could have been the problem with the Baucus bill.
    I don't buy this. That might be what they say, but this whole "small business owner" business is BS. We are talking about personal income tax here. A business owner who is taking a personal income of 200K+ from their business, is not a struggling small business owner. They are very successful. Owning a business already gives lots of opportunities for writeoffs, and the owner can leave any equity inside the business to pay a very mild (and often 0%) corporate tax rate, letting that equity sit and grow until they sell and retire. They can also take low salary and pay themselves a dividend, again with very preferential tax rates.

    Bottom line, ANYONE with gross personal income of $200K or more, is in no way struggling. It is not possible unless they've chosen a ridiculous lifestyle. In which case, back to reality.
    I put in the work and wanted it so badly but this guy is the best for a reason. He is such a complete player ... maybe I'll just punch him or something, I don't know. - Andy Roddick

  9. #24
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by manolo View Post
    Capitalism, as flawed as it is, and as imperfectly as it has been applied in America (because, let me assure you, golden parachutes, bailouts and subsidized home ownership are not what we capitalists are for) is still the best that we have come up with, it (and not the government) is the hand that is actually feeding you. It makes some riches richer, yes, but the poor are not poor because the rich and rich: part of the beauty of it is that it is not a zero-sum game, far from it. It's just that the rich and corporations and capitalism make perfect scapegoats, until the day when they're no longer there.
    My only real problems with capitalism, as it is practiced today are:

    1. Corporations with citizens' rights. Corporations have more influence over government than the people do. This situation is simply indefensible, IMO.
    2. Estate tax. As wealth accumulates in families, capital is far less circulated, but instead invested in low-risk non-productive vehicles like T-Bills and real estate. The economy must have minor "resets" like a heavy estate tax to return much of this wealth. Something like, $1mil tax free to each surviving child, the rest goes back. Otherwise you end up with an elite unproductive "royal" class and we're back in the 1700's in terms of opportunity and social justice. And we're already well on our way.
    3. Stock market. This needs to be simplified to what it was meant to be: buying a piece of a company, allowing a company to raise capital and reward investment. No shorting, no derivatives, etc.
    4. Real criminal accountability for directors and decision makers.
    5. Competitors buying each other. This is only slightly better than collusion, but not much.

    I might think of more later, but those are the biggies for me. Then I would be a bigger fan
    I put in the work and wanted it so badly but this guy is the best for a reason. He is such a complete player ... maybe I'll just punch him or something, I don't know. - Andy Roddick

  10. #25

    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    My only real problems with capitalism, as it is practiced today are:

    1. Corporations with citizens' rights. Corporations have more influence over government than the people do. This situation is simply indefensible, IMO.
    I agree. Too much lobbying by various interest groups including large corporations going on in USA. Is that as serious a problem in Canada?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    2. Estate tax. As wealth accumulates in families, capital is far less circulated, but instead invested in low-risk non-productive vehicles like T-Bills and real estate. The economy must have minor "resets" like a heavy estate tax to return much of this wealth. Something like, $1mil tax free to each surviving child, the rest goes back. Otherwise you end up with an elite unproductive "royal" class and we're back in the 1700's in terms of opportunity and social justice. And we're already well on our way.
    The relationship is not as clear as you state. Sweden, for example, is usually considered one of the most progressive countries as far as social justice and opportunity is concerned. Nevertheless close to half of their industry is and has been for a long time controlled by just a handful of families (Wallenbergs are the most prominent).


    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    3. Stock market. This needs to be simplified to what it was meant to be: buying a piece of a company, allowing a company to raise capital and reward investment. No shorting, no derivatives, etc.
    Should be simplified, but in a different way. A simple form of derivatives is an innocuous and useful instrument and has been for centuries. Actually I would start with introducing a certain minimum time a stock has to be held before it could be sold again (a weak perhaps) to discourage pointless buying-selling. Would help to reduce volatility and that's a good start.


    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    4. Real criminal accountability for directors and decision makers.
    Criminal accountability for what? For running an unsuccessful business? Would you want to be criminally responsible for not doing your job well enough? I think we have enough lawyers already...

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    5. Competitors buying each other. This is only slightly better than collusion, but not much.
    That has always been a normal business practice. It's a government job, though, to make sure there is no monopoly.
    Roger forever

  11. #26
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    A talking head said the other day that every dollar put toward unemployment compensation results in about $1.50-$2.00 being spent by recipients in the wider economy. I have no documentation for it, but that's what he/she said.

    ::

    For the life of me, I can't see how anyone could have opposed the Schumer bill and the $1 million taxable income threshold. By that point, you're no longer talking about small business owners, which could have been the problem with the Baucus bill.

    I'm also not sure how I feel about 73 weeks of unemployment compensation on top of 26 weeks of initial aid. That's almost 2 years of living off the taxpayers. If you can't find a job in less than 2 years, you either need to: 1) move to where the jobs are, and they ARE out there, or 2) start picking up cans along the highway.
    I've heard that same stat about the unemployment benefits ratio.

    About your last paragraph? Say it again.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  12. #27
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Criminal accountability for what? For running an unsuccessful business? Would you want to be criminally responsible for not doing your job well enough? I think we have enough lawyers already...
    Nope, for willful negligence. Criminal acts and civil harms that only ever implicate "the company", not the individuals making decisions. So it becomes a calculation of profitability. Do we dump toxins and risk an EPA fine, or is it cheaper to do proper displosal? Additionally, troubled companies can do years and years of harm to others and then just fold up and move on from their responsibilities/lawsuits. New company, new crimes. There may be a small handful of egregious offenses where individuals were actually charged, but it's simply too rare.

    Famous examples like PG&E and Love Canal where the crimes being commited were actually part of company policy, are just the tip of the iceberg. If individuals could be ruined or jailed, corporate ethics would see a pretty quick rise.
    I put in the work and wanted it so badly but this guy is the best for a reason. He is such a complete player ... maybe I'll just punch him or something, I don't know. - Andy Roddick

  13. #28

    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    I don't buy this. That might be what they say, but this whole "small business owner" business is BS. We are talking about personal income tax here. A business owner who is taking a personal income of 200K+ from their business, is not a struggling small business owner. They are very successful. Owning a business already gives lots of opportunities for writeoffs, and the owner can leave any equity inside the business to pay a very mild (and often 0%) corporate tax rate, letting that equity sit and grow until they sell and retire. They can also take low salary and pay themselves a dividend, again with very preferential tax rates.

    Bottom line, ANYONE with gross personal income of $200K or more, is in no way struggling. It is not possible unless they've chosen a ridiculous lifestyle. In which case, back to reality.
    Say it again.


  14. #29
    Grand Slam Champion owendonovan's Avatar
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirkus View Post
    I've heard that same stat about the unemployment benefits ratio.

    About your last paragraph? Say it again.
    Ditto.
    Open wide.

  15. #30
    Everyday Warrior MJ2004's Avatar
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    Re: The Rich Are Really Getting Richer

    This sort of fits into this thread:

    Just read that the president of the Boston food bank earns $400k/yr. This, to me, is obscene. Yes, they're a huge organization and they do a lot of good, and yes, a well paid highly competent person is needed to run this organization, but there should be an upper bound of decency.

    The thing that also kills is that in 2006 she was earning $115k. So in the past 4 years her salary has quadrupled. I don't get it.

    The recent trend in presidents/CEO's skyrocketing salaries has also transferred into the non-profit world (at least with the larger organizations), which makes it very sad.

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