The State of Inequality

Rumors are that the President’s taxpayer-funded political speech State of the Union Address will focus on rising income and wealth inequality in the United States. As with almost everything this Administration does, I think this is misguided.

First, at least part of the problem of inequality is social. Poor people are much more likely to get divorced, much more likely to have children out of wedlock, much more likely to drop out of high school, much more likely to engage in criminal activity and more likely to have substance abuse problems. Wealthy people are far less likely to have those problems. The divorce problem is especially important because inequality is usually measured per household and having split households means split wealth. Inequality in America is as much a reflection of a social divide as it is an economic one.

Of course, it’s difficult to untangle social and economic problems: growing up in poverty can make it harder to persevere in school, for example. But I still think poverty is, to some extent, a symptom of larger social diseases. Treating those social diseases — through school choice, through ending the drug war, establishing free enterprise zones — would be a much more productive approach than throwing money at it.

But second, I think the idea of “inequality” is a fundamentally flawed way of looking at things. The problem with America is not that Bill Gates is making too much money. The problem is that millions of people are unemployed or marginally employed and that trillions of dollar of their wealth was eradicated by a government-supported real estate bubble (and trillions more will soon vanish in a government-supported education bubble). When people talk about “inequality”, that tends to devolve to the misguided idea of eating the rich. We should instead be focusing more on poverty, on unemployment and on education. Tearing down Bill Gates will help no one. We need to lift everyone else up so that they can aspire to be Bill Gates.

But how do we do that? Well, we can start by not following Democratic prescriptions. As I noted in an earlier post, Democrat-controlled California has the most massive income inequality in the nation, one so bad that pundits are calling it a “liberal apartheid”. Today, there was a report that the District of Columbia, an exclusively Democratic fiefdom, also suffers from catastrophic inequality, mostly because of the extraordinary gains in wealth for the areas in and around DC where government employees and contractors live and work.

And that’s the rub. Liberals think inequality is a result of not having a high enough minimum wage (and Obama, as Rich noted, just raised federal contract minimum wages by fiat). But we’ve had lower inequality with a lower minimum wage. California has a high minimum wage and massive inequality. They also think it’s a result of taxes being too low on the rich. But the rich are paying almost all the income taxes already. The lower classes pay payroll taxes, but almost no income tax. They think it’s because we’re not doing enough. But we’ve poured trillions into the War on Poverty (and, it should be noted, that many measures of inequality and poverty exclude this kind of federal aid. So liberals are ignoring the existing impact of anti-poverty programs in their call for more of the same).

Frankly, if you want to know why inequality is rising, look no further than the solutions Obama will propose tonight. Doubtless, we will get another “jobs bill”. This bill will shovel more money to rich connected friends of politicians while doing almost nothing to create sustainable job growth. He will doubtless push for a hike in the federal minimum wage, which will likely increase unemployment among the people who are the poorest. He will gloss over the federally-fueled housing bubble and bailout that poured billions into Wall Street while bankrupting the rest of us. He will doubtless ignore the regulatory capture that cripples small businesses while pouring wealth into those with armies of lobbyists. I am dubious that we will hear anything about the critical need to reform the tax and regulatory systems that are paralyzing our businesses.

In short, I think that Washington and the policies it has pursued for the last 15 years is the major contributor to inequality. And I think it is likely that we will hear tonight is a clarion call for more of the same. We will continue to push people down while claiming we’re helping them. We’ll continue to give money to special interests while pretending we’re fighting them. We will continue to do everything but the one thing government needs to do if it ever really wants to combat income and wealth inequality:

Stop creating it.

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  1. CM

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  2. Xetrov

    The problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money.

    Hmmm.

    The problem is about what the politicians are enabling through stupid laws and regulations that determines what some rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money.

    Fixed.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    CM, that’s total taxes. My point was specifically on income tax. Once you add in payroll taxes, it gets a lot more even. But then again, payroll taxes are ostensibly to pay for the benefits later collected by the same taxpayer.

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  4. Miguelito

    But then again, payroll taxes are ostensibly to pay for the benefits later collected by the same taxpayer.

    Which most of the “income inequality” types want to jack up on the rich as we’ll by removing any caps. I even hit the cap near the end of the year and I’d be pissed to have to dump that much more into a system that’s going to collapse long before I get anything for it anyway.

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  5. AlexInCT

    Some points:

    One: I heard the president was going to deliver a speech last night, but I never saw Valerie Jarret on TV. What gives?

    Two: Obama sure knows how to fix the economy! That’s why he has waited until now, when things are at their bleakest, to shower his magnanimity on us and tell us the answer is more government spending and taxing.

    Three: the one industry in America that despite this WH’s efforts to destroy it has produced the greatest growth and wealth in this country during the last 5 or so years, is fossil fuels. Were it not for the success the energy industry has had, our economic situation would truly be abysmal. And yet again we have this moron talking about undermining this one effective & productive industry because of his moronic need to push the idiotic, cost ineffective, intensely inefficinet, and massively failure prone green energy agenda that helps the left pick winners & losers.

    Four: ENVY! Lots of ENVY! I mean, erm.. INEQUALITY! Cause that’s how people succeed. Let me quote someone that said it far better than I can:

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”Robert A. Heinlein

    The left is bankrupt. The only idea they have is that they need to use this class envy shit to raid the treasury and line their pockets.

    Five: Obamacare is a bust. There ain’t enough lipstick and alcohol in the world to make this pig look fuckable. Even one-toothed rednecks that have not had sex for decades will say hell no to this ugly thing.

    Why is it that nanny state government types like Obama keep telling us that the solution to the damage caused by a bloated, abusive, ineffective, and inefficient government is even more of that sort of government? Think hard about that.

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  6. AlexInCT

    The problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money.

    Read this one line comment if you need proof of the problem with the left.

    According to CM they are pissed at the rich for not doing what the left wants the rich people to do with what most sane people would see as the rich people’s money. In a nutshell, this is the belief from the left that your money doesn’t belong to you, and that unless you do what they want with it, their confiscation of most of it is justified. It’s not your choice; it’s what they feel is justified. And “rich” is whatever they want. The point is that the left wants to determine how much you are allowed to keep and what you do with what you keep. It’s nothing but marxism-light, with a system that creates the illusion that your property is yours. The truth is that the left still feels it’s all their money, and anyone that thinks otherwise is evil.

    Personally I am loving the fact that all these rich people, most of them self avowed liberals, like the Google idiots in San Fran being targeted these days by the marxists, despite all their support for the left and the left’s confiscatory belliefs are getting no mercy. The massive cock gobbling has not served to endear them even a bit, and the left will always turn on them as soon as it is convenient. Smart people know that you do not bare your throat to the angry and hungry wolf in the hopes he doesn’t tear it open. Or better yet, you don’t help the people feeding people like you to crocodiles in the hopes that they give you a pass: sooner than later it will be your turn, regardless of how many others you help them sacrifice. That’ behavior i the hight of stupidity.

    BTW, I never see the left pissed at people like Kerry hiding his yacht in another state to avoid taxes, or Pelosi passing laws that help her husband’s company suck at the government’s teat: it’s always anger at people that dare to resist the left’s notion that you own nothing unless they let you.

    Stalin had nothing on these fucking people, man.

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  7. richtaylor365

    The problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money.

    That comment jumped out at me as well. It is truly amazing the level at which the left demand to micromanage the affairs of America’s citizens, they have no concept of what freedom even means. These are the same goose steppers that want to legislate how much sugar you can eat, the size of your soda drinks, happy meals, which schools you can send your kids, paper or plastic, whether you can own a pet, which days of the week you can burn wood in your fire place, and how many hoops you gotta jump through to secure your right to exercise the 2nd Amendment. Choice? ha, you don’t get to choose what you do with your own money without reaping the whirlwind of abuse and condescension from the left.

    It’s bad enough that for every dollar you earn, they want half (factoring in all the new Obamacare taxes, Medicare surtax, the 3.8% net investment tax on capital gains, dividends and passive income) in many cases it is more than half. Then once you pay for the privilege of working 60 hour weeks just to get ahead and be successful, here they come brow beating you because what you do with whatever is left does not meet their level of sanctimony.

    I have brought this fact up here many times, no mater what rich people do with their money (sans burning it in the fire place or burying it in coffee cans in the back yard) it benefits the economy in some degree. What is truly laughable is that the biggest waster of capital, the government, wants to tell you how to spend your money.

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  8. CM

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  9. AlexInCT

    Can you demonstrate that with facts and figures?

    Not that I think it will penetrate your dogma CM, but here you go:

    number one

    number two

    and three

    You really have to shift through a shit ton of green bullshit that Google puts on top of any search about fossil fuels, but eventually you will find a shit storm of stories admitting that the states with the lowest unemployment, the best recovery, and the most stable economies in the US, are the ones participating in the fossil fuel boom that has happened despite all the efforts of this WH. And these states have been the ones to send a ton of money to DC.

    And I am sure you knew that – this point has been made repeatedly – but chose to be pedantic as usual, CM.

    No mercy how? By getting all the gains and keeping them? What sort of ‘mercy’ is that?

    What business is it of your what they choose to do with it, huh? If I wanted to burn my money, Keep it in a vault and swim in it, or spend it all to hookers (even if I got nothing in return), WTF business is that of yours? It’s not like I am financing terrorists with it or something. Why do you feel you, or people that believe like you, should be able to dictate what other people do with their money?

    Next you will tell me the economy is bad because the very same rich people your side maligns for being rich, because they do not want to be fleeced by nanny staters and their agenda, are evil, since they just sit on their money instead of doing things that help the left collect more taxes or grow the left’s power.

    “Social Justice” is just code for “we own your money and you get to keep what we will let you have, do what we tell you to do with what you keep, and you better like it, or else”.

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  10. Xetrov

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  11. Seattle Outcast

    Man, the stupid just steamrolls out with CM..

    Of course, if he actually knew what he was talking about instead of just repeating what’s been poured into his head….

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  12. Iconoclast

    Where did I suggest it wasn’t their money?

    When you said:

    The problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money.

    Sure, superficially you acknowledge that it is indeed their money, but then immediately proceed to claim that there is some sort of “problem” with what they choose to do with that money. Implicit in the word “problem” is the concept of incorrectness; at some level, the “rich and super-rich” are using their money incorrectly. Implicit in that is the notion that “correction” of some sort is needed, and such “correction” usually comes in the form of government action.

    The bottom line, therefore, is that while, at a superficial level, it is their money, government needs to step in and “correct” the way they’re using it, ergo, in a practical sense, it isn’t really their money at all, given that it can be taken away or regulated or restricted in some way, to promote “correct” usage.

    Of course, this utterly begs the question of who gets to define “correct”.

    For fuck’s sake.
    Hopeless.

    It’s often quite entertaining to watch as you display your ejaculations of righteous indignation. It indicates that you aren’t fooling anyone, except maybe yourself.

    That’s a real shame then.

    No, the real shame is being motivated to write something like that in the first place.

    More money is clearly needed for reading programs.

    So much irony at so many levels…it’s almost a self-parody.

    I’ve lost count of how many times I had to connect grammatical and rhetorical dots for you. Just above is another example. Of course, your usual rejoinder is “you’re telling me what I mean”, which is utter hogwash. I have no idea what you might mean, beyond what your choice of words is actually saying. When you say, “the problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money”, you are implying that some outside agency (i.e. government) needs to step in and “correct” the situation, thereby diminishing what it means to possess money in the first place.

    Your whole initial post reads like a typical left-wing talking-points rant. I mean…

    There will always presumably be some excuse as to why wages can’t increase or why more people can’t be hired (beyond the simple fact that if consumer demand isn’t high because people have no money, there is no point hiring).

    …seriously? Who are you to dictate that wages must increase, or that more people should be hired? Those decision rest with the business owner, not you, and not some government bureaucrat. “Excuses” aren’t needed. On the contrary, the onus is on you, and/or the government bureaucrat, to convincingly explain why a wage increase is necessary, or why more people should be hired.

    If a worker is doing some menial task that any bozo off the street can accomplish, then obviously his skill set has minimal value. If, on the other hand, a worker is highly skilled and produced good work on a regular basis, and that work has a positive effect on the business’ bottom line, then the business owner should see the value in that worker, and compensate him accordingly. The savvy business owner who recognizes the value of a good asset will take steps to retain that asset, one would reasonably conclude.

    If the business owner treats that valuable worker poorly, the worker can take his skills elsewhere, to a competitor willing to compensate the worker appropriately. That’s how an open market works. An unskilled worker has no such bargaining position, and therefore has fewer options. That’s just life. Government interference is not required.

    So how is this fixed without just adding more government regulation? I haven’t seen any answers that are remotely close to convincing on that.

    Who says it needs “fixing” in the first place?

    IMO many ‘anti-poverty’ programs ARE just sticking plasters, and they’re not actually designed to ‘solve’ anything (as much as some would like to pretend). They are there because the system doesn’t really work in a lot of areas. As it gets worse (flood up instead of trickle down), more and more of them arrive.

    “As it gets worse”?? Perhaps the “band-aid” (sticking plaster) is what’s making it worse, but progressives never seem to consider that possibility. No, they just add more “band-aids”, which has the benefit of increasing government, and increasing their (progressives’) power. Perhaps that is what they’re designed to do, ultimately.

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  13. AlexInCT

    Who says it needs “fixing” in the first place?

    AMEN!

    That’s the jist of the problem. The left feels that the way the real world works is wrong. This brings us back to Marx’s nonsense that all labor is equally valued and the only real wealth. The left would have you pay a turd polisher the same amount as you would a pilot, doctor, or other hyper-skilled professional, because that’s what they see as fair. You have a ton of valuable skills, work hard and long hours, take pride in what you do and thus, are an asset to yourself and an employer? Who fucking cares? You should not earn much more than, or maybe even just the same, as a bozo that has no skills of value or simply doesn’t care to learn anything of value, would rather not work at all, and feels that his employer is his enemy and tries to fuck said employer over at every turn.

    We pay a doctor a shit ton of money because few people possess the ability, temperament, dedication, and the perseverance to earn that degree. Their skills are so unique and so specialized that only they can do the job. And considering they deal with life & death, we all want the best one of those when it is our ass on the line. But the left feels it is unfair for a doctor to be paid that much more, and worse, to not simply give his services for free, because they want to pretend healthcare is a right. That jamoke filling your coffee mug or asking you if you want fries with that can be replaced by anyone else and a couple of hours of training. And the left wants you to believe that is an unjust thing that needs to be corrected. This is then used by the left to score points, by targeting the envy of these people, with people that think there is something actually in need of fixing other than their stupidity.

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  14. CM

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  15. AlexInCT

    Fucking hell. Retarded thread is completely retarded. This whole thing speaks volumes about a whole lot of stuff. No wonder so many of you are living out on the fringe if this is how you process, and conduct yourselves with others.

    Yeah, the problem is with us because we actually don’t believe we should play god, that we are better people because we supposedly care and want to play god, or because we actually think that individualism is more important than a collective that pretends to be doing good but robs people of their dignity.

    I could go through it all and respond but it’s very clearly pointless.

    Really? You feel not even a smidgen of shame at actually showing us how condescending you collectivists really are? It’s all us stupid rubes that just ain’t bright enough to get with the program, huh? You really do not think the admission/belief that people’s money and people’s behavior should be controlled, even if you pretend to be doing it for noble causes, is something despicable? Tell me what argument you think you can make that would let any rational person with some sense of dignity and that believes individuals should determine their own fates – rather than a government entity – see there is a middle ground that can be reached?

    The utter dishonesty speaks volumes (and no, this isn’t a case of simply misinterpretation).

    Who do you think is being dishonest? Or are you talking about Obama? Because then we agree.

    Remember when JimK talked about hopefully getting more liberals to participate and perhaps even start writing?

    Liberals don’t want to participate: they want echo chambers where they can spout their nonsense unchallenged. And when challenged they ban you. I have been on liberal websites.

    No wonder this place is on life-support.

    I could joke that it has more readership than MSNBC, but I might actually be right about that and hurt liberal sensibilities.

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  16. Nexus

    American income inequality can be summed up in 3 words…”life’s not fair”
    Some people are richer than you. Some are better looking. Some are stronger. Some are faster….etc.
    That’s life. Get over it.

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  17. AlexInCT

    American income inequality can be summed up in 3 words…”life’s not fair”
    Some people are richer than you. Some are better looking. Some are stronger. Some are faster….etc.
    That’s life. Get over it..

    The left has a solution, as Vonegut pointed out a long time ago.

    The sad part is that humanity has replaced old religion that promised paradise or hell, after this life, run by an all-powerful and all-knowing entity that metes out justice, rewarding the good, and his counterpart meting out pain and suffering to the wicked, with one where government is the new god, paradise will be made on earth, and anyone that doesn’t conform is evil. That their attempts to create paradise through government that is supposed to provide justice always ends up looking more like hell, never factors in. They are truly too full of themselves. The elites pretend to care, and way too many of the flock believe that meaning to do good trumps actual results.

    These are the people that would actually give time to someone arguing that since earth is the only planet with life we need to eradicate life on earth to make it fair for the other planets. yeah, ludicrous, but that’s how they opperate.

    If they stopped worrying about how the pie should be partitioned and focused on letting people achive, we would all be betetr off. But that doesn’t give them either the power to lord it over others or the ability to think themselves better than the rest for doing so, as CM aptly points out when he says it is a waste of time to try and convince us rubes of his genius.

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  18. CM

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  19. CM

    American income inequality can be summed up in 3 words…”life’s not fair”
    Some people are richer than you. Some are better looking. Some are stronger. Some are faster….etc.
    That’s life. Get over it.

    Except that’s just missing the actual point again isn’t it.

    But that doesn’t give them either the power to lord it over others or the ability to think themselves better than the rest for doing so, as CM aptly points out when he says it is a waste of time to try and convince us rubes of his genius.

    It’s a waste of time trying to take part in a discussion when what I write is immediately converted into enemy dogma. It’s a sure sign that you’re all only interested in a very narrow discussion that fits into your narratives.
    Again, no wonder reasonable moderate people despair at the state of the American right. Some of you are extremely poor representatives. Yeah I know, you don’t give a shit. Because STALIN! HITLER!

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  20. ilovecress

    I’m going to give this a go.

    So. income inequality. I completely agree with you that life isn’t fair, and that some people’s skills and capabilities are worth more than others. In a hunter/gatherer society, the strong survive and the weak are crushed, and that’s the ‘natural state of man’.

    The thing is, we’ve got to a stage in our evolution where we’ve found the Konami code for living as a society. The weak don’t perish any more. We’re not a hunter gatherer society, and our fates are way more intertwined than they ever have been throughout history. The ‘natural state of man’ doesn’t apply any more.

    So, I don’t think that all labour is equal. Or that everyone should be paid the same. That’s Clearly not what any of us are advocating.

    But.

    As one of the ‘rich’ in the world, it’s in my interest to make sure that the rest of the society with which I share a planet is well off enough not to cause me and the rest of society problems. I’m happy that some of my taxes goes to making sure that the guy who flips my burger doesn’t have to come into work when he’s got gastro. I’d rather pay an extra dollar for my strawberries than have a family living in a squat on my street. I’d rather that the super smart kid that’s born to fast food worker parents, still gets to go to an awesome school and invents the hover car. It’s about investing in the system I live in, rather than just the house I live in.

    So I don’t hate the rich, and I am not jealous of them (that’s a lie, of course I am, but it doesn’t drive my politics) Taxes suck, but are the price we pay for not living in borderlands. I happen to think that income inequality has an impact on everyones lifestyle, and that we can do more to tackle it (in NZ too) – but it isn’t about hating freedom or eating the rich, or wanting to dictate what people do.

    But then again, Stalin.

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  21. richtaylor365

    CM, part of the problem (maybe even a large part) is your penchant for playing the victim, for lamenting your reader’s inability to grasp the nuances or your drift , that you are always misunderstood or taken out of context, that, and not accepting the simple fact that maybe your premise is faulty to begin with.

    To my statement of ,” That comment jumped out at me as well”, you wasted no time in assuming that I was either taking you out of context, not understanding your point, or even worse, intentionally distorting your meaning (more of that victim stuff). See, I understood your point perfectly because, yes, I did read the sentence that prefaced that (our reading skills are not as bad as you allege) but where you whiffed (and still do) is that the first sentence did not qualify the second, your ,”The problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money”, could just as easily have stood on its own. You want THEIR (the rich’s) money to trickle down to the common workers, we get that, so you are criticizing the rich for poor spending choices, but it matters not the reason for the criticism, what I was saying was that the criticism was misplaced and un warranted no matter what altruistic motive you attach to it. It is not your money so you have no say in how it is spent.

    Some of the other ancillary criticisms of your comment you pretty much dodged, such as defining what you mean by “the problem”, and why you think the rich have an obligation to rectify said problem. Yes, I get that in CM land, the CEO and all the head muckity mucks of the corporation would share more of the riches with the common worker, and yes, that would elevate their salaries allowing more folks to join the middle class, but you must realize that this practice would violate the very tenet of a free market system, to elevate wages unnaturally and beyond what that market would determine wages to be.

    You’ve been around here long enough to know that the prevailing attitude seconds Reagan’s truism of ‘Government is not a solution to our problem government is the problem.’, and anytime you support more interference/manipulation/coercion/social engineering from the government to the detriment of individual freedom and choice, you are bound to get an earful, count on it.

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  22. Dave D

    Cress: Human nature conflicts with almost your entire response. I too agree with and desire compassion for the truly needy, but MOST people will be happy to live at a reduced lifestyle and not have to work harder to get where they need to be. PARTICULARLY when they can vote more for themselves from the public trough in a perpetual war with the “haves”. It’s just the way that Gaia programmed us, imo. Expecting others to have the same drive and work ethic as you do is not a plan for a workable society unless there are build in consequences, REAL consequences for being a lazy piece of shit.

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  23. AlexInCT

    No it’s because you don’t even bother to comprehend what is written (nobody said anything about playing god, or raising taxes even).

    As others have pointed out CM, there is only one implication one can take from reading this and deconstructing it (well done Iconoclast):

    The problem is about what the rich and super-rich are choosing to do with their money.

    I would be willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and otherwise think the person made a typo, except for the fact that we have been going at it for long enough for me to know better. The fact is, that the left really believes exactly that the problem is people do not do what it wants, and thus, they want to play god. The progressive agenda that pushes for a handicap to those things they don’t like while showing favor to the ones they like, is illustrated in practically everything the left does. The progressive tax system, this talk about having to fix income inequality, he minimum wage, social security, the belief that healthcare should be right, and so many other things all are based on the fact that they do not like the way things are and want to force a change. The consequences, foreseen or otherwise, be damned. Paradise on earth at all costs. or at least that is what the masters pretend to want while they recreate hell, punish the people and entities they don’t like, and piss away money on shit they do like.

    I will just point to the agenda to destroy fossil fuel, which works fine and has fostered economic prosperity despite the adversity it faces from the left, while pissing away billions on bullshit green tech that could not survive without government intervention and protectionism.

    If you don’t even bother to try and comprehend what is being said that then it’s no wonder you end up on the fringe, shouting with your fingers in your ears.

    Wait a minute so the problem is with me for drawing the conclusion, based on over 100 years of evidence, that what you mean when you say things like this is that you think rich people are doing the wrong thing with their money, and hence, they need to be told/coerced/made to do what you feel is the right thing?

    I must have misinterpreted the drivel Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, the Kims, Pol Pot, the Castros, old Chavez, and so many other champions of income inequality and social justice wrote about, the things they did in the name of addressing the inequality and producing the justice, and must be doing the same when Obama or people like you say things like this then. How dumb of me!

    Why bother pretending to understand on one hand and yet make it painfully obvious that you have no interest in understanding on the other?

    Seriously, what do you think I don’t understand? Heck, what is there to understand? You now claim to not be able to say what mean in English? I am really curious because there is really no room for wiggle there. You say they are not doing the right thing with the money. That implies that what they did or are doing is wrong, and they should be made to do something that they didn’t want to do in the first place, to make it right. Period. There is no other interpretation of that statement.

    I think the problem is with the fact that you don’t like that I do understand and articulate what the left is about the way I do. It’s like the shyster attorney, acting all pissed and indignant, because he is correctly labeled an ambulance chaser for seeking out accident victims to use in his crusade to make himself rich, while he wants to pretend what he is doing really helping them. He is doing it for the victims! Don’t pay attention to all that money he stands to pocket at all. What you do with your property is your business. If you don’t hurt anyone, I have no say in what you do with it.

    If I have it wrong, then what is the argument you are making? I would love for you to tell me what you really meant.

    The equivalent would be someone on the far-left coming in and responding to your posts telling you that you’re clearly racist, and hate poor people, and you’re all the same.

    Meh, I get that all the time from people that don’t have a chance in hell to win an argument. And no, that’s not what we did here at all, CM. We took something you typed/said, and basically pointed out the only obvious thing it could mean. This class warfare shit the left believe in is about fixing a perceived inequality, correct? So when you say that it happening is bad, you mean that something needs to be done to address that. How, pray tell, should we have taken your comment that the problem is with what rich and ultra-rich people do with their money, then?

    I am certain that if someone told you that you are causing a problem because they want a behavior from you that is of no value, and even detrimental to you, that your hackles would go up. But your side has no qualms saying it. And yet, you argue that the problem is that they don’t do what the left wants them to. As I already pointed out: if they want to burn it, keep it in a vault so you can swim in it, or put it off shore so the fucks don’t tax you to death, that’s your choice. It is your money. There is abso-fucking-lutely nothing wrong with any of these choices because it is your money. Of course the left would criminalize these things to coerce you into doing what they want then. You seem to feel that’s fine. The rest of us say fuck off and die to the slavers that think they can tell anyone what they should do with their property.

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  24. AlexInCT

    Expecting others to have the same drive and work ethic as you do is not a plan for a workable society unless there are build in consequences, REAL consequences for being a lazy piece of shit.

    ^^^THIS^^^

    In nature where there is no chance for the slackers. You produce and are at the top of your game, or you get killed/eaten (not necessarily in that order), but that’s the natural state for life. Yeah, man got smart and created communities that go beyond the obvious. In primitive and early societies there was/is no tolerance for slackers and those that abuse the system. The burden was too much and those that could but didn’t carry their weight didn’t last long. Things changed when some people saw the means of grabbing power from those with it by appealing to man’s baser emotions (envy, greed, jealousy) and promised to level the playing filed. If murdering over 100 million people and imprisoning billions counts as leveling the field, they succeeded. Unfortunately, people have not learned from these life lessons and still think they can tamper with the natural order.

    Yeah, you take care of each other, but abuse the system and the penalty should be harsh. We have now supposedly gotten so wealth and there are so many of us that no centralized authority can ever determine how people are abusing the system (I am sorry but my personal experience with the people that vote for a living is that everyone getting free shit is abusing it in some way or another, and they just have not been caught yet, and they are proud of fleecing the system). The ones that get caught get off easy, and are right back at it.

    The other night I took my kid and his buddy to the movies. Them being smart they convinced me to buy the dinner as well. They wanted fast food. At the place we went, a couple of the employees were discussing how awesome it will be when Obamacare is fully up & running, because then they can quit working and completely go live on the government’s teat, and they didn’t care who heard them. Working was for suckas. As soon as they had free healthcare, they were going to game the system for all it was worth. That’s human nature for ya. I pass on paying for these people, no matter how much stigma you want to attach to my cold heart. Fuck the lot of them.

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  25. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  26. richtaylor365

    That’s a massive pile of steaming horseshit.

    More of the same then. What a surprise.

    Allow me to translate your entire whinefest in your last comment, “I would {try} to explain it to you but what’s the point, you guys;
    1) Lack the proper reading comprehension skills
    2) Would intentionally twist my words around to fit an unfair narrative
    3) Are just naturally dishonest and can’t refute logically any opinion outside your own ideology
    4) For whatever reason just can’t grasp my wisdom, like pearls before swine, you are all tards.”

    There, I just saved you 3 more comments, you’re welcome.

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  27. AlexInCT

    I have. Many times. You refuse to deal with it and immediately pretend it’s something else.

    What you have told me, repeatedly, is that you feel government should be allowed to coerce behavior you approve of, punish behavior you disapprove of, and be able to take other people’s property under the pretense that it is a good thing they are doing or plan to do. You might not like me saying that’s what you advocate, but that’s it in a nutshell. Couch it in any lingo you want to make it sound noble, or even well intentioned, but it is theft and nothing more. OWS’s whole spiel was to say anyone with money stole it so it would justify their desire to steal.

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  28. ilovecress

    Dave – thanks for the response.

    Firstly – it’s not about compassion. I mean I do have compassion for the poor and needy, but I don’t think that’s necessarily an argument for taking steps to reduce income equality. Having more poor people in my society means my life sucks more.

    Secondly, I think that I disagree with you about most people having no ambition (or more accurately, people wanting more stuff). But it just opinion, so let’s agree to disagree on that.

    Thirdly, I’m not saying there should be no consequences for simply not working, and I fully admit that there will be some people who abuse the system, and that my tax dollars are probably going to go to some people who don’t ‘deserve’ it.

    But it’s my position that the flip side – the opportunity created for ‘deserving’ people to get a leg up, to get an opportunity, to be more productive (and to buy more of my product) should outweigh that. The question is where do you draw the line where the opportunity outweighs the cost. And my position is that you (and the NZ) aren’t facilitating the opportunity side of the equation, whilst still having the cost.

    The short term gains for me in having low taxes are outweighed by the long term gains of living in a society where more people can be productive. It’s why I make sure my employees are well cared for and paid enough. Not because I’m nice (I am though) but because in the longer term I get more out of them.

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  29. AlexInCT

    It’s why I make sure my employees are well cared for and paid enough. Not because I’m nice (I am though) but because in the longer term I get more out of them.

    Reality is that any employer that wants to run a successful & profitable business will need to do just that. Those that don’t will suffer from it. Sure, some employers are jackasses and might not care or know better, but in the end, that will bite them in the ass. However, there is another side to this equation that always seems to be forgotten or ignored, and that is that nobody goes into business to just break even, or go broke, and certainly not to be an employer only. The goal is to make money. Pretending otherwise is stupid.

    If your company is not making money, your job will be in jeopardy. Note that I am talking mostly about small business enterprises – where the bulk of employed people actually make their living – here, but the logic should apply to big businesses as well were it not for the corporate cronyism system that politicians profit form in return for favors that allow uncompetitive giants to prevent anyone from going after their pseudo-monopolies. So there is a balancing act that needs to be done here.

    You can only charge as much for your service as your customer will allow – again this is assuming you didn’t manage to get some politicians to help you create a nice little fiefdom that protects you from competition of any kind – because people will go somewhere else if they feel you are overpriced. Similarly, you can only pay so much for employees. The more skilled and difficult the work, the higher, traditionally, the cost – both pay, work environment, and benefits – to keep said employees. If you are doing something that can be thought to a guy off the street in a couple of hours, you are never going to be paid much. Nobody can afford to pay you that much more when they can’t recuperate the cost from the product they sell. Thus your total profit, that’s what’s left after expenses, taxes, and other burdens, are basically tied to that equation. No amount of wishing or coercion can change the balance of that equation. You can’t command more compensation than what your effort will produce in payment without breaking the system down (DETROIT!). There is no way to make that balance out.

    The left seems to be hell bent on ignoring that reality. That’s why the whole concept of minimum or living wages and the right to free shit, in a nutshell, is unworkable. When you have finite resources and are basically dependant on a consumer that has a choice, you can’t give shit away. And every time that someone tries to game the system, to coerce behavior in the direction they want, it has always gone bad. They may pretend otherwise, but that’s the facts. The concept that we all should have access to equal opportunity has been morphed to a belief that we all should cross the finish line at the same time, with the same shit, or things are broken.

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  30. Seattle Outcast

    It’s a waste of time trying to take part in a discussion when what I write is immediately converted into enemy dogma

    Yes, you are a a waste of time, mostly because all you do is write progressive/keynesian dogma. And because you’re an idiot.

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  31. Seattle Outcast

    It’s why I make sure my employees are well cared for and paid enough. Not because I’m nice (I am though) but because in the longer term I get more out of them.

    I can think of several questions for this statement, but these two will do for a start. Pay attention CM, actual logic will likely be employed here….

    1) Do you pay them more than you pay yourself? Explain why or why not.

    2) Are they all paid the same? Explain why or why not.

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  32. ilovecress

    1) Do you pay them more than you pay yourself? Explain why or why not.

    No I don’t. Because LIBERALS DON’T THINK EVERYONE SHOULD BE PAID THE SAME. IT’S AN OPINION YOU PRETEND WE HAVE.

    2) Are they all paid the same? Explain why or why not.

    See above.

    I am not arguing against the fact that some skills are worth more in the market than others. I don’t think anyone is arguing that. What I am saying is that pure free market, darwinian economics results in a two tiers society, and history shows us that in those instances one tier usually gets their heads chopped off.

    Alex – I don’t disagree with you. But let me describe a layer on that. Let’s say I have a business where I need 100 ultra low skilled workers. Market forces mean I can pay these people $1 a hour. My labour costs are low, I don’t have to provide healthcare, and the overheads are non existent. Profits are high, investors are happy.

    The thing is, my 100 people have to get a second job to make ends meet, so they’re often late, or over tired. So my productivity takes a hit and my profits go down. And without preventative healthcare, that flu epidemic shuts my entire factory down for 2 weeks. Profits take a hit. And I don’t pay them enough to buy food so I have to subsidize the canteen – out of my profits.

    SO I decide to pay them $14 a hour, and price accordingly. My 100 people are now focused, not hungry, healthy. Less absenteeism, higher discretionary effort, and increased productivity. Increased profits.

    Again, what I’m saying is that reducing income equality can improve the productivity of a society/nation. The market dictates how much someones skills are worth *at the bare minimum of effort* – there’s productivity hidden all over the place.

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  33. AlexInCT

    Alex – I don’t disagree with you. But let me describe a layer on that. Let’s say I have a business where I need 100 ultra-low skilled workers. Market forces mean I can pay these people $1 a hour. My labor costs are low, I don’t have to provide healthcare, and the overheads are non-existent. Profits are high, investors are happy.

    The thing is, my 100 people have to get a second job to make ends meet, so they’re often late, or over tired. So my productivity takes a hit and my profits go down. And without preventative healthcare, that flu epidemic shuts my entire factory down for 2 weeks. Profits take a hit. And I don’t pay them enough to buy food so I have to subsidize the canteen – out of my profits.

    You described a lot of the specialized industries that use labor in third world countries. The funny thing is that these tend to be heavily liberal companies, from Reebok to any clothing company you find at your mall, that all have people at the top espousing the liberal agenda. And yet, they do this shit. Even more important, I see all the libs wearing this shtick all the time.

    And I will stress it again: if my product has a limit when people stop buying it, it will affect my labor cost. If I am forced to pay more than the work the people do is worth, I am not going to choose go out of business. I will fire employees and make others work harder, or eventually automate and tell them all to have a nice day. I am not there to make their lives nice: I am running a business.

    SO I decide to pay them $14 a hour, and price accordingly. My 100 people are now focused, not hungry, healthy. Less absenteeism, higher discretionary effort, and increased productivity. Increased profits.

    If your company can absorb the labor cost, more power to you. But why should you force others, especially in areas where they simply can’t do that, to also do the same? Frankly, even if the company could take on the added cost, I see it as their choice. I don’t see why it should be any fucking body else’s business. If you as a customer do not think the company is fair, stop buying their shit. But having government force them to pay people a certain amount is just insane.

    Meh, I am not worried. The advances in technology have become so good that these people will push most of themselves out of jobs sooner than later. Robots work cheaper, are more efficient, and are not entitled leftist douches that think they should be paid a living wage to do work you can teach a monkey to do. Reality will always win out on liberal dreams of unicorn paradise.

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  34. Seattle Outcast

    SO I decide to pay them $14 a hour, and price accordingly. My 100 people are now focused, not hungry, healthy. Less absenteeism, higher discretionary effort, and increased productivity. Increased profits

    Are you familiar with Costco – the version of Walmart for people that have more money? They do the same thing for the same reason. They cherry pick the labor pool for the best people and pay them accordingly. There’s a burger chain in Seattle that does the same thing, and everyone thinks it’s awesome.

    The problem is that all these buffoons think that Walmart and McDonald’s should pay the same wages to the lower performers that Costco and Dick’s (burgers) pay their top performing people. I have no doubt that if one of your employees started to consistently not do work worth the wage you are paying them, they would be replaced so someone that pays less can pick them up. This is simple business, yet so many of the “Progressive” movement are incapable of understanding it. CM is one of these people incapable of understanding the obvious.

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  35. richtaylor365

    Cress, everything that you wrote seems reasonable and prudent to me, but just like your inference that the right believes libs want everyone paid the same, libs hold equally ridiculous concepts about what we believe, namely that we would pay peanuts to ALL our employees if we could get away with it. The notion that a happy worker is a productive worker is not exclusive to the left.

    Again, what I’m saying is that reducing income equality can improve the productivity of a society/nation.

    Allow me to fix this for you;

    “Again, what I’m saying is that raising the income of ALL workers can improve the productivity of a society/nation.”

    If all the employees (CEO on down to the night janitor) got a 10% raise, the level of income inequality would be even greater, but the worker would be happier, less apt to need a second job, more appreciative of his employment there, and probably more productive.

    As I have stated many times before here, the concept of income inequality (and the need to “fix” it) has it’s roots in the misguided notion that the pie is only one size, similarly, if one person gets a big piece, it only follows that the rest will get short changed. But when you believe that the pie can be infinite, that all workers can get a bigger piece without harming the rest of the labor force, then all boats can be lifted by that tide, prosperity for all.

    But I do have a few questions for you;

    1)Does NZ have a minimum wage law, and what is the amount?
    2)Why did you pick $14 an hour for your workers?

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  36. Iconoclast

    Let’s say I have a business where I need 100 ultra low skilled workers. Market forces mean I can pay these people $1 a hour. My labour costs are low, I don’t have to provide healthcare, and the overheads are non existent. Profits are high, investors are happy.

    And, statistically speaking, in all likelihood, they’re all high school kids still living at home, or maybe college kids who have roommates and share rent for a college-kid apartment. If any of these workers actually has a family and is trying to run a household on a dollar-an-hour job, then they have already made some rather poor choices, obviously.

    Or perhaps they’re illegal aliens…

    The thing is, my 100 people have to get a second job to make ends meet, so they’re often late, or over tired.

    I think your scenario is sufficiently undermined to call your whole argument into question. But let’s play it out just a bit more…

    So my productivity takes a hit and my profits go down. And without preventative healthcare, that flu epidemic shuts my entire factory down for 2 weeks.

    On the contrary, since they’re “ultra low skilled workers”, they’re easily replaced. Not performing? Full of excuses? Fired. Replaced.

    Now sure, that sounds calloused and uncaring, and paying these people 14 times what the market dictates sounds noble, but it strikes me as a highly artificial and contrived scenario to begin with. You seem to be trying to sound selfish, paying these workers 14 times market value to get good productivity out of them, but in truth, you’re acting out of compassion when you earlier claimed that compassion wasn’t a factor. Like I said, these workers are easily replaceable. Paying them 14 times market value simply doesn’t strike me as good business practice. But that’s a problem with contrived scenarios.

    Again, what I’m saying is that reducing income equality can improve the productivity of a society/nation.

    Maybe it can, maybe not. But the real point is that such decisions should be left to the business owners, not government.

    In truth, most people couldn’t care less either way, as long as they’re making a decent living themselves. As the article states, obsessing over what other people have simply isn’t healthy. It seems that the ones most obsessed over income inequality and social justice are those busybody types on the left.

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  37. ilovecress

    Let me try and address all these at once…

    Alex – I was trying to draw the analogy between a company and a society. To demonstrate how investing in the poorer people can be a net gain for everyone.

    By the way – have you guys ever listened to the new Cracked.com podcast? I’ll try and hunt it out, but there was an interesting theory about how we can’t simply replace workers with robots. Basically, McDonalds right now could replace all their staff with robots, but then they’d be cutting off the income of their customer base. I think they called it artificially induced consumerism or something like that.

    Seattle – I get the model, and there are always going to be budget options. Thing is, Walmart is having it’s cake and eating it. They’re paying below the ‘market rate’ because the social safety net is picking up the slack. You’re subsidizing Walmart prices through food stamps, emergency room treatments etc etc. So isn’t there an argument to say that it would be way more efficient and effective for the private sector to take care of the poor through higher wages, than the Government through food stamps etc etc?

    Rich – in your example, the productivity increase would be smaller in the CEO.

    As for your point about the pie – I don’t think you’re right that liberals have that opinion. In fact the argument is the exact opposite – raising the minimum wage (for example) has a net benefit for everyone. In fact isn’t the argument against it that if you raise the minimum wage “the rest will get short changed”?

    The NZ minimum wage is $13.75 (about 11 US dollars) – but to be honest I had to look that up. I picked the $14 amount out of thin air, it wasn’t significant.

    Icon : Statistically speaking, I don’t think that’s the case (what’s the unemployment rate right now?) and anyway – the choices they made to get to that state has no bearing at all on whether they are productive or destructive or not.

    Fire them and replace them – firstly, that costs money (even low skilled jobs need quite a bit of training) and secondly what’s going to make my new low paid workers more productive? They’re still going to get sick, they’re still going to have to work second jobs.

    The 14 times thing was an arbitrary number – the point is that paying people ‘a living wage’ – whatever that may be – means you pay less hidden costs further on down the track. Compassion is irrelevant.

    As for your article – again, it’s the misguided notion that we’re complaining about people being rich. The opposite is true. We’re complaining about people being poor. We’re not obsessing over other peoples riches.

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  38. richtaylor365

    Rich – in your example, the productivity increase would be smaller in the CEO.

    You missed the point, let me try a different approach. When the left talk about income inequality it is from a position of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. How did CM put it ,” it’s the decreasing ‘natural’ trickle-down of that money to the rest of the population”, money trickling down , going from point A to point B. The point of my example was not the level of productivity from anyone, it was negating the myth that shrinking income inequality is the goal, it’s not, increasing prosperity for everyone including the lower level employee, that is the answer.

    I don’t think you’re right that liberals have that opinion

    Yeah, they do, they recite it perfectly every time the subject of income inequality comes up, it is always from the position of shrinking it by taking money from the top and having it trickle down to the bottom, wrong answer. A better approach is to allow businesses to thrive so that EVERYONE, CEO on down, gets richer, that infinite sized pie can feed a lot of people.

    I picked the $14 amount out of thin air, it wasn’t significant.

    Oh, I guess I misunderstood, I thought when you said that you paid your employees well, then said you paid them $14 an hour, I figured that amount was significant and wanted to know the process for determining that amount.
    So that whole thing was a hypothetical?

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  39. AlexInCT

    Alex – I was trying to draw the analogy between a company and a society. To demonstrate how investing in the poorer people can be a net gain for everyone.

    Companies can fire the people that do not perform or who are leeching from them. In fact, they will not give a dime to someone that was not hurt on the job. If you are advocating maybe societies should operate a bit like that then I see that maybe we can reach a compromise. I think I am fine paying people more, but only as long as those that could be productive but choose to do squat, get nothing.

    Yeah, they do, they recite it perfectly every time the subject of income inequality comes up, it is always from the position of shrinking it by taking money from the top and having it trickle down to the bottom, wrong answer. A better approach is to allow businesses to thrive so that EVERYONE, CEO on down, gets richer, that infinite sized pie can feed a lot of people.

    This approach destroys the left’s need to pick the winners and loser, and gives the least opportunity for graft through either government coercion or the need to buy favors from government. A system where government arbitrates who gets what, confiscates from those it wants to keep in line, and then buys power with what it confiscates through favors, does. That’s why the left favors the later. Collectivists elitists are no better than any of the overlords that have jockeyed for power in our history: they just are much, much better at praying on base emotions and selling their bullshit as something else.

    If we ran societies like companies the people that like to suck on the government’s teat would not like the system much.

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  40. richtaylor365

    This approach destroys the left’s need to pick the winners and loser

    It’s more than that, liberalism has made a living off of class warfare and envy. The caricature they manufacture is patently obvious, and patently dishonest. They portray themselves as champions of the poor and the downtrodden, “It’s not your fault, the system is rigged against you and it’s not fair, but we are there for you, we will make sure that you get yours because after all, society owes you. It owes you a decent job (if you are so inclined to want one), a house, food on the table, healthcare, a standard of living commensurate with the bounty that is the American way”. And how are we going to make that happen? well, taking more from the rich, of course. The rich aren’t any better or more deserving than you, in fact what separates them from you isn’t even your fault, where you live, who your parents were, or what they gave you. Is it fair that they got all that and you got nothin’? But don’t worry, we are here to right that wrong, to redistribute that wealth, to take that money so that it benefits more people. They got plenty to spare and the simple fact that they aren’t doing this on their own, giving more of it away, means that they are just greedy bastards and deserve their comeuppance.

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  41. ilovecress

    When the left talk about income inequality it is from a position of taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

    Okay – I get you. But I’d say that’s because that’s what we see as the solution, not the goal. Trickle down economics is your sides idea – not ours!!

    But you’re right – increased prosperity is the goal.

    And it was a hypothetical in the details, but I do this sort of consulting for quite a few companies, so do have some practical experience.

    Alex – you can’t fire someone from a country, so I guess that’s where the difference is.

    Aaaand – then we’re back to the evil liberal conspiracy theories. It was all going so well and civilized. I guess I’ll get back to my secret irrational hatred of rich people disguised as a different opinion than yours. I am obsessed with picking winners and losers (as opposed to living in a successful society) and the real reason I have this opinion is because I am jealous of the rich, and I love ‘picking winners and losers’. You got me.

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  42. ilovecress

    I could just as easily say that the right wing approach is all about a conspiracy to keep the power in the hands of the few people who have had it for generations. The right wants to keep picking the same winners, and is reluctant to expand opportunity to the poor, because that would threaten the manufactured success of the elite.

    A system where the government takes a flat rate from everyone, and uses it to give subsidies to shareholders of very specific companies decided through favours. Conservative elitists are no better than the overlords who have tried to consolidate their power in our history.

    But that would be ridiculous to be that hysterical.

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  43. richtaylor365

    Cress, I hope you don’t think my last comment was directed at you, it wasn’t. No, I don’t think you are part of the “eat the rich” cabal, but like a virus, it is systemic over here in the states. It feeds off of good intentions (fairness, equality, all the usual platitudes tossed around to agitate and call to action). But all it does is create more poverty and misery. A better economy, a lowering of the national debt , a move to stabilize the currency, a more business friendly climate in Washington, a lowering of the corporate tax rate, a seismic shift in attitude of getting out of the way and allowing American exceptionalism flourish, all these things would go a long way to getting people back to work restoring their dignity, and making the people productive again.

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  44. AlexInCT

    Alex – you can’t fire someone from a country, so I guess that’s where the difference is.

    Maybe we should be able to do that… Personally I have a problem with people that think that society has responsibilities towards them, but they have none towards the rest of us in society. They are takers, without any shame or morality. You do understand that’s why I am never going to accept anything the left is about, right?

    I could just as easily say that the right wing approach is all about a conspiracy to keep the power in the hands of the few people who have had it for generations.

    Are you seriously unaware that the ones doing this are on the left these days Cress? You are just way smarter than this comment man. Or do you mean that the average uninformed rube that buys the crap the elites on the left preach that thinks this is the case because of all the propaganda?

    As I pointed out, both communism and fascism, and for that matter any other breed of collectivist ideology has been about replacing the current masters (the haves) with the people pretending to care about the downtrodden (the new masters). Only problem is that the new masters – and despite all the drivel about the movement being about the people, it was about the new masters and their taking of power – were far worse than the old ones. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, the Kim family, Pol Pot, the Castros, and so on, brutally murdered over 100 million people and imprisoned billions, while pretending that they were doing it to improve their plight. Over a century we got to watch man made miserable and denied dignity, with anyone that stood up, killed. These leaders lived better than the emperors, kings, or whatever else they overthrew, while the quality of life of citizens deteriorated, sometimes slowly, but too often real fast, and drastically, as time went by.

    The left isn’t trying to fight the status quo: it is at best trying to replace the powers that be. And for your information, the left IS the powers that be these days. Their crusade is to cement their power and bar others they do not approve of from mucking it up. Let’s not pretend otherwise, please.

    A system where the government takes a flat rate from everyone, and uses it to give subsidies to shareholders of very specific companies decided through favours.

    Who do you think is advocating a system like this? Because I want one where government is small and only takes what it needs to do the duties its citizens have ascribed it. They give NOBODY any kind of subsidies or favors and they get out of the business of picking winners & losers completely.

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  45. Seattle Outcast

    Walmart is not “paying below market rates” – nor is anybody forced to work there. They aren’t paying union wages, but that isn’t the same thing.

    Trying to toss in the whole “societal cost of not paying them adequately” is total misdirection, as is “replacing them with robots will erode their customer base.”

    You know what erodes their customer base? Overpricing an object so that it no longer represents a good purchase. Jacking up the cost of a burger with overpriced labor leads to not selling burgers. But that system automatically corrects itself because without the work you have to fire employees, magically bringing down the cost of the burger. But now they are overwhelmed because the existing system needs 50% more labor. Solution: automate.

    You raised everyone’s wages, all your employees have health care, but you have cut your labor force by 85%. Yep, that solved the problem.

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  46. ilovecress

    ***Who do you think is advocating a system like this?***

    It sucks when somebody misrepresents your position doesn’t it? :-)

    ***Walmart is not “paying below market rates” – nor is anybody forced to work there. They aren’t paying union wages, but that isn’t the same thing.***

    Pure market rate is enough for employees to come to work and perform their role effectively – i.e. to not starve to death. If employees of Walmart are also using emergency social programmes, (that you’re paying for through taxes) then it’s below market rate.

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  47. CM

    ***It sucks when somebody misrepresents your position doesn’t it? :-)***

    Exactly.

    ***If employees of Walmart are also using emergency social programmes, (that you’re paying for through taxes) then it’s below market rate.***

    Exactly again. It’s not a true ‘market’ if it’s subsidised.

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  48. Seattle Outcast

    If employees of Walmart are also using emergency social programmes, (that you’re paying for through taxes) then it’s below market rate.

    You are mixing terminology, and defining half it poorly – if you want to discuss the social cost of unskilled labor, you have to do it without mixing in the pay scales for unskilled labor. By conflating the two you are engaging in an argument that goes in circles because you endlessly throw up roadblocks from the other issue in order to divert the conversation.

    Also, it’s disingenuous because you want to backhandedly toss in the concept of health care being a “right” when that itself is a THIRD argument in itself, one which you will find most of the US in disagreement with.

    1) There are no rights in which somebody owes you something

    2) Healthcare is a commodity, just like televisions, phones, and hardwood floors

    3) Emergency programs exist only so far as people are willing to fund them of their own free will. You cannot add them into the equation because society could just decide to do away with them. Their current status and size is a recent phenomenon – and everyone that has experimented with them has cut back for a number of reasons, the most important being that they tend to be unsustainable.

    Finally, your worth to an employer exists only so far as your ability and willingness to generate value to the employer, and you are entitled only to that compensation for your work. You may get sick tomorrow and die. It is not the employer’s obligation to pay for your medical care, funeral costs, children’s education, family’s future housing – because it’s only YOUR obligation to pay for the shit that happens to you in life.

    Life is not “fair” – grow the fuck up.

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  49. ilovecress

    SO – You’re determined to agrue against a point I’m not making.

    I don’t mean the social cost of unskilled labour. I mean the actual cost of loss of productivity in the workforce. Healthy, focused employees make more stuff better in less hours.

    The social cost is a whole nother conversation.

    Walmart employees are kept healthy (and therefore more productive to Walmart) by your tax dollars going to food stamps and other welfare programmes.

    Also – who’s arguing that healthcare is a right? Where have I even brought rights into the discussion. I’m arguing that providing these things is good economic sense.

    It is not the right of anyone to nave their ” medical care, funeral costs, children’s education, family’s future housing” paid for by anyone – so you can keep on arguing against it if you like, but it’s a giant wicker man. It’s not about obligations, it’s about looking longer term than a daily balance sheet.

    What I’m saying (and the other posters seem to get) is that businesses (and societies) that invest in their people get more out of it in the long run. Not sure where you’ve got this rights thing from – if I’ve misspoke I apologise.

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  50. AlexInCT

    Walmart is not “paying below market rates” – nor is anybody forced to work there. They aren’t paying union wages, but that isn’t the same thing.

    If WalMart Jobs Are So Terrible, Then Why Do So Many People Want One?. Every time they open a new Walmart, I hear that they have between 300 and 900 jobs available and thousands of applicants for them. Heck, I remember a Chicago Walmart with 1200 jobs getting some 20K applications! The last one that opened in Connecticut, a few years back, had to have a police presence when the applicants got in a fight to get in there first. I would not want to work at Walmart, but then again, I paid my dues to get a better job than that. But for a lot of people with limited skills, limited mental faculties, and limited ambition, getting one of these jobs is like winning fucking lottery. Most of the people that look down on Walmart jobs are fucking snobs anyway. I would rather work at Walmart than suck on the government’s teat, but that’s me.

    It sucks when somebody misrepresents your position doesn’t it? :-)

    Pointing out how things work in the real world to, debunk an argument that ignores the reality, isn’t misrepresenting what you are saying. No matter how much you want to pretend that your argument has a leg to stand on, the fact remains that what the left wants will lead to massive automation when dealing with menial jobs, and unskilled workers having to suck on the government’s teat when there are practically no more jobs for unskilled people or people with few skills. But I am now starting to suspect that this scenario where the majority of the population can’t find work and has to suck on the government’s teat, is not an unfortunate side effect, but actually the goal. There is real power in having those people dependent on you for their living.

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  51. ilovecress

    Alex – I’m not saying that Walmarts jobs are terrible – I’m saying that the Government picks up the slack.

    People are working at Walmart AND sucking on the Governments teat. If Walmart paid their employees more, then your taxes would be lower.

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  52. richtaylor365

    If Walmart paid their employees more, then your taxes would be lower.

    Cress, I know your heart is in the right place, but that really gave me a chuckle. You don’t run $17 trillion in the red by managing taxes efficiently, they would just find some other place to spend the money. You should thank God every night that you live in a country where adults run things, we don’t have that luxury over here.

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  53. CM

    ***Also – who’s arguing that healthcare is a right? Where have I even brought rights into the discussion.***

    It doesn’t matter. Seemingly hey are only able, or willing, to argue against caricatures.

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  54. Iconoclast

    Icon : Statistically speaking, I don’t think that’s the case (what’s the unemployment rate right now?) and anyway – the choices they made to get to that state has no bearing at all on whether they are productive or destructive or not.

    Here in the States, roughly half of minimum-wage jobs are indeed held by teens and college kids, so yeah, I exaggerated. However, there isn’t any guarantee that those over 25 are married with kids, either. Also, there is no correlation between unemployment and minimum-wage jobs. Those who lost their jobs didn’t necessarily lose minimum-wage jobs.

    When I commented on poor choices, that had no bearing whatsoever on productivity. My point is that one cannot expect to run a household on a minimum-wage job, and if one is trying to do so, then they have made some poor choices along the way, like not finishing high-school, or having kids before getting married, or having kids before finishing high school, or any combination thereof.

    Fire them and replace them – firstly, that costs money (even low skilled jobs need quite a bit of training)…

    Now you’re moving the goal posts (emphasis added):

    Market forces mean I can pay these people $1 a hour. My labour costs are low, I don’t have to provide healthcare, and the overheads are non existent.

    ilovecress, January 31, 2014 1:42 PM

    I would think training would qualify as an “overhead”, wouldn’t you? First you say that overheads (which would include training) are nonexistent, and now you’re saying they need “quite a bit of training”, which “costs money”. You cannot have it both ways. Furthermore, if you aren’t providing healthcare benefits, then these workers must be part-time, so the fact that they hold a second job is irrelevant, because we don’t expect to be able to “make ends meet” on a part-time, minimum-wage job. Again, someone trying to run a household in such a situation has made some pretty bad decisions and perhaps should re-evaluate their priorities, in addition to their having unrealistic expectations.

    …and secondly what’s going to make my new low paid workers more productive?

    The question is basically irrelevant, as your whole scenario is thoroughly discredited. I get that you are simply trying to illustrate your argument, but my point is that the illustration fails, and instead of supporting your argument, it actually refutes it. Beyond the observations outlined above, if “market forces” means you can pay these guys a buck an hour, then what’s to stop me from saying that those same market forces allow them to indeed “make ends meet”, whatever that happens to mean?

    As for your article – again, it’s the misguided notion that we’re complaining about people being rich.

    No, you’re complaining about how they choose to spend their money, and you missed the point of the article, which was highlighted in blue in my previous post. The majority of Americans simply don’t give a damn about income inequality, as they see other issues as being far more important.

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  55. Iconoclast

    One item that often gets ignored is that minimum-wage jobs aren’t supposed to be careers. They’re intended to be nothing more than an entry-point for kids to get into the job market.

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  56. AlexInCT

    Alex – I’m not saying that Walmarts jobs are terrible – I’m saying that the Government picks up the slack.

    And I am telling you that government does so because it creates and expands the need for that slack itself, on purpose, so it can buy votes. Then it bad mouths Walmart because those people are not progressive. Other giants like GE, which make Walmart look like Disney World when it comes to employment, do far worse damage to the economy and to employment picture, but they get to put their crap CEO on some elite clique that pretends to care about Americans and jobs, but exempt themselves from all of this shit they push on others. Give me a fucking break.

    Our employment problems are primarily caused by a government that pretends to do things to help people, is hell bent on ignoring the laws of economics and reality – because they feel their primary purpose isn’t to help the economy grow, but to control the economy and it’s growth so only those they feel are worthy do well, while those they don’t like suffer – and demands to fix the very problems it creates by doing even more of the same. What the left wants doesn’t work. It will NEVER work. Our civilization will implode and all of us are facing a dreary future because of the progressive nanny state. And yet, you progressives keep pretending that the reason things are bad is that we don’t have more of what you guys have been feeding us for decades.

    I really am not to concerned. When the shit finally collapses – and at the rate we are going, it is just unavoidable, since the entity doing all the damage is a government that doesn’t know how to, or doesn’t want to, stop what it is doing , dragging us down at warp speed – I am ready and will survive. All the moochers will eat each other up. It is going to be butt fucking ugly.

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