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Posted: 23 September 2013 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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TimB - 23 September 2013 05:23 PM

Wow, Brian, same old cherry picking and mis-stating details in your perseverant tactics of debate.  And same old, tired, erroneous trickle down economics philosophy.


What details have I misstated?  And do you intend to address the fiscal difficulty of the pay-as-you-go social safety nets favored by the European socialist nations?

You make it sound like I want Stalin come back to life and turn America into the early version of Soviet Communism.

Did I?  Would you mind quoting the line or paragraph I wrote that made it sound that way?

What I said was that I would prefer Communism to unrestrained Capitalism.

Right.  So how did I misrepresent your statement?

The fact is that my most preferred form of government would be a Capitalistic Democratic Republic that has just and rational restraints on capitalism, such that injustice and inequalities and mass suffering (that occurs from unrestrained Capitalism) can be minimized.

Is there any nation on the planet that has “unrestrained Capitalism”?

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Posted: 24 September 2013 12:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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(Thank you, Lois, for taking the time to explain your remark.  I sincerely appreciate it)

Lois - 23 September 2013 10:12 PM

Those who “have faith” in untrammelled capitalism and are able exploit it in a capitalistic economy will always be able to garner riches. So they will have enough riches to spread the wealth to the less fortunate or talented as long as laws are in place to require it. If laws are not in place forcing sharing of the wealth a very unbalanced society results because the wealthy are less likely to share their riches with the exploited and downtrodden on their own.

That’s a common view, but I’d say it overlooks the fact that the riches of the wealthy cannot fail to find their way back to the economy unless the rich person does something akin to burying money in the ground.  Suppose the filthy rich person builds a house.  He’s providing jobs for construction workers and the makers of the raw materials.  He’s purchasing furniture and other items, supporting other jobs.  But maybe he doesn’t spend it all.  Maybe he puts it in savings or invests it.  In either case, the money goes right back into the economy.  Financial institutions loan out the money to business owners and people looking to buy things such as houses.  Again, the money supports the economy and jobs.  If the investments are profitable then the filthy rich can expect a return.  But sometimes investments don’t pan out.  So all the money did was support temporary jobs.

They will share only enough to keep the lower classes from rising up against them. In a communist society, or even a socialist one, it is much more difficult (though, as we’ve seen not impossible) for some people, though many fewer than under capitalism, to garner great wealth, usually through corruption of the system.

Right, because the economy often produces relatively little wealth to begin with.  But party leaders tend to get special privileges.

But in a communist or socialist system most of the people will receive a portion of the wealth the system creates because it is in the hands of the government.  This is the way a comministic or socialist system is supposed to work, though the corruption under communist dictatorships was so great that the system failed. It works much better in countries with enough capitalism to drive the economy and enough socialism to prevent the masses from falling into poverty.  The Scandinavian countries are good examples of this. The United States is a good example of too much capitalism and too little socialism, which creates an unbalanced system with a lot of wealth at the top and much poverty and poor infrastructure for the poor and middle classes.  It also tends to shrink the middle class so that most of the population struggles to gain a toehold while the wealth stays at the top—and the wealthy work mightily to keep it that way.  Of course this is a bare outline of how capitalism and socialism works and there is more to it than this but I hope this gives an idea of what I was talking about when I said that those with faith in untrammelled capitalism guarantee that there always will be enough rich people around who have enough money pay the bills, though unless forced through socialistic laws, they will never pay enough of them or even their fair share.

Thanks again for clarifying.  I think you make some good points, though you should also be aware that the Scandinavian countries are tending toward market-based economic reform.  They’re doing it because they were experiencing the economic weakness that central government control so often produces.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-06/booming-sweden-s-free-market-solution.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/world/europe/danes-rethink-a-welfare-state-ample-to-a-fault.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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Posted: 24 September 2013 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I see this character Bryan is still hanging around after quite a few years, promoting his right wing alternate view of reality. Don’t worry how much wealth a few people accumulate. It all goes back into the economy regardless, and everything is peachy.

You can’t argue with somebody who just rationalizes everything. I put him on ignore years ago, opened this topic before realizing who the author was, and saw that he hasn’t changed a bit. On ignore he shall remain.

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Posted: 24 September 2013 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Bryan - 23 September 2013 11:41 PM

Is there any nation on the planet that has “unrestrained Capitalism”?

The US has, at times, lacked the rational restraints on our capitalistic system to prevent economic crises such as the Great Depression and the very recent Great Recession.  We are in “recovery” from the Great Recession, but haven’t put in place the rational restraints that will prevent such a disaster from occurring again.

That is not such a bad thing for those who are too rich to fail, but is devastating for the poor and middle classes, especially when social safety nets are taken away. The wealthiest will do well regardless. A bust economy sets the conditions for exploitation of the rest of the population by those who have the will and the facility for making money simply for it’s own sake.

The economy is in “recovery”, now, but it consists of the wealthiest, at the top of the economic food chain doing exceptionally well, while 50% of Americans are near or below the poverty line.

This poverty rate has been growing consistently and will likely continue to do so. Unions have been neutered.  So there is no help for workers there.  Right wing ideologues who want to do away with governmental regulations on corporations have gained political power to the point that the Congress is effectively paralyzed. And wealthy interests use lobbyists to direct what little Congress does do in favor of their own interests. So no help for common workers there. Many of the common workers, themselves, i.e., Tea Partiers, have bought in to the trickle down tripe.  So no help there. 

We are on track to have the continuing growth of economic disparity between the few wealthiest and the many poorest citizens.  The American Dream is dying a slow death for most Americans.

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Posted: 24 September 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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PLaClair - 24 September 2013 03:20 AM

I see this character Bryan is still hanging around after quite a few years, promoting his right wing alternate view of reality. Don’t worry how much wealth a few people accumulate. It all goes back into the economy regardless, and everything is peachy.

You can’t argue with somebody who just rationalizes everything. I put him on ignore years ago, opened this topic before realizing who the author was, and saw that he hasn’t changed a bit. On ignore he shall remain.

Note that there’s really no content to Paul LaClair’s post, unless we count it as either a personal attack or an appeal to ridicule.

Somebody should have a real reason why wealth inequality is harmful aside from mocking the idea that it isn’t harmful.  I’d surely pay attention to some good reasoning.

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Posted: 24 September 2013 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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While I grit my teeth at some of Bryan’s posts, I haven’t put him in ignore because he makes strong, well-reasoned arguments (even if there are usually hidden, erroneous premises on which they are based). LOL

Members of a society work to produce value and use it to live.  We use money as a means of value exchange.  Anything that takes value out of circulation reduces the living conditions of some of the members.  As one collects value, one can improve one’s living conditions, but to a decreasing degree.  Does having two billion dollars improve one’s living conditions beyond having one billion?  Yes, one can have another few homes built, but wouldn’t improving the homes of the destitute give more to the society?  If that extra billion were taxed and used to upgrade schools, and allow many more to get higher education without going into crushing debt, wouldn’t that help society more than an extra three yachts?

I realize that the machinist may not contribute as much value as the CEO of the company, however, I find it hard to justify a few hundred to one ratio of payment to them.

This could go on for pages, but I’m trying to be succinct. smile

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[ Edited: 24 September 2013 09:37 AM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 24 September 2013 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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An ongoing study of income distribution found that the richest 1% in America took 19% of national income last year, their biggest share since 1928. The top 10% of earners held a record 48.2%. During the recovery between 2009 and 2012 real family incomes rose by an average of 4.6%, though this was skewed by a 31.4% increase for the top 1%. For the other 99% incomes rose by just 0.4%

.

And this is good for the US;  please explain how?

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Posted: 24 September 2013 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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TimB - 24 September 2013 05:33 AM
Bryan - 23 September 2013 11:41 PM

Is there any nation on the planet that has “unrestrained Capitalism”?

The US has, at times, lacked the rational restraints on our capitalistic system to prevent economic crises such as the Great Depression and the very recent Great Recession.  We are in “recovery” from the Great Recession, but haven’t put in place the rational restraints that will prevent such a disaster from occurring again.

Well, what are they?  What are these rational restraints?  Greece has all manner of government controls, doesn’t it?  China’s got communism, people say, and it’s facing fiscal crisis.

Do you have a clear idea what’s needed, or is this one of those “We’ve got to do something” deals?

That is not such a bad thing for those who are too rich to fail, but is devastating for the poor and middle classes, especially when social safety nets are taken away. The wealthiest will do well regardless. A bust economy sets the conditions for exploitation of the rest of the population by those who have the will and the facility for making money simply for it’s own sake.

“The wealthiest do well regardless.”  That’s a little like noting that the organisms that survive to pass on their genes are evolutionarily successful.  It doesn’t mean much.  Yesterday’s successful organism is today’s extinction. There’s actually a pretty high turnover among the rich.  Fortunes are made and lost.  The poor become rich and the rich become poor and pass through the stages in between.

http://www.aeaweb.org/aea/2013conference/program/retrieve.php?pdfid=462

The economy is in “recovery”, now, but it consists of the wealthiest, at the top of the economic food chain doing exceptionally well, while 50% of Americans are near or below the poverty line.

That’s so weird, since we’re spending so much right now on higher Social Security payments and on food stamps, and didn’t the Democrats tell us that few things return more dollars to the economy than food stamp spending?  If we could cut defense spending and plow it all into food stamps then maybe we’d see an economic boom.  What do you think?  Bush must have really screwed things up (yeah, he boosted spending, but not enough on food stamps) or else Obama’s policies would have this economy humming.

This poverty rate has been growing consistently and will likely continue to do so.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/17/223373452/poverty-rate-unchanged-in-2012

Unions have been neutered.  So there is no help for workers there.  Right wing ideologues who want to do away with governmental regulations on corporations have gained political power to the point that the Congress is effectively paralyzed.

And with Congress effectively paralyzed, what chance do they have of doing away with governmental regulations on corporations?  Zip?

The problem is not a lack of power to regulate the economy.  The problem is that the people making the decisions about how to regulate the economy don’t know what they’re doing (Hayek).

And wealthy interests use lobbyists to direct what little Congress does do in favor of their own interests. So no help for common workers there. Many of the common workers, themselves, i.e., Tea Partiers, have bought in to the trickle down tripe.  So no help there.

Which brings us back again to ... what do you think would help?

We are on track to have the continuing growth of economic disparity between the few wealthiest and the many poorest citizens.  The American Dream is dying a slow death for most Americans.

Well, then we could just fix the growth of inequality by capping income and wealth.  Where do you want the caps?  With wealth and income capped, that money will surely find its way to those in poverty(?).

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Posted: 24 September 2013 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Occam. - 24 September 2013 09:31 AM

Yes, one can have another few homes built, but wouldn’t improving the homes of the destitute give more to the society?  If that extra billion were taxed and used to upgrade schools, and allow many more to get higher education without going into crushing debt, wouldn’t that help society more than an extra three yachts?

Is this clear cut?  I don’t see it. We tried public housing, and it’s been a failed program.  If people don’t earn and own they tend to damage the properties in which they dwell.  Some see more work for construction workers in that scenario, but it seems like a case of the broken window fallacy.  Spending on education is good, but conditioned on two premisses.  First that the education results in skills that increase the odds of useful employment (we’ve got some sensationally useless higher degrees floating around).  Second, that the person receiving education assistance is prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

I realize that the machinist may not contribute as much value as the CEO of the company, however, I find it hard to justify a few hundred to one ratio of payment to them.

Where’s the need for justification?  The free market takes care of the ratio.  If anything needs justification, it’s overruling the trend in the market.

This could go on for pages, but I’m trying to be succinct. smile

Success!  wink

Good post, Occam.

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Posted: 24 September 2013 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Bryan - 24 September 2013 12:11 AM

(Thank you, Lois, for taking the time to explain your remark.  I sincerely appreciate it)

Lois - 23 September 2013 10:12 PM

Those who “have faith” in untrammelled capitalism and are able exploit it in a capitalistic economy will always be able to garner riches. So they will have enough riches to spread the wealth to the less fortunate or talented as long as laws are in place to require it. If laws are not in place forcing sharing of the wealth a very unbalanced society results because the wealthy are less likely to share their riches with the exploited and downtrodden on their own.

That’s a common view, but I’d say it overlooks the fact that the riches of the wealthy cannot fail to find their way back to the economy unless the rich person does something akin to burying money in the ground.  Suppose the filthy rich person builds a house.  He’s providing jobs for construction workers and the makers of the raw materials.  He’s purchasing furniture and other items, supporting other jobs.  But maybe he doesn’t spend it all.  Maybe he puts it in savings or invests it.  In either case, the money goes right back into the economy.  Financial institutions loan out the money to business owners and people looking to buy things such as houses.  Again, the money supports the economy and jobs.  If the investments are profitable then the filthy rich can expect a return.  But sometimes investments don’t pan out.  So all the money did was support temporary jobs.

They will share only enough to keep the lower classes from rising up against them. In a communist society, or even a socialist one, it is much more difficult (though, as we’ve seen not impossible) for some people, though many fewer than under capitalism, to garner great wealth, usually through corruption of the system.

Right, because the economy often produces relatively little wealth to begin with.  But party leaders tend to get special privileges.

But in a communist or socialist system most of the people will receive a portion of the wealth the system creates because it is in the hands of the government.  This is the way a comministic or socialist system is supposed to work, though the corruption under communist dictatorships was so great that the system failed. It works much better in countries with enough capitalism to drive the economy and enough socialism to prevent the masses from falling into poverty.  The Scandinavian countries are good examples of this. The United States is a good example of too much capitalism and too little socialism, which creates an unbalanced system with a lot of wealth at the top and much poverty and poor infrastructure for the poor and middle classes.  It also tends to shrink the middle class so that most of the population struggles to gain a toehold while the wealth stays at the top—and the wealthy work mightily to keep it that way.  Of course this is a bare outline of how capitalism and socialism works and there is more to it than this but I hope this gives an idea of what I was talking about when I said that those with faith in untrammelled capitalism guarantee that there always will be enough rich people around who have enough money pay the bills, though unless forced through socialistic laws, they will never pay enough of them or even their fair share.

Thanks again for clarifying.  I think you make some good points, though you should also be aware that the Scandinavian countries are tending toward market-based economic reform.  They’re doing it because they were experiencing the economic weakness that central government control so often produces.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-06/booming-sweden-s-free-market-solution.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/world/europe/danes-rethink-a-welfare-state-ample-to-a-fault.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


Although actual socialism means the government controls the economy and the resources, I was advocating a mixed economy of capitalism with social programs to keep the majority of the population from sinking into poverty. This requires a government run or guaranteed system that provides education, housing and food assistance and healthcare.  Something. Like most Western democracies have now, though I woukd put more money andtalent into tge social programs than the US does. I don’t think a government can be considered a good one without that kind of solid infrastructure for the whole population.


You wrote: That’s a common view, but I’d say it overlooks the fact that the riches of the wealthy cannot fail to find their way back to the economy unless the rich person does something akin to burying money in the ground.

lthough that’s true, enough money doesn’t find its way into the general economy to create a good society without social programs.  There are other ways for the wealthy to avoid creating a fair society besides burying their money in the ground.  They can invest off shore and avoid taxation and decent wages in their own country (and in the countries they are investing in). They can and do invest in things that will bring them the highest return on their investment even if it undermines the rest of society and destroys the environment.  They can and do invest in precious metals that do nothing for any economy. The wealthy can build only so many houses for their own use or run luxury yachts and invest in all the playthings they desire, but the relatively few jobs they create by giving themselves luxuries will never come close to meeting the demands of a decent society. Such a system merely widens the gap between rich and poor and diminishes the middle class. Unless the wealthy pay their fair share society as a whole will suffer, and it’s been shown that we can’t depend on them to pay their fair share unless they are required to do it through a fair taxation plan that the wealthy can’t avoid paying.

Lois

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Posted: 24 September 2013 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Occam. - 24 September 2013 09:31 AM

While I grit my teeth at some of Bryan’s posts, I haven’t put him in ignore because he makes strong, well-reasoned arguments (even if there are usually hidden, erroneous premises on which they are based). LOL

Members of a society work to produce value and use it to live.  We use money as a means of value exchange.  Anything that takes value out of circulation reduces the living conditions of some of the members.  As one collects value, one can improve one’s living conditions, but to a decreasing degree.  Does having two billion dollars improve one’s living conditions beyond having one billion?  Yes, one can have another few homes built, but wouldn’t improving the homes of the destitute give more to the society?  If that extra billion were taxed and used to upgrade schools, and allow many more to get higher education without going into crushing debt, wouldn’t that help society more than an extra three yachts?

I realize that the machinist may not contribute as much value as the CEO of the company, however, I find it hard to justify a few hundred to one ratio of payment to them.

This could go on for pages, but I’m trying to be succinct. smile

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It’s your choice, Occam. He has been here for years. In all that time, have you learned anything from him? If so, what?

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Posted: 24 September 2013 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Lois - 24 September 2013 10:00 AM

Although actual socialism means the government controls the economy and the resources, I was advocating a mixed economy of capitalism with social programs to keep the majority of the population from sinking into poverty.

I don’t think we have a disagreement here, aside from the fact that I prefer a system where the culture is geared toward general prosperity rather than the government controlling the effort.  I understand the difference between communism and socialism, and I recognize that European socialism is a mixed economy though closer to socialism than the U.S.

This requires a government run or guaranteed system that provides education, housing and food assistance and healthcare.  Something. Like most Western democracies have now, though I woukd put more money andtalent into tge social programs than the US does. I don’t think a government can be considered a good one without that kind of solid infrastructure for the whole population.

The amount of money the U.S. is now putting into social programs, when projected into the future along with the expected changes in demographics, produces financial ruin.  It’s going to take some salesmanship to make that sound like a good idea.

You wrote: That’s a common view, but I’d say it overlooks the fact that the riches of the wealthy cannot fail to find their way back to the economy unless the rich person does something akin to burying money in the ground.

lthough that’s true, enough money doesn’t find its way into the general economy to create a good society without social programs.  There are other ways for the wealthy to avoid creating a fair society besides burying their money in the ground.  They can invest off shore and avoid taxation and decent wages in their own country (and in the countries they are investing in).

Here we have the irony that some of the European countries with strong social safety nets invest in United States.

Investing offshore typically doesn’t avoid taxation.  It enables the foreign countries to charge taxes and boosts the economy there. 

They can and do invest in things that will bring them the highest return on their investment even if it undermines the rest of society and destroys the environment.  They can and do invest in precious metals that do nothing for any economy. The wealthy can build only so many houses for their own use or run luxury yachts and invest in all the playthings they desire, but the relatively few jobs they create by giving themselves luxuries will never come close to meeting the demands of a decent society. Such a system merely widens the gap between rich and poor and diminishes the middle class. Unless the wealthy pay their fair share society as a whole will suffer, and it’s been shown that we can’t depend on them to pay their fair share unless they are required to do it through a fair taxation plan that the wealthy can’t avoid paying.

1)  One can pass laws that discourage activities that undermine the rest of society and destroy the environment.  But there are tradeoffs galore.  Do we want to restrict free speech that harms the rest of society, for example?
2)  Investing in precious metals produces economic activity and is sometimes taxed.  Increases of the value of precious metals produce a taxable capital gain when the commodity is sold.
3)  Purchasing luxuries is simply one of the uses of great wealth, and I pointed out the job creation involved simply to play up the fact that the least useful things rich people can buy with their money still produce jobs.  Investing in new ideas and businesses does the most to boost economic growth over the long term.  That’s where savings and business investments go.
4)  Why would it diminish the middle class if somebody at the top gains additional wealth exponentially (except for the trivial relative comparison between the two)?  The middle class person holds the same amount of wealth either way.
5)  What’s a “fair share”?  It seems to me that the government should never tax north of the apex of the Laffer curve (wherever that is).  Anything above that is purely punitive.
6)  It was shown?  Where, and by whom?  And how did they define “fair share”?

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Posted: 24 September 2013 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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“Based on wage figures, half of Americans are in or near poverty.

The IRS reports that the highest wage in the bottom half of earners is about $34,000. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to 130% of the federal poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four.”


http://www.salon.com/2013/05/30/half_of_americans_living_below_or_near_poverty_line_partner/

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Posted: 24 September 2013 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Bryan - 24 September 2013 11:50 AM

... aside from the fact that I prefer a system where the culture is geared toward general prosperity rather than the government controlling the effort.

Bryan-
The amount of money the U.S. is now putting into social programs, when projected into the future along with the expected changes in demographics, produces financial ruin.

Yes that’s because the System you would prefer has failed miserably at providing general prosperity for decades now.
Of course you’ll counter with the fact that it has been hindered by Government. And can’t realize it’s potential with so much Government intervention.
Except the intervention that is lobbied for of course!
Despite the fact that Financial Markets are thriving and rebounded back hard after a collapse!
Despite the fact that hundreds of Corps. are sitting on mammoth liquid reserves.
Despite the fact that government was basically powerless to prevent millions and millions of jobs from being exported to cheaper labor markets.
That’s where the jobs went!  That’s where the economy went!
But that’s the system you would prefer.  A system where the culture is geared toward general prosperity.

[ Edited: 24 September 2013 03:08 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 24 September 2013 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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VYAZMA - 24 September 2013 02:32 PM
Bryan - 24 September 2013 11:50 AM

... aside from the fact that I prefer a system where the culture is geared toward general prosperity rather than the government controlling the effort.

Bryan-
The amount of money the U.S. is now putting into social programs, when projected into the future along with the expected changes in demographics, produces financial ruin.

Yes that’s because the System you would prefer has failed miserably at providing general prosperity for decades now.

How does that follow?  Is it less expensive to succeed at providing general prosperity?

Of course you’ll counter with the fact that it has been hindered by Government.

Of course(?).

And can’t realize it’s potential with so much Government intervention.

Perhaps because, in parallel manner, I am hindered by your non sequitur above.

Thanks for another unserious post.

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