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Thread: Class warfare or reality?

  1. #1 Class warfare or reality? 
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    A video of Democrat Elizabeth Warren passionately rebutting the idea that taxing the wealthy is "class warfare" has gone viral, giving some liberals hope that she could give a strong challenge to GOP Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts next year.

     
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/09/elizabeth-warren-class-warfare-video-/1?csp=34news

    I'd like some opinions, from members of this forum, maybe even more so from the many posters on this forum, not from the US. Warren an original member of the Obama Administration from the academic world, from Oklahoma, a University of Houston Law Graduate, a Harvard Law Professor representing Liberal Philosophy, testing the water to gain Scott Brown's Senate Seat, next year in Massachusetts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren
     


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    Why would it be class warfare to return tax rates on the top one tenth of one percent of citizens in our country to Clinton levels in the late 1990s, but not be class warfare when 30 years of republican policy has immensely shifted benefits to the wealthy and increased significantly the gap between the rich and the poor?

    If there's class warfare which has been occurring, it's been against the middle class and in favor of the rich. Trying to re-balance that is not the apocalyptic scenario you ideologues make it out to be.

    Congressional Budget Office - Historical Effective Tax Rates, 1979 to 2005: Supplement with Additional Data on Sources of Income and High-Income Households


    You have major tax cuts for high income Americans comprising a much larger percentage of income than for the middle class. You have massive amounts of financial deregulation which disproportionately benefited the super wealthy over the middle class and poor since so many come from that sector. You have federal policy inclined toward union busting, and a gigantic decline in the real minimum wage. Further, changes in tax rates for the past several years have strongly favored the very very very rich.





    It turns out that 40 percent of taxpayers with incomes between 30K and 40K pay more than 12.9 percent of their income in income and payroll taxes; meanwhile, 25 percent of people with incomes over $1M pay less than 12.6 percent of their income in these taxes.

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbe...04&DocTypeID=1


    You're suggesting that's not class warfare, but trying to return tax rates on the top one tenth of one percent to levels we had in the late 1990s is? Cognitive dissonance, much? Are you even capable of making arguments without extreme hyperbole any more?



    What she's saying is reality.



    Last edited by inow; September 22nd, 2011 at 02:59 PM.
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    This was more a test thread for my benefit inow, but am not going to argue your points...

    On a political forum, about the same time I entered this thread, that thread went ballistic and since kind of an exaggerated topic, for or opposed to capitalism, I wanted to test the waters here. That thread has now had well over 200 post and near 2000 views, pretty much even on opinion (surprised me) and this one 2 and 20, it's apparent to me, this forum is no longer of any value to me. I'll continue to visit on occasion, but both SF.com and .net, have pretty well gone south.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson
    Warren an original member of the Obama Administration from the academic world, from Oklahoma, a University of Houston Law Graduate, a Harvard Law Professor representing Liberal Philosophy
    Warren "represents" physical reality, not "liberal philosophy" (whatever Limbaugh has declared that to be this week).

    The confusion is natural, given the recent political history of the US, but confusion nevertheless.
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  6. #5  
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    It's a 4 way class struggle. The groups are:

    1) - Consumer
    2) - Blue Collar Workers
    3) - Managers/White Collar Workers
    4) - Entrepreneur/Investor

    The gospel of Neolibertarian Free Market Economics (Praise be unto Adam Smith!!) teaches that the only one of those 4 that matters is the consumer, and anything that is done to serve him will absolutely always result in a benefit to the other three. No exceptions. Never mind that most of those consumers are also workers, .... who won't have any money to spend if their paycheck gets cut.

    Investors also get the shaft, because blue collar workers are committing a great sin if the attempt to form a union and go on strike (thereby obstructing the production process), but it's fine for management (white collar workers) to obstruct that process any which way they want, adding bureaucracy they know to be unnecessary, spending money just to make sure their appropriated budgets don't get left unused, and voting to give themselves bonuses even while the company is failing (because "the company promised it to them" .... wait doesn't that mean they promised it to themselves? Who makes the decision to give out bonuses?????) At least if both groups were obstructing things (white collar and blue collar), they could be played against each other by the investors/entrepreneurs, leaving a bigger margin for them (which the investors would probably choose to pass onto the consumer anyway, by lowering prices).

    It seems the only winners here are the white collars.
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    Could someone belong to more than one of the above classes. Are people born into these classes and stuck there for life, like the Untouchables used to be in India?
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's a 4 way class struggle. The groups are:

    1) - Consumer
    2) - Blue Collar Workers
    3) - Managers/White Collar Workers
    4) - Entrepreneur/Investor
    Picking up on Harold's comment, it seems to me that almost everyone has been or is in multiples of these "classes".

    it's fine for management (white collar workers)
    Where are the engineers, designers, scientists, artists, analysts, fashion models, nurses, doctors, lawyers etc? You need to add a class, Mauve Collar perhaps.

    to obstruct that process any which way they want, adding bureaucracy they know to be unnecessary, spending money just to make sure their appropriated budgets don't get left unused, and voting to give themselves bonuses even while the company is failing (because "the company promised it to them" .... wait doesn't that mean they promised it to themselves? Who makes the decision to give out bonuses?????) At least if both groups were obstructing things (white collar and blue collar), they could be played against each other by the investors/entrepreneurs, leaving a bigger margin for them (which the investors would probably choose to pass onto the consumer anyway, by lowering prices).

    It seems the only winners here are the white collars.
    You shouldn't base your opinion of managers on the few high profile cases that make the evening news. There are a great many managers working honestly to do the best for their companies and who understand that employee well-being is a large part of what makes a good and profitable company. Of course they don't make the evening news.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Could someone belong to more than one of the above classes. Are people born into these classes and stuck there for life, like the Untouchables used to be in India?
    Yeah. Most people belong to more than one. Everyone who makes more than a subsistence wage is a consumer. Anyone who invests their money is an investor. Some people have enough of a portfolio they don't have to work anymore. Ideally most people who are of an age to retire would have a good sized portfolio, but a lot of 401k plans got wiped out (or at least dramatically reduced).

    When you look at a company like Enron, you see a bunch of executives making a lot of money, while the investors got screwed, and the blue collar guys just found out they didn't have a job one day.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post

    it's fine for management (white collar workers)
    Where are the engineers, designers, scientists, artists, analysts, fashion models, nurses, doctors, lawyers etc? You need to add a class, Mauve Collar perhaps.
    Yeah. Mauve Collar sounds like a good designation for them. They're still the driving force, but saying blue collar implies uneducated or unprestigious. The mauve collar are producers, so they're still part of the primary production force. Or maybe consider them to be skilled artisans?

    Unskilled artisans get pushed toward minimum wage. Skilled artisans still get to dictate theirs.

    to obstruct that process any which way they want, adding bureaucracy they know to be unnecessary, spending money just to make sure their appropriated budgets don't get left unused, and voting to give themselves bonuses even while the company is failing (because "the company promised it to them" .... wait doesn't that mean they promised it to themselves? Who makes the decision to give out bonuses?????) At least if both groups were obstructing things (white collar and blue collar), they could be played against each other by the investors/entrepreneurs, leaving a bigger margin for them (which the investors would probably choose to pass onto the consumer anyway, by lowering prices).

    It seems the only winners here are the white collars.
    You shouldn't base your opinion of managers on the few high profile cases that make the evening news. There are a great many managers working honestly to do the best for their companies and who understand that employee well-being is a large part of what makes a good and profitable company. Of course they don't make the evening news.
    From what I've seen inside offices, the Dilbert comics are funny for a reason. I'm sure most managers are hard working, but they still participate in all the waste and obstruction because that's the culture they live in and they have no choice. The most honest managers I know still spend their full budget every year even if they don't need it, figuring that it would go to an even more wasteful purpose if they didn't.

    Also I don't fully object to using threat of obstruction as a way to assert a good wage. If the consumer wins too much and too often, then the consumer ultimately loses (because the consumer is also a worker, investor, or manager). I just think the obstruction game should be left open to all sides, so it can be a three, or four, way tug of war, instead of a two way tug of war between a guy with huge muscles and a scrawny little runt.
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    1) - Consumer
    2) - Blue Collar Workers
    3) - Managers/White Collar Workers
    4) - Entrepreneur/Investor
    I too think those are entirely too regimented. They might have worked in the 18th century when Adam Smith was alive but today things are much more complex.

    I was raised in a blue collar family--but my dad also owned his own lobster boat and a Briggs & Straton shop which a few others, making his a bit manager as well.
    During and after college I was a research meteorologist and forecaster...what category is that?
    After a couple years as an enlisted mechanic, I became a military officer--definitely management but almost immediately upon wearing that golden bar invested 10-20% of my income into investments. Tens of millions invest-regardless of how their primary incomes. Largely due to the strong recovery for investors since the bottom of the recession, for the first time last year, I made more money on paper than my military income. (Of course I got creamed 3 years go when stocks tanked).

    Adam Smith's model doesn't do the trick.

    We could discuss mobility, but would have use other measures, some of which put the US in a pretty bad light such as an Economist article from a few years ago (don't know if it's online yet), which showed American class mobility was lower than most of Europe.
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    It's a 4 way class struggle. The groups are:

    1) - Consumer
    2) - Blue Collar Workers
    3) - Managers/White Collar Workers
    4) - Entrepreneur/Investor
    Those aren't classes.

    The current reality of class war is between the wealthy and the rest of us. The wealthy have won the last few rounds, rolling back the gains made by the rest of us in the 1930s. Our class structure is getting close to that of the late 1800s and post WWI 1900s - and we are paying a similar price.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    1) - Consumer
    2) - Blue Collar Workers
    3) - Managers/White Collar Workers
    4) - Entrepreneur/Investor
    I too think those are entirely too regimented. They might have worked in the 18th century when Adam Smith was alive but today things are much more complex.

    I
    That's the problem. Things weren't simple then either. They never are. But you can't look at something as complicated as economics at its full level of detail. It's like they teach in physics classes. You have to idealize the model at least a little bit before you apply it. The trick is to remember that you're idealizing, then use a few other approaches and see if they match before drawing a conclusion.

    They're hats not people. A person may wear all three hats (even at the same time). When you are in the role of an investor, and the management of the company in which you own stock starts giving itself raises and bonuses while the company is tanking, you feel about as helpless as a voter who's government is pushing the country down a road they don't want to go down. You may also be an executive at another company, but your experience as an investor is still the same experience. You're confronted with different incentives when you play the different roles.

    Rich vs. Poor works too, I guess..... but misses a lot of the dynamics. Using both lenses together, and seeing where they overlap, you get even more clarity. Mathematics is all about creating building blocks and then using them. If you can't sort the information then you can't approach it. And there are a lot of dishonest people in this country right now who want us not to approach it.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    From what I've seen inside offices, the Dilbert comics are funny for a reason. I'm sure most managers are hard working, but they still participate in all the waste and obstruction because that's the culture they live in and they have no choice. The most honest managers I know still spend their full budget every year even if they don't need it, figuring that it would go to an even more wasteful purpose if they didn't.
    The Dilbert comics are funny; however the pointy haired boss wouldn't make it for a day in an engineering office. There is no such thing as spending to the budget. You estimate a project and bid it on that basis. If the scope changes up or down you submit change orders. It is tightly controlled. The managers you know must work in some other industry.
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    The Dilbert comics are funny; however the pointy haired boss wouldn't make it for a day in an engineering office.
    That character was originally drawn from Scott Adam's experience working with the telecommunications engineering department of a large corporation.

    Rich vs. Poor works too, I guess..... but misses a lot of the dynamics.
    Marx used three basic classes - wealthy, middle, and poor. He built his analysis not so much on the amounts, but the sources, of their incomes.

    The class of people who gain much or most of their income from the return on wealth - "investment" of accumulated resources rather than employment of personal effort, time, skill, etc - have in common different economic interests from those who don't, and sometimes conflicting ones. This leads to a common body of conflicting political, social, and personal interests as well. They form a class, and it is in conflict with other classes.
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    What the class warriors fail to mention is that rich people are rich because "the rest of us" give them money. We usually do so willingly, in return for some product or service that we value more than the amount paid. But, the class warriors like Ms. Warren have decided that they owe "the rest of us" something in addition to that. Of course they already do pay a higher rate of income taxes, but that does not keep Ms. Warren from portraying them as freeloaders on the infrastructure provided by "the rest of us," as if "the rest of us" do not gain any benefit from that infrastructure as we go about earning and spending our wages.

    It is good politics though, because people like to hear that they are being screwed out of their rightful stuff, and somebody will get it back for them, even if they are among the 40 percent or so of "the rest of us" who pay no federal income tax at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Marx used three basic classes - wealthy, middle, and poor. He built his analysis not so much on the amounts, but the sources, of their incomes.
    Oops, you're not supposed to mention that you are a Marxist. It is fodder for the Republican propaganda machine.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    But, the class warriors like Ms. Warren have decided that they owe "the rest of us" something in addition to that. Of course they already do pay a higher rate of income taxes, but that does not keep Ms. Warren from...
    I'm sorry, but this is rather plainly false. No propaganda required.

    Distribution of Effective Individual Income and Payroll Tax Rate across Income Class, Under Current Law, in 2011

    The Distributional Effect of Tax Cuts -- A Brief Note
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    But, the class warriors like Ms. Warren have decided that they owe "the rest of us" something in addition to that. Of course they already do pay a higher rate of income taxes, but that does not keep Ms. Warren from...
    I'm sorry, but this is rather plainly false. No propaganda required.

    Distribution of Effective Individual Income and Payroll Tax Rate across Income Class, Under Current Law, in 2011

    The Distributional Effect of Tax Cuts -- A Brief Note
    I didn't see anything there that said the rich do not pay a higher income tax rate.
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    You must be ignoring the part where they report on capital gains, and not on income.
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    Short term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income. There is a good reason to tax long term capital gains at a lower rate. Otherwise people would be paying income tax for property that did not increase in real value (adjusted for inflation). You want people to invest don't you?

    Also found this in your linked web site:

    • The progressivity of the federal tax system means that high-income taxpayers bear a high share of taxes. In 2009, the top quintile of the income distribution will receive 53.4 percent of income and pay 67.2 percent of federal taxes.
      Source: Tax Policy Center Table T09-0358.
    Last edited by Harold14370; September 26th, 2011 at 08:15 PM.
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    Yeah. Go figure. People who earn more pay more overall. Gosh. I'm really quite surprised that those in poverty, or even those earning the princely sum of $25K/year aren't paying more than they take in... Like $100K per year in taxes. Stupid liberal system.


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    How do you increase taxes for the rich without hurting many thousands of small businesses that are linked to their individual income and historically produce the most jobs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    How do you increase taxes for the rich without hurting many thousands of small businesses that are linked to their individual income and historically produce the most jobs?
    By discouraging the rich from driving them out of business fro short term profit. By encouraging the rich to invest in small businesses and job creation rather than draining profits into personal income. Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Marx used three basic classes - wealthy, middle, and poor. He built his analysis not so much on the amounts, but the sources, of their incomes.


    Oops, you're not supposed to mention that you are a Marxist. It is fodder for the Republican propaganda machine.
    Wingnut field identification item #76: If they think Marx's middle class is the bedrock of society, and Marx's wealthy class does not exist, they are wingnuts.

    #77: If they think Reagan invented talking about the middle class, they are T Party wingnuts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    How do you increase taxes for the rich without hurting many thousands of small businesses that are linked to their individual income and historically produce the most jobs?
    By discouraging the rich from driving them out of business.
    I don't understand that answer. Until you get to really big big money, those rich ARE THE SMALL businesses. That's really at the core of why most republicans are resisting any attempt to raise taxes on the wealthy. I don't know what the reasonable cut off is before you get away from most small business owners linked income-business into S-Corps and other non-linked incomes: $200K, $500K a year?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Until you get to really big big money, those rich ARE THE SMALL businesses. That's really at the core of why most republicans are resisting any attempt to raise taxes on the wealthy.
    You have to be cautious of these comments using the term "small businesses."


    Obama Among `Small Businesses' Bearing Share of Tax Hike - Bloomberg

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says President Barack Obama wants to subject half of all small-business income to a tax increase, a move that he says would strike a blow at the U.S. job-creation engine.


    McConnell’s numbers add up only if you consider people like billionaire investor George Soros, most movie stars and Obama himself small-business owners, tax experts say.

    That’s because the lawmaker is basing his figure on a broad definition of the term that experts say includes authors, actors and athletes who employ few if any workers. It also encompasses businesses that many people wouldn’t consider small, such as Soros’s hedge-fund firm and major law partnerships.


    “Every student who is a part-time Web designer, partner in a law firm with a billion dollars of revenue and investor in a hedge fund gets lumped together in the data, along with real small businesses,” said Edward Kleinbard, a former staff director of the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation and now a law professor at the University of Southern California. “We are being over-inclusive in our use of small-business income.”




    About "Small Businesses"

    When Republicans claim that 50% of small business income goes to people in the top 2 tax brackets, their definition of small business income is way too broad. In the JCT report (pdf) they’re relying on, “business income” — which is what they’re calling small business income — is defined as:

    income from sole proprietorships (Schedule C); income from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, subchapter S corporations, estates and trusts, and real estate mortgage investment conduits (Schedule E); and farm income (Schedule F), as would be reported on lines 12, 17, and 18 of the 2010 Form 1040.
    What this means is that my book royalties (and Obama’s) are counted as part of what the GOP calls small business income; so is the income of partners in medical groups and law firms, much of the income of hedge fund managers, and so on.

    The point is that I’m not a real small businessman, but I play one in anti-tax propaganda.

    To your other question, the most common cutoff I've seen is about a quarter of a million dollars per year to be considered rich.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Wingnut field identification item #76: If they think Marx's middle class is the bedrock of society, and Marx's wealthy class does not exist, they are wingnuts.

    #77: If they think Reagan invented talking about the middle class, they are T Party wingnuts.
    Classes. Classes, classes, classes. Why can't we just be a society of free and equal individuals?
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    ncome from sole proprietorships (Schedule C); income from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, subchapter S corporations, estates and trusts, and real estate mortgage investment conduits (Schedule E); and farm income (Schedule F), as would be reported on lines 12, 17, and 18 of the 2010 Form 1040.
    So if made those lines non-taxable, or at least at the minimum rates, you'd be able to stimulate small business hiring while still taxing the rest of their income? Or focus it even more to those S-corporations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Classes. Classes, classes, classes. Why can't we just be a society of free and equal individuals?
    What are you going to do about the rich and powerful? Guillotine them?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    I don't understand that answer. Until you get to really big big money, those rich ARE THE SMALL businesses.
    If they're clearing that much in personal income, profits taken out of the company, why are we worried about "hurting" them?

    Small business did a lot better under Roosevelt's tax structure than it has done under Reagan's.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    So if made those lines non-taxable, or at least at the minimum rates, you'd be able to stimulate small business hiring while still taxing the rest of their income?
    Tax cuts for the rich don't stimulate hiring. Never have, never will. Rich people hire for a reason, and the reason is seldom charity. If they can make more money by hiring another employee than otherwise investing, they will - and borrow to do it. If they can't, they won't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Classes. Classes, classes, classes. Why can't we just be a society of free and equal individuals?
    What are you going to do about the rich and powerful? Guillotine them?
    What?? Why do you feel they need to be guillotined?
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Classes. Classes, classes, classes. Why can't we just be a society of free and equal individuals?


    What are you going to do about the rich and powerful? Guillotine them? What?? Why do you feel they need to be guillotined?
    I don't. But then I don't see much mystery in the question of why we (a modern industrial society) aren't just a society of free and equal individuals.
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    Republicans accuse Obama of waging class warfare for one simple reason: class conflict is historically associated with Marxism. Birthism has run its course; now it’s time for the next meme to be floated into the brains of the unanalytical masses.
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