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  1. #1 Ocupy Wall Street? 
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    Occupy Wall Street?


    The last issue of Montclarion, a student newspaper at Montclair State University,*published an article of Grover Furr, about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

    The Montclarion » Blog Archive » Letter to the Editor

    Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

    What does Professor Furr have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

    The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism, without offering something better, is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:

    click here

    Note that even now, one hundred years after the Soviet revolution, standards of living in Russia are much lower than in the US, and in other western countries.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
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    Have a read of this article and the comments if you will.
    Has Marx's long-awaited economic determinism actually arrived? Long ago, in the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Comintern and Soviet "active measures" assured their followers that capitalism would fail in the West. After all this time, are the jargon and propaganda of the old left actually coming true? Say it ain't so. After all, history's supreme socialist regime in Russia collapsed in 1991. And we won, right? Free-market capitalism triumphed, and communism failed. End of conversation.



    Last edited by Dave Wilson; October 23rd, 2011 at 01:42 PM. Reason: lost the links
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    It seems pretty unclear what Occupy Wall Street wants and you never see pictures of more than a few dozen people, usually with Moore in the middle.
    After a lot of searching I found one document about what they might stand for:

    Halt foreclosures for the unemployed, sick and elderly
    Increase funding to public services by taxing the richest 1 percent
    Forgive all student loan debt
    Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act in order to control speculation
    Work with the other G20 nations to implement a 1% “Robin Hood” tax on all financial transactions and currency trades
    Ban high-frequency ‘flash’ trading and bring sanity to the markets
    Break up the “too big to fail” banks that threaten our future
    Arrest the financial fraudsters responsible for the 2008 meltdown and bring them to justice
    Ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence corporate money has on our elected representatives in Washington


    Read more: Manifesto | Occupy Wall Street | Protests | The Daily Caller

    Given more than half of America is invested in Wall Street (and made a ton of money the past two years) it's hard to see this going very far.
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  5. #4  
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    Internet to the rescue. Want to know Occupy Wall Street's position? Go to their website.

    Occupy Wall Street | NYC Protest for American Revolution


    Quote Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
    Occupy Wall Street?


    The last issue of Montclarion, a student newspaper at Montclair State University,*published an article of Grover Furr, about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

    The Montclarion » Blog Archive » Letter to the Editor

    Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

    What does Professor Furr have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

    The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism, without offering something better, is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:
    I think the balancing point is upward mobility. Every poor person has to have some hope of rising to wealth if they're willing to work hard enough. Let the unskilled wage get small enough and that hope would be a lie, an absolute, perfect, impossibility.

    When you look at their proposed demands, demand #1 is:

    Proposed List Of Demands For Occupy Wall St Movement! | OccupyWallSt.org Forum

    Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
    While I'm not sure raising the minimum wage to 20/hr will make a huge difference on its own, certainly workers should not be competing against other economic systems where oppression of workers is the primary basis of competition. That would be like NBA basketball players playing against teams from a foreign league where steroids (reckless oppression of one's own body) is allowed and is the basis of competition.

    Lowering the unskilled wage makes sense in terms of incentive to rise, but what happens if you're born unskilled and poor? (We're all born unskilled.) How do you work your way into college?






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    I think the balancing point is upward mobility. Every poor person has to have some hope of rising to wealth if they're willing to work hard enough. Let the unskilled wage get small enough and that hope would be a lie, an absolute, perfect, impossibility.

    I agree with the upward mobility but I'm not sure it has much to do with unskilled wages. Double unskilled labor wages, as you suggest, is just going to push companies off our shores. Of course we'll always need some service jobs (nursing home butt whippers etc.....no offense they are "blessed" people) but with unemployment high supply of the unskilled drives wages downward--that's simply how it works.

    Rather than depending or artificial wage controls to parents so their kid might have a chance..I'd rather put the money more directly towards the kids--pay their teachers well like they do in Finland rather than wasting it on school looks and technology "weewhiz crap." Invest huge amounts in the form of loans to get people to an associates or technical degree--and make grades count. The same model can be applied to 2nd and 3rd career changers. Some of this is social as well--some groups don't think education is important despite that fact that the unemployment rate is ~5% for college educated. As it stands right now a child of a poor family has a better chance of going to prison than going to college--and that's got to change.
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    I think the balancing point is upward mobility. Every poor person has to have some hope of rising to wealth if they're willing to work hard enough.
    The American Dream was not "rising to wealth" by working your tail off - it was enjoying a reasonable, dignified, human life simply by holding down an ordinary job. Raising a family on the wages of a forty hour week without special intelligence, expensive skills, unusual efforts, etc.

    In Horatio Alger stories, for example, the protagonist does not achieve great wealth by his own efforts - he is rewarded for virtuous behavior by being given a decent job.

    That's what vanishes, when the banking class is allowed to gut the working class's income and keep all the money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    I think the balancing point is upward mobility. Every poor person has to have some hope of rising to wealth if they're willing to work hard enough.
    The American Dream was not "rising to wealth" by working your tail off - it was enjoying a reasonable, dignified, human life simply by holding down an ordinary job. Raising a family on the wages of a forty hour week without special intelligence, expensive skills, unusual efforts, etc.
    It also wasn't owning a 2000 square foot home with a toilet for each person and TV in each room, a gas guzzling pig in the front yard and a pickup in the back. And even by more modest standards we no longer compete with just ourselves. If you are unskilled and in a field that in anyway can be exported--expect it to be--even if you're taking orders at the Burger King.

    In Horatio Alger stories, for example, the protagonist does not achieve great wealth by his own efforts - he is rewarded for virtuous behavior by being given a decent job.
    Can you expand on this. For no matter how many bowls of soup you hand out to the homeless, no one is likely to put you in charge of a six-figure job. Be happy to continue to serve soup and live in a small home with others wearing 2nd hand clothes. You're still a great American.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; October 24th, 2011 at 07:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think the balancing point is upward mobility. Every poor person has to have some hope of rising to wealth if they're willing to work hard enough. Let the unskilled wage get small enough and that hope would be a lie, an absolute, perfect, impossibility.

    I agree with the upward mobility but I'm not sure it has much to do with unskilled wages. Double unskilled labor wages, as you suggest, is just going to push companies off our shores. Of course we'll always need some service jobs (nursing home butt whippers etc.....no offense they are "blessed" people) but with unemployment high supply of the unskilled drives wages downward--that's simply how it works.


    That's why the end to globalization is part of it. Having the demand for a product in one place and the supply in another allows jobs to get pushed off shore. If local demand is only accessible to local business, then it's impossible for that to happen. Business *must* go where demand is. They have no choice.

    It's just like in sports. If there's a prize, and you say that teams must meet certain pre-conditions in order to compete for it, setting those preconditions high doesn't mean nobody will show up. For example, if we required that every NBA player earn a bachelor's degree before they can play, we'd lose a few good players, but ....we'd still never be short of applicants. Someone will absolutely always show up to try and claim the prize.

    A country's demand pool is also similarly a prize you set in front of businesses and they compete for it. Our problem right now is that we have set no preconditions at all. "Globalization" is a kind word for what really amounts to lowering the bar. It raises the bar for workers (to a totally impossible level), but lowers the bar for management. Why do we do that? Isn't it enough that we pay management so much? Do we also have to let them be lazy about how they earn it? (How does letting them be lazy increase the quality of applicants?????)




    Rather than depending or artificial wage controls to parents so their kid might have a chance..I'd rather put the money more directly towards the kids--pay their teachers well like they do in Finland rather than wasting it on school looks and technology "weewhiz crap." Invest huge amounts in the form of loans to get people to an associates or technical degree--and make grades count. The same model can be applied to 2nd and 3rd career changers. Some of this is social as well--some groups don't think education is important despite that fact that the unemployment rate is ~5% for college educated. As it stands right now a child of a poor family has a better chance of going to prison than going to college--and that's got to change.


    Right now, there's a problem in the software engineering field that large numbers of foreign workers from India are being recruited to fill tech roles because of their lower salary requirements than an equivalently trained American tech worker. Now educated Americans (educated in one of the most difficult and necessary fields) are getting crowded out, and driven down to a wage nobody in their right mind would put themselves through so much pain to obtain. After repaying their student loans, who knows if they're even coming out ahead over McDonalds' employees?

    It's a more general problem than just education. There's nothing unique about Americans that makes them able to do it better than anyone else. What's unique about the USA (and Western Europe, Australia, etc) is our flatter distribution of wealth that provides a good consumer base to build industry around. Take that away and we'd be just as bad off as the worst African country.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
    Have a read of this article and the comments if you will.
    Has Marx's long-awaited economic determinism actually arrived? Long ago, in the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Comintern and Soviet "active measures" assured their followers that capitalism would fail in the West. After all this time, are the jargon and propaganda of the old left actually coming true? Say it ain't so. After all, history's supreme socialist regime in Russia collapsed in 1991. And we won, right? Free-market capitalism triumphed, and communism failed. End of conversation.

    Excuse me dotcomrade China is still nominally Communist and is gaining ground economically on the USA at prodigious rate. How are you explaining THAT?

    Regarding wages, unless inflation is brought to heel, this will accomplish little.

    Glass-Steagall and other FDR era legislation served admirably and it is not a bad idea to restore Bretton Woods fixed exchange rates either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Regarding wages, unless inflation is brought to heel, this will accomplish little.
    I'm sorry you either have a terrible memory, suck at reading comprehension, or simply care little about speaking with a grounding in reality... but we've been through this. Inflation is NOT a problem right now, no matter how much you continue to flail about and assert otherwise.




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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    I think the balancing point is upward mobility. Every poor person has to have some hope of rising to wealth if they're willing to work hard enough.
    The American Dream was not "rising to wealth" by working your tail off - it was enjoying a reasonable, dignified, human life simply by holding down an ordinary job. Raising a family on the wages of a forty hour week without special intelligence, expensive skills, unusual efforts, etc.

    In Horatio Alger stories, for example, the protagonist does not achieve great wealth by his own efforts - he is rewarded for virtuous behavior by being given a decent job.

    That's what vanishes, when the banking class is allowed to gut the working class's income and keep all the money.
    Hm, somehow I can't manage to reconcile the connotations between 'ordinary job' and the American dream...
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    It's almost a universally accepted fact of history that liberal democracies do not survive the death of their middle class.

    So the real question is: how do we preserve it? If you don't like the Occupy Wallstreet option, then please point us in the direction of another movement that actually has a realistic chance of achieving this. Increased deregulation will make the rich richer. Voting overly liberal will make the USA into a big welfare state. Who out there is defending the middle class?
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    The American Dream was not "rising to wealth" by working your tail off - i

    Looking at this again. Working hard was always part of it---some of the problem is we've forgotten that. With global competition, we've not only got to work hard, we've got to work smart.
    That's doesn't bode with for a society that's increasingly fat, lazy and anti-intellectual.


    It's almost a universally accepted fact of history that liberal democracies do not survive the death of their middle class.
    What history? It might be universally accepted but there's not much evidence for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The American Dream was not "rising to wealth" by working your tail off - i

    Looking at this again. Working hard was always part of it---some of the problem is we've forgotten that. With global competition, we've not only got to work hard, we've got to work smart.
    That's doesn't bode with for a society that's increasingly fat, lazy and anti-intellectual.
    Besides, even if we were dedicated to education, what makes you think we have an advantage in this area? You don't think the rest of the world is smart too? If they're smart and willing to work for nothing, they're still going to win out in the job market over Americans who are smart and want to earn a decent wage.

    Our country's belief in its own racial superiority will be the undoing. We pretend we don't think such things but.....





    It's almost a universally accepted fact of history that liberal democracies do not survive the death of their middle class.
    What history? It might be universally accepted but there's not much evidence for it.
    Good point. I suppose evidence is lacking to make any such assertions, as there isn't much history in the way of liberal democracies surviving for very long to begin with.

    Intuitively, it makes a lot of sense to think the middle class is essential to the process, but that doesn't guarantee that it actually is essential. A better question to ask, then is, do there exist any countries with a dominant middle class that aren't also liberal democracies or close? It's clear that plenty of countries exist with polarized wealth which are not liberal democracies in practice. (Nearly every country on Earth at least claims to be a liberal democracy in theory. Even Robert Mugabe calls himself the "president" of Zimbabwe.)

    One could argue that Cuba, for example, is dominated by its middle class (economically at least) but is not a liberal democracy.
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    Hm, somehow I can't manage to reconcile the connotations between 'ordinary job' and the American dream...
    Fascinating. 75 years ago, almost no one would have had trouble "reconciling" such conjoined matters.

    The effects of professional marketing and propaganda are the actual topics of most modern political and economic discussions in the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx

    Looking at this again. Working hard was always part of it---some of the problem is we've forgotten that.
    Americans since 1980 - during the time of the redefining of the American Dream and the gutting of the middle class, during the long slide from the top prosperity to our current situation and still sliding - have been the hardest working people on the planet.

    The entire extra productivity from that output of effort has been accumulated in the holdings of the upper 15% of the economy, and a dramatic reduction of social mobility has locked it in.

    Forgetting how to work does not seem to have been the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Intuitively, it makes a lot of sense to think the middle class is essential to the process, but that doesn't guarantee that it actually is essential. A better question to ask, then is, do there exist any countries with a dominant middle class that aren't also liberal democracies or close?
    That would be somewhat tangential (necessary is not at all the same as sufficient, even, let alone causative) - a middle class is necessary to liberal democracy in an industrial society, because an industrial society of the few rich and the many poor cannot manage its politics democratically - their conflicts pit wealth against community, and one of them will lose.

    Can a non-liberal democracy survive, given a middle class?
    Last edited by iceaura; October 26th, 2011 at 09:15 AM.
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    Yeah. If we look at it logically... why would the rich worry about protecting the bill of rights? Even during Pinochet's rule in Chile, I doubt his soldiers would have arrested a rich person to be tortured without some form of due process. Stuff like that just doesn't happen to VIP's. It happens to "nobody"'s.

    People who are working 80 hours a week just to get enough to eat aren't going to take time out of their busy schedule to hold a peaceful demonstration, or form into social clubs with newsletters to petition the government for redress. If they do it will be over something that's life and death, like the water riots that happened in Bolivia. Poverty forces you to focus on the immediate, rather than the long term.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Yeah. If we look at it logically... why would the rich worry about protecting the bill of rights? Even during Pinochet's rule in Chile, I doubt his soldiers would have arrested a rich person to be tortured without some form of due process. Stuff like that just doesn't happen to VIP's. It happens to "nobody"'s.
    Really? Have you read anything about the French revolution? Was Gaddafi a "nobody"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley514 View Post
    Was Gaddafi a "nobody"?
    What really happened to Gaddafi and his relatives we don`t
    know for sure.There is lot of mystery...
    No mystery about it. He was killed by the mob. Do you honestly doubt that he was killed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Yeah. If we look at it logically... why would the rich worry about protecting the bill of rights? .
    American founding fathers were mostly rich and they created the bill of rights. Many of the British officers were disturbed when they were Long Island by the huge wealth of the Americans compared to "back home;" yet they were in a revolution.

    The answer is the bill of rights protects everyone....including the wealthy.
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    Richmond tea party: Charge Occupy protesters or refund $10,000 we spent to rally in Virginia | The Republic
    Richmond tea party: Charge Occupy protesters or refund $10,000 we spent to rally in Virginia

    Richmond, Va. — The Richmond tea party is demanding a refund of about $10,000 from the city, claiming it unfairly charged them for rallies while allowing the Occupy protesters to use the same space for several weeks for free.
    The political organization is sending the city an invoice for the charges incurred for three rallies held in Kanawha Plaza over the past three years. The Occupy protesters have been camped in the plaza since Oct. 15.
    Makes sense to me!
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    Richmond, Va. — The Richmond tea party is demanding a refund of about $10,000 from the city, claiming it unfairly charged them for rallies while allowing the Occupy protesters to use the same space for several weeks for free.
    How deaf to irony would you have to be, to propose that?

    As with the original Tea Party, and unlike the modern political manipulation, charade marketed in three cornered hats (a style of dress few original Boston rioters against tax breaks for the rich could have afforded), there is no one to send a bill to. Genuine rebellion is like that.

    The continual humor of watching the modern "Tea Party", an organization of corporate-funded Loyalists demanding further tax breaks and greater powers for the bankers and businessmen of the world, recoil from anything actually similar to the original Tea Party (same grievances and demographics, differing mainly in its non-violence and avoidance of criminal behavior), is cheering me up regularly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Richmond, Va. — The Richmond tea party is demanding a refund of about $10,000 from the city, claiming it unfairly charged them for rallies while allowing the Occupy protesters to use the same space for several weeks for free.
    How deaf to irony would you have to be, to propose that?

    As with the original Tea Party, and unlike the modern political manipulation, charade marketed in three cornered hats (a style of dress few original Boston rioters against tax breaks for the rich could have afforded), there is no one to send a bill to. Genuine rebellion is like that.

    The continual humor of watching the modern "Tea Party", an organization of corporate-funded Loyalists demanding further tax breaks and greater powers for the bankers and businessmen of the world, recoil from anything actually similar to the original Tea Party (same grievances and demographics, differing mainly in its non-violence and avoidance of criminal behavior), is cheering me up regularly.
    I take it then that you agree with Richmond's policy of charging fees to the tea party but not the Occupy protestors?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    I take it then that you agree with Richmond's policy of charging fees to the tea party but not the Occupy protestors?
    Apples and oranges.

    Besides, that's not a policy - it's a physical reality. They can't charge the OWS folks, because they can't figure out who to send the bill.

    Which illustrates once again the actual nature of the "Tea Party" - it is not and never was a low level rebellion of ordinary people against an oppressive and corrupt government.

    If it were, its members would be joining the OWS. Nothing is stopping them from protesting without paying fees, right now. They can even wear their funny hats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Yeah. If we look at it logically... why would the rich worry about protecting the bill of rights? .
    American founding fathers were mostly rich and they created the bill of rights.
    In the case of the French revolution, it's kind of dicey saying it was lead by the rich, because it was an attempt to overthrow the aristocracy, who stood above the wealthy commoners. In the American revolution, those rich guys leading everything were also threatened by their own lack of a royal title, which meant they could be arbitrarily deprived of wealth and/or freedom anyway.

    So, a more general rule would be that whoever stands at the top of society rarely has to worry about their rights. In Pinochet's Chile, that would be the rich, or those with family connections to his regime (who probably all became rich.) Who is it in the USA right now today?

    Many of the British officers were disturbed when they were Long Island by the huge wealth of the Americans compared to "back home;" yet they were in a revolution.
    That could be taken to imply the middle class was doing well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley514 View Post
    And we won, right? Free-market capitalism triumphed, and communism failed. End of conversation.

    You gotta Reagan`s avatar.If economic policies of Reagan were so successfull
    why they had been abandoned?If they had not been abandoned why they are not working
    anymore and for a while? Or you prize Reagan for some other reason than economy?
    I hope you're seeing the chicken-egg relationships in what you're saying? It could be that Reagan's policies were working very well, and their abandonment is what eventually precipitated our current recession.
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    Supposedly, "Reaganomics" was all about bolstering production. The various books like Rising Sun by Micheal Crichton, or Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy, horribly decried it as making American automakers "uncompetitive" when compared with Japanese automakers. Bush Sr. started to introduce "trickle down" economics - the now-obviously-preposterous idea that if the rich became richer then they'd pull the poor up with them. Then Clinton came along and decided to open up all of our borders, and let China and Mexico trade with us tariff free. (And Canada too, but I don't think that hurt us.)

    GWB's contribution is stimulus packages, half scale war, and massive deficit spending. Oh yeah, and bottomed out interest rates, at first artificial, but now self sustaining. You can blame Greenspan if you want for that, though. Obama's plan isn't much different, just presented with a bit more optimism in his voice.

    Merchants and bankers benefit any time there is economic activity, and a stimulus guarantees there will be some of that, but ... the self - sustaining parts of the economy, those things which continue to produce wealth after the stimulus funds have run dry, are pretty much neglected by it. If factories are getting built at all, they're getting built in China, not here. Retail jobs don't actually produce anything. They just make more hungry middle men waiting for the next stimulus so they can siphon off a piece of the action and collect a paycheck out of it. Pretty soon our economy will be all debt driven. Then people will start to realize we don't have any way to pay off that debt and stop lending. When the economy grinds to a halt, the bankers and merchants will be left holding all of the little bit of capital that remains.
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    Bush Sr. started to introduce "trickle down" economics - the now-obviously-preposterous idea that if the rich became richer then they'd pull the poor up with them. Then Clinton came along and decided to open up all of our borders, and let China and Mexico trade with us tariff free.
    Reagan started those initiatives. He couldn't get the craziest ones through Congress.

    Reagan's policies were not abandoned, but pushed and largely established - the big play was the Republican takeover of Congress in "94, removing the remaining obstacle - and W's administration was the culmination of the Reagan faction's efforts.
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    Lowering the unskilled wage makes sense in terms of incentive to rise, but what happens if you're born unskilled and poor? (We're all born unskilled.) How do you work your way into college?

    I think that's exactly the right question. We don't have a population wide unemployment problem, we have an unskilled unemployment problem. Businesses are well on their way to recovery already (huge gains in the past year and a half), but their not going to hire the OWS unskilled folks--they're going to move overseas to get cheaper unskilled folks if they need that, or hire a few skilled employees who know how to put the unskilled out of work via automation. Note the chart below is in the middle of the recession, essentially showing full employment and lower-middle class incomes for the college educated.

    I find it pretty unreasonable that those who've chosen to remain as uneducated as a developing world country's worker, should expect to live a great deal better. It's a philosophy of entitlement. It sucks that we don't hear any politicians discussing these facts.

    The governments best efforts should be helping the poor who want to get educated--right now an adolescent from an inner city poor neighborhood has a better chance of going to prison than going to college. That's got the change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    I take it then that you agree with Richmond's policy of charging fees to the tea party but not the Occupy protestors?
    Apples and oranges.

    Besides, that's not a policy - it's a physical reality. They can't charge the OWS folks, because they can't figure out who to send the bill.

    Which illustrates once again the actual nature of the "Tea Party" - it is not and never was a low level rebellion of ordinary people against an oppressive and corrupt government.

    If it were, its members would be joining the OWS. Nothing is stopping them from protesting without paying fees, right now. They can even wear their funny hats.
    Of course. We can't expect leftists to comply with the law, or be responsible for the expenses they incur. After all, they are leftists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley514 View Post
    To Lynx Fox.
    Average weekly earnings in the chart that you provided
    are before or after tax deduction?
    Most of the BLS numbers are before taxes. For that $780 example, about the average of someone with a 2 year degree, that amounts to $38K/year total. Take home pay will be about $32K/year; that's not a good income but still well above poverty in most parts of the country.

    What I found remarkable about the chart is that folks with a 4-year degree are essentially full employed (you typically lose 5% for movement between jobs etc) even at the worst point in this economic downturn.

    If we continue to view our economy through the lens of just unemployment without looking at this remarkable distribution, than we are missing a big part of the story. Getting those unskilled jobs back is probably unrealistic--and in many ways we wouldn't want those types of business to return anyhow. Like Thomas Freeman and others have been writing about for nearly 20 years, we need to train these folks and break their mindset that they can remain in the same unskilled job for decades, get good pay, and expect our company to compete in a connected world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    We don't have a population wide unemployment problem, we have an unskilled unemployment problem. Businesses are well on their way to recovery already (huge gains in the past year and a half), but their not going to hire the OWS unskilled folks--they're going to move overseas to get cheaper unskilled folks if they need that,


    Don't fool yourself that all the third world has to offer them is unskilled labor. Increasingly they're going to have skilled workers who's salary requirements are just as low (proportional to their skills).

    It's what I was talking about earlier: cultural/racial arrogance. Americans are not the only people on Earth that can learn skills. There is nothing fundamentally different/superior about our brains. You have to look at something else if you want to see why Americans live so much better. If all we do is keep up, then our livelihood will sink to their level.



    or hire a few skilled employees who know how to put the unskilled out of work via automation. Note the chart below is in the middle of the recession, essentially showing full employment and lower-middle class incomes for the college educated.
    The third world is lagging behind us in education *for now*.

    Those people haven't been outcompeted yet. Don't worry. They will.

    (I have noticed that... pretty much everyone who wants to compete with the third world are just the people who's industry and/or skill set presently makes them immune to that competition.)



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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    I find it pretty unreasonable that those who've chosen to remain as uneducated as a developing world country's worker, should expect to live a great deal better. It's a philosophy of entitlement. It sucks that we don't hear any politicians discussing these facts.
    The American Dream - that ordinary folk could live a middle class life, one ordinary job supporting a house of their own and some leisure time and schooling and so forth - has always been seen as unreasonable by the upper classes. That's why we had to have unions and the like, Homestead Acts, GI Bills, etc, to enforce the situation.

    Wages for the bottom 80% of Americans have fallen steadily since the late 70s. If their expectations fall in unison, we're headed for banana republic politics to go with the resultant economy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Wages for the bottom 80% of Americans have fallen steadily since the late 70s. If their expectations fall in unison, we're headed for banana republic politics to go with the resultant economy.
    Mostly an exaggerated statement. It's not so much that things have gotten worse, it's more that the majority of people aren't doing any better than a generation ago, while the top tier is making a lot more money.

    By education group there's a huge gap as well (still below).

    A lot of our perceptions have to do with our rose colored view of the past. The same couple that complains about making payments on the house, forgets that their folks and grandparents didn't own a house until much later in life, and it was hundreds of square feet smaller, for example. We've also benefited from improvements in efficiencies--even if pay hasn't risen. Even those living on the poverty line are extravagantly rich compared to people with the same education in the developing world; as the world is increasingly connected it is no surprise that the gap is closing--we staying about even and they taking the jobs and increasingly improving their standard of living to match ours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    . Even those living on the poverty line are extravagantly rich compared to people with the same education in the developing world; as the world is increasingly connected it is no surprise that the gap is closing--we staying about even and they taking the jobs and increasingly improving their standard of living to match ours.
    Are you sure their standard of living is increasing? Looking at the countries we're trading with, I don't know much about life on the ground level in China, but conditions in Mexico have gotten decidedly worse in a lot of areas since they began NAFTA trading with us. Their GDP is certainly doing fine, but in a country with seriously polarized wealth there's no guarantee that even one peso of additional wealth is going to make its way into the hands of the peasantry.

    I think that's just BS we tell ourselves. "We trade with them so their poor workers can make more money, which will improve their standard of living, and bring them up to our level of subsistence." It's BS. What really happens is we trade with them so their top 1% can become that much more wealthy, keep all of it for themselves, and let their workers continue to eek out a living at the subsistence level. - Is the reality.

    Competing with a nation that has polarized wealth forces us to become the same way, or we lose on the production efficiency game. It's not true efficiency, mind you. We're really losing on the "externalizes more of the business's operating costs by pushing those costs onto the employees/environment" game, which is totally different from efficiency.

    It's the same reason why forced prostitution is so common world wide. A pimp can offer you a better price if he's not paying his prostitutes than he can if he is paying them. The pimps who try to do things differently can't compete, and over time there get to be fewer of them. It's simple market economics. We don't fool ourselves into thinking that guy will treat them better if we pay him more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    Are you sure their standard of living is increasing? Looking at the countries we're trading with, I don't know much about life on the ground level in China, but conditions in Mexico have gotten decidedly worse in a lot of areas since they began NAFTA trading with us. Their GDP is certainly doing fine, but in a country with seriously polarized wealth there's no guarantee that even one peso of additional wealth is going to make its way into the hands of the peasantry.
    Yes I'm sure. They are not only improving in most nations, but dramatically so just about everywhere but Africa and a tiny number of other places. I encourage you to watch this presentation of quality of life stats and income by Hans Roslin:
    Hans Rosling shows the best stats you've ever seen | Video on TED.com
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    Yeah. That's not bad. If I ever get around to compiling a list of best links that I keep, I'll certainly add him. And it looks like according to his data that China has a highly developed middle class. (I guess I should have expected that in a semi-communist state but somehow it had escaped me.) Latin America looked a little bit worse off that way, but I get the idea of what he's saying. The Third World is catching up.

    Now.... whether that's due to free trade, or because third world leaders have become serious about educating their own citizens and improving their health infrastructure. That's another matter. Also, what do you expect will happen to the job market for educated Americans when educated foreign workers start to compete with them? It seems thus far only our unskilled sector has had to deal with that. How do you forsee that playing out?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley514 View Post
    I spoke to some woman from Mexico in 2006.I asked her how is economy and life in Mexico.If it`s getting better?
    Her mind was pessimistic: It`s getting worse and worse and worse.
    The same thing is Argentina.
    Actually, Argentina is doing pretty well. I'd have to challenge your comment above.



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    . Argentina has been through some financial crisis over the last two decades. The last few years have been an upward slope for them, ever since they restructured their debt some time around 2003. The point being: the woman's statement may very well have been true at the time she said it. (He mentioned that this conversation took place in 2006.)

    They export agriculture primarily, which is a pretty reliable business, even in a recession.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    . Argentina has been through some financial crisis over the last two decades. The last few years have been an upward slope for them, ever since they restructured their debt some time around 2003. The point being: the woman's statement may very well have been true at the time she said it. (He mentioned that this conversation took place in 2006.)

    They export agriculture primarily, which is a pretty reliable business, even in a recession.
    I agree that agriculture tends to be a steady business and helps, but they had agriculture even before their significant economic downturn, so that proposal is insufficient to explain the circumstances. Also, whether your friend was talking before or after 2006, in reality Argentina defaulted on it's debt in 2001, and that default depreciated their peso... ultimately causing a boom in exports which DOES explain the "upward slope" during the last few years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Mostly an exaggerated statement. It's not so much that things have gotten worse,
    Nevertheless, in wages for most, the majority, well over half, of all Americans things have gotten worse. Significantly worse, and steadily worse - still declining.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    it's more that the majority of people aren't doing any better than a generation ago, while the top tier is making a lot more money.
    They're doing worse, noticeably and obviously worse. And the top tier is accumulating that difference, plus the increasing productivity that used to be divvied up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx
    By education group there's a huge gap as well (still below).
    Education has become much more expensive, and lower quality (at all levels, grade school on up) - the top tier has much better access to it, and much better motivation for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    A lot of our perceptions have to do with our rose colored view of the past. The same couple that complains about making payments on the house, forgets that their folks and grandparents didn't own a house until much later in life, and it was hundreds of square feet smaller, for example.
    That canard needs to be amended - you have to go back farther now, than when the marketers thought it up.

    "Grandparent", for example, no longer puts you in the Great Depression, a most convenient time for starting claims of improvement and modern luxury.

    Thirty years ago the minimum wage was about $10 @ hr. The median wage job qualified one's income for a standard thirty year mortgage with standard down payment on the median house sold (now it doesn't qualify you for the median two bedroom apartment, at the former standard fraction for "housing").

    My maternal grandfather was raised on a farm and worked as a farm hand, put himself through college, saved his money for a few years, and bought (on bank loan) a small dairy farm. He put five children through college on it, bought local stocks and government bonds with the leftover, and his wife retired in comfort on the (substantial) savings and sale of the farm after his death.

    My father was raised in the slums of Buffalo and an orphanage, worked factory and left college with no debt - GI bill, part time job - raised many children on a modest professional job, and retired to a house fully paid for and a comfortable pension. Not the comparative wealth of my grandfather, but reasonable.

    The current generation of Americans cannot possibly match that. No ordinary person can work their way through professional schooling and leave college with no debt, neither can they marry and raise many children in a house on one ordinary job, neither can they save the down on local minimum wages and corral a bank loan sufficient to purchase a profitable and family-supporting farm. They can buy an iphone, big deal.


    Joe Bageant (RIP) has maybe the most accessible account of what this looks like from the affected levels - how he married out of high school and started a family in a house on the basis of one ordinary local factory job, just like his friends and their parents, and what that situation looks like now. "Deer Hunting With Jesus".
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    duplicate post
    Last edited by iceaura; October 31st, 2011 at 01:29 PM. Reason: duplicate
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Thirty years ago the minimum wage was about $10 @ hr.
    This does not appear accurate. Can you please clarify with a citation, or correct your assertion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Thirty years ago the minimum wage was about $10 @ hr.


    This does not appear accurate. Can you please clarify with a citation, or correct your assertion?
    Almost any source of historical info about the minimum wage would include some sort of calculation of its value in constant dollars. How about Wikipedia?
    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    The minimum wage was re-established in the United States in 1938 (pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act), once again at $0.25 per hour ($3.77 in 2009 dollars). The minimum wage had its highest purchasing value ever in 1968, when it was $1.60 per hour ($9.86 in 2010 dollars).
    My roundup to $10 partly covers the increased Social Security levies (the Reagan deal) and other subtractions not covered by official inflation corrections - the true number has been estimated at closer to $13@hr, by the more careful and detail oriented.
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    [QUOTE=iceaura;290288]
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Mostly an exaggerated statement. It's not so much that things have gotten worse,
    Nevertheless, in wages for most, the majority, well over half, of all Americans things have gotten worse. Significantly worse, and steadily worse - still declining. [
    /quote]
    Too bad the data already shown in this thread doesn't show that.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    it's more that the majority of people aren't doing any better than a generation ago, while the top tier is making a lot more money.
    They're doing worse, noticeably and obviously worse. And the top tier is accumulating that difference, plus the increasing productivity that used to be divvied up.
    By what measure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx
    By education group there's a huge gap as well (still below).
    Education has become much more expensive, and lower quality (at all levels, grade school on up) - the top tier has much better access to it, and much better motivation for it.
    Yes more expensive, much of it driven the same sense of false technology expectations as is effecting our secondary education. Motivation...hardly.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Thirty years ago the minimum wage was about $10 @ hr. The median wage job qualified one's income for a standard thirty year mortgage with standard down payment on the median house sold (now it doesn't qualify you for the median two bedroom apartment, at the former standard fraction for "housing").
    Lots of fact problems here as well. While adjusted for inflation minimum wage was higher in 1971, there was a much larger % of people with jobs that payed that low. It's gone from 15% to about 2%. And sorry minimum wage never got you to the point of financing a loan, nor ever above the poverty line.
    U.S. Minimum Wage History

    Anecdotal stories are fun. Mine is a fisherman's son, a high school drop out who got no money from family, who got two college degree and left college with a net profit. But given only two of about 30 young men from my town that year went to college it was hardly typical. Of course your story ignores that family farms are almost extinct anyhow because they couldn't compete, just as mine ignores people who can get good enough gpas to have money thrown at them aren't typical either.

    The current generation of Americans cannot possibly match that.
    Yet they are doing it by the millions anyway.

    And for those who still think education is too expensive, there's plenty of evidence that return on their investment is still huge and actually growing:
    The Real ROI of College Education | Millennial Marketing
    You might pay attention to their statement: "Not only is the ROI provable, the gap in median salary is substantial, and growing more significant each year. Since 1975, the median salary of a man with a bachelor’s degree has hovered steadily between $50,000 and $60,000 in 2008 equivalent dollars, while that of a man with only a high school education has declined from $50,000 to slightly over $30,000." In other words get a degree, yet supporting my earlier conclusion that we don't have an unemployment problem, we have an unskilled labor problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Too bad the data already shown in this thread doesn't show that.
    The data you posted shows that the personal income of people with all levels of education has been holding steady, more or less, over a time period in which wage rates have fallen and unemployment has risen dramatically.

    So how do you reconcile those facts?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    The current generation of Americans cannot possibly match that.

    Yet they are doing it by the millions anyway.
    No, they aren't. They aren't graduating from college with no debt because they paid their way with part time and summer jobs, they aren't buying working farms on the savings from unskilled labor, they aren't starting families in houses with stay at home wives on the basis of one 19 year old factory hand's entry job wages, none of that are they doing.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    - - While adjusted for inflation minimum wage was higher in 1971, there was a much larger % of people with jobs that payed that low. It's gone from 15% to about 2%.
    The percentage of full time employed people with jobs that pay $10 @ hr or less is only 2%?

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    And sorry minimum wage never got you to the point of financing a loan, nor ever above the poverty line.
    $10 @ hr gets you over the poverty line even now, easily. That's 20,000 @ yr. Back then you could support a family on it.
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    I was replying to kojax, not you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    it's more that the majority of people aren't doing any better than a generation ago, while the top tier is making a lot more money.
    They're doing worse, noticeably and obviously worse. And the top tier is accumulating that difference, plus the increasing productivity that used to be divvied up.
    By what measure?
    This really depends on the sector you look at. One of the happiest retirees I ever met was a former truck driver. I was installing a Dish Satellite system at his house and it turned out he wasn't eligible for the free installation, so he just laughed and paid the charges. He said "I drove trucks for 40 years. You gotta figure I'd have more than lunch money."

    My brother started truck driving 2 years ago. He can barely afford an apartment in the city. (Salem.... not exactly a metropolis). The company he's at has initiated salary caps. He's about 2 cents/mile under the highest pay grade he can hope to rise to. The company he was with before was even worse. Talking with other truck drivers (because truck drivers talk with each other quite a lot), he says everyone he's talked with confirms it's like that throughout the whole industry.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx
    By education group there's a huge gap as well (still below).
    Education has become much more expensive, and lower quality (at all levels, grade school on up) - the top tier has much better access to it, and much better motivation for it.
    Yes more expensive, much of it driven the same sense of false technology expectations as is effecting our secondary education. Motivation...hardly.
    That is a really good point. Class sizes have grown a lot, but I still remember when I was in high school I loved to go to the computer lab because the school's computers were better than the ones my parents had at home.

    Even in college now, any time I need access to a particularly expensive software suite, like photoshop, or dream weaver, I can just go on campus and use theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Thirty years ago the minimum wage was about $10 @ hr. The median wage job qualified one's income for a standard thirty year mortgage with standard down payment on the median house sold (now it doesn't qualify you for the median two bedroom apartment, at the former standard fraction for "housing").
    Lots of fact problems here as well. While adjusted for inflation minimum wage was higher in 1971, there was a much larger % of people with jobs that payed that low. It's gone from 15% to about 2%. And sorry minimum wage never got you to the point of financing a loan, nor ever above the poverty line.
    Yeah. But it can finance your transition. If you need to work 80 hours a week to pay your rent, then how are you going to attend night school? But.... if you could make rent on 30 hours, night school is a lot easier.

    In other words get a degree, yet supporting my earlier conclusion that we don't have an unemployment problem, we have an unskilled labor problem.
    But you still haven't answered my question.

    What happens when the third world enters the skilled labor markets too? It's already happened in IT. Just ask anyone who works in that business right now where the most new hires are coming from. It ain't the USA.

    You're right that *exactly this moment* we have only an unskilled labor problem. Next we'll have an unskilled and skilled-in-IT problem. Then we'll have an unskilled, skilled-in-IT, and skilled-in-some-other-field problem. The only people who aren't worried about this trend are the ones who haven't been touched by it yet. Wait till the government starts hiring foreign soldiers. Then you'll care too.

    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    . Argentina has been through some financial crisis over the last two decades. The last few years have been an upward slope for them, ever since they restructured their debt some time around 2003. The point being: the woman's statement may very well have been true at the time she said it. (He mentioned that this conversation took place in 2006.)

    They export agriculture primarily, which is a pretty reliable business, even in a recession.
    I agree that agriculture tends to be a steady business and helps, but they had agriculture even before their significant economic downturn, so that proposal is insufficient to explain the circumstances. Also, whether your friend was talking before or after 2006, in reality Argentina defaulted on it's debt in 2001, and that default depreciated their peso... ultimately causing a boom in exports which DOES explain the "upward slope" during the last few years.
    So is the new strategy of the global economy just: undervalue your currency? You ever think about how absurd that system is?
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    It doesn't matter whether or not you consider it absurd. That's just how it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    It doesn't matter whether or not you consider it absurd. That's just how it works.
    I think you mean that's how it fails to work.

    Just because everyone consents to a system doesn't mean it's a good system or efficient. We could all consent to barbarism too if we wanted (where do you think ghettos come from?). It would hurt our economy to do so, but if we all agreed to it, then barbarism would be how the rules of the trade were defined. You would get ahead if you obeyed the rules of barbarism, and you would fall behind if you didn't.

    We could define a system where the guy with the biggest wart on his ass gets a discount/subsidy. (And then people could compete to grow the biggest warts as a mean of moving ahead in life.) It wouldn't be a whole lot more arbitrary than leaving it up to currency exchange rates.
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    Yeah. But it can finance your transition.
    It never did that either with the exception of guaranteed student loans. And like the article I already showed depicts quite nicely it's never gotten any closer than about 80% of the poverty line.

    If you need to work 80 hours a week to pay your rent, then how are you going to attend night school?
    An exaggeration.

    But you still haven't answered my question.

    What happens when the third world enters the skilled labor markets too? It's already happened in IT. Just ask anyone who works in that business right now where the most new hires are coming from. It ain't the USA.
    I didn't answer because I don't know the answer. If you accept Thomas Freeman's version, we'll have stay more years in college in different phases of our lives to move into developing job sectors. Also, unlike what Ice keeps stating despite the facts, there's little evidence at least so far, that wages for the educated are going to decrease. (they've actually gone up every single year, but are flat after inflation adjustments). It's probably more likely they'll just continue to remain relatively flat while China, India etc catch up in wages, quality of life etc.

    A separate concern is our level of basic research dollars are at an all time low, which might be setting us up for a future where we follow others instead of leading them with tech and by extension we'll loose those jobs as well. If the anti-intellectual trend continues in this nation, we might well forfeit the ability to create new job sectors making your prediction come true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post

    If you need to work 80 hours a week to pay your rent, then how are you going to attend night school?
    An exaggeration.
    It is for now.

    Also, unlike what Ice keeps stating despite the facts, there's little evidence at least so far, that wages for the educated are going to decrease. (they've actually gone up every single year, but are flat after inflation adjustments). It's probably more likely they'll just continue to remain relatively flat while China, India etc catch up in wages, quality of life etc.
    Here's a good starting point if you want to know more about what's happening.

    The Bottom of the Pay Scale: Wages for H-1B Computer Programmers | Center for Immigration Studies


    In theory there are rules that require imported computer programming talent from India to be paid the prevailing wage, but they're easily circumvented, and most imported workers are at the bottom of the payscale right now. Naturally this has implications for the wage that American programmers working with them can expect to earn going into the future. A BS in computer science is one of the harder degrees to earn. It definitely shows some academic discipline to earn one, and they're not exactly over enrolled as things stand. I doubt anyone would want to enroll now. There's no future in it. India's enrollment level will be high, though, because it's a way to get out of the slums.
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    It's one of those sectors that might be destined to play a minor role in the US economy for sure. Something too many people want to do that can be done by people just about anywhere in the world--the recipe for a glut in programmers and reduced wages.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    And like the article I already showed depicts quite nicely it's never gotten any closer than about 80% of the poverty line.
    For a family of four, total household income. Which was pretty much irrelevant to a discussion of wage rates etc.

    Meanwhile, you have yet to reconcile your posted graph with the wage decline and unemployment rate boost it fails to register.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Also, unlike what Ice keeps stating despite the facts, there's little evidence at least so far, that wages for the educated are going to decrease. (they've actually gone up every single year, but are flat after inflation adjustments).
    I never said anything "unlike" that. And it would be better if I didn't have to correct your versions of my posts so often - a little more care, please.
    A separate concern is our level of basic research dollars are at an all time low, which might be setting us up for a future where we follow others instead of leading them with tech and by extension we'll loose those jobs as well. If the anti-intellectual trend continues in this nation, we might well forfeit the ability to create new job sectors making your prediction come true.
    That ship will sail barring all but the nutcut - we've been increasingly supporting our research on other people's school systems since Reagan if not earlier, as the tax cuts for the wealthy threw more of the burden of education on local communities, families, and finally individuals. (Rich people's children won't fill that gap).

    The only reason we have been able to leach off other's systems for talent is our high overall standard of living - as that continues to decline, so will the attraction of the US to the educated of the world.

    We've already given up on educating the current generations of our own citizens - that's a generational thing, it can't be turned around in a year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's one of those sectors that might be destined to play a minor role in the US economy for sure. Something too many people want to do that can be done by people just about anywhere in the world--the recipe for a glut in programmers and reduced wages.
    Do you honestly believe that? You're right tech work (and it's not just programming right now) can be done by anyone in the world, but every educated occupation is like that. Nothing stops India from providing doctors, engineers, business people. You name it they can bring it. The only exception is things that have a strong cultural context to them. It would be hard to train someone from India to be lawyer in the American court system, or a social worker in the US government (or a soldier, which is probably why you feel safe from it).

    Once the only thing we've still got is our culture to employ us, then we'll be a nation 100% driven by entitlement, not productivity.

    The extreme poverty of India gives them a stronger incentive to succeed. A smaller salary will motivate them because they're desperate. So is your answer to the world's problem for us all to become equally desperate? What will motivated tomorrow's generation of Americans to bother to get degrees, knowing the wages that await them are based on a country full of desperation? Do you expect it to happen with no incentive to drive it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It's one of those sectors that might be destined to play a minor role in the US economy for sure. Something too many people want to do that can be done by people just about anywhere in the world--the recipe for a glut in programmers and reduced wages.
    Do you honestly believe that? You're right tech work (and it's not just programming right now) can be done by anyone in the world, but every educated occupation is like that. Nothing stops India from providing doctors, engineers, business people. You name it they can bring it. The only exception is things that have a strong cultural context to them. It would be hard to train someone from India to be lawyer in the American court system, or a social worker in the US government (or a soldier, which is probably why you feel safe from it).
    Yes I believe it. So much in fact that I think the sooner we accept that as reality the sooner we'll know our options for the future. In addition to the cultural context jobs you mentioned, you also can't export anything that needs to be done in person or on site or dealing with perishables; for example the a land surveyor, the doctor or nurse with the patient, the engineer doing a sight surveys, mechanics, plumbers, lab techs, tutors, and service employees etc. We might also have to move towards a lower hour work week, or part time model--that's a limit to manufacturing for ourselves for example, because most Americans have far more crap than they'll either really need or is environmentally responsible. Fewer work hours distributes available work among more workers and increases service jobs as well--some parts of Europe are already heading this way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    In addition to the cultural context jobs you mentioned, you also can't export anything that needs to be done in person or on site or dealing with perishables; for example the a land surveyor, the doctor or nurse with the patient, the engineer doing a sight surveys, mechanics, plumbers, lab techs, tutors, and service employees etc.
    As you may have noticed, we import education for some of those, automate others, and are currently driving down wages for the rest in general.

    The demand for education can be met by cheap imports as easily as the demand for cars.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    We might also have to move towards a lower hour work week, or part time model--- - - - - Fewer work hours distributes available work among more workers and increases service jobs as well--some parts of Europe are already heading this way.
    You can't do that unless you can socialize medicine and tax rich people to pay for it.

    Employer based health insurance that's twice as expensive as anything in Europe is a fixed overhead per employee - it cannot be sustained on shorter work weeks.
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    We'll have no choice. And many Americans would prefer it anyhow. Personally I'd love it, like many baby boomers, I already have one pension about to start and would rather work a partial week (say 32 hours) than a 40 hours one. Unfortunately our out modded industrial economic model hasn't changed enough to make that workable as yet.

    Restructuring the medical system is a separate issue--a road we've just started to go down. It's a long ways from socialized, and we'll resist such a system, but a hybrid model like single payer options to government but private companies providing the services is probably in the cards and might even slow down cost.

    demand for education can be met by cheap imports as easily as the demand for cars.
    I'm not sure what you have in mind, but the most effective education is still hands on face-to-face, by a long shot. We could also show the numerous studies that say online degree programs aren't trusted yet by employees or other educational institutions--but that's another discussion as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    In addition to the cultural context jobs you mentioned, you also can't export anything that needs to be done in person or on site or dealing with perishables; for example the a land surveyor, the doctor or nurse with the patient, the engineer doing a sight surveys, mechanics, plumbers, lab techs, tutors, and service employees etc.
    How are we going to pay for the imports? Print Monopoly money? If you can't export it, then how do you use it to repay loans owed to foreign lenders? When our loans come due, the money is going to bottleneck toward things the debt holders want, not things we want. We'll be forced to manufacture. The only question is how much will those workers be paid?

    The ideal economy would be one where wages were low and demand is high. That's an economy of faeries and unicorns, though.

    In manufacturing, when you have an economy of scale, paying the inputs as little as possible lowers the per-unit price. The overhead can still be very high, including the boss's cut, because that gets made up for by volume, but the workers wage won't get made up for by volume because they work a number of hours more or less proportional to how much they put out. That's one side of the issue. The other side of the issue is that, if the workers are making too little to buy their own product, then there won't be a demand for large volumes of product anyway. (The trick to understanding the situation is to look at both sides simultaneously, instead of one at a time.)

    Globalization lets us make believe that we can perpetually keep wages low and demand high. In the long run, that can't last. An equilibrium eventually sets in. But there are two choices for the equilibrium. 1) - To have low wages and low demand. 2) - To have high wages and high demand (and this one requires deliberate effort.) On the surface, the two equilibriums may seem identical, but actually #2 is the one that drives automation the best. Whoever uses the best labor saving devices makes the money. That's how it should be. Innovation is more poorly rewarded in situation #1 because the wages you save are nickels and dimes instead of hundred dollar bills. Globalists will stagnate the world.





    We might also have to move towards a lower hour work week, or part time model--that's a limit to manufacturing for ourselves for example, because most Americans have far more crap than they'll either really need or is environmentally responsible. Fewer work hours distributes available work among more workers and increases service jobs as well--some parts of Europe are already heading this way.
    This explains it. You're hoping our economy collapses so we'll quit over consuming and let the environment heal. You're wrong. We won't quit damaging the environment. We'll damage it more. When we stop being able to afford crap we'll also quit being able to afford to use environmentally safe methods to get our necessities. People living hand to mouth are not going to want to finance a wind/solar farm.

    If that's your goal, then how do you not see that you could accomplish it just as easily by tariffing and letting the unions reform. The reason people buy so much crap is because that crap is cheaper now than its ever been before. Tariff and unionize and it won't be cheap. People won't buy so much of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    In addition to the cultural context jobs you mentioned, you also can't export anything that needs to be done in person or on site or dealing with perishables; for example the a land surveyor, the doctor or nurse with the patient, the engineer doing a sight surveys, mechanics, plumbers, lab techs, tutors, and service employees etc.
    How are we going to pay for the imports? Print Monopoly money?
    You'd be right if this was a zero sum game, but it's far from that. Just about every made today has different sources for design, making of the parts, assembly, sales and disposal. There's also still huge growing markets as the rest of the world catches up. Lots and lots of potential jobs and business but they demand flexibility and continuing-ed minded workforce. The other implication is wages are increasingly based on what the global market place demands--as opposed to some local or regional unions. Does that mean wages stay flat? Probably...but with each generation experiencing improving efficiencies we still live better than our parents.

    --
    I suggest majority of those jobs could be easily outsourced by use of telecommuted robots.
    I suspect in large part you'll be right eventually. This will be more of a threat to the advanced nation's unskilled and the developing manufacturing nations who still cut cost with cheap labor--most of which will be replaced by automation. I can't imagine a robot nurse though--who the hell would want that? But I can imagine a nurse talking to a doctor in another country, or consulting an automated assistant.

    Do we run out of jobs? Perhaps. And of the two cheap labor abroad or automation, I think automation is a lot more of a threat to most people. That's not necessarily a bad thing though as long as we adapt to a new economical models--where people work less, recreate more and do it in a way that most people still have to work. It's going to take some new thinking though including moving past our century old industrial models.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley514 View Post
    That's not necessarily a bad thing though as long as we adapt to a new economical models--where people work less, recreate more and do it in a way that most people still have to work.
    Why do you think U.S. didn`t switch to such model already?And how are you going to enforce people
    who barely survive on their salaries to work and earn even less?
    Economic inertia, tradition of best practices, huge overhead on each employer like medical cost, which pushes American businesses to hire less people but work them like dogs within the legal limits (which probably explains why Europeans work less) and probably many other reasons. We have in some ways a 19th century/ early 20th work models trying to accommodate a 21st century work force. As we continue to automate and distribute just about everything there's little doubt we'll probably reach a point where there's not enough work to fully employ everyone. Given that reality it's better for the nation to employ everyone for fewer hours and shape our government, educational, and social infrastructures so its not bad for businesses like it is now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    In addition to the cultural context jobs you mentioned, you also can't export anything that needs to be done in person or on site or dealing with perishables; for example the a land surveyor, the doctor or nurse with the patient, the engineer doing a sight surveys, mechanics, plumbers, lab techs, tutors, and service employees etc.
    How are we going to pay for the imports? Print Monopoly money?
    You'd be right if this was a zero sum game, but it's far from that. Just about every made today has different sources for design, making of the parts, assembly, sales and disposal. There's also still huge growing markets as the rest of the world catches up. Lots and lots of potential jobs and business but they demand flexibility and continuing-ed minded workforce. The other implication is wages are increasingly based on what the global market place demands--as opposed to some local or regional unions. Does that mean wages stay flat? Probably...but with each generation experiencing improving efficiencies we still live better than our parents.
    What's really happening is wages are refixing to whatever part of the world is lowest. If China's wages reach US levels, the factories will leave China too, and set up in Africa. If Africa rises, they'll move to Eastern Europe, and then South America and so on. After China's economy has had a chance to bottom out, the factories will go back to China again until their wages go back up, and then the whole cycle repeats.

    The whole world is never going to be on the same page. There will always be a poorest place, and globalization is all about choosing only that place to build. As I-Now has pointed out, being the worst place is a huge benefit if you're a business owner or wealthy because your poor place is where all the economic activity is going to happen. So every country that wants to do well actually has to fail. Decimate its middle class. And the ones behind the curve, who haven't decimated their middle class yet provide the market to sell to, until they get wise. Only trouble is, what happens when the world runs out of fools?
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    What's really happening is wages are refixing to whatever part of the
    world is lowest. If China's wages reach US levels, the factories will
    leave China too, and set up in Africa. If Africa rises, they'll
    move to Eastern Europe, and then South America and so on. After China's
    economy has had a chance to bottom out, the factories will go back to
    China again until their wages go back up, and then the whole cycle
    repeats.
    Pretty much, but wages just part of cost; also to be considered is productivity of those workers, cost of security and insurance to run the company there, taxes, cost of real property, the building including utilities and transportation. So places are so expensive to operate in that even the cheapest worker won't attract business.

    Only trouble is, what happens when the world runs out of fools?
    LOL. I don't think that will ever happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    We might also have to move towards a lower hour work week, or part time model--- - - - - Fewer work hours distributes available work among more workers and increases service jobs as well--some parts of Europe are already heading this way.


    "You can't do that unless you can socialize medicine and tax rich people to pay for it. "

    We'll have no choice. And many Americans would prefer it anyhow.
    Who's "we"? I assure you the wealthy in the US have other choices, which they prefer. And they will have the political muscle to enforce their choices as long as they get to keep all the productivity gain of advances in the industrial economy to finance their control of the American media, as they have for more than thirty years now.

    They are not going to pay for socialized medicine in the US unless forced to, with a gun to their heads, for example. And until that happens, they lose money by shortening work weeks - so they won't do it. They're much better off shrinking their work force, or hiring elsewhere for cheaper, and keeping the support population in line with effective propaganda, backed by police and thug forces.

    There is no magic invisible hand enforcing the preferences of the American working class.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    That's not necessarily a bad thing though as long as we adapt to a new economical models--where people work less, recreate more and do it in a way that most people still have to work. It's going to take some new thinking though including moving past our century old industrial models.
    That's not new thinking - the Left has been mulling this for decades. That's how it got to be "the Left". Shorter work weeks and community control of local industrial policy is pretty standard stuff, in places where the left has access to major media and associated political presence.
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    The working and poor non-working class actually have almost ALL the power in the US. They just need to vote. It's really that simple. I haven't given up hope for the system that I've dedicated most of adult life to protect. You sound far more pessimistic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    What's really happening is wages are refixing to whatever part of the
    world is lowest. If China's wages reach US levels, the factories will
    leave China too, and set up in Africa. If Africa rises, they'll
    move to Eastern Europe, and then South America and so on. After China's
    economy has had a chance to bottom out, the factories will go back to
    China again until their wages go back up, and then the whole cycle
    repeats.
    Pretty much, but wages just part of cost; also to be considered is productivity of those workers, cost of security and insurance to run the company there, taxes, cost of real property, the building including utilities and transportation. So places are so expensive to operate in that even the cheapest worker won't attract business.
    That is one advantage the USA retains. However productivity of workers is unlikely to improve if worker wages are low. If saving 100 man hours means saving 1,000 dollars, and you're a business owner, then investing 999 dollars to optimize your assembly line is worth doing. If saving 100 man hours means saving 50 dollars, then investing 999 dollars to obtain that savings would be insane. The most you'd be willing to invest is 49 dollars.

    So, one of two things has to happen. Either the market for people who can save you money on labor costs has to shift to accommodate the lower value (so we pay our educated people less as well), or you just plain don't bother to optimize (at least you optimize less aggressively.)


    Only trouble is, what happens when the world runs out of fools?
    LOL. I don't think that will ever happen.
    The question I should have asked is: what happens after all the fools have gone broke? What will we do when there are no more fools with money in their pockets?

    The abnormal state we are in is that some fools still exist who are still wealthy enough to be taken advantage of. I doubt that state will continue for long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    The working and poor non-working class actually have almost ALL the power in the US. They just need to vote. It's really that simple.
    They need to vote in unison, in their own interest.

    Romney is currently leading Obama in the straw polling in several States - he's actually a credible candidate, in the sense that there is a realistic chance of his winning the Presidency. Nuff said.

    There is no leftist Pres candidate in the national media spotlight at all, from either major Party or any significant third Party. There is no debate, even, no actual national discussion even tentative, over proposed policy that would wean us from employer based health insurance.

    It would take a serious public campaign and national electoral victory, a Leftist Pres and a 60 vote Leftist majority in the Senate, to take us off of employer based health insurance. That is not, as far as I can see, even theoretically possible for at least the next five years.

    So anything like the European shorter work week, national health insurance of any kind (such as expansion of Medicare), or even partial restoration of the mid twentieth century tax levies on the wealthy, remains off the table - not even under discussion.

    I have watched the US working class vote according to the major media's framing of issues for forty years now. It's all they know, the only serious (sufficiently and continuously present) source of information they have. Since 1994 the corporate authoritarian right ownership of that media has faced no serious obstacle except physical reality in controlling its executive class, physical circumstances, and thus its framing of issues - sometimes even its affirmation of basic facts.

    We see, for example on this thread, the the Occupy Wall Street movement is required to present its issues itself and with its own properly framed analysis, in organized and marketable and corporate framing, to get even passing or occasional major media time for them - that the issues themselves are not media reported or media discussed as simply news or information, that the OWS people themselves are not admitted to the club of acceptable and frequently consulted pundits or analysts, and no framing other than the current enforced standard - think David Gregory or Brit Hume - gets air time.
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    There is no leftist Pres candidate in the national media spotlight at all, from either major Party or any significant third Party. There is no debate, even, no actual national discussion even tentative, over proposed policy that would wean us from employer based health insurance.

    It would take a serious public campaign and national electoral victory, a Leftist Pres and a 60 vote Leftist majority in the Senate, to take us off of employer based health insurance. That is not, as far as I can see, even theoretically possible for at least the next five years.
    I agree with you there. Fortunately we really don't need it in the next five year. The problem hasn't yet penetrated the educated middle class--while their incomes are flat, as shown above, they're still getting big returns on educational investments, efficiencies are continuing to improve and make living standards better and some things like housing cost is projected to continue to drop or stay flat for the foreseeable future.

    Even a modest recovery will see enough mundane unskilled jobs come back--once the unemployment for the poor gets under 10% no one will care.

    Give it time though and thing will probably be a lot difference. Shelf stockers and Wallmart clean up people replaced by machines, and even the partially vocationally skilled such as truck drivers replaced by automation and employment will be very hard to keep down and wages for even the skilled dropping as they're value is measured against cost in Brazil and other nations. That's when we'll have no choice but to change in fundamental ways. Tens years? Twenty years. I don't know, but I think we'll both see it.
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    The working non-poor have no (or very little) control over the flow of information. In a world where everything is scary, and all the cherry picked "experts" you see on TV somehow manage to consistently tell only one half of the various debates going on in their academic circles, people have little choice but to vote the way they're told, or risk blindly guessing.

    Either everyone needs a full degree in every topic, or some delegation/specialization is in order, but who chooses all the delegates? If you can choose the delegates you can choose the message. Just don't put anyone on TV if they disagree with you. Or.... better yet.... find morons who disagree with you and let them on the air, but keep all the genuinely informed ones off. Micheal Moore has had a much more successful career than a man of his intelligence and charisma ought to have, and I like to hope it's obvious why that is. Al Gore was allowed to do his whole global warming thing after he'd already shot all of his public credibility permanently in the foot with the whole recount debacle.

    You can interpret the pattern either of two ways. You can ask yourself why better presenters never emerge, or..... you can ask yourself what would happen if they did? Given the volume of sales created by those two men, how plausible is it that people more talented than them haven't sought to get in on the same market? It's a message lots of people want to hear. Why bottleneck it to losers?
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    The media fulfills their markets, nothing more. If the masses want something different they'll vote with their viewing numbers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The media fulfills their markets, nothing more. If the masses want something different they'll vote with their viewing numbers.
    That's a popular myth. The people buying PR are the market, not the viewers (masses). The number of viewers is considered alongside the quality of exposure when determining how much an advertiser is willing to pay to have their message spread. If the advertiser doesn't feel like they're getting what they want, or if they're getting badmouthed too much in the non-advertising part of the programming (even though they didn't specifically pay to be treated well in that part of the show.... they still expect it) , they get mad and take their business elsewhere. If GM is about to put an unsafe car on the road, and a reporter at Fox catches the story, the decision to air it or not air it will depend in part on whether GM is a major buyer of advertising time. If they are, then probably a call will be made to GM's PR department first to see if it's ok.

    The masses still have a say, but it's a decidedly minor say. Failing to air a news story is not likely to cause an exodus of viewers, while choosing to air it could cost a major customer. How would you make the decision?
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    I should add.... If Micheal Moore wanted to do the story, probably GM's PR department would not only agree to it. Hell, maybe they'd even help fund it. You rarely meet anyone who's convinced by that man's documentaries. You meet people who already agreed with him and now agree even more, but rarely anyone who actually flipped sides of the debate as a result of watching. Probably both sides are happy with that in their own way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I should add.... If Micheal Moore wanted to do the story, probably GM's PR department would not only agree to it. Hell, maybe they'd even help fund it.
    Whenever you want to put serious money on that, I'll take it.

    Moore and his fellows have serious enemies, who pay very good money to various organizations and media groups to see him and all others in his political faction slandered throughout the media. GM executives finance that, not Moore's little documentaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    The media fulfills their markets, nothing more.
    In addition to Kojax's clarification of what that "market" is, there is ownership to be considered. "The media" that we see are upper level employees, with long histories of making the owners happy.
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    Any empirical evidence for the idea that viewers don't actually make the market, rather than the reverse? I'm not going to believe it until I see it. Fox is more likely not to run an anti-GM story because it's viewer based is full of fanatical American car lovers than anything else.

    People vote with their dollars and by actually voting--and by that measure the poor and middle class in the US have virtually all the power. The only case you make for the media is it can act as a positive feedback towards markets already inclined towards some position.
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    PR is one of the harder industries to find hard information... but here's a start.

    Report: Brew Masters not renewed, Bourdain says

    Here's an example of an advertising boycott, though it's for more noble purposes.

    John & Ken Show Boycott: GM Pulls Ads From Controversial Show

    And here's an example of a company choosing not to advertise on the basis of a show's expressed political views.

    Groupon vows to stop advertising on 'The Apprentice' website - Apr. 29, 2011

    Here, Hoover Vacuums pulled advertising just because upper executives were mad that their favorite TV shows were getting cancelled.

    Hoover Pulls ABC Advertising In Protest Over Cancellations Of Soaps ‘AMC’ & ‘OLTL’ – Deadline.com

    The issue I'm getting at is that advertisers can and do exercise direct creative control by threatening to pull ads from a show or network if they don't like what's being shown. Whoever advertises is considered to be "sponsoring" the show, and they can revoke that "sponsorship" if they don't agree with its content. There's a lot of crossover between legitimate and illegitimate use of that power.

    There's this somewhat unproven scandal where General Mills decided to pull content from a show that was about lesbian lovers because they considered it would be offensive to some of their customer base. L.

    General Mills says it didn't pull "Pretty Little Liars" ads because of lesbian content | TV Show Recaps, Celebrity Interviews & News About & For Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Women | AfterEllen.com

    To understand the interplay, you have to learn about PR. It's a growing industry. Cheaper than direct advertising and more effective, and yet somehow you still end up paying for it. People are earning college degrees in this field, working as fully declared PR professionals. It's not "conspiracy theory" to think they would use some of the tactics they're taught to use.

    Public relations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Any empirical evidence for the idea that viewers don't actually make the market, rather than the reverse?
    Of course. The entity paying is the buyer, the entity taking the money is the seller, and the collection of these exchanges is the market.

    None of that directly involves the viewer.

    The viewers have the same role in the transaction as the cheese doodles in the supermarket package - they are counted and sized for the same reason as bait minnows: to set the total sale price.

    When Scientific American ran its articles on Reagan's Star Wars boondoggle, an entire group of their (mostly defense industry) advertisers boycotted them and came near forcing them out of business - despite rising subscription and readership numbers.
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    Woo hoo! Look at all the equality we're seeing!

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    Woo hoo! Look at all the equality we're seeing!
    That graph is an example of a propaganda success by the corporate right: they have managed to shift the standard base of the entire assessment of wealth and income to the "family", rather than the jobholder.

    In this way they concealed the decline in hourly compensation, and hid a good share of the transfer of wealth to the upper class. If it takes two jobs and overtime hours, rather than one steady 40 hour week, to make that family income rise by 1% per year, that's a decline.
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    The Real "1 Percent" | Michael D. Tanner | Cato Institute: Commentary
    So just who are those top 1 percent of Americans that we're all supposed to hate?

    If you listen to President Obama, the protesters at Occupy Wall Street, and much of the media, it's obvious. They're either "trust-fund babies" who inherited their money, or greedy bankers and hedge-fund managers. Certainly, they haven't worked especially hard for their money. While the recession has thrown millions of Americans out of work, they've been getting even richer. Worse, they don't even pay their fair share in taxes: Millionaires and billionaires are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.
    In reality, each of these stereotypes is wrong.
    By and large, the wealthy have worked hard for their money.
    Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. They didn't inherit their wealth; they earned it.


    Because so much of their income is tied up in investments, the recession has hit the rich especially hard. Much attention has been paid recently to a Congressional Budget Office study that showed incomes for the top 1 percent rose far faster from 1980 until 2007 than for the rest of us. But the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has found that since 2007, there has been a 39 percent decline in the number of American millionaires.

    Among the "super-rich," the decline has been even sharper: The number of Americans earning more than $10 million a year has fallen by 55 percent. In fact, while in 2008 the top 1 percent earned 20 percent of all income here, that figure has declined to just 16 percent. Inequality in America is declining.
    As for not paying their fair share, the top 1 percent pay 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes. Because, as noted above, they earn just 16 percent of all income, that certainly seems like more than a fair share.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Woo hoo! Look at all the equality we're seeing!

    Wow. That's pretty severe.

    If one group is growing at 3.9% and the other is growing at 1% then using the law of 70 approximation, the average top 1% salary should double every 17.95 years, while the average family salary should double every 70 years. So, in the time the average family's salary doubles, the average top 1% salary would be 14.93x larger (3.9 doublings).

    If the top 1% really control half the nation's income now, then the economy would have to have grown to 8.46x ((2 + 14.93)/2) of its current size in the next 70 years in order for the average family to still earn its present real wage.

    Do you see the myth of "trickle down" theory at this point? The rate at which wealth migrates from poor to rich has to be less than the rate of overall growth in order for "trickle down" to hold true. At present, that would be a real pie in the sky, pipe dream of a growth rate. (approximately 3.08% average annual growth over the next 70 years)
    Last edited by kojax; November 8th, 2011 at 05:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Because so much of their income is tied up in investments, the recession has hit the rich especially hard. Much attention has been paid recently to a Congressional Budget Office study that showed incomes for the top 1 percent rose far faster from 1980 until 2007 than for the rest of us. But the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has found that since 2007, there has been a 39 percent decline in the number of American millionaires.
    Very slippery argument, notice? He's attempting a deception.

    The top 1% and the "millionaires" are not the same people. A lot of people whose membership in the "millionaire" class was contingent on the equity in a $500,000 value assessed to their house have dropped out of that category - some all the way out of the 1%. That does not mean the top 1% as a whole going into this crash have done badly, or even been hurt, by this crash.

    Among the "super-rich," the decline has been even sharper: The number of Americans earning more than $10 million a year has fallen by 55 percent. In fact, while in 2008 the top 1 percent earned 20 percent of all income here, that figure has declined to just 16 percent. Inequality in America is declining.
    The roller coaster of returns to capital or executive compensation details does not change the trend - wealth is continuing to be redistributed to the rich, and inequality in the US is far greater than it has been in the past, and far greater than it is in typical healthy economies, and growing.
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    As for not paying their fair share, the top 1 percent pay 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes. Because, as noted above, they earn just 16 percent of all income, that certainly seems like more than a fair share.
    Tax the wealthy at the same rates as the lower middle class pays, across the board on all their income, including all withholdings and every deduction squared even, and they would be paying double what they are now.

    Or to point to the obvious, this is the kind of crap you get from the Cato Institute:
    Quote Originally Posted by cato guy
    Moreover, the Buffetts of the world are clearly an exception. Overall, the rich pay an effective tax rate (after all deductions and exemptions) of roughly 24 percent. For all taxpayers as a group, the average effective tax rate is about 11 percent.
    Lower and middle class wage earners have been paying 15% on their gross in FICA withholding alone. So Tanner there is full of shit.

    But aside from the obvious sleight of mind he's trying to pull, there is the elephant in the room: all comparisons of "effective" tax rates on income that fail to handle the way "income" is established for the rich are immediately worthless. The rich, unlike the rest, have a great deal of control over how much of what they use and spend and employ for their purposes is counted as "income" for tax purposes. It's in the determination of "income" in the first place that the rich get their biggest breaks.
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    You can't really consider the Social security payments as a tax because most of us will get that money directly back and than some if we live to an average lifespan.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    You can't really consider the Social security payments as a tax because most of us will get that money directly back and than some if we live to an average lifespan.
    ? Joke?

    SS is a transfer payment. It is subtracted from somebody's paycheck and sent to somebody else. It is not stored, or invested (barring the Reagan Ripoff "trust fund" fraction) and nobody gets any of it "back".

    If you think it isn't a tax, try not paying it and see who shows up on your doorstep.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Fortunately we really don't need it in the next five year. The problem hasn't yet penetrated the educated middle class--while their incomes are flat, as shown above, they're still getting big returns on educational investments, efficiencies are continuing to improve and make living standards better and some things like housing cost is projected to continue to drop or stay flat for the foreseeable future.
    What's "shown above" in your graph fails to register the wage decline and unemployment rise of the past decade. So there's an obvious problem with it, which I can't help you with because I don't know where you got it.

    Meanwhile, the educated middle class - which is in one sense almost all of it, but we seem to be talking about college degrees rather than education per se - is an increasingly large fraction of its shrinking total, as even lower middle class life recedes from the reach of the non-college majority, and the working class drops out of the middle class.

    Meanwhile, housing costs staying flat at the current level of course imposes hardship on those who obtained mortgages in the decade or so before the crash - they can't, for example, move to better job markets easily. That would be a large fraction of the working class middle class.

    And the big returns to education increasingly return to only those who can reasonably acquire very good educations, and are motivated to do so. We're talking children, here. The support used to be middle class life, with local schools well supported by local taxation. As wages decline, and the working class drops out of the middle class, the schools of the majority of children erode in quality and enjoyment.

    What we have unfolding is a long anticipated tragedy some lefties have been referring to as "Peak Stoopid", in company with Peak Oil, when the last generation that was educated in the great public schools of America retires and all that modern industrial civilization and stuff has to be maintained by the products of the schools of the Reagan Era.

    But we can always import cheap education if the society remains attractive to foreigners, so maybe the tragedy will befall not America itself but only its ordinary citizenry.
    Last edited by iceaura; November 8th, 2011 at 09:11 PM.
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    There's also this:




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    Ice it's from the bureaus of labor statistics. If you check the Social security administration they also show a net gain in wages, as does Inow's charts. And thus everyone who's payed into social security has gotten that money back and than some if they've lived to their normal lifespan, and being a direct investment it's really a different category than a tax. You really can't argue that's it's a tax because you don't get the same money back--that would be like saying a treasury bill isn't an form of investment because you don't get the same money back--no investments short of gold would could as such by your definition. While it's accurate to say SS is a net drain on low and middle income for the present--it's a gross characterization to roll it together like other incomes taxes. The last time I looked it up the break even point between net tax contributor and net drain on out tax system was about $70K a year. Only the upper middle class and rich actually pay their "fair" share if you define "fair" as proportional net contributors.
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    There's a lot of talk in the press about eliminating Social Security, though. It can be argued as being financially insolvent, though the only reason for that is because Congress raided its vault, took all the money and left a bunch of IOU's. (On its own merits, leaving that part out, it's fully solvent.) Apparently part of the Federal Deficit right now is debt owed to that vault. Naturally we expect it to be repaid, but you know how the government is. They'll look for any excuse to divert it into a pork barrel instead. (If only us bottom 99% were the ones getting the pork barrel money...instead of the owners of the contracted firms.)
    Last edited by kojax; November 10th, 2011 at 06:46 AM.
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    There's a lot of talk in the press about eliminating Social Security, though.
    True. A not of people would like to change it in fundamental ways, myself included. Return on investment could be much higher if much of it was privatized and there question about whether it the role of government. I think it's contributed to our lack of respect for seniors as well. Solubility isn't really an issue though, minor adjustments of age or benefits could keep the current model going for the next five or six decades--only a complete collapse of our society would jeopardize it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Return on investment could be much higher if much of it was privatized and there question about whether it the role of government.
    There is no investment, and no return, in the setup. That is the most important feature of SS - its great virtue, the reason it works so well and has for most of a century.

    The whole idea of SS was to prevent dependence on the return to investment, a dependence that had always, until SS, created extreme poverty among the old in America as well as everywhere else. Investments can fail. Any of them. The longer you live, the more likely your investments will hit a rough spot, or even fail entirely. Return on investment is payment for risk - Econ 101, first week of class.

    If you get rid of SS, and return to the former system of return on investment, are you also going to return to letting the unlucky, unfrugal, or incapable, starve in the street when they get old?
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    It can be argued as being financially insolvent, though the only reason for that is because Congress raided its vault, took all the money and left a bunch of IOU's. (On its own merits, leaving that part out, it's fully solvent.) Apparently part of the Federal Deficit right now is debt owed to that vault. Naturally we expect it to be repaid, but you know how the government is. They'll look for any excuse to divert it into a pork barrel instead.
    Except for the part about SS being fully solvent, that is rightwing corporate fairy tale.

    What happened to SS had nothing to do with Congress "raiding" anything, or pork barrel spending, and the problem with paying off the bonds is not "government" but thirty years of Reaganomics, specifically corporate rightwing insanity.

    The only reason there ever was a trust fund added to Social Security was Reagan's refusal to remove the income cap on assessed earnings, coupled with the approaching Baby Boom retirements. The Reagan deal assessed extra SS taxes on the lower classes of Baby Boomers, and mandated the surplus be kept in government bonds that would be cashed to cover their retirement. So far, we're on schedule, and aside from the obvious ugliness of taxing the poor in this manner the economics add up.

    The rich got tax breaks for a while, as the poor paid extra into government bonds that sleight of hand rightwing government could pretend was revenue instead of debt, for rich people's tax break purposes, but even that was OK as then later these taxes would be restored to retire the bonds.

    The problem is that as the bonds come due, we have lost the ability to restore the former taxes on rich people - the breaks have become permanent. That's not a problem with SS.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Return on investment could be much higher if much of it was privatized and there question about whether it the role of government.
    There is no investment, and no return, in the setup. That is the most important feature of SS - its great virtue, the reason it works so well and has for most of a century.
    Yeah. There is always going to be a trade-off between risk and earnings. You can't have it both ways. Either the odds of failure must become non-zero or the pay out has to be smaller than a comparable risk-laden investment.

    After the dice have been cast, and a generation of retirees can see now in hindsight that they would have made more going the other way, it's easy to fume about it, but you're not considering, what would have happened if the economy had gone the other direction all these years? Society cannot afford to deal with un-pensioned old people, at least not very well, not in the modern age with its dysfunctional family units. It would be quite a tragedy to have old people dying in the streets.

    This is a fine example of the attitude that's leading us to this horrible income distribution. You can talk about education all you want, but nobody entering college today can be certain their skills will not become obsolete 10 years from now, driving them back into the unskilled labor markets. That's why we have to keep unskilled labor high. It's the safety net. Of all possible safety nets, it's the most economically workable. If we just bolster unemployment benefits, or welfare people will start getting dependent. Some very egotistical individuals just want to do with safety nets alltogether because they naively believe they have "God's luck" on their side or something like that, and their fate could never be that of the urchins and scum that surround them. There would be a certain justice if those same people were the ones who had to suffer the fate of those whom they choose to discard.
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    Kojax there are a number of studies which show even if all our the money a retire put into SS was dumped into the stock market during the absolute worst times of our economy over the past 50 years the stock market still comes out ahead by a huge margin often doubling payouts by retirement age. A lot of the 99% issues wouldn't be as concerning because they would have had been forced by law towards the same gains as 1% through investment in our economy (about half invest now).

    The 3rd link is probably the most balanced and comprehensive.
    Privatizing Social Security: A Big Boost for the Poor
    Social Security vs. Stock Returns: No Contest | Alan Reynolds | Cato Institute: Commentary
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Kojax there are a number of studies which show even if all our the money a retire put into SS was dumped into the stock market during the absolute worst times of our economy over the past 50 years the stock market still comes out ahead by a huge margin often doubling payouts by retirement age.
    Return without risk, indexed for inflation of course - funny it never worked before, all those years.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    A lot of the 99% issues wouldn't be as concerning because they would have had been forced by law towards the same gains as 1% through investment in our economy (about half invest now).
    The ones that invest now just got done watching their returns go negative - they currently have less money in the market than they put in, many of them, the ones that made key timed investments just before the crash, the ones that trade too often, the ones that tried to get better returns than safer investments yield. It will take years for them to break even.

    Meanwhile - you planning to cut off the old folks getting benefits now, or are you planning to have the poor and middle class pay both SS and mandatory "investment" costs?
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