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RhettButler
10-26-2013, 08:19 AM
http://www.upworthy.com/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact-2?g=2&c=bl3


Pretty disturbing.

Fixer808
10-26-2013, 08:41 AM
I wouldn't exactly call this a news article.

RhettButler
10-26-2013, 09:02 AM
Thanks for the feedback.

orestes
10-26-2013, 10:12 AM
I think what Fixer is trying to say is there needs to be more contribution to kickstarting a thread than just posting a link to another web site. Why do you find it disturbing, what do you think are the factors of wealth distribution, etc.

RhettButler
10-26-2013, 10:26 AM
Well, the video speaks for itself. The distribution of wealth isn't fair in the country. It's an informative video that I thought might generate a discussion. Most, or a lot of the first posts in this section of the forum begin with just a link and a sentence.

icecream
10-26-2013, 11:26 AM
My prof showed me this in an econ class and it blew my mind. I knew income inequality was bad in the U.S but not THAT bad. There are sooooooo many negative effects of such massive inequality. I guess in the States it's harder to start a conversation about this because if you bring it up, you are instantly labeled a communist or socialist. It's that way in Canada too I guess, but not as much as it seems from the way American media portrays it.

RhettButler
10-26-2013, 11:45 AM
When you bring this up to a conservative--the response is always "Class Warfare!" and that ends the discussion. I'm not saying that capitalism can be abolished or anything, but at the least the wealthy should higher taxes.

icecream
10-26-2013, 12:03 PM
You need some income redistribution for capitalism to be healthy. People need to keep the money flowing in the economy for it to function properly. When most of it is held in the top 1/20% of the population, it's just being hoarded away, not being circulated. Of course, taking all the money and redistributing it evenly to everyone isn't the best option either. It never should have gotten this bad in the first place. Recently, the wealth inequality has gotten to the worst it has ever been in the States. Reaganomics and the trickle down effect, seems to be working right?

nin5in
10-26-2013, 04:22 PM
We need to start asking about how to fix this, instead of just complaining about it. All of the viable solutions so far have been a fiasco, and I honestly think at this point the populace is at a loss about the best solution.

Wolfkiller
10-27-2013, 02:35 PM
The November issue of Playboy has an interview with Bernie Sanders that I think everyone interested in these issues should read.


We live in a hypercapitalist society, which means the function of every institution is not to perform a public service but to make as much money as possible.

http://www.playboy.com/playground/view/bernie-sanders-playboy-interview

allegro
10-27-2013, 05:43 PM
The November issue of Playboy has an interview with Bernie Sanders that I think everyone interested in these issues should read.

http://www.playboy.com/playground/view/bernie-sanders-playboy-interview
Great interview, thanks for the link.

DigitalChaos
11-01-2013, 06:18 PM
holy blogspam. just link to the damn youtube!


The wealth inequality that is being pointed at is a symptom of a problem. It isn't the problem. Videos like this only serve to misrepresent the situation, further divide people, and create a giant straw-man for opponents to tear apart. We certainly have an issue with how wealth is distributed but this video is fundamentally flawed in many ways... For example:

#1 Whoever made this has no idea what socialism is. It doesn't produce a flat distribution like that.

#2 They are conflating wealth and income as they roll through the data. Those are not interchangeable!

#3 Why is 92% of public opinion somehow an accurate source for what defines a functional economy? After watching public discourse over the last decade, I would say at least 92% of the public has a horrible grasp of basic economics.

#4 Where is this "ideal" distribution coming from? Do people just like the shape? There is literally no tangible justification for "ideal" distribution in this video other than "eh.. seems about right"

#5 Do people actually think your income is related to how hard you work instead of what value you bring to a business? That's what the video implies.

xmd 5a
11-01-2013, 08:27 PM
#5 Do people actually think your income is related to how hard you work

Many do if you go by all the "dole bludgers this" and "lazy welfare cheats that" rhetoric. I utterly despise that shit.

DigitalChaos
11-01-2013, 08:44 PM
Many do if you go by all the "dole bludgers this" and "lazy welfare cheats that" rhetoric. I utterly despise that shit.
Those people are idiots. Bitching about entitlements and promoting "free market" while pulling out the lazy line is annoying. It's sad how few people call them out on that specific hypocrisy, as you did. I definitely think much of our entitlement programs are making the wealth gap even worse. We should have safety nets that catch people when they fall, they just shouldn't be something that so many become permanently dependent on.

Vertigo
11-02-2013, 01:58 AM
When you bring this up to a conservative--the response is always "Class Warfare!" and that ends the discussion. I'm not saying that capitalism can be abolished or anything, but at the least the wealthy should higher taxes.

I think they're taxed just fine, the issue is the hiding of so much of that money in tax havens. Raising their taxes would just encourage more of that, what's needed is tighter legislation on what happens to that income and/or how it's accessed, or an overhaul of how the IRS works.

RhettButler
11-02-2013, 05:14 AM
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/taxmageddon.png

See what tax rates for the rich used to be like. How about raising taxes and getting rid of loopholes? The wealthy will still do just fine.

DigitalChaos
11-02-2013, 10:59 AM
See what tax rates for the rich used to be like. How about raising taxes and getting rid of loopholes? The wealthy will still do just fine.

And all that tax money gets fed right back to the rich via bullshit like bailouts and crony capitalism. Ever wonder why so much money gets spent during election campaigns and where it comes from? Who do you think gets elected and is going to control all that tax money? You should probably fix that before you try and throw more money their way.

That tax money also gets fed into poorly designed welfare/income redistribution/entitlement/whateverYouWantToCallIt systems that basically lock people below middle-class while also reducing the incentive to move upward. Poof, no more middle class! You get to be poor or rich. Good luck moving out of poverty!

allegro
11-02-2013, 11:14 AM
We need a flat tax. 10% across the board, everyone, every entity, no write-offs, no not-for-profit, with the exception of the poor (determined by income threshold).

I totally disagree that a welfare state reduces the incentive to move upward. The poverty level that people live in while collecting welfare is not an incentive. But, free trade schools, day care, etc. IS an incentive. People so poor that they can't afford a car and car insurance or day care or public transportation, THAT'S what locks them in.

Social Security is NOT welfare, and I hate the new "entitlement" term for things like Social Security and Medicare.

DigitalChaos
11-02-2013, 12:41 PM
We need a flat tax. 10% across the board, everyone, every entity, no write-offs, no not-for-profit, with the exception of the poor (determined by income threshold).

I totally disagree that a welfare state reduces the incentive to move upward. The poverty level that people live in while collecting welfare is not an incentive. But, free trade schools, day care, etc. IS an incentive. People so poor that they can't afford a car and car insurance or day care or public transportation, THAT'S what locks them in.

Social Security is NOT welfare, and I hate the new "entitlement" term for things like Social Security and Medicare.
Flat tax would be AWESOME. Most progressives hate that idea though.

Welfare reducing fiscal mobility is a small part, comparatively, of the current issue. Who controls tax money and ends up giving it back to themselves is much bigger. That said, there are many demonstrations of why welfare reduces your mobility.
Here is just one demonstration:
http://i.imgur.com/VENyd55.jpg

allegro
11-02-2013, 12:47 PM
I don't understand that chart at all. Welfare at $55,000? Welfare reform (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Responsibility_and_Work_Opportunity_Act) requires you to get to work within a few years, you can't sit on your ass and collect welfare your entire life, then your welfare checks stop at a certain point.

And all of this is, really, digression. It doesn't address that large gap between the upper and middle class. You can make $150,000 per year, now, but are you "rich?" Nope. Not relatively speaking.

I don't know one progressive who hates the idea of a flat tax. The only person / entity hurt by a flat tax = billionaires and billionaire corporations. Most everybody is currently paying MORE than 10% in income taxes, except for, like, G.E. or big oil or big corporations or bogus not-for-profits.

RhettButler
11-02-2013, 01:03 PM
I don't like the idea of a flat tax at all. A progressive tax system seems a lot more fair. The Koch Brothers can afford to pay more than a 15% tax rate.

allegro
11-02-2013, 01:04 PM
The November issue of Playboy has an interview with Bernie Sanders that I think everyone interested in these issues should read.

http://www.playboy.com/playground/view/bernie-sanders-playboy-interview


PLAYBOY: You have said, “There are people working three jobs and four jobs, trying to cobble together an income in order to support their families.” Has the middle class died forever?

SANDERS: Well, I certainly hope it’s not forever, but one of the untold stories of our time is the collapse of the American middle class. From the end of World War II until 1973, we saw an expanding middle class, with people’s incomes going up. Since that point, and especially since the Wall Street–driven financial crisis, you’ve seen a real collapse. Since 1999 median family income has gone down $5,000. Real unemployment, counting people who have given up looking for work or who are working part-time when they want to work full-time, is more than 14 percent. More than 14 percent! You’re seeing millions of people working longer hours for lower wages. When I was growing up in a lower-middle-class family, the gold standard for blue-collar workers was union manufacturing in the automobile industry. As the big three have been rehiring, they’re hiring people at something like $14 an hour, half the wages. The U.S. has 46 million people living in poverty today. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world.

PLAYBOY: How do you explain that?

SANDERS: We live in a hypercapitalist society, which means the function of every institution is not to perform a public service but to make as much money as possible. There’s an effort to privatize water, for God’s sake. I suppose somebody will figure out how to charge you for the oxygen you breathe. The function of health care, in a rational world, is to make sure every person, as a right, has access to the health care they need in the most cost-effective way possible. That is not the nature of our health care system at all. The function of this health care system is for people in the system—whether it’s insurance companies, drug companies, medical specialists—to make as much money out of it as possible. In five minutes one could come up with ways to make the system simpler and more cost effective.

PLAYBOY: Has this hypercapitalism accelerated lately?

SANDERS: People have lost sight of America as a society where everyone has at least a minimal standard of living and is entitled to certain basic rights, a nation in which every child has a good-quality education, has access to health care and lives in an environmentally clean community, not as an opportunity for billionaires to make even more money and avoid taxes by stashing their money in the Cayman Islands. Can you argue that the era of unfettered capitalism should be over? Absolutely. Does this system of hypercapitalism, this incredibly unequal distribution of wealth and income, need fundamental reform? Absolutely it does. You have the entire scientific community saying we have to be very aggressive in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Yet you’re seeing the heads of coal companies and oil companies willing to sacrifice the well-being of the entire planet for their short-term profits. And these folks are funding phony organizations to try to create doubt about the reality of global warming.

PLAYBOY: Aren’t they just taking care of their shareholders?

SANDERS: Big business is willing to destroy the planet for short-term profits. I regard that as just incomprehensible. Incomprehensible. And because of their power over the political process, you hear a deafening silence in the U.S. Congress and in other bodies around the world about the severity of the problem. Global warming is a far more serious problem than Al Qaeda.

PLAYBOY: Today, people who don’t have a union, pensions or health care feel resentful of those who do have those benefits.

SANDERS: That’s part of the Republican plan. It has worked very well. This is not a new idea. Think back 50 years, to the 1950s and the 1960s. The lowest-paid white workers in America were where? They were in Mississippi, in Alabama. How did those companies get away with paying them such low wages? They played them off against black workers, who were even worse off. Then over the years you play immigrants against native-born people; you play straight people against gay people. Rather than say, “Firefighters have a halfway decent health care program, and we have to make sure you get one as good as theirs,” Republicans are pretty clever in playing one group against another. When you have a president of the United States who is talking about cuts in Social Security and veterans’ programs, who was willing earlier on to give continued tax breaks to billionaires and unwilling to go after huge corporate loopholes, people sit there and say, “Both parties are working for the big-money interests.”

PLAYBOY: Ten years ago jobs were going abroad to low-wage countries. Now jobs are coming back because we’re seen as an even lower-wage country.

SANDERS: There’s a quote I can dig up for you from some guy saying General Electric can expand in the United States because the wages are now competitive with the rest of the world. You can now hire workers in America for wages so low it becomes a good investment for American companies. That is pathetic. The goal of all those trade agreements was, in fact, to shut down plants in America. We have lost almost 60,000 manufacturing plants and millions of good-paying jobs in the past 10 years. Products go to China, Vietnam and elsewhere, are manufactured and brought back to the United States, not only causing unemployment in this country but pushing wages down. That’s what corporate America has wanted, and it has significantly succeeded.

PLAYBOY: You’ve said that today the wealthiest 400 individuals in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people.

SANDERS: One family, the Waltons, who own Walmart, has more wealth than the bottom 40 percent. The top one percent today owns 38 percent of all wealth. Take a wild and crazy guess as to what the bottom 60 percent own.

PLAYBOY: Probably five percent.

SANDERS: No, 2.3 percent. When we were growing up and read about oligarchic countries in Latin America and elsewhere, did you ever think that in the United States one percent would own 38 percent of the wealth and the bottom 60 percent only 2.3 percent? As part of the budget debate, I brought forth an amendment in committee. I looked at my Republican friends and said something like “I know you’ve been interested in welfare reform. So am I, and I want to give you the opportunity right now to take on the biggest welfare cheat in the United States of America.” In state after state, Walmart employees are on Medicaid, they’re on food stamps, they’re in publicly subsidized housing. I said, “If we can raise the minimum wage and get a living wage for these people, we’re going to save billions of dollars. The wealthiest family in this country, the Walton family, is getting welfare from the taxpayers of this country. Let’s end that.” You’ll be shocked to know I didn’t get any votes from the Republicans on that.

PLAYBOY: You make the U.S. sound like a banana republic in which a handful of families control all the economic and political power.

SANDERS: Yes, it is. In more technical economic terms I would call it an oligarchy. You have an economy where a very few people control a large part of the wealth. You have an economy where the top six financial institutions have assets equivalent to two thirds of the GDP of the United States, more than $9 trillion. That’s economic control. On top of that, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, Citizens United, said to these folks, “Hey, so you own the economy. Fine. Now we’re giving you the opportunity to own the political process.” The other part of the story is what happens on the floors of the Senate and the House. If there’s a tough vote in the House or the Senate—for example, legislation to break up the large banks—people might come up and say, “Bernie, that’s a pretty good idea, but I can’t vote for that.” Why not? Because when you go home, what do you think is going to happen? Wall Street dumps a few million dollars into your opponent’s campaign.

PLAYBOY: You once said, “It is Robin Hood in reverse. We are taking from working families who are hurting and giving it to the wealthiest people.”

SANDERS: Welcome to America 2013. We are in the midst of intense class warfare, where the wealthiest people and the largest corporations are at war with the middle class and working families of this country, and it is obvious the big-money interests are winning that war. They are winning the war in terms of their lobbyists negotiating tax breaks for people who don’t need them and then fighting for cuts for working families. The Business Roundtable—CEOs of the largest companies in the U.S.—came to Washington earlier this year and proposed that we raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility ages to 70. Can you imagine the chutzpah of guys who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases and have retirement packages the likes of which average Americans couldn’t even dream, proposing that? Can you imagine somebody who will get a golden parachute of perhaps tens of millions of dollars—who is not going to have a financial worry in his or her life—coming to Washington and saying, “I want you to raise Medicare eligibility to 70”?

PLAYBOY: Is the problem that wealthy CEOs are out of touch with the concerns of the common man?

SANDERS: Absolutely. These are people whose kids live in gated communities, people who get into their chauffeured cars when they travel, into their own jet planes, and go all over the world. They eat at the finest restaurants; they work out in the greatest gyms. They haven’t got a clue or a concern about what’s going on with ordinary Americans.

PLAYBOY: We saw one calculation that said if the productivity of workers was matched to the minimum wage, the minimum wage in America would be $22 an hour, three times what it is.

SANDERS: If I give you a new tool—for example, a computer as opposed to a yellow pad—we have a right to expect you to be more productive, right? If I give a guy in the woods a chain saw as opposed to an old-fashioned saw, that guy’s going to cut down more trees. Here is the irony: Our society has become far more productive—productivity has soared—and yet all the gains from that productivity have gone to the people at the top. While you have become more productive as a worker, your wages, income and benefits have gone down.

allegro
11-02-2013, 01:06 PM
I don't like the idea of a flat tax at all. A progressive tax system seems a lot more fair. The Koch Brothers can afford to pay more than a 15% tax rate.

If the Koch brothers paid 10 or 15%, that's 10 or 15% more than what they're paying now, which is zero. They hide all their money in the Cayman Islands. And 10 or 15% of THEIR income (we first need to define income in a way that's taxable) is a LOT OF FUCKING MONEY.

DigitalChaos
11-02-2013, 01:26 PM
allegro - Here is the source for that image: http://www.scribd.com/doc/114628958/welfare-failure There are lots of "welfare cliffs" like that. Welfare varies quite a bit from state to state (and even county sometimes), add in all the various family conditions and types and it makes it more complex. You can't just roll up a single national graph and point at the issue. It's much like every issue (crime, education, etc). You'll find a lot of examples and opinions on welfare cliffs. Some are poorly assembled using bad/incomplete data, so watch out.

Much of the 2012 republican primary candidates were proposing flat taxes and basically ever democrat source I could find was calling flat taxes "a tax cut for the rich and tax increase for the poor"

RhettButler
11-02-2013, 01:33 PM
If the Koch brothers paid 10 or 15%, that's 10 or 15% more than what they're paying now, which is zero. They hide all their money in the Cayman Islands. And 10 or 15% of THEIR income (we first need to define income in a way that's taxable) is a LOT OF FUCKING MONEY.

The idea is that they would pay more than 15% and wouldn't hide it in the Cayman Islands.

allegro
11-02-2013, 01:48 PM
The idea is that they would pay more than 15% and wouldn't hide it in the Cayman Islands.
And with a flat tax and a revision of the tax code, they couldn't do that. Obviously, a flat tax would require a revision of the tax code. Bigtime.

Anyway, I think Sanders knows more about this than any of us, what he says is important ^^.

SANDERS: When we were growing up and read about oligarchic countries in Latin America and elsewhere, did you ever think that in the United States one percent would own 38 percent of the wealth and the bottom 60 percent only 2.3 percent? As part of the budget debate, I brought forth an amendment in committee. I looked at my Republican friends and said something like “I know you’ve been interested in welfare reform. So am I, and I want to give you the opportunity right now to take on the biggest welfare cheat in the United States of America.” In state after state, Walmart employees are on Medicaid, they’re on food stamps, they’re in publicly subsidized housing. I said, “If we can raise the minimum wage and get a living wage for these people, we’re going to save billions of dollars. The wealthiest family in this country, the Walton family, is getting welfare from the taxpayers of this country. Let’s end that.” You’ll be shocked to know I didn’t get any votes from the Republicans on that.

PLAYBOY: You make the U.S. sound like a banana republic in which a handful of families control all the economic and political power.

SANDERS: Yes, it is. In more technical economic terms I would call it an oligarchy. You have an economy where a very few people control a large part of the wealth. You have an economy where the top six financial institutions have assets equivalent to two thirds of the GDP of the United States, more than $9 trillion. That’s economic control. On top of that, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, Citizens United, said to these folks, “Hey, so you own the economy. Fine. Now we’re giving you the opportunity to own the political process.” The other part of the story is what happens on the floors of the Senate and the House. If there’s a tough vote in the House or the Senate—for example, legislation to break up the large banks—people might come up and say, “Bernie, that’s a pretty good idea, but I can’t vote for that.” Why not? Because when you go home, what do you think is going to happen? Wall Street dumps a few million dollars into your opponent’s campaign.

DigitalChaos
11-02-2013, 02:14 PM
...
PLAYBOY: You make the U.S. sound like a banana republic in which a handful of families control all the economic and political power.

SANDERS: Yes, it is. In more technical economic terms I would call it an oligarchy. You have an economy where a very few people control a large part of the wealth. You have an economy where the top six financial institutions have assets equivalent to two thirds of the GDP of the United States, more than $9 trillion. That’s economic control. On top of that, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, Citizens United, said to these folks, “Hey, so you own the economy. Fine. Now we’re giving you the opportunity to own the political process.” The other part of the story is what happens on the floors of the Senate and the House. If there’s a tough vote in the House or the Senate—for example, legislation to break up the large banks—people might come up and say, “Bernie, that’s a pretty good idea, but I can’t vote for that.” Why not? Because when you go home, what do you think is going to happen? Wall Street dumps a few million dollars into your opponent’s campaign.

Exactly why we need to fix that before anything else really can work. Giving more power and more money to the government is giving it all to the rich. It's near impossible to make other changes until this is done. Any small changes you manage to make will be quickly corroded. It's a losing game.

allegro
11-02-2013, 02:24 PM
SANDERS: Bank of America operated 200 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands. In 2010 it got a $1.9 billion rebate from the IRS. There’s a list of about 15 companies that paid nothing, or very little, in taxes. Many of these institutions—Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase—were actually bailed out by the American people. They were wonderful, proud American companies when they came for their welfare checks from the American people. After the bailout, they suddenly love the Cayman Islands and are parking all their money there. The next time they go broke, they can go to the Cayman Islands for a bailout, not the American people. There’s an estimate out there that we’re losing about $100 billion a year because companies are taking advantage of the tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and so on—$100 billion a year!

SANDERS: Today one out of four major profitable corporations pays zero in federal income taxes. Got that? Today, what corporations are paying into the U.S. Treasury, as a percentage of GDP, is lower than in any other major country on earth. You would think that before you cut health care, education, nutrition or Social Security, you might want to take a hard look at that issue. I mean, am I missing something here?

SANDERS: Every speech I give, I get a question. “Bernie, I don’t understand. These CEOs and large financial institutions were clearly engaged in fraudulent behavior, but none of these guys is in jail. Why?” Attorney General Eric Holder said he had concerns about the Department of Justice prosecuting large financial institutions because if they became destabilized, it would have an impact on our economy and the world economy. In other words, these guys are not only too big to fail, they’re too big to jail.

DigitalChaos
11-02-2013, 07:51 PM
The problem with Sanders is that his answer is "tax the rich more" instead of going after the root. I agree with his assessment of the problem, just not his solution. Why not get the rich out of government, make it harder for them to get in, or remove the incentive for them to get in? This would fix WAY more than just the growing wealth inequality.

Jinsai
11-02-2013, 08:56 PM
Exactly why we need to fix that before anything else really can work. Giving more power and more money to the government is giving it all to the rich. It's near impossible to make other changes until this is done. Any small changes you manage to make will be quickly corroded. It's a losing game.....

The problem with Sanders is that his answer is "tax the rich more" instead of going after the root. I agree with his assessment of the problem, just not his solution. Why not get the rich out of government, make it harder for them to get in, or remove the incentive for them to get in? This would fix WAY more than just the growing wealth inequality.


Or we could all just snap our fingers and wake up in a libertarian utopia.

Really though, how do you suggest de-incentifying government positions of power?

DigitalChaos
11-02-2013, 09:13 PM
Or we could all just snap our fingers and wake up in a libertarian utopia.

Really though, how do you suggest de-incentifying government positions of power?

Well, if the Federal government wasn't so powerful and involved in the markets so much... it wouldn't be as attractive.

But I think the biggest thing we could to to help things is to fix the campaign process. End game would be to eliminate/ban private financial contributions to every campaign. I have no problems using tax money to fund these things. There are many other approaches, but this is probably the most simple and easy to understand (and thus get support for).

Until then, individuals could start contributing more (more crowd funding, grass roots, insert buzz word here) to dilute the value of the big-business donations. People could also start giving a shit and refuse to elect anyone that gets major big-business contributions. That's what libertarians did for the last 2 elections with Ron Paul. That guy's funding was angelic compare to Obama, Romney, McCain, etc. If it became more popular with the major parties... then maybe. It's a very temporary situation though. You can't expect the little guy to keep pace with big business. We get someone in office that can help create dramatic change to the campaign situation. No more Super PAC bullshit. No more private funding at all. etc.

allegro
11-02-2013, 09:41 PM
I don't like Libertarians. But I would definitely like to see more Independents.

Like Barry Sanders.

Jinsai
11-02-2013, 10:29 PM
End game would be to eliminate/ban private financial contributions to every campaign. I have no problems using tax money to fund these things.

Yeah, good luck with that completely impossible scenario.

And yes, Allegro, I LOVE the idea of third party options, I just want to hear ideas from feasible ones.

DigitalChaos
11-03-2013, 11:09 PM
Yeah, good luck with that completely impossible scenario.

And yes, Allegro, I LOVE the idea of third party options, I just want to hear ideas from feasible ones.
What about it is impossible compared to the idea of fixing wealth distribution by giving rich people more tax money?

There are already many organizations working to make this happen. Some of them have great game plans to get us to that point. Many of the groups trying to deal with the Citizens United v FEC ruling have public funding in their plan. Your brain shuts off anytime "libertarian" is mentioned but there is every shade of political identity involved. Hell, Cenk Uygur announced one of these orgs at an Occupy rally.




Check out this TED video by Lessig. Lessig has already paired up with Joe Trippi (Democratic campaign worker/consultant) to form a nonprofit based on this idea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw2z9lV3W1g

RhettButler
01-28-2014, 11:11 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cJUBOZE26k#t=568

Deepvoid
01-28-2014, 01:35 PM
Yeah, good luck with that completely impossible scenario.

And yes, Allegro, I LOVE the idea of third party options, I just want to hear ideas from feasible ones.

It's possible through a Constitutional amendment.

http://www.wolf-pac.com/

allegro
01-28-2014, 05:29 PM
It's possible through a Constitutional amendment.

http://www.wolf-pac.com/

It's possible without a constitutional amendment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_politic al_affiliation).

Just because the Citizens United decision enabled corporations to donate money doesn't mean that a grassroots independent candidate couldn't win. That'd have to be SOME CANDIDATE, though. I mean, like, REALLY REALLY GOOD. The basis of the SCOTUS Citizens United decision was that voters' votes can't be "bought" by corporations, which is true.

allegro
01-28-2014, 05:45 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cJUBOZE26k#t=568
Fucking Wolf Blitzer should be IMMEDIATELY FIRED for not moderating this discussion. Michelle Bachman needs to be punched in the fucking face. I was punching her in the face via my computer monitor while watching this. How in the FUCK does she get elected? Seriously, what level of stupid fuck votes for her? And does she KNOW that Bernie Sanders is NOT a Democrat?

Tony Gordon
05-07-2014, 10:06 PM
That's capitalism for ya.

Wealth inequality is going to get worse, and it's went totally out of control with the class war.

Tony Gordon
05-07-2014, 10:16 PM
Well, if the Federal government wasn't so powerful and involved in the markets so much... it wouldn't be as attractive.


Until then, individuals could start contributing more (more crowd funding, grass roots, insert buzz word here) to dilute the value of the big-business donations. People could also start giving a shit and refuse to elect anyone that gets major big-business contributions. That's what libertarians did for the last 2 elections with Ron Paul. That guy's funding was angelic compare to Obama, Romney, McCain, etc. If it became more popular with the major parties... then maybe.


Ron Paul is a joke and so are the Libertarians. They know he has absolutely no shot whatsoever in winning cause he's bat shit crazy, and there's a reason Libertarians tend to be dumbass white hicks from the backwoods shouting about their property rights and their guns. No one takes him seriously whatsoever. He's a president straight out of 1850 that wants to go back to that kind of shit, and people can see right through him that he's an evil mother fucker.

The idea that the free market fixes everything is total bullshit. You have to be a total sucker to fall for that, cause the free market don't fix shit. We already live in a system of unregulated capitalism, and the Libertarians don't want to see this cause they are so blinded by all that free market God stuff. Corporatism and capitalism are the same goddamn thing.

And blaming everything on the government is also wrong. What is the government supposed to do? They do not have as much control over this shit as people think they do. The corporations have way more power than the government since they can either bribe them with cash, or intimidate them with the cash if it don't work on option 1. One thing Libertarians don't like to talk about is big business doing bad things and exploiting workers. See, they don't have a problem with the businesses doing it cause "they work hard for that money", they just have a problem if it's da big bad mean gubahment doing it instead.


If by some miracle that Ron Paul actually did get elected, things would get even more fucked up cause he wants to totally deregulate the markets and have another Reagan style corporate revolution. The corporate revolution of the 80's is still in effect today. The wealth inequality didn't go totally out of control until then. And Libertarians are insane with their crazy worship of this man. In hindsight, they want to go back to 1850. Their whole belief in this free market dream bullshit proves this. There's a reason Ron Paul attracts so many white nationalists and the crazy neo-nazi's in his fanbase, and it's because the radical shit he was writing back in the 80's and 90's about the "coming race war". Fuck Ron Paul, fuck his son, and fuck that evil bitch his son was named after.

And both parties are a fucking joke in this country. The right wing is at least up front about being psychopaths, but all we get from the democrats is a bunch of fucking house negroes that pretend to be progressive and want to look good, but they don't want to actually be progressive. Everything Malcolm X said about them 60 years ago is still 100% accurate to this day. You have no option with the parties in this country. There is right wing with the liberals and then super right wing with the conservatives. We can only truly dream that we could this big mean Marxist in office that wants to destroy big business and hang these mother fuckers on the street, and that's apparently what the morons on Fox News think Obama is, even though he would bend over backwards to please their rich sorry asses.

DigitalChaos
05-07-2014, 10:35 PM
A corporation is literally impossible in a free-market. The fact that you don't understand that is a huge red flag that you have no idea what you are saying. A corporation is a liability shield granted and enforced by the government. You can reinforce your opinions with all the unsubstantiated pejoratives you want but it won't change that simple fact. The vast majority of what people bitch about when it comes to TEH EVIL BIG BUSINESSES is due to this government involvement.

allegro
05-08-2014, 12:15 AM
Ehhhhh not really granted and enforced by "the government."

Corporations are formed under the laws of individual states, but receive a Federal tax ID number if you have a C-Corp (if you want an S-Corp, you use your own Social Security Number). Corporations are sued in the state where they reside. Corporations are falling out of favor due to double taxation (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/double_taxation.asp), but we digress ...

When the government doesn't regulate, this is what happens (http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/08/27/repeal-of-glass-steagall-caused-the-financial-crisis).

DigitalChaos
05-08-2014, 11:49 AM
Ehhhhh not really granted and enforced by "the government."

Corporations are formed under the laws of individual states, but receive a Federal tax ID number if you have a C-Corp (if you want an S-Corp, you use your own Social Security Number). Corporations are sued in the state where they reside. Corporations are falling out of favor due to double taxation (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/double_taxation.asp), but we digress ...

When the government doesn't regulate, this is what happens (http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/08/27/repeal-of-glass-steagall-caused-the-financial-crisis).

"when we don't regulate"? That was the result of shitty fucking regulation because everyone trusts that big daddy is taking care of them. Big daddy also provided the bailouts! That is also *not* free market.

So, if the corporation label (aka govt recognized liability shield) is not granted and enforced by the government... where does it come from? The people sure as fuck aren't doing it. A business entity that has legal liability shields for their fuck-ups doesn't exist without government saying they can. It's all bullshit to get more people to invest without the worry of consequence when their investments turn into damages for others. Talk about profits over people... You can't privatize the profits and socialize the losses without government help.

allegro
05-08-2014, 12:57 PM
A business entity that has legal liability shields for their fuck-ups doesn't exist without government saying they can. It's all bullshit to get more people to invest without the worry of consequence when their investments turn into damages for others. Talk about profits over people... You can't privatize the profits and socialize the losses without government help.
First of all, do NOT confuse the Courts with "big Government." Second, assuming that a corporate veil is made of steel is a misconception (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piercing_the_corporate_veil).

I am certified in corporate law, but I'm not going to delve too far into this because (a) it's unethical for me to do so (UPL) and (b) this ain't the thread, anyway.

Those banks/investment firms wouldn't have NEEDED a bailout had the original laws been kept in place. A lot of those parties should be IN PRISON right now. Like Bernie Sanders said, not only are they too big to fail, they're too big to JAIL. If any of us poor schmucks had done what they did, we'd be doing 20 years in Club Fed. As a real estate paralegal for nearly 26 years, I had a front row seat to the Subprime mortgage crisis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis) that pretty much caused all this bullshit. Yes, the consumers had a LOT to do with it, too. I saw Buyers buying houses they had NO BUSINESS buying, just to "keep up with the Joneses" with that "American Dream" bullshit. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT financing, wtf. What person in their right mind wouldn't know that's a BAD FUCKING IDEA? A LENDER, that's who. But, of course, the lenders were handing out 100% loans like Pez dispensers, thinking the houses would go up in value (the houses WERE going up in value in most markets, like CRAZY, and the lenders and sellers thought it'd never end) and were playing Flip This House like it was Vegas every day.

You know who my PRIMARY client is, now? Banks. Banks that got back all that property after foreclosures. Banks who took a bath in losses and are dumping the properties but not at a low price, they have to sell them at market value to try to make as much money as possible and not affect the comps for the OTHER properties in the area that they have on the market (these sellers are known in the business as "REOs" or Real Estate Owned). The middle class died after the Subprime mortgage crisis.

DigitalChaos
05-08-2014, 01:14 PM
First of all, do NOT confuse the Courts with "big Government." Second, assuming that a corporate veil is made of steel is a misconception (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piercing_the_corporate_veil).

I am certified in corporate law, but I'm not going to delve too far into this because (a) it's unethical for me to do so (UPL) and (b) this ain't the thread, anyway.

"(a)" is really interesting to me. Are you able to explain why? It's something I never thought about.

As for courts vs govt (for the sake of clarifying my position)- Sure, the courts are enforcing the law. It's the law I take issue with and those who put it there and keep it there. And while the corporate shield is not impermeable, I take issue with the fact that it can shield ANY responsibility that a person would normally be responsible for. Every little bit of that tips the scales toward encouraging a business to make decisions that favor money over people... not that businesses are altruistic, but it is the consequences of harming others that keep people in check. Look at all the environmental disasters that were caused by a business where the people are forced to pay for the damages while the owners/investors walk away with all of their "private" assets after sacrificing anything within the corp entity bubble. And the bigger your influence is on the economy, the more protection you can get. BP oil spill and the liability cap, for instance.

allegro
05-09-2014, 10:16 PM
http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2014/02/obama_administration_set_to_ra.html

allegro
05-10-2014, 11:10 AM
the courts are enforcing the law
Courts do not enforce the law; courts interpret the law.

screwdriver
05-11-2014, 07:08 PM
First of all, do NOT confuse the Courts with "big Government." Second, assuming that a corporate veil is made of steel is a misconception (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piercing_the_corporate_veil).

I am certified in corporate law, but I'm not going to delve too far into this because (a) it's unethical for me to do so (UPL) and (b) this ain't the thread, anyway.

Those banks/investment firms wouldn't have NEEDED a bailout had the original laws been kept in place. A lot of those parties should be IN PRISON right now. Like Bernie Sanders said, not only are they too big to fail, they're too big to JAIL. If any of us poor schmucks had done what they did, we'd be doing 20 years in Club Fed. As a real estate paralegal for nearly 26 years, I had a front row seat to the Subprime mortgage crisis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis) that pretty much caused all this bullshit. Yes, the consumers had a LOT to do with it, too. I saw Buyers buying houses they had NO BUSINESS buying, just to "keep up with the Joneses" with that "American Dream" bullshit. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT financing, wtf. What person in their right mind wouldn't know that's a BAD FUCKING IDEA? A LENDER, that's who. But, of course, the lenders were handing out 100% loans like Pez dispensers, thinking the houses would go up in value (the houses WERE going up in value in most markets, like CRAZY, and the lenders and sellers thought it'd never end) and were playing Flip This House like it was Vegas every day.

You know who my PRIMARY client is, now? Banks. Banks that got back all that property after foreclosures. Banks who took a bath in losses and are dumping the properties but not at a low price, they have to sell them at market value to try to make as much money as possible and not affect the comps for the OTHER properties in the area that they have on the market (these sellers are known in the business as "REOs" or Real Estate Owned). The middle class died after the Subprime mortgage crisis.


what exactly do you think was done that was fraudulent and by whom, in relation to the financial crisis? I don't disagree, you just sound so sure.

how did the repeal of the glass-steagal act cause the crisis? my understanding, at best, you could argue that the repeal led to a culture of enabled risk taking, but that the repeal itself did not play a role in the crisis. there's no connection between what GS was regulating and the products that enabled the trouble.

my own 2c? its the rating agencies fault, a quasi-governmental, big-business nightmare if ever there was, and they should be the ones in trouble. but, like you, I can't really talk about this (job)

allegro
05-11-2014, 10:41 PM
Read the 2nd link in response #42.

See also this (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedkaufman/2013/07/29/why-doj-deemed-bank-execs-too-big-to-jail/)

And, again, unless people understand how the subprime mortgage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis) bullshit was working back then, not a lot of this would make sense. A
LOT of what was going on, there, was fraudulent. Faked appraisals, forged W2s, doctored tax returns, automated approval with zero underwriting review, etc. Mortgage brokers grew on trees (now they're pretty scarce).

Now, lenders can't have any direct contact with appraisers anymore (as a direct result of the fraud that was rampant, back then). That's just one of many changes made in an attempt to prevent this from happening again.

Ugh, and I also blame the rating agencies.

screwdriver
05-12-2014, 09:13 AM
Read the 2nd link in response #42.

See also this (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedkaufman/2013/07/29/why-doj-deemed-bank-execs-too-big-to-jail/)

And, again, unless people understand how the subprime mortgage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis) bullshit was working back then, not a lot of this would make sense. A
LOT of what was going on, there, was fraudulent. Faked appraisals, forged W2s, doctored tax returns, automated approval with zero underwriting review, etc. Mortgage brokers grew on trees (now they're pretty scarce).

Now, lenders can't have any direct contact with appraisers anymore (as a direct result of the fraud that was rampant, back then). That's just one of many changes made in an attempt to prevent this from happening again.

Ugh, and I also blame the rating agencies.

the usnews piece is pretty light on detail... for the sake of amiable conversation I'll refer you to another usnews piece:
http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/08/23/glass-steagall-critics-have-got-it-all-wrong


Glass-Steagall's repeal in 1999 did not, by itself, cause the financial crisis, and so its reinstatement unaccompanied by other reforms is not going to prevent a future crisis. Glass-Steagall targets one of five major issues that need to be addressed to buttress the banking system. It is designed to complement other reforms, some already enacted in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and others still to come.

which I still think is pretty light on actual analysis, but you get the drift

I like to think I have a pretty serious understanding of all of this stuff (out of necessity and interest) so it's always fun to chat with others about it :-)

I liked Judge Rakoff's thoughts on it:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/jan/09/financial-crisis-why-no-executive-prosecutions/

allegro
05-12-2014, 09:33 AM
the usnews piece is pretty light on detail... for the sake of amiable conversation I'll refer you to another usnews piece:
http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/08/23/glass-steagall-critics-have-got-it-all-wrong

which I still think is pretty light on actual analysis, but you get the drift
He is EXACTLY right, here:


At the most fundamental level, the financial collapse happened because market forces failed to discipline risk-taking by executives who lead banks and other financial firms. Under normal conditions, the fear of financial ruin is enough to make a company president cautious. But in our system, normal market discipline was suspended. Financial executives took on far more risk than they could handle. The factors that encouraged excessive risk-taking are worth restating, so we can put Glass-Steagall in perspective:

Financial institutions could issue mortgages to inappropriate borrowers and then sell these mortgages right away, so they wouldn't be caught holding the bag when the payments stopped.

Financial institutions were allowed to expand their speculation by leveraging their federally-guaranteed deposits. (This is what the original Glass-Steagall Act prohibited.)

Capital requirements were set too low. Financial firms were not required to keep enough assets on hand to protect against speculative investments that went bad.

The massive scale and interconnectedness of the financial system required the government to bail out institutions rather than let them fail due to their poor risk management. (This is the so-called "too big to fail" problem.)

There was a profound misalignment of incentives between the performance of financial firms and the pay of the executives who ran them. The financial incentives for executives and boards, coupled with the lack of criminal prosecution, meant that individual executives profited personally from decisions that were catastrophic for the banks they ran.


I liked Judge Rakoff's thoughts on it:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/jan/09/financial-crisis-why-no-executive-prosecutions/
Thanks, that is an EXCELLENT piece!


On the one hand, the government, writ large, had a part in creating the conditions that encouraged the approval of dubious mortgages. Even before the start of the housing boom, it was the government, in the form of Congress, that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, thus allowing certain banks that had previously viewed mortgages as a source of interest income to become instead deeply involved in securitizing pools of mortgages in order to obtain the much greater profits available from trading. It was the government, in the form of both the executive and the legislature, that encouraged deregulation, thus weakening the power and oversight not only of the SEC but also of such diverse banking overseers as the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, both in the Treasury Department. It was the government, in the form of the Federal Reserve, that kept interest rates low, in part to encourage mortgages. It was the government, in the form of the executive, that strongly encouraged banks to make loans to individuals with low incomes who might have previously been regarded as too risky to warrant a mortgage.

Thus, in the year 2000, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo increased to 50 percent the percentage of low-income mortgages that the government-sponsored entities known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were required to purchase, helping to create the conditions that resulted in over half of all mortgages being subprime at the time the housing market began to collapse in 2007.

It was the government, pretty much across the board, that acquiesced in the ever-greater tendency not to require meaningful documentation as a condition of obtaining a mortgage, often preempting in this regard state regulations designed to assure greater mortgage quality and a borrower’s ability to repay. Indeed, in the year 2000, the Office of Thrift Supervision, having just finished a successful campaign to preempt state regulation of thrift underwriting, terminated its own underwriting regulations entirely.

The result of all this was the mortgages that later became known as “liars’ loans.” They were increasingly risky; but what did the banks care, since they were making their money from the securitizations. And what did the government care, since it was helping to create a boom in the economy and helping voters to realize their dream of owning a home?

Moreover, the government was also deeply enmeshed in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It was the government that proposed the shotgun marriages of, among others, Bank of America with Merrill Lynch, and of J.P. Morgan with Bear Stearns. If, in the process, mistakes were made and liabilities not disclosed, was it not partly the government’s fault? One does not necessarily have to adopt the view of Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general in charge of oversight of TARP, that regulators made almost no effort to hold accountable the financial institutions they were bailing out, to wonder whether the government, having helped create the conditions that led to the seeming widespread fraud in the mortgage-backed securities market, was all too ready to forgive its alleged perpetrators.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that the government knowingly participated in any of the fraudulent practices alleged by the Financial Inquiry Crisis Commission and others. But what I am suggesting is that the government was deeply involved, from beginning to end, in helping create the conditions that could lead to such fraud, and that this would give a prudent prosecutor pause in deciding whether to indict a CEO who might, with some justice, claim that he was only doing what he fairly believed the government wanted him to do.


The reasons were obvious. Companies do not commit crimes; only their agents do. And while a company might get the benefit of some such crimes, prosecuting the company would inevitably punish, directly or indirectly, the many employees and shareholders who were totally innocent. Moreover, under the law of most US jurisdictions, a company cannot be criminally liable unless at least one managerial agent has committed the crime in question; so why not prosecute the agent who actually committed the crime?


I like to think I have a pretty serious understanding of all of this stuff (out of necessity and interest) so it's always fun to chat with others about it :-)
I agree. :-)

Tony Gordon
05-18-2014, 12:37 PM
Exactly why we need to fix that before anything else really can work. Giving more power and more money to the government is giving it all to the rich. It's near impossible to make other changes until this is done. Any small changes you manage to make will be quickly corroded. It's a losing game.


This is not true. Government is there to help everyone, that's their job. Why do you think the conservatives constantly want to gut all public aid programs that actually benefit people? They've been doing this since the 1980's when they convinced everyone that unions were Un-American and we were better off giving all our tax breaks to the rich. Anytime someone wants to come up with an idea to tax the rich and try to balance it out, they get shot down very quick.


I know Americans are obsessed with hating their government and blaming them on everything, but they are really not the core of the problem. That whole "Da gubahmen so corrupt!" got old 30 years ago.


The government does not even have that much power as people think they do. In the end the government don't control the economy, no it's the rich mother fuckers that do - the 1%, the elite, the bourgeoisie, whatever you want to call them.

America has always been a country from day one where the rich can do whatever the fuck they want and if you're poor, then you're fucked and you're going to get kicked around and stomped on at every given chance.

They tell you to blame it all on the government cause if government was abolished like every Libertarian's wet dream is, then who is going to moderate the 1%? Not that the government is doing a good job at this, but I'd rather trust them than some rich asshole that fucks me over by barely paying me a livable wage meanwhile he's making 80-90 dollars an hour off my labor that is being exploited.

The entire root of the problem is capitalism and no one wants to admit that. All that free market talk is total bullshit. Capitalism is a blood sucking system and you are seeing it right before your eyes since there's nothing more American than die hard capitalism.

DigitalChaos
05-18-2014, 01:07 PM
This is not true. Government is there to help everyone, that's their job. Why do you think the conservatives constantly want to gut all public aid programs that actually benefit people?

I could go point for point over your entire post explaining your naivety, but this is all I need. Who do you think "the conservatives" are? Are they not part of "the government"??

and just to wrap it up in a neat little package, I'll include a post you just made in another thread:

Obama is a joke, you all should know that. There is no such thing as 'left wing' in America. He's a conservative at heart and all those rich assholes on Fox News know this.

So uh... do you have some sort of cognitive dissonance that explains why those conservatives aren't The Real Government™? Much in the same way that Sarah Palin talks about The Real America™?

Ill give you credit, you see half of the problem. You just need to admit that the majority of the government is either owned by the rich, or IS the rich. As such, the government gives the rich MORE power and control. And the more power you give to the government.... who are you giving more power to? :) That's not free market. It's not even close. It's called crony capitalism.