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Class Warfare: Boo–Hiss

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Well, “Boo–Hiss,” say the Republicans. “It’s class warfare!” They object to the president, of course. That is just doing their Republican job. It is politics, after all, and they have to object to the incumbent Democrat chief executive and all things Obama. But the GOP would prefer that we have no perspective, as evidenced in the “class warfare” mantra and that oft repeated and tired bit about a “resounding defeat in 2010” referring to the mid-term election. That “referendum on the Obama presidency” elected a fractured Republican majority that now has approval ratings that are approaching single digits. Boo hiss.

Class warfare, huh? Let’s talk about that. The richest 10% of Americans control two-thirds of the nation’s wealth. Between 1979 and 2007, the income gap between the Obama jobs speechesrichest 1% of Americans and the poorest 40% more than tripled. Statistically speaking, 88% of the increase in real national income went to corporate profits as the US economy grew in 2009 and 2010. Recently released census data shows that real incomes of average Americans declined by 2.3% in 2010. If it is class warfare, the rich are the only ones who have been doing the fighting.

The 112th Congress has yet to address the fact that almost one in 10 Americans is unemployed and 15% live at or below the poverty level. It cannot even get the government funded for more than a few weeks at a time. But I have written a lot about the Republican majority inventing problems it wants to solve and I want to stick with class warfare. The real problem, as opposed to a make believe one, is that the president is not in capitulation mode, anymore. In fact, Obama is taking the argument to the Republicans with the American Jobs Act and calling them out in the process. He has gone on offense. Boo–Hiss, again.

“We’re going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party,” Obama told the crowd of union members in Detroit. “The time for Washington games is over. The time for action is now. No more manufactured crises. No more games. Now is not the time for the people you sent to Washington to worry about their jobs; now is the time for them to worry about your jobs.” That’s got to sting as only the truth can. 

At a Denver campaign stop on September 20th, the president told a crowd that Republicans in Washington have “a habit of becoming curiously deaf to the voice ofTruman's Whistle-Stop campaign the people. They have a hard time hearing what the ordinary people of the country are saying. But they have no trouble at all hearing what Wall Street is saying. They are able to catch the slightest whisper from big business and the special interests.” That president was Harry S. Truman and the year was 1948. “What I am really telling you is not that the Republicans are coming, but they are here. They have been in Washington for the last 2 years in the form of the notorious Republican ‘do-nothing’ 80th Congress.”

Truman represented the middle class and took it to his Republican opposition who gave him a load of boo–hiss. “Big business is against any aid to the farmers, and the Republican leaders in Congress are the errand boys of big business and special privilege,” Truman told his Winona, Minnesota audience on October 14, 1948.

He explained the term he had coined, a handle if you will, that the 112th Congress is trying to avoid being called — “do-nothing.” Truman said, “That is why the Republican 80th ‘do-nothing’ Congress – I mean do nothing for the people, they did something for the special interests all right . . .”

Republican sympathizers like to point to President Obama’s decline in the polls, as if they are proud of their low polling numbers. It is a point that the administration notes as well. Republicans pointed to Truman’s polling more 60 years ago, too. In fact, here is the Gallup presidential approval comparison in September: 1951 Truman — Approve 32%, Disapprove 54%; 2011 Obama — Approve 41%, Disapprove 51%. 

“By 1948, Truman began to employ a more relaxed, folksy, and sometimes fiery speaking technique,” according to the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “He combined both style and substance in launching effective attacks against the Republicans.” He took his argument to the people by train. On Truman’s “whistle-stops”, he attacked the Republican Congress, warned that a Republicans White House would repeal the New Deal, and reminded voters that the Democrats had saved the country from the Depression.

“If you give the Republicans complete control of this government, you might just as well turn it over to the special interests and we’ll start on a boom and bust cycle and try to go through just what we did in the twenties. And end up with a crash which in the long run will do nobody any good but the Communists,” he said. Truman won the 1948 election against all odds.

The Republican “class warfare” charge is also dated in our relatively recent political history. A Republican opposition originally accused President Franklin D. Roosevelt ofFDR Class warrior turning class against class. Although FDR came from elite wealth, he championed the middle class in his opposition to the wealthy elite. “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” Roosevelt said. “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.” Evidentally, so is Obama.

“If asking a millionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher makes me a class warrior, a warrior for the middle class, I will accept that; I’ll wear that as a badge of honor,” President Obama said in a speech promoting his jobs bill recently in Denver. “Because the only class warfare I’ve seen is the battle that’s been waged against the middle class in this country for a decade now.” So President Obama’s new strategy is similar to Truman’s – be aggressive, push new ideas, and call out those who oppose him. They do not like him anyway.

Is it working for Obama? Just listen to the Boo–Hiss. The right’s most ardent Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer protests that Obama’s new tack is “anti-millionaire populism” from a “self-proclaimed class warrior.” Speaker John Boehner tweets, “Pitting one group of Americans against another is not leadership.” Yes, the Speaker of the House tweets.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says, “Members of Congress Obama outside of DC and the studiowill have a lot of explaining to do when they go home at the end of the year if they’ve done nothing, nothing, to address the urgent need to help our economy and create jobs. … Their constituents are demanding it.”

American Enterprise Institute political scholar Norm Ornstein says, “Republicans came in believing the radical, conservative ideology is what voters were aiming for — and more confrontation.” However, President Obama’s inability to quickly solve the nation’s economic situation has only reinforced the right’s ideological advantage, according to others. Even though poll after poll shows that the public wants less confrontation, toned-down rhetoric and a spirit of bipartisanship, it has not worked for Obama.

The president has been recast. Like Truman before him, Obama has decided that populism only works when it is taken out of Washington and out of a studio. He has changed his tone and is again on the public speaking circuit. That the fractious right has taken up “class warfare” as an issue demonstrates that Republicans have become defensive. Boo–Hiss.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Obama, as quoted in the article: “If asking a millionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher makes me a class warrior, a warrior for the middle class, I will accept that; I’ll wear that as a badge of honor,”

    Or it could make him a moron, as making millionaires pay the same rate as plumbers and teachers would likely result in lowering their tax rate, assuming we’re comparing apples and apples and talking about their relative salaried incomes. Obama wouldn’t be so deceptive as to be comparing anything else, right?

    However, even if you compared their total income including investment income, taking into account personal deductions and exemptions for the middle class earners and the lower rate for capital gains and dividends for the wealthier earners, Obama might be shocked to discover that both groups likely end up paying something very close to a cumulative 17-18% of gross income on their total federal tax bill.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s no use arguing against Tommy. Tommy is a liberal.

    To circumvent your argument, however, don;t you think it’s rather late to speak of the rate of taxation or the tax code?

    How are you doing, by the way?

  • zingzing

    “Obama might be shocked to discover that both groups likely end up paying something very close to a cumulative 17-18% of gross income on their total federal tax bill.”

    huh. and the problem is where then? that seems relatively benign. but why would you consider investment income anything but income?

  • Maurice

    I have been very troubled by the recent revival of the class warfare issue. I grew up poor and have amassed some wealth. Many of my friends have also started from humble beginnings and now have multiple millions in the bank. I have to ask the obvious. Why are we the bad guys?

  • Igor

    To be fair, the upper class started the warfare by looting everyone else. And they´re winning pretty big by all measurements!

  • zingzing

    pay what you owe, maurice. you’re not “the bad guys,” but you should help out the little guy, who used to be you. you didn’t get here all on your own, you know. who helped you?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “Why are we the bad guys?”

    Probably all the whining and complaining about going back to tax rates before Bush tax cut. Who is supposed to feel sorry for you?

  • clavos

    The 112th Congress has yet to address the fact that almost one in 10 Americans is unemployed…

    Not true, Tommy, not all Americans are workers. Retirees, children (to name just two groups of the obvious non-workers) aren’t included in the numbers. Unemployment of 9.1% is nearly ten percent of American workers, but not of all Americans.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Igor typefies the fundamental flaw in the entire class warfare argument. The rich don’t “loot” anyone. They make wealth by generating wealth, not by taking it from others. Their success is a product of the success of others.

    What’s more, there’s virtually no connection between most of the ultra-rich top 1%) and the economy the rest of us live in. You could kill them all and their wealth would not be redistributed to the masses, and if you confiscated their assets, you couldn’t redistribute that wealth because it is the capital used to operate the businesses which employ the working and middle class.

    Anyone who advocates these class warfare initiatives hasn’t got even the most basic understanding of how our economy works.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Except it doesn’t work anymore , Dave, we both know that.

  • Maurice

    #9 is right on the money. My one buddy started out framming houses. He now is one of the premier builders in Boise. Worked his ass off. At one time he employed over 100 people. He has always paid his taxes. Who owes whom?

    One other thing to consider. Taxes are already pretty cruel. I was shocked when my tax preparer told me I made too much money to use my mortgage as a deduction. Oh, and I could not get a child deduction for my kids either. So not only are the tax tables higher there are fewer deductions to reduce adjusted gross.

    I do disagree with Dave on one point. If you took all the money from the job creators like me and my friends the economy would change drastically. It would be worse. No one to create jobs…

  • Igor

    So, Maurice, did you lose your house to foreclosure because of your taxes?

    There´s no evidence that more money in the hands of the rich (or employers) will create jobs. On the contrary, business is sitting on $2trillion of retained earnings and they still won´t hire workers.

    Business profits are at record highs and THAT doesn´t produce jobs.

  • Costello

    How many jobs were created from Bush tax cut?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    American Ignorance:

    The rich don’t “loot” anyone. They make wealth by generating wealth, not by taking it from others.

    That’s why since Reagan took office, the income of the rich has skyrocketed, while the incomes of the middle class and poor have stagnated or fallen, huh?

    That’s why the rich now have the highest proportion of the national wealth that they’ve had since the Great Depression. For anyone who cares, here’s a little education on how bad the income disparity has become.

    Dave, it IS class warfare, but it’s the rich versus the rest of us, and the rich are winning. Even Reagan complained about the rich paying less in taxes than bus drivers, and poll after poll after poll shows that Americans want taxes raised on millionaires.

    But you know and I know that the GOP cares not one whit about what the majority of the American people want, because the GOP knows they MUST keep the economy from improving in order to have a ghost of a chance in the next election.

    And you know it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Igor is spot on. The conservative narrative as expressed by Dave doesn’t add up. If the GOP has it right, then Americans should be enjoying a stable economy, steady growth and almost full employment. Even the various wars wouldn’t have made much of a dent.

    Instead…

    I also don’t get Dave’s horror at the notion of going after the ultra-rich. After all, he himself argues that this segment of the population is so wealthy that no attack one makes on that wealth is going to make any noticeable difference to them. At that altitude, numbers become meaningless: having a $500 billion fortune is for all practical purposes exactly the same as having a $50 billion one.

    So why not tax them at a higher rate?

    Of course, they might up sticks and shift most of their wealth and operations overseas. But wait… haven’t they already done that anyway?

    What am I missing here?

  • zingzing

    “What am I missing here?”

    dave’s fantasy land with its fantasy math.

  • Igor

    It´s not just the money that the rich loot from others, but also the extreme power they have to damage other people and the harm they do to others while amassing their riches.

  • clavos

    business is sitting on $2trillion of retained earnings and they still won´t hire workers.

    Because business managers have a fiduciary responsibility to the owners (stockholders) not to waste company money, which investments in capital goods, more employees, etc. most certainly would be in the present economy.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Owners also expect their stocks to produce returns, preferably in increasingly large quantities. Difficult to see how business managers can deliver without investing anything.

  • Costello

    Didn’t ask you to count them. Just provide the number of jobs Bush tax cuts created. I would think that number would be on hand since it supports the theory. That is, unless it proves you wrong, which would explain the silence

  • clavos

    Owners also expect their stocks to produce returns, preferably in increasingly large quantities. Difficult to see how business managers can deliver without investing anything.

    How do you know they aren’t buying gummint bonds or sumpin’?

  • Baronius

    Zing, Dave’s math is right. You should check it out.

  • zingzing

    you have convinced me, baronius.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Wouldn’t it just be easier and more profitable for investors to buy dem gummint bonds themselves?

  • Igor

    Here´s some more math: suppose we tax that $2trillion away from business and use it to employ 2 million American workers to build languishing infrastructure projects, like roads, bridges, etc? Why, we could pay them each a million dollars!

    That would give the economy a kickstart!

    Sounds better than leaving that $2trillion lying fallow.

  • Baronius

    Come on, Zing. You know I’m never going to convince you. But if you’d do the research on tax rates yourself, you’d see that Dave is right. That’s all I’m hoping for.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    World of Class Warfare – The Poor’s Free Ride Is Over

    “The government could raise $700 billion by either taking half of everything earned by the bottom 50% or by raising the marginal tax rate on the top two percent.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Assuming Dave’s math is right – it isn’t, since millionaires can afford to hire accountants to get every deduction and cut under the sun, but let’s say it isn’t. So…if a bus driver has to pay 17% of his pay in taxes, can that have a major impact in what he’s able to afford to do? Absolutely.

    Conversely, does a 17% tax have a major impact on what a millionaire is able to afford to do? No. And you know it.

    Go to this link and educate yourself as to how bad the income and wealth inequality has become since the advent of Reaganomics. Not that you’ll care, since in your view all liberal economic ideas are badbadbadevilevilevil and America’s only hope lies in conservative ideas no matter how plainly that history proves those conservative ideas wrong.

    But educate yourself anyway. Look at the figures, and then ask yourself if Reaganomics has really been that good for America.

  • zingzing

    which tax rates, baronius? the ones that people are supposed to pay or the ones that people actually pay?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy #27 –

    Brilliant quote – and so it will be automatically ignored by the BC conservatives.

  • zingzing

    and baronius, i have looked it up and come to my own opinions on it. but if you have an alternate source of information that would show me the light, by all means post it. the response you got was more of a comment on your comment than it was anything else. (of course your comment could have been a comment on my equally useless comment, but that’s the game. which you just lost.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, has criticised the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner.

    Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 billion), said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

    Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent. Mr Buffett told his audience, which included John Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley, and Alan Patricof, the founder of the US branch of Apax Partners, that US government policy had accentuated a disparity of wealth that hurt the economy by stifling opportunity and motivation.

    But I’m pretty sure both Dave and Baronius know way more about it than Warren Buffet does.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You might want to look at this update by Richard D. Wolff, especially the actions by FDR when faced with a similar set of problems (towards the end of this long video).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks, Roger. Will have a look.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You should be excited about the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Will soon publish my take now that I understand it better. Will send you an email when done.

  • Maurice

    I am happy to live in a country that is still somewhat free and still practicing a low level of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. The bulk of the world is being controlled by governments that rob the workers. The last few places that are still somewhat free for commerce are #1 Hong Kong (3.2 percent unemployment!) New Zealand, Australia, and (bringing up the rear) USA. If we continue on our current course we will soon be as poor as other socialist nations. All boats sink with the tide.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Maurice, is that why, in the annual ranking of the best countries for business compiled by that notorious socialist rag Forbes, Denmark consistently comes out on top? And why seven other countries, all with comprehensive social welfare systems and many with far higher tax rates, are considered better business environments than the US?

  • zingzing

    and boats don’t sink with the tide. the tide sinks with the tide, but boats are alright. they float on water.

    and new zealand just got its credit rating dropped. just like us.

    conservatives, am i right?! come on.

  • zingzing

    conservatives expect us to respect their mantra because they have money. but we don’t. fuck them. a lot of ignorant bigots suckle at their teat because that’s where the money is, and the teats let them suckle because that’s where the votes are. you rich teats are going to keep on drugging up the ignorant bigots until you’re shown for what you are, you opportunistic fucks, and when you are, your children will eat you. they will eat your fat, bloated corpse. and then they will shit you out, like so much refuse. hope you enjoyed life, you fat fucks.

    ahem. i apologize. poop joke.

  • Costello

    Why are you bothering Maurice with facts? Jordan pointed out a few issues about corporations and Maurice dismissed them because he didn’t feel like believing them.

    Btw, since no one has been able to come up with any jobs created by the Bush tax cut there’s no reason to keep it.

  • Igor

    I thought I heard someone mention math.

    So here´s some more math: tax away the $2trillion that business is unable to employ fruitfully (apparently) and start alternate energy companys employing people at $50k/year. That way we could put 1 million unemployed people to work for 40 years.

    Wow!

  • Baronius

    Zing asked what tax rate I was talking about, the real one or the one that people pay. Well, tax rate is tax rate. The term has a specific meaning. It’s the rate on income after deductions. It’s not a matter of opinion or belief; it’s a fact that that rate is higher for higher earners after deductions. So Dave is right.

    But what about before deductions? I downloaded Table 3.5 “Tax Generated” from IRS Publication 1304 for 2009 and ran some analysis.

    Here’s what I found. The taxpayers reporting an AGI of $500K or above account for .7% of all tax returns. They earn 17.8% of all taxable income. They pay 27.5% of all income taxes.

    The taxpayers reporting an AGI of $200K or above account for 3.8% of all tax returns. They earn 31.9% of all taxable income. They pay 45.0% of all income taxes.

    What this means is that the top 1% pay a larger percentage of their adjusted gross income in taxes than the bottom 99%. But what’s AGI mean? It’s gross income minus loss in inventory. Loss in inventory is a very rare deduction. The serious “loophole” deductions come after gross income is adjusted. So we’re looking at a very good representation of the top 1% of wage earners here.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Baronius –

    What you’re forgetting is that the top 1% are the ones whose income is $1.5 per year or more, and they own 42% of the American wealth (per my reference in comment #29)…and according to YOUR reference, the same ones who own 42% of ALL American wealth pay only 27% of all federal taxes.

    So let me get this straight, Baronius – you think it’s a GOOD thing that those who own 42% of ALL American wealth pay only 27% of all federal taxes????

    Really?

  • Baronius

    Pardon the rounding errors and the unclean percentage groupings here, but this is the rest of what I got from the linked table.

    The top 28% earn 71% of the wages and pay 80% of the income taxes.

    The next 28% earn 20% of the wages and pay 14% of the income taxes.

    The next 21% earn 7% of the wages and pay 4% of the income taxes.

    The bottom 24% of the earners earn 2.8% of the wages and pay 1.6% of the income taxes.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    FDR’s maximum wage” concept right after the Pearl Harbor attack.

    I’m not going to expose ordinary Americans to harm’s way for $600.00 a year to protect this nation, he was reported to say, while you don’t face any dangers and don’t make any contribution.

    The “maximum wage” legislation did not pass, but near 95 percent tax rate was approved by Congress on incomes above $25,000 a year.

    A brave executive acting as he ought to in times of national crisis.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius, Baronius –

    1. That ‘bottom 45%’ are the ones who can afford the taxes the LEAST.

    2. That ‘top 28%’ are the ones who can afford the taxes the MOST.

    Do you really think that it’s mere coincidence that the only time that we’ve had an income inequality worse than it is now is just before the Depression? When the rich have a ridiculous share of the nations wealth as they did then and now, that means the middle- and lower classes do NOT have money to spend…and any economy is NOT supply-driven (which is why Bush Sr. called supply-side economics “voodoo economics”), but demand-driven. Call higher taxes “wealth redistribution” if you like…but that redistribution gives the rest of us more and better jobs.

    It is NOT the rich who give us jobs. They are NOT the “job creators”. It is WE OURSELVES who make the jobs, who take the chances to open up small businesses and employ our fellow non-rich people. Look around you, Baronius! With few exceptions, every business you see that is NOT part of a interstate or international chain was started by someone like you and me!

    So stop with the sympathy for the rich! High taxes NEVER put them in the soup line – did the 90% tax rates in the 1950’s put the Rockefellers in the poor house? Hell, no! They did just fine!

    And you know why?

    BECAUSE of the high tax rates! With the higher tax rates, we have more teachers, more police, better educational opportunities…and the money that is EARNED by these people as a result is spread around the community and the community prospers as a whole…

    …and the rich don’t hurt at all – hell, they PROSPER even with higher taxes because that means the people have more money with which to buy their products!

    The ONLY rich that might feel the pinch are those who aren’t using their money in business – the Paris Hiltons of the world.

    So stop with the sympathy for the rich, willya? Because all the stats you’re using to tell us how unfair it is to tax them more flies directly in the face of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson who both pointed out the benefits of a progressive tax system that lay more of a burden upon those who have profited the most.

  • clavos

    you think it’s a GOOD thing that those who own 42% of ALL American wealth pay only 27% of all federal taxes????

    “Owned” wealth is generally not related to taxation; it has already been taxed — when it was acquired. To compare accumulated/owned wealth with current taxes paid is irrelevant and immaterial.

    And you keep ignoring the fact that those who own 42% of all American wealth (a specious number, since the various state and federal governments own enormous amounts of wealth, which really is the people’s), also pay 80+% of the taxes.

    That 80% is a far more relevant figure than the strawman of what percentage of their income wealthy taxpayers pay — the bottom line is they already are supporting the entire country with their taxes.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “it’s a fact that that rate is higher for higher earners after deductions. So Dave is right.”

    is that what dave said? that’s not even what dave said.

    and yes, baronius, if you get rich off american dollars, pay some dollars back to america and help other americans do the same. that’s how society works.

    greedy bastards…

  • zingzing

    clavos: “the bottom line is they already are supporting the entire country with their taxes.”

    horse shit. you know who supports this country? the little shits doing work for minimum wage. without them, there would be no fat cats.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    the bottom line is they already are supporting the entire country with their taxes.

    Then why do we have a vast deficit?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    you know who supports this country? the little shits doing work for minimum wage. without them, there would be no fat cats.

    Well, that might have been true in the era of the Robber Barons. But Clavos does have a point with his reminder that a lot of the top 2%’s wealth is owned, i.e. sitting in banks and not currently in the process of being acquired. In addition, that wealth is so enormous that nothing short of abolishing money as a means of exchange could ever so much as make a dent in it.

    So there would still be fat cats. They’d just be getting fatter at a somewhat slower rate.

  • zingzing

    that’s true, but they’d have no slaves to buy. and funny how this economy works on the fact that money is moving around and changing hands. whose money does that the most?

  • zingzing

    “Then why do we have a vast deficit?”

    and why should those that “support” us get let off the hook for not supporting us? we are their dependents, nothing more. like little children, we look into their strong eyes and ask where our next meal is coming from. they say they’ve already eaten and we paid for it, but they’ll let us know if we can have a bite tomorrow.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, some more maths re your figures in #44:

    Top 28%, positive disparity between earnings and taxes: 11%.

    Next 28%, positive disparity: 30%.

    Next 21%, negative disparity: 43%.

    Bottom 24%, negative disparity: 43%.

    Call me crazy, but it doesn’t seem to me that it’s the top top earners who are getting the shaft here. It’s the middle class.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    “Owned” wealth is generally not related to taxation; it has already been taxed — when it was acquired. To compare accumulated/owned wealth with current taxes paid is irrelevant and immaterial.

    You’d have a point if that “owned wealth” were just sitting around not making any more money…

    …but it IS making money. It’s in the forms of rentals, of stocks and bonds, of major businesses, of corporate jets, and so forth.

    And as I pointed out to you before, if the wealthy had ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the money, then they’d be paying ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the taxes…and THEN you’d really be ticked off at how the rich are being forced to pay 100% of the taxes, huh?

    Again, Clavos, a guy who struggles to support a family on 20K a year can afford a 10% tax a heck of a lot LESS than a multi-millionaire can afford to support a family on 20M per year with a 20 or 40 or even a 70 percent tax!

    And please address what I said in #46 about wealth redistribution.

  • Baronius

    Zing –

    Dave said “making millionaires pay the same rate as plumbers and teachers would likely result in lowering their tax rate, assuming we’re comparing apples and apples and talking about their relative salaried incomes”. You said “dave’s fantasy land with its fantasy math”. I took that comment and others to be directed at the quoted statement above. I noted that higher-income earners do pay a higher tax rate than lower-income earners. I presented numbers to demonstrate that higher-income earners pay a larger percentage of their earnings than lower-income earners. I think that addresses your comment directly, Zing, if I understood it.

    Note that I’m not saying that any of the percentages are just, or that we shouldn’t change our tax laws. I’m just stating facts about our levels of taxation.

  • Baronius

    Dread – Percentages don’t compare that way.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    They don’t? Then why did you cite the table in the first place?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    This is a completely apolitical question to Dr. Dreadful.

    What algorithm was used to yield, for the Top 28%, “a positive disparity between earnings and taxes of 11%?”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius’ error is in thinking that many of the wealthiest actually earn income.

    Many of the wealthiest are hedge fund and other market and real estate players. Long term capital gains rates were at zero for the lowest tax brackets. If you don’t earn your income you are not even in the lowest tax bracket. Under Clinton and Bush you would be paying zero for capital gains taxes.

    Must be nice to have 52 billion and pay zero taxes on your long term capital gains income.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And THAT is precisely what Warren Buffet is talking about.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    So, Baronius your entire theory is flawed. The wealthiest have been able to skate by, theoretically paying nothing if they choose.

  • clavos

    Cindy,

    Where did you get the idea that the tax rate on LT cap gains is zero? I would really welcome the citation of the tax code that says that so I can pass it on to my accountant, who keeps telling me I DO owe taxes on my LT gains.

    And I’ve been paying ‘em since before Clinton was getting his jollies in the WH.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Who wants to take a break from this fight about class warfare, just for a minute, to make a phone call that may help SAVE billions of dollars so NOBODY has to be taxed for them?

    I saw that hand….very good…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Call 1-877-429-0678. You do this Thursday, Oct 6. Urge your Rep. and/or Senators to support the Lee-Campbell bipartisan letter to the Super Committee on cutting military spending.

    “Please note that the letter specifically rejects any cuts that would compromise the security of American troops in the field, as well as any cuts in services and increases in fees for our veterans and military retirees.”

    For what it WOULD cut, see next comment.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Lee-Campbell Bipartisan Letter to Super Committee on Military Spending

    “In August, the Commission on Wartime Contracting released its final report finding that an estimated $30 and $60 billion has been wasted during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This level of mismanagement is simply unacceptable.”

    There are multiple reforms proposed that would save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. The Bowles-Simpson commission outlined $750 billion in suggested defense cuts in the next decade. Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb has proposed $1 trillion in cuts to the Pentagon over the next 10-12 years.”

    Again, none of the proposed cuts are cuts in benefits to vets or compromise safety of military personnel in the field.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    The Military Industrial Complex is VERY happy to have all of us fighting amongst ourselves about who should be taxed for these wasteful billions. THAT way, we won’t unite and confront THEM about why the h-e-double hockey stix anyone has to pay them at ALL! That’s gonna change though, people, right?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @ The most direct approach, Irene, would be to wind down the US operations in the two theaters by Executive Order, but the White House occupant hasn’t got the guts.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    You must be in the 10% or 15% tax bracket to have gotten 0% tax on your long term gains from 2008-2010.

    To be in those tax brackets you would need to make between zero and say approximately 35,000 (actual figure is insignificantly different and changes each year), in which case you’d have maybe $27,000 to live on and invest in stock markets, real estate, etc. Tough to do. Not so tough if you have millions or billions and make your living acquiring capital gains. (The rate for 2007 was 5% in those brackets and 10% for 2011.)

    It seems apparent who the tax cut was for.

    Here’s one source.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Roger, I just added that one to a letter I’m writing to Santa.

    MEANWHILE even people who aren’t ready to pull out of Iraq…or Afghanistan…or Pakistan…or Libya…..WILL be able to see, after examining the reports the letter links to, that there’s a lot of money in the military budget being wasted. And it should make even the biggest hawk (as long as he’s an honest hawk) just as cross as hornets.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh and just to spell it out, the highest capital gains tax on long term gains is 15%. 15% is what the average wage slave pays on an income no larger than about the $35,000 above.

    That means Joe billionaire who makes all his money from investments and does not have a job, will pay the same rate of tax as someone working for about $16/hr.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m afraid conventional channels of dissent have outlived their usefulness; we’re too far gone, too deep in the rabbit hole. Which is why #occupyamerica has arisen, and the platform thus far is — it’s no longer a matter of negotiation but total negation.

    Which is why the powers that be are at their wits’ end.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A small donation to Global Revolution TV which provides the live-stream of the unfolding events would be money and effort better spent.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Cindy (hi!) I’m not saying that the tax code couldn’t use some work BUT…the day to act on urging senators and represents to support the Lee-Campbell Bipartisan Letter is TOMORROW. 1-877-429-0678.

    This is an amazing piece of work. It’s a proposal of how BILLIONS of dollars can be saved in military spending, and its focus is on items that hawks (of the non-MIC variety) and doves can agree on. During these #occupy days, it’s all about honest people who have differences UNITING for five minutes against out-and-out thievery.

    So make the call, and then, continue to make the case back for a more just tax code. I am in the uncomfortable position of seeing both sides of the argument, but I AM excited about this window of opportunity to make taxes lower for everyone.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I’m also excited about the opportunity for many to discover how decisions about military spending are and have been made—which could lead to all sorts of related epiphanies.
    So ciao for now.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The time for negotiation with the money lenders in the temple is over. The only thing to do it is to kick ‘em out.

  • Maurice

    Gosh, a lot of hate speech out there. Okay, I paid 167k in taxes on 387k in income. How much should I have paid so as to not be called a geedy bastard?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Maurice, I’ll give you an “R” for free if you call 1-877-429-0678.

    Broncos!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Call 1-877-429-0678. Urge your Rep. and/or Senators to support the Lee-Campbell bipartisan letter to the Super Committee on cutting military spending.

    I’ve never lived in a family that made that much income. I’ve never lived in a family that made what you paid in taxes, either.

    If you paid and treated your workers fairly, I wouldn’t have any complaints.

  • zingzing

    maurice, you’re a geedy bastard.

    not that i know what that means…

    and if you’re paying that much, you need a new accountant.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Gee, we’re suddenly getting a lot of people complaining about their taxes! Where were you when I repeatedly pointed out that USA Today reported last year that the American taxpayer has a lower overall tax burden as a percentage of income than he or she has had for the past fifty years????

  • clavos

    Cindy,

    My point was, and is, that no one, including me, who receives dividend/interest income is in the 0% tax bracket on that income.

    Further, you say:

    That means Joe billionaire who makes all his money from investments and does not have a job, will pay the same rate of tax as someone working for about $16/hr.

    People (except for those who inherited) who have managed to accumulate even millions, let alone billions, work for it, and generally must work to keep it, though admittedly, the labor is not physical, but labor it is.

  • troll

    yup – gathering insider information and speculation really raise a sweat

    and those guys who came up with derivatives to trade – what a productive act! Such creativity

    the rich all so very deserving

    it’s a weird system we operate under – when maximized profit is not the basis of your decision making what makes one person’s time and effort worth so vastly much more than another’s?

  • clavos

    Among other factors, troll: risk.

    But you knew that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Waking up everyday is a risk too. Living is a risk and a work of labor.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Great. They took risks with money (as in gambled with it) and therefore they deserve a maximum 15% tax rate?

    That is what Warren Buffet is talking about and how he paid less than both his cleaner and his secretary. And all the other wealthy people he addressed understand what is what.

    My husband once invested 50k to start a company pension fund with a crook and took a risk. Even though he was not a millionaire he didn’t even break a sweat losing it. Why? Because he still enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle.

    Risk shmisk. You are simply upholding the system in place as if it were ordained. The only way to do things. The right way to do things.

    Well, it’s not the right way. It’s not fair. A society should be fair. If it is not it will produce what this one does–criminals and misery–all for defending some fat people who often learn that vast fortune does not make you happy anyway.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (Hiya Irene. :-) Thanks for all the info.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn, there are only a couple of months before Thanksgiving, during which a joint House-Senate committee is supposed to come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts in projected spending over 10 years.

    Detailed studies of waste in the defense budget have revealed that MOST of these cuts can come from the proposed military budget, without sacrificing national security or cutting services to vets.

    There’s a lot of resistance coming from people on the Hill who will not consider cutting even so much as a dime from the military budget — these are the types of politicians that drive you most crazy, Glenn: Republicans.

    Here is the letter, which contains detailed references to the shocking amounts of money being wasted, as well as specific strategies about how billions can be saved.

    Those who read and agree it sounds reasonable can call 1-877-429-0678 to be patched over to the offices of reps/senators from your state. Urge support for the Lee-Campbell bipartisan letter about saving money through judicious cuts to the military budget.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    They did take risks, Clav. And looking around at this economy, the risks they took were with everyone else’s lifestyle but their own.

    Read the stories of the 99%. Fuck this system; it is gone. No one is putting down this mission. It can never be removed from the zeitgeist. The world is going to change.

  • clavos

    The world is going to change.

    It is indeed, Cindy, but not for the better, and in the process, millions will die while millions more will suffer.

    You think it’s unfair now…

    You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    The jackals will win.

    They always do…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I recommend everyone spend some time among those stories. Sample 3-4 different pages at least.

  • clavos
  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Do you have any factual basis for your miserable comment #90, Clavos, or is it simply grumpy old man stuff?

    I think the world is a hugely better place than it was, whether you look back at a 10 year, 100 year, 1000 year or even 10,000 year interval or anywhere in between.

    Stow that pessimism in the bilges, nautical buddy!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Hi Cindy, Clavos and troll (enjoying listening to the discussion and here are my cents of twain):

    Someone who has, through honest means, accumulated a lot of capital, makes it possible for someone low on funds to realize his dream by investing part of their accumulated wealth into an original idea. That’s a good thing. What the stock market has become now, though, is something completely impersonal. How many traders gives a hoot about helping people realize their dreams anymore? It’s so often all about me.me.me. Here, I’ll put some money into your idea, but once the first cold wind blows, I’m pulling out my money out and putting it somewhere else. We buy and trade stocks without thinking about the fact that, basically, this is what we’re doing.

    Then I can see Clavos’ point of view, too. There’s a very practical need to evaluate, at frequent intervals, the health of the venture one’s invested in, so that dreamers won’t just take that “dream money” from investors and just sit on it. That analysis is honest and valuable work, mental rather than physical, with crumbled-up papers thrown in frustration around the room. On the other hand, there are some, MANY, financial creations (the “derivatives” schemes that troll mentioned, and many other federal and international banking shenanigans) that have as little to do with honest mental labor as cat-burglary has to do with honest physical labor.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Talkin Bout A Revolution by Tracy Chapman
    (great video at link)

    Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution
    It sounds like a whisper
    Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution
    It sounds like a whisper

    While they’re standing in the welfare lines
    Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
    Wasting time in unemployment lines
    Sitting around waiting for a promotion

    Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
    It sounds like a whisper

    Poor people are gonna rise up
    And get their share
    Poor people are gonna rise up
    And take what’s theirs

    Don’t you know you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run
    Oh I said you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run

    Finally the tables are starting to turn
    Talking about a revolution
    Finally the tables are starting to turn
    Talking about a revolution oh no
    Talking about a revolution oh no

    While they’re standing in the welfare lines
    Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
    Wasting time in unemployment lines
    Sitting around waiting for a promotion

    Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
    It sounds like a whisper

    And finally the tables are starting to turn
    Talking about a revolution
    Finally the tables are starting to turn
    Talking about a revolution oh no
    Talking about a revolution oh no
    Talking about a revolution oh no

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    93 It’s a great place if you are Chris. Some facts for you Jack are located at the link to the 99% above.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This tweet should be seen:

    Demand nothing, offer things #occupywallstreet #occupyeverywhere

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    It’s a powder-keg of justifiable rage. “The jackals” could sabotage the #occupy effort by making it violent and rage-based, a Revolution gone wrong and turned into a Reign of Terror. Guillotine the Rich! The surest way to prevent this, I think, is for people who earn their money honestly, albeitly cerebrally, to take their stories seriously and work with them to expose the jackals and bring them to justice.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, “it’s a great place if you are” what? Don’t understand what you are trying to say…

    I looked at the site you linked to but all I saw was some fairly incoherent writing and a lot of photos of overweight people. Contrast and compare that with the images of relatively peaceful, graceful but genuinely starving people we see on the news all the time and the messages become rather confused.

    To me it was a disservice to the very real need for significant change that we are facing…

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    And quoting La chapman is pretty weak too. Who needs the semi-illiterate ramblings of a (fat) and now firmly middle class and middle of the road entertainer?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    It’s a powder-keg of justifiable rage. “The jackals” could sabotage the #occupy effort by making it violent and rage-based…

    I agree, Irene. And from messages flying by in the communications network and protest sites and videos of submission to arrest, it seems to me that the protesters see it that way too.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I think less of you than you could possibly imagine Christopher Rose. You disgust me.

  • The Visitor

    “when maximized profit is not the basis of your decision making what makes one person’s time and effort worth so vastly much more than another’s?”

    What someone is willing to pay for that time and effort combined with what that person is willing to charge for it.

    …so declares The Visitor

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The crowds at the Trinity Plaza are anything but fat, middle of the road or illiterate. Neither were the crowds at the Brooklyn Bridge march on Saturday.

    What I wonder — what has Somalia got to do with anything unless it’s to divert attention from what’s happening in our own backyard.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Talking with the privileged is oh so much fun.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The indoctrinated, robot-brained, zombie privileged who have no reason at all to see anything they don’t already ‘know’.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A telltale of things to come unless we cancel out this government:

    Secret Panel Put American Kill List.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, as you appear to have a serious inability to think clearly, I’m not really that bothered what you think. At this stage I am reminded of the old computer saying GIGO – which is garbage in, garbage out.

    Perhaps if or when you find the intellectual and moral courage to let go of your dogma and theories and actually let the truth reveal itself, we will be able to converse but right now it is just like talking with a fervent faithist, a complete waste of time.

    All you have is your certainty and your mock outrage, coupled with a complete inability to understand anything that doesn’t fit your theoretical perspective.

    What a shame and what a waste…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @102

    I think you’re overreacting, Cindy. I don’t think Chris is justifying the status quo, and Clavos just plays the devil’s advocate.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Chris, Cindy is expressing outrage, just as the #occupywallstreet crowd. There are times when expressing outrage is the only thing to do. Her comments are motivated by the fact that you don’t share in her outrage.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, I’ve not seen anything of the crowds at Trinity Plaza so couldn’t comment on that. The point I was making is that the people Cindy is so impassioned about don’t APPEAR to be that stressed as they are overweight homeowners, which is far from the bottom of the money pit.

    There is no doubt that there are many problems and challenges to be overcome, but I just don’t know enough yet to understand what these particular people signify.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Hi Roger, I’m outraged by many things, as anyone who actually knows me would be able to confirm.

    why Cindy should act as she does to someone she clearly has erroneous preconceptions about, only she can know.

    I fully understand and concur with your words re outrage, and we have seen many courageous outbreaks of justified outrage around the world over the last decade – one of the reasons the world is clearly a better place now than in the past.

  • Baronius

    I don’t know what link Chris is referring to, but I looked at the article from the Waging Nonviolence site linked to in comment #97. It tried to account for the lack of agenda among the protestors. It was unpersuasive. The Tea Parties sometimes suffered from the same problem, an inability to focus.

    However, the Tea Parties did achieve something by their mere existence: they demonstrated that deficit hawks were out there, and were angry. This current thing is only demonstrating that left-wingers hate capitalism, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To hold our government in contempt qualifies now as being a “left-winger”? Didn’t the Teapartiers do the exact same thing?

    What is underway is a process undermining the very legitimacy of the government, and that’s a far more powerful statement and message than sitting at a negotiating table and winning a concession or two.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I rather thought that the principal achievement of the Tea Party was to demonstrate that a compelling slogan can still motivate people, irrespective of its accuracy; in other words that unfortunately mob rule and unthinking obedience to dogma still works.

    The Tea Party and these alleged left-wingers Baronius refers to have far more in common with each other than divides them – they both appear to miss what seems to me to be the real point, which is that we need a major systems rebuild right across the board.

    Tinkering around the edges is futile and not going to achieve anything other than delaying the inevitable.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Your #114 makes a very good point, Roger, and one that is being missed by people on both sides of the current political spectrum…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Most of what I’ve seen of the Tea Party has persuaded me that half of them are deluded and the other half are dishonest.

    They claim to want smaller government, when what they actually want is not to pay taxes.

  • Baronius

    Chris, I think that the tea partiers and the “occupiers” (I don’t know what else to call them) probably have a lot of people who do want to alter the system radically. Although I’m sure there are also posers and tinkerers, too.

    Dread, I haven’t run into any tea partiers who match your description.

  • clavos

    Doc, I’m no Tea Party type, but, until the government stops wasting most of the money it takes from us, I def do not want to pay taxes, and to that end, pay an expensive accountant to accomplish that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Herr Baron:

    In polls, Tea Party supporters have been consistently shown to be in favour of greater government intervention on a number of issues, principally those that align with social conservative positions. Most Tea Partiers apparently have no problem with more stringent immigration policies, or prosecuting abortion advocates and providers, or preventing gays and lesbians from getting married. To be sure, most of them do want less money spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that’s probably only because the guy in charge has the wrong colour tie on.

    Clav:

    1. What makes you say that the government wastes most of its money? (Well, all right, I’ll give you that one.)
    2. Is what you spend on the accountant that dramatically less than what he saves you in taxes?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    P.S.: Clav, I think you may need to give your accountant’s phone number to Maurice.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Saying someone is “Tea Party” could mean anything these days. There would have been much overlap with the group identifying itself as “Tea Party” four years ago and today’s “#occupy” protesters. Tea Party v1.0 had to do with challenging gangster financiers sheltered by big government, e.g., the IMF, the Federal Reserve Board.

    “Tea Party” v2.0 has to do with people who thought Sarah Palin (may her recently pronounced dead candidacy rest in peace) was “the bomb.” These are the Tea Party v2.0 people who have been caterwauling about cutting taxes, but now that there are some perfectly reasonable cuts to military spending being proposed, they’ve suddenly become pretty “deep pocket.”

    Tea Party v1.0 Republicans, on the other hand, recognize and deplore the waste and can work with Democrats like Barney Frank and Barbara Lee to get it eliminated.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    PS. Comment #59? Still scratching my head…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    …but I’m willing to live without an explanation if you’ll use your free time, instead, to call your state reps about cutting military spending:
    1-877-429-0678.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger and Chris,

    My erroneous perceptions must include my failure to read Chris’ disgusting, narrow-minded, and callous assessment of the people on the 99% site and his view of poor people as requiring the appropriate amount of suffering works to please his sensibilities as acceptable. I don’t much like the shallow descriptions of people’s weight either. It is irrelevant and small-minded.

    What more do I need to know about you in order to dislike your shallow, obnoxious view from atop the fucking middle-class mountain of privilege.

    Overreaction Roger? Something the world needs more of, imo. I like your comment about outrage. All of those students who paid 60k, 80k and some over 100 thousand on student loans and now can get only 3 part time jobs with no insurance. All the others… It is outrageous. To hear this person judge others is sickening to me. And I am outraged. He needs do nothing more than hold the opinion he does. It is a horrible opinion.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    sentence 3: eliminate the word ‘works’

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Irene:

    Income divided by taxation and then subtract from 100.

    I don’t think my state reps would listen to me. To paraphrase Eddie Cochran: “I’d like to help you, son, but you’re too alien to vote.”

  • troll

    imo you guys need to hang up the rhetoric and conflict and start to work towards constructive solutions – there’s revolution in the air

    Chris – try to remain open to all tactics

    Irene – although I disagree w/ the letter’s wording and concessions in a number of places my objections are not strong enough for me to block your proposal to call in about it…so I did

  • Baronius

    Cindy – As a long-time pro-lifer, I can tell you that your own outrage and $3.39 will get you a gallon of gas. Standing in a park with other people and being offended gets you nowhere. You shouldn’t expect it to get you anywhere. Democracy in action doesn’t mean getting a tiny number of people together, complaining, and expecting the world to change. It means persuading 51% of the population that you’re right.

  • troll

    Baronious there are well over 130 occupies going on across the world – so far as I can tell the movement still grows every day

    who knows if it will grow lasting legs…I think that its got potential to rival the cultural impact of the 60s at least

    also look at the consensus models (links have already been posted) that the movement is based on…a simple majority simple won’t do anymore

  • troll

    by the way – one project going on at #occupyalbuquerque is a free breakfast for all comers based on donated food and a lot of hungry folks are getting fed

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    It means persuading 51% of the population that you’re right.

    Not when you’ve got a major “news” network and a billionaire or two on your side. It’s already been shown that the Tea Party started out with just a few minor protests…but suddenly Fox News and the Koch brothers helped bring them to power…

    …and the Tea Party politicians soon had enough of a bloc in the House that they were able to impose their will not only on the House, but on the nation as a whole.

    No, it doesn’t take 51% of the population. Your boys are proof enough of that!

    The DIFFERENCE between the OWS movement and the Tea Party is that the OWS stayed for what, two weeks without any appreciable MSM coverage except for some scorn and sarcasm by Fox…and the Tea Party was actively promoted by “fair and balanced” Fox, whereas the OWS protests are NOT be promoted by any news organization. Well, maybe MSNBC might start promoting them now, but MSNBC is nothing compared to the 800-lb. gorilla that is Fox.

    …but if an equivalent number of Tea Partiers had been protesting, thanks to Fox News, it would be on the news 24/7, and you know it.

    Me, I’m just waiting for the first banker or hedge fund manager to cry out, “Let them eat cake!”

  • troll

    here’s something representative of the sentiment that many occupiers express

  • Arch Conservative

    If it’s true that millionaires are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries then why must the answer always be to raise taxes on the millionaires?

    Why is it never for government to both drastically cut it’s own spending and lower the secretaries’ tax rates?

  • troll

    Cindy – you’d appreciate the workshop on privilege that occupy albuquerque is presenting…it’s fascinating to watch folks who are used to being first and most important trying to hold back in meeting and ga’s when they are put at the bottom of the stack…all of us white males can easily identify w/the emotions that this causes

  • zingzing

    “Me, I’m just waiting for the first banker or hedge fund manager to cry out, “Let them eat cake!””

    someone at the chicago mercantile exchange posted a sign in their window (outside of which there was a demonstration going on) that stated “we are the 1%.”

    “Why is it never for government to both drastically cut it’s own spending and lower the secretaries’ tax rates?”

    why can’t it be a little bit of both? why does everything have to be so cut and dry? cut spending, raise taxes to sane levels on the rich and business, help the little guy out by giving them a break instead of actively fucking them.

    and what the fuck do you care about millionaires?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @125

    I’ve heard Chris express himself on any number of topics, and I haven’t detected a particular bent indicating lack of compassion. I didn’t therefore voice my opinion as based on one particular comment, which may or may not be colored by a particular context, but in terms of his total output.

    I try to do that with every BC commenter.

  • troll

    on second thought – I apologize to all for my sanctimonious #128 as in who the fuck am I to tell anyone how to direct his or her rage

    cheers

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Sounds like an interesting workshop, troll. Let me know if they video it, would you? Is there any video and/or writings from the group? What happened?

    Roger, I have always admired your general tendencies to not give up on people and to see the positive side and (even if not on every given day), in the final analysis, be generous and tolerant. It is something I really like about you and wish I could do. Thanks for your example. It helps.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Besides, Cindy, and thanks for kind words, not everyone is of the same temperament to express their outrage like you, Mark or I. Or in Chris’s case, for example, I can see why his official position might prevent him from doing so unreservedly and abandon his more “judicious” voice.

    In the final analysis, we’re dealing with people. Each of us have our limitations.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Think about that, Cindy. I didn’t see Chris in the Trinity Plaza hitting the protesters with a baton or kicking them to the ground, saying “I’m just doing my job.” As a matter of fact, I don’t believe I’ve seen there Baronius either (although I may be mistaken on the last count).

    There are lots of targets for our rage, and I’d rather channel it more properly. I should think our enabling politicians, including the sitting president, bear a far greater share of the blame than the measly commenters on this site.

  • troll

    Cindy – there are several media projects going on – I’ll ask around when I get back down if anything is planned for that workshop

    as of day 6 the media working group has yet to get its processes down to get occupyalbuquerque.org up – what little that is coming out can be found at #occupyburque and some facebook pages Occupy Albuquerque

    significant rain has hampered the process coming on before the group was ready for it – all part of the game

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, you really need to get out of the habit of being so judgemental whilst understanding so little.

    It isn’t shallow to notice that nearly all the people on the site you linked to are overweight, it is simply observation. Are you saying they are not? I trust not, else you really have lost it.

    You then go on to depict me as being “atop the fucking middle-class mountain of privilege”, which is both untrue and, as you don’t know me or anything much about me, is either outright prejudice or a blatant lie; either way you do yourself a disservice.

    I could chuff on about my years of homelessness and poverty and about how I am trying to pull myself out of poverty by hard work and using my abilities as best I can but what would be the point? You seem unable or unwilling to distinguish between reality and your presumptions just now.

    I’m tempted to put that down to the difficult personal times you have been going through recently and the understandable stress that must generate, but am concerned you would see that as patronising…

    Remind me though, are you not a business owner yourself?

    I really hope the protesters are part of something good and useful, at this stage I simply don’t know as I’ve learned more about this phenomenon here on BC than any other media, particularly as I don’t watch that much TV and haven’t seen any news reportage at all.

    troll – I am open to all tactics, it is the motivation and purpose I am less clear about in this particular instance.

    Baronius – the USA isn’t a democracy, so your point in #129 is moot.

    troll – the sentiments expressed in the image you linked to in #133 are hopeful at least. Let’s hope the failure of the protests in the 60s and 70s won’t be repeated…

    Roger, thanks for the support expressed in #137 but in response to the suggestion tendered in your #141 please let me assure you that my “official position” with BC and my own personal views are entirely unconnected and unrelated.

    Moving on to your #142, I support everybody’s right to protest about anything they want to and think any attempts by the state to stop political expression is unacceptable.

    And so to bed. G’night.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    troll re your 128. THANK YOU for calling (and thanks to anyone else who called.)

    Toning down rhetoric in a one-minute phone call to convince a Congressperson to take an incremental step toward sanity can feel very “twee.” I had to listen to Felonius Munk’s rant to “B” in your link in #133 TWICE to feel all crosshatchery and cool again. LOL!

    SERIOUSLY though, troll, thanks for linking in #133 to the statement of #OWA’s declaration of ideological independence.

    “WE ARE NOT A MOVEMENT PREACHING THE DNC MESSAGE. WE ARE NOT “THE LIBERAL TEA PARTY. WE ARE FREE. NEITHER YOU, NOR ANYONE ELSE WILL OWN US.”

    Good stuff. I’m *so* done with labels. We’re all in this together.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    America’s problems transcend the problems of mere budget, Irene. Our problems have more to do with our being an unjust society. I don’t mind being a sanctimonious s.o.b. as long as I can keep on hammering down this message.

    The party is over.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Fine. But Heaven help the cause that has fired up no one ELSE but sanctimonious SOB’s.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Got to take my comments with a grain of salt, Irene. Humans are flawed, and I’m on your side. Nonetheless, it’s time to the money lenders to task.

    If you’re a militant type of Christian, you should agree. My idea of the general philosophy underlying the faith is not just to resit evil but to fight it.

    Christ did.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks, troll, keep me posted. Here is a post I made cataloging an article and a video at the end (I posted the link in a prior comment) regarding the general assembly and the one demand that I think you will like to see. I am thrilled beyond words that what they are learning from their process is anarchy (without the label, to those of you who are reading and haven’t seen the general assemblies) as the appropriate framework for decision-making. I am amazed and hopeful.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Well, I have a lot of “sides,” Roger. There are a few of them that you’re “on,” and there are a few of them that you’re not.

    When you say “Christ” you mean something different from what I mean when I say “Christ.” I don’t have, and WON’T have, anything to do with movements that base a person’s standing with “Christ” on his political views on abortion, or gay rights, or how to stop the abuses of the IMF or the Fed. You should know better than to try to rope me in with that kind of talk.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    If I wrote an article about what I really think about Jesus, Roger, all bets are off on how willing you would be to identify yourself as being “on my side.”

    If I should ever write one, and you should leave a snarky comment on it like the ones I sometimes leave on YOUR articles, I promise not to stay mad at you. :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I haven’t spoken to any of the moral issues you’e posting by way of forging an exception. That’s discussion for another time. My only question revolves around your agreement or disagreement as regards our stance with respect to evil, and whether the political qualifies.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yoou had better believe I’ll never stoop to leaving a “snarky comment.” It’s not only the case I have better form. More importantly, I never take lightly what you say.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    OK, Roger. That’s enough bowing to the Queen for now. :)

    We’ve got ‘em trained right proper, eh Cindy?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Your question deserves a serious answer…hold on…I’ll be in the mood in a second…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    lol @ Irene and Roger. You two are funny….

    Hey troll, Roger, did you see this post from today? They have set up Liberty Plaza Anarchist College. They are looking for teachers/facilitators.

    Great stuff!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (hahahaha still can’t stop laughing at the “bowing to the queen” thing)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Tell you the truth. I’m trying to communicate my message to the protesters via. life-stream and tweets, but it’s to no avail. The shit moves too fast, no time for thought. I’m at my wits’ end as to how to reach them.

    If I were Richard D. Wolff or Noam Chomsky, I’m certain I could. I have no less important things to say.

    It’s frustrating as hell. I wish I were in NY.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Corrie ten Boom. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. André Trocmé. Gao Zhisheng. They are part of a Great Cloud of Witnesses who should encourage anyone worried that there is something “sinful” about standing up to a tyrannical authority.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    BTW, look forward to my take on the revolution — and it had better be that or it will peter out if it’s not — to be published tomorrow.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @ 158

    OK then. So where do we disagree?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Hey Cindy. Nighty nite, Dancing Queen. :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    (@160: I don’t think people who talk to God are delusional.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Neither do I, nor have I ever suggested it. In the worst case, Freudian scenario, it’s like talking to yourself, a form of self-analysis. We all need it and stand to benefit from facing ourselves in the privacy of our secret selves.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Enough, Roger. Goodnight.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I don’t have, and WON’T have, anything to do with movements that base a person’s standing with “Christ” on his political views on abortion, or gay rights, or how to stop the abuses of the IMF or the Fed.

    “Render unto Caesar”, eh, Irene?

    It’s pretty obvious from a careful reading of the Gospels that Christ’s overriding concern was to introduce people to the proper relationship with his “Father”. His mission intersected with earthly politics only when he perceived that the actions of politicians were hindering people – including themselves – from accomplishing that goal.

    He fought evil not because he was a militant revolutionary, but because he knew evil ways weren’t going to get anyone into heaven.

    That attitude is why he didn’t have anything much to say to Pilate, a genuinely sympathetic man but one whose goals were so far removed from Christ’s that they might as well have been occupying different planets.

    Given that Christ’s words have been distorted beyond all recognition by just about the entire human race – including the writers and editors of the Gospels – over the course of the last couple of thousand years, it’s remarkable how clearly his core message still comes across.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Christopher Rose, I would like to apologize for my harshness. Whatever our differences, I regret what I said.

    And yes, I am privileged, if that was your point. However, the business, which I own through default (being married to the owner) is in huge debt (which I have stopped paying) and essentially supports the two employees and provides us with insurance and the occasional windfall.

    We are a year and a half behind on real estate taxes. The tax sale is a week away. The last time we were sold at a tax sale, we came up with the $24,000 we owed through a family loan only a week before the lienholder could claim the house. We will again have roommates to help us stay through to next year. No one looked at our house when I had it on the market.

    Still, I am privileged. I have everything I need, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc. I am also currently starting two new businesses that will be cooperatively owned. Having the above allows me to do that.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    It is an occupation. It doesn’t require a home! Why not take a trip east. You can always stay with me in between occupying! :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Nitey night, Queen Irene. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good night, everyone. It was a good discussion, come what may.

    Not a militant revolutionary? Does it mean we’re supposed to suffer injustice in silence, secure in knowledge that we have a perfect relationship with the Father?

    In what sense then are we the agents?

    To be continued …

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    No, it doesn’t. It just means that wasn’t Jesus’s mission.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    Think Ghandi?

  • troll

    Chris – Occupy Britain

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, re your #166, thanks, we’re cool.

    troll, re your #172, thanks for that link. Also rather impressed with The Venus Project, which someone on the UK site linked to; shows some useful ideas for going forwards.

  • troll

    Chris – my main concern for the movement is that it will be derailed/fragmented by various liberal interest groups and their leaders…for example in Alb some are frustrated by the slow process and are beginning to advocate for a competing consensus model based on a 75% agreement (something called 5 finger consensus) in which 75% of the group can overide a block on an item as opposed to the 90% requirement in the nycga model.

    thanks for the link – I look at it

  • troll

    others want to go for the total consensus of the 15May process…OWS properly prepared for their occupation with weeks of meetings and small ga’s getting this worked out before the leather hit the pavement

  • troll

    ahh – just read an update on occupywiki that the Alb group went for gentle total consensus per the model used by occupy Austin at yesterday’s ga which I missed

    awesome!

  • troll

    from that occupywiki:

    The Consensus Model Occupy Austin…

    Overview · A formal decision-making process · Nonviolent, everyone has a voice, everyone is involved in making decisions, decreases competitive dynamic that is seen with parliamentary procedure or majority rule · Consensus is built on a foundation of trust, respect, unity of purpose, nonviolence, self-empowerment, cooperation, conflict resolution, commitment to group, active participation, equal access to power, patience
    Roles · Agenda planner · Facilitator – non-directive leadership, facilitates process, if they have something to say as individual, they step aside as facilitator for the moment · Timekeeper – watches the time spent on each item, gives 1 or 2 minute notice before time’s up, and when scheduled time runs out · Peacekeeper – keeps an eye on tensions, process, respect, can interrupt at any time if needed to reflect on process and communicate potential course corrections
    Process · At beginning of each meeting, group enters agenda contract including agenda items, their order, and the initial number of minutes allotted to each item · One proposal is considered at a time · Any concerns are raised and resolved, sometimes one by one, until all voices are heard. · Decisions are adopted when all participants consent to the result of discussion about the original proposal. · People who do not agree with a proposal are responsible for expressing their concerns. · No decision is adopted until here is resolution of every concern. Consensus does not assume that everyone must be in complete agreement.Other options include: o Standing aside – When concerns remain after discussion, individuals can agree to disagree by acknowledging they have unresolved concerns, but consent to the proposal anyway and allow it to be adopted o Send to committee and readdress at next meeting o Block/veto – any individual can block any item; not done frivolously- only if the decision is of such great importance that the person would leave the group if the decision went through · The individual is responsible for expressing concerns; the group is responsible for resolving them. The group decides whether a concern is legitimate; the individual decides whether to block or stand aside. · Consensus works best in an atmosphere in which conflict is encouraged, supported, and resolved cooperatively with respect, nonviolence, and creativity. · Evaluation of process & tone occurs at the end of each meeting

  • t

    forgot the link

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    excellent! thanks for posting, troll.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I know about everything has been said here between the article and the 179 comments that came before mine, and at the risk of repeating something said I’ll say this anyhow:

    What the Rightys here claim is that mnoey flows from the rich to the middle class and the poor via investments and its consequent job creation; ergo the rich are job creators. That’s the theory anyway. I suppose you can find it in some economic books.

    Yet, as has been stated here and elsewhere ad nauseam, the rich have money – a lot of money. They remain the chief beneficiaries of the two massive Bush tax cuts, and yet they have created little or nothing out of it. Only about 1 million private sector jobs were created during the Bush years compared to approximately 20 million during Clinton’s tenure when taxes were higher (a whopping 4% higher.) More jobs have been created since Obama took office less than 3 years ago than were created during the entire 8 years under Bush.

    So what did all these good rich folks do with their tax savings if they didn’t perform their patriotic duty by creating jobs? First, little of their investments went toward anything concrete. Very little of what now gets traded on any of the national or international exchanges has anything to do with material development. It’s all just a mass of 0s and 1s bouncing around through cyberspace.

    The now infamous “trickle down” economy has proven time and again that it is a specious concept, not to mention that it is odious in its very conception.

    I’m sure many of the same protestations were being hotly voiced by those in power in 1780s France before the riff raff took over and cut everybody’s heads off. What followed was ugly and far beyond any sense of justice, but such things have a power that often goes far beyond reason. The Wall Streeters standing along the balcony of the NYSE last week looking down on and mocking the demonstrators while sipping champagne marked their “Let them eat cake” moment. You can only rub shit in people’s faces for so long before it gets hurled back at you.

  • Maurice

    Just got to point out 2 things.

    1. I have not bitched about my taxes. I have simply stated the amount I pay.

    2. Jobs come from the private sector. If government tries to ‘help’ the economy it is using money from the private sector (taxes).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maurice –

    What you’re not getting is that those public sector jobs ENABLE the private sector jobs. Teachers teach. Police protect. Firemen save. And so forth.

    Slice-and-dice the public sector, and the private sector WILL suffer.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Isn’t reducing government jobs just adding to the unemployed?

  • Clavos

    More jobs have been created since Obama took office less than 3 years ago than were created during the entire 8 years under Bush.

    A claim by the administration totally unsubstantiated by the government’s own data…

  • Maurice

    Glenn,

    I do get it. Please see #1. I pay taxes and appreciate the fact that there is value there. I do have to point out that private schools are better than public and cops won’t help out when the shit hits the fan. I am thinking of the Rodney King riots when the cops just left.

    Baritone, please think about what you posted. Every government job has to have at least 3 private sector jobs to supply enough tax dollars to cover their salary.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maurice –

    You cannot compare private schools to public schools. Why? Because NO private schools are required by law to do what ANY public school is required to do!

    For instance, how many private schools do you know of that take ANY student, regardless of religion or English proficiency (if any)? Do you know any private schools that hire full-time nurses (at no cost to the parent) to provide one-on-one care for medically-fragile students like my Foster child who (thanks to fetal drug syndrome) has a g-tube, trach tube, cleft palate, rods in his back, seizure disorders, and is wheelchair-bound? No? I didn’t think so. Clavos said he knew of a couple, but if so, they’re the very, very rare exception to the rule.

    And let’s not stop there! How many private schools do you know that are REQUIRED BY LAW to provide transportation (even for wheelchair-bound students like mine) for EVERY student within its particular school district?

    ZERO private schools do this. Not a single one.

    And all this costs money, Maurice…and when you see those costs-per-student, that’s why the cost seems so low for private schools – because NO private school does everything that ANY public school is required to do.

    Do you not see the conservative strawman you bought into? You can’t compare private schools to public schools.

  • Clavos

    You can’t compare private schools to public schools.

    Horseshit. All you have to do is look at SAT scores to see who’s doing a better job.

    But it IS advantageous to the government schools for the comparison to be claimed to be invalid, which of course, is why you falsely call it a “strawman.”

  • Clavos

    And your claim that zero private schools provide student transportation is simply untrue; I see private school buses on the streets every day.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Remember how you like to point out how I didn’t read what was said? It’s your turn now.

    I SAID that NO private school is required BY LAW to provide transportation for any child (regardless of disability) within it’s district.

    Yes, there ARE some private schools that provide transportation – some for free, others for fee…and MOST other private schools provide little or no transportation AT ALL. But it is their choice whether they will provide transportation for any particular student, and you know it. A private school can simply tell the parent, “Oh, our student van doesn’t go to that particular area”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And you’re defending the strawman again, Clavos – because NO private school is required BY LAW to provide an education to ANY child regardless of disability or religion or lack of English proficiency…whereas almost any private school can turn such children away with impunity by saying that they simply “don’t have the resources to teach the child”.

    Furthermore, Clavos, if you’d take the time to look at the student bodies of private schools as compared to public schools, private school students are normally from more affluent families, and are more often from one particular religion or ethnic group.

    Whereas the student bodies of public schools run the gamut of ethnicities, religions, disabilities, and income groups…and unlike private school teachers, the teachers in public schools have to know and understand and deal with all those differences.

    YES, Clavos, this makes a huge difference…and all your denial of the reality isn’t going to change it.

  • Igor

    Apparently private schools improve their collective test scores by pre-rejecting students with poor prospects.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Public Schools Outperform Private Schools in Math Instruction

    I really like sciencedaily.com – they’re about as non-partisan as it gets.

    Does that mean that public schools are better than private schools? Not at all. Private schools have smaller teacher-to-student ratios (esp. since Republicans love to cut public teacher jobs – “Public schools are bad and we’re going to make sure they’re even worse!”), and face far fewer challenges than do public schools when it comes to differences in religion, ethnicity, disability, and day-to-day operations.

    And what would happen if we were to privatize all schools? The status quo would improve not one whit and would more likely be detrimental since the money would be going towards corporate profits and NOT towards the schools and the teachers.

    There are places where the profit motive does not belong. Our public schools is one of them.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    From my reference above:

    The schools with the smallest percentage of certified teachers – conservative Christian schools, where less than half of teachers were certified – were, not coincidentally, the schools with the lowest aggregate math test scores.

    “Those schools certainly have the prerogative to set different priorities when hiring, but it just doesn’t help them on NAEP,”

    Yeah, that’s how good a lot of private schools are – hire the ones who are of the right religion, and who cares if they’re certified! Is this really the kind of schools you think our children should go to?

  • Igor

    If trickle-down was ever going to work then businesses making profits should take the initiative and create new products and employ new people to make them. But business has failed. With all the opportunity of greatly relaxed business regulations and increased profits the business community has chosen to withhold and they´ve run up $2.5trillion in retained earnings instead.

    If trickle-down was ever going to work then investors making big earnings should take the initiative and invest in new companies and products that employ new people to make them. But investors have failed. With all the opportunity of greatly increased personal wealth the investment community has chosen to withhold and they´ve run up $2trillion in savings instead.

    That´s why trickle-down doesn´t work, and never could.

  • Clavos

    Apparently private schools improve their collective test scores by pre-rejecting students with poor prospects.

    Which would be a better policy for the government schools than the current assumption that everyone is not only entitled to a college education, but worse, that everyone is qualified.

    And Igor,

    If trickle-down was ever going to work then investors making big earnings should take the initiative and invest in new companies and products that employ new people to make them. But investors have failed. With all the opportunity of greatly increased personal wealth the investment community has chosen to withhold and they´ve run up $2trillion in savings instead.

    I call bullshit.

    100% of my life savings is invested in businesses around the country and tens of millions of Americans are doing exactly the same thing. Those companies, which have a fiduciary responsibility to us, their owners, are being prudent with our money while they wait to see if the knucklehead in the WH will do his job.

  • Maurice

    IGOR – …businesses making profits should take the initiative and create new products and employ new people…

    Have you heard of apple? Started in a garage and now employs 46000 people.

    As far as private/public schools, consider where all the politicians send their kids.

  • Maurice

    Clavos – good to see you here and getting a kick out of your comments.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Started in a garage and now employs 46000 people.

    Is that counting the suicidal Chinese factory workers at Foxconn that actually make the iPods, iPads and iPhones?

  • Maurice

    Geez, Jordan, you certainly see the glass half empty. When I worked for Motorola I worked in Hong Kong for a while. I learned a few things about their culture. One thing is underlings are treated like dirt. Unfortunate that it is that way. But it is their culture and nothing to do with Apple.

    I also spent some years in England and always pitied the old ladies walking into town and carrying their groceries home. I don’t pity them now because I believe it is good exercise. Should we try to change the English and get them to drive cars everywhere?

    Broaden your thinking and don’t be so negative.

  • Igor

    Maurice, Clavos: when I say that ¨…businesses making profits should take the initiative and create new products and employ new people to make them…¨ I am just echoing the claims of trickle-down fans who say they WILL do that. Of course, tricklers say that just to justify cutting taxes and repealing regulations, they have no intention of following through with jobs.

    THAT is why trickle-down will not and cannot work: the trickle-down claims are insincere BS.

  • Maurice

    IGOR – I think all citizens should pay taxes. All citizens. Including those that qualify for the ill named “earned income credit”.

    Trickle down does work. Think of JFK, “All boats rise with the tide”.

    JFK was ahead of his time and was a believer in the free market.

    There are few places where the free market still survives. We are wealthy in this nation because of the somewhat free market.

    If you are a hater of the free market there are plenty of places to live in this world. I’ve been there.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice, it has nothing to do with being negative and everything to do with being realistic.

    I refuse to simply turn a blind eye to how many of these corporations conduct business. Many companies that we worship in the west for giving us flashy gadgets and goodies are responsible for egregious human rights violations the world over. As you would have it, we should just ignore child slavery because, hey, that’s “negative.”

    You also claim that “it has nothing to do with Apple.” Apple uses underpaid workers in shitty factories to make their products rather than employing American workers to make products with fair wages and good working conditions. How does this have nothing to do with Apple?

    I have no idea what your second paragraph means, Maurice. Surely you’re not suggesting that we shouldn’t work toward the rights of workers and human beings? I hope you’re not saying that things should just stay as they are in China and elsewhere because “that’s how it is.”

    In a previous discussion similar to this one, you claimed to not “believe” that these corporations were guilty of various human rights violations.

    Now you’re telling me to “broaden my thinking” and to quit “being so negative.”

    I’ll let you guide me through it: what exactly is so positive about outsourcing jobs to countries that treat their workers lower than dirt?

  • Clavos

    Maurice,

    Good to see you back also — both here at BC and back at your work — glad to hear it.

    And, as always, enjoying your words and thoughts on the threads.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Here is a terrific article about Apple and Steve Jobs. It highlights the company’s authoritarian tendencies, their affinity for censorship and lawsuits, their fascist tendencies, their human rights record, their use of sweatshops, and so on.

    Maurice, you may not “believe” the article or the sourced claims or the facts within it. I guess that’s your choice. Perhaps that’s how you maintain your sunny disposition: fingers in your ears, eyes closed, mind shut tight.

  • Maurice

    Jordan – you seem like a nice guy. I know you care about these people but they are subject to their government – not corporations. When I was in Hong Kong people were so happy to have an American company there because they knew they would be treated better than the local companies.

    Every time I travel I am shocked at how other governments treat their citizens. As Americans we are shocked/dismayed by how other governments/societies treat their people. Luckily our corporations provide a better alternative of employment.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maurice –

    Every time I travel I am shocked at how other governments treat their citizens

    You should modify that to read “how other third-world governments treat their citizens, because most of the rest of the first world nations treat their citizens significantly better than America does. All you have to do is to compare the life expectancies, the percentage of homeless, the birth mortality rate…need I go on?

    I’d love to take you to Vancouver B.C. sometime and let you see what a beautiful and modern city can be. Earlier this year I went there and in this city of two million I could count the number of homeless I saw on one hand. I can’t say the same for ANY sizable American city. Just a few minutes ago the Seattle news station announced that a homeless shelter system was closing, and that beginning tomorrow, three hundred more people would be sleeping in the streets. YEAH, THAT’S REAL AMERICAN FREEDOM! Especially when there’s several times more unemployed people than there are jobs available!

    When I was young, Maurice, I was taught in so many words that I could never have as good a life as I would have in America, that I could only be really happy in America, that America was the only country in all the world that was really free.

    I’ve traveled enough (and several times to Hong Kong (where my dad died in the harbor in 1974)) to unlearn those false lessons. How about you?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice, it’s not an either/or equation.

    Corporations are not the refuge from governments you believe them to be. They are not the answer to the problem of government; they are just another problem, along with governments.

    I’m stunned as to how you can turn a blind eye to the damage corporations are doing, but it seems that you’re stuck on the notion that these entities are somehow heroic and/or altruistic. If only you were right.

  • Clavos

    It is not the business of business (and by extension, corporations) to be either heroic or altruistic.

    To expect them to be is naive in the extreme.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    It is the business of government to do what is best for the nation…and that often includes the regulation of business (do you really think Detroit would have upped the gas mileage or installed seatbelts/airbags on all vehicles if the government hadn’t forced them to?) AND taxation of business in order to pay for the infrastructure those businesses require.

    Businesses have NO right to a free lunch from the government that is providing the regulation and infrastructure those businesses need in order to operate.

  • Igor

    196 – Maurice
    Oct 09, 2011 at 7:49 am
    IGOR – …businesses making profits should take the initiative and create new products and employ new people…

    Have you heard of apple? Started in a garage and now employs 46000 people.

    And it was all financed by guys who took out 2nds and invested in themselves. As a matter of fact, I wouldn´t invest in Apple in 1980 when Jobs/ Wozniak showed up at the Homebrew Computer Club because my buddies and I wanted to invest in our own startup.

    Apple couldn´t get investor money until it was successful. We never got outside money for our startup (which is still running!) because, although successful, it was throttled by one founder who is still running it as a sole proprietor.

    Money-rich investors never volunteer a thing. What characterizes them is greed and obsessive control.

  • Igor

    199 – Maurice
    Oct 09, 2011 at 7:02 pm
    ….

    ¨I also spent some years in England and always pitied the old ladies walking into town and carrying their groceries home. I don’t pity them now because I believe it is good exercise.¨

    Let them eat cake.

  • Igor

    201 – Maurice
    Oct 09, 2011 at 8:32 pm


    ¨Trickle down does work. Think of JFK, “All boats rise with the tide”.¨

    Unless they´re anchored to the bottom.

  • Igor

    201 – Maurice
    Oct 09, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    If you are a hater of the free market there are plenty of places to live in this world. I’ve been there.¨

    Free Markets are fine. It is CAPITALISM that hates free markets, wanting to turn them into monopoly controlled markets in which monopolists can dictate terms.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Clavos (#208), no doubt. The “business” of businesses is making profits. They’ll do so in any way possible, including heading wherever the cost of doing business is lowest.

  • Clavos

    ¨Trickle down does work. Think of JFK, “All boats rise with the tide”.¨

    Unless they´re anchored to the bottom.

    As a man who has spent his entire lifetime living on or working on and around boats, I assure that ALL boats that are anchored are “anchored to the bottom,” and they most assuredly do rise and fall with the tides.

    Crappy analogy, Igor.

  • Maurice

    Jordan #207 – altruism is a bad word. Corporations motives are pure – they want to make money. No bones about it. Politicians on the other hand profess altruism and deceive the gullible. Government is not your friend.

    Glenn #206 – I have not been there. I did spend a couple of months in Geneva and loved it. Vibrant city with an eclectic mix.

    Igor – monopolies always fold under their own weight. Name the monopoly that is hurting your earning capability.

  • Maurice

    Igor – not sure what you mean by ‘Let them eat cake’. Hopefully you have not succumbed to the myth that Queen Marie Antoinette said that. Funny how if things are said often enough people believe them.

  • Maurice

    #210 – or perhaps careful with their hard-earned dollars.

  • Igor

    Trickle-down doesn´t work because businesses have dozens of excuses for NOT doing their part and spending the money down the food chain.

    And if they need any more excuses they can call on Clavos and Maurice to invent them.

    How about if we dump trickle-down and go to trickle-up? Give out more money to the unemployed and poor. Those people have a much higher Marginal Propensity To Spend than the rich and business leaders so the money will certainly go back into the system, which is the whole point of any trickle theory.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice (#216), I agree that governments are not your friends. I haven’t suggested otherwise. My only bone to pick here is what corporations are willing to do in order to achieve their so-called “pure” motives. In this regard, they are just as nasty as politicians.

    But corporations, unlike politicians, are “people.”

    In the documentary film The Corporation, the person (the corporation) is evaluated by a consultant to the FBI and a psychology professor using the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The person/corporation is evaluated through standard business practices aimed at achieving the motive you consider to be so pure. In achieving said motive, the average corporation is found to be psychopathic.

    We can get into specifics, such as the behavioural tendencies of a person/corporation like Monsanto or IBM, and the motive becomes almost irrelevant. The purity of the profit motive is apt; corporations care for nothing else, not social responsibility or environmental responsibility or what have you. They are, however, behaving exactly as the law would have them behave.

    If you consider that a positive, there’s not much we’re going to agree on with regard to this subject.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Trickle-down doesn´t work because businesses have dozens of excuses for NOT doing their part and spending the money down the food chain.

    Exactly. The number one reason is that it’s not in their nature to do so.

    It’s also been tried for ages, including back in the late 1800s as the John Kenneth Galbraith coined “horse and sparrow theory,” and it’s never worked as “theorized.”

    We currently have one of the broadest gaps between the rich and poor of all time. And it’s not like we didn’t see it coming from miles away…

    “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

    – United States President Abraham Lincoln in an 1864 letter to Col. William F. Elkins.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Amazing that Lincoln was such a visionary.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Well shit, looks like I’ve been had once more by bullshit historical quotations. My bad.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good catch, then, otherwise it would surely give both Clavos and Maurice a moment’s pause.

    Goes to show, then — even the greatest men of their generation have their limitations.

  • Roger B

    195 – Clavos
    Oct 08, 2011 at 9:25 pm
    “Apparently private schools improve their collective test scores by pre-rejecting students with poor prospects.

    Which would be a better policy for the government schools than the current assumption that everyone is not only entitled to a college education, but worse, that everyone is qualified.”

    Then poor students are to suffer even more because they don’t pump up some entrepeneurs relative scores?

    Every American is ENTITLED to the best education he can manage, even if not qualified for higher education. It’s part of good citizenship, which is the purpose of education.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maurice –

    Corporations motives are pure – they want to make money. No bones about it.

    Except the bones they leave behind when they are allowed to pollute to their hearts’ content, or not held to a modern standard of engineering. Bhopal, Love Canal, BP oil spill, Exxon Valdez, Big Oil polluting the streams in South America…

    …as Jordan pointed out in 220, psychopathic, with corporate inertia having crowded out where ideals of courage and honor and compassion should be. Google famously had as a motto, “don’t be evil”…but ever so slowly, they’re becoming one of the biggest threats to our privacy.

  • Maurice

    Glenn – which is more evil, corporations or the government? At least corporations tell you they are there to make money. People like Barney Frank claim to have your back and yet are responsible for the demise of our economy.

  • zingzing

    you don’t place any blame on corporations for our current economic problems, maurice?

    and you think they’ve never lied to you?

  • zingzing

    and do you think you could place any blame on a gop politician, or is the blame just on the democrat side of the aisle?