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Real Wages Declining For American Workers – More Questions For November Elections

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A late-breaking New York Times story on August 28 said the median hourly wage since 2003 has declined by 2 percent after factoring in inflation.  Despite an ongoing increase in productivity, a slowing economy could make this the first period of economic growth since World War II that did not result in a "prolonged increase in real wages."

The question among Republicans and Democrats is the extent to which this phenomenon will affect voter behavior in November.  One concern among Republicans is that this period is being called the "the golden era of profitability" as corporate profits are higher than at any time since the 1960s.  At the same time, the increased worker productivity means wages and salaries make up the smallest percentage of the gross domestic product since the government began collecting these records in 1947.  

And as wage deflation is made more intense by reduced employee benefits, Republicans are worried about a backlash while Democrats are hoping for increased anger toward the current administration. 

As usual, opinions differ.  Charles Cook, who publishes a non-partisan political newsletter, said "'It’s a dangerous time for any party to have control of the federal government — the presidency, the Senate and the House.  It all feeds into ‘it’s a time for a change’ sentiment. It’s a highly combustible mixture.'"   On the other hand, Richard Curtain, director of the University of Michan's consumer surveys thinks that national economic issues are the stuff of presidential, not mid-term campaigns.

This confusion exists within the context of an attitude toward Congress that rivals the horrible scores from the public seen in the summer of 1994, when the Congress switched from Democrat to Republican.  According to an August 8 Pew Research Center report, 45% of registered voters said Congress had accomplished less than usual, higher than the 38% who felt the same way in 1994.  And one of the issues that people expect Congress to be addressing — but isn't — is the economy.

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Good lord the Times is slick. I used to think accusations of partisanship against them were overstated, but this really puts an end to that gullibility.

    The truth is that they’ve picked a year and a month with the highest adjusted hourly wage and compared it with the least good month of the current year. And even then the wage decline is barely over 1%.

    The real trick is the arbitrary choice of 2003 when the boost to the economy from the Bush tax cuts was the strongest. I wonder why they didn’t compare the start of the Bush administration in 2001 with the lastest numbers. Oh, I know why – then they’d have wages increasing by a bit over 1% instead. Or hell, they could compare Clinton’s midterm wage level with Bush’s midterm wage level, but that wouldn’t do at all, since that would show a wage increase of almost 8% after adjusting for inflation.

    What a crock of partisan bullshit.

    And if you want to check the figures yourself they are at the BLS.

    Dave

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Dave, you numbers junkie you. O.k., then you have to explain “wages and salaries make up the smallest percentage of the gross domestic product since the government began collecting these records in 1947,” and that corporate profits are the highest since the 60s.

    You really don’t want to admit that the rich are raking it in while the middle class and the poor are getting shafted. Baaaaaad libertarian.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Mark, I’ve got an article in the works which is going to knock you on your lefty ass.

    This entire viewpoint that the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor is entirely the result of the inclination of the left to look at people as groups rather than individuals.

    They see the top income group getting richer and they assume that means that the rich are getting richer, when what it actually means is that massive numbers of the middle class have moved up to greater wealth.

    As for corporate profits, why are they a problem? What do you think happens to corporate profits? They aren’t turned into lead by a magic gnome. They get paid back to stockholders, and stock ownership is at the highest level ever, and spreads deeper into the middle class than ever before through 401Ks, IRAs and Mutual Funds.

    Face up to it, Mark. Americans making money is a GOOD thing, and wealth generated anywhere in the economy benefits everyone. Even if all the money goes into the pockets of the welthiest people in the nation, that money doesn’t get stuck in a mattress. It goes into investments and is used to capitalize new ventures, make new fortunes, raise up entrepreneurs to wealth, and employ hundreds of thousands of additional workers.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Poor Dave; he still believes with all his shrivelled, scroogy little right wing heart that trickle-down economics works….

  • Clavos

    Because it DOES, Nancy…

    Do you think that the wealthy just stuff their money under a matress?

    They go out and buy 3 or 4 condos to flip and make still more money (construction jobs), they buy a Bentley or two (car salesmen, mechanics), buy a yacht (yacht salesmen, crew members, repair yards and their workers), all of the workers involved then go out and buy THEIR cars and houses, groceries, clothing, etc.

    I sell VERY high end luxury items (yachts), and believe me, the wealthy SPEND, and big time. Thousands of people down here make very good livings just on their yachts alone–it’s a multi billion dollar business, and only one aspect of what the wealthy do with their money.

    They also like to make more money, so they invest in the stock market, provide venture capital for entrepreneurs, etc.; result: still more jobs created.

    It’s economics 101, Nancy.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    You’re not wrong, Clavos. But there are major problems in the American economy that concern me. Your country is in debt up to its eyes. If the folks who have the notes call on them, your whole country goes right down the toilet in one big flush of economic collapse – and we follow because a lot of our economy is dependent on yours.

    Real estate prices are starting to fall, old homes are not selling as well. Every time I see the signs of bubbles bursting, I get nervous. The real wage decline is just a tiny symptom of the bigger picture…

  • Clavos

    Ruvy, you raise some real alarms there, no question.

    Your example of how the Israeli economy is so closely tied to the US is, I think, a two-sided coin; its good side is that the economic relationship between Israel and the US is illustrative of how the world’s economies are growing increasingly interdependent.

    As they do so, the probability of everyone holding US debt calling it in simultaneously goes down, if for no other reason than that would run counter to the debt-holders’ self interest. That’s a bit simplistic, I know, but I think has some validity in an Ayn Randian sense.

    The real estate market HAS begun to level off, and in many markets, decline; but that’s been predicted for months. I think that some of that effect has already been discounted by the market, and the decline shouldn’t be particularly steep or long lasting, except in a few specific markets where.

    Of concern to me as well is the situation in your part of the world, because of the uncertainty it is creating in the world’s markets. I’m already starting to see nervousness about it on the part of some of my clients, and it takes a LOT to shake some of those guys up. What do you think?

  • Peter J

    So,
    I guess the poor wouldn’t spend the shit out of new found wealth in the form of fair wages thus stimulating my all time favorite theory of economics where EVERYONE is happy, it’s called
    ‘trickle UP economics’ and I think the name speaks for itself.

    The best part is that it leaves no one who is willing to work behind or waiting for something to come trickling down some corporate billionaire’s leg.

    People who aren’t used to luxury items such as new cars, washers and dryers in their homes, a piece of the rock in the form of a condo, aren’t going to simply invest and wait for money to climb back to the top (although it will), they will spend on tangibles immediately, stimulate growth, production, and sales immediately sending higher profits right back up to those poor, poor millionaires who may have had to change their way of thinking and not get so un-nerved when people who are barely getting by (I like to think of them as modern day slaves, hell, they get a roof over their head, some food to eat, and maybe even an old clunker to get them back and forth to work when it’s running) suddenly have enough money to enjoy a bit more of whqt this world has to offer. Not everyone can be a Dr., Lawyer, CEO, but where will we be when garbage men no longer pick up our swill, dirch diggers no longer dig?

    Why does everyone in upper middle to upper class begrudge these people a taste of life?
    My favorite words; no empathy!
    What is wrong in this world?
    Are we so fucked up that we look disdainfully upon those of lesser means?
    And please, don’t give me that’s the natural pecking order! We are not fucking birds!
    There’s plenty to go around and let lower income families enjoy a piece of the pie.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos,

    Your clients are very likely the executives of reinsurers, and that sort, and they have been nervous lately. The bird flu has them nervous because there is no known cure, and reinsurers. The buck stops with them.

    Then there is the possibility of somebody shooting off missiles. The North Koreans are sitting on a little nest egg of them waiting for someone to come up with enough cash to make it worth their while. Whle they are ideologically inclined to destroy us and would be more than happy to do so for the appropriate price, business is business. Have you noticed the price of gold lately?

    Then there are those danged hizzicanes or whatever those cyclonic storms get called these days. Again, the reinsurer takes the hit after everybody else gets his insurance check…

    That’s on the American side of the deal. The truth of the matter is that a lot of this country’s economy and governmental structure was severely damaged by HizbAllah. But the shekel has gone up in value, indicating that the dollar is in more trouble in spite of all that…

    By a few gold coins, Clavos. Maybe more than a few. You need a hedge against real economic collapse… I wish I could follow my own advice. I’m too broke.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Dave, bring on yer article…and make sure to bring a pillow…never mind, my left ass is fat enough.

    Take your own data. From mid-Clinton to mid-Bush is, roughly, give or take a few years, 8 years, right? Real wages up 8%. Now follow me here. That’s one percent per year. I don’t care what kind of fancy scmancy libertarian neocon thermonuclear analysis you’re going to do, but I’ll bet my right ass that real wages for the top 25% went up a lot more than 1% a year over the past 8 years.

    Trying swallowing that three times without saying uncle.

    I understand corporate profits, having worked in the corporate sector for thirty years, mostly in corporate. I also understand how corporations are paying their top people at an unheard of rate, restating options year after year in the face of falling stock prices so the highest ranking execs don’t lose out, how they’re cutting health care and pension benefits, laying off millions of people in the 50+ age range to avoid the pension gap they’ve created as well as cut costs….

    Sorry, Dave, I can say a lot of good things about corporate America, and I’m proud of my time there, but they do some things that are immoral and despicable–and I’ve gotten into trouble more than once for saying that directly to CEOs and others.

    Trickle down theory is a great name…trickle. Or crumbs off the table.

    And that’s the truth…as I see it.

    In Jameson Veritas.

    Hey is anyone else getting soft porn–chicks in thongs — below their comment screen. Whew. BC is getting a little risque.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Theres a reason I used to be a republican.
    I was up there with the upper middle class with my penthouse, Sebbring Convertible and big bank account.

    But “I’ve looked at life from both sides now.”

    Dave until you fall down where I am now, you’ll never ever understand. It’s a concept you have to experience.

    Our republican president and congress are heartlessly offering solutions to our economic problems… but most their “helpful” solutions don’t fully take effect until their “help” is too late.

    A minimum wage hike that doesn’t take effect right away, but takes years to be “phased in”

    A “Spend now and pay later” plan that leaves our country paying millions/billions on a national debt that they don’t seem to care that the next ten generations will have to clean up instead of the current congress.

    Meanwhile in the same bills, corporate tax cuts and those for the rich take effect immediately.

    Back in the late ninties we all said we’d be happy to chip in some extra tax money to pay down the national debt.

    Now the catch-phrase seems to be Democrats are all “tax and spend” freaks.

    All we have to do is remember what the budget deficit was when Bush took office vs what it is now.

    All we have to do is remember what the national debt was when Bush took office vs what it is now.

    All we have to do is remember that Osama bin Laden is still out there, while Bush went after Saddam instead to avenge his father’s failures.

    Bush’s folly is costing us trillions on a war that’ll leave Iraq no better off than it was, and in some cases worse in a war we can no longer financially afford, in a war that’s uselessly cost thousands of American lives just so Bush can smirk and stammer at the camera and brag about how he’s saved us from the “terrorists” following us back here.

    News buletin… They’re here and biding their time. Bush’s Homeland Security is a joke, as is proven by the student bring home dynamite and bomb making materials on a plane recently

    Trickle down economics was described by Bush’s own father as “Voodoo economics”

    He was right.

    The rich have the voodoo doll and the rest of us are the ones getting stuck.

  • Nancy

    Having worked with the rich during 8+ years with the IRS, I learned to despise them utterly for the selfish, greedy, cowardly pigs they are. No matter how much they have, they never have enough: they always want the poor mans’ last crumb as well. Their arrogance and sense of entitlement are mind-boggling, and until, as Jet says, one has been the target of it, it really can’t be appreciated. If I had my druthers, every single one of them – AND their wives, kids, grandkids, etc to the nth generation – would be sent to a ‘re-education’ camp a la those of the late Mao for the overprivileged gentry of China. I am constantly astounded by the docility of the average American in the face of the obscene overcompensation packages paid to CEOs, in which the CEO frequently makes 1,000 – 5,000 times what his average workers do. All I can say is, there must be something the government is putting in the water to keep everyone dull & biddable, like cattle. We should be up & brandishing our pitchforks….

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

    =Real estate prices are starting to fall, old homes are not selling as well. Every time I see the signs of bubbles bursting, I get nervous. The real wage decline is just a tiny symptom of the bigger picture…

    Real Estate prices were massively inflated. It’s a sign of how strong the economy is that instead of the bubble bursting, we’re getting a gradual weakening, a sort of mild deflation of the bubble. That’s a real break for homeowners who are holding property for the long term. Not so good for speculators, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I don’t think too many people are crying for the speculators, anyway. Certainly not me, and actually I don’t mind at all watching the two I know take their lumps and then some. One has been weeping on my unsympathetic shoulder for weeks now: he’s got houses and he can’t sell….boo hoo hooo….

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dave one of the few ways out of my financial disaster depends on how much my father’s house can be sold for by the estate. Now that the housing market is sagging, it’s just one more problem for me.

    It seems to me that there was a good reason why the “80s” were known as the “me” generation. Republicans ruled the white house and all they cared about was “them”

    Until you’ve been touched by the problem, you’ll never understand the resentment and the feeling of hopelessness.

    I didn’t when I was well off, but now that I’m not a well-off republican, I’m a democrat down in the trenches.

    I used to scoff at people like me and say “Why don’t you get off your ass and do something for yourself” but now that I’ve seen all the roadblocks I understand.

    I’m not talking about the intentionally non-working poor. I’m talking about people like me who have no safety net, and beuracracy seems to be designed to make me go completely broke before any kind of help would be given.

    Why should the republicans worry if the economy is going soft. IT’S NOT GOING SOFT for the wealthy or well-off. It’s going soft for people like me who it makes a difference if the company that helps me buy my insulin just doubled my co-pay from $15 tp $30. To a rich texan republican you could be shocked that that’d make any difference, but I’m rolling pennies and nickles just to put gas in the car!!!!

    The difference of .05 a gallon could throw a monkey wrench into whether to by groceries or an uncovered medical supply like insulin needles, because some place covers the insulin but not the needles to inject it with.

    Until you lived it Dave I promise you’ll never understand. I’m not putting you down, I’m just saying that I’ve been there and shook my head at people that panicked at not having enough for gas to get back and forth to work, I’ve laughed at people bitching about gas going up a nickle a gallon because that usually only means about $1 per tank more… but I do now, boy do I ever.

    Dave you’ll never understand, and I pray to God that you never do.

    but if you could make an effort, I wish you’d try

    Jet

  • Nancy

    Well said, Jet. My above comment was not directed to honest sellers like yourself, but those who ‘flip’ properties like pancakes.

  • Peter J

    Do you know why average American workers who are earning $30,000. a year or less will never earn an equitable wage in this country? It’s because every greedy prick in America begrudges them an honest equitable pay. To say it is not the fault of major corporations or CEOs is the biggest crock of shit since slavery.

    Slaves were kept housed on a plantation or farm, Average American workers make just enough to house themselves in a very modest fashion.

    Slaves were fed, kept nutritionally fit, not out of kindness but to protect the labor investment. If a slave became malnourished he or she could not work up to capacity.
    American workers are paid enough to feed themselves nutritionally, in order to keep up production.

    Slaves were reprimanded when they did not work up to par.
    Average American workers are punished, incentives witheld, or even terminated for missing quotas.

    Slaves got medical attention if they were incapacitated.
    These days, workers are fortunate if they get medical attention and medicine that they can
    afford if they don’t have a good health ins. program.These days the cost of a good health plan is out of reach financially for most.

    Some workers with children are actually driven to take a job with lesser earning capacity just so they are covered for when the children get sick, which in this day is not uncommon as the rate of children with asthma has more than trippled in the past 2 decades.

    Talk about the ‘concept ‘ of freedom all you care to but who sounds like they had the better deal?

    PLEASE, don’t come at me with a bunch of stupid bullshit about the other factors of freedom vs slavery, this is not my point and I’m sure that no one is stupid enough to confuse the 2 issues. I know “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” and would never be so bold as to denigrate the horrible issues of slavery.
    This is strictly about financial security and my point is that most American workers are no better off than the slaves of the south.
    If you don’t get it then read it twice, I know sometime having too much money clogs up the space between your ears.
    And if you STILL don’t get it then go back and read #8 back to back with this one.
    Will some one PLEASE say they get it? Or at least tell me why not (aside from that tired old trickle the fuck down issue!

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Peter, a little extreme way to make your point, but I tend to agree with you a lot more than those who think the economy and people are doing just fine.

    In Decaf Veritas

  • Martin Lav

    As for corporate profits, why are they a problem? What do you think happens to corporate profits? They aren’t turned into lead by a magic gnome. They get paid back to stockholders, and stock ownership is at the highest level ever, and spreads deeper into the middle class than ever before through 401Ks, IRAs and Mutual Funds.

    Dave,
    It’s a problem because those profits are gleaned more and more off of the workers backs. The 401k’s you cite are nothing more than corporations offing their pension responsiblities off on the workers that don’t generally have a clue nor the time to play the market. In fact a helluva lot of workers lost a lot of money in their 401k’s when the market tanked. Meanwhile…since the corportations got the benefit of eliminating pensions expense from their P&L’s along with wage tax reductions, they are showing more profit.
    But CLAVOS the CEO’s and exec. management can no go out and buy a Yacht and benefit more workers to support this purchase? yacht salesmen, crew members, repair yards and their workers). How about maids and landscapers and more low wage workers that can sneak up across the border, it’s good for them too right?

    You all can’t be serious…..

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I was Martin, I was.
    Apparently I wasn’t taken seriously though.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Why don’t we just all project the economy’s outlook as a function of our individual fiscal profiles?

    Ready … go.

  • Bliffle

    Dave:

    I tried going to your BLS link but it said: “Sorry, survey does not exist. If you need to contact someone about the program or its data, please send a message to the data questions e-mail address below or call the phone number below.”

  • Bliffle

    Clavos:

    “…It’s economics 101,…”

    Did you actually take Econ101? I did, as well as Econ102,103 and some other upper division Econ courses.

    What, in particular, are you referring to from Econ101?

  • Martin Lav

    NeoCon 101

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Clavos, no doubt the rich are big spenders, but the real question is what percent of it do they spend? I would guess a poor man would spend a much higher percent of his money than a rich man. So if your sole objective is to get people to buy stuff to provide jobs, give it to the poor, they’ll spend every penny you give them.

  • Nancy

    LOL – that’s about right: wannabe slave-owners’ economics 101; how to make ‘em think they’re well off & everything’s peachy, while you rip ‘em off left & right.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Mark #10, I understand your fustration but your not calling Dave on his real manipulation. He is intentionally blurring two distinctly different phenomenon. The first is the one you are clearly expressing in your article, economic disparity. The second is, economic mobility, Dave’s favorite subject.

    Now the confusion occurs because Dave is intentionally using the way you express your data to change the subject to economic mobility. You are defining economic disparity in relative terms, compared to the past. In other words, the richest 1% today are on average 100X richer than the poorest 10%…compared with 1980 when the same figure might have been only 50X richer (all hypothetical data- the real ratios are probably higher).

    Obviously the best way to talk about economic disparity is exactly the way you have done it, relative to the past. Saying that the rich are 100X richer than the poor is fairly meaningless. What should the ratio be? 98:1 104:1? That doesnt make much sense. You aptly point out the RATIO IS GROWING, and that is the phenomenon that should be discussed.

    Dave has, however, intentionally blurred the issues of economic disparity and economic mobility by pointing out the poorest 10% 20 years ago, are not the same people in that bracket today – they have moved up the ladder. He claims this invalidates any argument of economic disparity because they analyze groups of people because people move in and out of those groups.

    Certainly economic mobility is important too. If I am poor today, I wont be concerned if I know hard work allows me to move up the ladder. However, economic mobility does NOT render economic disparity meaningless. Certainly a ratio of a billion to one between income brackets is too large, but if current trends do not stop, eventually that ratio will be reached. I see no reason why the current ratio of wealth between rich and poor is too small. Why should we let the ratio grow? Freeze it at the current ratio of 150 to 1 or whatever it is. In fact, we are the ones making the ratio of after-tax income grow, by reducing taxes much more for the wealthiest income bracket, than any other bracket.

    This leads me to point out one thing wrong with your post #10, Mark. You say:

    I don’t care what kind of fancy scmancy libertarian neocon thermonuclear analysis you’re going to do, but I’ll bet my right ass that real wages for the top 25% went up a lot more than 1% a year over the past 8 years.

    Real fighting words with a good sentiment, but ultimately, false. The culprit in unproportional wealth growth is not the top 25% not even the top 2%. It is the top 1%, and much more particularly the top .1%. Wages for the top 2% even have not grown by much larger of a proportion than wages for the other 98%. Wages for the top 1%, and esp. the top .1% have grown, PROPORTIONALLY, much faster than any other income bracket. Esp. if you’re talking about after-tax income.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    PETI,

    Well, if you’re going to let facts get in the way of a perfectly good rant. I had no idea the top 2% hadn’t grown much more than the other 98%. I had read that the top 1 and .1% were skyrocketing.

    Other than that, though, I liked your analysis. It must be nice to have facts. I should get some someday, LOL.

    In Decaf Veritas

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Thanks, Mark. I suppose I should correct myself before Dave does. I didnt mean to say wages for the top .1%. Obviously they dont earn wages. I mean income.

  • RedTard

    The things that could shrink the wealth gap will not be done. Democrats are too interested in buying votes from the poor and playing class warfare games to make any real change.

    Here’s a clue dipshits. You think you’re playing rich vs. poor when you’re really playing poor vs. middleclass. When you tax a rich person an extra few thousand he simply turns and raises rent on his condos or apartments (middle class tenants) or fires some middle class workers to cut costs.

    How then can you work to equalize the levels or at least increase social mobility?

    Simply spend on things that benefit everyone equally. Parks and libraries, roads and infrastructure and even schools can be used by everyone rich middle and poor alike. Provide new benefits that everyone, regardless of class can take advantage of, these things allow people of all classes to intermingle and coexist and maybe learn a little about one another. Instead of offering head start and free meals only to the poor or minorities or spanish speaking, offer them to everyone. If you offer the poor housing assistance, offer the middle and upper class equivalent housing deductions and credits. Treat everyone as equals and they’re one step closer to being just that.

  • RedTard

    Oh and you have to end the marriage between big business and big government. With more than a cursory glance, you’ll realize that regulations and red tape created to ‘improve’ business practices only make it easier for the big players to have free roam. Many times the regulators themselves are ex industry employees and the bills were written directly by industry insiders.

    Answer this question to yourself. Who is best able to navigate government regulations and red tape?

    A) mega corporation with 50 lawyers on staff where regulator is former employee
    B) Mom and pop shop
    C) Entrepeneur straight out of college

    And some of you probably thought business hated regulation!!!

  • Martin Lav

    Exactly at that’s why 401k’s are a farce just like Bush’s privatization of social security.

  • Nancy

    Extremely good analysis, PETI. And I agree w/Red that the connivance of government with Big Business needs to be ended. Of course everything is slanted to benefit BB when they themselves write the rules, as they did with Cheney’s infamous secret policy meetings with oil company heads.

  • Peter J

    Mark, Nancy, Pleasexcus, Thanks so much for getting it. This is the first time that I’ve seen several people at a time espouse the same theory (trickle up or whatever you would call it)There may be hope yet! And Mark, thanks for getting the ‘slave’ comparison without giving me a history lesson which would have had nothing to do with the analogy.

    Why is this so hard to understand?
    It’s not rich against poor, poor against middle class, it’s about a nation of people who are willing to make some minor sacrifices.( as the average worker has made major sacrifices in the form of ridiculously low wages for years)

    Imagine what an additional $20,000. a year will make to a worker making $20,000. a year and what that spending will do IMMEDIATELY for the economy.
    Now imagine what a difference of %20,000. a year will make to a CEO making %1000,000. a year.
    My God, that only leaves him with $180,000. a year. Shame, how can we ask him to make that kind of sacrifice?
    You’ve gotr to be shitting me!

  • Nancy

    Peter, it does turn out to be class warfare, the rich against the rest of us, because the rich are too greedy, selfish, and ruthless to share, even to the tiny extent they would need to in order to spread the wealth, as it were. They’ve proved that over and over, even as we speak. Even when it could/would be in their own best interests.

  • troll

    if the organizing principle of maximizing profits is superseded by some ‘humanist’ motive then regulatory government will wither

    pending the coming of Well’s comet system excesses will require brakes – ie big government

  • Nancy

    If the rich desire less government, then maybe they ought to develop said humanist motive in order to decrease regulatory government, hm? I won’t hold my breath, tho.

    Nice to hear from you, Troll, where ya been?

  • Maurice

    it’s about a nation of people who are willing to make some minor sacrifices.

    Straight out of “Atlas Shrugged”. Awesome.

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

    Until you lived it Dave I promise you’ll never understand. I’m not putting you down, I’m just saying that I’ve been there and shook my head at people that panicked at not having enough for gas to get back and forth to work, I’ve laughed at people bitching about gas going up a nickle a gallon because that usually only means about $1 per tank more… but I do now, boy do I ever.

    Jet, I sympathize with your plight, and I will admit that I’ve never had the myriad problems you face because my health has always been good. However, I did live for years on a half-time income and part-time jobs, barely scraping by on the equivalent of minimum wage or just slightly higher. I drove a 15 year old car which I couldn’t afford to get repaired because the repair cost $100. I had to park on hills and roll start for two years until I got a girlfriend who had a car I could borrow. I’ve had my many meals of packaged soup and crackers, had my phone and power disconnected because I couldn’t afford to pay them, lived without health insurance, and faced the indignities of living on the edge of poverty.

    I can’t match your health problems and am thankful for that every day, but I do know what it’s like to live on a low wage and survive it.

    Dave

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

    Do you know why average American workers who are earning $30,000. a year or less

    The average American worker currently earns about $37,000.

    will never earn an equitable wage in this country?

    That average worker earns $6 an hour more than most equitable wage advocates are pushing for and 3 times the national minimum wage.

    It’s because every greedy prick in America begrudges them an honest equitable pay.

    No, it’s because that IS an honest, equitable pay. Are you saying that a person in America can’t live a decent life on $37,000 or even $30,000 a year? That’s a good enough income to buy a house, own a fairly new car, have health insurance and even get cable and high-speed internet if you have any clue of how to manage your money.

    Dave

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

    It’s a problem because those profits are gleaned more and more off of the workers backs. The 401k’s you cite are nothing more than corporations offing their pension responsiblities off on the workers that don’t generally have a clue nor the time to play the market. In fact a helluva lot of workers lost a lot of money in their 401k’s when the market tanked.

    Only those workers who were forced by their employers to put money into only their own company’s stock, and then only in the case of a handful of companies. Others who lost money during the recession have more than made it back since then. Obviously a 401K designed to cheat employees isn’t a good thing. Neither is a traditional pension plan that goes bankrupt, which has also been a problem.

    Having a 401K which you control is a hell of a lot better than being at the mercy of a company controlled plan of any kind. It doesn’t take a degree in finance to just buy the 3 top rated mutual funds and sit back and gain 5-10% interest a year.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    That’s a good enough income to buy a house, own a fairly new car, have health insurance and even get cable and high-speed internet if you have any clue of how to manage your money.

    True. My mother had a $30K retirement income, and had all of that and more; she even managed some travel (which she loved) from time to time. She lived in South Florida too, which is not an inexpensive area.

  • Clavos

    Re 42: Forgot to mention she worked in a “pink” collar, clerical, union-controlled job all her life.

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

    Now the confusion occurs because Dave is intentionally using the way you express your data to change the subject to economic mobility. You are defining economic disparity in relative terms, compared to the past. In other words, the richest 1% today are on average 100X richer than the poorest 10%…compared with 1980 when the same figure might have been only 50X richer (all hypothetical data- the real ratios are probably higher).

    I’m not changing the subject to economic mobility. I believe I pointed out that if you take the same figures for just a couple of years longer wages are up substantially, not down. The point of bringing in economic mobility is to counterract the unfairness of using entry-level jobs as your basis of analyzing wages. Most people dont’ earn those wages and most of those who do move into a higher income bracket fairly quickly.

    Obviously the best way to talk about economic disparity is exactly the way you have done it, relative to the past.

    In which case he’s also wrong, both about groups and about individuals. Over the last decade real wages are up 8%. for hourly workers and in that same period 80% of those in the lowest income bracket have moved to the next one up.

    Saying that the rich are 100X richer than the poor is fairly meaningless. What should the ratio be? 98:1 104:1? That doesnt make much sense. You aptly point out the RATIO IS GROWING, and that is the phenomenon that should be discussed.

    And what I’m saying is that the ratio is irrelevant. The earnings of the top 1% are not based on the earnings or the suffering of the lower income groups. They come from entirely different sources and you cannot establish a direct causal connection between the rise of one and the decline of the other.

    Dave has, however, intentionally blurred the issues of economic disparity and economic mobility by pointing out the poorest 10% 20 years ago, are not the same people in that bracket today – they have moved up the ladder. He claims this invalidates any argument of economic disparity because they analyze groups of people because people move in and out of those groups.

    That’s not blurring the issue, it’s pointing out the reality that looking at isolated groups does not accurately represent the economic fortunes of individuals.

    I see no reason why the current ratio of wealth between rich and poor is too small. Why should we let the ratio grow? Freeze it at the current ratio of 150 to 1 or whatever it is. In fact, we are the ones making the ratio of after-tax income grow, by reducing taxes much more for the wealthiest income bracket, than any other bracket.

    Except, of course, that this hasn’t been done. The 2003 tax reduction for those who actually pay taxes was lowest for the top income quintile.

    Real fighting words with a good sentiment, but ultimately, false. The culprit in unproportional wealth growth is not the top 25% not even the top 2%. It is the top 1%, and much more particularly the top .1%. Wages for the top 2% even have not grown by much larger of a proportion than wages for the other 98%. Wages for the top 1%, and esp. the top .1% have grown, PROPORTIONALLY, much faster than any other income bracket. Esp. if you’re talking about after-tax income.

    You point out that this income is not wages, but you don’t take the logical next step to realize or admit that this income of the top 1% isn’t even connected to the rest of the workforce in any meaningful way. Cutting workers wages does not automatically lead to an increase in stock income. Some of the most profitable stocks that are among the best investments are companies which pay their workers extremely well. Trying to establish a ratio between what people at MacDonalds earn and what people living off a huge and diverse investment portfolio earn is simply nonsensical.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    Clavos, your mother worked a union job so she has a pension and health benefits, what most people in the future won’t have. You don’t mentioned if she owned her home outright, but I’m sure she does or is close.

    Dave,
    Sit back and wait for the 5-10% annual growth in a 401k? That’s bullshit. Most mutuals over the past 6 years have performed below that. Not to mention that these 401k’s are contributed to mainly by the employee. NOT the employer. The employer has benefited from this over the past 10 years, because they are no longer having to pay into pension funds. Clavos’ mother in the last of a dying breed because the FACTS are that most working people today have vastly underfunded their retirement future.
    Back to the point, considering this then the people that are not in the top 1% of income have actually retained less spending income today then they have ever. EVER. Not as compared to when Clinton was in office or Bush now, but EVER. The gap is larger now then it has EVER been.
    It’s a great deal actually for big business and big government.

  • Clavos

    Martin, I know why my mother had her pension. She did not have health benefits, except for Medicare.

    She did not own her condo outright; she made both mortgage payments and condo maintenance fee payments on it. And, as I mentioned, in South Florida, where housing is not cheap (though she did buy the condo about twenty years ago, it wasn’t inexpensive in terms of prices at that time.)

    But that wasn’t my point. My point was to reinforce Dave’s comment that a $30K income, properly handled, can provide a decent lifestyle.

  • Martin Lav

    Clavos,
    It’s well documented throughout your postings how much you reinforce Dave’s comments.
    You missed my point.
    You said your mother had a union job.
    She bought a condo 20 years ago which I’m sure the payments are very low in comparison to what they are now. So, my point is that the “average” worker that can supposedly live on $30k a year as you and your hero Dave point out, might be able to do it now, but they won’t be able to do it in the future with no retirement benefits.
    And who in the hell can afford a house on $30k a year today? Someone living where?

  • Clavos

    You said your mother had a union job.

    I did. But what the hell’s that got to do with her ability to live well on $30K a year?? Which, once again, was my one and only point. I wasn’t trying to point out what a great retirement income she had, just that she wasn’t some big executive or entepreneur; only an ordinary working person in an ordinary lower middle class job.

    And BTW, we could discuss the topic without making snide remarks, but, as I’ve noticed in other threads, you are unable to simply carry on a civil discussion without resorting to snide remarks and personal attacks.

  • troll

    Dave #44 – *…you don’t take the logical next step to realize or admit that this income of the top 1% isn’t even connected to the rest of the workforce in any meaningful way.*

    except as concerns its origin…

    why is this observed concentration of wealth occurring at an accelerating rate at this time…or is this a chimera – ?

    (hi Nancy – I’ve been reading posts and comments regularly but haven’t found much to bitch about…)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I’m not changing the subject to economic mobility.

    What was post #3 about then? Aliens landing on mars?

    The point of bringing in economic mobility is to counterract the unfairness of using entry-level jobs as your basis of analyzing wages.

    Unfairness? Unfairness my ass. I can analyze any godamn trend in any godamn income group I want to, be it 16yr olds on their first job, college students, union workers, upper-middle class small biz owners, or the mega rich. You may not find my analyzation of “entry level jobs” very useful, but it’s perfectly legit, and there’s nothing unfair about it. Never mind the fact that not only did I compare the top 1% anad .1% to the bottom 10% (not all workers in the bottom 10% are entry level as you would have it), but I also compare the top 1% and .1% to the other 98% of society. I can assure you the other 98% of society is not entry level jobs. Your above statement is absolutely false. I was not analyzing entry level jobs, I was analyzing the top 1% against nearly EVERYBODY ELSE.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I say:
    “Obviously the best way to talk about economic disparity is exactly the way you have done it, relative to the past.”

    Dave response:

    In which case he’s also wrong, both about groups and about individuals. Over the last decade real wages are up 8%. for hourly workers and in that same period 80% of those in the lowest income bracket have moved to the next one up.

    You changed the subject. Again. Economic disparity implies a comparison between rich and poor. Your response is entirely devoid of any comparison. It simply reiterates that wages have gone up marginally, and that Mcdonalds workers 10 years ago found a better job.

    Mark is exactly right about economic disparity in the article. Wages have gone down in the past few years, and only risen marginally in the last decade or even two decades. Meanwhile corporate profits and income are through the roof.

    You seem incapable of doing two things at once. Either you compare rich to poor at this very instant. Or you compare poor to poor over time.

    Try going both at the same time. Compare rich to poor, over time. In other words, as I put it in my original quote, “talk about economic disparity…relative to the past.” That’s the only way to have a meaningfull discussion of economic disparity (except perhaps “talking about economic disparity…relative to other nations,” which is more difficult)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I say:

    “Saying that the rich are 100X richer than the poor is fairly meaningless. What should the ratio be? 98:1 104:1? That doesnt make much sense. You aptly point out the RATIO IS GROWING, and that is the phenomenon that should be discussed.”

    And Dave responds

    And what I’m saying is that the ratio is irrelevant. The earnings of the top 1% are not based on the earnings or the suffering of the lower income groups. They come from entirely different sources and you cannot establish a direct causal connection between the rise of one and the decline of the other.

    The earnings of the top 1% are directly linked to the income of lower groups. There is a limited amount of wealth in the American economy. This amount of wealth is constantly becoming more and more concentrated in the top 1 and top .1%. It doesnt make me a leftist to say this trend needs to stop. I dont want wealth to start becoming more concentrated in the other 98%. I just want it to be any MORE concentrated in the top 1% than it already is.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I say:

    “Dave has, however, intentionally blurred the issues of economic disparity and economic mobility by pointing out the poorest 10% 20 years ago, are not the same people in that bracket today – they have moved up the ladder. He claims this invalidates any argument of economic disparity because they analyze groups of people because people move in and out of those groups.”

    Dave says

    That’s not blurring the issue, it’s pointing out the reality that looking at isolated groups does not accurately represent the economic fortunes of individuals.

    I wasnt trying to demonstrate the economic fortunes of individuals from 1980. Personally I dont give a rats ass about how some guy who was poor in 1980 made it big in 2000. I want to know if today, that same guy has the same chance at making it big, and if he’s getting the same starting block the guy in 1980 got. Because economic disparity has grown, the guy in 1980 had a much bigger starting block than any young worker does today.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said the Bush tax cuts were mostly for the wealthiest income bracket and Dave says:

    Except, of course, that this hasn’t been done. The 2003 tax reduction for those who actually pay taxes was lowest for the top income quintile.

    Is this supposed to contradict what I just said? I said repeatedly reminded you I am talking about the wealthiest bracket. I can assure you the top quintile is not the top bracket. Here’s some off hand numbers on the real top brackets.

    Tax cuts going into affect Jan 1, ’05 provided an average of 2$ tax relief to incomes under 100,000 (ie the large majority of Americans). On the other hand, it provided an average of over 30,000 dollars in “tax relief” to incomes over 1 million. I have not bothered to convert these into percents of the income earned, because anybody with a 4th grade math level can see that even if they do they will still be grossly unproportional.

    At the same time Congress was squabling about how to reduce the defecit and finally decided on cutting domestic spending by 1% across the board. Funding for teacher quality initiatives in public schools was cut 7.9%. The bills were kept seperate so as to avoid “confusion” about why there is a defecit. “It’s not cause of da tax cuts, it’s cause of run-away spending!”

  • Clavos

    There is a limited amount of wealth in the American economy

    At any given moment, yes. But…

    With a few pauses and some retrenchments (recessions), the American economy has grown steadily since WWII. And interestingly, despite all the arguing between Dems and Reps as to who handles it better, the growth pattern has been an upward trend (with pauses and setbacks as noted), indicating the economy is strong enough on its own to survive the bumbling of the politicians.

    No matter who gets elected later this year and in ’08, that trend will probably continue.

    The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is more important to the economy than either the president or the congressional majority, fortunately.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    You point out that this income is not wages, but you don’t take the logical next step to realize or admit that this income of the top 1% isn’t even connected to the rest of the workforce in any meaningful way. Cutting workers wages does not automatically lead to an increase in stock income. Some of the most profitable stocks that are among the best investments are companies which pay their workers extremely well. Trying to establish a ratio between what people at MacDonalds earn and what people living off a huge and diverse investment portfolio earn is simply nonsensical.

    Again, there is a limited amount of wealth in America. Since 1980, the distribution of this wealth is rapidly shifting away from the bottom 98% of Americans and towards the top 1%, because of skewed tax cuts, the practices of big business, and deteriorating education for the underpriveleged.

    People have the notion the government taxes the poop out of the rich and that this is a new phenomenon. This could not be farther from the truth. In the early 40s income tax rates on the top 1% were in excess of 90%. For most of the 20th century this figure was over 50%. Today it has fallen to 35% – down from 42% in 2000.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Dave, your comment that $30k is enough for the average worker to buy a house, car, have health insurance, and get cable makes me wonder what episode of Twilight Zone you’ve gotten trapped in. I’m not going to even bother to run the numbers–I’ve done it for members of my family making about that…and you can’t get by. Period. The only way they get by is my my supporting them. $30k/year for a family of three is a complete fucking joke.

    In Nihilism Veritas

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    #55, yes certainly, the economy is growing. You can insert the phrase “at any given moment” into my quote if you wish. The argument holds true.

  • troll

    I’m not sure about this idea of limited wealth in the US economy as long as it remains linked to multinationals which continue doing such a bang up jop of expropriating wealth from international labor…not to detract from the basic validity of peti’s argument

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

    Sit back and wait for the 5-10% annual growth in a 401k? That’s bullshit. Most mutuals over the past 6 years have performed below that.

    I didn’t say to invest randomly in any mutual fund you see. I said to invest in the top rated funds. Take a look on Yahoo Finance. Their top 5 conservative US stock funds have returned between 9 and 13% over the past 5 years, which includes most of the recession period. So you’re just dead wrong.

    Not to mention that these 401k’s are contributed to mainly by the employee. NOT the employer.

    Where do you think the contributions to pension plans come from? One of the best days of my life was when I cashed out my pension plan with its 4% return and got to put the money in a self-directed IRA which has since earned about 10% a year, even with the recession. But the best part was that I no longer had to involuntarily contribute part of my salary to a poorly run pension with crappy returns – though it was still better than Social Security.

    Back to the point, considering this then the people that are not in the top 1% of income have actually retained less spending income today then they have ever. EVER. Not as compared to when Clinton was in office or Bush now, but EVER. The gap is larger now then it has EVER been.

    A great talking point, if it were only true. In fact, much of what you claim is untrue as far as what people are earning and saving and other compensation. Statistics from the BEA tell a very different story. You claim that Pensions are going away, yet corporate contributions to pensions increased by 8% last year alone, and that’s part of an ongoing trend. You claim that income is down, yet last year disposable personal income nationwide went up an average of 3.5% while overall personal income went up 5.5%, despite a lower than usual rate of investment income because of a weak stock market, which was more than compensated for by hefty increases in wages and non-wage compensation.

    It’s a great deal actually for big business

    Who paid more in corporate taxes during the last 2 years than in the last 10 before that put together.

    and big government

    It’s always a good day for the pigs at the trough.

    Dave

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

    Mark is exactly right about economic disparity in the article. Wages have gone down in the past few years, and only risen marginally in the last decade or even two decades. Meanwhile corporate profits and income are through the roof.

    Mark’s comparison uses a select 2 year period. If you look at the 5 year period those 2 years come from you see a rise in income and if you look at the decade you see a substantial rise in income. That’s 8% adjusted for inflation. That”s not marginal, that’s $3000 a year for the average worker.

    Dave

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

    Again, there is a limited amount of wealth in America. Since 1980, the distribution of this wealth is rapidly shifting away from the bottom 98% of Americans and towards the top 1%, because of skewed tax cuts, the practices of big business, and deteriorating education for the underpriveleged.

    Sorry, utter bullshit. Almost 10% of the population earns over $100,000 a year and that number is increasing. I’m letting the cat out of the bag on an article I’m working on, but the truth is that what’s happening is not the ultra rich getting richer, but a massive movement of the middle class up into the next wealth bracket. The $50-$100K earners are moving into the $100K to $500K range rapidly and in large numbers. The $100-$500K earners are moving rapidly into the $500K-$1 million range. And as the middle class becomes wealthier, the lower income groups are following along behind them. I’ve got the links and exact figures coming soon in the article.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Mark’s comparison uses a select 2 year period. If you look at the 5 year period those 2 years come from you see a rise in income and if you look at the decade you see a substantial rise in income. That’s 8% adjusted for inflation. That”s not marginal, that’s $3000 a year for the average worker.

    Your missing Mark’s point, and my point. Yes Mark picks a select period. I dont think he was aware of it, but it doesnt matter. His real point is that while wages have declined since 03 (or increased 8% in 10 yrs as you say) corporate profits have gone through the rough! The 8% growth in wages over the past decade is paltry compared to the doubling of after tax income for the top 1%. Yes doubling. Ill go get the link and exact figures (it’s not exactly doubling but pretty close). The 8% growth in income is also much less than the growth of the U.S. economy as a whole.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said:

    Again, there is a limited amount of wealth in America. Since 1980, the distribution of this wealth is rapidly shifting away from the bottom 98% of Americans and towards the top 1%, because of skewed tax cuts, the practices of big business, and deteriorating education for the underpriveleged.

    Dave says:

    Sorry, utter bullshit.

    Lol. This one is real straightforward. In 1977 the after tax income of the top 1% made up 7.3% of the national total after tax income. In 1994 the same figure was 11.4%. The personal income of the top 1% made up nearly twice as much of the national total income in 1994, as a percent, as it did in 1977.

    I believe my statement stands correct. Please dont call it bullshit.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Here is the data I promised about the income of the top 1% doubling, while the national average increase was only an 8% increase. Many income brackets decreased. The top 1% income had an income increase of 72%. The average was a 9.5% increase.

    This is not recent data. Ill go find more recent data, but this serves to illustrate my point. Check out the table.

    (I know dave will point out I am analyzing people as groups. But hey I like analyzing people as groups. It shows an interesting change in the structure of our economy.)

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

    The earnings of the top 1% are directly linked to the income of lower groups. There is a limited amount of wealth in the American economy.

    This is not true. The GDP grows every year. Only if the wealth of the top 1% grew more than the total increase in GDP would this even resemble the truth. And even then it wouldn’t be accurate, because investment and business income transcends national borders. The rich aren’t earning more because the poor are earning less, they’re earning more because there’s more money in the economy, more corporate profits and therefore more income for investors.

    This amount of wealth is constantly becoming more and more concentrated in the top 1 and top .1%. It doesnt make me a leftist to say this trend needs to stop..

    It does when the trend isn’t the problem you portray it as. Then you just become another socialist who wants to take money fromm the successful and give it to the ‘disadvantaged’.

    I wasnt trying to demonstrate the economic fortunes of individuals from 1980. Personally I dont give a rats ass about how some guy who was poor in 1980 made it big in 2000. I want to know if today, that same guy has the same chance at making it big, and if he’s getting the same starting block the guy in 1980 got.

    The data shows that he has MORE of a chance at success today than he did in the 1980s. Substantially more since mobility from the lowest income group to the highest is at record levels.

    Because economic disparity has grown, the guy in 1980 had a much bigger starting block than any young worker does today.

    This makes no sense at all. Income disparity has grown because the top has gone up not because the bottom has gone down. The young worker today earns more on average than his equivalent did in 1980 even in adjusted dollars and has a higher chance of moving up in income. You might want to check out this report on Income Mobility.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Here is more recent data from the census bureau.

    Note: In 2001 the income of the top 5% was 22.4% of all income earned, an increase of 5.9% since 1980. In other words, the top 5% of Americans have a 50% larger portion of wealth than they did in 1980. The incomes of the bottom 80% decreased as a percent of all income earned.

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

    PETI, the ‘utter bullshit’ referred to the idea that there’s a limited amount of wealth in America. As was clear fromt he following paragraph. I’m not disagreeing that the wealthy have gained wealth. I’m just arguing that it is at worst not relevant and at best a good thing for the economy as a whole because unlike the poor who use their money relatively inefficiently on consumables, the wealthy invest it or spend it on durable goods, so it keeps on growing the economy.

    I’ll check out your data from the CBPP and see if I can find the sources for it. The CBPP is a highly partisan group and its analysis of anything economic or related to taxes is inherently suspect.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said: “The earnings of the top 1% are directly linked to the income of lower groups. There is a limited amount of wealth in the American economy.”

    Dave says:

    This is not true. The GDP grows every year. Only if the wealth of the top 1% grew more than the total increase in GDP would this even resemble the truth. And even then it wouldn’t be accurate, because investment and business income transcends national borders. The rich aren’t earning more because the poor are earning less, they’re earning more because there’s more money in the economy, more corporate profits and therefore more income for investors.

    Clavos already corrected that statement. The economy grows, of course. The question is where is it growing faster? And the answer is at the top. In 1980 the top 5% made up 16.5% of the total income earned. Now they make up 22.4%. They are a larger share of the economy. The bottom 80% decreased as a percent of the total income earned, the top 5% increased their share nearly 50% (16.5% to 22.4%)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I didnt like the cbpp as much as i liked the census data. :)

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

    PETI, your CBPP report is from 1997 and uses 1994 data. This is cheating because the methods used by the CBO to assess income in 1994 changed and the figures are not compiled the same way as they were in prior years and therefore produce erroneous results.

    Here’s a good article from CATO. Note that they found that the top quintile only increased its share of income by .8% in the decade from 1993-2003.

    Dave

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

    Re: #70. The point, I suppose, is why it’s a bad thing for the middle and upper income groups to get richer so long as the poor are not getting poorer either individually or as a group. And the fact is that they’re stable or getting slightly better off as a group, and a large number of them move out of the group and into higher income categories. So where’s the actual problem?

    For becoming wealthy to be a crime you need a victim. I don’t see any victims here.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said: “This amount of wealth is constantly becoming more and more concentrated in the top 1 and top .1%. It doesnt make me a leftist to say this trend needs to stop..”

    Dave says:

    It does when the trend isn’t the problem you portray it as. Then you just become another socialist who wants to take money fromm the successful and give it to the ‘disadvantaged’.

    I dont want to hand it to anybody, by any means. In fact I dont even want the poor to become a larger percent of the economy than they are now. If the top 5% of the economy make up 22.4% of the economy today, I want them to remain 22.4% of the economy tomorrow. Unfortunately, if the current trend continues, they will be over 30% of the economy by 2020. And coming on 45% by 2040. If I live to 2060, the top 5% of Americans will earn 65% of the money in this country. The other 95% of Americans would earn the remaining 35%.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    #71, dont talk to me about quintiles, sheesh! I keep saying talk about the top 5, 1 or .1%! Most data I have seen says that the top 20% isnt much better off today than it was 20 yrs ago, but that depends on the period chosen.

    And take a look at the census data I linked.

  • Peter J

    Dave,
    The fact that you lived it should be more than enough reason to understand the inequity of people earning millions off of the backs of people earning thousands.

    I’m living it now because of illness. I have a house with a mortgage and the bills from when my earnings were somewhat more realistic.I worked hard for a company who could have well offered a program to cover employees with long term dis-abilities but they were too busy buying more homes, bigger boats and living the high life while we just got by. And Nancy, it’s not because their greedy, it’s because they like the power to make people squirm.

    I love people who say that you can live on $5.35 an hour, or $30,000. a year or any other ridiculous earnings you can come up with. Everything looks good on paper, I can draw you that proverbial camel that fits through the eye of a needle. Get a life.

    Bottom line is there are real rents, real electric bills, real grocery bills, insurance premiums and so on. You can not have $2000. a month in bills on a $1000. a month salary and it’s very easy to tell someone to suck it up and fuck yourself but why should you? That is an absolute shit salary and anyone earning it works for someone who should be dragged out by the balls and publicly flogged.

    I’ve made referance many times to Ben and Gerry’s Ice Cream co. and advise anyone who would like to see how a company SHOULD be run, equitably, and everyone, top to bottom is not only content, it’s like family. The highest paid exec only makes a set amount more than the lowest paid. Everyone has good insurance, good retirement, good earnings and they work together and love it.

    There’s only one of two reasons for people not to earn a decent salary, greed or just plain bad goddam management. There is absolutely NO excuse for either.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    #72, NOW WE”RE TALKIN!!!

    That would be a much more important discussion to have! But first you have to acknowledge the data I have shown concerning income growth being unproportionally concentrated in the top 1%. In simple terms, while the income of the bottom 98% of Americans has grown about 8%, the income of the top 1% has nearly doubled. The exact change is debatable depending on definition of income used, whether it’s after tax, etc. But the basic principle of income growth being unproportionally concentrated in the top 1% holds true.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Your CATO argument makes some interesting points which I will try and adress, but a majority of it is perverse logic such as follows:

    “It is statistically dubious to compare long-term growth of average income in any top income group with growth below. Only the top group has no income ceiling, and the lower income limit defining membership in that top group rises whenever incomes are rising. In 2003, a household needed an income above $86,867 to make it into the top 20%, but an income above $68,154 (in 2003 dollars) would suffice in 1983. When the Census Bureau averaged all the income above $86,867 in 2003, they were sure to come up with a larger figure than in 1983, when the average was diluted by including incomes nearly $20,000 lower.”

    WELL NO SHIT! That’s the whole fucking point. They say that because the lower limit of the top quintile has risen it is no longer “diluted” with lower incomes. Duh. That’s the whole problem. The limit of the top quintile has jumped 20,000 while the lower and upper limits of other quintiles have stayed nearly stagnant (2% decrease to 8% increase depending on the period chosen). The above quote says absolutely nothing besides the obvious and takes on the tone of actually invalidating an argument about income growth being concentrated in the top brackets. It doesnt invalidate it. It proves income growth has been concentrated in the top bracket. That’s why the minimum to be in the top bracket jumped 25%.

  • Clavos

    I love people who say that you can live on $5.35 an hour, or $30,000. a year or any other ridiculous earnings you can come up with.

    You can not have $2000. a month in bills on a $1000. a month salary

    Of course not. But $1000 a month is way less than $30K a year; which is $2500/month.

    And the average American worker’s wages, according to the BLS, was $37,600/year, almost $3,133/month, in 2004, the last year for which data is available.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos,

    Let’s look at the numbers you were so kind to provide…

    $2,500 a month was probably the mean monthly wage per worker in 2004 (as opposed to the average, which would be higher being skewed by the high numbers on the top). If $37,600 a year was the mean, the point where half of the wages were lower and half were higher, it would make my point even better.

    You generally cannot get by on $2,500 a month attempting to support a family of 4. Even in St. Paul in 2000, the last year for which I have data. There must be a second income to provide extra money, and it must be enough to compensate for the cost of daycare.

    We got by comfortably on $40,000 net yearly in St. Paul. Excellent health insurance (coiurtesy or the Feds, one car, one computer, one TV, NO cable, afternoon schooling at a Talmud Torah thrice a week, 2 life insurance plans, some savings, and all the food we wanted to eat. We had no debt whatsoever other than the mortgage.

    Had we stayed in St. Paul, I would have taken out a second mortgage to install a solar heating system with photo-voltaic batteries and bought a new car.

    Living in New York on $40,000 net? Forget it! LA? You gotta have a better sense of humor.

    So I’m going to call $40,000/yr rock bottom for places ouside of the Midwest. Anybody want to argue with these numbers?

    I’ll wait for a response before continuing.

  • Nancy

    Clavos, the figures you cite are gross earnings; after taxes, the amount left to pay for shelter, food, etc. is about HALF of that. There used to be an old rule of thumb that one didn’t pay more than 25% for housing. That’s long gone; the new percentage is now more like 45%, and in some areas, up to 70%, which is untenable.

  • troll

    Dave and Clavos – if your average is the median it means that half of America’s working population earn less than 38 grand/worker/year…if it’s the mean it means that this group includes significantly more than half the workers

    that’s a whole bunch of folks scraping by

  • Clavos

    Ruvy,

    From my #78:

    And the average American worker’s wages, according to the BLS, was $37,600/year, almost $3,133/month, in 2004, the last year for which data is available.

    Those numbers are taken from the BLS website, and they call it an average. Troll pls note, also. I don’t think BLS would call it an “average” if they were talking about a median–these guys are supposedly statisticians–but they DO work for the government-heh.

    I draw your attention to the number, too, which is over $3,100 monthly, although, Ruvy, I realize you’re referring back to the figure I mentioned was my mom’s retirement income.

  • Clavos

    Nancy,

    Anyone who’s paying half of an income in the mid to high thirties in taxes, needs to fire their tax accountant.

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

    $30,000. a year or any other ridiculous earnings you can come up with. Everything looks good on paper, I can draw you that proverbial camel that fits through the eye of a needle. Get a life.

    $30,000 a year is ridiculous earnings? I guarantee I could live on it if I was single, and it’s well below the national median income. $30,000 a year is $2500 a month. I lived on half that for 3 years.

    Bottom line is there are real rents, real electric bills, real grocery bills, insurance premiums and so on. You can not have $2000. a month in bills on a $1000. a month salary

    Then you find ways to cut your expenses.

    and it’s very easy to tell someone to suck it up and fuck yourself but why should you? That is an absolute shit salary and anyone earning it works for someone who should be dragged out by the balls and publicly flogged.

    The key thing you’re missing here is that no one earns $1000 a month. The market-set real minimum wage is about $7.25. That’s $1200 a month. If you’re earning less than that you can go out instantly and find a job earning that much or more in the current job market. If you have a high school education and are even marginally responsible you ought to have no problem earning at least $9 an hour within 6 months from taking your first job.

    These are the realities of the job market.

    As for living expenses, a lot of people get used to living by spending a hell of a lot more money than they have to. I certainly know I spend enormously more than is really necessary. But I also know that if I had to I could live on a lot less and live decently. I could certainly live on $2500 a month and save significant amounts of money at the same time.

    Here are my monthly expenses.

    Rent: $600 for a 1-1 Apartment
    Utilities: $200 including 1 phone line
    Food: $500 (I like to eat decently)
    Car Payment + Insurance: $300 (economy car, 48 month note)
    Health Insurance: $150 ($1000 deductible – check it on esurance.com)
    Entertainment: $150

    That leaves me $500 for emergency expenses or to save/invest each month. I might kill $100 of that a month for cable and high speed internet.

    This REALLY isn’t rocket science. Anyone can do it. At $2500 I hardly even have to sacrifice any kind of normal luxuries.

    But what if I was only making $1200 a month you say – incidentally, what I was earning in my first job when I graduated college, though I think it translates to $35K in contemporary dollars.

    AT $1200 a month you DO have to make sacrifices. First, you take on a roomate, cutting housing expense to $400 a month in a shared 2-1. Then you replace the car with either an older used car or you use public transportation and cut your trasportation expenses to $150 a month. Health Insurance goes. You qualify for Medicaid. Savings is also unrealistic, and entertainment gets cut to $50 a month. That cuts the expenses down to $1300 and there’s room to take $100 off of the food budget to get it down to $1200. Say hello to PB&J and Ramen Noodles a couple of times a week.

    Note that alcohol and cigarettes are significantly absent from these budgets. I’m also assuming that you live in one of the many parts of the country where housing is relatively reasonable and there are lots of jobs. If you aren’t, then you move there.

    The point of all this being that you can live decently in America if you’re realistic and can budget haflway decently.

    Dave

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

    That would be a much more important discussion to have! But first you have to acknowledge the data I have shown concerning income growth being unproportionally concentrated in the top 1%. In simple terms, while the income of the bottom 98% of Americans has grown about 8%, the income of the top 1% has nearly doubled. The exact change is debatable depending on definition of income used, whether it’s after tax, etc. But the basic principle of income growth being unproportionally concentrated in the top 1% holds true.

    I’ll acknowledge that this may be at least partially true when you acknowledge that increases of wealth for the top 1% are entirely irrelevant to the bottom 20%, except that their earnings mean they spend more and create more jobs for poor workers.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I suspect it also depends on what part of the country you’re living in. Dave seems to be fortunate enough to live in a very low-cost bubble somewhere in TX. I live in a very high-cost large area in DC. Altho single w/no dependents, I couldn’t begin to live in this area decently (even with a roomie) on less than $30K a year. Housing alone around here is about the highest in the nation, but then again, the DC/MD/No.VA area is an anomaly, since it’s subject to a captive, permanently upscale population of wealthy government weenies & corporate hangers-on who skew the expense scales horrifically for the rest of us here in the area, one reason why an increasingly high percentage of the working class can no longer afford to live in DC or the immediately surrounding counties such as Fairfax, Montgomery, or Pr. William, and have been forced to go farther and farther out, a good many living and commuting from as far away as W. VA, PA, and DE.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Then I take it that $40,000/yr is a good low figure for most of the States outside of the Midwest?

    Told you guys that math was never my strong point…

    Troll, could you give us the proper definition of “mean” so that idiots like me do not make bigger idiots of themselves in public???

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Nancy, the low-cost bubble you’re talking about would be the entire country except DC, New York and San Francisco – putting aside a few small isolated areas.

    If you can’t afford to live in DC then move. I’ve contemplated moving back there from time to time, but I’d have to make lifestyle sacrifices (like living in Gaithersburg) that I can’t stomach.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Clavos, by the time the Feds take out their cut, and the state, and local government (the county), plus sales taxes and fuel taxes, even the lowest-bracket income group is paying at least 40% if not more of gross income. Again, it depends on where you live. In this area, at least, (and in most East-coast urban/suburban counties, I’m willing to bet) the various layers of government gouge the citizen for whatever they can, and the lower you go, the higher the gouge. Federal taxes are the least oppressive. State & local taxes are horrendous, and to add insult to injury, on top of that these same state & local governments add all kinds of fees & sales/use taxes.

    I pay mortgage on a condo well outside of DC in the MD burbs, and frankly, it’s a minimal mortgage (all things being relative). If I had to rent, I’d have to share with at least one if not more roomies, since even 1-BR apts in this area go for $1100+/mo. No, I’m not joking. And that’s the cheap ones. More typical is about $1400/mo. for a mediocre 1BR. 1/10 of my mortgage payment is nothing but taxes levied by various levels of government. Anyone living in this area is taxed out the wazoo IF they’re not in the upper .01% who are excused most taxes entirely courtesy of Dubya & his cronies.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Clavos, by the time the Feds take out their cut, and the state, and local government (the county), plus sales taxes and fuel taxes, even the lowest-bracket income group is paying at least 40% if not more of gross income.

    The lowest income bracket pays no federal tax and no state or local income tax in almost all states. Sales taxes are a constant everywhere and are factored in to expenses.

    DAve

  • Nancy

    Before you get to that group, the groups slightly higher do get soaked, believe me, especially the working & lower middle classes, who are paying the lions’ share of the tax burden, disproportionate to what they should be.

  • Martin Lav

    Dave,

    What about putting aside money into your 401k?
    What about if you have children?
    What about if you want to save for a house?
    What about gas for your car?

    All of your figures depict a single guy going to college, not the average or median family with little or no college trying to live the American dream.

    Clavos: feel free to jump to Dave’s defense….

    Oh and Dave….this is a great comment you made in post # 68 “the poor who use their money relatively inefficiently on consumables,”

    How inefficient of them to feed themselves, put gas in their car, buy clothes at Walmart, etc…

    Poor dumb bastards don’t realize they should be investing in mutual funds……

  • Nancy

    LOL – right on, Martin!

  • Clavos

    Clavos: feel free to jump to Dave’s defense….

    Thanks, Martin. I wouldn’t dream of doing anything without your authorization.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Dave, that’s a nice budget you got there in cmment #84 – for a healthy kid. We’re not all that healthy or young, for that matter. So, in the Midwest, we needed at least $41,000 net to get by, with the Feds paying two thirds of the heath insurance tab. Then there is the minor fact that we were a family of 4¼ (we have a cat).

    Now, with my two little boys grown into bottomless pits, it’s a whole different ball game. But that’s for a different comment…

  • troll

    (Ruvy…mean – median – mode are three statistical averages…

    ‘mean’ is the arithmetic average of a distribution…ie – add a+b+…+n and divide by n

    ‘median’ is the value which sits at the center of a distribution…ie half the values are greater and half are smaller

    ‘mode’ is the value which occurs most frequently in a distribution

    generally it’s a good idea to state which you are using unless the idea is to confuse an issue)

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Thanks troll,

    I haven’t finished my course in imitating politicians yet, so I’ll let youy all in on which damned lie – I mean statistic – I’m using…

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

    What about putting aside money into your 401k?

    In my first scenario I was putting $500 a month into the 401K
    In the second scenario – which is basically an entry level job, a 401K would be pretty unrealistic.

    What about if you have children?

    The example I gave was intended to be simple, so I didn’t go into that possibility. However, if you have two parents and one works full time and the other part time children should be no problem.

    What about if you want to save for a house?

    Again, not a problem under the first scenario. Not realistic under the second.

    What about gas for your car?

    Damn, knew I forgot something. I did go high on car payment and auto insurance so there’s some room for gas in there, but in scenario 1 you’ll have to either get an older car or cut your savings/investment by at least $100 a month. In the second scenario you’d best use public transport for any regular commuting.

    All of your figures depict a single guy going to college,

    That would describe scenario 2 most likely, not the one with the higher income.

    not the average or median family with little or no college trying to live the American dream.

    Well sure, but I can do the same for a family. I’ve got one so I have a pretty good idea what things cost. Let’s assume the family has reached median income for one earner and the other is in a part time job earning a typical part-time wage like $9 an hour at WalMart. So that’s a family income of about $4000 a month and we’ll assume the family has 2 young kids.

    $900 – Rent/Mortgage on a 3-2 in a low price suburb
    $250 – Half day daycare
    $400 – Health insurance and lots of copayments
    $150 – Clothes and Toys
    $300 – Utilities including 1 phone line and Cable
    $800 – Food
    $350 – Larger Car Payment and Insurance for 2 Drivers
    $150 – Gas
    $200 – Entertainment

    $3500 Total, leaving $500 for savings or investment.

    Oh and Dave….this is a great comment you made in post # 68 “the poor who use their money relatively inefficiently on consumables,”

    How inefficient of them to feed themselves, put gas in their car, buy clothes at Walmart, etc…

    You seem to have misunderstood – perhaps wilfully – I was speaking in economic terms. Spending on consumables puts less into the economy than spending on durable goods or services. Therefore it is less ‘efficient’.

    Dave

  • http://voidnow.org David R. Remer

    Dave Nalle, Spring’s GDP grew at 2.9%. Guess what, inflation for the same period was even higher. No matter how you cut it, that translates into diminishing real wages for the lower and middle classes.

    But according to you, we should abandon statistics because they “ignore individuals.” Hah! Whatever will support one’s bias, apparently.

  • Martin Lav

    You seem to have misunderstood – perhaps wilfully – I was speaking in economic terms. Spending on consumables puts less into the economy than spending on durable goods or services. Therefore it is less ‘efficient’.

    Hmmm….with all these ineffecient squanderers we have in this country, I can’t see how the rich can stay in their lofty heights. I mean, if all these poor slobs are only buying burgers and fries, then how can these people be getting rich. I’m no economics genius like you, but seems to me that these lowly consumers are the backbone of the economy and the more they spend the better off we all are, then I think you should be saying:
    “Thank God they are eating cake!”

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

    Dave Nalle, Spring’s GDP grew at 2.9%. Guess what, inflation for the same period was even higher. No matter how you cut it, that translates into diminishing real wages for the lower and middle classes.

    Except that these figures fluctuate from quarter to quarter, and in the previous quarter the relationship was dramatically inverted. This quarter the CPI increase was 4.8% and the GDP increase was 2.9%. Last quarter the CPI increase was 2.8 and the GDP increase was 5.8%. So, averaging the two together GDP for the first half of the year is still beating prices by 4.4% to 3.8%.

    Plus, the comparison you want to make is not CPI to GDP, it’s CPI to the increase in real wages. That’s what matters to workers far more than GDP. This is reflected in the figure for Real Disposable Personal Income – which is the increase in wages adjusted for the increase in prices. That was up 1% this quarter and 1.7% last quarter. It’s an increase, which is good, but it could be better. The low rate of increase in disposable income combined with an apparent orgy of consumer spending has led to a major slowing in the savings and investing rate, though it’s still going up slowly.

    And Martin, thanks for confirming that you’re deliberately choosing to misunderstand me.

    Dave

  • http://www.1bigdragon.blogspot.com Peter J

    Dave,
    Bottom line, as I said, it all looks great on paper, but for some reason when you actually try to live it in an average city that bird just don’t fly. Even if you did it for a month or two sooner or later the shit hits the fan. The car breaks down, you get a tooth ache (avg health ins doesn’t cover shit for dental) you have an accident and break an arm and your out of work, one pill makes you larger, the other…
    Even without any unforseens, how would you like to know that in your situation it will never get any better but for sure will continue to get worse?

    I always wonder why someone who is doing pretty well is always so quick to ‘identify’ or ‘relate to’ someone whose so absolutely fucked. What satisfaction is there or is it just a way to justify themselves. (when I was a kid I walked 50 miles to school uphill in the snow with no shoes,,,)
    Can’t you just say “that’s a tough life ” and leave it alone? It won’t cost you anything!

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said:

    “That would be a much more important discussion to have! But first you have to acknowledge the data I have shown concerning income growth being unproportionally concentrated in the top 1%. In simple terms, while the income of the bottom 98% of Americans has grown about 8%, the income of the top 1% has nearly doubled. The exact change is debatable depending on definition of income used, whether it’s after tax, etc. But the basic principle of income growth being unproportionally concentrated in the top 1% holds true.

    Dave:

    I’ll acknowledge that this may be at least partially true when you acknowledge that increases of wealth for the top 1% are entirely irrelevant to the bottom 20%, except that their earnings mean they spend more and create more jobs for poor workers.

    Ok, we’ll ignore that your statement implies acknowledgement my argument has been correct and that you just wont concede it until I concede a point too, because I cannot concede what you ask.

    Every dollar that comes into the U.S. economy can ultimately go to a rich man, a middle class man, or a poor man. For the most part, the middle and lower class men are working for businesses owned by the upper class men. The personal income of a rich man, goes straight into the expense account of the business the middle class and poor man are also working for. If the business werent lining the pockets of its CEOs, large stockholders etc. it could use the money to pay higher salaries.

    Furthermore your statement “increases of wealth for the top 1% are entirely irrelevant to the bottom 20%, except that their earnings mean they spend more and create more jobs for poor workers,” is flat out wrong. Here are 5 other basic ways the rich getting richer affects the lower class.

    1. More money for the rich allows them to run their own political campaigns. Many politicians, both sides of the aisle, essentially elect themselves using personal fortunes. This gives the rich more political power.

    2. More money for the rich allows them to contribute more to political parties and candidates. If the top 1% doubled there income and everyone else increased by 10%, the campaign contributions of the top 1% could also potentially double. A good reason to keep the rich happy if you want a political future.

    3. More money for the rich allows them to further monopolize desirable and limited assets in society. Certain aspects of society are becoming exclusively reserved for the ultra-rich. For example, Washington DC. Even if Nancy’s income climbs 2% a year for the next 10 years to keep pace with inflation, she may be forced to commute an hour or more to work if the housing market around DC becomes even more exclusively reserve for the rich. Nancy didnt get poorer. She got richer, but the rich got rich faster than her, and bumped her out.

    4. A large income gap between the rich and everyone else encourages ideolization of the rich, something which may not be bad, but which I, personally, find repulsive. A society clamoring to please and imitate people because of their wealth is a society without a culture.

    5. When the rich get richer, it allows the rich to provide more jobs, exactly as you said. So Walmart opens 8 new stores across the country, providing new jobs in shipping, cleaning, managing, checking, stocking etc. At the same time 80 small businesses are driven out of business by the large Walmarts. This takes away jobs for the owner, his sons, the small cleaning company they hired to clean their store and their windows, the personal accountant they hired, etc. In other words, we all end up working for the rich who are kind enough to give us jobs for the ones their growing businesses took away from us. Once we all work for the rich, there’s not much hope for entrepeunerism.

    You see, income growth for the rich outpacing growth for everyone else, profoundly shapes the way a society functions and the structure of the economy.

    I say give the tax cuts to the entrepeneur who hasnt made it to the top 1 or .1% yet. The jobs he makes will be just as good as jobs coming from the guy that was already ultra-riched.

    If you think that the top 1% and the bottom 20% have nothing to do with each other than the American Dream is already dead. If that’s true what we have on our hands are two very different micro-societies living within the same geographic borders. My deep hope is that anything the poor does can profoundly affect the rich and anything the rich does will profoundly affect the poor. Contrary to your statement – the fate of the top 1% is bound to the fate of us all.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Peter, I have lived all of the scenarios I’ve outlined or something close to it at some time in my life, and I survived. The numbers I gave were quite generous. You could easily get by on considerably less.

    As for the first disaster upsetting such a delicate budget, I built a lot of room for adapting into those budgets. But more importantly, you can’t base your analysis on the worst case scenario, you have to target it to the norm. That’s your standard. Then you step back and look at how you can address the problems of those relatively few people whose unique circumstances make the economic system not work for them.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Guys,

    Dave’s budget in comment #98 was remarkably close to mine in 2000. I’d shift a few numbers here and there, doing what we could to save on daycare, etc., paying more for car insurance, less for toys and clothes. But all in all, his numbers are very real life. I know. I lived them.

  • Nancy

    As has been said elsewhere on this website, per #103, the end result is slave labor or its equivilent, where the rich dictate all terms of employment and the workers have no choice but to accept. Sometimes, where all the factors are fortunate, this leads to uprisings and redistribution of wealth; usually it just leads to social stagnation and economic brutality by the rich.

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

    Nancy, we’re hardly leaping headlong into the early industrial age again. Yes, the system is inherently somewhat exploitative of thsoe who allow themselves to sink to a low level of employment. But what makes out system work and our nation prosper is that there are ALWAYS ways to advance yourself if you have the will to work hard or the imagination to be creative. There’s more than one path out of poverty and people really do choose to rise or sink to the level which they end up at. I know plenty of people who have made the concious choice not to earn more than they do, even when they could, because it would require more from them than they are willing to give, or sacrifices they find too great for the rewards they would bring.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Dave,

    I’m seeing the process described by PETI in action here. It ain’t pretty at all. There is an idolization of the rich and an attempt to cut every corner to be rich – while doing the least amount of work (of course we could do with a “Protestant” work ethic here, but that comes with an unaceeptable price – Protestants – so much for the Jewish state). Also, it does not solve the problem which PETI describes and which you do your very best to minimize or ignore – exploitation by the rich of the poor.

  • Nancy

    Dave, try to foist that BS on someone who just lost their wretched $25K a year job overseas, while the CEO of their corporation is rolling in obscene amounts of compensation; try telling that to airline workers whose wages have fallen so low in the past 2 years they are now working for part-time wages but putting in full-time schedules – while the CEOs continue to rake in THEIR salaries & perks without constraint or diminution; try telling that to someone whose salary has been frozen for the past 4 or 5 years, while prices (esp. fuel) rise, and the effective purchasing value of their income falls. You live in la-la land, Dave. Your fiscal theories are full of sound & fury, but signify nothing, as they bear NO relation to any reality in the working class world.

  • Martin Lav

    On top of all the statements made here by Dave, he also claims that the import of massive amounts of cheap illegal labor is good for the economy and does not harm the legal middle and lower classes. After all they are doing work that Americans won’t do right? Or is it that corporations that are propped up by the US Govt. because they are the biggest contributors to political campaigns, benefit from this cheap labor much like they benefit from shipping jobs off shore?

    And Martin, thanks for confirming that you’re deliberately choosing to misunderstand me.

    I’m not misunderstanding at all Dave, you refuse to believe that the “Walmart model” of providing low paying jobs and selling “affordable” durables or consumables is a way of feeding the machine that PETI has so aptly pointed out.

    After all as you point out in your budget figures anyone can easily live on a Walmart income if they shop at Walmart.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    As you aptly pointed out in the thread on the U.S. Constitution, Dave, MONEY IS POWER. By your own logic, a money gap, is a power gap.

  • RedTard

    I think the jealousy angle is alot of what is creating problems. There are plenty of jobs and situations to allow for people to live comfortably with a reasonable safety net. The problem is that people see images of wealth and falsely believe that added material things will make their life better.

    Way too many people buy the best car and most expensive house they can and if they are out of work for 1 month, their completely bankrupt and in need of support. I see this mentality every day.

    Beyond the bare neccessities of life, there’s only one thing that money can buy that will make you happy, your own freedom. Spending your wealth on cars and homes and TV’s and boxes of 70% discount shit from the local retailer only serves to put you further into debt and slavery.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Certainly, wanting a new plasma TV instead of your tube TV is a shitty reason to worry about wealth disparity. But it doesnt mean there arent other good reasons.

  • Martin Lav

    Hey come on eat top ramen as Dave suggests and you can have the plasma TV, the HUMMER and whatever else feeds your fancy.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Besides, we are a wealthy enough society that I could have that plasma TV with money to spare. It may be disgustingly materialistic and never make me happy. But then again if I dont need more money to buy material possessions, the top 1% doesnt either. In effect, Redtard, the ultimate conclusion of your argument is that all excess profits of people and corporations should not go into frivolous material posessions, but sent to foreign people that need the money more. The fact is we live in a material world, why should the income gap grow? There is no good reason. Besides, Americans making 30-40,000 a year, probably would be happier with more money. And there’s a lot of other reasons, besides jealousy, why an income gap is not good.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    And im still waiting for a response to my rebuttal in post #103. I think I explained pretty well why your statement “that increases of wealth for the top 1% are entirely irrelevant to the bottom 20%” is completely wrong.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    On top of all the statements made here by Dave, he also claims that the import of massive amounts of cheap illegal labor is good for the economy and does not harm the legal middle and lower classes.

    No, actually, I don’t. As usual you’re mischaracterizing my position. I believe that a reasonable amount of immigrant labor is good for the economy and helps lift native workers up in the labor market. Uncontrolled illegal immigration at massive levels would certainly create problems.

    I’m not misunderstanding at all Dave,

    Then you’re deliberately creating straw men. Is that better?

    you refuse to believe that the “Walmart model” of providing low paying jobs and selling “affordable” durables or consumables is a way of feeding the machine that PETI has so aptly pointed out.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve certainly never advocated turning the world into nothing but Walmarts. They play a role in the economy just like any other business. They provide reasonable products at a good price and decent paying entry-level and part time jobs. Do you not WANT teenagers and people looking for second jobs and moms looking for a part-time, supplemental income to have a place to work?

    Hey come on eat top ramen as Dave suggests and you can have the plasma TV, the HUMMER and whatever else feeds your fancy.

    No. What I suggest is that if you have a limited budget you should NOT buy a Plasma TV and a Hummer, but should live within your means so that eventually you WILL be able to afford those things at an appropriate time.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    As you aptly pointed out in the thread on the U.S. Constitution, Dave, MONEY IS POWER. By your own logic, a money gap, is a power gap.

    Yes, but as I pointed out in that discussion, those with more money SHOULD have more power. They have more at risk and invested in the economy of the nation.

    As for a response to #103, I was tired and had to save it for later. There’s only so much patience I have for really long posts which I have to respond to by explaining things which ought to be obvious.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    Jesh….I guess I’m all wrong, all the time, but you can’t see what you can’t see.

    Do you not WANT teenagers and people looking for second jobs and moms looking for a second income to have a place to work?

    NO I don’t want Mom’s working there. I want them home taking care of and raising their children. The fact that you have to have 2 incomes in this country in order to just “get by” without Plasma’s and luxuries …. is part of the point.
    AND ANOTHER POINT is that the poor in order to get SOME of the toys like the rich feed to us with every TV comercial, billboard and radio ad, go into debt by getting loans from SHARKS/credit card companies. Misleading them into 0% interest for 1 year and then minimum payments for 30. Meanwhile they ARE getting richer and suckering the working class. And by the way, Walmart passed Microsoft this year in total revenues and it’s funny that the people that shop at Walmart are NOT the wealthy, but the lower income in this country and while Walmart does provide jobs and does provide value to those same people, in the end it is all to feed their own model. LOW WAGES/LOW COSTS/DRIVE OUT COMPETITION/SELL PRODUCTS BACK TO THE WORKING CLASS THAT YOU KEEP AT THAT LEVEL THROUGH YOUR MODEL.
    Aint America grand?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    As for a response to #103, I was tired and had to save it for later. There’s only so much patience I have for really long posts which I have to respond to by explaining things which ought to be obvious.

    Obvious? What’s obvious is that everyone here but you thinks domination of wealth by the top 1% is dangerous.

    Yes, but as I pointed out in that discussion, those with more money SHOULD have more power. They have more at risk and invested in the economy of the nation.

    Funny..we dont let rich people vote twice, we dont stop people that have gone bankrupt from voting, we dont stop the old and dieing from voting – even if they dont have a vested interest in the economy. Not to get too personal, but we dont stop Jet from voting, even if his main interest right now is getting society to help him find a way of paying his bills.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve certainly never advocated turning the world into nothing but Walmarts. They play a role in the economy just like any other business. They provide reasonable products at a good price and decent paying entry-level and part time jobs. Do you not WANT teenagers and people looking for second jobs and moms looking for a part-time, supplemental income to have a place to work?

    You have advocated that massive wealth gains of the top 1% are good for the rest of us, even if our income barely keeps pace with inflation. You have acknowledged that this trend is “partially true,” and that there is nothing wrong with it. When the rich owners of Walmart get richer, they pursue even more agressive business practices, leading to the loss of many self-employed small business owners. Eventually we all end up working for the rich.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ok, we’ll ignore that your statement implies acknowledgement my argument has been correct and that you just wont concede it until I concede a point too, because I cannot concede what you ask.

    I believe that’s more or less the same concession you demanded of me. And I don’t accept your argument that the theoretical doubling of the income of the top 1% is meaningful and especially your assumption that it is a problem. There’s an old maxim that ‘it takes money to make money’, and these people have benefited more from a strong economy than others because they have more money in the first place. Your argument that their increase in wealth is a problem is erroneous, because there’s no reasonable way to argue that their wealth was ‘taken’ from others especially the poor, and there’s no evidence that their wealth harms anyone.

    Every dollar that comes into the U.S. economy can ultimately go to a rich man, a middle class man, or a poor man.

    This is absolutely not true. All dollars in the economy are NOT the same. They come from different sources and operate in the economy under specific constraints. There is absolutely no connection between the dividend income one person gets on an investment in New Zealand sheep futures and the hourly wage of a sheet metal fabricator in Alabama. Even if the money were taken out of the sheep futures and instead invested in the company that employs the sheet metal guy, his wage would not change. Wages are set based on the labor market, NOT on the amount of capital available to the company hiring the workers. When you try to make this connection between wages and overall economic wealth you are just dead wrong.

    For the most part, the middle and lower class men are working for businesses owned by the upper class men. The personal income of a rich man, goes straight into the expense account of the business the middle class and poor man are also working for. If the business werent lining the pockets of its CEOs, large stockholders etc. it could use the money to pay higher salaries.

    It COULD, but under no circumstance will it or should it. No company except for worker owned collectives, sets their salaries based on the capital they have on hand. That’s not the way business is done and it’s not the way a business should be run. It would be irresponsible. Additional capital might lead to an expansion of the business, the availability of more jobs, but it will NEVER lead to higher salaries. Salaries are set based on what workers in similar jobs are being paid, the cost of living in the local area and what level of pay is needed to attract workers. Those are the only considerations. If the company is short of capital it doesn’t hire someone. If the company has excess capital it saves it, invests it in new hardware or facilities or creates a new job that will generate more business. It does not, as a rule, use it to increase salaries, except when the business has an incentive program that rewards employees based on corporate profits. And that would come in the form of a bonus or a stock offering, not salary increases.

    Furthermore your statement “increases of wealth for the top 1% are entirely irrelevant to the bottom 20%, except that their earnings mean they spend more and create more jobs for poor workers,” is flat out wrong. Here are 5 other basic ways the rich getting richer affects the lower class.

    Your complete lack of understanding of the relationship or lack thereof between capital and labor doesn’t inspire me to expect you to understand this issue either.

    1. More money for the rich allows them to run their own political campaigns. Many politicians, both sides of the aisle, essentially elect themselves using personal fortunes. This gives the rich more political power.

    It also gives them more political autonomy and makes them less reliant on special interests, PACs and political parties. This is a GOOD thing. And as I’ve said before, the rich ought to have more political power because they have more invested in the economy and more at risk when the government screws up or misbehaves.

    2. More money for the rich allows them to contribute more to political parties and candidates. If the top 1% doubled there income and everyone else increased by 10%, the campaign contributions of the top 1% could also potentially double. A good reason to keep the rich happy if you want a political future.

    Damned straight. See the previous response. And if you dont’ like it set a hard cap on campaign and party contributions.

    3. More money for the rich allows them to further monopolize desirable and limited assets in society. Certain aspects of society are becoming exclusively reserved for the ultra-rich.

    Are they keeping food, basic shelter and civil liberty away from people by buying expensive stuff?

    For example, Washington DC. Even if Nancy’s income climbs 2% a year for the next 10 years to keep pace with inflation, she may be forced to commute an hour or more to work if the housing market around DC becomes even more exclusively reserve for the rich. Nancy didnt get poorer. She got richer, but the rich got rich faster than her, and bumped her out.

    Then she should move. I moved out of the DC area at least in part for this reason. Real estate charges what the market will bear. So many people want to live there and want nice houses that prices go up. This isn’t new. Real Estate in DC has always been expensive. There will ALWAYS be some areas that cost more than others for a variety of reasons. But you CAN find affordable housing in DC, you just pay a price in inconvenience or some other non-monetary cost. No one is being excluded by the actions of any wealthy individual.

    4. A large income gap between the rich and everyone else encourages ideolization of the rich, something which may not be bad, but which I, personally, find repulsive. A society clamoring to please and imitate people because of their wealth is a society without a culture.

    This is a social problem which is really outside of the scope of this discussion. I think that to a certain extent admiring the wealthy and wanting to make yourself wealthy is a healthy, motivating force. Worshipping Paris Hilton is just some sort of mental illness.

    5. When the rich get richer, it allows the rich to provide more jobs, exactly as you said. So Walmart opens 8 new stores across the country, providing new jobs in shipping, cleaning, managing, checking, stocking etc. At the same time 80 small businesses are driven out of business by the large Walmarts. This takes away jobs for the owner, his sons, the small cleaning company they hired to clean their store and their windows, the personal accountant they hired, etc. In other words, we all end up working for the rich who are kind enough to give us jobs for the ones their growing businesses took away from us. Once we all work for the rich, there’s not much hope for entrepeunerism.

    Except that this is completely wrong. The rich don’t shop at Walmart. They shop at boutiques and specialty stores, creating higher paid jobs and expanding the middle class.

    You see, income growth for the rich outpacing growth for everyone else, profoundly shapes the way a society functions and the structure of the economy.

    Sorry, so long as everyone is advancing either through moderate salary increases or moving up the income ladder, I just don’t see a problem at all.

    I say give the tax cuts to the entrepeneur who hasnt made it to the top 1 or .1% yet. The jobs he makes will be just as good as jobs coming from the guy that was already ultra-riched.

    That’s who the tax cuts were overwhelmingly directed towards.

    If you think that the top 1% and the bottom 20% have nothing to do with each other than the American Dream is already dead.

    The American Dream is not that everyone is forced to be equal, it’s that everyone has the opportunity to better themselves.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    And I don’t accept your argument that the theoretical doubling of the income of the top 1% is meaningful and especially your assumption that it is a problem.

    I know you dont! You were accepting that the trend of wealth becoming more concentrated in the top 1% is true. Not that it has any meaning, that’s what we were moving on to – now that we finally established the trend is true.

    I said: “For the most part, the middle and lower class men are working for businesses owned by the upper class men. The personal income of a rich man, goes straight into the expense account of the business the middle class and poor man are also working for. If the business werent lining the pockets of its CEOs, large stockholders etc. it could use the money to pay higher salaries.”

    Dave says:

    It COULD, but under no circumstance will it or should it. No company except for worker owned collectives, sets their salaries based on the capital they have on hand. That’s not the way business is done and it’s not the way a business should be run.

    I didnt say it would or should! I said could. Look at my wording. COULD. Im not proposing mandating laws that the government set corporate wages. Im saying that the poor and rich are related – if by nothing more than the fact they all live within U.S. borders, for the most part. As such the distribution of wealth between them is important because the wealth one of them has or does not have can profoundly affect the other.

    Our government has recognized the distribution of wealth between rich and poor is important for over 100 years. I suppose you have noticed our tax structure is somewhat progressive. This inherently presumes a connection between rich and poor which it seeks to maintain – not equalize – by demanding higher rates for higher incomes.

    Your complete lack of understanding of the relationship or lack thereof between capital and labor doesn’t inspire me to expect you to understand this issue either.

    Sheesh…tone it down! I said could. You assumed I meant should or would when I said could. The potentiality of them paying more establishes the connection I am trying to demonstrate. The fact that I can look at the company I work for and say “they COULD pay me more but the money goes to the CEOs” is enough to establish a connection between the wages of the poor and earnings of the rich.

    I said:

    “1. More money for the rich allows them to run their own political campaigns. Many politicians, both sides of the aisle, essentially elect themselves using personal fortunes. This gives the rich more political power.”

    Dave says:

    It also gives them more political autonomy and makes them less reliant on special interests, PACs and political parties. This is a GOOD thing. And as I’ve said before, the rich ought to have more political power because they have more invested in the economy and more at risk when the government screws up or misbehaves.

    I would prefer power lie in neither the hands of the rich, nor special interest groups, rather in the hands of the PEOPLE.

    I said:

    “2. More money for the rich allows them to contribute more to political parties and candidates. If the top 1% doubled there income and everyone else increased by 10%, the campaign contributions of the top 1% could also potentially double. A good reason to keep the rich happy if you want a political future.”

    Dave says:

    Damned straight. See the previous response. And if you dont’ like it set a hard cap on campaign and party contributions.

    A good suggestion. I really dont like the government pandering for the rich to get campaign contributions.

    I said:

    “3. More money for the rich allows them to further monopolize desirable and limited assets in society. Certain aspects of society are becoming exclusively reserved for the ultra-rich.”

    Dave says:

    Are they keeping food, basic shelter and civil liberty away from people by buying expensive stuff?

    Most of us have aspirations beynd food and basic shelter. God forgive us.

    I said:

    “4. A large income gap between the rich and everyone else encourages ideolization of the rich, something which may not be bad, but which I, personally, find repulsive. A society clamoring to please and imitate people because of their wealth is a society without a culture.”

    Dave says:

    This is a social problem which is really outside of the scope of this discussion. I think that to a certain extent admiring the wealthy and wanting to make yourself wealthy is a healthy, motivating force. Worshipping Paris Hilton is just some sort of mental illness.

    Well im glad we agree. But I also think that a humongous income gap just makes this problem bigger.

    I said:

    “5. When the rich get richer, it allows the rich to provide more jobs, exactly as you said. So Walmart opens 8 new stores across the country, providing new jobs in shipping, cleaning, managing, checking, stocking etc. At the same time 80 small businesses are driven out of business by the large Walmarts. This takes away jobs for the owner, his sons, the small cleaning company they hired to clean their store and their windows, the personal accountant they hired, etc. In other words, we all end up working for the rich who are kind enough to give us jobs for the ones their growing businesses took away from us. Once we all work for the rich, there’s not much hope for entrepeunerism.”

    Dave says:

    Except that this is completely wrong. The rich don’t shop at Walmart. They shop at boutiques and specialty stores, creating higher paid jobs and expanding the middle class.

    If everyone could afford the items sold at boutizues and specialty stores, not just the ultra-rich owners of Walmart-type corporations, there would be a lot more boutiques and specialty stores.

    I said:

    “I say give the tax cuts to the entrepeneur who hasnt made it to the top 1 or .1% yet. The jobs he makes will be just as good as jobs coming from the guy that was already ultra-riched.”

    Dave says:

    That’s who the tax cuts were overwhelmingly directed towards.

    Bull. We’ve gone over this before. Tax cuts going into effect 2005 provided an average break of 2 dollars to incomes under 100,000. The tax break for incomes over 1,000,000 was 30,000 dollars. Just a tad out of proportion.

  • http://www.1bigdragon.blogspot.com Peter J

    I think Dave, that you are confusing wants with needs.
    I know far many more people who are working families, father and mother, with or without children
    (I happen to believe that a child should be in the fulltime care of 1 parent until school age and then one parent at home to greet the child), some single parents(who are really fucked) but all waiting anxiously for the next check, most times to pay last monts bills.

    Like I said, I too could paint a rosy picture but it’s not the real world.
    My wife and I were living comfortably, not well off but we’re not greedy, don’t need a hummer, fuck plasma tvs, just comfortable, a mortgage, a dog,a bird, and a daughter, out in the world not my problem anymore (although I paid support for 21 years).
    I’ve become disabled and cannot work any longer. Thankfully my wife earns a decent wage and has a good health plan or we would be litterally fucked.
    Now, I’m not complaining about my situation. It’s not great but we’re happy and make it through the stressful times.

    When discussing wages I’m reffering to people who, as a manager, I employeed. The managers I employeed made a shit salary with a bonus program that gave them a small piece of the pie for exceeding quotas. This was not my plan, I just followed the book.
    The people (laborers) who worked below them made wages starting at minimum and maybe, if they could stand the job long enough, they may have gone as high as 2 dollars over minimum.

    This is a very large company well known across the country and I dare say that whenever you are shopping or doing business with a ‘discount’ type business, you’re not saving money because corporate’s generous, you’re saving because they pay their employees absolute shit money, from the lowest paid laborer right up to their regional managers or supervisors. There were no shirkers employed, everyone either worked very hard or was under extreme stress, (got to make them ‘quotas’).

    I worked my job because I had no college ed., my fault, no one elses. But this is not about me, this is about the people who worked for me. They had shit for lives. They worked their asses off for shit money while VP and CEOs who did, as far as actual work goes, 1/10th of what a laborer did made a quarter of a mil a year.
    Make that sound OK to me!

    There was hardly a week went by that people weren’t needing advances on their next check. Some of these people were just running out of beer but most neede child care or groceries or general living expenses. actually SEEING this great ‘system’ work made me sick. this is why I fight for a greater equity in wages in this country. I don’t need a fucking thing, I just think it sucks that these fucking slobs(I can’t think of a better name for them) have more money than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes while the people who REALLY make the wheels go round eat shit.
    My earlier reference to slavery is not an analogy, it is fact.

    I’ve said before, many times, if you want to see how a REAL American company works, look up Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

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

    I didnt say it would or should! I said could. Look at my wording. COULD. Im not proposing mandating laws that the government set corporate wages. Im saying that the poor and rich are related – if by nothing more than the fact they all live within U.S. borders, for the most part. As such the distribution of wealth between them is important because the wealth one of them has or does not have can profoundly affect the other.

    I’ll give you that they all live in the same country. But you seem to have been distracted by taking the word ‘distribution’ too literally, or perhaps you looked at a pie chart and thought it was a literal representation of how people get wealth. Wealth is not literally distributed or divided between people like slices of pie. Wealth is earned and even created. Each job is to a large extent unique and self-contained, in competitition with other people who do the same job, not with people doing different jobs at different levels in the income pyramid or different parts of the work force.

    Our government has recognized the distribution of wealth between rich and poor is important for over 100 years.

    We’ve only had an income tax for 93 years since the passage of the 16th Amendment which thwarted the intent of the founders to ban what they considered the most oppressive possible form of taxation.

    I suppose you have noticed our tax structure is somewhat progressive. This inherently presumes a connection between rich and poor which it seeks to maintain – not equalize – by demanding higher rates for higher incomes.

    You’re looking at it backwards. It’s not progressive for the purpose of equalizing income, it’s progressive because you can take more money from the rich without impoverishing them. However, before the Bush reforms there were some significant break points where the regressive character of the tax made it desirable to earn less money because taxes hit the lower part of a bracket so hard that earning more meant keeping less than if you stayed in the lower bracket.

    Your complete lack of understanding of the relationship or lack thereof between capital and labor doesn’t inspire me to expect you to understand this issue either.

    I understand the relationship between capital and labor, but it’s not what you’ve been describing. This ‘wealth distribution’ model has nothing to do with the real relationship.

    The fact that I can look at the company I work for and say “they COULD pay me more but the money goes to the CEOs” is enough to establish a connection between the wages of the poor and earnings of the rich.

    The employee can think any crazy thing he wants, including that he should be given control of the company, but it doesn’t mean that he’s right. Similarly the corporation could do all sorts of things with its money including flushing it down a hole, but what they do is pay a market wage for the jobs they hire people for. The connection you’re talking about is entirely mental. It’s not economic and it’s not a real connection. It’s just a perception and a faulty one. If they don’t like working for a company that operates on sound business principles they should start their own company that works on different principles. It might even work.

    I actually think that the collective model for business has been neglected in the US and has the potential to work much better than people realize. It’s just a big risk to try to launch a business that way. And past examples like the disastrous Grange factories have given the idea a bad name in business circles.

    I would prefer power lie in neither the hands of the rich, nor special interest groups, rather in the hands of the PEOPLE.

    It’s still one man, one vote. And the rich who may have more influence in some areas represent the interests of everyone who wants to succeed in life.

    A good suggestion. I really dont like the government pandering for the rich to get campaign contributions.

    A good suggestion except for the part where it gives the government control over political speech.

    Most of us have aspirations beynd food and basic shelter. God forgive us.

    Good. Then that will encourage you to find a way to advance yourself so you can have those things.

    If everyone could afford the items sold at boutizues and specialty stores, not just the ultra-rich owners of Walmart-type corporations, there would be a lot more boutiques and specialty stores.

    And then someone would start more expensive, fancier boutiques that catered to the richest of the rich. WalMart (well, Target anyway) carries less expensive clothing that looks like boutique clothing and is as of high quality and functionally identical The rich are just paying for the name. Why is their willingness to pay more for a name something that should be spread through the whole economic hierarchy?

    Bull. We’ve gone over this before. Tax cuts going into effect 2005 provided an average break of 2 dollars to incomes under 100,000. The tax break for incomes over 1,000,000 was 30,000 dollars. Just a tad out of proportion.

    I was talking primarily about the 2003 tax cuts, not the 2005 tax cuts. Income taxes are a separate issue from the various investment tax cuts. To start off with, people who have no investments pay no taxes on them, just as people with incomes under $8800 pay no taxes at all. It’s also unfair to compare the number of dollars saved by cuts. The percentages are much more meaningful.

    When adjusted for exemptions, deductions and the changes in rates, the 2003 tax cuts reduced the real tax rate by 8.75% for the lowest group that pays any significant taxes (the 3rd quintile) and by 9% for the highest quintile. That’s not a huge disparity.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    And the rich who may have more influence in some areas represent the interests of everyone who wants to succeed in life.

    Ahem. Let the rich speak for themselves. I want to succeed, like anyone else, but I can assure you the rich DO NOT represent my interests. The rich dont represent “everyone who wants to succeed” they represent the interests of “everyone who already has succeeded.” In fact, the rich have a vested interest in making sure others dont succeed and overtake them.

    I said in reference to the American progressive income tax:

    “Our government has recognized the distribution of wealth between rich and poor is important for over 100 years.”

    Dave says:

    We’ve only had an income tax for 93 years since the passage of the 16th Ammendment which thwarted the intent of the founders to ban what they considered the most oppressive possible form of taxation.

    Yes but the first progressive income tax was instated in 1861 – so my 100+ years stands correct. Regardless of the history, their has been a standard of taxing those who can more easily afford a tax in this country since before 1920. The question is not should we take a “higher percentage for the rich,” it is “how much higher of a percentage?”

    This isnt because of an economic connection between the earnings of one – but because of what is moral when dealing with the relationship between two socially, and politically interconnected groups (not economically connected as you have proven). If the groups literally had nothing to do with each other, morality would have nothing to do with it. But since they do have some social and political connection (and live within U.S. borders as you have conceded) morality does come into play.

    So my question is, why are we slicing the percentages for the rich more than any other group, especially when the rich can afford the tax more than ever? The rich have doubled their income (adjusted for inflation) while everyone else’s has increased 10%? If the rich hadnt doubled their income in the past 20 years, perhaps they would be deserving of tax cuts. But since they have doubled their income, they can afford the taxes more than ever. So hike up those rates!

    I was talking primarily about the 2003 tax cuts, not the 2005 tax cuts.

    Ok so here are the stats for all the Bush tax cuts. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone with 4th grade math, they are scewed to the rich.

    In 2001 the share of federal tax liabilities were as follows. The predicted 2014 value follows in paranthesis.

    Bottom quintile: 1.1% (1.5%) Increase of .4%
    2nd quintile: 5.0% (5.6%) Increase of .6%
    middle quintile: 10.0% (10.7%) Increase of .7%
    4th quintile: 18.5% (19.2%) Increase of .7%
    Top 10%: 50.0% (47.4%) Decrease of 2.6%
    Top 5%: 38.5% (36.1%) Decrease of 2.4%
    Top 1%: 22.7% (20.7%) Decrease of 2.0%

    As you can see, if you are in the bottom 90% your tax responsibility went up. If you were in the top 10% your tax responsibility went down. In short, the Bush tax cuts have shifted the weight of taxes from the top 10% onto the bottom 90%. This at a time when the incomes of the top have doubled in the past 20 years. Is there a good reason? They werent short on money…quite the opposite.

  • Clavos

    the rich have a vested interest in making sure others dont succeed and overtake them.

    That’s straight out of the socialist lexicon, and is pure unadulterated male bovine fecal matter, PETI.

    Why on earth would the rich have a vested interest in you not becoming rich also? You keep talking as if wealth is finite–as if there’s room for only so many at the top. There are already several amgnitudes more of millionaires in US than there were 50 or even 20 years ago. In fact, being a single (as opposed to multi-) millionaire doesn’t even qualify as “rich” anymore.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Business is limited. There are only so many pairs of socks people will buy. The owner of a multimillion dollar sock distribution company wants to keep that business for himself. If there were room for two, and he were not a jealous man, im sure he’d welcome the company at the top. But there’s ussually not room – and even if there is, he has to stay on top, or be driven down. Business has to stay competitive. Not really marxist at all.

    When was the last time the owner of a major retail chain granted you money to attempt and create another, competing, retail chain?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Why on earth would the rich have a vested interest in you not becoming rich also? You keep talking as if wealth is finite–as if there’s room for only so many at the top. There are already several amgnitudes more of millionaires in US than there were 50 or even 20 years ago. In fact, being a single (as opposed to multi-) millionaire doesn’t even qualify as “rich” anymore.

    In fact, the number of millionaires has increased by 50% and the number of people with incomes over $500,000 a year has doubled in the last decade to the point where 1/10th of the total population earns over half a million dollars a year. This is a level of wealth and a dispersion of great wealth deep into the population which is unprecedented historically.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    That’s called a scarcity argument, PETI, and it doesn’t wash. If that were the case, why are there so many more millionaires these days? So many more businesses? Why is the GDP constantly growing? Inflation doesn’t account for all the growth.

    Of course businesses are competitve-that’s one of the things that helps keep prices down-but that doesn’t translate into the rich have a vested interest in making sure others don’t succeed. Furthermore, most businesses of any size nowadays are public corporations owned by thousands of people, as well as union pension funds, etc.

    PETI that idea is not only socialist, it’s old socialist and has been discredited so often that even the socialsists don’t believe it anymore.

    You’re right, the owner of a large retail chain would not grant me money to start another competing chain, but that’s because I’d be plain stupid if I went to him for that.

    I’d go to a bank, or a venture capitalist or even one of his suppliers with money to invest. My potential competitor is the last person I’d ask for help from.

  • Clavos

    Missed this first time around:

    here are only so many pairs of socks people will buy.

    What, they don’t wear out anymore? Bad example, PETI–you must be getting tired. :>)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Some more history on income tax:

    1945-1964 the top bracket payed a rate of 91%.

    In 1964 the rate was cut to 70%.

    In 1980 it was cut to 50%.

    In 1986 it was cut to 28%.

    Clinton returned it to a peak of 39.6%.

    It is now down to 35%.

    So why, suddenly, is the 50%+ top income tax rate that served us so well 1945-1986, no longer acceptable?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    My potential competitor is the last person I’d ask for help from.

    LOL! you said it yourself. You’re potential competitor doesnt want to help you compete with him. In other words he wants to maintain his large market share by keeping you out. You just conceded my whole point for me.

    And all your stats about how many more millionaires there are today doesnt establish causation. It’s certainly not because Mobil-Exon decided their market share was too big and they should hand out market share in 1% increments to regional companies. Mobil-Exon’s owners have a vested interest in making sure you, Clavos, dont open up a wildly succesful competing chain.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Clavos #130: the rate at which people buy socks is determined by 3 major factors

    1. the number of people that can afford new socks
    2. the number of socks people want
    3. the rate at which socks wear out

    So at any given instant these three factors determine how much business there is to be had. The more of this business I control, the more money I make.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ahem. Let the rich speak for themselves.

    Exactly what I want. And I want them to be able to speak with all the resources at their command.

    I want to succeed, like anyone else, but I can assure you the rich DO NOT represent my interests.

    Why? They represent the interests of people who want to make money. Do you not want to make money?

    The rich dont represent “everyone who wants to succeed” they represent the interests of “everyone who already has succeeded.”

    The fallacy in this reasoning is that you mistakenly think that the conditions which enable success and the conditions which allow you to maintain and increase your wealth are not the same conditions. Believe me, the methods one uses to get rich are the same ones you use to get richer.

    In fact, the rich have a vested interest in making sure others dont succeed and overtake them.

    Why? Are they going to eat them? Again, this makes no sense. You don’t get rich by robbing the rich – at least not in the longterm. You get rich by adding to the growth in GDP by increasing company profits or opening up new areas for profit.

    Yes but the first progressive income tax was instated in 1861 – so my 100+ years stands correct.

    As I recall that wasn’t a progressive income tax so much as it was a tax solely on the rich. It was a flat rate on all incomes over $800 a year (equivalent to about $65,000 today). Plus it was struck down by the Supreme Court almost immediately.

    Regardless of the history, their has been a standard of taxing those who can more easily afford a tax in this country since before 1920. The question is not should we take a “higher percentage for the rich,” it is “how much higher of a percentage?”

    Why? Because someone’s income is higher they automatically pay proportionally more if you tax them at the same rate. Shouldn’t the question really be who should be exempted from tax on the low end? That’s where the tax hurts.

    This isnt because of an economic connection between the earnings of one – but because of what is moral when dealing with the relationship between two socially, and politically interconnected groups (not economically connected as you have proven).

    Ok, morality is a different issue. Most of the genuinely poor are already exempted from tax since the combination of personal exemption and standard deduction are just about at the poverty level. I’d certainly support raising that cut-off. We ought to exempt income up to at least $25,000 which would be an enormous boon to the poor and be meaningless to the rich. Bush raised the exemption a little, but it could be raised much more with limited loss to the government coffers and likely substantial benefit to the economy since the newly untaxed would spend a lot of that money.

    If the groups literally had nothing to do with each other, morality would have nothing to do with it. But since they do have some social and political connection (and live within U.S. borders as you have conceded) morality does come into play.

    Even if you tend to reject arbitrary morality as I do, it’s still a practical issue, because you don’t want the poor becoming resentful and rioting in the streets.

    So my question is, why are we slicing the percentages for the rich more than any other group, especially when the rich can afford the tax more than ever?

    Because raising the taxes on the entire bracket hammers those on the lower end of it who can’t necessarily afford it so well, and means nothing to those on the top end. The bottom of the top bracket is around $350,000. Hitting people at that level with $120,000 in tax is a hell of a pinch. When you get richer you also gain more expenses and more obligations, as well as likely being older and farther along in your earning life. You are likely to be paying for kids to go to college, trying to put money away for retirement, and supporting elderly parents.

    I feel like I’ve done too many budgets, but here’s another one, for the family of four (2 parents and 2 kids in college) earning $360,000 a year broken down monthly at $30,000 a month..

    $4000 Mortgage
    $5000 2 Parents (out of 4) in rest homes
    $600 Life Insurance
    $600 Health Insurance
    $1200 2 Car Payments w/ Insurance (kids pay their own)
    $5000 Room, Board, Tuition for 2 Kids in College (average)
    $1000 Retirement Account Deposits
    $1000 Food
    $500 Utilities
    $500 Entertainment

    Well, that’s $19,900 without any special luxury purchases, kids weddings, vacations, special health expenses, etc. Not a problem with $30,000 a month, until you take out 38% in taxes (under the 2002 rate), leaving you only $18,600 to spend, bringing you up short and leaving you having to economize a bit.

    Now before anyone says anything about how these folks are still pretty well off, I admit that it’s true. Nothing is going to make these folks poor. They can get rid of a car, get a smaller house, send the kids to a state college and dump the grandparents on the state, but after a life of working hard to get to this sort of income should they be rewarded for their efforts by being told they’re rich, and then being taxed back down into the middle class? What an insult to their life of hard work and achievement.

    The rich have doubled their income (adjusted for inflation) while everyone else’s has increased 10%? If the rich hadnt doubled their income in the past 20 years, perhaps they would be deserving of tax cuts. But since they have doubled their income, they can afford the taxes more than ever. So hike up those rates!

    Again, the rich haven’t doubled their income. Some have gained a lot, but the reality is that the tax bracket you call ‘rich’ has gone up because of more people moving into it – especially into the bottom end, and these upper middle class people making less than $1 million a year are the ones you’re out to screw.

    Ok so here are the stats for all the Bush tax cuts. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone with 4th grade math, they are scewed to the rich.

    Where are these stats from? Do they take into account personal deductions and exemptions? They don’t match the figures I have exactly. And why are they broken down by quintiles? Taxes aren’t done by quintiles, they’re done by brackets defined by specific income, so how did they calculate the tax burden by quintiles? I mean, it can be done, but it’s got kind of like comparing apples and oranges. Plus you’re looking at share of tax liabilities. That’s the same old dividing the pie fallacy.

    And finally, take a LOOK at your numbers. One quintile pays 50% of ALL the nations taxes. Is that fair? That means that on average they each pay 4 times as much in taxes as the average person in the other 4 quintiles. Here’s another way to look at your percentages:

    Bottom Quintile: Pays Almost Nothing
    Second Quintile: Pays 3.73 times bottom quintile
    Middle Quintile: Pays 7.13 times bottom quintile
    4th Quintile: Pays 12.8 times bottom quintile
    Top Quintile: Pays 31.6 times bottom quintile

    That’s AFTER the Bush adjustments.

    As you can see, if you are in the bottom 90% your tax responsibility went up. If you were in the top 10% your tax responsibility went down.

    Hardly by a significant amount. Plus the $1100 added to the deductions/exemptions erases all of your tax ‘increases’ in the lower quintiles.

    In short, the Bush tax cuts have shifted the weight of taxes from the top 10% onto the bottom 90%.

    How remarkably deceptive. Shifting 2.6% is hardly the ‘weight’ of taxes considering almost 10 times that amount wasn’t shifted.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    PETI, I don’t wear socks. They’re bad for your feet and breed bacteria.

    Dave

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I got a pay raise and a promotion this year…I’m a happy camper! Oh yeah…and new business cards too!

  • Clavos

    LOL! you said it yourself. You’re potential competitor doesnt want to help you compete with him. In other words he wants to maintain his large market share by keeping you out. You just conceded my whole point for me.

    No, PETI. You’re mixing up two entirely different things. Competition between businesses in a capitalist system is a positive. Among other things, it helps both the businesses and the market work more efficiently, and, as I said above, it keeps prices down. You’re right that businesses compete to gain market share.

    But, if you’re rich manufacturing socks, and I’m working hard to become rich by selling boats, why would you try to prevent me? This is what you imply when you say that the rich want to keep out those who are trying to become successful as well.

    There’s another phenomenon that occurs as well, and businessmen who are successful are well aware of it: the presence of competition in a previously monopolistic market usually increases the size of the market.

    I lived this many years ago: Working for an airline, I opened and operated a route between Tampa and Cancún back in the 80s. We had the route exclusively for about two years, doing extremely well, when another carrier announced they were entering the market. I was concerned that my load factors were going to suffer and the route would become unprofitable for us. They started, and my traffic slowed for about three months, with theirs not being that good either. Then, the loads began to grow back again, and so did theirs. By the time the dust settled, we were BOTH doing very well.

    Your statement assumes markets are finite–experience has shown time and again that that is not the case, and the rich know this better than anyone.

  • http://www.1bigdragon.blogspot.com Peter J

    Forget all of the pie charts, the percentage, the wages or whatever. The fact of the matter is that there are many more people on the bottom of the scale who are having a very hard time making ends meet who could use a bit of help.

    Why can’t it come, if not in the way of higher wages then in the form of a flat tax with an exemption of $25,000.? Is that so friggin difficult? Even that poor guy making only $330,000. gets the exemption.

    This way we can really show the rest of the world that the fucking richest country in the world has a bit of humanity for its’ own, not only every other swingin dick in the world!
    Christ, why would we even have to have this ridiculous argument in a nation who’s constantly breaking its’ own arm patting itself on the back.

    We can send hundreds of billions of dollars many times over to a country who has absolutely nothing to do with our people, even though it does reflect our president’s and vice president’s oil interests, but we can’t figure a way to distribute our own money in a way that demonstrates that people, who are so rich they wouldn’t even realize the effects of such a move, would do something GRAND for its own people. Man, would that blow some fucking minds!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Actually, Peter, your suggestion sounds just fine to me. It’s more or less what I was saying in #134. It’s similar to what they did in Ireland and their economy is the strongest in Europe as a result.

    What bothers me is that your solution is SO simple and SO obvious. Why the hell can’t we get something like it even considered seriously in congress?

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I agree, Peter; why the hell are we pouring billions into making life peachy for a bunch of middle eastern barbarians who don’t appreciate it, and hate us, when we could be taking care of our own who are equally in need, here? Dave & others conveniently ignore the fact that today most working class families live hand to mouth, just ONE paycheck away from not just bankruptcy, but eviction and homelessness. Homelessness. Even in the DC area, the number of homeless has almost DOUBLED in the past 5 years. Hmmm…same amount of time as Junior’s been in office, now ain’t that a surprise? We’re not talking about people not being able to buy plasma TVs or Hummers, we’re talking people who can’t even afford to pay the rent, who can’t afford medical care or dental care for themselves or their kids, who live off week-old loaves of bread and spaghetti (which in turn erodes their health & makes them fat) because that’s all they can afford – and we aren’t even taking into consideration gas at $3+ a gallon these days, which further erodes what little these people have. And WHY is there no affordable housing here in DC? Because all the housing that’s being built is fucking MCMANSIONS FOR THE RICH, that’s why! There IS no housing available that is reasonable – unless, like the illegals, your family rents a room – a single room – in a house, and you live out of that room, 10-15-20 people to a normal 3-BR house, as far too many are doing. The rest have to make do with the increasingly overburdened public shelters or live in their cars, or on the streets. On the streets, like you see in India. Why? Because the fucking RICH are hogging all the facilities, all the real estate, and everything is directed towards them & their convenience & noone else.

    As I’ve said many times before, I marvel that the vast majority of those who have to live without health insurance, without luxuries, living on the most basic levels just to survive, having to make a choice between food and gas for the car so they can get to their low-paying jobs that invariably only accrue to the benefit of the rich, continue to take it. The people of this country are far too quiescent. IMO it’s past time for there to be some sort of limitations to excessive CEO compensation & corporate greed, and if the government won’t enforce it, by all means the people should, by any means necessary.

    And THERE is where the current excessive gap between the rich & the rest of us means that the rich had better start thinking about spreading the wealth a bit better. Like it or not, class warfare is already a fact in the US. Of course BushCo won’t admit it, but then they won’t admit Iraq is engaged in civil war, either, or that their policies there have failed, as has their vaunted war on terrorism & the Taliban in Afghanistan. BushCo is busy digging itself deep into denial on all fronts. What they fail to see is they’re creating an even bigger one for themselves right here at home, and it has nothing to do with Islam.

  • Martin Lav

    And this same Bushwacked group supports amnesty for illegals which compete with our lower class workforce. Hmmm…..didn’t Walmart get in trouble for importing illegals? Hmmmmm…..do illegals pay taxes or if they file, wouldn’t they too be exempt? Oh….I forgot they pay “billions” of dollars into social security because of bogus #’s.
    Right Dave?

  • Nancy

    I’m supposed to be a Leftist, but I sure as hell don’t support amnesty for any illegals-! Not all of us Lefties do, Lardbottom Kennedy to the contrary. So much for that little mischaracterization.

  • Martin Lav

    I know you don’t Nancy. Will wait for Clavos and Dave to send us all the facts how this is good for the economy….

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

    Opposition to illegal immigration comes from both sides of the political spectrum, Nancy.

    What it comes down to is a disagreement which transcends political lines between those who believe that immigrant workers take jobs away from natives – which is demonstrably untrue based on employment levels – and those who believe that immigrant workers fill a necessary niche in the economy which benefits everyone, and which would lead to serious economic problems if left unfilled.

    The anti-immigrant side of the argument is particularly vehement, because their position is driven by all sorts of strange motivations, like protectionism, nativism, isolationism and a good dose of racism. Anything which brings together unions and the KKK has GOT to be a bad idea. They commonly accuse the pro-immigration side of favoring amnesty and other things which just aren’t true. The truth is that no one rational wants to just give all the illegals amnesty or open the borders, yet that accusation flies freely.

    As for how it’s good for our workers, it’s simple. The one thing our native workers have going for them even when they have nothing else is their ability to speak English. When the illegals come in the English speakers don’t lose their jobs, they get bumped up to supervisory positions with higher pay and more opportunities. But that’s just one of the issues. If we didn’t have the illegals we’d have a serious labor shortage. This would result in poorer service and higher prices for all sorts of consumer goods and services, which would be particularly hard on lower income workers. It would also be devastating for certain businesses – most of them small and entrepreneurial – which would have to price themselves right out of the market.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    bullshit alert!!!

    Dave sez…
    *When the illegals come in the English speakers don’t lose their jobs, they get bumped up to supervisory positions with higher pay and more opportunities.*

    now..come on… just how much do you expect folks to swallow? you should at least buy them dinner first…

    when an illegal takes a job, that job just goes away… if an english speaker had it at $10 an hour, and the employer decides to hire an illegal at $6 or so… the $10 guy is let go, off to find another job

    don’t just think farm work and such, especially down in the southwest, many incidents of construction crews running with 20 people on the job…

    3 or 4 legally and on the books

    so.. how is the legally operating contractor.. who can make a profit bringing a job in on budget, supposed to compete with the fucking bastard who has a crew of illegals that allowes him to cut his expenses large enough to underbid by 5-10% and still make 20% or more profit than the legally operating competitor?

    that is NOT the way a free market is supposed to work… instead it should be a level playing field, following whatever the communities Rules are… the one who does the best job wins

    not the one who breaks the most Laws

    but hey, some folks wil always march down the road of “distract,distort,deny, and destroy”

    especially on an election year…

    Excelsior?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said: “So my question is, why are we slicing the percentages for the rich more than any other group, especially when the rich can afford the tax more than ever?”

    Dave: Because raising the taxes on the entire bracket hammers those on the lower end of it who can’t necessarily afford it so well, and means nothing to those on the top end.

    Im sure youll correct me if im wrong, but wouldnt the people on the lower end of that bracket only pay the higher percentage on the part of their income above the threshold. That would seem to make your next several paragraphs about how much a tax hike on the top bracket would slam the lower end of the bracket, useless.

    Not a problem with $30,000 a month, until you take out 38% in taxes (under the 2002 rate), leaving you only $18,600

    No one in the entire country pays an effective tax rate of 38%. The wealthiest people in the country pay just under 30%. Their first million was taxed at a much lower rate than their second million.

    Now your family doesnt have to “economize” at all.

    I said: “The rich have doubled their income (adjusted for inflation) while everyone else’s has increased 10%? If the rich hadnt doubled their income in the past 20 years, perhaps they would be deserving of tax cuts. But since they have doubled their income, they can afford the taxes more than ever. So hike up those rates!”

    Dave: Again, the rich haven’t doubled their income. Some have gained a lot, but the reality is that the tax bracket you call ‘rich’ has gone up because of more people moving into it – especially into the bottom end, and these upper middle class people making less than $1 million a year are the ones you’re out to screw.

    Again- im only “screwing” them on the part of their income over 1 mill. Not exactly unreasonable.

    I said: “In 2001 the share of federal tax liabilities were as follows. The predicted 2014 value follows in paranthesis.

    Bottom quintile: 1.1% (1.5%) Increase of .4%
    2nd quintile: 5.0% (5.6%) Increase of .6%
    middle quintile: 10.0% (10.7%) Increase of .7%
    4th quintile: 18.5% (19.2%) Increase of .7%
    Top 10%: 50.0% (47.4%) Decrease of 2.6%
    Top 5%: 38.5% (36.1%) Decrease of 2.4%
    Top 1%: 22.7% (20.7%) Decrease of 2.0%”

    Dave says: Where are these stats from? Do they take into account personal deductions and exemptions? They don’t match the figures I have exactly. And why are they broken down by quintiles? Taxes aren’t done by quintiles, they’re done by brackets defined by specific income, so how did they calculate the tax burden by quintiles? I mean, it can be done, but it’s got kind of like comparing apples and oranges. Plus you’re looking at share of tax liabilities. That’s the same old dividing the pie fallacy.

    They come from the Congressional Budget Office

    And it doesnt matter how much the liability is switching from rich to poor, a 2% shift is very significant, especially at a time when the income earned by people in that top category has doubled. There just isnt any justifiable reason for shifting weight off their shoulders onto the poor and middle class at a time like this.

    No socks???? What’s wrong with you???

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

    now..come on… just how much do you expect folks to swallow? you should at least buy them dinner first…

    Gonzo, I had dinner with the manager of a local grocery store a couple of weeks ago and this is EXACTLY the process he described to me. Because the ‘non english speaking workers’ (he wouldn’t admit to hiring illegals) have limited English skills they automatically get put in the least demanding jobs, freeing up native workers to go into those jobs which require a knowledge of the language and which generally pay better. It just makes sense, in fact it’s obvious.

    when an illegal takes a job, that job just goes away… if an english speaker had it at $10 an hour, and the employer decides to hire an illegal at $6 or so… the $10 guy is let go, off to find another job

    Bullshit. Total Bullshit. There’s no evidence that this is the case. There’s no body of thousands of workers who have lost jobs because of illegals. There’s no glut of unemployed illegals looking to take away peoples jobs. The illegals come here because there are jobs waiting for them.

    The scenario you describe could happen in any business with any new hire vs. a longer term employee. Safeway got sued by the Texas AG a few years back over exactly that practice and it didn’t involve illegals at all.

    don’t just think farm work and such, especially down in the southwest, many incidents of construction crews running with 20 people on the job…

    3 or 4 legally and on the books

    And some of those not on the books are not illegals, just people who choose not to be on the books. And the English speaking natives are spread between crews as supervisors and trainers. They don’t lose their jobs, they move on to better ones because the reason the illegals were hired wasn’t because they work cheaper, but because they couldn’t find enough workers.

    I have direct knowledge of this from two sources. I’ve talked with a construction foreman who has made it very clear that he would hire every native he could find at a full wage if he could find any. And I have a friend who’s building a new house. It’s now a month behind schedule because during the roundup of illegals in the Austin area his contractor could not find enough workers to fill all of his crews, so he was down to working on only a couple of the houses in the development project at a time instead of 5 or 6. He would have hired more people to stay on schedule, but again with the illegals gone he could not find them.

    so.. how is the legally operating contractor.. who can make a profit bringing a job in on budget, supposed to compete with the fucking bastard who has a crew of illegals that allowes him to cut his expenses large enough to underbid by 5-10% and still make 20% or more profit than the legally operating competitor?

    They all hire illegals and from what I’ve been told – at least here in Texas – they don’t pay them any less than anyone else.

    BTW, here’s how it basically works. The contractor has a relationship with a guy who works for him on a regular basis who is presumed to be legal and can speak English. That guy has connections to a fluid bunch of potential workers who don’t speak English who he brings to work, acting as a labor sub-contractor. Those guys are probably illegals, but no questions are asked and the primary contractor is isolated from them by going through an intermediary. However, the wages paid by the contractor per worker remain the same.

    You might want to take a look at the expense breakdown for constructing a house sometime. Labor is usually less than a third of the cost. If the contractor wants to save money he cuts the quality of the materials. And BTW, labor costs are about the same here in Austin where we have plenty of illegals as they are up there in Maine where they are rarer. If anyone’s interested in a cool way to research this, check out http://www.building-cost.net an invaluable resource.

    that is NOT the way a free market is supposed to work… instead it should be a level playing field, following whatever the communities Rules are… the one who does the best job wins

    not the one who breaks the most Laws

    If you ignore the fact that the illegals ARE illegal and pretend they’re legal, then it IS a level playing field, and that’s the way employers are acting.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    and to end the Dance…

    Dave sez…
    *If you ignore the fact that the illegals ARE illegal and pretend they’re legal, then it IS a level playing field, and that’s the way employers are acting.*

    yep

    that’s it.. as long as you Ignore the rule of Law, you cut corners and do as you please

    sorry…

    it’s illegal… silly

    not trying to pick on you in specific, Dave.. and i have no desire to go round and round here when i know we can never Agree

    but it’s still illegal, and thus NOT an even playing field, no matter how much anyone attempts to justify or rationalize

    someday we will all have to sit down and Agree on just what Reality IS…

    i am so fucking tired of being on the receiving end of what Lewis Black described as…
    “we have to agree on reality…
    if we all see a Landrover run over at cat, then that’s what is real…
    don’t come to me with some bullshit that the cat was trying to commit suicide… and if I give you three days you can find the note.”

    nuff said…

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    As I’ve said before, it’s illegal up to the point where you change the law. And bad law which makes the lifestyle of millions of people illegal OUGHT to be changed.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    oh yeah… it worked so well in ’86

    you remember.. when Reagan tried it

    how many illegals did we have then?

    and how many now?

    and deciding to commit a Felony and violating the Border contrary to Law as well as National Security is NOT merely a “lifestyle”… it’s a life Choice

    where i can admire the drive to do so, it’s still a felony

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    So, gonzo, let’s bust all the small businessmen currently hiring illegals and really fuck up the low end job market by driving all the small entrepreneurs out of business? What do we do with all the unemployed illegals then?

    Why don’t we set up a guest worker program instead?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Clavos…

    now, i’de give the employers…oh, say a week, i am the generous type

    after that , bust them, fine them and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law

    as for the unemployed illegal aliens… a nice bus ticket, they can take their stuff with them.. like i said, i can’t blame them too much…

    but i DO blame the bastards that knowingly hire them

    as for hwo the problem is dealt with in the future… that is open to conversation and debate

    but it is all completely worthless without securing the borders, and shutting down all hiring of illegal aliens

    no green card/social security number?

    no work

    the sooner we stop the hiring of illegal workers and cut off the demand… the sooner the supply slows down… Bog forfend we ever can stop it completely…

    but what i hear/read suggested is NO diffeent than the 86 amnesty, and in 20 years that debacle has lead to a growth of almost 10 times the population of illegal aliens

    i just don’t consider that “good” for our country for many reasons

    but i’m silly like that

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    gonzo:

    as for the unemployed illegal aliens… a nice bus ticket, they can take their stuff with them.. like i said, i can’t blame them too much…

    They won’t go, they’ll hide–there’s no work for them back home. And rounding up and forcibly deporting all 12 million of ‘em–well, the logisitics (and moral and legal issues) are prohibitive, IMO.

    but it is all completely worthless without securing the borders

    Agreed. And once secured, put in place a guest worker program, and don’t let any more in until there are jobs for them. That’s when I’d start busting employers, but only to the extent of incentivating them to get their illegal employees to join the program.

    Surely our think tanks (Harvard Business School?) can come up with a guest worker program that’s watertight and satisfies all concerned.

    It ain’t rocket surgery.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well now, it seems we are almost in agreement…

    i say you need to start with secure borders (to prevent new influx if nothing else)…and would even not bitch too much if you began busting employers a week after starting an air-tight newfangled green card program…

    but you HAVE to bust the employers… or else they will just continue their addiction to cheap..illegal, labor

    and that ain’t good , imo

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    gonzo certainly isn’t big on the milk of human kindness or common sense.

    He wants to devastate the economy, persecute, terrorize and send ten million people into hiding.

    All for the crime of trying to do business and provide people with the goods and services they want and need.

    Since we cannot and will not secure the borders or expel our current illegal immigrant population, as has been clearly demonstrated, once you give up that fantasy, what real-world solutions do you have?

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well, nice of you to read my mind and skew what i’ve said to fit your spin doctoring purposes

    quite Rovian of you, Karl must be Proud

    you want a Soloution?

    ok…

    secure the borders…tight

    set up whatever green card program you want to cover those illegals already in this country… one caveat here, they go to the BACK OF THE LINE for Citizenship… but can work on their green card following whatever guidelines is worked out in Congress…

    give fair Warning, but the fucking day that the new green card programs go into place, prosecute the felons who hire illegals to the fullest extent of the Law…

    also, as part of the secure borders, any who aid and abet smuggling humans into this country get fully prosecuted, including whatever provisions of the anti-terror laws get broken for said human smuggling

    and there you have it, a plan that accounts for those already in the country (remember, with the new green cards, their hirinng has to follow minimum wage, taxes and all other labor laws applicable), as well as prevention for the inevitable rush of more wanting to get their amnesty too

    remember…everything said by the amnesty crowd was done 20 years ago… didn’t work then

    and without border security and prosecuting employers… it won’t work now

    just a Thought

    Excelsior?

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

    gonzo, pointing out the obvious consequences of the policies you suggest is not ‘spin’, it’s just a harsh dose of the cold water of reality thrown on your flames of irrational passion.

    set up whatever green card program you want to cover those illegals already in this country… one caveat here, they go to the BACK OF THE LINE for Citizenship… but can work on their green card following whatever guidelines is worked out in Congress…

    That works fine for me. I think we should offer them the choice of a renewable guest worker visa or a citizenship track visa with a fine and back of the line status. I’m guessing based on the data that most will take the guest worker visa.

    give fair Warning, but the fucking day that the new green card programs go into place, prosecute the felons who hire illegals to the fullest extent of the Law…

    Sure, so long as we give them a reasonable time and some government help to figure out if their workers ARE illegal and get them properly into the system.

    The one problem I have with this is that it would be most effectively facilitated by a national ID program, and that makes me very nervous on principle. It’s another example of giving up rights – in this case privacy – for security.

    also, as part of the secure borders, any who aid and abet smuggling humans into this country get fully prosecuted, including whatever provisions of the anti-terror laws get broken for said human smuggling

    How about we just shoot the coyotes at the border and leave the boddies rotting in the sun as an example to their compadres?

    Dave

  • Clavos

    I’d be comfortable with not even giving them a citizenship-track option, because I don’t think most are interested.

    I too, have a problem with a national ID, but someone (I think it was you, Dave) pointed out to me in another thread a few weeks ago that we’ll probably have one by 2008 anyway. The renewable guest worker visa or eventual green card status would be good enough.

    I have numerous friends who are green cards, and most have no intention of becoming citizens.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Dave sez…
    *gonzo, pointing out the obvious consequences of the policies you suggest is not ‘spin’, it’s just a harsh dose of the cold water of reality thrown on your flames of irrational passion.*

    oh really so this…
    *gonzo certainly isn’t big on the milk of human kindness or common sense.*

    isn’t distortion and spin?

    or mebbe this?
    *He wants to devastate the economy, persecute, terrorize and send ten million people into hiding.*

    which is not only a complete distortion, but an outright Lie that would require you to be a mind reader (if it bore any semblance of the Truth) to know, since it has nothing to do with what i types…

    and this…
    *How about we just shoot the coyotes at the border and leave the boddies rotting in the sun as an example to their compadres?*

    another bit of *framing*

    distract, distort, deny and destroy…

    your really a good Rovian during an election cycle…

    but you knew that…

    and you wonder why i spent so much time referring to you as Mr Nalle…

    ah well, all yours Dave… since you would rather bullshit than discuss… i’ll leave it to ya

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    I just realized…I didn’t get a response from either of you about “it ain’t rocket surgery” (153).

    When I use that in live conversation, I usually get at least a chuckle.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    heh…

    tuff fer ya ta hear me chuckling over the mojo wire…

    but it was punny

    Excelsior?

  • troll

    why a $25,000 exemption…why not $38,000 or $65,000 – ?

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

    gonzo, you really need to get some perspective. It’s not all about you. And I was serious about shooting the coyotes and leave them rotting on the border. My idea, not yours.

    Dave

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

    Troll, $25K was just a number I threw out. I think that a real number for an exemption under a flat tax system would have to be set based on the current economy and how much it bit into governmnet revenues. Realistically I think it could be raised as high as $45K without having a hell of a lot of impact on tax revenues and it would have a whopping great positive impact on the economy, which would probably more than offset any revenue loss.

    Because the overwhelming portion of the tax burden falls on those in the top quintile, not taxing those in the lower middle class would be a win/win/win situation. It’s a win for the government, a win for the newly untaxed and a win for everyone else because of the boost it would give the economy.

    Bush flirted with this idea a little bit with his expanded child care benefits and small increase in the personal exemption, and he has expressed support for tax reform including a flat tax. It might be a way for him to secure a positive legacy. It fits with his general philosophy and I think it would do even more to stimulate the economy than his small cuts and rebates.

    Dave

  • http://www.1bigdragon.blogspot.com Peter J

    Personally I don’t see how anyone could possibly be so cold as to just jail and deport all of the illegals. Most time it sounds to me just like a good old fashioned dose of racism.
    Fact is, if you jail and deport every last Mexican (that is who we’re talking about, isn’t it?) our un-employment rate would soar astronomicly. These people are cutting grass (unless you’re ‘legal’ then you’re ‘landscaping’) picking fruit, doing menial labor, anything that would not get done because no ‘legal’ will work for those wages and no employer will pay what a legal wants to do the job, hence, a whole market of jobs that will not be filled.

    As for taxes, I don’t believe any employer is actually witholding taxes as illegals have no social security # to put the money toward. They may keep money out but it’s in the form of wages. There is no answer at the moment as to how to adress this as no one really knows (except employers, people who hire them as housekeepers, yard labor, day labor,et,) just how dependant we are on their services. Aside from that it’s not a problem of immediacy.

    The one problem, aside from us putting our fucking noses in everyone elses affairs, wars, civil wars, trying make other countries such as China tell us about their nuclear programs (I’d like to see what would happen if someone tried to ‘enforce’ us),I strayed, as I do. We need to solve our own problems, then maybe we can police the world, after we show them we can fix ourselves.

    The problem is as I stated in #138 is how to get more spending money into the economy and the hands of the NEEDY RIGHT HERE IN OUR COUNTRY! You remember them, they’re the ,uh, o yea,,the Americans! We should be voting on one issue alone, flat taxes, not some convoluted fucking mess put together by pencil pushers in DC, nice, simple, similar to #138, flat tax with a bottom line deductable.

    From there, we should find actual spending incentives for the real upper and middle class, not trickling money down but throwing money down to the economy. Get them to ‘spend’ money, a lot of money, to pump up the economy. Why is it that a group of people on a blog site can come up with ideas and DC can’t?

    It’s not that the rich don’t want lower classes to have more money, like anyone else, there are cool people and there are ass holes, same as any class. The rich or upper class are not hurting us, it’s the upper class (that great 2% we all talk about) who don’t want lower classes to have more money. Why? Because money is power!

    Just like a holding co., there will always be a small group holding 51% or more, they’re not about to lose control. That’s the same way that class warfare works, that top 2% is going to hold 51% the money, keeping the power at the top. The only way to get more money to the bottom is to take it by voting. Some countries actually resort to revolution, not just over money but the wars and corruption perpetrated by that 2% or as the’ve been called the ‘Establishment’.(sounds corny, huh? nothing funny about these ‘folks’) I’ve spoken of this before in other threads but why would you think that no one is really interested in making it easier for everyone to vote intelligently by computer or what ever other method could be developed? Because if 80% of the people voted it would take power from that 2%. That @2% is our enemy, they create wars, they create shortages, they create disparity. Aren’t they doing a great job?

    We need to decide what and where is the root cause of our problems, here in America and then decide what we’re going to do about it. NEVER underestimate that tiny percentage, they would do anything to hold power, even kill 3000 people.

  • bliffle

    The traditional objection to a flat tax with a fixed exemption is that this absolves too many people entirely from paying taxes, thus disocciating voters from the budgetary consequences of their votes: everyone should feel the bite.

  • Clavos

    True, bliffle.

    Which is why the Fair Tax, which is similar, is a better idea.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    ok Clavos… question for you while i’m reading through the PDF…

    does Labor count as “goods or services” to be taxed under this proposed law?

    how about stocks? they are bought and sold, same as toilet paper…

    just a few Thoughts from initial skimming…

    Excelsor?

  • Clavos

    gonzo, I’m not an expert, but, according to the fairtax.org website:

    Equities are not taxed. Nor are bonds or treasuries.

    I’m not sure about the labor issue, but two points:

    1 The Fair Tax applies only to transactions to consumers, not business-to-business transactions.

    2 It’s presented as replacing the income tax. Since income is what one receives for labor, I think it doesn’t tax labor, at least not directly. In the sense that labor is usually included in the cost of a manufactured product, then it would be indirectly taxed. Also, the proponents of the tax DO say that services will be taxed, so the labor of your accountant or mechanic would be, presumably.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    and by eliminating any business to business you thereby toss out a HUGE amount of legitimate revenue, and show just who is pushing for it and who stands to benefit

    sorry, but busnisses buy goods and services, and should pay their taxes on it… just like a consumer has to for toilet paper…no difference

    as for labor.. imeant does the business pay tax on purchasing the commodity of labor

    from your previous statement, i woudl think not

    another case of it being a ploy to remove any tax burden from certain segments of the population, and place them squarely on the individual citizen

    sorry… but even the outrageously high 23% cited will NOT hit the revenue neutral goal

    just another case of *framing* by calling it “fair” when nothing could be further from the Truth

    but i’ll read it carefully over the weekend

    however, everything so far leads one to conclude it’s just another scam… and possibly a disasterous one at that for the average citizen

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    gonzo, c’mon.

    You’re a sophisticated smart guy; you KNOW businesses don’t pay taxes–they’re tax collectors; everything you buy from a business has all the taxes they paid included in the price.

    The purpose of eliminating the business to business is to get rid of the myriad hidden taxes we’re already paying on everything we buy.

    In the (almost) words of the immortal Pogo:

    “We have met the taxpayer, and he is US”

    As to the revenue neutrality issue: the proponents claim it is revenue neutral, as you said. Again, I’m no expert, but it seems to me it would be impossible to get it passed if it isn’t.

    DO read up on it over the weekend–I’d very much like to hear your reaction to it after you have; I will too.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well Clavos.. i owned my own business in the 90’s

    and i paid taxes

    and sold my business at a profit when i left… agani , paying taxes

    wonder what the fuck i did wrong…i was just following the Rules

    but we all can’t afford Arthur Anderson to do our books, eh?

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    gonzo,

    Do you mean to tell me you didn’t book the taxes you paid as part of your cost of doing business, and including them in your overhead when calculating what to charge for your product or service? Since you sold your business at a profit, it was obviously profitable; so, by definition, you were passing your taxes through to your customers.

    As for the taxes you paid when you sold the business: those are eliminated under the Fair Tax plan.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Clavos.. i owned a jersey shore arcade…cash business, with pretty well fixxed prices fo rthe services rendered

    so i counted my taxes as part of the price of doing business, yes… but had to ensure that i covered them by generating profits rather than “passing the cost along”

    and the more i read, the more this bullshit named “fair tax” plan shows to be anything but Fair

    it shifts the entirety of the tax burden onto the individual citizens.. and removes ALL obligations from not only businesses ( who use services provided by taxes) and is completely skewed to removing all the tax burden from the so-called “investor” class, by making everything they do tax free…

    hence my earlier Question about paying taxes on stock transactions (why should they be exempt from a sales tax?) and if businesses need to pay a sales tax on the Labor they purchase?

    if you are going for a pure consumer usage tax….then ANYTHING purchased needs to be taxxed outside of essentials (food and energy)

    make sense?

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    gonzo,

    The fact that you had profits MEANS you passed the taxes thru.

    The entire tax burden IS ALREADY on us individual citizens–we are the ONLY ones who pay taxes–all businesses are including THEIR taxes in their prices, which WE pay for their goods and services.

    Once again, businesses do not “pay” taxes–they collect them for the government–WE pay their taxes when we buy their stuff, and they “pass” them to the government.

    Investors ARE individual citizens, and DO purchase end-use products and services (in fact, more than the rest of us, usually), which WILL be taxed–EVERYONE buys those goods and services, that’s why it’s a FAIR tax.

    And essentials WILL be taxed, because exemptions is where the unfairness creeps in. The Fair TAX will give a “prebate” equal to the tax paid on essential goods and services.

    PLEASE read it, including the FAQs–I’m not that good at explainin’ it.

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

    The traditional objection to a flat tax with a fixed exemption is that this absolves too many people entirely from paying taxes, thus disocciating voters from the budgetary consequences of their votes: everyone should feel the bite.

    An interesting thing to consider, bliff. But since the lowest income groups overwhelmingly don’t vote at all anyway, I don’t really see the problem.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Clavos… i have been reading it

    and stated the Objections i have to it so far

    after the first skim, i still come away with it being completely bullshit for the reasons i stated earlier… and more

    thanks for sharing, and i will go over it more completely just so i have ammo against it

    remember, i would like to see our tax system reformed… loopholes closed, imports taxxed to the same level our exports are taxxed… i even like the Idea of a “luxury tax” and would be happy to toss out capital gain if the selling stock transaction were hit with a sales tax…

    but this bit you referenced appears more and more like the typical scam, and NOT good for the average citizen, imo

    yoru mileage may vary

    Excelsior?

  • troll

    *…the lowest income groups overwhelmingly don’t vote…*

    yup – and why should they legitimize in a political system that ignores their interests in favor of those of the rich by genuflecting…err voting that is – ?

    they have so little at risk after all

    the idea of no taxation without representation might apply here

  • Peter J

    No matter what is said, no matter what it is that pertains to the problem of disparity of wages it gets blown right by. As soon as there is a suggestion, good or bad, it is sure to immediately digress or go off on a tangent, anything NOT to stay and debate that issue.
    This thread is titled;

    “Real Wages Declining For American Workers–More Questions For November Elections”
    which was articulated so well by Mark, has digressed into everything BUT wages. It’s bounced from illegals, green cards, the constitution, ammendments, taxes (which would apply if we stuck to the concept of lower taxes and exemptions for the poor but it goes everywhere else), budgets, pie charts, political contributions, and finally that old stand by of the dilusionally well off; Trickle down economics, hasn’t that horse died yet? It NEVER workrd and never will.

    BUT, anyway, this thread is about ‘Real Wages Declining For American Workers’!! Get It?
    Does this discussion worthy of any discussion? Apparently Dave thought so or he wouldn’t have taken the time to compose.

    Would it not be great to actually end a thread , going away with the thought that we really came up with some ideas, maybe even who to vote for when looking for a candidate who looks in that direction?

    Is everyone so cold hearted that you don’t care about a family of 4 with both parents working fulltime, sometime 2 jobs for one, barely able to buy food or neccessities sometimes. Has no one ever been there themselves? Does nobody want to help the most needy in OUR OWN country?

    If this is truly the case then I can understand why people ‘give up”. Me? It just pisses me the fuck off and embarrasses the shit out of me as an American. What a bunch of greedy, self serving leeches this country is full of. No wonder the world hates us, we are obviously quite transparent!

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

    the idea of no taxation without representation might apply here

    So what’s wrong with my idea of offering them representation without taxation?

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    If it were ‘fair’ to shift all taxes from business and investment to individuals, why wouldn’t it be fair to shift all taxes from individuals to business and investment? Seems to me the arguments are symmetrical. And it would be easier to collect from a few businesses than a million people.

  • Clavos

    Nobody’s been listening!!

    BUSINESSES DON’T PAY TAXES. They “collect” them for the government.

    Yes, ABC Industries writes checks to the government for taxes, but those taxes become part of their overhead and are included in the prices we, their customers pay for their goods and services.

    The ONLY taxpayers in the country are THE PEOPLE–we pay the corp[orate taxes in everything we buy–EVERYTHING. THE TAX STOPS HERE.

    The price of a loaf of bread includes something like twenty taxes without which the loaf would cost up to 80% less in some jurisdictions than it does now.

    If a company’s taxes wipe out its profit it fails and goes out of business. So, if in the process of manufacturing a widget, a company pays $2 in taxes, plus, say, $3 in all the rest of its costs, it will have to charge at least $5.01 to make any money, or go out of business.

    We buy the widget at $5.01, and we’ve PAID the $2 tax to the company, which then pays it to the government.

    It’s not rocket surgery, Folks!

  • Peter J

    Obviously then not many people will argue that most of our problem is not in wages earned but in actual taxes included on every widget.
    If then, that the problem is in taxes across the board then it needs to be addressed at its core.

    If this is as you say, then eliminating the tax or taking the burden from the consumer, a family could very well live on $300. a week take home if groceries were, rather than $150. a week, $100. and if an automobile, rather than $10,000. only $6500. or rent,rather than $800. a month became $500. a month without hurting the landlord, or the auto manufacturer or the supermarket then it goes back to the governnment charging far too many taxes.Maybe they need to be eliminated.
    We already pay too many taxes.
    We all pay Federal income tax (unless your income is so pathetic it would kill you), many of us pay State income tax, all pay sales tax which differs county to county, some pay a luxury tax, some a death tax.
    So,
    What taxes are there that allow for corp to pass the expense on to consumers? (also taking into account that the lower classes spend a much greater % of income on tangible and consumable goods)
    And if this is the case, then there are 1 or all of 3 things which things must be addressed to aid the absolute lower classes.

    1; eliminate or lower the tax from government
    (government loses income, maybe not a bad idea.
    may force fiscal responsibility)

    2; stop corp from passing the tax on
    (corp loses,,employees ultimately lose)

    3; Raise lower class income by instituting a SIMPLE flat tax
    (every one wins with a bottom line tax
    deduction of $30,000. and taxes at 10% up
    to 1 million, 15% up to 2 million etc.)

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

    2; stop corp from passing the tax on
    (corp loses,,employees ultimately lose)

    That sounds awfully totalitarian to me.

    3; Raise lower class income by instituting a SIMPLE flat tax
    (every one wins with a bottom line tax
    deduction of $30,000. and taxes at 10% up
    to 1 million, 15% up to 2 million etc.)

    It would have to be a lot higher than 10% or 15%, more like double that.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    That’s the idea, Peter.

    Now check this out.

    For a better idea than a flat tax, and which eliminates all the other taxes on goods and services.

  • Marlowesbeef

    Dave… How much money do you make as an apologist for Corp. America? Is it by the piece or a monthly salary thing? Because somehow, no matter what real world statistics are brought up, at ANY time of the year, you manage (at least in your mind) to explain them ALL AWAY… Really, you sound like you’re on the Bush Adm., payroll… Because Cheney spends a lot of time going around saying “Nuh uh!” too…

    marlowe

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

    Not a cent, beefboy. I provide my services entiely free and in the service of truth.

    Because somehow, no matter what real world statistics are brought up, at ANY time of the year, you manage (at least in your mind) to explain them ALL AWAY..

    And that’s because the fictionalized version of reality which the left is promoting can’t stand up to exposure to simple, basic facts which anyone can find with a bit of research.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    simple , basic Facts…

    ok…

    it benig Labor day and all, let’s see what Sources have for simple, basic Facts…

    how about the Fact that over the last 5 years , Productivity in America has increased quite a bit…

    a *good thing*

    but Wages for those actually doing the Production have fallen

    a *bad thing*

    you want the study and Facts on it?

    sure….
    *Between 1995 and 2000, U.S. productivity – the amount that an average worker produces in an hour – grew about 2.5 percent annually. And real median family income grew right along with it, at about a 2.2 percent annual clip.*

    but now….
    *Productivity grew even faster between 2000 and 2005, an average of 3.1 percent annually, helped by improvements in technology. But real median family income dropped 0.5 percent each year during that same time, according to the study’s data.*

    ain’t that swell kiddies?

    and just to toss out another Factor in the great Equation, from the same study…
    *In 2005, CEOs earned about 262 times more than the average worker, according to EPI data. Forty years ago, that ratio was much smaller, with CEOs earning 24 times more.*

    this was from a study done by the Economic Policy Institute, and independant facility ni Washington D.C. that utilized the governments own data for these conclusions….

    you can find a
    decent Article
    on it here…

    and here’s a whole Google page of the same info, and the same results from other sources of study…

    all of those are within a point or two of each other, all say the same thing

    and ALL agree with the title of this Article…

    nuff said…

    Excelsior?

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

    I do love the way you keep bringing in total irrelevancies. CEO compensation has no causal relationship whatsoever to wages. It just makes a pretty contrast to try to make a deceptive partisan point.

    BTW, did you consider going to the actual source data at the BLS, Gonzo? I did.

    In the last 10 years the average salary of an hourly worker – I’m not even counting in management and CEOs – has risen by 39.45%. In that same period cumulative inflation has been only 30%. That’s a pretty clear improvement – exactly as I said earlier – of a bit over 1% per year in real spending income.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    and i heartily detest the way yo try and distract from the actual data that is presented, since it clearly contradicts what you profess

    fuck the CEO bit, if ya like… i just put it out there since it was part of the same Study

    try and deal with the simple and documented Facts of the Study showing the comparisons between 95 and 00 with those between 00 and 05

    pretty clear cut, and not something supply siders want people to Know

    but the links are there, the Study is peer reviewed… and the Facts are accurate

    make of them what you will, cuz fer me…

    that’s a …

    /30

  • Dean

    Nothing has more influence on lowering our standard of living than the price of energy, yet practically nothing has or is being done to keep it under control.

    Now after six years in office, Bush warns of the dangers of relying on foreign oil.

    President Bush said Monday America must work harder to break its dependency on foreign oil. Bush said, “Problem is, we get oil from some parts of the world and they simply don’t like us.”

    This guy gets paid to tell us what we already know?

    Why does our “leader” tell us what our problems are, when we already know what they are.

    How about giving us some solutions?

    Is that above his pay grade?

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

    and i heartily detest the way yo try and distract from the actual data that is presented, since it clearly contradicts what you profess

    Gonzo, your article compares productivity and income, which is interesting, but entirely irrelevant to anything practical. Productivity has nothing to do with the cost of living. I guess the argument you’re trying to make is that people are working harder with less pay, but the article itself says that the increases in productivity likely result from improvements in management and technology, so that argument isn’t even supported by the article.

    My point and my stats are the relevant ones. People are advancing in income relative to inflation and cost of living. They continue to earn more and have more to spend year to year.

    but the links are there, the Study is peer reviewed… and the Facts are accurate

    Sure, and I acknowledge that. But they also don’t tell us anything terribly negative about the economy or the status of anyone in it.

    Dave

  • Marlowesbeef

    Dave… Do you have the capacity to step AWAY FROM propaganda/opinion of EITHER the conservatives OR the liberals – the Republicans OR the Democrats and actually LOOK at the reality of the situation AS IS?

    The reason I ask is that I do respect your intellect. But at this time it is so subservient to the POWERS THAT BE that it is in fact dismaying.

    Seeing that the rich are indeed getting richer, that the middle class is being torn apart, that the poor are being crushed even further is NOT a “liberal” thing. Not ALL statistics/facts “lie” Dave. You can go out onto the street and SEE what is happening and NOT happening. You can HEAR what the people say.

    Doing such doesn’t make one a “liberal”. No more so than one making a lot of money and managing it well makes on a “conservative”. Facts are facts.

    Political parties are the BANE of this country. So are tired, hackneyed labels.

    What I wonder is this: were you around in the 50s would you have been INSISTING that “this whole issue of blatant racism” is just a bunch of crap?

    Would you, at the turn of the last century insisted that child labor was perfectly fine? That workers made to work 6 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day for next to nothing had little to complain about – because if they wanted to they could walk right on across the street and worked for another company… 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day for next to nothing?

    Do you ever stop to ask yourself why you’re so desperate to tow the party line?

    “Let they who have eyes, see”

    marlowe

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

    Dave… Do you have the capacity to step AWAY FROM propaganda/opinion of EITHER the conservatives OR the liberals – the Republicans OR the Democrats and actually LOOK at the reality of the situation AS IS?

    That’s pretty much what I do. Your perception is skewed by your assumptions. But I basically pursue my own agenda which doesn’t involve taking propaganda from either side seriously. I just go and check the actual facts and form my own opinion.

    The reason I ask is that I do respect your intellect. But at this time it is so subservient to the POWERS THAT BE that it is in fact dismaying.

    The only thing I’m ‘subservient’ to is the truth.

    Seeing that the rich are indeed getting richer, that the middle class is being torn apart, that the poor are being crushed even further is NOT a “liberal” thing. Not ALL statistics/facts “lie” Dave. You can go out onto the street and SEE what is happening and NOT happening. You can HEAR what the people say.

    I’m out on the ‘street’ on a regular basis doing volunteer work. And what I’m seeing doesn’t match what you describe. The statistics also don’t bear it out. And there’s nothing wrong with being a liberal, btw. I wear the badge proudly. If the middle class is being torn apart it’s because they are moving upward in wealth so rapidly. And as for the poor being crushed, it’s a load of crap. Pure political propaganda.

    Political parties are the BANE of this country. So are tired, hackneyed labels.

    Certainly the political parties are a mixed bag. But the idea of political parties isn’t going away, so we have to do what we can to make them work better. IMO a real third party would be a nice start.

    What I wonder is this: were you around in the 50s would you have been INSISTING that “this whole issue of blatant racism” is just a bunch of crap?

    Hardly. Had I been around then I would have been on the front lines of fighting against it, along with the majority of the Republican party.

    Would you, at the turn of the last century insisted that child labor was perfectly fine? That workers made to work 6 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day for next to nothing had little to complain about – because if they wanted to they could walk right on across the street and worked for another company… 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day for next to nothing?

    That one I might have at least thought about, but I would have joined Teddy Roosevelt in passing some basic laws to protect young workers. I think we’ve gone too far in that direction today, though. Try finding a 14 year old who wants to work a decent job. No one will hire them even in states where it’s legal.

    Do you ever stop to ask yourself why you’re so desperate to tow the party line?

    What party line would that be? You clearly have no idea of my beliefs if you think it’s the party line of the GOP.

    dave

  • Dean

    What party line would that be?

    It’s obvious.

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

    I’m not even in the LP anymore either, Dean.

    Dave

  • Marlowesbeef

    Thanks Dave… You’ve answered as I expected.

  • MCH

    “Hardly. Had I been around then I would have been on the front lines of fighting against it, along with the majority of the Republican party.”
    – Dave Nalle

    That would be a first, since you’d have to push yourself away from the keyboard, get up out of the chair, and leave your fortified compound.

    Now why am I skeptical?

  • Handsome Chinese

    Dave, you have presented very interesting and reasonable arguments at this site.

    Well, American journalists are also very selective in picking years, months and days as part of their strategies to criticize governments in Asia. More often than not, their criticisms are unnecessary, unreasonable and disgusting.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Perhaps you could give some examples of these unfair criticisms of asian governments? It’s off topic, but I’m sure we’d love to hear some specifics – because if you know about these unfair criticisms that suggests you at least have SOME knowledge of the various human rights violations going on in China even if you don’t accept their existence.

    Dave

  • Alec

    Dave Nalle – RE: There’s no evidence that this is the case. There’s no body of thousands of workers who have lost jobs because of illegals. There’s no glut of unemployed illegals looking to take away peoples jobs. The illegals come here because there are jobs waiting for them.

    It is absolutely the case in Southern California and elsewhere that illegal aliens are displacing citizens and legal residents in the job market. It is estimated that at least 20% of construction jobs are done by illegals, often with the collusion of both contractors and unions. At the local and personal level, one restaurant I used to visit regularly has replaced all its staff, from cashier to receptionist to wait staff to cooks and busboys with illegals, even though previously they had employed a lot of students and legal residents trying to become upwardly mobile. I am noting this trend with other businesses and employers.

    Crowding out legal workers from lower-paying and entry level jobs hampers upward mobility. I know a number of cooks who later opened their own coffee shops and restaurants. This doesn’t happen to the same degree when legal workers can’t get the jobs in the first place.

    Contractors pay illegals less because they do not pay the various taxes (social security, payroll, unemployment insurance, worker’s comp) that are mandatory for wages paid to legal workers, and often don’t offer raises that would be due to union employees. However, these wages are still higher than those paid to agricultural workers, which is why the agricultural industry is having problems getting their usual supply of “guest workers” even though “there are jobs waiting for them.”

    There is also an interesting side-effect to this. Many customer service jobs have been outsourced, but many of those that remain are going to Spanish language or bilingual Spanish/English speakers. I did a recent consulting job for one of the biggest banks in the region, and noted that their customer service department was divided into three sections. The two largest departments, dealing with a range of products from mortgages to remittances, were Asian language and Spanish language departments, averaging about 100 employees each. The department devoted to English-speaking customers consisted of about 45 employees. I also noted that the supervisors were Latino and Asian as well. Even though all these employees were citizens or legal residents, the same cannot be said of their customers, and the overall job market reacts to businesses courting illegal alien customers because that’s where the money is (remittances to Mexico is that nation’s number two source of revenue, after oil, and surpassing tourism).

    By the way, there is an interesting article in Slate magazine about how yacht ownership is a sign that a company’s stock value may be in for a downward slide (“The CEO Bought A Yacht”).

  • Martin Lav

    The CEO couldn’t have the Yacht I suppose if he didn’t have access to illegal labor. Neither from his ability to make his initial investment from profits off their backs and ours, nor in being able to maintain it, because as Dave has pointed out there are no legal Americans willing to do the this work.
    Ask legal immigrants in Spain, England, France, Germany, what they think about the influx of illegals in those countries……
    If you live in a fortified compound in Texas and your only contact with the outside world is through the internet, volunteer work or the occassional gardner, pool boy or maid then you think the average American Joe has no bitch about losing their job to an illegal alien. If you study statistics all day long in fact you won’t think there’s any job lost to illegals because the numbers don’t bear it out. Everyone’s working and everyones happy.

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

    Alec. I know that what you’re stating here is the popualr belief with a lot of people in California, but it’s just not true. There have been actual investigations and research done on the influence of illegals in the labor market and the truth is that wages go UP for natives when illegals start getting jobs. I’m writing an article on it – keep an eye out for it.

    Martin. The CEOs with the big yachts manage the big companies. The vast majority of illegals are employed by small businesses whose owners usually can’t afford a serious yacht. Maybe a nice powerboat or a rental for their sales team to go fishing, but not a bigass yacht.

    If you live in a fortified compound in Texas and your only contact with the outside world is through the internet, volunteer work or the occassional gardner, pool boy or maid then you think the average American Joe has no bitch about losing their job to an illegal alien

    We don’t have a gardner, our pool boy is an anglo and so is our maid. And do you think I do volunteer work at the yacht club or something? That’s not where they need volunteers, and where I do help out I come into contact with people on the low end of the economy every day, and spend a lot of time with them and talk to them at some length. I also come into contact with a fair number of illegals. I do have a pretty damned good idea what I’m talking about here from personal experience as well as from academic studies.

    Dave

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Dave – You have a maid? And I was under the impression that you were just a middle class kinda guy…guess I must really be whiskey tango! I guess me and all my friends are all just poor white trash…none of us have maids…

  • Maurice

    My cleaning lady is white and charges $19 per hour. I think most working couples could afford the $38 per week that we pay her to clean our 3700 square foot house.

  • Clavos

    Mine is a legal white Hispanic (I checked!) who charges $50 for one day a week. She also washes and folds the laundry while here. Won’t do windows, though.

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

    Andy, I don’t have live in servants or anything like that. She comes once a week and charges $50 to $75 depending on what she’s doing that week. Sounds like about the same rate as Clavos, though Marice is getting one HELL of a deal given the size of his house and what he’s paying. Our house is smaller (at least the part she cleans) and we pay a lot more.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    In this area, a cleaning person (white, native born) charges $50 to vacuum, dust, and damp-mop the kitchen & bathroom floors, $75 to ‘do’ the bath & kitchen fixtures (sinks, etc.), and more if she has to do anything else like clean the stove or microwave. If I were to get a service, it would cost me $95 per visit for a team to do an increasingly sloppy & half-assed job of the same, so that within a year I’d have to get another service. They also break things and then hide them or try to fit them together cleverly so I don’t notice they broke them and think I did it myself; and I suspect that more than once someone went rifling thru my things, because I’ve found things missing from sudden “shorts” in my prescriptions, to DVDs I suddenly can’t find that were there the last time I looked. Therefore I no longer bother with either a cleaning person or a service. Why pay money for a crappy, careless job & pilfering? I can do a crappy, careless job myself ;), and I don’t need the pilfering. Besides, cleaning is good exercise.

  • Nancy

    Besides, most cleaning services staff almost exclusively with illegals, in this area. I refuse to have such scum in my house for any reason, at any price.

  • Martin Lav

    It must be because it’s work that Americans won’t do……we must all live in filth then.

  • Nancy

    Or do it ourselves. Like I said, it’s good exercise.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I said: “So my question is, why are we slicing the percentages for the rich more than any other group, especially when the rich can afford the tax more than ever?”

    Dave: Because raising the taxes on the entire bracket hammers those on the lower end of it who can’t necessarily afford it so well, and means nothing to those on the top end.

    Im sure youll correct me if im wrong, but wouldnt the people on the lower end of that bracket only pay the higher percentage on the part of their income above the threshold. That would seem to make your next several paragraphs about how much a tax hike on the top bracket would slam the lower end of the bracket, useless.

    Not a problem with $30,000 a month, until you take out 38% in taxes (under the 2002 rate), leaving you only $18,600

    No one in the entire country pays an effective tax rate of 38%. The wealthiest people in the country pay just under 30%. Their first million was taxed at a much lower rate than their second million.

    Now your family doesnt have to “economize” at all.

    I said: “The rich have doubled their income (adjusted for inflation) while everyone else’s has increased 10%? If the rich hadnt doubled their income in the past 20 years, perhaps they would be deserving of tax cuts. But since they have doubled their income, they can afford the taxes more than ever. So hike up those rates!”

    Dave: Again, the rich haven’t doubled their income. Some have gained a lot, but the reality is that the tax bracket you call ‘rich’ has gone up because of more people moving into it – especially into the bottom end, and these upper middle class people making less than $1 million a year are the ones you’re out to screw.

    Again- im only “screwing” them on the part of their income over 1 mill. Not exactly unreasonable.

    I said: “In 2001 the share of federal tax liabilities were as follows. The predicted 2014 value follows in paranthesis.

    Bottom quintile: 1.1% (1.5%) Increase of .4%
    2nd quintile: 5.0% (5.6%) Increase of .6%
    middle quintile: 10.0% (10.7%) Increase of .7%
    4th quintile: 18.5% (19.2%) Increase of .7%
    Top 10%: 50.0% (47.4%) Decrease of 2.6%
    Top 5%: 38.5% (36.1%) Decrease of 2.4%
    Top 1%: 22.7% (20.7%) Decrease of 2.0%”

    Dave says: Where are these stats from? Do they take into account personal deductions and exemptions? They don’t match the figures I have exactly. And why are they broken down by quintiles? Taxes aren’t done by quintiles, they’re done by brackets defined by specific income, so how did they calculate the tax burden by quintiles? I mean, it can be done, but it’s got kind of like comparing apples and oranges. Plus you’re looking at share of tax liabilities. That’s the same old dividing the pie fallacy.

    They come from the Congressional Budget Office

    And it doesnt matter how much the liability is switching from rich to poor, a 2% shift is very significant, especially at a time when the income earned by people in that top category has doubled. There just isnt any justifiable reason for shifting weight off their shoulders onto the poor and middle class at a time like this.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    The problem with Clavos’s flat tax is that it is essentially a flat tax. If you’re taxing goods at the same rate, everyone is paying the same rate. Considering some people have a negative effective tax, most have an effective tax near 10% and some have an effective tax of 30%, giving all these people a tax of 20% would screw some (imagine being typical middle class family with an effective tax rate of 10%, and the next day it doubles to 20%, and you pay twice as much in taxes – yes that’s probably you Clavos).

    That’s why the flat deduction Dave talks about is at least reasonable compared with a flat tax under the guise of a sales tax. That being said the deduction would have to be up around 45,000+, or else the tax rate would increase dramatically for earners in the middle and upper middle class.

    It really doesnt matter how you tax people, all that matters really is the effective tax rate of individuals. The means of taxing is entirely psychological. Whether you’re paying the tax picking up bread at the store, or out of your personal income, or any other way, all that really matters is the total amount (or percent) of dough you’re turning over to the govt. The rest is in your head.

  • Clavos

    PETI says,

    Considering some people have a negative effective tax, most have an effective tax near 10% and some have an effective tax of 30%, giving all these people a tax of 20% would screw some (imagine being typical middle class family with an effective tax rate of 10%, and the next day it doubles to 20%, and you pay twice as much in taxes – yes that’s probably you Clavos).

    You’re ignoring a few things here, PETI:

    The rebates which are part of the Fair Tax, which give lower income families a zero tax rate.

    ALL other taxes (including all the current hidden ones) are eliminated; thus reducing the retail prices of almost everything, which will bring the net price (including Fair Tax) of almost everything to below its present-day cost.

    The Fair Tax is ONLY charged on NEW goods and services–anything purchased used is not taxed–especially valuable to lower income folks who must buy used (cars, e.g.) anyway.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You’re ignoring a few things here, PETI:

    Most people see the idea of the Fair Tax and recoil and don’t consider the details.

    The rebates which are part of the Fair Tax, which give lower income families a zero tax rate.

    Hey, that’s a PREbate, not a REbate. For what that’s worth. IMO it would be easier to just exempt housing, food and medical from the tax.

    ALL other taxes (including all the current hidden ones) are eliminated; thus reducing the retail prices of almost everything, which will bring the net price (including Fair Tax) of almost everything to below its present-day cost.

    Assuming manufacturers, distributors and retailers actually lowered their prices accordingly.

    The Fair Tax is ONLY charged on NEW goods and services–anything purchased used is not taxed–especially valuable to lower income folks who must buy used (cars, e.g.) anyway.

    A cool feature. A necessary protection for a lot of entrepreneurs.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Assuming manufacturers, distributors and retailers actually lowered their prices accordingly.

    Barring collusion, there’s always going to be one seeking an advantage over his competitors, and once the door is open, the others will follow suit.

    If they collude–prosecute ‘em!

  • Clavos

    Dave — I said rebate because that’s what the sponsors call it, but you’re right, it is a PREbate.

    Although it would be easier to exempt housing, food and medical, the sponsors’ idea was that they didn’t want to open the Pandora’s Box of exemptions at all.

    Also, some of the reading I’ve done points out that higher income taxpayers spend considerably more on food than lower income levels — exempting all food would lose that revenue stream. The same thinking applies to housing. Taken together, exempting food and housing might jeopardize the revenue neutrality of the plan.

    In any case, a substantial portion of the housing market is resales, which wouldn’t be taxed.

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

    I must defend the right of the wealthy to eat foie gras, it’s granted by god!

    BTW, in my copy of the Fair Tax Book it uses the term ‘prebate’.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    A propos of nothing, why on earth would anybody voluntarily want to eat fois gras? It’s just liver by another name. Yuck.

  • http://mrbounce.blogspot.com/ Mistress La Spliffe

    Nancy, people want to eat foie gras because it’s fucking delicious. Honestly. Fatty goose liver has nothing in common with cow liver or pig liver or whatever the hell it is Americans wrap up in bacon and fry. It’s just . . . delicious. Some people say it’s an acquired taste, but hell – who didn’t wonder what all the fuss was about the first time they took a sip of beer?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Is anything more delicious than tormenting innocent creatures on a massive scale?

  • Clavos

    BTW, in my copy of the Fair Tax Book it uses the term ‘prebate’.

    Mine probably does too, but I loaned it out weeks ago, so I can’t check–it’s making the rounds of my friends and my friends’ friends.

  • Nancy

    I’ve tasted it – and I’m sorry, but IMO it’s still just overpriced French liver.

  • http://mrbounce.blogspot.com/ Mistress La Spliffe

    Victor, things being evil don’t make them less delicious. The world would make far more sense if it did, and almost all of the meat dishes served anywhere would taste like absolute crap.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    When the torture is institutionalized and done by the French it ceases to have any meaning to the consumer.

    You know they just banned Foie Gras in Chicago, right?

    Ridiculous.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Dave — because it’s French or because the geese are “tortured?”

  • Joan Bias

    Foie gras is fucking delicious.

    I find it interesting that folks get upset about the way the geese are fed, and yet the ultimate “cruelty” awaits all animals raised for food: They are killed and eaten.

    Oh, also, foie gras is fucking deeeelicious. Mmmmm… foie gras.

  • Clavos

    Dave, My 226: I meant the banning in CHI — just realized I wasn’t clear.

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

    It would be a LOT crueller if we ate them while they were still alive.

    Dave

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Every living creature in existence dies and is eaten. This fact cannot justify the wholly unnecessary and completely avoidable cruelty humans choose to inflict on certain animals for no reason other than fleeting pleasure.

    Is this worse than the needless suffering human beings choose to inflict on each other? No, of course not. But neither is it morally neutral.

  • Joan Bias

    Mmmmm…fleeting pleasure.

  • http://mrbounce.blogspot.com/ Mistress La Spliffe

    Victor, I’m sure you’re not anxious to trade your place at the top of the food chain. But if you had the choice between being raised a goose in France with their rather more pro-animal farming laws, pecking around outside and then being force-fed grain for the last three weeks of your life in a way that doesn’t greatly exceed the way you would gorge yourself if you were instinctually preparing for your migration, or else being a dairy cow getting pumped full of steroids, eating the brains of other mammals and standing around in your own feces wondering where your calves were when your udder was so goddamn full, which would you choose?

    To me all three alternatives are pretty gross, which is part of the reason why I don’t eat much meat, eggs or dairy anymore. Foie gras or otherwise. But if you’re content to start condemning one as a torment of the innocent, you’d better be prepared to think of them all as a torment of the innocent.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Did you two, Dave + Clavos, miss 5th grade math?

    ALL other taxes (including all the current hidden ones) are eliminated; thus reducing the retail prices of almost everything, which will bring the net price (including Fair Tax) of almost everything to below its present-day cost.

    Are you kidding? You are going to redistribute the hundreds of billions of dollars the U.S. collects in income, corporate and other taxes and collect them entirely through a form of sales tax and you expect that to lower the price of “almost everything?” Sure, you might remove some hidden taxes on consumers, like the corporate tax, but you’re just putting them back into the sales tax. On top of the 6% state sales tax you’re going to have a federal sales tax around 40 or 50%. Even if essentials are not taxed, when the lower and middle class buy other items and services(fridge, computer, alarm clock, light, rug, phone, phone bill, cell phone, cell phone bill, electric bill, laundry machine, drier, light bulbs, desks, chairs, tables, cars, bookshelves, sheets, matress, blankets, windows, house, stove, freezer, TV, shall I continue?) they will be paying the 40 or 50% or whatever tax rate everyone else is paying. A flat tax – another way to disguise shifting tax burden to the lower and middle class.

    Again, it doesnt matter how you collect the tax, be it income, corporate or sales tax, all that really matters is the effective tax on individuals. Everything else is psychological. One of the psychological affects of collecting taxes solely with a sales tax is that people will realize every time they buy something, they are paying more in taxes – which reduces consumer spending.

    The “Fair” Tax, is essentially an ill-disguised flat tax. Yes there are some prebates, but anybody buying non-essential items, is going to be paying a very high tax rate. Since our economy is largely supported through the purchase of non-essential items, taxation of these items will reduce consumer spending.

    That’s why the tax Peter and Dave mentioned – a flat income tax with a large deduction of 40,000+, would be much better at maintaining the current distribution of tax liability, while simplifying the tax code.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Well, Mistress Joan Bias, what makes you think there are only three alternatives? Advocating better treatment of farm animals does not require giving up our “place at the top of the food chain” (although that’s a rather outdated concept, because humans never have been and never will be exempt from the universal law of dying and being eaten).

    I tend to reject the extremes of thought on this subject. Inhumane industrial farming methods are too entrenched in the human food supply chain to root out overnight. If the earliest change we can manage is to end the cruel methods used to produce a luxury food item marketed to the most self-obsessed and over-privileged asshole segments of human society, I see that as a movement in the right direction.

    Over the long term I want to see all the animals and even the plants under human management treated with as much kindness as possible, not only for moral reasons, but also because healthier animals and plants will logically produce healthier food products for humans to eat.

  • Clavos

    PETI,

    According to the Americans For Tax Reform website, 31% of the current retail price of a loaf of bread is hidden taxes, before sales tax. The Fair Tax bill proposes a 23% tax on new goods and services.

    Obviously, the new price of the bread would be reduced by the difference between current and new taxes under the Fair Tax plan.

    The proponents of the plan say the 23% level would make it revenue neutral — I believe them, but obviously, before it’s adopted it will be subjected to much discussion and dissection.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Lol, that makes 0 sense. Follow these logical steps:

    1. Their is a defecit, so becoming revenue neutral requires at least as much revenue as the current tax system.

    2. Your plan abolishes hidden taxes on goods that as you say are currently 31%.

    3. It also abolishes all other taxes including the income tax which is one of the major sources of tax revenue.

    4. It replaces the hidden taxes with a lower sales tax rate, and abolishes other taxes.

    5. Your plan reduces revenue indirectly associated (sales, corporate, trade tarriffs etc.) with the sale of goods from 31 to 23% and abolishes the income tax.

    6. If existing tax revenues are either abolished or reduced, total revenue also decreases.

    Just stop and look at what you are saying, you seem to be under the impression a lower tax rate, and the loss of income tax revenue, will give more tax revenue.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    There is something very fishy about the 23% number. Since the effective tax on individual income, ignoring exemptions, averages over 23%, and this doesnt include all the other taxes the govt collects, 23% obviously is a gross underestimate. And if the tax is 23%, prebates on essentials would lower the effective rate to 15-20%. 23% is impossible, the real rate is debatable but would have to be at least 30 to be at all realistic, and I would ballpark it at 40-50%.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    And can you imagine paying a 40-50% sales tax on your next car?

  • Clavos

    PETI,

    One:

    It’s not MY plan. It’s actually a pair of bills, HR. 25, and S. 25, currently before Congress.

    Two:

    I said when I first mentioned the Fair Tax on this site, that I’m not an expert. I have read the book about it, read the bill itself — I have NOT done any math (it’s not my long suit), and I’m sure it will be dissected to a fare – thee – well long before it even comes close to being passed.

    Three:

    There’s almost no one who disagrees that we need radical tax reform, and quickly. The Fair Tax seems to address many of the issues and seems to do it well, as I see it. It is endorsed by a number of economists, both academic and in business, so I’d like to see a national discussion on it so we all can determine whether it’ll work or not.

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

    PETI, I didn’t even advocate the ‘Fair Tax’ but I can explain the basics of it since you seem to think I need to defend it.

    The national sales tax would apply to a variety of goods and services which are currently not taxed, which would make up the difference in the loss of revenues from some corporate taxes. And the bread example Clavos gave was just one specific example. Most consumer products are not taxed at that level during the manufacturing process under our current system.

    As for whether we can do the math or not, It’s not our tax and it’s not our math. Experts have done the math and claim it will work. I’d take that up with them. There’s a full FAQ explaining how it would work at fairtax.org.

    Dave

  • xigxag

    All of the above budgets and fanciful tax schemes are omitting social security + medicare taxes, which currently are 7.65% of gross income for a regular worker.

  • Clavos

    @ #241:

    Actually the payroll tax is double your figure, as the employer pays the same amount as well.

    The Fair Tax takes it into account, as you would have known had you bothered to investigate the link in #240.

  • Alec

    Dave – RE: I know that what you’re stating here is the popualr belief with a lot of people in California, but it’s just not true. There have been actual investigations and research done on the influence of illegals in the labor market and the truth is that wages go UP for natives when illegals start getting jobs. I’m writing an article on it – keep an eye out for it.

    Finance and accounting is what I do. My conclusions are not based on what I believe, but on what the data shows. I have seen some of the research you speak of, and much of it is patently wrong, and riddled with an ideological bias that refuses to see the impact of illegal immigration as anything but positive. Worse, I have heard interviews with some pundits and professors who clearly have no actual knowledge of any of the industries that they talk about.

    Quick example. One professor kept talking about illegals as though all of them were paid minimum wage or less. But while, for example, a car wash will pay sub-minimum wage, and even cheat an illegal employee out of his meager earnings because replacement workers are easily obtained, construction must pay higher wages to attract and retain workers who can perform to a certain standard and can meet hard deadlines. Maids and nannies can demand a higher than minimum wage because no married couple wants a messy house or neglected kids, and must pay a premium over minimum to make sure that this happens.

    Oddly enough, I know many so-called progressives who moan about Wal-Mart paying low wages without benefits, but who ignore the economic impact of employers of illegals who do exactly the same thing. In both cases, an employer pushes subsidiary social costs onto the general population. At the same time, pushing down the wages of workers, whether legal or illegal, does not increase wages for anyone else. And basic economics demonstrates time and again that a surplus of labor makes it easier for employers to pay lower wages as workers compete for available jobs.

  • Martin Lav

    Absolutely good point Alec…….
    “And basic economics demonstrates time and again that a surplus of labor makes it easier for employers to pay lower wages as workers compete for available jobs.”
    Can anyone say duh….
    Dave?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    From what I’ve read from the FairTax website, they claim it will lower the effective tax rate on everyone and still raise the same amount of money. Logically impossible of course. All taxes born by all individuals are reduced and consolidated into the sales tax. Logically you cant reduce everyone’s taxes and make the same amount of money. I dont even have to look at their math to say that much.

  • Martin Lav

    Come on PETI don’t you know fuzzy math?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    As far as I can tell it’s not even math. Just manipulation of numbers.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Alec, your comment above is a bunch of ideological hogwash with no substance to it. I agree that a surplus of labor can lower wages, but even with illegals among us we’re not dealing with a labor surplus by any stretch of the imagination.

    And what you’re ignoring is that a surplus of relatively unskilled labor CANNOT lower the wages of even marginally skilled workers who are not competing in the same part of the labor market. You’re trying to compare apples and oranges.

    As for wages going up when illegals move into the area, I was going to save explaining that for my article, but you’ll note I didn’t say there was a causal relationship.

    What’s actually happening is that wages in an area go up because of a shortage of labor and illegals then move into the area to take advantage of the higher wages and more available jobs. It may appear that the illegals bring the higher wages, but in fact it’s the other way around. And yes, the illegals DO act as a pressure valve on wage inflation. But regardless of whether the pink contingent agrees, that’s a desirable thing.

    Dave

  • troll

    *You’re trying to compare apples and oranges.*

    more like grapes and rasins

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Ok as I understand it wages are controlled pretty much by supply and demand, just like commodities. When there is more supply for a product, the price generally goes down in a competetive market. There doesnt have to be “a labor surplus” for wages to be cooled, as Dave puts it. There just has to be more labor than there would be otherwise. A decrease in labor supply causes an increase in wages to attract more workers. An increase in labor supply causes a decrease in wages. Supply and demand.

  • Clavos

    PETI,

    There are two sides to the equation; an increase/decrease in available jobs also factors in.

    For the past couple of years the job supply has been steadily increasing, particularly at the lower end of the scale.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    No doubt, Clavos. I am glad you except my logic. It’s good you point out the increase in demand. But the increased demand has not corresponded to increased wages, because supply has also increased at or more than the rate of demand increase. If supply were not increasing so fast, wages would be higher than they are. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Clavos

    I do except your logic, PETI, but I don’t accept it, since you failed to include fully half the equation in your premise.

    Also, unless you were the first to postulate the realtionship between supply and demand, it’s not really your logic, either.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Premises are completely different than logic. You have pointed out a premise I left out, but at the same time implied my logic is correct.

    There are two sides to the equation; an increase/decrease in available jobs also factors in.

    So I left out labor demand in the equation, but your statement implies that it is an equation and wages are determined by supply and demand. Which is what I was out to prove. Your statement inherently *accepts* that labor supply and demand control labor wages.

    Following that reasoning, one must conlclude less unskilled labor supply and constant demand would cause unskilled labor wages to go up. If illegal immigration did not occur, the wages for unskilled labor would be higher. That is all.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    A decrease in labor supply causes an increase in wages to attract more workers. An increase in labor supply causes a decrease in wages. Supply and demand.

    True, but only if you add the two caveats. First, that the importation of additional workers can only impact wages for the type of jobs for which those workers are qualified. The guys hanging out at home depot looking for day labor lower the wages for native day laborers, not for fast food workers, rocket scientists or bakers. And second that if there is a labor shortage in a given area then imported workers don’t lower wages, they fill a need and provide wage stability.

    These are vitally important considerations, because illegals largely come here to look for work in a very limited number of areas and they are ones where we have a need for more workers than we can fill with natives. They don’t lower wages for the general population or even for other workers in the same specific market. The system is an equilibrium and their main role is to provide stability.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Logical staements are built on valid premises.

    Are construction jobs unskilled? Of course not, and that’s where others in this thread say the problems are with illegal immigrants taking jobs from natives. Yet, in areas like South Florida, where construction is booming, construction jobs go begging, and most of the construction workers down here ARE foreigners–hell, most of the population down here are foreigners.

    Actually, the illegals that are truly unskilled wind up doing stoop labor in the fields and other menial, traditionally low-paying jobs which natives WON’T do anyway, so what they’re paid is irrelevant to the native work force.

    To see this, all you have to do is visit the cane fields in central Florida–all the cutters are foreigners–mostly from the Caribbean.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    And if you want to get picky about grammar and spelling…

    I do except your logic, PETI, but I don’t accept it, since you failed to include fully half the equation in your premise.

    In the above you are using the intransitive meaning of the verb except, but are applying a direct object to it. An intransitive verb cannot take a direct object. It should read “I excepted to your logic.” My logic should have been the indirect object, and not the direct object of the verb.

    You also improperly use the preposition “since.” “Since” should not be used to describe causation. The preposition “because” should have been used instead.

    Also, unless you were the first to postulate the realtionship between supply and demand, it’s not really your logic, either.

    First of all, you should not have placed a comma before the adverb “either.” In doing so, you seperate the verb “it is” from its adverb “either.”

    Secondly, your use of the adverb “either” is repetitive because it is synonymous with the adverb “also” with which you begin the sentence. You might as well have begun the sentence “Also, also…” Your phrasing is no less absurd.

    So, shall we rise above the petty grammar and spelling bickering?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    And see Clavos, Dave even *accepted* my logic as correct. Just because I was missing a premise doesnt mean the logic that followed the premises I did have was wrong. You have both pointed out that if labor demand increases along with labor supply, wages are not depressed. I have also said that several times now.

    I am just continueing that thread of logic, if the labor demand increases, but labor supply did not increase, wages would have gone up. The increase of labor supply (illegals) makes wages for the type of labor they are doing, lower than they would have been.

  • Clavos

    In the above you are using the intransitive meaning of the verb except…

    Noti, PETI. You; I just copied what youy wrote there.

    Feel better now?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    First of all, I obviously dont give a rat’s ass what my grammar is on this site. I, mean, look, at, all, these, misplaced, commas. But your error was entirely different than mine. Mine was a spelling error. I obviously meant to spell accept. You were actually trying to use the intransitive verb “except” and used it completely wrong in a way that makes no sense. Anyways, you didnt exactly quote me. You changed it to “do except” instead of just “except.” “I except your logic” would have been better than “I do except your logic.” By adding “do” you made it even more wrong.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    PETI, having logic that’s structurally correct is meaningless with flawed premises. And you’re still only halfway there with this:

    “The increase of labor supply (illegals) makes wages for the type of labor they are doing, lower than they would have been.”

    Because if there’s a labor shortage in that sector, it’s not lowering wages, it’s keeping them stable.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I dont want to bicker about grammar, i rarely use correct grammar, but if you’re going to pick on my grammar in lieu of an actual argument, you can expect your ass to be handed to you.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Dave, I didnt say it lowered wages. I said it made them lower than they would have been. There’s a big difference.

  • Clavos

    PETI, You need to quit drinking all that Jolt this late at night. You’re going to pop a blood vessel.

    Chill, Dude. Nothing in this entire thread amounts to a hill of beans in the real world.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Dave, I didnt say it lowered wages. I said it made them lower than they would have been. There’s a big difference.

    Ah, but is the big difference that you think that wages going up is desirable? It isn’t always. Wage inflation drives general inflation in the economy, and if the wage inflation is in the service sector and some of the other areas where illegals work it will hit poorer working Americans particularly hard.

    Dave

  • troll

    (right – let’s return to actual slavery from our present de facto state – maybe we could eek out a little more stability)

    supply/demand is an economic relationship and relates to price

    owner/worker is a political relationship and relates to wages

    Clavos says – *Logical staements are built on valid premises.*

    false statement…logic is structural and independent of specific content

  • Clavos

    An interesting article in today’s Miami Herald discusses the looming shortage of labor faced by farmers in Florida and around the nation if Congress does not act quickly to resolve the immigration problem.

    According to the article, growers and farmworker advocates in the area say a shortage is probable:

    ”Let’s face it,” said Katie Edwards, executive director of Dade County Farm Bureau, “we don’t have willing Americans who want to take these jobs in agriculture.”

    This is true, she added, even though they pay more than jobs at fast food restaurants.

    ”If Congress approves an enforcement-only immigration bill, the effects to agriculture will be devastating,” Edwards said. “Access to a workable guest worker program is vital.” (emphasis mine)

    The article also mentions the wage competition between farmwork and construction work; which, as I noted earlier in this thread, is booming and facing its own labor shortages in Florida:

    Agricultural jobs can’t compete on wages with the construction industry, [John] Alger [a grower] said. ”Where agriculture farm workers get paid $10 bucks an hour to pick strawberries or whatever, a construction job is going to pay him $16 to carry buckets of concrete,” Alger said.

  • Clavos

    troll says 266:

    supply/demand is an economic relationship and relates to price

    Correct. The price of labor is wages.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    #265…I didnt say it was a good thing, I was merely pointing out that it is true. And wouldnt the income skyrocketing of the top 1% be just as responsible for inflation as the non-existent wage increases of everyone else.

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

    What troubles me about the information Clavos points out in #267 is that it impacts our economy way more than most of us realize.

    Right now it’s cheaper to fly in a lot of produce from countries in south and central america than it is to grow the same stuff here because of labor costs. You can tell the impact in one way by going to your local upscale grocery store and comparing the price of a given fruit or veggie and its organic equivalent. That 200% or 500% difference in price is mostly the cost of Americna labor – even immigrant labor vs. the transportation cost of flying that produce in from Columbia or Chile.

    The implications of that for American agriculture are grim as hell. We can no longer grow crops on a mass scale suitable for our large population and sell them at a price consumers can afford and at which farmers can make a profit and survive. More and more our domestic agriculture is moving towards specialized higher profit crops or just going out of business. Even Ethanol and Biodiesel aren’t going to save them because it’s going to be cheaper to buy the raw materials overseas. Right now it’s already cheaper to import Brazilian ethanol than to make it domestically. Clavos’ example is a perfect one. Even with specialized, relatively high return crops like citrus, we can’t produce them at a competitive price because of labor supply shortages and wage inflation.

    Do you realize that almost 2/3 of the land which was under cultivation in 1900 is lying fallow and returning to a wild state today or else has been paved over and made into cookie-cuter neighborhoods?

    This isn’t just an economic issue, it’s a national security issue. What happens – god forbid – when a real war makes it impossible to import all this food. Our nation – which was once the ‘breadbasket of the world’ and exported food on a massive scale – may well be unable to feed its own population. Foreign enemies who can find a way to blockade the US, perhaps by threatening agriculture importers with terrorism, could bring us to our knees through our stomachs and our wallets.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Even here, where we’re growing all the vegetables that will thrive in our climate, I see foreign produce in the supermarket.

    Peru, for example, is a major exporter of produce, and a lot of it is showing up even in our mass market stores like Publix.

  • troll

    Clavos says – *The price of labor is wages.*

    I prefer to analyse wages as the amount of profit that owners are willing to/are forced to share with workers rather than simply as a depersonalized cost of production

  • Clavos

    Chacun son gout, troll.

    As a capitalist, I look at it as a market-driven cost.

  • Nancy

    Sorry to expose myself as an ignoramous, but what does that phrase mean, Clavos? Thanks.

  • Clavos

    “Each to one’s own taste,” in French, Nancy.

    And I left out a word–it should have been:

    Chacun a son gout.

  • Nancy

    Thanks, Clavos. The ‘son’ should have tipped me off, but altho I’ve seen it before, I never did get the exact translation, & my French is pretty spotty. This is what I get for not paying attention in school during French: I embarrass myself in my old age.

  • Clavos

    An affliction we all suffer from, Nancy.

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

    L’etat c’est moi?

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Mph! The motto of BushCo. THAT one I know.

  • Clavos

    I’m afraid you walked into that one, Mr. Nalle… :>)

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

    Entirely intentional, Clavos. But you know, Rousseau extended that concept to the idea that all men are inherent and essential components of the state and that without their involvement in and commitment to that state it will inevitably begin to rule over them rather than rule for them. So perhaps when I am no longer the state, the state is no longer legitimate.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    C’est vrai, M’sieu Rousseau (et Citoyen Nalle aussi).

  • Nancy

    Ah-hah! I can follow that, too. Perhaps my French is coming back…?

  • Martin Lav

    Dave I frequently buy organic fruits and vegetables and I don’t see the prices being 200-500% over what’s shipped from Brazil or Peru. Factory farming keeps things cheap as does buying from other countries, but I think American’s would rather pay for healthy American produce and the reason for the proliferation of Organic produce over the last few years. The American Family farmer has in fact had to adapt in order to stay afloat and the government subsidies that were designed to help the family farmer, have actually helped the factory farms. I believe from your previous postings that you aren’t for undue government regulation, so I’m presume you would be against the subsidy programs as their designed today.
    As for illegal immigration, we have legal immigration for migrant farm workers today. These are the poor farmers from Mexico that come here, temporarily, that help to skew your previously cited statistics that claim illegals don’t stay in this country long. These migrant farm workers have had rights establish since the 1960’s and are documented, work and then go home. The vast hordes of other illegals, do not work on farms, can swing a hammer, move furniture, mow lawns, clean pools, work in a warehouse, and as Mayor Conquistadore in LA says, “clean our toilets”. These “workers” do depress wages, because they don’t have the same cost structure requirements of native workers.
    Ie…living in apts. in poor neighborhoods, driving junker cars, etc…..
    While this seems good for the overall economy to you, it is not fair to them or to the existing middle class worker in the US.
    As I recall one of the main reasons for our Civil War was because the south didn’t think they could compete at the produce stand if they had to actually pay their labor. While we have freed the slaves, the wages to the workers are still slave wages and has been proven by the fast growing “specialty and organic” stores, most Americans will pay more, for more.

  • Clavos

    Martin,

    For a recent analysis of the immigrant farm labor market (at least in Florida), read this article in the Miami Herald, published yesterday.

  • Martin Lav

    I read it Clavos. So what is your point?

  • Clavos

    I would think the content of the article makes my points obvious:

    That here in South Florida,

    Immigrant farm workers don’t take work from natives; natives don’t want that work.

    Immigrant workers in other industries don’t depress wages for natives, they are paid the going rate, which, since there are more jobs than workers, is a decent wage in this area.

    Native workers from other areas of US who can’t find work where they are now, can find work if they’re willing to relocate.

  • Martin Lav

    Americans won’t work in the fields for the wages that are paid. It’s close to slave labor. Trust me I did it when I was 15 years old, when there wasn’t an illegal to be found in Washington State. Summer jobs, worked by legal natives. And I don’t recall the rasberries I was picking rotting on the vine.

    I work in the transportation and distribution field. In 1980 the starting wage was $6.50 an hour. It climbed to $10.00 an hour in 1986 and now it’s still $10.00 an hour. Why, because there are mass quantities of illegal workers that continues to depress the wages. (so Calif)

    Your last point, I didn’t read anywhere in the article. What does it refer to?

    Seems like this article was written or referenced only by immigrant advocates (although all of the workers were quoted as being illegal or more PC without papers) or the farm owners. Farm owners that have to compete with Brazil or Chile (3rd World Countries) to sell their fruits and veggies. Now I wonder why they are clomplaining about not having access to cheap labor that essentially takes advantage of disadvantaged people. Why don’t we go back to the slave days, when all the farmers had to do was pay room and board and got the pickers for free?

  • Clavos

    Americans won’t work in the fields for the wages that are paid.

    At $10 an hour, it’s better pay than most unskilled jobs pay. As the article says, Americans prefer to take less pay at easier jobs, so the immigrants aren’t taking farm jobs from Americans.

    At $10 an hour, these jobs pay well above American minimum wage for labor that requires NO education, and NO skill. Hardly “slave” wages, for a job that doesn’t require them to even be able to read or write.

    Workers with minimal skills earn $16 an hour (in construction, e.g.), according to the article.

    My last point was simply this: if there’s not work for unskilled and semi-skilled workers in Washington state, there are areas where there is a surplus of work; for example, in most of the Southern states. People who really want (or need) to work can find plenty of work, if they’re willing to relocate.

    Why don’t we go back to the slave days, when all the farmers had to do was pay room and board and got the pickers for free?

    The people coming from Mexico and other Latin American countries to work here are doing so willingly, even eagerly. Comparing them to slaves who were legal chattel and who were forced against their will to work for no wages is not even remotely valid.

  • troll

    the idea that picking is not a demanding skill is pure elitist bullshit used to justify poor pay

  • Clavos

    the idea that picking is not a demanding skill is pure elitist bullshit used to justify poor pay

    Classic leftist rhetoric.

    ‘A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Dave I frequently buy organic fruits and vegetables and I don’t see the prices being 200-500% over what’s shipped from Brazil or Peru.

    Do you have a WholeFoods in your area? That’s where I shop when I can’t get to the Farmers Market. Price differences in the 2-5x range is about right for them.

    Factory farming keeps things cheap as does buying from other countries, but I think American’s would rather pay for healthy American produce and the reason for the proliferation of Organic produce over the last few years. The American Family farmer has in fact had to adapt in order to stay afloat

    The demand for organics is the one bright spot in farming these days, I agree.

    and the government subsidies that were designed to help the family farmer, have actually helped the factory farms. I believe from your previous postings that you aren’t for undue government regulation, so I’m presume you would be against the subsidy programs as their designed today.

    Absolutely. I’ve written on it at some length in the past.

    As for illegal immigration, we have legal immigration for migrant farm workers today. These are the poor farmers from Mexico that come here, temporarily, that help to skew your previously cited statistics that claim illegals don’t stay in this country long. These migrant farm workers have had rights establish since the 1960’s and are documented, work and then go home.

    And it’s a fine program. I think it should be the model for a larger scale guest worker program.

    The vast hordes of other illegals, do not work on farms, can swing a hammer, move furniture, mow lawns, clean pools, work in a warehouse, and as Mayor Conquistadore in LA says, “clean our toilets”. These “workers” do depress wages, because they don’t have the same cost structure requirements of native workers.

    Except that the native workers who would do these jobs have been clearly demonstrated not to exist.

    Ie…living in apts. in poor neighborhoods, driving junker cars, etc…..
    While this seems good for the overall economy to you, it is not fair to them or to the existing middle class worker in the US.

    The middle class worker is trying to move up to better jobs, not move down to the kind of job you describe as the domain of the illegals.

    Dave

  • troll

    I should respond to #291 with – “typical ‘house nigger’ response”…but I’m a nice guy

  • Clavos

    293: Clever. You did–but you didn’t, Massa.

  • Nancy

    Perhaps this is where welfare should come in: those who are on welfare to be assigned to various jobs, which have been filed by employers needing labor but unable to fill it on their own. Anyone needing/wanting to be on public support, gets assigned to a job, including farm labor. Or perhaps prison labor; it’s certainly better than letting them hang around working out in the gym on the taxpayer’s dime(s).

    Part of the problem is the entitled attitude of kids (and adults) these days. I had one kid in college tell me that he won’t consider any job less than management! Oh yeah? I can’t wait til the little punk gets out into the real world & finds out kids like him are a dime a gross, and he ends up flipping burgers at Mickey D’s. Most American kids seem to be being brought up to believe that manual labor is dirty & ‘beneath’ them, an attitude which they carry with them into adulthood & parenthood & transmit to their own kids in turn. For those, I don’t know what to recommend, since you can’t exactly mandate all kids to spend summers working on a farm shovelling cow stalls, pig stys, and chicken houses out like my cousins & I did.

  • Clavos

    Anyone needing/wanting to be on public support, gets assigned to a job, including farm labor.

    That’s not a bad idea, Nancy. It’s not without precedent,either. That’s what the WPA and CCC were all about during the Depression, and they worked pretty well.

  • Nancy

    I know. I remember my history well. I’m just surprised nobody in county/state/federal government seems to.

  • steve

    picking is a mindless occupation. the is little talent involved, troll. it does take a considerable amount of hard, repeatitive work.

  • steve

    Having people on welfare working on farms? That makes sense. This will render the Mexicans useless and put African-Americans back into the fields. Good plan Nance. I like your reactionist way of thinking. Who needs civil rights progress anywho?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    If you’re suggesting the work be mandatory Nancy, I think you are forgetting one of your major history lessons. Remember? Slavery, Abe Lincoln etc…If you’re suggesting the work be optional, it already is optional, any person capable of doing the work could take the job. All your proposal amounts to is ending welfare. It has nothing to do with farming.

    As to the entitlement thing, I think you’ve got it all wrong. There is actually a very strong culture of work among HS students. Almost every HS senior or junior Ive met works a summer job. A large majority work during the school year. So say they work 20hrs a week + go to school 35 hours a week, that’s a 55 hour work week, not including homework+chores+community service. Do you work a 55 hour week Nancy? The HS students that do not work are a very small majority, and the subject is often a matter of embarassment for them.

    As to the kid you mentioned in college, he probably already has a job, in management or labor. How else would he pay for college? Only a very small proportion of parents pay for their child’s entire education. And it’s almost unheard of for parents to pay all the day to day expense of anyone 16 or over. The student often graduates with large amounts of loans, has to work before, during and obviously after college to afford the education. The fact that the student says, “I won’t work anything lower than management,” may not be out of snobbery, but necessity. He needs a high level job and holds that as a standard for himself. Flipping burgers simply wont pay enough to keep him afloat. And besides, if he’s in college not only would one expect to get a good job (look at the statistics), but he wouldn’t have gone to college otherwise.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Sorry the end of the second paragraph should have read, “The HS students that do not work are a very small MINORITY, and the subject is often a matter of embarassment for them.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Nancy, why not just round up the poor and put them in camps. Then employers could come there and hire them more easily. We could put a sign over the gate of the camps that read something like “Work Shall Make You Free” – that’s catchy.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Im not so sure she meant for the work to be mandatory. But if it’s not mandatory it doesnt really change anything.

  • Nancy

    Well, mandatory in that if you DON’T work, you don’t get a check; that’s pretty mandatory I suppose. Dave, you have an aversion to asking people to actually EARN the handout they get from the state? Why? That does surprise me, in that from everything I’ve ever read by you, you are in favor of people earning their way instead of freeloading. At least, to date you haven’t exactly been a champion of welfare loafers. In any event, since I’m personally acquainted with at least two persons currently receiving welfare – and their families – yes: I object to people receiving support from the state and doing nothing for it, when they’re perfectly well able to perform some form of work in exchange. And if they won’t work, then I don’t see why they should be supported by public handouts. While we’re at it, I also object to those persons who get on public assistance and proceed to breed like there’s no tomorrow. I entirely approve of letting them know that if they increase their offspring while on public assistance, they do NOT get additional funding for their spawn.

    Oh – and PETI, I work an average of 60+ hours per week. And you?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Nancy, you’re missing the point. You are not changing the system at all. All you are doing is ending welfare. If you’re mandating that people who were on welfare, go take a job for a living, that’s slavery. You can end their benefits, but you can’t force anyone to work (legally/morally) which is what it sounds like you are suggesting. And if they are working, they dont need welfare. So all your proposal amounts to is just deleting welfare. It’s not the solution you make it out to be.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Oh – and PETI, I work an average of 60+ hours per week. And you?

    Are you honestly complaining that HS and college students only work 55 hours a week (excluding homework, chores, and community service) because you work 60+? Are you honestly complaining that because they work 5 hours less than you they are acting “entitled?” Forgive me if I don’t take your complaint seriously. If one factors in HW and community service, HS and college students work 70-110+ hours a week frequently. But of course, the whole line of reasoning is absurd. The basic principle is most HS and College students work more than the national average, and very frequently more than you do, Nancy.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I mean honestly, did you read the rest of my post? The exact hours is hardly relevent and the hours you work are even less relevent, esp. considering they 50% more than the national average.

  • Nancy

    I don’t think you read mine, from your response. I’m advocating something along the lines of the 1930s work programs, as Clavos pointed out. They were fine programs then, and they are equally applicable now, allowing people to work and/or learn on the job skills & keep their dignity while on government relief that isn’t really. What are YOU suggesting – that it’s immoral to ask people who are accepting public assistance to do something for it? That’s far from slavery, kiddo. If it is, then everyone who works is a slave, because I guarantee you, if I refuse to work, my employer will stop paying me, and so it is with every employer. You want your money, you work for it. Same with those on welfare: if they want their money, they should be prepared to do something in exchange for it, whatever is reasonably required. When I say reasonably, I mean that obviously you don’t ask a crippled, 120-lb man to go be a lumberjack; but he’s perfectly capable of other kinds of work; you don’t ask a mentally slow but physically hulking individual to be an accountant, but he is capable of being a lumberjack. That’s reasonable. If he wants to get assistance, that is. If not, well, then he forgoes the money. His choice. That’s hardly cruel or “slavery” as you put it.

    As for the kids, that’s a silly point. I’m referring to the ones I know, and around here they mostly DON’T work, and they mostly DO get everything handed to them on a platter by overprotective or overindulgent parents, and they most certainly DO have overinflated opinions of their own value to society. If the ones around you are different, I’m glad for you. I still opine that most American kids are raised in the belief that they are so special they should only start at the top, as privileged persons. I maintain this is wrong; it wrongs the kids, and it doesn’t do them any good when they get into real life situations ’cause that’s not how it is in the real world with real employers et al. In any event, very few are brought up to consider manual labor, or non-desk jobs, and almost none except those born of farms are asked to do the kind of labor we were discussing above.

  • Martin Lav

    Dave Nalle,

    “Do you have a WholeFoods in your area? That’s where I shop when I can’t get to the Farmers Market. Price differences in the 2-5x range is about right for them.”

    Better, I shop at the Wild Oats and it’s not 2-5x higher.

    “Except that the native workers who would do these jobs have been clearly demonstrated not to exist.”

    Don’t exist or get muscled out by cheaper labor?

    Clavos,
    “At $10 an hour, it’s better pay than most unskilled jobs pay. As the article says, Americans prefer to take less pay at easier jobs, so the immigrants aren’t taking farm jobs from Americans.”

    Wrong!
    It’s the hardest work imaginable and taking advantage of uneducated immigrants to work these jobs is a form of slave labor. And who said they got paid $10.00 per hour. These jobs are piece meal mainly, in other words you get paid by the flat or by what you pick.

    Apparently neither you nor Dave have really had to leave the confines of your computer statistic world to see what is really going on beyond the real of your reality…..eh?

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    I don’t think you read mine, from your response. I’m advocating something along the lines of the 1930s work programs, as Clavos pointed out. They were fine programs then, and they are equally applicable now, allowing people to work and/or learn on the job skills & keep their dignity while on government relief that isn’t really. What are YOU suggesting – that it’s immoral to ask people who are accepting public assistance to do something for it? That’s far from slavery, kiddo. If it is, then everyone who works is a slave, because I guarantee you, if I refuse to work, my employer will stop paying me, and so it is with every employer. You want your money, you work for it. Same with those on welfare: if they want their money, they should be prepared to do something in exchange for it, whatever is reasonably required. When I say reasonably, I mean that obviously you don’t ask a crippled, 120-lb man to go be a lumberjack; but he’s perfectly capable of other kinds of work; you don’t ask a mentally slow but physically hulking individual to be an accountant, but he is capable of being a lumberjack. That’s reasonable. If he wants to get assistance, that is. If not, well, then he forgoes the money. His choice. That’s hardly cruel or “slavery” as you put it.

    Ok you just totally switched what you are saying. I agree that this version is something reasonable that should be considered. But do you remember saying this?

    those who are on welfare to be assigned to various jobs, which have been filed by employers needing labor but unable to fill it on their own.

    This version essential mandates everyone work, which is an enormous invasion of privacy. You don’t even give them the option of not working at all. That is forced labor, or slavery, and that is where Dave and my comments have come from. You may say it’s not slavery b/c they get pay, but even slaves often got pay and always got other material benefits (living quarters, food etc.) Anytime you force someone to work that doesnt want to, that is slavery. Your second option allows the person to not work (and not get pay or welfare) while your first mandates that the person work against his will.

    You are also being very unclear as to the method of applying this. First you say it is like the “public works projects of the 1930s” – government jobs for CCC etc. Then you say you’re “assigning” them to a private employer. On other occasions you seem to imply they will work for the employer in order to recieve welfare – a government subsidized job (“get assitance” seems to imply they work for private employer but still recieve govt assistance). You have three conflicting proposals. If you clear up what you are proposing exactly you will be much less subject to accusations of proposing slavery. Vague statements like “assigning people on welfare to a job” are what’s getting you in trouble. You have so many conflicting ideas bouncing around it’s boggling my mind. Personally, I dont have any problem asking someone on welfare to perform a task they are really capable of – I dont know where you got the impression I do (all I said was IF you are mandating everyone currently on welfare go get a job … that is slavery. Obviously that’s not what you meant by “assigning them to a job.” That statement is unclear though because it is so vague. Is the private employer paying them? Is the govt still paying them? Do they have a choice of not working and recieving no pay/assistance?)

    Just clarify, that’s all I’m asking. And don’t call me kiddo :P.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    As for the kids, that’s a silly point. I’m referring to the ones I know, and around here they mostly DON’T work, and they mostly DO get everything handed to them on a platter by overprotective or overindulgent parents, and they most certainly DO have overinflated opinions of their own value to society. If the ones around you are different, I’m glad for you. I still opine that most American kids are raised in the belief that they are so special they should only start at the top, as privileged persons. I maintain this is wrong; it wrongs the kids, and it doesn’t do them any good when they get into real life situations ’cause that’s not how it is in the real world with real employers et al. In any event, very few are brought up to consider manual labor, or non-desk jobs, and almost none except those born of farms are asked to do the kind of labor we were discussing above.

    How is my point silly??? I was only giving a rebuttal of your false notion of a culture of laziness and entitlement. Since your theories are based on encounters with individuals and yeild a relatively small sampling size, while I am talking about the culture of work present in all HSs and Colleges and young people with which I am familiar.

    I still opine that most American kids are raised in the belief that they are so special they should only start at the top

    I know of no rational person that believes they automatically go straight to the top. I dont know many HS grads applying for research positions at Pfizer. It is universally recognized by students that the way to the top is through HARD WORK. Any student seeking a good career earns that career by
    1. Working summer jobs and during the school year (70-110 hours of work per week including school and work for school)
    2. Community service to bolster an application to college (and because it’s a good thing to do).
    3. Working hard at school to get good grades.
    4. Gaining work experience through internships.

    Kids arent raised to believe they automatically should be at the top, they are raised to aim for the top through hard work.

    And if they follow the above principles, they almost certainly will make the top. Look at the statistics on pay differences between different levels of education.

    For most college students, working at Mc D’s is not unacceptable b/c they are arrogant, it is unacceptable b/c Mc D’s wont pay enough to pay off student loans. Your example about the kid who wont work at Mc D’s is useless.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    The college kid you mentioned is going to get a good job if he makes the best of college. He’s not going to graduate college and take up agriculture. Statistically, his pay will be much higher than a HS grads and in all likelyhood will not be in labor. The comment the student made was not based on arrogance. It was based on probability.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    O and Martin- is it just me or do you misinterpret people a lot?

    Clavos,
    “At $10 an hour, it’s better pay than most unskilled jobs pay. As the article says, Americans prefer to take less pay at easier jobs, so the immigrants aren’t taking farm jobs from Americans.”

    Wrong!
    It’s the hardest work imaginable and taking advantage of uneducated immigrants to work these jobs is a form of slave labor. And who said they got paid $10.00 per hour. These jobs are piece meal mainly, in other words you get paid by the flat or by what you pick.

    Clavos said AMERICANS are the ones taking the easier jobs (and lower pay), implying that agriculture IS hard work. You misintrepeted him as saying agriculture is the easy work. Don’t be so quick to jump on things you expect people to say instead of what they are actually saying.

  • Clavos

    Martin says (#309):

    Clavos,
    “At $10 an hour, it’s better pay than most unskilled jobs pay. As the article says, Americans prefer to take less pay at easier jobs, so the immigrants aren’t taking farm jobs from Americans.”

    Wrong!
    It’s the hardest work imaginable and taking advantage of uneducated immigrants to work these jobs is a form of slave labor. And who said they got paid $10.00 per hour. These jobs are piece meal mainly, in other words you get paid by the flat or by what you pick.
    (Emphasis mine)

    Martin, I thought you said you READ the article. Since obviously you didn’t, here’s the relevant part about how much these farmworkers HERE IN FLORIDA make:

    Agricultural jobs can’t compete on wages with the construction industry, Alger said. ”Where agriculture farm workers get paid $10 bucks an hour to pick strawberries or whatever, a construction job is going to pay him $16 to carry buckets of concrete,” Alger said.

    On Thursday, South Miami-Dade farmers signed empty grocery bags they will send to lawmakers expressing support for a guest worker program.

    ”Let’s face it,” said Katie Edwards, executive director of Dade County Farm Bureau, “we don’t have willing Americans who want to take these jobs in agriculture.”

    This is true, she added, even though they pay more than jobs at fast food restaurants. (Again, emphasis mine)

    Sheesh!

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Too bad this article is lost from the most read list. No one will see it ever again :(.

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

    O and Martin- is it just me or do you misinterpret people a lot?

    It’s not just you. It’s a consistent pattern.

    Speaking of which…

    “Except that the native workers who would do these jobs have been clearly demonstrated not to exist.”

    Don’t exist or get muscled out by cheaper labor?

    Did you not read the sentence to which you were responding? If they existed they’d be showing up on the unemployment rolls. They aren’t. The truth is that they move on to better jobs.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    You’ll all be glad to know that you aren’t talking to yourselves and I have seen your corrections and insults both. Thank you for pointing out my errors and for your observations of my inability to read or interpret.
    Let me attempt to clarify.

    Clavos: I did read the article, believe it or not. However, since most of the quotes were from farmers or illegal immigration advocates, I didn’t put a lot of credence into their statistics.
    I did get wrong the point about easier jobs and what you were referring to (thanks PETI), however, I don’t agree that farm work pays $10.00 and hour at all. So, assuming that that is incorrect, that negates the argument entirely that Americans/natives/legals would rather get paid less for easier work. MY APOLOGIES.
    FARM WORK is piecemeal pay. That’s the truth.

    Nalle,
    I don’t follow you, so chalk it up to the fact that I’m just misinterpreting you entirely.

    I shop at a Wild Oats store and I know the prices aren’t 2x-5x higher than your average grocery store, so what’s your answer on that?

  • Clavos

    however, I don’t agree that farm work pays $10.00 and hour at all. So, assuming that that is incorrect, that negates the argument entirely that Americans/natives/legals would rather get paid less for easier work.

    OK, Martin you don’t believe the $10/ hour.

    Oh, BTW the term is piecework. Piecemeal is something else entirely

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

    All I can contribute to the farm wages issue is that I know for a fact that the small organic farm at the end of my street is paying $10 or more per hour for labor, and many of those working for them are NOT illegals. In fact, one of them just bought my old pickup and he’s working there as a part time job during college.

    Dave

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

    I shop at a Wild Oats store and I know the prices aren’t 2x-5x higher than your average grocery store, so what’s your answer on that?

    There’s a hell of a lot of variation in produce prices depending on where you shop and where you live. My price difference estimate wasn’t even based on comparing stores, but on the differences in the same store between organic and non-organic.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Dave #319:

    I know for a fact that the small organic farm at the end of my street is paying $10 or more per hour for labor

    I believe you, because that’s what they pay down here. But Martin won’t.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Ive heard some farming pays pretty well too, relative to other manual labor.

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

    The college kid you mentioned is going to get a good job if he makes the best of college. He’s not going to graduate college and take up agriculture.

    I think the graduates of Texas A&M, Texas A&I, Prairie View A&M and all the many other agricultural universities in the country would take issue with this statement.

    Dave