The Problem with the 2%

Ok, this post was inspired by SUFA’s very own Charlie Stella. It occurs to me that, while this is a political site, we are addressing problems that reach beyond politics, and that some things other than politics are involved in the philosophical discussions we have here. I will be doing two posts along this line. This first one will address the super-rich specifically, and a second will be a more general discussion of issues in our country and culture that are not, in fact caused by nor fixable by, the government or any specific political action, at least not exclusively.

I find it productive in any debate to recognize and accept the truths of your opponent’s argument. If you simply throw the whole argument out, then you damage the credibility of your own, and come off as not listening because, well, you really aren’t. That sort of dogmatic approach will not win over anyone, and it destroys the learning process that debate can, and should, be all about. In most of Charlie’s arguments, there is a reference to the problems of the 2%. While I do not have a philosophical issue with inequality of wealth, I do see where there are major problems caused by some of the most wealthy, and I recognize that, all else being equal, the one with the most capital has a MAJOR advantage.

Unfair Advantage
I work for myself, and I help my girlfriend with running her own business as well (she has been at it longer than me, its just grown to be too much for one person). This is not my first attempt at starting a business. It is, in fact, my 14th. I made a variety of errors in the earlier attempts, but almost all of them could have been made up for by ample capital, and some of my failed attempts included no mistakes at all, except, of course, trying to start a business with no friggin capital. I say that to point out that I understand fully just how much of an advantage a lot of capital can really be.

Those with capital have an advantage. Is it “unfair”? Perhaps, but that does not really bother me philosophically. In real life, however, it is a tough pill to swallow watching people startup and run businesses that succceed even though they are doing a really poor job of it. Poor quality, poor customer service, etc., but plenty of marketting money and enough customers to have room for a business like theirs. Not to say they were completely incompetent, but they were in a market that I could service much better, only I did not have the capital to either acquire the tools, do the marketting, or survive the seasonal downturns or the buildup time. I am not angry at their success, don’t get me wrong, I am happy for them, and their customers, while they might have been able to find better, were happy enough to continue to be customers. All I am saying is that not everyone who is successful in business is that way because they were the best, cheapest, most convenient, or any of the other standard reasons for a business to do well in a free market. Sometimes success is just a matter of having enough resources to make things work. Conversely, not everyone who failed were poorer quality, bad business people, inconvenient, expensive, etc. So does capital matter? Of course. Size matters too. Get in a fight with a bigger person who is just as skilled as you and try to tell me it doesn’t.

Fear of Loss
“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”, not words I live by, but words a lot of people do. There are two materialistic ideas of freedom. One is having the means to do anything you want. The other is have nothing left to lose. The reason for the second is obvious to anyone who has ever felt the bondage of having stuff. A lot of people, once they have a lot, are paranoid of losing it. This may be because they worked hard for it and do not want to again, or had it given to them and would not know what to do if they lost it, or just general dependency on material wealth that makes them fearful of life without it. This fear compromises principles. Manipulating others, using government to protect themselves instead of winning in the free market, etc. are often products of this fear. As I have mentioned before, fear is the mind-killer. It will lead you to do things that you should not do. Many of the “haves” really do pull a lot of puppet strings out there because they are afraid of the masses, or of competition. They want their cushy lifestyles and their massive wealth and they no longer want to take any risks, even if they once did, or if they took risks to get where they are now.

Power Corrupts
Money is power, and like any other sort of power, it will corrupt you if you are not careful. Are all the 2% corrupt and evil? Of course not, but certainly some are. They are as guilty of messing up the free market as government is, sometimes more so, since they manipulated the government into regulating things while making exceptions for them, or into bailing them out with taxpayer dollars. It was not the government acting alone, you cannot convince me that the banks and financial power brokers out there had nothing to do with a huge windfall from the taxpayers, that the government did it with no influence from the 2%. Even the Federal Reserve itself was cooked up by some rich guys and sold to the government as a good idea. Good businessmen, some of them, who made it in the free market, as well as some crooks who got rich, got the government to pull a huge scam on the American public so that a few could make a lot more and have a way to protect themselves from consequences of bad financial actions.

Playboys and Princesses
While they are a small portion of the super-rich, the Paris Hiltons of the world really shed a bad light on the 2% with disgusting displays of excess. If anything says “unearned, unneeded wealth” it’s stories about the lifestlyes of the rich and famous. In almost every case it is someone who never did any real work in their lives. In cases like Paris, it is inherited wealth. I still think a person can give their wealth to whomever they wish, but parents who give their kids everything and never make them work a day are not doing their kids any favors. It is an error many wealthy people make, and it creates a lot of cultural division between the haves and have nots, while really accomplishing nothing but making their kids a bunch of retarded brats.

Loss of Philosophy
The destruction of this great country’s economy has been the result of far more than just government manipulation. I will get into this more in part two, but I want to lay out the frustration I have had with the business culture of this country. There has been a complete loss of economic philosophy, of vision, of the future, and of relationships with people. The long-term health of a company has given way to the quarterly report and what the stockholders can make in the market this cycle.

This is a result of a variety of factors.

The corporation itself, a government construct is part of it, removing personal liability and permitting a system of thoughtless investment. The education system is part of it, teaching young business people nothing about business but the bottom line and accounting based computations and so-called predictions. MBA graduates at top schools are coming out not knowing enough to run a successful lemonade stand and getting jobs at huge corporations making decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of people. Bad decisions, decisions that do not include even 1/3 of the important factors of a healthy business. Business runs on factors of vision and innovation and the proper treatment of people, both customers and workers. The bottom line is important, but it is not the only thing, I am not even sure that it is the most important thing in a good business model.

Another factor is the “get rich quick” attitude of the American people. I am all for competition for investments, investing should not simply be a game of the rich. If, however, you approach it as some sort of lottery without thought and just a hope to get rich it is no longer a market based on value, but a game based on psychology and statistics. Games like that always have more losers than winners. There is the short-term thinking of the American consumer, where quality stops mattering in the face of price, and companies discover that they can take every shortcut they can imagine and people will whine but still spend their money because they would rather have stuff thats cheap than not have stuff. They found that the desire for stuff is so strong that people will give up their savings, live paycheck to paycheck, and mortgage everything they have, enslaving themselves to the money brokers so that they can have more stuff and have it right now. We have lost discipline, we have lost thought, and we have lost the philosophy of business. We lost the idea of keeping your word, of working hard, of a handshake being a binding contract, of delayed gratification, and of making a business stand for quality and providing the best solution for the customer, rather than the best solution for right this second.

The two percent are not all guilty, and those who are do not bear all the blame for the problems we have. But it is true that many have used their power to gain more power, taking freedom from people simply to solidify their position of wealth. Some have lost their way, giving in to temptation and to short-term gain at the expense of their philosophy. The solution in my mind remains taking their power by taking the power of their puppet, the government. It does no good to have a powerless government in your pocket.

I believe the market can correct many of the issues of the 2% if it is allowed to operate properly. Still, the sheep must awaken and stop following the pretty lights. The market cannot correct if no one uses it properly. It is simply a tool. The very best tool for the job is useless if it is not weilded properly. Sort of like the story of the old man and the chainsaw. An old man finally decides his old axe has had it, so he goes to the store for a new one. The salesguy sells him a chainsaw, explaining it will do 10 times the work for far less effort. The old man works all day with it and is completely disgusted, goes back to the store. He says he worked all day and barely got one tree chopped down. The salesman is confused and says he will check to see what is wrong. He fires the chainsaw up. The old man yells out in surprise “what the hell was that noise??”

If you dont use the tool in the right way, it wont do the job.

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Comments

  1. USWeapon says:

    @Jon Smith (and I guess at Charlie since he was the inspiration)

    Great beginning to the conversation around the 2%. I, too, have found that it is futile to attempt to pretend that the bad ones don’t exist. There is evidence all around. And it is equally futile to attempt to claim that the big businesses in today’s market don’t have a massive influence on the actions of the federal government. But I have a few thoughts I want to add to the conversation, if I may…

    As you pointed out, the “corporation” is an entity created by government. Its entire purpose is to limit liability to those who invest their money in that corporation. Now, I do want to point out that it is a false statement to say that these investors and owners have no liability. Their risk begins and ends with the capital that is invested. Stockholders and owners of a corporation can lose and have lost up to 100% of their investment. What the corporation is meant to protect is the rest of the property owned by someone who is an investor. Because let’s be honest, if you come to me to ask me to invest in your business, I am not going to consider investing my saved money if doing so could put everything else I own in jeopardy.

    As an investor, I absolutely care about the balance sheet. Profit is what I am after. I didn’t invest my money out of the goodness of my heart. I invested, taking a risk, in the hopes that I would earn a potential return on my investment! What other purpose did I have for investing what was mine? Now there are those who claim I am evil because I care about the bottom line, because what matters to me is the return on my investment. But if I do not get a return on my investment, what happens? I don’t invest anymore.

    And whether anyone likes it or not, the VAST majority of companies that are started are not started by those who have capital to burn. In fact, can anyone point out to me a company started in the last 25 years that has become a MAJOR player that was started by a trust fund baby? Probably not. And if you can, you won’t have many examples. So the vast majority of new companies, and the innovation that they produce, are made possible entirely by investors. Without them seeing the return on their investment, why exactly should they take the risk of losing it?

    The point is that the majority of the progress, the employment, and the technology that we enjoy today is made possible by that “2%” that Charlie and others are so quick to demonize and attack. Do they reap the rewards? Of course they do. If they didn’t, why would they join the game in the first place? Out of some moral obligation to contribute to society? And the reward that they get is that they become one of the 2%. And I am willing to bet that 99% of the 2% do so honestly. So what does the top 2% look like? To be in the top 1.5% you must earn $250,000 a year. That isn’t the super rich that Charlie would have us believe. Make $350k and you move to the top 1%. In fact, if you are making over a million dollars a year, what I would consider the range of the people Charlie is generally complaining about, you are actually in the top 0.2%.

    And the claims that the rich don’t pay enough? In 2007, the top 1% of earners (those making $350k and up) paid more than the bottom 95% in income taxes. The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $159,619) paid far more than the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent earned 34.7 percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes. In 2008, this top 0.1 percent filed 140,000 tax returns, reporting nearly 10 percent of all adjusted gross income earned and paying approximately 18.5 percent of the nation’s federal individual income taxes. That number changes slightly from year to year, but the premise holds. The top earners pay far more in taxes than the rest of us.

    Despite the claims that the top 2% do it on the back of the worker, the reality is that if you want to say something like that you are really only referring to the top 0.2%. Charlie loves that “$2.4 Million an hour” example and uses it as a weapon. (But Charlie, did you know that Bill Gates makes roughly $630,000 an hour. One of the three wealthiest men in the world. So stop pretending as though some rogue example, a rate that would make someone four times wealthier than Bill Gates, is indicative of anything). So let’s assume that we are talking about the top 0.2% honestly, people who are making a million bucks a year. And of those, only 1% or 2% do so dishonestly. So your complaint is with 0.002% of the population. And for those few, we deem that everyone should suffer.

    As an additional point, the discussion of the top whatever % earners is an entirely different discussion than one about corporations and the tax breaks that they get. We can have discussions about the business and corporate tax structure in America and we can have discussions about people’s personal income and their tax rates, but we should be careful to keep the two differentiated. General Electric is not the top 2%. They are a corporation. The actions of GE are done to benefit the corporation and thus are not the real discussion about the top 2% of earners. Now GE employs some of the top 2%, but the actions of those 2% in regard to corporate tax breaks is wholly separate from the actions to impact their personal income tax rates. I just felt that distinction should be put out there.

    So why all this diatribe? Because if we are going to hash out our differences around the top 2% that Charlie is talking about, we should first define exactly who we are talking about. It is easy to say “the top 2%” as though they are all gazillionaires sitting on a yacht talking about Mimi and Biff. But that is not accurate. By refusing to define who he is talking about, Charlie is playing a class warfare game based on emotion and an insinuation of who they are. And I know that he doesn’t mean to do so. So I figured defining it up front would be better so we don’t spend all day fighting battles discussing different groups of people. Now that some numbers are on the board to define who is in what percentage and what they are paying in taxes already, we are ready to begin the discussion….

    • First off, good article Jon … and good points, USW … but …

      So the vast majority of new companies, and the innovation that they produce, are made possible entirely by investors.

      The vast majority of which (investors) are already loaded to the gills. That is “some” of the power/advantage Jon spoke of.

      The point is that the majority of the progress, the employment, and the technology that we enjoy today is made possible by that “2%” that Charlie and others are so quick to demonize and attack.

      Make no mistake here, I do not demonize and attack the 2%’s … I demonize and attack capitalism (the system by which 2%’s were created). It no longer works. Contrary to BF’s nebulous and never-ending universe allows/won’t allow arguments, it was men protecting their own who formed the corporate structure (mercantilists are people) … those who wanted a lot more protection.

      The stories you guys often point to here are those about people investing everything they have to grow a business (true heroic entrepreneurship) but why shouldn’t investors be liable for their investments when what they are investing in may be pharmaceuticals that can kill as easily as cure? Why shouldn’t the clowns on Wall Street (see recent Rolling Stone article if you need further proof that this government (Dem & Rep alike) isn’t owned by the 2%’s) be liable for what they did to this country/the world economies? Rolling Stone article: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-real-housewives-of-wall-street-look-whos-cashing-in-on-the-bailout-20110411?print=true

      (But Charlie, did you know that Bill Gates makes roughly $630,000 an hour. One of the three wealthiest men in the world. So stop pretending as though some rogue example, a rate that would make someone four times wealthier than Bill Gates, is indicative of anything).

      I guess some here fail to see my point on this (where BF is quite correct in claiming I am red thru and thru). Who the hell “NEEDS” $630,000 an hour? Bring it down to $10,000 an hour if you’d like. Truly, who NEEDS that much? And is Bill Gates really working that hard, by the way (or is it his workforce doing the actual “labor”)? How do you justify such a divide in labor? I know BF will claim it’s the “market that creates the disparity” but … isn’t it a soiled market by BF’s standard (not really “free”) … and more importantly, at $10,000 an hour vs. $8.50 an hour, how do you not expect the power and advantage to accumulate at the top?

      When I state 2%’s, I include anyone making money above and beyond that which they need to live a comfortable life vs. those living in poverty. And no, that doesn’t mean that moochers deserve the same as 2%’s or anybody else. I do not believe in rewarding those able to work who are unwilling to do so. I am talking about those who either can’t work because there are no jobs, are infirm, etc., who are denied their dignity (whether it is through a lack of education, generations of poverty, etc.) because the system as it currently works reinforces a class structure that rewards the few at the expense of the many.

      The wife is home sick today so I may be late to the dance when the salvos start flying …

      By the way, good article Jon …

      • Sorry to hear about the wife, Charlie…hope she gets better.

        • Thanks, Colonel … I passed it along, I fear … ten days of coughing and watching Netflix (foreign movies) … but I’m back to the gym and working hard to break the 3 bills mark before school starts in June … and that’s an advantage I speak of (on a very small basis). I have a degree and will be going for a masters so I can “hope” to find a job in 2 years someplace (anyplace). My wife has a degree and had to go back to school to become an RN … we had those very small but significant advantages over those without the same (not through any fault of their own, but because circumstances precluded them from having them). Now imagine the advantage of those making $10K an hour (or $100 an hour) vs. those in poverty. Can we all really expect everyone in poverty to just pull up their bootstraps and climb the ladder of “success” without help?

          Okay, gotta make her tea … Colonel, I saw she has boxes of lasagna pasta on the shelf … probably for easter … the invitation is still open to dine at casa stella …:)

          • Charlie asks….”Can we all really expect everyone in poverty to just pull up their bootstraps and climb the ladder of “success” without help?”

            D13 thinks…..hmmm. Sure, why not? It is out there..it takes HARD work and working 20 hours a day…..but it is still there.

          • Can we all really expect everyone in poverty to just pull up their bootstraps and climb the ladder of “success” without help?

            Charlie, I am seriously so insulted. Yes, we can reasonable expect it. I did it and did the hard way. I was a high school dropout (so education deficient?) who comes from a poor family (in a good year my parents cleared about 10k raise 5 kids on). College was not a choice obviously. I worked at whatever job I could get – including in my folks small bookstore for room and board). I finally turned to the US military, but they wouldn’t take me without a GED so an intense course of study and a test to pass, which I did and I was able to enlist. After my military stint it was job hunting in what skills I had. Finally at 37 years old I was in a position to go back to school and went to community college. It took 5 years but I got an associates (even though I no longer work in the field I studied for). I kept working and improving life and finally, finally after 50 years of life I was able to do the one thing I had decided was beyond realizing, I bought my first (and it will be my only) house on a little piece of property. Now my wife and I work hard to make dang sure we don’t lose what we have worked so hard for.

            So yes Charlie, I damn well EXPECT people to work their hardest and use their bootstraps. No one has the right to take from me what I have busted my ass to earn on my own.

            Nothing personal Charlie, but that comment really pissed me off.

          • USWeapon says:

            I can see Charlie that some others have taken umbrage to your question there before I could even get to it.

            The short answer is yes, we can expect that the people in poverty to pull up their bootstraps and climb the ladder of success without help. The US is full of people who have done exactly that. I imagine your retort will be that, “sure, you did it and I did it but not everyone has that ability.” To which I reply bull. You assume that all those who have done have some special thing that allowed it. That special thing is drive and determination. ANYONE in America can decide to pull up their bootstraps and climb the ladder of success without government help. ANYONE. Exempt the mentally ill from that statement of course.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              But USW, would they still have that ability if we start taking a machete to public services and benefits? Isn’t it true that many of the programs in place help enable individuals to pull up their bootstraps and start climbing?

              Did you receive absolutely no help from the government to assist your in obtaining your education (public school, grants, loans)? In starting a small business (loans)?

            • Okay, back from the doctor … the wife is on antibiotics and yous are on free market adrenaline again, I see … although I was surprised not to find a deluge of BF quotes and counter quotes (I’m sure they’re coming).

              So, Plainly, USW …

              Charlie, I am seriously so insulted. Yes, we can reasonable expect it. I did it and did the hard way.

              USW: That special thing is drive and determination. ANYONE in America can decide to pull up their bootstraps and climb the ladder of success without government help

              Oy vey, do not be seriously insulted (Plainly). But think back to what I’ve said in the past here and what USW alludes to in his comment (i.e., “if I can do it, anyone can.”). Can yous guys not see the arrogance in a comment like that? Not everyone has the same drive and determination to do the same things as you two (or any two million others). And it is a complete falsehood to assume that because “X” amount of people pulled themselves up without government help (which I completely disagree with–I’m sure you both used government services along the way), that “Y” will be able to do the same. There are variables in individual lives that simply do not equate (and I’m not talking about those incapable for physical or mental reasons). And I am not making excuses for EVERYONE living in poverty but make no mistake that the majority of those living in poverty do not necessarily have the replicate opportunities as you both did (no matter what you may think).

              It is not capitalism that is the problem, it is evil people. Just as with socialism, the problem is not as much the idea as the people who screw it up.

              Jon, you are an angel … yes, that is my contention with all “government/economic systems” … too often we look to the ideal/nirvana rather than reality. All forms of each are mutations of the pure and thereby diluted. At least you are willing to acknowledge that, even if we disagree on which system is best, etc.

              Okay, my wife insists of I’m not watching BONES with her right now, I’ll lose a limb. Back later for more …

              • ,blockquote>Not everyone has the same drive and determination to do the same things as you two (or any two million others)

                So you think then they are entitled to be handed a free deal to improve their lives. Lazy pays in your worldview.

                I’m sure you both used government services along the way

                Yep Charlie, the very public school system I ended up dropping out of. I went to a public community college where I paid for my education – it wasn’t given to me free. So you have me on those two. Woo hoo.

                that “Y” will be able to do the same.

                And again, in your worldview “Y” doesn’t even have to try – you’ll make it “right” for “Y”

                Your “reasoning” is a very poor excuse to even the playing field for those who won’t work to even the playing field for themselves (and like you I am not speaking of those who are physically or mentally disabled).

                What utter bull manure Charlie. Luckily I’ll be dead before I can ever be forced to accept your ideal world.

      • Hey, I forgot to mentiont this … I am honored to have inspired you, Jon … and my own eventual roasting … 🙂

        • Hell, Charlie, look at the good you are doing…by roasting you, we give someone else a rest. Fits right into your philosophy, does it not. How are you, my red through and through friend?

          • I sure have them hopping right now, Colonel …

            So you think then they are entitled to be handed a free deal to improve their lives.

            Plainly, do you REALLY believe that everyone who hasn’t achieved your level of success (or even those who are unemployed) are lazy?

            • What I am saying is YOU and your plan will make them lazy. Why work at anything when you’ll hand it to them without effort?

              That’s the problem, you GIVE them a free ride Charlie. You do nothing to compel them to take a hold of their lives and put effort into their endeavors. You just say “hell you’ve been cheated and this guy here is unfairly making what you should have so I’ll give it to you.”

              So, I’ll never let you do that from what I work for. You only have one question to answer if your types ever show up at my place to take from me, do you want black or white?

      • I think most people would agree that the system should not be set up to benefit the super rich at the expense of the poorer. I would like to see some common sense return to the government in terms of transparency and removing corruption. Where we diverge is in the role of government. I want to see the practices that keep people down restricted, but the government to otherwise allow people to stand or fall on their own. My father came from a family with generations of poverty, lack of education, etc, and with no help from the government made his and his family’s life better by working his butt off! I don’t support the government trying to help people do this, because it introduces a culture of sustained poverty. If we provide education and food and whatnot for free, why should they even attempt to work hard? I’m not opposed to a safety net, I’m opposed to a safety hammock.

        • JB: “I would like to see some common sense return to the government in terms of transparency and removing corruption.”

          Bingo, that would be a start … but until we INSIST that those committing fraud and the like do SERIOUS time (somebody say ATTICA/RIKERS and the like?), we can forgetaboutit …

          No safety hammock is necessary; there have to be consequences for those who sit back as well as those who rob from greed, but EVERYBODY needs the basics and NOBODY “needs” $633,000 or $10,000 an hour. Nobody.

      • Ah, but I am doing the opposite. I am demonizing the portion of the 2% (or more accurately 0.2%) that are pulling strings and steamrolling people in their quest for wealth and power. It is not capitalism that is the problem, it is evil people. Just as with socialism, the problem is not as much the idea as the people who screw it up. The idea of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” works great in a voluntary situation, such as in a family, in fact many families operate this way. It breaks down when you have lazy people who do not perform according to their ability, greedy people who take more than they need, and power hungry people who want to control who gets what and who does what.

        The difference is the socialism requires power positions and has no real way of defining need or ability. Capitalism works until outside forces are introduced, such as regulations and taxation, which are obviously designed to support the super-rich and prevent others from attaining that wealth or spreading it out.

        If I have the ability to earn without restriction and taxation, I can go from $5 and hour to however high I wish in a free society. I might fail at it, or I might stop climbing because it is no longer worth it to me to increase my earning. But to say that a certain figure is “too much” is not defineable, it is strictly and emotional argument, there is no reason or consistency to apply.

        • But to say that a certain figure is “too much” is not defineable, it is strictly and emotional argument, there is no reason or consistency to apply.

          Sorry I missed this earlier, Jon. Too much is when a clown who just bankrupted the economy and had people tossed out of their homes because of it (never mind the lost jobs nationwide/worldwide) buys himself a gold wastebasket with bailed out tax dollars. That’s an extreme example. If that isn’t too much to you, then we have reached the great impasse. I speak not of the immorality of such an act, I speak of the outright theft of our tax dollars (bailout bucks). A lesser example might be the guy who has a 2 million dollar home, 10 cars in his garage, etc., paying his gardener or housekeep minimum wage without benefits (that isn’t enough for the worker to pay his rent/health coverage). Do yous really expect the gardener housekeep to provide the same advantage to his/her kids as the guy paying him/her minimum wage? Nope, impossible. How about the guy keeps his house and his cars but has to fork a good percentage of his $2,000,000 a year job (because he’s a hedge fund manager producing nothing for the greater good)? Trust me, I know your answer … us reds through and through want more equity in the distribution; we see teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. as at least equally as important as the hedge fund manager (and don’t have a problem with the taxes so long as they are equitably distributed to society as a whole). But first eliminate the fraud that is currently in government; the 2%/.02%’s aren’t really going to like that … not one bit … they own the government.

          I have no doubt that in any political/economic system there will be corruption and power driven in one direction, but … here (US) the wedge has long been established and has not worked for the greater good (and gets worse daily). In some socialist countries (Holland, for one; France for another), it works fine and although some moves to the right in those places may occur from time to time; moves to the left here do so also (however incremental they may be). All socialist countries are not Stalinist gulags (no matter what BF says). I don’t see the people of Holland complaining much (certainly they aren’t ratting each other out to “the authorities”). In holland, the time one has put into the state over a long period of time is returned when they retire (dignity) … here, our pragmatic capitalist system treats the old like used up greyhounds … not fair, immoral and to quote somebody here, “evil.”

          • Charlie,

            So you would put homebuilders out of work so you can steal money and give it to other people.

            Then you will steal some one else’s money to give to the out of work home builders.

            Then you will steal other to solve the other people you put out of work.

            Until you have no one working and no one to steal from.

          • Charlie,

            The only evil is using violence on a non-violent person.

            You are the one supporting evil – for you answers always must harm another person who did no harm to you.

            • for you answers always must harm another person who did no harm to you.

              Me thinks there’s quite a few people who would disagree that those acting on the basis of profit haven’t harmed anyone … but you’d never admit that (as a remnant spokesperson). The exploitation of the working class is evident in the disproportionate wealth. We figure we’re owed some kickback so it isn’t stealing to us. It’s taking back what was immorally and in some cases illegally gifted to those who received an unfair return on their “actual” investment(s).

              Go’head now … go crazy …

      • USWeapon says:

        @ Charlie

        The vast majority of which (investors) are already loaded to the gills. That is “some” of the power/advantage Jon spoke of.

        No, the vast majority of investors are not loaded to the gills. Are you insinuating that only the top .2% of earners are the only ones investing? If so that is ridiculous. The vast majority of investors are regular people, perhaps middle class and up, but very few are loaded to the gills. As for those few who are, so what? If they are investing in companies and furthering progress, why do you care how easy or hard it was for them to do so?

        Make no mistake here, I do not demonize and attack the 2%’s … I demonize and attack capitalism (the system by which 2%’s were created). It no longer works.

        Nonsense. It no longer works? Have you looked around? If works far better than any other systems out there. You seem to love the red idea, but socialism and communism produced far more wealth disparity than capitalism ever did. It concentrated the wealth in an even smaller percentage of power and completed eliminated the middle class. I find it odd that you curse the capitalist system as creating the 2% at the expense of the middle class while simultaneously embracing the systems that destroy the middle class altogether.

        I have to say I am tired of hearing people say that capitalism doesn’t work. That is the biggest piece of leftist propaganda crap statement I have heard. The problem in today’s America isn’t capitalism Charlie. It is the way that an increasingly “red” government has manipulated and destroyed it.

        Contrary to BF’s nebulous and never-ending universe allows/won’t allow arguments, it was men protecting their own who formed the corporate structure (mercantilists are people) … those who wanted a lot more protection.

        Regardless of the fact that a few men were able to manipulate the government that you are oh so fond of thinking are the solution, the fact is that capitalism made this country great. That you somehow come to the conclusion that a few power hungry elites getting government to pass laws to protect them = capitalism created the problems we have now. Power hungry elites will always look to manipulate the system no matter whether it is capitalism, communism, fascism or anything in between. They did not succeed because it was capitalism they attacked. They succeeded because ignorant people allowed government to take the actions that the elite wanted. Let me put that in more plain terms for you:

        The elite 0.2% that have wrought so much damage and gained such control of this country have done so precisely because of people like you, who believe that one man has the right to tell another how to live, how much he is rightfully allowed to own. You claim that one man has the right to tell another how to live, and then get pissed off because someone else (0.2% folks) play the game better and tell you how to live.

        I guess some here fail to see my point on this (where BF is quite correct in claiming I am red thru and thru). Who the hell “NEEDS” $630,000 an hour? Bring it down to $10,000 an hour if you’d like. Truly, who NEEDS that much? And is Bill Gates really working that hard, by the way (or is it his workforce doing the actual “labor”)?

        No, Charlie, you have it wrong. It is you who fails to see the valid point that BF makes. And that point is: WHO ARE YOU TO DETERMINE WHAT ANOTHER MAN NEEDS? Have you had a devine inspiration? Did God come down and give you a number that is the threshold for the needs of another? Did it come to you in a dream? Did Barack Obama whisper it in your ear? Why do you get to decide? Why not me? Why not BF? Why not Bill Gates? God told me yesterday when he was on line with me at the hot dog stand that every man and woman needs a million dollars a year in order to survive. Get to work on that for me will ya?

        How do you justify such a divide in labor? I know BF will claim it’s the “market that creates the disparity” but … isn’t it a soiled market by BF’s standard (not really “free”) … and more importantly, at $10,000 an hour vs. $8.50 an hour, how do you not expect the power and advantage to accumulate at the top?

        I don’t expect power and advantage to not accumulate at the top. I am OK with it. The difference between you and I is that you live under the illusion that you can stop that from happening. Paint the world red if you like. The top 2% will always be in the same position Charlie. You can’t stop it. You can’t change it. So stop trying to undermine the best economic system in the world, capitalism, in order to put your own version in place. You will just be making the same arguments against the “red” world later when you realize your mistake.

        When I state 2%’s, I include anyone making money above and beyond that which they need to live a comfortable life vs. those living in poverty.

        In other words anyone who is living above whatever random standard you decide to apply. What Gates needs is his decision to make. How about you focus on figuring out what Charlie Stella needs to survive and let the rest of us do the same for ourselves.

        • When I state 2%’s, I include anyone making money above and beyond that which they need to live a comfortable life vs. those living in poverty.

          In other words anyone who is living above whatever random standard you decide to apply. What Gates needs is his decision to make. How about you focus on figuring out what Charlie Stella needs to survive and let the rest of us do the same for ourselves.

          I’m interested now. I have a house on one acre in Westchester NY. I am losing money until my bonus. After my bonus, I have enough to save a little bit and do one (maybe two) renovation projects on my house.

          Do I make more than I need? Should I have to give up the saving or the renovations or both? Maybe I need to get rid of my car and walk to the bus instead?

          • It’s all relative, Matt.

            It may seem to you that you don’t have enough, but what about the people starving in Africa. They would see you as living extravagantly! You say you are losing money until your bonus, but how much do you spend per month on non-necessities? Do you eat out? Have cable? Internet? Nice clothes? Cell phone? (Rhetorical, I don’t expect any numbers) If that is the case, then, yes you have more than you NEED.

            I think USW’s point is that, when you decide some people are “too rich,” there is necessarily an arbitrary level of wealth that must be applied. I would posit that most Americans have more than they NEED. Therefore, they all fall into Charlie’s 2%.

          • Do I make more than I need?

            I have no idea, Matt. Did you overbuy when it came to your house/personal purchases, etc.?

            I think you know better than to ask this, but … if, Matt, your income leaps into amounts that no reasonable person needed (ooops, I inflected “reasonable” in there) … as compared with whatever national average of sustainable income existed (as determined by the greater good (me for now), then you’d be capped at some amount that afforded you a reasonable lifestyle … yes, some goodies “might” be sacrificed for the greater good (so others have at least the same chance to achieve some day). If that doesn’t work for you, then you really should vote Republican (because don’t you know Obama is a big time socialist?).

            Oy vey …

        • USW: “I have to say I am tired of hearing people say that capitalism doesn’t work. That is the biggest piece of leftist propaganda crap statement I have heard. The problem in today’s America isn’t capitalism Charlie. It is the way that an increasingly “red” government has manipulated and destroyed it.”

          I love this argument in particular. Yous guys pull it out whenever your floundering. So, capitalism (the free market we once had, yous claim) works so well, it turned into a socialist veering government … why? Because it worked so well?

          Hmmm, the biggest piece of rightest propaganda crap statement is to suggest that capitalism works when 2% of the wealth is concentrated at the top and the rest continues to get crushed under foot (which direction is the middle class headed again? Is it up or down?

          Actually, capitalism has destroyed capitalism, as was inevitable.

          USW: “the fact is that capitalism made this country great.”

          Which includes, going back to when this country was born and began its climb to greatness, SLAVERY. The only different between then & now, is physical slavery has been replaced by wage slavery. So it goes …

          USW: “The elite 0.2% that have wrought so much damage and gained such control of this country have done so precisely because of people like you, who believe that one man has the right to tell another how to live, how much he is rightfully allowed to own.”

          Because of people like me; the uninformed, the delusional, the greater society sycophants …

          The problem with that is the following: We delusional believe it is people like yourself who are so delusional as to protect the 2%’s (or .02%), however you prefer to look at it, even thought their interest are in direct opposition to your own. But we figure there are more of us and that the ever widening gap will sooner or later force a revolution (because people can ultimately live without flat screen tv’s, but take away their Diet Coke and potato chips and you have problems.

          USW: “No, Charlie, you have it wrong. It is you who fails to see the valid point that BF makes. And that point is: WHO ARE YOU TO DETERMINE WHAT ANOTHER MAN NEEDS?”

          I am the greater good and the greater good gets to determine what is best for itself. So, therefore, you and BF have it wrong (as wrong as assuming I’d give a crap about what a Republican like Barrack Obama whispered in my ear) … wrong, wrong & wrong again.

          That was simple.

          USW: “In other words anyone who is living above whatever random standard you decide to apply.”

          Nope, wrong again … the one consistent thing I’ll say about you and BF … you guys are just LOADED with assumptions …

          More later.

          • USWeapon says:

            Which includes, going back to when this country was born and began its climb to greatness, SLAVERY. The only different between then & now, is physical slavery has been replaced by wage slavery. So it goes

            Is it possible for someone to say something good about something in the past without you lefties pulling out this ridiculous claim that because we see good back there, we also support returning to all the bad things back there? I have never once, in all my discussions here at SUFA, or any other website for that matter, heard anyone, ANYONE, advocate a return to slavery. And you try to claim that I am resorting to emotional appeal? Want to return to the roots of the Constitution? Then you must want to actually return to the parts that made slavery OK! Bullshit. No one ever says that. Only the lefties do, and it is only for emotional appeal. And you wonder why no one ever takes your position seriously?

            I love this argument in particular. Yous guys pull it out whenever your floundering. So, capitalism (the free market we once had, yous claim) works so well, it turned into a socialist veering government … why? Because it worked so well?

            Don’t try to twist it. A socialist veering government turned capitalism bad. Your greater good nonsense got in the way of free market capitalism and then you try to claim it was the capitalism that was flawed. It’s like throwing nails in the street and then claiming the problem was that tires were a bad idea. Funny how capitalism works in every way until government intervention. Yeah, must be the flaw in the idea of capitalism. That’s it.

            The problem with that is the following: We delusional believe it is people like yourself who are so delusional as to protect the 2%’s (or .02%), however you prefer to look at it, even thought their interest are in direct opposition to your own.

            You obviously don’t understand my interests. My interests are individual liberty and personal freedom. Those 2% folks don’t operate in opposition to that. Only those who advocate that I must sacrifice it for “the greater good” are operating in opposition to my interests.

            Why do we protect the 2%? Because we understand that if we give people like you the right to dictate how they can live their lives, then we have given you the right to dictate how we live ours too. And you aren’t going to find me advocating for you to dictate how anyone lives their lives when it doesn’t affect you one iota.

            Nope, wrong again … the one consistent thing I’ll say about you and BF … you guys are just LOADED with assumptions …

            You are claiming that I am loaded with assumptions while at the same time telling me that you have the right to determine what is a “reasonable” standard of living! You, or some mythical greater good that you represent, claim to have the right to determine what another man is entitled to. And you claim that I am loaded with assumptions for saying so?

        • The vast majority of investors are regular people, perhaps middle class and up, but very few are loaded to the gills.

          Guess I missed this too … sure they are, except the guys making the “decisions” are in fact the top shareholders and they aren’t from the middle class, my friend. Think that one over.

          • It isn’t lost on me that this is the case. But there are a lot of “decision makers” out there doing the “right” thing too. As I said. I am betting it is a vast minority of the top folks who are heartless and criminal. The problem is that the really crooked ones end up being the biggest, with the assistance of government, whether that be the capitalist government you despise, or the communist driven one you crave. That is one of my very important points, Charlie. We can’t stop the immoral from playing the system. So they cannot be the excuse we use to institute change. This is important:

            When you recognize that the immoral will be immoral in whatever system you create, when you realize that there is absolutely no way you can stop the rich and powerful from staying that way, you must make your choices on other criteria. And your red version of the future is NOT better, IMO, for the growth of the middle class, the preservation of liberty, or the rebirth of individual responsibility.

            I do not claim that a completely free market solves every problem. I simply claim that NO system solves the problem you are using as impetus. Therefore I embrace seeking a system that grants me the best shot at what I believe is the more important goal… liberty and the ability to live and die by the consequences of my own actions, my own work ethic, and my own principles.

    • gmanfortruth says:

      8)

    • Excellent clarification USW, it is key to point out who we are really talking about. It is often the actions of corporations that are the problem, not necessarily the investors. However, the investors who care solely about the bottom line are still making the error of not caring how that money is made, and not caring about the bottom line in 2 years, only the next quarter.

      I know investing is about profit. I get it. Why else would it exist? However, if you are so unprincipled that you do not care where your money comes from, how are you any different than a hired killer or a thief? Is it really ok that your profit margin is better because the Board of Directors at the company you invest in cut the payroll and benefits to squeeze a little more profit? Let me explain why it is not ok even without concern for morals or the wellbeing of people: It makes the company you are investing in unhealthy. If the employees are overworked and underpaid they will leave or decrease productivity. If you cut corners on product quality the market will respond by not buying your worthless crap anymore. They will buy it at first because it used to be decent stuff, there is a delay. So the quartely statement looks good, maybe even for a couple of years in some cases. Then the starts looking bad, and often it is so far removed from the time of the real cause that the real cause is overlooked by short-sighted investors and company managers. It makes an investment bad in the long run. So what do those unprincipled investors do? They seek protectionism and subsidy for the companies they are invested in to protect their wealth, using government and force to ensure and insure their investments. Why? No principles, no understanding of what a good business is.

      You may be correct that most investors are honest, but I am not sure they are principled or even knowledgeable. At least not some of the ones at the top that seek government help. You cannot remove the liability completely and say it is just the corporation doing it. There is a reason the corporation is doing what they do.

      Now, I agree that most companies are not started by trust fund babies. Most of the problem companies I see are old ones, ones that are no longer run by the founders. Founders usually “get it”. If they did not, they would not have become successful. Some lose their way, but most if the time they retire and it is the idiots that replace them that are the problem. Companies like GE do all sorts of messed up stuff, but the founders of GE do not exist anymore.

      I also understand the removal of liability outside of that which is invested, but too much removal of liability creates a devil-may-care attitude among investors, where they will pressure the company to make the bottom line look good and not care how. I still think the corporate construct needs to be removed. And I still say that unprinciples super-rich and ignorant investors cause problems, and it may include more people than you think. Still as you said, we are talking about a LOT less than 2%, and only a percentage of those. Not all of the super-rich are evil or stupid, most probably are not, but enough are to cause problems, enough are that they have used their influence to destroy the free market to protect their own wealth and power.

      • It is often the actions of corporations that are the problem, not necessarily the investors.

        Am I the only person who sees something incredibly absurd about this statement? The INVESTORS are ultimately the F===ING corporation!!!!!

        Let me put it more calmly … isn’t the corporate structure protecting the PEOPLE (who are the INVESTORS)? So, what, they went into that financial paradigm because it sounded good or they wanted to protect their personal property from exposure to liability?

        Oy vey …

        • Dude, thats what I was saying. Even if the investors do not have any direct decision making, they still have influence they should use, and they would use it if they were not protected by the corporate structure.

          • Okay, okay, I read it wrongly (oy vey).

            But, isn’t the mere fact that it was created (the structure) in the first place something born of greed? BF will argue without the structure those who do bad things with their money won’t be supported and will ultimately fail. I see their initial victory (being able to create a corporate structure) as a history lesson that would only repeat itself without government intervention. Gov’t not protects corporation because guess what? The bulk of your initial post … it owns the gov’t.

  2. With plans coming out on both sides of the isle for budget plans, tax increases are on the forefront of the political spectrum. It seems like both sides are so firm in their belief on the issue of taxes that there can be no compromise. Sadly, I think most people don’t understand what actually goes on in terms of taxes. The people in the top bracket who pay the actual tax rate are the ones who are at the bottom of said bracket. The ultra-rich can afford the high-priced lawyers and fancy accounting in order to dodge. So by raising the tax rate, you are really hurting the people who make $250-$350k. In other words, the ones who are really doing the investing and business building. What I would like to see instead of tax increases, is closing loopholes so that the richest pay what they are expected to pay.

    The United States is looking to have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world (Japan decreased theirs). So it certainly isn’t a fact that we are not taxing corporations enough. If anything, this is an incentive for them to move to another country. After all, those evil ******** are just in it for the bottom line, right?

    The thing that frustrates me most about this debate is that people on the left make it sound like cutting spending is akin to killing old people and letting children go uneducated. How can this be, when government spending has been increasing at such a high rate? Was this happening 10 years ago? Old people were starving? Before planned parenthood came along, kids were not using protection? And I’m sure there are lots of examples on the other side. It makes me want to throw up my hands and give up. The only sad thing is that leaves the idiots (read politicians) to do as they please.

    • This is precisely true JB. It is the super-rich, which as USW pointed out is only a small percentage of the “2%” that are actually protected in their fortunes by taxation. They can afford the tax dodges and shelters, etc., while the higher income earners that would be their competition for big money are squeezed out by high taxes. Upper middle class/lower upper class is hurt most by taxation, and they are the only ones with the potential to compete with and reduce the power of the super-rich.

    • I think it’s interesting how Obama frames his arguments, and they are accepted. “We didn’t pay for the Bush tax cuts.”
      We somehow failed to pay the government NOT to take as much of the money we earned from us?

      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/04/obamas_deceit.html

  3. Good morning, Jon….great article.

    You also hit on one thing that many do not realize and I wish you went further, ao, please, allow me to extrapolate on something you mentioned. Charlie’s philosophy comes up short on one thing, and so does any of the greater good philosophy. I have always wondered why everyone is so focused on large corporations and not realizing those are NOT the primary players that make up the 2%. There are no stats, to my knowledge, that says WHO they are but rather focus on the money issue and amount and have this arbitrary figure that anyone that makes above X is a two percenter and, is therefore, evil.

    Jon, one of your paragraphs focused on fear of loss but you missed a point or I did not get it. You focused on fear of loss AFTER people make their money but you missed the fear of loss to those who risk everything up front BEFORE the success is made. One of the greatest issues of starting a new business is lack of capital and that is very true. But, most people are afraid of losing before getting started. Like going to Vegas…do not gamble what you cannot afford to lose OR BE WILLING TO LOSE whether you can afford it or not.

    The same issue goes with business. Allow me a personal example. Since our family falls into the 2% as defined by the government. I remember well in 1960, when my father called us all in the family room. We were a middle class family then. We were not hungry but we did not have swimming pools and mansions but rode bicycles to school with a “brown bag” lunch. I was in the 9th grade. I remember my father saying that he did not want to work for someone else for the rest of his life. He had some ideas and wanted to go with them. But the caveat was that it would take capital investment and that capital was going to have to come from investors or a bank or a combination of both. But to get that capital it would take collateral. So, he decided to mortgage everything he had to add to some savings over the years to come up with enough capital to get started. In addition, he also sought a friend who did the same thing to get capital and believed in his vision. The risk he took? We could have lost everything if it failed…and I mean everything. Home, cars, etc. I remember that talk well. But he was the head of the house and we trusted our dad. This is how our family business’ got started. We hit it lucky and his vision worked and worked well. BUT IT WAS A RISK OF EVERYTHING that we had. Every single nickel but he saw a niche market and went for the brass ring. It turned to gold.

    I submit that the majority of those in the 2% started that way. The “mom and pop” business’ easily fall into this fantasy category of $250,000 and over. They took a risk that came up with their starting capital and were rewarded.

    Then we, the family, did not take the money but re-invested profits into other ventures and the proceeds grew exponentially. We take advantage of the tax laws as everybody does, including the Walla Man (Buck) who, I am willing to wager, has given legal tax or estate planning advice on the very 2% he hammers. We have done nothing illegal nor evil to amass our family wealth. My dad once quoted some one who said…” The mightiest oak, was once a little nut that held its ground”. As a family, we took the risk together. We ate twice a day but we ate well. We sold all the cars but one and rode bicycles to school and took no vacations but that is what we were willing to do. Dad had the foresight for the future and not the present. We, like most people, had no health insurance…we paid the family doctor what we could if we got sick but most doctors had a different philosophy than those today. They would come by the house at midnight back then…not now.

    We then invested into growing companies and bought stocks and bonds and you bet I want the balance sheets of the investments that we invested in to show good. We want a return. I want my investments to show a profit or I will pull my investment and go elsewhere. We invested in tax free municipal bonds of growing cities….all this to mean, we took advantage of the existing laws and reaped benefits. We bought and sold real estate, when applicable. The family business had 7 stock holders. Our family of four and the family of three that risked all they had to join us. I chose another way of life but my stock grew while I was working elsewhere…the military. Now, I am workling in the family business and still contracted with the military and doing well. We are in this artificial 2% but we are not evil nor did we cheat nor do anything illegal and will not.

    Last year, as a family, we paid $ 1,800,000 and change in taxes. How much did you pay Charlie or anyone else that espouses the socialistic approach. Why should not EVERYBODY, including the poorer and elderly, not pay taxes? Why should 45% of the population live off the others that take the risk when they have NO risk or are playing the system or, worse yet, afraid to TAKE a risk.

    I submit, that the 2% everyone is after, will devastate this economy even worse if they are taxed more…..simply because…..they have more. What a ridiculous way to run anything. Want to go after corporations that make 5 billion in profits and pay NO tax…..I agree. Everyone should pay taxes. Go get them. Want to change the tax laws….as Buck about that and if the bulk of his business is in estate planning…..if he has no estates to plan, he has to chanse ambulances. ( Sorry Buck, I do not know what type of barrister you are but your profession is a good example).

    I am an advocate that NO ONE…repeat…NO ONE gets a free ride and that includes the homeless under the bridge.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Sure, lets all attack the lawyers again! 🙂

      Even with a change in the tax code, there would still be estate planning to do — there are other reasons to do estate planning than the avoidance of the estate tax, as I’m sure you know.

      I could get behind a change in the tax code. It is overly complicated and, as Obama said last night, the amount you pay often does depend on the accountant/attorney you are able to afford, which (I hate to say it, since it does impact my own personal bottom line) should not be the case. As I’ve said before I am against a flat tax, and I would be against getting rid of all available deductions, especially for the poorer and middle class. I liked Obama’s idea to place some sort of cap on the number of deductions available to the top earners though. And for the estate tax, yup, always going back to the estate tax, I still support the exemption being lowered.

      I also reject your contention that the poor pay nothing in tax. They may not pay an income tax, but they are paying sales and use taxes and other taxes. Also, before you beat on the poor for “not paying taxes”, take a look to see whether they can afford taxes. Sure there are some who are gaming the system, but I’m sure the vast vast majority would be more than happy to pay some tax if they weren’t living hand to mouth.

      • Oh, Buck, lawyers are a great target..you know that. Dad calls them the “necessary evil” and we use plenty of them. Want to change the tax code…go for it. I agree but make it equitable.

        Buck says: “there are other reasons to do estate planning than the avoidance of the estate tax, as I’m sure you know.”

        D13 asserts: This is very true BUT estate planning also is the avoidance of taxes, legally..and I stress legally, to lessen the teaxable impact. We constantly tell our estate planners…as little tax as possible within the law. If the estate is earning money, then, of course, that earned income should be taxed but at no rates higher than anyone else.

        Are you talking exemption meaning inheritance tax (death tax?)…there is no other name for it. If you are, we will be miles apart. The inheritance is already taxed twice…should be only once but a third time?

        I was referring to income tax. Everybody pays sales tax but it is equitable. I favor a flat tax for ALL individuals at the same rate. I favor a flat tax for all corporations at the same rates with no exemptions and no exemptions for personal taxes as well. The more you make, the more you pay. I could even get behind a VAT providing that it is not indexed and is dedicated SOLELY to debt (not deficit reduction).

        But, I really think, that the tax codes are far too complex and it does advocate avoidance. Just think where we would all be if EVERYONE paid a tax? Ahh hell….probably deeper in debt and more entitlements than we have now.

        • Wow, I think that I coined a new word……teaxable…wait until that gets out…..lol

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Teaxable – I like it. Any particular meaning?

          Re estate taxes: there are estate taxes (federal and state; taxed based on overall estate) and inheritance taxes (only state-based, taxed based on who you are leaving money too). I am talking about the federal estate tax only at the moment. And yes, we are miles apart as I am a big supporter of the estate tax (and no, not only because it is my livelihood). But even absent an estate tax, I am sure you would still be hiring an estate planning attorney to ensure the distribution of your estate as you wish, ensure for the continued operation of your family businesses, possibly set up trusts to protect assets, etc. etc. etc.

          RE all other taxes – just got swamped with work, will try to chime in later today…

      • I reject your contention that the vast majority of any group or class is “more than happy to pay taxes”. I would bet pretty good money that any poll saying “Are you happy to pay taxes?” Would come back with a vast majority saying:”NO!”
        🙂

        • Hmmmm…did not mean to imply that I enjoy paying taxes and that anybody does…..I meant to imply the inevitable as things are now. I would rather not pay taxes…..but the reality is……at least right now.,,,,taxes are as certain as death….hell, taxes are death.

        • I think it depends on how you phrase it:

          “Happy to pay taxes” – Hell no!

          “Happy to pay some taxes” – Yea, sure.

  4. 😐

  5. I wonder sometimes.. would I be in the top whatever percent at my age if my father wasn’t in the top 1%?

    His income gave me the educational advantages I needed. Sure, I’m smart, but he gave me the financial backing to be able to go to the school of my choice (I had larger scholarship offers elsewhere that I was able to turn down). And not just college, but lower, middle, and high school – remember, Los Angeles public schools are crap – and private education easily costs five digits annually. He paid for the suits that I wore on interviews to make a good impression. He set up the internships that I took during high school and college. He opened a lot (a LOT) of door for me to find my first real job (though I actually took a job that he did not get for me). When it came time to buy a house, a sizable portion of the down payment was paid for by an advance from my inheritance. He is paying for half of my graduate degree. My wedding (which was far more lavish than I felt necessary) was paid for jointly by my wife’s and my parents.

    The financial strain they shouldered gave me a tremendous advantage versus my peers. I never had to work as hard as they did to succeed (ask Buck, he busted his ass in college while I cruised). Some of that is certainly due to simple talent and IQ, but how much? If I were born into a different situation, might I not be working for minimum wage?

    Why should I be a member of the elite just because I hit the lottery? What, really, have I ever done to “earn” it?

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Nope, sorry Mathius, but I absolutely cruised through college. I busted my ass one night, and one night only, when one of the profs on my thesis panel decided he didn’t like my entire premise the day before I was to defend the thing.

      • That’s total BS, sir! You’re saying you worked hard one night on your thesis.. your honors thesis.. what was your GPA? 3.8?

        I was your roommate, remember? I remember all the times you didn’t play beer pong because you had to study or write papers. (Unless maybe I’m imagining the whole thing because the fumes coming off of our other roommate caused permanent brain damage..)

        • Buck the Wala says:

          What can I say? I’m that good. I’m not saying I didn’t have my fair share of work to do, but I definitely did not work my ass off in the least.

          I think you’re imagining it all — a heavy dose of benadryl and everclear will do that to you.

    • You make a good point, here Mat. My answer would be that your father (or his, or his) worked his butt off in order that you wouldn’t have to. It is always the ideal of the parents to make life better for their children. It is also the responsibility of the parents to make sure their children grow up with a strong work ethic.

      I had a friend whose parents could have sent him to college at no real expense to them (they were so wealthy), but his father made him get a loan for 10% of his education. That way, he had to get a job and make payments.

      My parents are certainly not well off, but they could afford to help me with school and expenses and whatnot. My father so instilled good work ethic in me that I take pride in saying that my parents paid not one dime for my education. I was even married and living on my own, paying all my utilities and *gasp* health insurance while still in school and working part time. Despite the rhetoric, anyone can succeed if they work hard enough. If I can do it…

      • All I’m saying is that if the playing field were even, there’s no way I should have wound up where I am.

        The accumulated wealth and power of my family tipped the scales for me. I was able to out-compete my peers without actually out-competing them.

        Yes, I’m smart.
        Yes, I have a good work ethic.*
        Yes, I’m white.
        Yes, I’m male.
        Yes, I’m responsible.
        Yes, I’m well spoken.
        Yes, I’m devastatingly good looking.

        But it’s the money that leveraged this.

        *obviously not too good of a work ethic though, since I’m writing this while at work..

        • I get your point, Mat. If you didn’t come from money, would you have put in the same amount of effort? Probably not. I would say you would have worked harder.

          What I want to know is if you think it is right to tell a parent, you cannot make life easier on your child, because it’s not fair to the people who haven’t succeeded. Guess what, buddy, life’s not fair. Why is it that my wife and I have been struggling for years to have a baby, but irresponsible teenagers who have no wish for a child end up with one? I applaud your desire to help people who don’t have it as easy as you did. I just don’t think it’s right to penalize people because they were successful. I would contend that those who have it well should be encouraged to help those who don’t, but can we really force them to? Is that right? Are we the arbiters of fair? Isn’t it the same greed that makes rich people want more money that makes poor people want that which belongs to the rich? I think it is disgusting that people have billions of dollars. What need could they possibly have of it? The difference between me and, say, Charlie, is that I don’t think it justifies forcing them to give it up. I would just encourage them too…

          • You’re probably right that if I didn’t have things handed to me, I would have worked harder. I’ve wondered that as well many times (but it didn’t support my argument so I left it out :P).

            The difference between me and, say, Charlie, is that I don’t think it justifies forcing them to give it up. And I think it justifies making them give some of it up.. just less than Charlie does. That makes me a centrist! Wooo!

        • I worked with a guy for about four years. Call him Mr. Sanford because he drove an old pick-up that looked like one from Sanford & Son. An old black man to boot. And maybe the smartest man I have known.

          He went in the army at 17 and did his 20, retired. Then he joined the air force, rinse & repeat. That’s when I knew him, double retirement and working, making good money. He could easily afford a new truck, but didn’t care about things like that. His son was in college making straight A’s earning a law degree, daughter, same thing except becoming a doctor, both full rides. The third son in HS
          at the top of his class had not decided on a career.

          Mr. Sanford then took a job with the postal service, planing to work ther around 20 yrs…

          The other side, I know parents who’s kids are failing, but don’t care to meet with their teacher. Kid doesn’t do homework, sits and watches TV while dad drinks his beer every night.

    • Matt….try the argument that it does not matter the money…but the individual. I bet a raptor load of Red Bull you would have made it to where you are today without your dad…..because I see that in you. Perhaps it would have been harder to get there but I bet you would have made it. Therein lies the issue. I simply do not biuy the argument that poor people are any more disadvantaged than the rich in ethics and drive…and regardless of how much money you have…bad ethics and lack of responsibility will take it away.

      • I would agree with you. While Dad may open some doors, you have to walk through and eventually perform to keep the position.

        In my case, my family was not poor but never well to do. Dad like many of his generation was a WWII vet who returned to farming first as a hired hand then as a share croper on an 89 acre farm. If you know Midwest farms, that is small. We raised lots of chickens, ducks, hogs and sheep on that farm to make ends meet. Also has a cow for milk and a large garden that supplied much food. After that, Dad started his own carpentry business which was never more than a crew of 4. I and both of my brothers learned the trade. Dad did not give us a college education. We got a job at 13 and several summers of hard knocks. College looked a whole lot easier than capentry in boiling summers and freezing winters so we all got college educated, the first in the family to do so. I earned every $ of my college and postgrad education and learned to settle for underwear for Christmas.

    • Why should you not be a member of the elite? Because of some misguided idea of fairness and guilt at your own success? What does it accomplish, this fabled fairness? What does it do to help society? The idea that you should not utilize advantages is preposterous.

      Should Einstein not have excelled in mathematical science because it was not fair to his peers?

      Should Shaq play basketball on his knees because he is so tall it is unfair to other players?

      Should I eat less because it is unfair to my lower metabilism friends that I can consume 3000+ calories a day and stay fit? Should I act foolish even though I was taught better than that by my parents so that I do not get ahead of my peers by using my wits? Should I not lift heavy things because some of my friends are not as strong as I? Should I demand that people shorter than me wear stilts and those taller slouch so that we can all be 5’7″? Should I demand that someone else fail at 13 business attempts as I did, rather than being successful with their first attempt because they had a couple hundred thousand left to them by their grandfather when he passed? Should I be angry at my parents because they were good to me rather than being abusive alcoholics as the parents of that same friend were, making him have to deal with emotional baggage that I do not have to bear?

      Fairness is a fools errand. Teaching people to help others and care for those in need is wonderful. Teaching that it is wrong to win or be successful unless everyone can share equally is evil. The entire harmony of nature depends on competition and the fact that some are stronger than others, some are faster, some more numerous, etc. A lion does not earn their teeth, but they use them. An antelope does not earn its speed, but it uses it.

      Certainly property is not genetics, but neither is a good upbringing or environment. Is it fair that I started with very little money and others did? No, but it is not wrong. Is it fair that I was taught well and brought up in a loving family when others were not? No, but I am not ashamed of my good family. I have done as well as I have because of my teaching more so than any particular talent. I have done well because of the help of others around me in many cases, but I have treated others well and chosen my friends wisely (most of the time). Not all have this advantage, but they may have others. I am not as smart as Matt or BF, but I can reason better than most, so I can keep up with them. I was not given as much in financial support, but I do not think less of Matt because he got it. I see no reason to place guilt on another because they have something I don’t, that is a horrible, jealous, bitter existence.

  6. Jon, good article sir.

    I readily agree that there is a percentage of the upper earners (be it Charlie’s 2% or USW’s 0.2$, or somewhere in between) that use their wealth for power and influence to negative effect to the rest of society.

    Yet, I expect that if they did not exist there would still be those using some aspect of society to their benefit to gain that influence and power over the rest of us. Those who wish to be evil will find evil ways to attain their goals.

    • Indeed. Part of my point was that there are evil people. Evil people will operate in any system. The system is not what creates evil. The key to a good system is how it manages evil. Ideally, evil will not be able to consolidate power. The more free and individual a society, the more power is distributed and the less damage evil people can do.

  7. Charlie,

    You don’t need your car. You can walk.
    I expect you to give me your car.

    You don’t need your house. A small bed will do.
    I expect you to give me your house.

    You don’t need your supper. 1200 calories is all you need.
    I expect you to give me your steak dinner.

    ….What YOU THINK other people NEED is worthless and irrelevant….

    Think about what YOU need for YOURSELF, and keep your grubby paws out of other people’s wallet.

    • So long as it is the greater good that requires all of which you noted above, I’m fine with it, BF.

      So, our grubby paws will be coming for the back pay you owe us soon enough … start filling the sandbags …

      • Charlie

        As always, you cannot define “greater good” to be anything more or greater than what Charlie wants – it is not any greater good, it is merely the expression of your own adolescent ego,

        “They” were paid already – that is what trade of value for value means.

        You merely want to steal more than that.

        • Exactamundo … Charlie World. I love the sound of that.

          LOVE it.

          But once again, you overreach (for purposes of avoiding the issue of what you need vs. what the greater good needs). Right now I need a cup of coffee … so hop to it.

          The point being, the greater good is society at large (the overall population, for now, of the US (since this is SUFA and not SUSA–stand up for stella)). Society can use the excess of income over and above what is needed to live a comfortable life with dignity. Most people want to work … and they want dignity. So long as money accumulates at the top, it determines what is “needed” as well as who gets to own dignity, even if the bulk of their wealth comes from (or came from) the backs of the workers they get to dominate (through the corrupt government they own).

          Bada-boom, bada-bing.

          • Charlie,

            Charlie World. I love the sound of that.

            I know you would.

            You define what is Right by its application to Charlie and no further.

            But once again, you overreach

            No, I do not.

            If you can justify theft for a penny, you give me more than enough justification of theft for thousands, which is more than enough justification of theft for millions and billions and trillions…. because it is exactly the same justification.

            The point being, the greater good is society at large

            No such thing exists. What you force by violence on others for your good destroys theirs.

            That is the evil: you believe you can achieve a good for a minority as long as the costs and pain of such violence is spread amongst a large majority.

            As I posted yesterday, you are the proof of Public Choice Doctrine and why such programs that destroy society come into existence.

            Society can use the excess of income over and above what is needed to live a comfortable life with dignity.

            Why should I pay for you being lazy? Because you want to be a comfortable, dignified lazy bum???

            No matter how you want to cut the cake, you advocate theft and reward irresponsibility. Society -should it take your path pervasively- will self destruct into an orgy of slaughter.

            History has show this to be true.

            • Because you want to be a comfortable, dignified lazy bum???

              Can you think of a better reason?

              No matter how you want to cut the cake, you advocate theft and reward irresponsibility. Society -should it take your path pervasively- will self destruct into an orgy of slaughter. History has show this to be true.

              I cut the cake so all can enjoy it instead of a few, whereas you want to gorge yourself on the bulk of the pie. History shows you’ll lose in the end but it doesn’t have to be a slaughter (if you’d just share).

  8. Charlie

    BF will argue without the structure

    Wrong, I never said this.

    You equate “government” with “structure”.

    Structure can exist without government. IN FACT, most structure exists without government!

    You fallaciously assume violent force creating structure and people cannot create self-evolving structure, WHEN IN FACT, the latter dominates.

    those who do bad things with their money won’t be supported and will ultimately fail.

    Exactly.

    If they have no legitimate way to enforce themselves, they will -EVENTUALLY- fail.

    I see their initial victory (being able to create a corporate structure) as a history lesson that would only repeat itself without government intervention.

    Corporate structure exists BECAUSE of government.

    To demand government fix what government PURPOSEFULLY created is to ask the devil to destroy hell.

  9. Have you ever noticed that the people who bitch the most about taxes are usually the ones who don’t pay hardly any or none at all?

    I mean, sure, as the top wage earners or top 2% or 10% or what ever, they should definitely pay taxes. But I am sick to my stomach of seeing and hearing them demonized as deserving of having their taxes raised and having to pay through the nose as a penalty for being “rich”.

    IMO, NO ONE should have their taxes raised. NO ONE. Let the damn Government cut their budget. As a matter of fact, They should be FORCED to slash and burn it.

    And just to let you know, I am speaking as one of those who pay zero federal taxes. I don’t make enough. And in addition, I get about $3,000 BACK from the Feds that I didn’t pay in to begin with. Do I think this is right? No. Am I giving it back? Not only No, but hell no.

    Until it is changed I will continue to take advantage of it. Besides, they wouldn’t take it back if I tried and I can’t AFFORD to give it back. But that doesn’t mean I believe that the rich should be punished for having money.

    • Since Charlie and Obama want the earnings of the 2% above $250K, I suggest we start by asking all the Democrats in Congress that make more than $250K to donate all of their earnings above $250K to the government for deficit reduction.

      • Charlie & Obama? Brother, are you on the wrong track. He’s your guy, not mine. Might as well wear his GOP badge on the front of his jacket instead of inside it. He’s a tool of the Republican Party.

        If Charlie had his way, all the Dems (minus one) and all the Reps would be in jail and their salaries, pensions divided equally to the greater good; their possessions/businesses nationalized and redistributed.

      • Yeah! Watch them sit up and choke then!

        They can decide what’s best for us when they know it won’t affect them. Just like they decided that ObamaCare was right for us, but declined having to be on it themselves.

  10. gmanfortruth says:

    Charlie,

    Sorry I missed out on the debate today, nice weather, outdoors splitting wood.

    What you are advocating, if it ever took hold of this country, would result in a very bloody civil war. The ideology you speak of would never become reality, because those who advocate it would die. If, in the next year or two, those who think like you actually attempt this greater good crap, better have a better army than me, cuz the fight will be on, bigtime!

    Other than that, Peace Brother!

    • Gman, I promise not to club you with my louisville if you promise not to shoot me.

      But your stats are seriously in error … even BF admits that it’ll be the masses (#’s count) who will overwhelm yous wingies on the right. Remember, we’re evil … well, not really, but BF loves to spout that Ayn Rand … bull donkey?

      Gman … remember, don’t shoot!

      • Only problem with that Charlie, is that the masses don’t agree with you. Just like they don’t mostly agree with us right wingies, as you call us, they also don’t agree with you left wingies.

        And since you lefties don’t believe in guns, you are SO screwed.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        Don’t woory Charlie, I’ll make sure you a spared. The remnant are small but mighty, and we can do it from 800 yards away. It only took 5% of the population to win the Revolution, it will only take .005% to eliminate the lefties. AS Esom said, yous don’t believe in guns, and we ain’t teaching ya anytime soon!

        Peace!

        • Gman … did you mean speared or spared? You’re making me nervous.

          I do know a few lefties who shoot but I cannot divulge that information from fear of McCarthy like blacklisting … yous will have them all thrown in jail!

          Trust me, though, the greater the gap between the haves and the have nots, the more the line will start forming on our side … and if it gets back enough quick enough, I’ll wager a few of yous wingies will join up!

          Peace …

          You did mean “spared” right, Gman?

          • gmanfortruth says:

            LOL, Yes, “spared”, I gave up spearing when I got my first gun at age 6. Too much of a hassle to get so close 🙂
            I’m a “have not”, only have what I need to live a fairly decent life, don’t need or want much more. The difference between the haves and me, I don’t care about them any more than they care about me.

            Today I split enough wood to heat my house next winter, tomorrow, I will do it all over again for the following winter and maybe the winter after. The farmer that borders our property was cutting the trees that overhung his fields and gave us the trees, about 80. WE did not earn them or pay for them, we bartered a deal. He travels 1/4 of the distance he would have to to dispose of the trees, we cut them up, burn the limbs, split and stack for firewood. The free market in action! It does exist, you just have to look for it amidst all the government BS, because it’s the govt that is the problem, not the .02% (or whatever). Your damn sure smart enough to see this.

            If we work to get govt out of our business, we would all be better off.

            • WE did not earn them or pay for them, we bartered a deal.

              Communism in action … a beautiful thing. I’m proud you, Gman!

              • gmanfortruth says:

                Wrong Charlie. 😦

                THere was no government intervention what so ever, Communism is a political ideology, this action was not based on anything political, it was based on free men making a deal to enhance both their abilities to prosper. If anything, this is an example of Anarchism, as no political or govt ideologies were required or wanted in the transaction. With that said, Communism my ass 🙂

              • No, My red friend. The free market in action. No government intervention. Your government would have taxed them on the transaction. Can’t have anything happen that doesn’t profit the government.

  11. I have never once, in all my discussions here at SUFA, or any other website for that matter, heard anyone, ANYONE, advocate a return to slavery.

    You confuse the issue. No one is accusing anyone of wanting a return to slavery BUT when you bring up how GREAT this country was back in the day (especially with references to our growth as a nation/economy, etc.) you don’t get to IGNORE slavery and how that contributed to the wealth of countless southerners who then went on to leave behind their wealth to generations of their offspring (the ill gotten gained advantage us reds are so consumed with, for one thing).

    And you wonder why no one ever takes your position seriously?

    I wonder no such thing. I suspect you take “my position” as seriously as I take yours (which isn’t very seriously). But there are more of us than you; fact. Of course you guys are “the remnant” and we should all yield … oy vey.

    Your greater good nonsense got in the way of free market capitalism

    See what I mean? That’s just funny … thus, I don’t take you seriously.

    Funny how capitalism works in every way until government intervention.

    Except even you admit the 2%’s (excuse me, .02 %’ers) own the very same government. Hmmm ….

    And you claim that I am loaded with assumptions for saying so?

    Yep, your assumption is that free market will set us free, but in fact, it hasn’t (please don’t go back to the “but this isn’t a free market argument again). The free market was free to those who had the gelt from the get-go (an advantage they used to exploit enough so they could protect themselves forever (corporations). My assumption is that some democratically established “need” MIGHT level the playing field (but certainly more so than it does now).

    So, yes, your argument is front loaded with assumptions that history has proved wrong.

  12. If anything, this is an example of Anarchism,

    Or … people working together for their own greater good! How cool is that? I have no problem with anarchists so long as they’re vying for the greater good (which some do). The problem with your scenario (fine as it is) is what happens when you have to chop wood for all those poor SOB’s living in the cities? Oy vey … there goes the furniture! What do they sit on? How does one handle all those without the farm and excess trees? Do we just let them die because they were a) too lazy to live in the country instead? or b) because tough noogies on them?

    Oy vey … I’m still proud of your red intentions, my comrade brother.

    • Collective living that is voluntary is fine. Such voluntary cooperation may be belittled by Rand, but not by anyone here that I have seen.

      As for the folks in the city, they will either need to use technology in their favor (get the oil pumps moving and the solar active enough to give them heat, it wont take much if they are willing to turn off the unneeded stuff (TVs, etc.) In the end, however, it is not the responsibility of anyone else.

      • In the end, however, it is not the responsibility of anyone else.

        Jon, consider it protecting your own interests that you do help take care of those in the cities, because as even BF notes (no matter how criss-crossed his reasoning), millions of people about to starve are going to opt to survive … what then?

        For now they are thrown bones in the form of welfare and the Democratic Party … sooner than later (I think) enough of what was the middle class is going to get tired of the Democratic Party nonsense and seek another party (socialist, etc.) … if things are bad enough, it’ll be a violent revolution (what is going on in those bastions of free enterpise in the middle east these days–free for the kings, of course). There’s no avoiding a progressive movement of people seeking a level playing field, especially when they see how disadvantaged they’ve become from capitalism as it currently exists.

        • Charlie,

          Jon, consider it protecting your own interests that you do help take care of those in the cities, because as even BF notes (no matter how criss-crossed his reasoning), millions of people about to starve are going to opt to survive … what then?

          Exactly my point to SUFA.

          When the FedGov no longer can pay its bills, your neighbors will starve. They live with you, not in Washington.

          If you are not prepared to deal with the LOCAL economics and politics, Charlie’s gang will overrun you.

          If you are not prepared to articulate to these people that it was Charlie’s gang that did this to them, they will listen to Charlie, who will blame voluntary action was at fault.

          You can’t beat something with nothing.

          Charlie’s gang has an very well articulated lie. People will fall for it if there is nothing else.

  13. It isn’t lost on me that this is the case. But there are a lot of “decision makers” out there doing the “right” thing too. As I said. I am betting it is a vast minority of the top folks who are heartless and criminal.

    I don’t doubt the intentions of those seeking profit (it is, after all, what capitalism is all about). What I doubt is that capitalism in 2011 can continue to serve the greater good (society as a whole) even close to the way it benefited “some” (white) society in the past. Things have now become so one-sided (2/.02%’s) that the white (and all other) middle class are now included in the “other” percent of the population that was never served well by capitalism (mostly minorities back in the day). Essentially, there are way too many have-nots in society today than before and as the gap widens, the numbers continue to build against what kept this country from revolting since independence (the great middle class). It is evaporating daily. I don’t believe a pure socialist state would solve that problem so long as this government remains a two party system completely owned by money. It would take very drastic grass roots support (which won’t happen in my or your lifetime). But, things do have to get worse before they get better and having a “socialist” (sarcasm intended) like Obama essentially run on the Republican ticket (become their slave politically) will expedite the process.

    When you recognize that the immoral will be immoral in whatever system you create, when you realize that there is absolutely no way you can stop the rich and powerful from staying that way, you must make your choices on other criteria. And your red version of the future is NOT better, IMO, for the growth of the middle class, the preservation of liberty, or the rebirth of individual responsibility.

    I have no doubt (and have said so repeatedly in the past) that immoral people will behave that way under any guise. I do not believe the rich and powerful, however, stripped of their tool (gov’t) would have the same leverage they do under our system. Not if a true workers party (to be shuffled constantly enough so that lifetime bureaucrats aren’t the norm). And if the true workers party fails to some degree, devise another. What we do know now is that “this government, right now” is owned by big money and serves big money. It should be jailed, in my opinion, for what it did to workers with those bailouts. The subsequent never-ending scandals surrounding those bailouts (like the one I pointed to yesterday in Rolling Stone; the foreclosure fraud exposed on 60 minutes a few weeks ago) are being totally ignored from both sides of the aisle because both sides of the aisle are guilty. Where is the tea party on that, by the way? Why aren’t they screaming their patriotic heads off about the two wives at JP Morgan who were part of $220 million in loans with no prior business resume)? That makes workers crazy … enough of it happens, the damn breaks eventually. And I do note that the Republican Obama oversaw with glee.

    I do not claim that a completely free market solves every problem. I simply claim that NO system solves the problem you are using as impetus. Therefore I embrace seeking a system that grants me the best shot at what I believe is the more important goal… liberty and the ability to live and die by the consequences of my own actions, my own work ethic, and my own principles.

    Nor do I claim a socialist government will solve most problems. But I think it’s time to quit the overgeneralization implied in not so much your comments, but in many others here, that the political socialist doesn’t have a work ethic. The way the immoral will tend to stay immoral, so goes the other end of the inertia formula, the moral will tend to stay moral; workers by nature will work under any system and the lazy will look to get over in any system. I do not propose to reward the lazy; just give them a genuine opportunity to work/produce/excel as opposed to the fantasy “american dream” (which, let’s face it, has now become a lotto ticket). And I do not fear the state in 2011 the way many here do; I have to believe there has been enough education to revolt against a state getting out of control regarding individual liberty. Many here are much more touchy on that subject than I am, although I do agree there is far too much nonsense government intervention (drug laws, etc.) and agree with libertarians on most of those issues. I don’t think a modern social democrazy would easily get out of control.

    • “Never served well by capitalism”

      Who would that be? The middle class expanded under capitalism in this country, and our poor because richer than any poor class in the world. The consolidation of wealth started with government protection even centuries ago, so I do not claim the system “used to be perfect”, but it was more capitalistic back when we were engaging a higher level of growth and innovation.

      “I do not believe the rich and powerful, however, stripped of their tool (gov’t) would have the same leverage they do under our system.”

      Eureka! This is EXACTLY what I have been saying. The rich, regardless of their wealth, would not have the leverage they do in our system, or in a capitalist system, if they were stripped of the use of government, force, legal protection, legal enforcement, and the power of authority. Power of wealth is enough, they should not have the power of authority as well.
      Forgive me if I am wrong, but it seemed like you were wanting to strip the rich of their other tool (wealth). I submit that without the tool of authority they will not be able to keep their wealth so consolidated. They may be richer than others, but not the disparity we currently have. The key is to restrict government from involvement in business, to reduce the government’s role in economics altogether, that is how you strip the rich of their government tool. If you attempt to strip them of it by making government stronger, the backdoor deals will continnue. Government is too corruptible, thus it cannot solve the problems of power by giving it more power, only by removing it from the power equasion.

      • and our poor because richer than any poor class in the world.

        I’m sure they’ll be very grateful to learn that. Geez, that is not an acceptable answer in 2011. We’re the richest country in the world and people should have the basic necessities in life.

        Eureka! This is EXACTLY what I have been saying. The rich, regardless of their wealth, would not have the leverage they do in our system, or in a capitalist system, if they were stripped of the use of government, force, legal protection, legal enforcement, and the power of authority.

        That, I believe, was a premature Eureka! I speak of “this government” (which they own). They would not “own” a workers government (trust me on that). There just wouldn’t be anymore $2.4 million an hour, $633,000 an hour, or even $10,000 an hour jobs anymore. They’d have to share that with those who do the actual labor and contribute to the greater good. If they don’t like it, we could simply nationalize what is here and give them one way tickets to a destination of their choice.

        Forgive me if I am wrong, but it seemed like you were wanting to strip the rich of their other tool (wealth).

        No, Jon, you were right. Not strip entirely, but they don’t get to exploit the system the way they do now. They can still be the kings on their block, but they don’t get to rip off the rest of us (or hand it down to another generation for safe keeping).

        Government is too corruptible, thus it cannot solve the problems of power by giving it more power, only by removing it from the power equasion.

        The anarchist in me tends to agree, which is why I’d opt for a revolving set of overseers/government so they can’t become ingrained bureaucrats. I’m not sure it can actually occur with any great level of success, for as you say, power corrupts, but this system is already so corrupt, it might as well be the Soviet model (except here the gangsters running things are the monied using the government instead of the mob).

  14. Why even bother?

    • Paints a rather stark picture…

    • You should watch this Charlie…it is what the entitlement world we live in has created…truly sad.

      • That iswhy I am swiftly turning Anarchist. Maybe not as bad as BF, but I’m getting there.

      • Yet, the entitlement world handed over $700 billion to Wall Street without batting an eye.

        Then the CEO’s rewarded themselves with record bonuses.

        Then we found out the defrauded people out of their homes.

        Then we found out 2 wives were part of loans from bailed out bucks to the tune of 220 million.

        Yeah, it’s entitlements that ruined the country (sarcasm intended).

        • Charlie

          YES!

          It is the same thing!

          Entitlements are destructive

          It does NOT MATTER who you steal from.
          It does NOT MATTER who you give this stolen loot to.

          Whether you steal from the poor and give it to the rich who did not earn the wealth….
          …or you steal from the wealthy to give to the poor who did not earn the wealth….

          It is exactly the same evil and creates exactly the same societal destruction

  15. Canine Weapon says:

    Time for an informal survey:

    How many digits of pi do you?

    test

    • CW,
      Exactly 1 digit.

      1(base pi)

      • Base 10, if you please.

        My company’s security for one of my programs requires me to change my password weekly, so I’ve just been using pi and going out to more and more decimals.

        I want to memorize 100, but I just hit 40.

        I wonder if it will even allow me to use a password that long?

  16. Fascinating..

    Detroit.

    Anita, I’d be especially interested in your thoughts..

    • Devastating pictures. I just sent the link to a friend living there. Tough stuff … love the 2nd comment underneath, though …

    • Comments are very interesting and most miss the point (worried about books left behind???). This is what bloated government, heavy union employment, massive entitlement population does. Can’t happen here? This is the proof that it can.

      • Do you find it odd that everything bad is the fault of the government and unions and entitlement, while everything good is due exclusively to free market capitalism?

        Does it not matter, your opinion, that GM makes crap cars? If I could have bought American and still got a car like my new one (999 miles on the odo as of today :/) or the one before that, I would have. But I couldn’t, so I bought them from Japan and sent my hard-earned dollars overseas.

        • (Rereading that, I can just hear the far-off voice of the dread pirate shouting that the reason they make crap cars is because they are supported by the government, so they don’t have to make good cars because economic considerations have been removed from the equation. But what does he know?)

          • Sounds like he knows a pretty damn good bit actually.

            GM pisses me off worse than anyone else. The Bondholders who INVESTED in GM got raped by the Obama Administration, who shouldn’t have been involved in a Bankruptcy to begin with, and the Union, who wouldn’t compromise or budge a damn bit, wound up owning GM.

            This farce made for damn SURE I will NEVER buy another new GM product. Even if it was built like a Swiss watch.

    • Don’t know what else I can add. I was just downtown 10 days ago for a court date. I was even amazed how many abandoned homes there were..probably 3 out of 5. Problem is everyone booked the city and have moved to the suburbs.. creating mini Detroits. My city so far is still taken care of but the slums are as close as the next neighboring city.

      50+ years of D leadership..what other proof do you need?
      Kwame K had many plans to renovate some old buildings but that cost/benefit thing got in the way. There really arent many retail stores left in the city either so the plan now is to bulldoze entire blocks to make room for urban gardens. Not a bad plan for the remaining welfare families..they can all contribute to tending the gardens putting a whole new meaning to “will work for food”. Sad situation indeed.

  17. Charlie

    Me thinks there’s quite a few people who would disagree that those acting on the basis of profit haven’t harmed anyone

    Whether that is true or not is irrelevant.

    The Truth is not calculated by a democracy, nor does a Lie become a Truth by vote.

    Many people suffer from mental confusion and contradiction – they have been trained purposely to be so confused by the authorities in the lives. They have been taught that a word means this, then the word is redefined to be opposite the original, but the word remains applied to the previous understanding.

    This is called “Revolution in the Form” and a particularly powerful tool.

    The concepts of violence are set. The responses to violence are then set and justified. The definition of violence is then changed to include non-violent acts but the consequences are not changed.

    Thus, men justify their violent acts on non-violent men, by redefining violence to suit their whim.

    • My whim will be suited when the massive wealth in this country is redistributed to its rightful owners.

      Now, I’m busy today so I can’t play (I hear throngs of cheers from the balcony). See yous later, comrades!

      • Charlie,

        Then, should you be successful in achieving your whim, will have also succeeded in destroying modern Civilization.

      • Its RIGHTFUL OWNERS????

        Who is that? Who decides it? What right do these persons have to ownership? Need? What measure of need? Labor? What level of labor? Skill? Effort? How hard they try? Original ownership? How far back are we going? What right do the decendants have? Did they earn something by birthright? If so, then is wealth passed generationally then ok? How about racism, is a certain nationality get rights to property because of their history and we classify them according to race or nationality?

        This is the most insane thing I have heard you say yet Charlie, please tell me it was just an error because you were in a hurry….

        • Charlie,

          Jon has an excellent point and one you have yet to acknowledge.

          You can obtain (and hence, allocate) resources by two, and only two methodologies.

          By force
          By earn

          You believe you can promote the latter by using the former – but they are contradictory. Thus, your attempt to manifest a contradiction creates evil.

  18. The pundits are saying that the Dems will spend a billion dollars to get Obama re-elected in 2012.

    That means that the Reps will do their best to raise a billion dollars to get their candidate elected.

    One of them will lose.
    Think about this.

    One of them could become the first billion-dollar loser in American political history.

    But he (or she) will not be the last.

    The cost of electing and not electing members of Congress will no doubt approach the cost of electing and not electing the next President.

    Someone is going to make history, either in 2012 or 2016, depending on when that billion-dollar figure appears.

    And still there are people on SUFA who believe they can change the Washington political system

    What plan do YOU – and I mean YOU PERSONALLY – have to raise a billion dollars to elect some guy who you believe will change a system that requires you to raise a billion dollars to participate??

    If you still believe you can “change” Washington you are in serious denial and wholly naive.

    • If you still believe you can “change” Washington you are in serious denial and wholly naive. … … … or you are a multi-billionaire..

      Give me a little time. I think I can get there by the time I’m 40.

      • Mathius,

        If you had a billion, why on Earth would you waste it vying for a job that -should you win- would turn you into a jackass.

        • I wouldn’t. But I should be able to.

          BTW, using my historic income and teasing out an “average raise,” then applying that to future incomes, then saving 10-15% a year and investing that cumulatively, I calculate that I will be a billionaire (inflation adjusted) by my 99th birthday.

          I think this model is conservative since when I’m 99 and earning north of 100mm / yr, I should be able to save well over 15%.

          • Mathius,

            But by the time you are 99, the cost of electing a President will be 11,400 billion dollars.

            • That’s ok, I tweaked my equations a little bit accounting for increased saving at higher incomes.

              I should now be a billionaire at 90.

              Remember, the key to long term gains via compound interest is that time is more important than amount. Save early, save often, save as little or as much as you can.. saving a lot of money later is not nearly as good as saving a little early on. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t take the money out unless you absolutely have to.

  19. Mathius,

    Do you find it odd that everything bad is the fault of the government and unions and entitlement, while everything good is due exclusively to free market capitalism?

    This is not true.

    Free market system does not MAKE “good” morals, or “happiness” or “joy” or anything

    It is merely a system of voluntary action. You can voluntarily chop off your fingers – hardly a ‘happy act’. Because you can chop off your fingers is not the fault of freedom.

    Government preventing you from chopping off your fingers does not make government “good”.

    All action creates consequences. All action forces trade offs.

    Thus we cannot judge our actions by the ends or the consequences – but by the means we undertake those actions.

    The means, and they are exclusive:
    force and violence
    earn and voluntary

    Beyond that, the rest falls as the Universe unfolds.

  20. News:
    WASHINGTON (AP) — China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, trimmed its holdings for a fourth straight month in February and Japan boosted its holdings one month before a devastating earthquake hit the country.

    China cut its holdings by $600 million to $1.15 trillion, the Treasury Department reported Friday. Japan, the second-largest foreign holder, boosted its holdings by $4.4 billion to $890.3 billion. There have been concerns that the March earthquake and tsunami may cause Japan to scale back its purchases in order to use the money for reconstruction.

    …Chine is de-funding the USA…
    …Japan was upping its funding of the USA…

    ..Earthquake happened….

    China will not change course. Japan must either: inflate, to pay for the earthquake and continue funding the US
    or
    Japan will pay for the earthquake and not fund the US

    If Japan does not fund the US….

    …who will?

    • While SUFA pontificates over the futile and pointless Washington realpolitik….

      …the clock ticks down….

      Time’s about up…..

      • It’d be a lot easier to believe that time is almost up if everyone and their mother throughout history hadn’t made the exact same claim. Hell, Al Gore is even making this claim. You both think the world is going to end (literally/figuratively) in the next few years.

        When time’s up, the clock just starts over. Everyone settle down.

        • Mathius,

          Your conceptual error

          Time’s up …[a lot happens here, mostly very disagreeable]….start over …[lot’s of difficulty and hard times]…..Everyone settles down.

          It is what happens between these [..] that counts.

          • For i = 1 to 10,000,000
            Set C = pick(economic collapse, global warming, global cooling, inflation, deflation, rapture, nuclear war, nuclear winter, Communists!, aliens, Mayans, “terrists,” misc, other)
            Set T = random(time, near future)
            Someone claims the world will end at T because C
            at T,
            … nothing
            next i

      • Buck the Wala says:

        So if all of this pontificating is useless, pointless, futile, and a complete waste of time….

        Why are you here pontificating?

        Just curious.

        • Buck,

          I do not pontificate about changing Washington

          I am shoving people into preparing for the eventuality.

          If you waste time in futile effort, it costs you necessary preparedness.

          • Maybe you are right BF. I am not as “enlightened” as you are. But I am done with the Federal Government. They will NEVER be fixed. It is UNFIXABLE.

            But I still have a LITTLE hope for the State and Local. For instance, I like that new Immigration Bill for GA. The Hipanics can cry all they want. Our State MUST take action. Illegal Immigration is DESTROYING our State.

            (And I know you probably don’t agree, but you don’t live here)

            • Bottom Line says:

              Esom,

              Wanna know what it was that broke me from my rationalizations and tipped the scales to cause me to go from confused independent Libertarian to full blown Anarchist?

              A: “Imaginary lines”

              It was the realization that the state is the root of the problem, not necessarily the “illegals”.

              My main issue with illegals has always been that they are at an unfair economic advantage. Understanding that advantage is created by governance, that it would otherwise not exist is what initially what broke me free.

              Take government out of the equation. Now what do you have?

              Cultural compatibility issues? Pffft….

              Globalization is the inevitable course of human evolution.

  21. Esom

    But I still have a LITTLE hope for the State

    No hope here. At best, a short delay.

    and Local.

    Only possibility, other than full decentralization to individuals. But that won’t happen …yet.

    (And I know you probably don’t agree, but you don’t live here)

    You are correct on both counts.

    • I mean you probably don’t agree with trying to do something about the illegal immigration. If you lived here, you would see the impossible drain they have become on this State.

      Understand, I don’t blame them for trying to find a better life. I blame the Government for not doing more to stop it.

      • Esom,

        The drain on the State is not the fault of the immigrants.

        The fact: immigrants improve your economic condition.

        They provide CHEAP labor, thus reduce costs, which leaves you more money to obtain more and/or better other goods.

        When the cost of a good (labor is just another economic good) goes down, it lowers the cost of the outputs. Lower costs translates into higher profits – which enriches the People, or lowers the cost of the products for the People – which enriches the People.

        If there is a distortion to this, it is NOT the immigrants, but the POLITICS.

        By attacking the immigrants with even more politics will only make the distortion worse, not better

        • They provide CHEAP labor

          Yes, exploit the SOB’s … make them eat dirt …

          The cheap labor is gonna bite you on the ass someday, my friend.

          • Charlie,

            How can it be exploitation that a man leaves where he is to go to another place to earn MORE than where he was??

            As usual, you measure from your adolescent ego.

            Cheap labor does not bite. It works and earns and builds wealth.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Flag,

          To add…

          Government intervention/theft is what causes them to be “CHEAP”, and me not so cheap.

          I have to make my standard of living PLUS government’s cut. Illegals only have to make a standard of living.

          If government and it’s demands of my $ were taken out of the equation, I (the skilled laborer) could afford to work as “CHEAP” as they can.

          If government and it’s demands for contractors’/small business owner’s $$ were taken out of the equation, they could afford to pay more and/or reinvest and/or spend more.

          End result: “illegals” no longer have an economic advantage. Contractors hire according to merit. Wage differential balances out.

          Contractors have more $ to promote a healthy economic environment.

          All things balance out according to natural free market forces. Issue moot.

        • Regardless. The illegals get to work without providing ANY tax base. Our school system is being broken by them, along with all the damn food stamp and medicaid.

          So don’t give me that “I benefit from it” bullshit. As poor as my standard of living is, I can’t get those same benefits. They cannot even be ASKED for their citizenship.

          It is BULLSHIT. Pure and simple.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Your school system is being broken by them? Explain please.

            • Illegals in the school system but not paying taxes. Our county in particular, paying to educate illegals. And I work for the school district, so don’t tell me they don’t.

              Not only that but interpreters so they can understand the teachers. And after the first year, they count on the CRCT test. And don’t even get me started on the damn drug gangs and just gangs period.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                How dare they get an education!? Try to better themselves!?

                Illegal immigrants do pay some taxes though – they may not be paying state or fed income tax, but they are paying local property taxes through their rent.

              • You seem to keep missing that main word.

                ILLEGAL.

                Let me say it again.

                ILLEGAL.

                If they are LEGAL I have no problem. I have a problem with the ILLEGAL ones. NO they do not have the right to an American Education when they are ILLEGAL.

                But I don’t really know why I’m bothering. I don’t expect you to agree or understand. Nor do I give a shit.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                So you would punish the children for their parents’ illegal actions?

                We may not agree on this, but I’m trying to get an understanding of where you are coming from on this point.

              • If the parents are illegal Buck, they are illegal. Period freakin’ dot.

                Because they snuck across the border illegally is not and should not be our problem.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                True, they are ‘illegal’ – they committed a crime. So what should be done? Throw them all in jail!? Round them up and ship them back to where they came from?

                Or, how about demonstrating some compassion and understanding of their situation. Granting them a chance at becoming a citizen. Allowing their children to go to our schools, become educated, better themselves, and start a life in the US. Who knows – I’m sure some will become the next Bill Gates, start a company that will employ thousands of other citizens, pay taxes, donate to charitable causes, etc.

                Because they snuck across our border, it is our “problem”. Now it is up to us as a society to deal with this ‘problem’ in a way to make it better for everyone involved. And please don’t bore me with stories of violence, crime and drug gangs – that is not an accurate portrayal of your average illegal immigrant. Your average illegal immigrant is merely trying to make a better life for himself and his family.

              • Owww, this is going to hurt……….I have to agree wsith a liberal and lawyer!

                I do agree with Bucks comment. Plus I look at the fact that the border patrol has only existed for 80ish years and before that we really didn’t give a crap who crossed the border it would seem. Further it has only been since 1965 that we placed a limit on the number of immigrants that could come here from the Western Hemisphere.

                Laws our government enacted made them “illegal” and now we refuse to fix that in order to make it so they can be productive in all ways for our society. Stupid us.

                Now, if you’ll excuse me I need a stiff drink and some icy hot to work out the pain of agreeing with Buck! 😉

              • Bottom Line says:

                Esom – ” Illegals in the school system but not paying taxes. Our county in particular, paying to educate illegals. And I work for the school district, so don’t tell me they don’t ”

                BL – “Illegals” aren’t the ones using the idle threat of a gun, demanding that you pay for their education.

                Esom – ” If they are LEGAL I have no problem. I have a problem with the ILLEGAL ones. ”

                BL – That’s because you are registered to the state that forces you to assume the responsibility of “illegals”. It’s because you still see people as “illegal” and “legal” instead of just individuals.

                What if law was irrelevant? What kind of immigration would it be then?

                “Legal” borders are imaginary lines on a piece of land that define which ideas you will be forced to live by.

                They do not occur naturally. They were not there before government “imagined” them there.

                Start from there and try to think of how it would be if there was no law to demand anything from anyone.

                Then, they are just immigrants trying to do the same thing you are.

                Esom – ” And don’t even get me started on the damn drug gangs and just gangs period ”

                BL – Gangs are going to happen whether there are “legals”, “illegals”, government, or anarchy.

                The solution to gangs is a defensive/retaliatory response, whether there are “legals”, “illegals”, government, or anarchy.

                Drug use, possession, and trafficking, are all voluntary actions with no direct victim.

                What’s the problem? The violence associated with the “illegal” marketplace?

                What would it be like if there were no laws against drugs?

                Who would be fighting over who’s turf if the value of drugs has been reduced to virtually nothing other than the production costs?

                I.E. – Who would buy weed if there were no laws to tell them they couldn’t just grow it on their front porch?

              • Esom

                ILLEGAL

                No, I ignore the word.

                An utterly immoral law does not make the enforcement of the law a “good thing”.

                Whether they are legal or not, they are making you richer.

  22. Mathius,
    Fail.

    Someone claims the world will end

    I am not claiming this.

  23. Mathius,
    Fail

    For i = 1 to 10,000,000

    Human history =10,000 years
    Ancient history =1,000 years.
    Recent history = 200 years.

    For i=1 to 200

    Set C = pick(economic collapse

    German Empire
    German Reich
    Japanese Empire
    Russia
    Soviet Russia
    China
    Communist China
    Chile
    Argentina
    Brazil
    Bolivia
    Confederate States
    Mexico
    Zimbabwe

    let’s call it “a quite few hundred examples”

    , global warming,

    at least once a year

    global cooling,

    at least once a year

    inflation,

    every year between 1914 and 1929 and 1940 til present.

    deflation,

    every year between 1929 and 1940

    rapture,

    Every day I see my family

    nuclear war,

    Once

    nuclear winter,

    At least twice – due to volcanoes

    Communists!,

    Every year since 1917

    aliens,

    Mexicans have entered the US since 1776.

    Mayans, “terrists,” misc, other)

    Yes
    Set T = random(time, near future)
    Someone claims a geo-political paradigm shift

    end at T because C
    at T,

    is assured</b.

  24. Gold & Silver climbing higher & higher!

    Still smiling thanks to BF 🙂

  25. Esom

    . The illegals get to work without providing ANY tax base.

    All their money goes to their families or spent locally. Both are good things.

    Our school system is being broken by them,

    The school system is broken. Period

    along with all the damn food stamp and medicaid.

    The problem is the food stamps and government health programs, not the immigrants.

    So don’t give me that “I benefit from it” bullshit. As poor as my standard of living is, I can’t get those same benefits.

    They lower the costs of goods and services all around you – making your dollar go further.

    • BF, with all due respect, BULLSHIT! My county ain’t benefiting jack. As far as I am concerned, they can ship their illegal asses back to where they come from.
      They are FAR more trouble than they are worth.

      How many live in your state or county?

      • Look. Far be it from me to disagree that the school system is broken. Or about the Food Stamp and Medicaid.

        And I don’t want their crap anyway. I prefer to support myself and be beholden to no one. ESPECIALLY not the Government.

        But that still does not change the fact that they are breaking the counties that are full of them like mine. Our school system is now about 40% Latino. And all the special services they require because they won’t even learn, and are not required to learn the language, and are sponging off of the Government, both Fed and local, has become a severe problem.

        Saying that it’s the Government’s fault, while certainly true, does not change that fact.

      • Esom,

        I do not count people based on the heritage, culture, race or religion.

        You are a man who is being enriched by others, and you want to throw them away.

        Strange

    • Bottom Line says:

      Flag,

      I agree with everything you say about illegal immigration with the exception of one thing. We’ve been through this before, and you always argue the point of illegal immigration’s economic benefits to society.

      I have to agree with Esom here and call BS.

      BF – ” They lower the costs of goods and services all around you – making your dollar go further. ”

      C’mon, Flag…You especially can’t tell poor people, that have to pay close attention to their budget like Esom and I, that prices are going down.

      The price of goods and services all around us are going UP regardless of any influx of immigrants, legal or not. Ultimately, that’s government’s fault too.

      Perhaps I am missing something and need “enlightening”, but I will argue, as I have before, that “illegals” are causing money to be displaced out of the hands of “state registered legals”(citizens), and not REALLY benefiting local economies.

      There is no real wealth being created. The fiat is just being displaced.

      • BL

        C’mon, Flag…You especially can’t tell poor people, that have to pay close attention to their budget like Esom and I, that prices are going down.

        All things are not equal. Prices are rising due to other things.

        However, they are lower then they would otherwise have been

        It is economic fact: when a cost of production goes down, prices of the consumer good goes down OR the profit of the good goes up.

        There is no argument you have that contradicts economic laws.

        Labor is merely another economic good.
        If the cost of steel to make a car goes down, the car is cheaper to make, thus, can be cheaper to sell or make more profit per car. When costs go down, it enriches the People because they can use the new excess money to buy or do something else that they could not do before. This is how wealth increases – productivity gains.

        but I will argue, as I have before, that “illegals” are causing money to be displaced out of the hands of “state registered legals”(citizens), and not REALLY benefiting local economies.

        What economic theory do you have that says you spending a dollar is more beneficial to the economy then me spending a dollar?

        The economic fact: lower costs makes society rich.

        • gmanfortruth says:

          BF, There are exceptions, like the airline industry. In ’08, they began to charge for baggage, when gas prices went down, not much changed, with an exception. .

        • Bottom Line says:

          Flag,

          Okay, …

          “illegals” don’t have the financial burden of the state, and are thus able to be competitive by working for less. They get the job that the “legal” didn’t, or they force the “legal” to compete and work for less.

          Wages drop.

          The difference in wages gets transferred to and/or between the business owner and the consumer.

          Someone ends up with excess money to spend that would otherwise be spent on/by the labor.

          So, I have to ask…

          What economic theory do you have that says the business owner or consumer A spending a dollar is more beneficial to the economy then consumer B(labor) spending a dollar?

          If it is the same dollar that would otherwise be spent by consumer B(labor), and there is no real difference as to who spends it, then all that you have described was fiat being displaced by “illegals” from “legals” to other “legals” and “illegals”

          What wealth was created?

          What drives this gain in productivity? Fiat floating around?

          If anything, it would seem that by them being “illegal” and not subject to the states demands for fiat, that they are spending fiat that would otherwise be absorbed by the non productive state.

          …thus displacing productivity? (scratches head)

          • BL

            What wealth was created?

            Spending does not create wealth

            Solving problems creates wealth

            You trade money for a solution.

            The cheaper the solution, the more solutions you can buy with the same money.

            The more solutions are applied to problems, the better prosperity for humans.

            • BL,

              Apply what I said to an apple.

              Why does $100 per apple create a worse economic outcome then $1 an apple?

              Reason: if you have only $100, you can only trade once to solve one problem – your immediate hunger. No other problems can be solved – you are out of money.

              But if its a $1 – you solve your immediate problem of hunger – and now you can solve another problem, like …shoes to protect your feet from rocks…, or something.

              But you probably see what I am saying now.

              • Bottom Line says:

                “But you probably see what I am saying now.”

                Yeah, I get it.

                You’re trying to tell me that I am more prosperous because my boss solved a shoe problem with the money he didn’t pay me.

              • BL,

                No, I am teaching you economics so that you can understand how the world works – and that helps you understand choices and policies, but if you do not wish to understand, I can stop just as easily as well.

  26. Essom: Come on, brother … think back to BF’s glory days (pre-US government) when white men from overseas established “their” new home country (by ripping it off from native American Indians). Where immoral/illegal wealth originated here in the good old US&A. And don’t forget, if you can pull the same stunt by hiring illegals and paying cheap labor without providing them any services, you’ll get richer!

    What a deal … how can us reds complain about that? (sarcasm seriously intended) …

    • That is exactly what the new GA law is trying to prevent. Hiring illegals and paying cheap labor.

      The point is, Hispanic or not. The law only applies to the Illegal immigrants. Too bad that they are all Hispanic. But that is the facts.

      As far as what happened 2 or 300 years ago, that wasn’t me and doesn’t concern me. Here and now concerns me.

      Yes, you are right Charlie. It was wrong of them to do. The Cherokees were treated very badly and cheated out of their land right here where I live. I have Cherokee kin who suffered from it, and white kin that inflicted it.

      200 years ago.

      There were also slaves 150 or so years ago.

      That was then. This is now. I didn’t have anything to do with it and I will not be responsible for what happened in past history.

    • USWeapon says:

      It should be sarcasm intended because most of it was nonsense. They may have been pre-US government but they certainly weren’t pre-government. It was just a different flag they saluted. But that is a minor difference.

      However, your claim that immoral/illegal wealth originated here in the USA is so far from reality that it baffles the mind. Perhaps you have never studied any history? I know better than that. So that claim from you must have been intentionally incorrect. And I wonder why that would be?

  27. It should be sarcasm intended because most of it was nonsense. They may have been pre-US government but they certainly weren’t pre-government. It was just a different flag they saluted. But that is a minor difference.

    So long as you can justify it in your mind, I guess it’s okay to dismiss. Minor difference … that’s funny too.

    However, your claim that immoral/illegal wealth originated here in the USA is so far from reality that it baffles the mind.

    Okay, so wealth from the south accumulated via slavery was what, good business? Wealth accumulated from removing native American Indians was … what, exactly?

    Talk about baffling the mind, USW …

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Charlie, You say ” Okay, so wealth from the south accumulated via slavery was what, good business? Wealth accumulated from removing native American Indians was … what, exactly?

      Who cares! We were not alive at the time. We had nothing to do with the history of this nation. WE should be consumed with the future of this country and the direction it is going. There are no nations where there is NOT a poor and a rich class of people. It will never change.

    • The idea that there is some “payment” of some kind that must be made now for the sins of earlier America – whether it be over slavery, the destruction of Native America, the “wrongness” of Manifest Destiny, or whatever is bunk.

      The only obligation we have is to understand our past historical poor performance in areas like this and to not repeat it.

      It is a tired and worn refrain – and totally unproductive to the truth of now and the future.

    • TexasChem says:

      @-Charlie

      So according to your logic Charlie: The middle class white man must feel guilty about the past transgressions of previous generations and…what; allow wealth redistrubution for acts that occurred 150-200 years ago? How politically correct of you. Personally I am sick of hearing this cry baby bullshit from the left to justify taxation.
      Should the different Indian tribes pay the tribes they took slaves from as well?
      Should the Italians pay the European nations for the slaves they had during the Roman empire?
      What’s next? The Christians of the world being taxed in some manner to the Muslims for the crusades? Do you see how ridiculous this arguement sounds?

      • Gman, Plainly TexasChecm … you’re all (each) missing the point(s) … should we (individually) feel guilty? That’s up to us each individual. I personally don’t feel guilty about the initial acts of violence/slavery because I wasn’t around then. But to suggest that this country became great because of a hard work ethic alone (and remember this predates a formal U.S. government), suggests those willing to accept the premise it’s just hard work are willing to ignore some facts about what happens a) when there’s no government involved and b) how wealth was accumulated in the first place (on the lives of the innocent/exploited workforce, whether slaves or “free”).

        How that relates to today is pretty simple. You all want to defend monied interested here (whether old or new money) and want to ignore the advantages of the monied vs. those without it. You all claim anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps without government help. I say to you that it must be nice on that side of the world. The “just because I did it, everyone can do it” formula is a fantasy that clouds your mind. Not everybody can do it just the way “all men were not created equal” (both de jure and de facto).

        You want to talk about hard work and how that is the backbone of this country; all men going after what they want and either succeeding or failing, but you ignore that some of that hard work included killing of tribes of American Indians and using slaves to accumulate wealth/greatness. If you’re willing to ignore those facts, imagine what you’re willing to ignore now? Well, I know … you’re willing to ignore the greater good for the sake of your own wealth. It’s our basic dividing line. I don’t not like you for it. I accept it as your belief, but I think you’re misguided and wrong (the same as you think me).

        And I really don’t mind how wrong yous all are about this … 🙂

        • Gee, I guess I wasn’t clear enough? Let me try again.

          Charlie, I don’t give a damn about the sins of the past as it pertains to the exploitation of those who became wealthy using those exploits for their selfish purposes.

          All I care about is that it not be that way in this society now and in the future.

          No one, absolutely NO ONE, deserves a free ride as you would compel others to give to those too unmotivated to expend the effort to better their lives. For those who don’t and sit around thinking they are owed – you’ll get off your arse when you get hungry enough.

          For those who are trying and are having a difficult time I will help if I can – as my wife and I do now with people we know.

          You want my sympathy and agreement then we’d best stick to discussing those who are physically and mentally incapable – we have more common ground there than anywhere.

          • I don’t give a damn about the sins of the past as it pertains to the exploitation of those who became wealthy using those exploits for their selfish purposes.

            Yes, that’s very clear and even more convenient. So it goes.

        • gmanfortruth says:

          I ignore nothing about the past. But I also understand that the indian massacres and slavery were at the hands of government. The very thing that was responsible for what you dislike, you want to use to steal from another group of people. Just as government today is allowing the rich to get richer on the backs of the non-rich. But the answer is certainly not government.

          • Gman, please tell me you don’t believe in that myth about Manhattan being “purchased” for $24.00 …

            It was BEFORE government when the American Indian was being stripped of his land, the government was then formed to protect money and went even further.

            • gmanfortruth says:

              CS, So, we agree that the government is the problem?

              • “This” government is, sure, but the bigger problem, in my opinion, is the one driving “this”government, which is capitalism. Defense rests … good movie on.

              • gmanfortruth says:

                Charlie, Capitalism is a non living entity, it, by itself cannot change a government. The government can change capitalism, by corrupting capitalism, it is no longer “capitalism” it is “corruption”. The only uncorrupted form of capitalism that I have seen, comes when there is no government involvment, usually, at the lowest level, which is our level.

                An example. A tandem truckload of wood is 750.00. It would fill half of our storage area. Instead, we bartered with the farmer on our border who dragged in all the trees he cut down along the field edge, which saved him a days labor. Our storage area is full (750 x 2 = 1500). We still have the equivalent of one more tandem load still to cut and splite (1500 + 750 = 2250). The farmer also is clearing a place for a new building and asked if we would help clear the land and we can have the wood. This would equal 2 more tandem loads or 1500 bucks worth of firewood. This saves him labor, time, and disposal. We take care of that. No government interference, two free people working together to solve each others problems, making life easier for both. The farmers labor and time is reduced by half or more, we get 3700 bucks worth of firewood, everyone is happy. This is what capitalism should be, but the government has corrupted it so as to only serve the wealthy and give them the advantage.

                As you can see, capitalism, without govt interference works. But when the govt interferes, it is corrupted. You problem is not the non living entity, it is and aways will be govt and their corrupt interference.

        • TexasChem says:

          Well theres nothing more I can say here G-Man and Plainlyspoken have summed it up perfectly.
          Hrmm… well other than the fact that I am sick and tired of the PC crowd attempting to use the juxtaposition of bleeding heart liberalism and wealth redistrubution that is entirely irrelevant in todays modern world. Classic appeal to emotion to rape someone elses wealth.
          Do you (Red) leeches even realize that you can compare your justification of robbery of a guiltless man (taxation) to the same men that allowed slavery and the taking of Indian lands?

        • Charlie, I don’t know if you got the memo. The South LOST!
          You know why?
          Because they were technologically backward and relatively poor. Why? Because they based their system on slavery instead of freedom. It SUCKED for them economically, and they were anything but innnovative. Tradition and hierarchy ruled there, and when they got pissy about it, they lost badly.
          Not the result of a free market.

          Second memo I am not sure you have seen. Slavery was NOT invented here. Slavery might have had one of its last major stronghold in the South of the US, but it sure as hell didnt start here. Africa itself was one of the worst slave OWNING continents in the world, in addition to being owned by others.

          Genocide in the name of gaining land was not an invention of ours either. Does that justify it? Of course not. Does that reflect on the currnt owners of wealth in this country? Absolutley not. Should all the lands be returned to the native tribes? What did the current people do to earn such a gift? You talk about who earned what, how is being born a certain race an ok reason for ownership but being born in a rich family is not? How is having special priviledges because you are 50% genetically tied to a certain tribe ok but making more than $1k an hour when you built the business from the ground up is exploitation?

          You have some serious work to do on your perspective of things.

          • Because they based their system on slavery instead of freedom.

            Yet another twist to history at SUFA … I’m too tired (and bored) of this, fellas … let’s move on. The fingers are tired of typing the same thing over and over … why not write up another conspiracy theory and let it sit for a few days (you guys can congratulate yourselves on it) … then I’ll stir the pot again, say … Wednesday?

            • This is what I hate about these conversations when applied to the reality of today-they are always on the extreme ends of the conversation. Which is great to talk principal but limited in addressing the actual reality of where our society stands right now. Of course it has been pointed out a million times that no one believes we can just stop all social programs right now and that most on the right aren’t even suggesting that we should. But that is ignored and used to claim that the Republican party is just selfish animals who want to allow people to starve. My main complaint is that we have been trying to help people for decades with all kinds of social programs and regulations and it simply isn’t working. It seems the more we try to help the worse things get. But the left keeps screaming for more and more –instead of looking at the facts and seeing that we don’t need to do more-we need to change what we are doing. I think we have hurt the drive and the pride of those we set out to help. So dislike us if you must-but remember that life isn’t fair it has never been fair and will never be fair. But if you insist on giving away more and more of our freedoms under the premise of helping people-all you will end up doing is enslaving us all. And then the question of whether or not we can pull ourselves up by our bootstrappes will be moot-because we won’t have the freedom to do so. And that isn’t extreme-that is the truth.

            • Revisionist history? So they didnt lose? Or they did but not because they were economically inferior with crap infrastucture?

              When you stir the pot again Wednesday, how about you tell me why they lost according to what you know of history?

              • Jon, before you give a history lesson to anyone, you best realize that there are several opinions on why the south lost, none of which blame it on slavery that I know of. Industrialization and attrition were on the side of the north, no doubt, but you make it sound as if the south chose to ingore their traditional agriculture based economy to try and win a war (not quite the truth, my friend). Anyway, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t discussing why side won the war, buddy. My point was that any wealth accumulated during slavery (whether it was in the south itself or up north from those who owned the means of industrialization to supply the war, etc.), I think one “might” assume those gains weren’t very fair (and nobody is blaming you for it or anybody today, but to deny that old money was accumulated in America on the up and up is as good a fairtytale as saying it was the “greater good nonsense” that ruined capitalism.

    • USWeapon says:

      USW Says: However, your claim that immoral/illegal wealth originated here in the USA is so far from reality that it baffles the mind.

      CS Says: Okay, so wealth from the south accumulated via slavery was what, good business? Wealth accumulated from removing native American Indians was … what, exactly?

      Talk about baffling the mind, USW …

      You understand that your reply was complete nonsense, right? That you didn’t even attempt to reply to the actual charge that I made. I don’t recall justifying slavery in the south or removing indians from their land. What I said was that your nonsense statement that immoral/illegal wealth originated in the United States. Your arguments are falling apart here as you fail to address what is actually said and immediately just throw out another claim that I must approve of slavery and indian land taking.

      You should be a politician, Charlie. You are using their tactics flawlessly lately.

      • You understand that your reply was complete nonsense, right?

        I understand you can’t handle the question. Nobody said you tried to justify slavery or removing the INdians. Reread the comment in full. I was saying (and continue to say) that money/land/capital accumulated through those two particular nasty events in our history cannot be ignored (the old money that continue to grow from those) … or do you want to deny that land taken from Indians wasn’t worth anything or that money “earned” off slavery doesn’t count? A lot of old money under capitalism, whether you want to accept it or not, just wasn’t “earned” very cleanly. That’s all I’m saying.

        • @Charlie…

          I can’t handle the question? This is the first time you attempted to make it make sense. Although I still am not sure what your question is. Your statement is that the gains through slavery and conquest of indians cannot be ignored. OK, I agree with that. I don’t live under the belief that this constitutes a vast amount of the wealth in the top 2% today. And if I am correct in that, why on earth does it have relevance in today’s world. The treatment of blacks and indians so long ago was abhorrent. But they are now nothing more than footnotes in history that hopefully a vast majority of Americans look back on and are ashamed that our predecessors would have treated others that way. They are not an excuse to go after and attack people in today’s world under something as ridiculous a claim as “200 years ago some people treated some other people badly and profited from it. Therefore you will be required to give more of your money to this broken institution called government. I apologize that you are paying for the sins of others.”

          If you want to trace through history and find those who have great wealth because of slavery or the seizing of indian land and then go after their money, knock yourself out. I will believe you to be being ridiculous, but at least there will be some semblance of sanity to your purpose. But to use the actions of group A two hundred years ago as justification to punish group B now makes no sense. And it ends up sounding like class envy more than anything else. I don’t begrudge those who have more than I, and because of that I am able to sit back without emotion and analyze the impacts of destroying their position in the market.

          • But to use the actions of group A two hundred years ago as justification to punish group B now makes no sense. And it ends up sounding like class envy more than anything else.

            USW, that was not what I was trying for at all. It’s probably worse (from your perspective). It was my attack on capitalism. It was to point to what happens without government (or less government) AND the fact that at least “some” old money is as dirty as what the mob made off of prohibition (point to Mr. Kennedy’s pop here if it suits your purpose; I’m not just attacking Republicans). It was to point out how “I” believe capitalism may have worked well for certain peoples but not all and that today, because of how money was able to protect itself over time (the government that now operates for corporate interests, etc.), it works for even fewer people (the widening gap between rich and middle class/poor).

            I understand you think differently. I don’t have a problem with that. This is my belief (even if several here would like to skin me alive–the red thru and thru, leach, savage, etc., etc. …). It is what I believe. I think you know that I am not for giving away the store to those unwilling but able to work or do for themselves. I just don’t come close to thinking the numbers of those out of work are sitting on their asses from laziness. I also think our jails are full of people (the majority minorities) because it is where capitalism’s failure led them (not to blame capitalism or the rich for those in jail exclusively–again, I believe it is the system that creates the messes we have today). I understand they had the de jure “choice” to became Supreme Court Justices, but de facto that just isn’t the case for the vast majority (In my opinion, because of the inequities capitalism breeds).

            Now, I’m not for a second saying socialism would solve all (or most) of the same problems. I’m not even sure it would solve any … but this system has been in place for 200+ years now and it’s not getting better (in my opinion). It’s kind of like my feeling about voting on election days. I’d rather see conservatives actually vote Libertarian and liberals vote Socialist than Republican or Democrat. Why continue to give a system that works for 2%/.02% of the population the keys to the car yet again?

            I think some here may have been a bit touchy with my comments and jumped to conclusions, especially regarding slavery and native American Indians.

            More later/domani … hope all is well with yous …

            • I think some here may have been a bit touchy with my comments and jumped to conclusions, especially regarding slavery and native American Indians.

              As one of those who was a “bit touchy,” which in all honesty you should describe – in my case – as really angry, it was because you weren’t as well spoken as you did in this comment. I would have reacted differently if what you said here had been said this well early on (not that I would agree with all of it).

              I realized after my last comment to you I could no longer be calm and comment further – hence I stopped responding to your comments (or any others). My apologies for my hostility.

              • Plainly, no problem. We’re all enthused politically and otherwise … which is what makes it interesting, I think. And I probably did not fully develop what I had wanted to convey. Sometimes I (probably many of us) rush to respond when something irks me (us) and the message gets blurred. So, no problem, brother. It’s all good.

  28. TexasChem says:

    @-BF

    What happens to a societies culture that is flooded with immigrants with a different culture to the point at which that societies original members become the minority?
    Which group is going to become assimilated?

    While I do not dispute the reasoning that an influx of immigrants in moderation can be beneficial to a society you must allow by that same logic , that an unchecked immigration policy can became a burden upon a society that foots the bill in social programs for a group that does not contribute to those social programs. Especially if the original society becomes overwhelmed by sheer numbers and becomes the minority. This is common sense.

    • Example: Israel…Aztlan?

    • TC

      One of the strategies of the Ancient Chinese was not to concern themselves so much with invaders.

      The invaders would come – “take over”, and a decade or so where assimilated into Chinese culture

      You must understand WHY people will abandon their roots, their family, their friends … and pick up leave to come to where there is no one and start over.

      You think these people are here to impose their culture on a bunch of strangers?

      • TexasChem says:

        Blehhhh…
        I don’t believe history has played out quite the way you have presented. If indeed immigrants with vastly different cultures “took over” how is it that they were assimilated back into the Chinese culture without the Chinese moving back in? What happened to the original occupants of the land that was “taken over”?

        • TC,

          The occupants didn’t fundamentally change.

          Think about it.

          A minority inserts into a majority.

          Where is the likely adjustment going to occur?

          Is an ant going to move an elephant?

          Or is the ant going to learn to march in the same direction as the elephant?

          This is the situation of all immigration.

          Immigration made the US the wealthiest nation on Earth.

          It was the proof that the “discards” of everyone else were valuable.

          People do not abandon their roots lightly. In fact, it typically takes a threat of extermination for them to move.

          So anyone who has moved has an incredibly powerful reason

          A highly motivated human being is the most powerful force on Earth

          I would argue that you want to attract these people, not attack them.

  29. And speaking of the here and now – a new posting at Gman’s blog:

    http://gmanfortruth.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/eyes-wide-open-but-blind/

    (yes, a shameless plug!)

  30. Bottom Line says:

    Flag,

    Contractor X builds 1 house every 6 weeks.

    He has 9 months of warm weather to build.

    He can build 6 houses per year at current production rate.

    Contractor X hires cheap labor and is thus able to afford more labor, therefor increasing his overall productivity.

    Now Contractor X builds 1 house every 4 weeks, thus enabling him to build 9 houses per year.

    This is an increase of 33%

    What he does with the difference in profit is buy more shoes and apples.

    Which fuels the apple and shoe market, ultimately resulting in cheaper shoes and apples for the cheap labor to consume as well as contractor X.

    Buying power increases due to an increase in productivity.

    (but unfortunately does not compensate for inflation)

    But, as with the apple analogy,…

    For the laborer that has been forced to work for less, a savings of $0.62 on shoes here and $0.18 on orange juice there is not the same as having an extra $50.00 on their pay checks.

    $50 buys 2 paint brushes now. What can I do with them?

    $50 x 36weeks/9 months = $1800 annual savings

    1 Sprayer – $1000
    3 Ladders – $500
    4 Brushes – $100
    2 rollers – $100
    misc – $100

    $1800 = equipment to paint 1 house per month for 9 months.

    Painting 1 house per month and competing with Contractor X yields a greater annual income than working FOR Contractor X with his low wages.

    Depending on the size of the houses, it will likely yield an increase of several thousand dollars annually. Lets say $20,000

    What can I do with 20k this year that I cannot do with a savings of $0.18 on orange juice every week for 111,111 weeks?

    What am I missing?

  31. BL

    what am I missing?

    A lot.

    A root error in your thinking is exampled here:

    laborer that has been forced to work for less,

    There is no “force” here.

    Toyota makes a inexpensive good car. GM is not “forced” to lower their price on their cars to compete with it.

    Your product (called your “labor”) is just as overpriced for the quality you deliver compared to your competition as GM’s product (called a “car”) was overpriced for the quality they delivered compared to their competition.

    Your first hurdle: looking at your labor to be just another economic good as any other economic good.

    Your labor obeys exactly the same laws of economics as any other economic good.

    So it matters not one wit whether we discuss cars, apples, money, or your labor – they all obey the exactly the same economic law of the Universe.

    So if you are competing in a market place with your product, called “labor” and you are not “winning” bids, the market is telling you your quality is too low for your price you are offering.

    Thus, here are your choices, and you can do 1 or more:
    – lower your price
    – improve you quality
    – move to another market where your product is in higher demand

    • BL

      savings …. not the same as …..pay

      Correct. So don’t try to equate them.

    • Bottom Line says:

      BF – ” A root error in your thinking is exampled here:

      laborer that has been forced to work for less,

      There is no “force” here..”

      BL – I see what you are saying, Flag. It all make sense, except for the MILLION BAZILLION TRILLION GOOGLE times I’ve seen real life examples to the contrary.

      As definitions are important, I will start by elaborating on the context in which I used “force”

      I have to make AT LEAST ‘M’ to afford a minimal standard of living in the US. I have to pay the going rate for basics like a roof, food, utilities, hygiene items, clothes, etc..

      In addition to basics, I have to also earn fiat to give to the man with the gun. Call it ‘G’

      Therefore, my income MUST BE at least the sum of M+G

      “illegals” aren’t subject to G, therefore they are able to work for M.

      Because M is a more attractive wage from the perspective of an employer, “illegals” are able to out-compete the ‘legals’ who require M+G

      This gives “legals” a problem.

      You either…

      A) work for M – G, giving your food money to the man with a gun, thus risking your health

      B) work for M and avoid G, thus risking your freedom/health

      The problem is G, as it is the origin of “Force”. The answer is to take G out of the equation altogether so that I can work for M without issue. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an Anarcho-Libertarian free market society. G demands relevance with a gun.

      Therefore I am “forced” to work for M – G, noting the steadily increasing value of M(inflation).

      ….!OR!…

      C) Find a way to increase income to = M + G + E(expendable income)

      For me this means investing in an MA or Ph.D to justify a higher annual income, or using the same investment money to start a business of my own.

      But this investment money has been displaced in the form of cheaper orange juice for a zillion weeks.

      What do I do? Get a bunch of credit offering 0 assets during a not so great economic climate?

      Use government to steal from Matt and Buck to pay for my Ph.D?

      Thus far, my answer has been (B). ‘what income?’ 😉

      …or the occasional (C), when I have been able to do bazillion dollar mansions as it demands a higher skill, thus a higher price for higher skilled/specialized labor.

      BF – ” Thus, here are your choices, and you can do 1 or more:
      – lower your price
      – improve you quality
      – move to another market where your product is in higher demand ”

      BL – Lower my price means sacrificing basics like food, or driving around without auto insurance because Contractor X spent my M money on shoes or apples.

      Improve my quality is already maxed. I do what I do well as I have been doing so for almost half my life. I can produce just about anything my craft has to offer with masterful quality. I’m there.

      Move to another market where your product is in higher demand works. I have done this successfully…until the housing market went to shit.

      Year one start – Moved 2000 miles to CA for 1 mo, then to NV, walked into Vegas with $250 cash, two bags of tools, 2 of clothes and misc., …found fun healthy ‘ghost’ lifestyle and income, and walked out at end of year one with $15,000 cash savings.

      Year two beginning. Spent $8000 cash on truck, $2000 on shoes apples and orange juice, moved to Atlanta( a huge suburban area FULL of houses that need painting and low regulatory policies on small businesses in surrounding counties).

      The intent was to hook up with friends and fellow craftsmen to start a business. It ALMOST worked but didn’t because the housing market flopped at the same time things were just starting to get rolling. By end year two, my $5000 of investment money got spent on M.

      Back to square one – try try again

      Year three and four – Traveled ALL OVER the US working wherever the most profitable work took me…watching the availability of work dwindle with the failing economy.

      Back to square one – again.

      How does a $0.18 discount on orange juice help me when the cost of M is rising above the $0.18 discount on orange juice, my prospective wages and job availability is dwindling because of government regs on real estate and ‘imaginary lines’, with nothing to work with but a brain?

      Things are tight, and ‘imaginary lines’ and discounts on orange juice aren’t helping.

      Flag, You’re a brilliant guy that has been from rags to riches to rags and riches again. If you have an answer to this ‘escape poverty in spite of’ equation that I have been working on for 36 years, …Please, DO TELL.

      • TexasChem says:

        Excellent points in your post.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Tex,

          I’m glad you think so, because yer a smart guy too, and that means there is validity to my points.

          So I’m not just screwed up after all – whew! 🙂

          Have you been following this conversation from above when I jumped into the middle of Flag and Esom? I have been right in the middle and on top both their asses for a spell.

          This is all very real to me…and all that has been discussed so far is only part of it.

          I just want to have a better understanding so that it may help me to escape poverty.

          My single primary goal in life is to be an old man on my death bed being able to say with confidence that my children and grandchildren will do fine without me because I raised them right and gave them the best chance I could.

          Which as you probably already know as a parent yourself, that saying that requires putting a few things together to provide a proper environment to raise your children in.

          …a few things to include money/provisions in an amount above and beyond poverty wages.

          36, single, no children, no assets, and just a brain and some freedom.

          Old man dying happy is a long way off, and the window of opportunity at any prospect of my goal being realized is closing fast.

          …Need answers now… Must act soon…Time is of the essence…Have to leave proper legacy.

          …Must find a way to turn discounts on orange juice into good environment to offer a wife/mother and children. 🙂

          If not, what is 36 to deathbed for? Why waste a life and a brain?

          • BL,

            ust want to have a better understanding so that it may help me to escape poverty

            Economic answer:

            Solve other people’s problems better then your competitors.

            How you do this —- I have volumes of ideas, but necessarily specific to an individual.

            The the basics:
            You need to be BETTER at solving people’s problems

            The better you are, the more you can charge and the more they will -willingly- pay.

            In 1986 I was making over $100,000 a month (in ’86 money)

            In 1987, I was beyond dead broke.

            In 1988, I got a job at $3.75/hr. I had zero credibility, so this is the best I could get.

            By 1994, I was earning $300,000+ a year.

            There is this power in every single human being IF and ONLY IF they are willing to apply the necessary TRADE OFFS.

          • BL

            Need answers now… Must act soon…Time is of the essence…Have to leave proper legacy

            You are a lucky man.

            You have urgency.

            You are willing to do is necessary.

            YOU HAVE TIME.

            If and only if you are really ready to do what is necessary, …. I can help.

            Otherwise, we are merely have a dialogue over beer.

  32. This judge should be disbarred. Him not liking her answer shouldn’t give him this kind of control over her life. He should go to jail for abusing his power.

    April 16, 2011
    You Can’t Say That!
    By Nancy Morgan
    It’s now official: The truth shall no longer set you free. In our new era of political correctness, the truth is more liable to get you penalized, demonized, or fired. Last week, a female juror in a high-profile American mafia murder trial found this out the hard way.

    When asked on a court questionnaire, “Name three people you least admire,” this potential juror answered, “African-Americans, Hispanics, and Haitians.” Her answer enraged a federal court judge in New York, who promptly sentenced her to indefinite jury duty, for her “racist” answer. This woman was penalized for being truthful.

    Under the guise of being sensitive to “feelings,” political correctness has succeeded in effectively censoring any uncomfortable “truths” that do not comport with liberal orthodoxy.

    Censoring inconvenient truths is not a new phenomenon. Starting in 1994, AEI fellow Charles Murray and fellow author Richard Herrnstein came under fire for their best-selling book The Bell Curve, in which they wrote about differences in race and intelligence and discussed implications of that difference.

    Murray’s whole body of scholarly work was roundly denounced for daring to point out that the general IQ of African Americans was lower than those of white Americans. Of course, no one objected to the fact that their research also found that the general IQ of Asian Americans was many points higher than white Americans.

    Murray and Hernstein found, to their dismay, that their fact-based research challenged the leftist notion of “equality.” Both authors were demonized as racists for daring to point out that differences do indeed exist among differing races. They weren’t supposed to say that, much less prove it scientifically.

    Harvard’s former president, Lawrence Summers, also found out that voicing politically incorrect truths can exact severe consequences. In a 2005 speech, Summers dared to suggest that the under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to a “different availability of aptitude at the high end,” and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization. Feminists took umbrage at the suggestion that the under-representation of females in the scientific community might be due to anything other than male oppression.

    Summers was forced to resign. And to soothe the hysterical feminists who objected to his politically-incorrect yet fact based opinion, Harvard vested $50 million bucks in Harvard’s feminist studies program. Overlooked, or deliberately ignored, in this delicious fracas was the fact that Summers statement was a valid opinion. But he wasn’t supposed to say it.

    Political correctness is an approved form of censorship. Based on emotional appeals at the expense of reason, political correctness mandates that inconvenient truths or facts be swept under the carpet. Or else.

    Free speech, guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment, is on its way to becoming moot. The political, media, and intellectual elites who control the terms of national debate and the rules of civil society have succeeded in censoring opposing views, limiting debate, and demonizing dissent. Perception is on its way to becoming our new reality.

    The lady juror who answered truthfully to her court questionnaire is merely the latest example. Though many may express horror at her forthrightness, and are quick to label her a racist, she, like all of us, forms her opinions through an accumulation of her life experiences. She, through either ignorance or courage, dared to be truthful. She hasn’t yet learned that in today’s America, there are more and more things that are just not allowed to be said.

    Her case is important, because for the first time, the unwritten and ever changing rules of political correctness have taken on the force of law. She is being forced to perform indefinite jury duty, supposedly until she starts thinking the right way. Does this sound familiar?

    No one wants to be thought of as stupid or, in liberal parlance, “un-enlightened.” No one wants to be publicly labeled a homophobe or a racist. Under this threat, more and more Americans are comfortable adopting the assumption that if everyone thinks it is so, then it must be so. They are willing to suspend their very own, inexpert but common sense opinions in favor of a widely held perception. A perception based on expert media and political manipulation as opposed to factual conclusions.

    Truth, common sense and reality are now routinely suspended. It is OK to publicly revere one’s vagina but acknowledging racial realities is verboten. Dangling a cross in a jar of urine is considered daring — but mentioning God as our Savior means you’re a fringe kook.

    Daring to suggest that most AIDS sufferers share responsibility for their disease means you are mean spirited and lacking compassion. (Advocating the expenditure of other people’s money is the new “compassion.”) And blaming the poor for the life choices they made that contributed to their poverty is considered beyond the pale.

    Censorship of uncomfortable truths or opinions is the goal of the PC police. Acquiescing to these arbitrary rules enables and validates them. And though it is politically incorrect to say, I personally believe that those who are politically correct are weak people — sheep who are either unable or unwilling to form their own opinions. Intellectually lazy sycophants who have so little confidence in themselves that they are willing to let others define them and determine their actions and opinions. Useful idiots, all. Can I say that?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/you_cant_say_that.html

    • TexasChem says:

      I wonder at the opinions of you SUFA posters as to the “why” this PC movement is even happening in our society?
      What is the underlying reason and root goal of those who use PC as a tool to achieve their purpose?
      After tossing these questions around inside my skull I have become rather perturbed.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        TC,

        PC is a form of control. It’s leftist to the core. They want to attempt to control free speech, while at the same time they call people racists and homophobes. Fu@k Them! That’s my idea of PC! 🙂

        • This one is gonna raise your blood pressure!

          April 14, 2011
          The Racist Propaganda Conference for Teachers
          Charlotte Cushman
          From April 13, to April 16, the Lakeville school district in Minnesota is sending its teachers to the 12th annual “White Privilege Conference.” Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. To quote the article: “The conference is ‘built on the premise that the U.S was started by white people, for white people.’ Its mission is to get participants to confront their biases in a ‘journey in understanding white supremacy, whiteness, privilege, power and oppression.’ And to agree to take action in (their) own circle of power.'” At workshops participants will “discuss how white privilege, white supremacy, and oppression affects daily life.”

          This seems pretty straightforward. The premise is that all white people are bad. I wonder why this isn’t called the “Racist Propaganda Conference” instead. Of course, they would never admit that that is what they are doing. Leftists never do. They would just claim that they are just trying to make people aware of “differences”.

          These people are not innocent of political indoctrination either. The keynote speaker at the 2009 conference said, that we must look beyond our ‘declining empire’ to ‘exciting progressive developments’ in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela — among them, ‘land reform and redistribution of wealth, neighborhood committees, recognition of women’s unpaid labor, end of spanking.'”

          Isn’t it comforting to know that your hard earned tax money is being used to sponsor the promotion of Socialism amongst the very people who stand before your child and influence him day after day? Children look up to their teachers, they think teachers know everything, even more than their parents. And children aren’t stupid. The children who have white skin will eventually catch on. For all the promotion of self-esteem these days, what kind of effect do you think this will have on your child when he gets the message that his mind doesn’t matter-but his skin color does?

          Don’t think this kind of propaganda doesn’t come back to the classroom. It does.

  33. BL,

    I see what you are saying, Flag. It all make sense, except for the MILLION BAZILLION TRILLION GOOGLE times I’ve seen real life examples to the contrary.

    As I’ve said to Charlie, the Truth is not measured by the number of waving hands in the air

    Error does not become “Right” by the number of proclamations in support.

    I am offering Economic Truth.

    It is -most often- contrary to what 98% of everyone else will offer to you.

    My time here at SUFA – all the warnings, predictions and expectations of economic outcomes, how many have I been in error?

    Zero.

    Been correct?

    100%

    There is real reasons that I have -for the last 25 years – been “dead on” with my economics.

    I can teach you too…..if you want.

    Not everyone wants this.

    I believe everyone should want this.

    I have to make AT LEAST ‘M’ to afford a minimal standard of living in the US. I have to pay the going rate for basics like a roof, food, utilities, hygiene items, clothes, etc..

    This is true, as a human being.

    You need to have access to the necessary resources for you to live and prosper. This is the root of your decision making

    THE MEANS by which you accumulate these necessary resources determines society

    Therefore, my income MUST BE at least the sum of M+G

    Do not -ever- approach me with some economic mythology at attributes some formula to human action

    I am not a Keynesian.

    I will rephrase you:

    You need “X” to live

    “illegals” aren’t subject to G, therefore they are able to work for M.

    I will rephrase you:
    Your competition has lower input costs then you.

    So what? Sucks for you, just like it sucks for GM vs Kia

    Because M is a more attractive wage from the perspective of an employer, “illegals” are able to out-compete the ‘legals’ who require M+G

    Let me rephrase you:

    Your customer – not being stupid – will buy a product that successfully solves their problem for the lowest price possible

    If you offer solution for X and someone else offers the same solution for 1/2 of X, do you really think your customer is so stupid to buy from you???

    This gives “legals” a problem.

    Rephrase for you:

    Those that cannot lower their inputs costs to compete with their competitors, are SOL

    Welcome to the FREE MARKET.

    A) work for M – G, giving your food money to the man with a gun, thus risking your health

    B) work for M and avoid G, thus risking your freedom/health

    You have choices – and yes, your market place is so screwed up by government intervention.

    But the market place will adjust around the distortion.

    How does it do that?

    You -leave-
    or
    You -drop your price-
    or
    You -eliminate the distortion-
    or
    ….and worse choice of all…
    -magnify the distortion in an attempt to distort it to your advantage.

    BF – ” Thus, here are your choices, and you can do 1 or more:
    – lower your price
    – improve you quality
    – move to another market where your product is in higher demand ”

    BL – Lower my price means sacrificing basics like food,

    No such thing as a free lunch, and trade offs exist.

    Welcome to reality. You cannot have everything.

    If lowering your price is not possible, then one of the other choices are necessary.

    or driving around without auto insurance because Contractor X spent my M money on shoes or apples.

    Maybe you have to do this. Or something else.

    Improve my quality is already maxed

    .
    Bull
    No skill, industry, or product is the “supreme ultimate forever”.

    I mean, how can you improve garbage collecting?

    Well, Wayne Huizenga seemed to figure out how to “improve” something that everyone else thought was pretty basic.

    He made billions.

    When introduced to Queen Elizabeth, she asked “..and what do you do?”

    He answered, proudly: “I’m a garbage man!”

    If he could improve that, you can improve YOU.

    I do what I do well as I have been doing so for almost half my life. I can produce just about anything my craft has to offer with masterful quality. I’m there.

    …but the difference is obviously insignificant to your customers.

    SO you need to work harder in making a difference.

    And yes, I hear your story.

    But that is a story of any man who has ever produced a product. Some make it big, most don’t.

    Your personal story does not change economic law.

    Flag, You’re a brilliant guy that has been from rags to riches to rags and riches again.

    …so many times around the roller coaster, I’ve forgotten where I am in that loop….

    If you have an answer to this ‘escape poverty in spite of’ equation that I have been working on for 36 years, …Please, DO TELL.

    My answer:
    Play poker. Seriously.

    It teaches you that you can do the right decisions, and still lose your stake. It is brutal. Idiots win a lot of pots, and destroy you.

    I’ve lost 50 times more tournaments than I’ve won. I leave a tourney -usually- by losing to some idiot who got a 10 to 1 lucky. I say to Mrs. Flag – thank Gawd I do not fly on the Space Shuttle, because with my luck, it would have exploded 5 or 6 times by now.

    But poker teaches the most important lesson.

    The game never ends until you die
    You measure results not by a table but by a life time
    Good decisions tend to win more than bad decisions
    You have to fight through the bad luck to profit when the luck gets even or turns to “good luck”

    and…

    In the end….

    …HOW you play is far more important then the number of pots you win.

    • Bottom Line says:

      Flag,

      BF – ” I am offering Economic Truth…contrary to what 98% of everyone else will offer to you…how many have I been in error? Zero. Been correct? 100%…for the last 25 years – been “dead on” with my economics…I can teach you too…..I believe everyone should want this. ”

      BL – Why do you think I’m asking YOU?

      In the two years I’ve been here, you’ve taught me a few things, a lot actually, as you have all of us…Mr. AI program.

      BTW, thank you for indulging with a person hurdle.

      BF – ” Do not -ever- approach me with some economic mythology at attributes some formula to human action

      I am not a Keynesian… You need “X” to live…Your competition has lower input costs then you. So what? Sucks for you, just like it sucks for GM vs Kia…Your customer – not being stupid – will buy a product that successfully solves their problem for the lowest price possible…If you offer solution for X and someone else offers the same solution for 1/2 of X, do you really think your customer is so stupid to buy from you???…Those that cannot lower their inputs costs to compete with their competitors, are SOL

      Welcome to the FREE MARKET

      You have choices – and yes, your market place is so screwed up by government intervention. But the market place will adjust around the distortion. How does it do that?

      You -leave-
      or
      You -drop your price-
      or
      You -eliminate the distortion-
      or
      ….and worse choice of all…
      -magnify the distortion in an attempt to distort it to your advantage…

      – lower your price
      – improve you quality
      – move to another market where your product is in higher demand. No such thing as a free lunch, and trade offs exist. Welcome to reality. You cannot have everything.

      If lowering your price is not possible, then one of the other choices are necessary.

      or driving around without auto insurance because Contractor X spent my M money on shoes or apples.

      Maybe you have to do this. Or something else. ”

      BL – I understand what you are saying. It makes perfect sense. The confusion is rooted in making the connection between what I’ve seen a billion times with my own eyes, to what your telling me.

      Poor folks are kinda like the economic canary in the mine as we do not have the same stability and cannot absorb turmoil as well. What I’m seeing from my perspective is the noose tightening, a squeeze from all sides. Us canaries are getting dizzy.

      Like you, I look at it and see it all as bass ackwards, a free market under stress being distorted by the man with the gun.

      Good economic sense OR NOT, the man with the gun still exists. As I said above, government demands relevance with a gun. (hence “must be M+G”)

      You can argue free market principles all you want, and you are absolutely correct, but it doesn’t change what I am seeing, …that what little money that used to be in my pocket is increasingly getting sucked out from several avenues…one of them being wage competition created by a man with a gun claiming “imaginary lines”.

      From where I’m sitting, better off with $0.18 cheaper OJ sounds like complete and utter bullshit. I’m in a squeeze and its doing me no good.

      Thus far, I have been able to lower my input cost, thus wage demands, by avoiding the man with the gun. I’ve copied a similar strategy to my competition to include being as “illegal” as possible, cutting corners like bologna instead of steak, ramen noodles instead of bologna, no car insurance, etc…If ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Why try to beat ’em anyway? They aren’t the problem.

      It makes things manageable, but there is still nothing left over to invest, and I still have the issue of the man with the gun. I get by – That’s it. There is still no extra, no seed money, just survival money.

      BF – ” Bull
      No skill, industry, or product is the “supreme ultimate forever”.

      BL – Customers aren’t stupid, and a paint job is only worth so much. In terms of what a paint job is worth, I can do max. I can take your kitchen cabinets from raw wood to a beautiful fine furniture finish, or paint a mural of a big “Black Flag” on your wall, …or some interesting stripe or border around the top of your walls, or whatever…but it’s still only worth so much, and is in limited demand. There are only so many people that are willing to pay good money for perfect cabinets, and even perfect cabinets have their price limit.

      BF – ” And yes, I hear your story. But that is a story of any man who has ever produced a product. Some make it big, most don’t. Your personal story does not change economic law. ”

      BL – Anything that I share about my story is to demonstrate relevance and/or importance of this conversation. I REALLY would like to know. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t expect the world to cater to my expectations. I’m just trying to figure out to work it in order to get from A(36 w/ nothing) to B(happy dieing old man).

      BF – ” …so many times around the roller coaster, I’ve forgotten where I am in that loop…. ”

      BL – …another reason why you’re the man to talk to. It’s about… ‘You’ve been here, now you’re there…How?’. I mean, You are proof that there IS a way.

      BF – ” My answer: Play poker. Seriously…It teaches you that you can do the right decisions, and still lose your stake. It is brutal. Idiots win a lot of pots, and destroy you…But poker teaches the most important lesson…The game never ends until you die
      You measure results not by a table but by a life time
      Good decisions tend to win more than bad decisions
      You have to fight through the bad luck to profit when the luck gets even or turns to “good luck”…HOW you play is far more important then the number of pots you win. ”

      BL – My life IS a poker game. If I didn’t consistently make good decisions(mixed with a few bad ones), I would be a gonner by now.

      Honestly, when I reflect on my life, I am kind of amazed I made it THIS far. I’ve been through and escaped a lot of bad situations. The odds have been against me since day one. I keep getting dealt shitty hands, but I am still in the game. If I ever get dealt a good hand, I’ll know what to do with it.

      Several years ago, my father, being drunk and one to know how to push buttons, once started in on me about “when I was gonna make him a grandson”. (He doesn’t really care, but knows I do) My response was that I need to solve my poverty problem first. Then he started singing…”…papa may have, and mama may have, but god bless the child that’s got its own…”, then went into the “take the ball and run” metaphor.

      I looked at him for a second, and said “What ball? You have to have a ball in your hands to make a touchdown. If the quarterback “drops the ball”, I got nothing. ” …then I commenced with a proper and thorough ass ripping about how it would have made an enormous difference if he would have had the “balls” to “step up to the plate” and accept the responsibility of what he created with his “balls” instead of vanishing into thin air.

      He asked for it, and I gave it to him.

      He cried.

      And that’s just it. I need a ball. Watch what I do with it…if I can just get a grip on it.

      I just need a couple decent hands to work with. This pair of nothing stuff is getting old. I’m depleting my small pot(time) with antis.

      I cannot tell you how frustrating it is (maybe I don’t have to) to know that I am capable of much more and not being able to put it altogether cuz I’ve got next to nothing tangible to start with.

      How do you cook a burger without heat?

      How do you play baseball without a ball?

      The answer to my “escape poverty equation” is ultimately (C) – Find a way to increase income.

      I take pride in what I do, but, for a lot of reasons, I’m tired of it. And as long as I subject myself to this insane losing set of circumstances, I am wasting time.

      Stuck in neutral sucks.

      But how do you find another way with nothing to work with? That’s what it really boils down to.

      How am I to plant a garden without seeds?

      Steal money from Matt and Buck to pay for a PH.D, just to convince some fool to give me a hundred grand or more a year because I have a piece of paper ‘proving’ that I know what I’m talking about?

      “Good Will Hunting” with a library card isn’t very convincing. No one likes them apples.

      Maybe I should write Oprah a sappy letter – ROFL!

      Maybe I should bet the whole pot on a high risk hand of “Drug Lord Entrepreneurship”. I know all about the drug trade. I have been smoking pot off and on for a long time and am familiar with the drug culture. I got an education on how to launder millions of dollars of cocaine money while painting for the right/wrong people. I used to work with various three letter agencies in the navy doing counter drug ops.

      I’ve got the connections. I know it inside and out. I already have a PH.D of sorts. If anyone could pull it off, I could, and it’s damn tempting.

      And time IS of the essence. The pressure I put on myself is enormous.

      The number of single childless fertile females in my peer group who have their heads screwed on strait and who are worthy of all I intend to give, are rapidly decreasing in numbers as time ticks.

      I must soon resort to younger women, and gray hairs are popping out of my chin. My hair is receding. My metabolism is hitting that typical male mid-30’s slow down.

      I’ve been complimented and flirted with recently by two younger women – one 25, educated, intelligent, pretty, and spoken for, …the other 19, beautiful, completely clueless with obvious “daddy issues”. Neither were suitable, but it was one hell of boost to my ego.

      I must still have SOMETHIN’ goin’ on. There IS hope. 🙂

      But how long will that last?

      If I were to find a suitable mate today, what do I have to offer? What tangible assurance do I have to give her that it is a secure situation?

      ????? “Hey babe, I got what you need, lets go buy some cheap orange juice” ?????

      How long before I have something to offer? Will I be fat, bald, and gray, unable to find a younger single woman willing, able, and ready to start a family?

      How long does it take to properly secure a relationship and build enough to create a proper environment for children?

      I have to start RIGHT NOW. Otherwise, I miss my window of opportunity.

      I am thoroughly aware of the odds that my worst fears may soon be realized.

      It’s an against all odds right now thing.

      • Bottom Line says:

        Jon Smith – ” Sometimes success is just a matter of having enough resources to make things work. “

        • Bottom Line

          What you have to offer a potential mate has little to do with money.

          And any woman who would make that decision based only on your bank account is not worth having around. Except for entertainment.

          Do not wait for wealth to find a mate. Building wealth is a TEAM sport.

          • BL
            Though JAC is spiritually correct, your focus on responsibility measure well.

            I, too, delayed building a family until I achieved a certain level of financial support. I think in today’s world, this is prudent for many people.

          • Bottom Line says:

            Jac,

            I certainly get your point as I have given it quite a bit of thought. You are absolutely right. But look into it a little deeper.

            I owe just as many assurances to her, as she owes me, all in the interest of standards of a shared responsibility of children, life, etc…

            It’s not really about money, it’s about saying “No worries babe, It’s all under control.”

            …All of it ultimately in the interest of the welfare of our children.

            What sane woman wants to subject her children to a life of poverty?

      • Bottom Line,
        Your situation is a common one. The fact is it’s very difficult to ‘escape poverty’ with just hard work. There are only some many hours in a day, and as you’ve discovered, there are only so many people who are willing to pay top dollar for quality work.

        You have to “multiple” your productivity to ‘escape poverty’. You can hire crews that you train to do the work, or become an instructor and teach others how to do your specialized skill, or become a consultant for your clients and bring in an entire crew to an entire remodel/redecorate. The clientele you’re talking about will pay big $$$ to someone who comes in and SOLVES THEIR PROBLEM. But you can never become PART OF THEIR PROBLEM.

        For these people, it’s all about image. Not only do they want nicely painted walls and cabinets, they want the “right” craftsman doing the job. The one that everyone wants to hire. The one who shows up on time in a nice, clean truck, wears the nice painter’s overalls, and gets the job done on schedule with no surprises. When you’re in their neighborhood, you are an extension of them.

        You need to ‘establish’ yourself in an area. They do not to hire someone who is just passing thru. They want someone who will be around for follow-up – and the next job. These people remodel/redecorate for fun and to ‘keep up with the Jones’. You need to provide ideas on the ‘grand scheme’ and how you’ll do this room, and then that room, and tie it all together.

        I have a friend who’s been doing landscaping for 20+ years. He’s good at it, but it’s back-breaking work. About 15 years ago, he caught a break. The parents of a friend bought a “house” in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva is the play-ground of the rich from Chicago. 5000+ sq ft houses, etc. They hired him to do some landscaping and he did a great job. He got a few referrals and got “in” with the Lake Geneva crowd. But he was still barely scraping by and always having to find the next job and the next job – and he was killing himself doing the work with his crew. About 8 years ago he switched from new landscaping to lawn maintenance. Now he has 30-40 clients and 10 guys who mow their lawns, trim their hedges, etc. They use top of the line zero-turn mowers, and create the perfectly straight lines on the lawn. It’s not about mowing – it’s about the image. All equipment is washed after every job so it’s clean when it shows up at the next one. He drives around from house to house to talk to clients, discuss any special services they’d like, etc. And the cash flows in because he has multiplied his productivity by managing others and solving his clients problems – and not doing back-breaking work.

        Some other thoughts about you’re posts.

        No reason to wait for a spouse. There’s no “tangible assurance” in life. All you can offer is a positive attitude and hard work. “No worries babe, It’s all under control” is a fantasy. Everyone has worries, and if you think it’s all under control, you’re not looking hard enough!

        But a spouse can support you, help you build the business, be your teammate. She could find new clients while you do the work, coordinate the overall decorating while you do the painting, etc. It’s much more gratifying to build the business/your life together than to find a spouse after you’ve done this all by yourself. And then try to explain it to her…

        You’re blaming illegal’s and the “government” for your problems – and lowering yourself to their level. You need to rise above that. You’ll never get the clients you’re looking for by “being as “illegal” as possible”. The clients you’re trying to attract are part of the system.

        You need to make peace with your Dad – and with yourself. This kind of baggage drags you down and shows in your attitude on-the-job. You have to improve your self-esteem because it shows thru to your clients. Solve their problems – don’t dump your problems on them.

        Stop smoking pot – permanently – and get away from the “drug culture”. Smoking pot ends any chance of getting the clientele you’re looking for. Don’t say “it doesn’t affect my work” or “my clients will never know”. It shows – you’ll show up late, smell like pot, or someone will see you smoking it. And you’ll be “out” in a flash.

        If you want to succeed in our society, especially with the clientele you’re trying to attract, you have to know the rules – and follow them.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Todd,

          Thank you for taking the time to weigh in. You make some good points. Many of which I have made to myself.

          Todd – “Your situation is a common one. The fact is it’s very difficult to ‘escape poverty’ with just hard work. There are only some many hours in a day, and as you’ve discovered, there are only so many people who are willing to pay top dollar for quality work.”

          BL – Difficult indeed. I appreciate the validation.

          Todd – “You have to “multiple” your productivity to ‘escape poverty’. You can hire crews that you train to do the work, or become an instructor and teach others how to do your specialized skill, or become a consultant for your clients and bring in an entire crew to an entire remodel/redecorate. The clientele you’re talking about will pay big $$$ to someone who comes in and SOLVES THEIR PROBLEM. But you can never become PART OF THEIR PROBLEM.

          For these people, it’s all about image. Not only do they want nicely painted walls and cabinets, they want the “right” craftsman doing the job. The one that everyone wants to hire. The one who shows up on time in a nice, clean truck, wears the nice painter’s overalls, and gets the job done on schedule with no surprises. When you’re in their neighborhood, you are an extension of them.

          You need to ‘establish’ yourself in an area. They do not to hire someone who is just passing thru. They want someone who will be around for follow-up – and the next job. These people remodel/redecorate for fun and to ‘keep up with the Jones’. You need to provide ideas on the ‘grand scheme’ and how you’ll do this room, and then that room, and tie it all together.”

          BL – I’ve worked a lot with this type of clientele. And you seem to have a pretty good handle on how it works.

          Most of the contractors with this type of clientele have long time established businesses, the ones that have worked hard to eventually get to be “a big dog”. It’s not really something the average skilled laborer just falls into. It CAN happen as it did for your friend. I’ve come close a couple of times myself, but there is a certain amount of luck involved. I always have my eyes open for such an opportunity, believe it.

          Todd – ” No reason to wait for a spouse. There’s no “tangible assurance” in life. All you can offer is a positive attitude and hard work. “No worries babe, It’s all under control” is a fantasy. Everyone has worries, and if you think it’s all under control, you’re not looking hard enough!

          But a spouse can support you, help you build the business, be your teammate. She could find new clients while you do the work, coordinate the overall decorating while you do the painting, etc. It’s much more gratifying to build the business/your life together than to find a spouse after you’ve done this all by yourself. And then try to explain it to her…”

          BL – One thing my fickle life has taught me is the value of tangible assurances. You’re right about a good woman being a partner/team-mate. If she hasn’t at least got that figured out, she isn’t worth bothering with.

          But let’s be real and consider risk assessment from her perspective.

          There is a huge difference between; “I’m a broke loser with nothing in spite of all my good qualities and hard work. “, and ” In addition to all my good qualities, I have at least a little stability.”

          Todd – ” You’re blaming illegal’s and the “government” for your problems – and lowering yourself to their level. You need to rise above that. You’ll never get the clients you’re looking for by “being as “illegal” as possible”. The clients you’re trying to attract are part of the system. ”

          BL – Read this entire broken up conversation starting with when I got in the middle of Flag and Esom. I’m not blaming “illegals”. I’ve used the word “fault”, but I’m not necessarily blaming government either. What I’m doing is making a realistic assessment of that which factors into my economic problems. What I’m seeing is that I’m increasingly getting squeezed out of my hard earned money.

          My wages are decreasing. Job availability is decreasing. Buying power is decreasing. Government is demanding more and more from me.

          Extra money to save and start a business just simply isn’t there. And I’m having enough trouble just keeping enough in my pocket to survive on.

          Take government out of the equation and my take home pay almost doubles. Take the government/”imaginary lines” created competition with “illegals” out of the equation and my pay increases another 20%. Take away the inflation rate, and my pay buys more.

          Instead of making $20/hr and taking home $13 of it, I’m making $13 and taking home $6-7. And the $6-7 is steadily turning into $5.

          You tell me how to survive off of a seasonal minimum wage income averaged out over a year’s worth of expenses.

          This is how and why I have lived off of Ramen noodles. This is why I drive around without auto insurance.

          Getting caught by the cops without car insurance is primarily dependent upon them seeing whether you have that up to date sticker on your plates. (you get pulled over, asked for proof of insurance, busted)

          So, I’ll go get insurance, then my tags and sticker at the county clerks office, then immediately back to the insurance company to cancel my policy and get a refund. – This is the kinda shit you do when you’re in extreme poverty.

          Todd – ” You need to make peace with your Dad – and with yourself. This kind of baggage drags you down and shows in your attitude on-the-job. You have to improve your self-esteem because it shows thru to your clients. Solve their problems – don’t dump your problems on them. ”

          BL – It’s taken a while, but I have made peace with him. I love my dad. He’s a good man. He’s also a train wreck, a homeless terminal alcoholic borderline insane 60 yr. old genius. I’m just waiting for and loathing that phone call telling me the cops found him dead in a ditch somewhere.

          Although I didn’t articulate too well, my mentioning of him was to demonstrate the relevance of back-ground and how it has effected me in a big way, both economically and emotionally.

          We all know what difference it makes for a child to have stable responsible loving parents.

          Todd – ” Stop smoking pot – permanently – and get away from the “drug culture”. Smoking pot ends any chance of getting the clientele you’re looking for. Don’t say “it doesn’t affect my work” or “my clients will never know”. It shows – you’ll show up late, smell like pot, or someone will see you smoking it. And you’ll be “out” in a flash. ”

          BL – This may sound unconvincing and/or cliche’, but I don’t see it as the problem you make it out to be.

          I’m not exactly your typical “pot-head”. I probably don’t smoke as much or as often as you might think. I don’t mix it with work. And I don’t spend much, if any, money on it. And I’ve only been 15 minutes late to work twice in the last ten or so years. I’m always the first guy there, waiting for everyone else…and usually one of the last to leave.

          I see pot as one of those inexpensive simple pleasures that is to be indulged in AFTER everything is done for the day. It’s just simply a non-issue because I am responsible.

          Todd – ” If you want to succeed in our society, especially with the clientele you’re trying to attract, you have to know the rules – and follow them. ”

          BL – I’ve pretty much decided that I want to get out of painting. At some point, I’m going to throw my tools away and never look at another paint brush again.

          It’s just not cutting it, and isn’t going to any time soon. I’m having a hell of a time just meeting my “Bottom Line”.

          My situation calls for an asymmetrical response. Something has to give somewhere.

          I’ve been chewing on an idea for years, but have been reluctant to so for the risk involved. But doing what I am doing now is just as risky when looking at the big picture.

          I think I’m going to take the risk and start selling drugs to finance a Ph.D.

          This impoverished loser shit is getting old.

          • Bottom Line,

            I’ve come close a couple of times myself, but there is a certain amount of luck involved.

            It’s absolutely true that there is a “certain amount of luck involved.” But you have to be ready to grab the opportunity when it presents itself.

            I’m going back to the pot, because it is an issue. I believe you’re not exactly the typical “pot-head”, don’t smoke that much, don’t mix it with work, don’t spend much on it, are never late to work, it’s a simple pleasures, and you are responsible. I get all that.

            But your clients watch the news with the stories about drug violence and the TV shows about the pool boy who is really the local drug-king-pin and he kills the entire family. No relevance to you, I know.

            But your clients are not coming into your store to buy something from you. They are allowing you into their home. Why would they take the chance that your drug use might cause them a problem?

            Look at it another way – after you achieve the success that you desire, have a beautiful wife and kids, would you risk that by hiring someone with a minor drug habit?

            Smoking pot is just one small thing that could hold you back from achieving your dreams. Why take that chance?

            If you’re going to change careers, drug testing might be a part of your next job. Another reason to quit.

            • Bottom Line says:

              Todd,

              You see pot as an issue, where I see it as a potential issue.

              Like anything, if you go overkill with it, you’re going to have issues. The key is to practice balance. Too many Twinkies gives you health issues. So does stress and sleep deprivation.

              Drug use is a particularly dangerous thing because it is difficult to manage and find balance as many are addictive. Pot, however, is particularly easy to manage. Occasional use is harmless.

              A lot of people know this. Even rich people.

              I’ve painted for and mingled with all types, from all economic strata. I’ve painted everything from cheap apartments to 20+ million dollar mansions.

              I’ve met and chatted with people making tens of millions a year. It has been my experience, that most rich folks are nice and friendly down to earth practical people.

              You might be surprised at what rich people don’t care about.

              They’re not worried about the guy that smokes pot a couple times a month, they’re worried about the guy that has a crack problem eyeballing their valuables and studying their security system, …or the guy that has mental problems mumbling something to his imaginary friend about their children being hell-spawn, …or whatever.

              They might even BE the guy smoking a couple of times a month. I’ve chatted with rich people talking about how they get a bunch of friends together and take their Harley’s on road trips and partying here and there, …I’ve found drug paraphernalia while moving furniture, etc…

              And most painting contractors don’t care either. If they DO drug test, it is for the insurance discount, or because they are trying to weed out the crack and meth heads.

              And drug testing usually isn’t necessary anyway as tweekers and crackheads usually don’t last very long at all. The whole crew sizes up the new guy, and as soon as their abuses show, they’re gone. Usually 1-3 days tops. …See ya.

              When you get in one of these niches where you’re building a customer base, most of your clients come from referrals. One good job without issue leads to another. I have been in situations where we(crew) will end up doing 15 different referral jobs in a year, … all spawning from just one.

              Nobody has time for someone who will screw that up.

              With painting, pot isn’t so much an issue. I don’t want to paint rich people’s homes anymore anyway. It isn’t cutting it(pun intended).

              But this isn’t really about me smoking up a couple of times a month. Frankly, I think you are placing too much relevance.

              This is about the where when what how and why of escaping my bleak economic situation.

              How do I start with nothing? Can I pull it off in time?

              Time and money vs pursuit of happiness.

              If pot is to get in the way of my ‘time/$/happy’, then pot gets taken out of the equation.

              I will give you a realistic example…

              In the warmer months, painting is my best option for optimal wages. In the winter, when painting is slow or non-existent, I will often seek supplemental income/employment doing something like stripping/waxing floors, or stocking shelves for Christmas , or whatever…

              I will stop for a while. just because I know I will be donating a lot of urine in the course of my job hunt.

              If/when I pursue a PHD, I’m not gonna try to get stoned before I do calculus.

              If/when I have a family, I will likely limit my pot use to maybe smoking on the weekend getaway that me and the Mrs. go on once or twice a year…or maybe when I get away from the family once in a while, like when out fishing in some secluded area

              …or maybe not at all.

              I don’t think any drugs are good for a child’s mental development, nor is it something good to expose them to as they are not mature or responsible to make decisions/judgments about drugs/use. Parents are primary role models, and an out of sight, out of mind approach is a good one. If that means pot gets taken out of the equation altogether, so be it.

              If when grown, they are mature responsible adults that smoke pot on occasion, I won’t knock them.

              Getting back to Time and money vs pursuit of happiness….

              The Bottom line: This is about what I need to do to significantly increase my income, ASAP, with no seed money.

              I have been chewing on this for a while. Especially lately. I think Flag has a point when talking about poker and risks.

              It has to start somewhere with something. Ultimately when trying to do so, it involves risks. That’s where it has to give.

              That IS my answer…Take risks …Take whatever risks I must.

              Not taking risks is a risk within itself.

              • Bottom Line,
                You’ve laid out your argument why someone else’s drug use is a problem, but not yours. All your “excuses” are typical of someone with a drug/alcohol “habit.” Instead of facing that potential issue, you find fault with illegal-immigrants and government.

                I agree with your description of rich people. And I’m not surprised by what they care and don’t care about, because I’m part of that segment of society. But they have a different attitude toward those who have already “made it” and those that are still trying to “make it”.

                A potential issue is one that you can not afford right now.

                By your own admission, what you’ve been doing for the past 15-20 years hasn’t worked. So what are you going to change to turn things around?

                That IS my answer…Take risks …Take whatever risks I must.

                Black Flag did not say “take whatever risk you must.” He said to make the right decisions, and even though you may loose some battles, eventually you’ll win the war.

                “Taking whatever risks I must” reeks of desperation. That’s how the idiot that occasionally wins a big hand operates.

                Finding opportunities and making good decisions and taking the carefully calculated risks to take advantage of those opportunities is the answer.

  34. VH

    A feel good story for a Sunday morning. There is hope! I’m amazed myself at the turnout for this event. Follow the link at the end of the article for another angle of the story.

    http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/thousands-of-parishioners-flood-downtown-detroit-for-unity-rally

    • Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

  35. Charlie, I know your point is that we have accumulated wealth on the backs of others in our history, that some wealth gained has been from theft. That is true.

    MY point is that A) slavery is NOT a part of a true free market, since such a market can only exist when all people are free, uncontrolled. Slave labor involves a commodity (labor) that is artificially cheap due to the use of coersion and force rather than a transaction. And B) that the use of slave labor, while it created wealth for some, was not the superior system as evidenced by the South’s inferiority.

    I want to have a free market. I point to times in our history as better than now, not because I wish to return to them or hold them to be “the good old days” without flaws, etc. There are a host of problems with our history, and there are technological and cultural differences that would make some of the things from back then, both good and bad, impossible to apply or duplicate now. I do not want to duplicate the past. I want a free market. The only reason I look back is to point out the successful aspects of freedom and free market economics. Pointing out the stuff that was not a part of that is a lousy retort. I am not a constitutionalist, I dont want to go back to the way it was, because that is not good enough for me. It is better than now, but there are major flaws. The unholy alliance between big business and the government is one of them.

    At least, however, I can point to some times when free market economics were working and working reasonably well. Not without issues, but better than any other socio-economic system I have seen. Can you point to any such thing? I know you talk about the Netherlands and all that, but that is not exactly a comparable example, nor have you explained in detail why things are so much better there, and how socialism has made it that way.

    • Can you point to any such thing?

      Yes, the Netherlands, but I do understand that is a much smaller country and it would MUCH more difficult to attempt here. What I do like about the Netherlands is that because people pay into the state over the course of their lives, they are rewarded for it in retirement (for one thing). Their education system buries ours … as does their health care. I understand it would be very difficult to even attempt here (numbers alone). Until the unholy alliance is broken, however, nothing will get better here (for the majority of people). It can’t. I see what most consider entitlements here as “bones” the gov’t throws those in bad situations to keep them there (so I am in agreement regarding that aspect, but ony because they aren’t “real” enhancements for people to education themselves, etc. It’s a lot to cover and I’m watching the end of the Knicks game …:)

      I do understand where you’re coming from. Like I said, I’d rather see conservatives TRULY vote Libertarian and liberals TRULY vote socialist than for either of these corrupt parties (which are the same as far as I’m concerned–puppets of corporate America).

      My girl Kathy below … on cue …

  36. Went to a big tea party in Madison yesterday. What a refreshing group to be around – individual responsibility, smaller government, less spending. What a (racist, radical) concept.

  37. Crazy busy weekend and just catching up on some news, including all the tornadoes across the south. Lots in NC – you OK USW?

  38. Bottom Line says:

  39. WOW.

    Whats up? Everybody have a headache from last week?

    OK, I’ll start

    Buck and Mathius

    What do you think of Mr. President’s highly intellectual, bordering on genius, new negotiating style?

    You know, the one where you invite the other side to sit in the front row and then ridicule them in an environment where they can not respond. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

    I would never have thought of such a trick.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Interesting question.

      My question would have been as follows:

      What do you think of Mr. President’s highly intellectual, bordering on genius, new negotiating style?

      You know, the one where he sits down, goes over the issues, and negotiates with himself, and then (and only then) sits down to negotiate even further with the GOP.
      _____________________________

      But to answer your question, I honestly dont’ have a problem with this in the slightest. Its politics, welcome to the asylum. Did Ryan really believe Obama would stand up there and applaud his proposal? Come on.

      • Buck

        You don’t have any experience handling complex negotiations do you?

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Would it have been any different in your mind if Obama had given the exact same speech without inviting Ryan et al to attend?

          • Buck

            Missed the point didn’t you.

            He should have simply said, Ryan’s bill is one option and he was offering a different version.

            No demagogue campaign rhetoric. He is the President and he is inserting himself into the “negotiating process”, as opposed to the Senate Leadership.

            It would have been better if he had made those comments in a political campaign gathering, but it would still not be helpful.

            This is NOT how you start serious negotiations.

            • “Do you think we’re stupid?”

              • anita

                Good morning my dear. I assume that comment was aimed at Buck. If not, I don’t think I understand.

                But THEY do think we are stupid. THEY don’t understand that freedom and liberty may have greater value than more Govt handouts.

                Notice that one side of the elite have fired a BIG SHOT across the bow of the Ship of State this morning.

              • The comment was made when Obama thought the mics in were off in reference to parts of the budget attempting to defund Obamacare. It’s the kind of language Obama doesn’t want made public. So my point is that Obama WILL use different rhetoric depending on the audience.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              He’s the President. He is running for reelection. Everything is a campaign stop. You know this, I know this, Ryan knows this.

              The fact that Ryan’s feelings may have been hurt in the process? Too bad. The GOP often makes similar statements to position themselves for their base; Boehner said from the beginning that, although everything is on the table, tax increases are not on the table, that any raise in tax rates is a nonstarter. This is how you start serious negotiations? Both sides do it. It is campaign rhetoric, fodder for the base as you yourself point out.

  40. SUFA

    With all the rhetoric and stories about the budget last week did anyone happen to notice that the two sides have managed to FRAME the entire debate and negotiation between two options that DO NOT address the deficit and IGNORE the DEBT?

    So before the Flag rubs your collective noses in it, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THIS?

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Good Morning JAC 🙂 Hope today finds healthy and happy!

      Nothing can be done with a government that is chock full of liars and thieves. I will continue with my plans, watch and wait. S & P downgraded the U.S. to “negative” this morning. When noone buys T-Bills, the SHTF!

  41. What do you think of Mr. President’s highly intellectual, bordering on genius, new negotiating style?

    That is called “the 2012 campaign has begun” and is for the lemmings on the Democratic left who need to feel voting for him wasn’t a vote for the Republican Party. It is sound and fury … nothing more.

    I still do not understand what anyone here at SUFA (outside of the absolute anarchists) has a problem with Mr. Obama. He couldn’t give you more of what you wanted if he was wearing a GOP badge. The one thing you crazies on the right have over the crazies on the “so-called” left have is balls, I’ll give you that. You whackos actually voted your own out of office (Tea Party) while the democratic left whackos continue to circle jerk themselves into thinking Obama is an actual progressive or that their party is for the working class.

    It is an amusing thing to watch, I’ll tell yous that much …

    • Charlie

      Your supposed confusion over what those at SUFA think of Mr. Obama is due to your inability to understand plain English or to process simple concepts, or both.

      Then again it could just be the typical big eastern city arrogance and pig headedness.

      • Welcome back JAC!

        • Kathy

          Thank you.

          Can you fill us in on what is REALLY happening in Wisconsin?

          I am curious as to whether all the Union organizing and chattering is mobilizing the Tea Party folks or energizing the more “conservative” citizens to turn out to squash the recall efforts.

          • I’m not sure any of the recall petitions will go through as challenges to signature validity will be a big issue. Heard of an instance where someone thought he was attending a townhall, as that is how it was advertised. When he arrived he was told to sign in, including all his pertinent info. He thought this odd so started to look around and here it was really a union rally and the signing in was a recall petition for a Rep. He did not sign and saw some neighbors and caught their attention and called them over and explained to them what they had signed. They insisted their names be removed, the unionistas would not, so they filed a legal challenge. Similar situations all over so I really have doubts that any will succeed.

            Also, there are timing issues. They are getting sigs already for Walker, but my understanding is he must be in office for one year and there is like a 2 or 3 month time limit for sigs. So anything collected now will not be good for a recall next January.

            Huge victory that Supreme Court candidate Prosser was re-elected. Left was obviously very mobilized and still couldn’t change the election.

            A “non-conforming” school teacher here in my town was telling me that the talk is shifting a little bit , as more teachers are saying, “well I’m not going to stay in the union if I don’t have to”, which is of course, the unions worst nightmare – reduced dues!!!!!

            I actually had a teacher acquaintence from northern Wisconsin contact me recently and thank me for some of the info I had provided early in this process. At the time, he was highly emotional and totally caught up in the union rhetoric (75 kids in a classroom, 10 hour days, no maternity leaves). I just encouraged him to research, ask questions, and follow the money/motivation. Apparently his union rep actually resigned after the whole mess due to union pressure to perform, what he felt, were immoral and unprofessional tactics, and this young acquaintenance of mine spent a long time talking to this union rep. Education is key – along with vigilance!!!

            • Kathy

              You saved one person, keep up the good work.

              Figured what you see and hear might not match up with the media’s portrayal.

              Keep us posted.

              🙂 🙂

        • You go girl/JAC! With Kathy on your side, it’s a slam dunk!

          Typical big city arrogance … I love it!

          Could you be any more predictable? I hope you were chewing straw when you typed that …

          I’m sure Kathy was.

    • Charlie,

      I still do not understand what anyone here at SUFA (outside of the absolute anarchists) has a problem with Mr. Obama. He couldn’t give you more of what you wanted if he was wearing a GOP badge

      I agree, Charlie.

      Either it is welfare/warfare party or the warfare/welfare party.

      The Iron Law of Politics – the ratcheting up of government programs. Neither party reverses the other party’s programs, but merely reinforces theirs. As they switch through Gov, both sides grow their respective focuses unhindered.

      The end: government default.

  42. April 18, 2011
    S&P downgrades entire nation’s financial health
    Thomas Lifson
    Regardless of happy talk from the Obamacrats, sober minds in the world financial community recognize that the US is following a suicidal economic plan. The latest sign comes from Standard and Poor’s, the bond rating agency. CNBC reports:

    Standard & Poor’s on Monday downgraded the outlook for the United States to negative, saying it believes there’s a risk U.S. policymakers may not reach agreement on how to address the country’s long-term fiscal pressures.
    “Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable,” the agency said in a statement.

    As one would expect, the dollar fell and gold is rising to new records.

    Obama is certainly keeping his promise to “fundamentally transform” America — into a third world country.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/04/sp_downgrades_entire_nations_f.html

    • Another from American Thinker

      April 18, 2011
      ‘One shock away from crisis’
      Rick Moran
      Thus sayeth the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick , who is quite worried about the skyrocketing cost of food.

      Indeed, from Q1 10 to Q1 11, the rise in the price of basic foodstuffs is astonishing:

      Maize

      74%

      Wheat

      69%

      Palm oil

      55%

      Soybeans

      36%

      Beef

      30%

      Rice

      -2%

      Companies have kept prices artificially low but as soon as this fall, we will see wholesale food prices rising precipitously.

      Zoellick also wants the World Bank to support the young regimes in the Middle East – including, presumably, the coming Muslim Brotherhood’s triumph in Egypt. The BBC:

      “Waiting for the situation to stabilise will mean lost opportunities. In revolutionary moments the status quo is not a winning hand.”

      At the Washington meetings, turmoil in the Middle East, volatile oil prices and high unemployment were also discussed.

      IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn raised particular concerns about high levels of unemployment among young people.

      “It’s probably too much to say that it’s a jobless recovery, but it’s certainly a recovery with not enough jobs,” he said.

      “Especially because of youth unemployment… there is now a risk that this will be turned into a life sentence, and that there is a possibility of a lost generation,” he said.

      There have already been a couple of lost generations in European countries with unemployment among the young pushing 25% in England, France, and other nations. With a quarter of young people not working, Europe may be facing the prospect of unemployable masses for decades to come.

  43. More WI realities and union mentality at work. Who does this shit? Because you now have to contribute to your insurance and pension? Unhinged. This is a letter to editor and this first guy Keith Ripp is from a very small town right next to me and the Wyttenbach story is right up the road (and where I will be buying my meat now).

    Had a “trying day” yesterday as I stopped at a friend and clients of mine: Representative Keith Ripp owns and operates with his family a feedlot in Dane, Wisconsin. Keith is also a State Representative in Wisconsin. He voted in favor (with Governor Walker) of eliminating COLLECTIVE BARGAINING in trying to balance Wisconsin’s budget deficit. His wife (Lori) came out and “broke down and cried” during our talk. Keith and his family have been terrorized since the VOTE. His church has told him “he is no longer welcome there”. Many of his neighbors have told him “to never talk to them again”. His son Radley (9 th grader) has been persecuted by his teachers. Keith has received over 800 threats. Lori has been sworn at, spit on, etc. Daily…..Union people pull into their driveway and harass them! Even the local firemen have told him “don’t bother calling if you have a fire…..because we probably can not FIND your farm in time”. Finally, Keith’s sister-in-law is a teacher at a local high school. The RIpp family was all to get together for Easter dinner at Keiths moms house (his father died of cancer 3 years ago). Keith’s sister-in-law refuses to go to dinner at Easter dinner IF KEITH AND HIS FAMILY ATTEND! By the way- the sister-in-law (teacher) has HER KIDS ATTEND A PRIVATE SCHOOL! Complete harassment. What kind of people are these Democrats? Scum of the earth!

    This man and family, whom are wonderful people, are being subjected to a RECALL- due to him voting to balance the budget. Shame on Wisconsin!

    Next, I went down to another friend and client Fritz Wyttenbach. He lives in Sauk City, Wisconsin. He owns a feedlot and a meat market. Fritz is on the school board. He voted to FREEZE teachers wages and reform their insurance policy to more align it with private industry standards. Since then…the local teachers have picketed his business. Threatened him and his family. Restaurants whom have purchased beef and meat from his meat market for years….cancelled orders and discontinued buying from him because “they are on the side of the teachers”. He has received death threats and e-mails that his “business will be burned and destroyed”. Fritz is one of the finest Christians I know of. A wonderful person. If you drive through Sauk City……you will daily see teachers PICKETING on the bridge crossing the Wisconsin river. Many are toting signs to boycott Wyttenbach Meat Market. What a tragedy! May I suggest if you are driving through that part of Wisconsin that you stop and purchase some meat products from Fritz. His spirits are pretty low today.

    I am convinced that Unions are little more than “organized mafia movements”. I am convinced that this era of American history (2008- 201???) will be termed the GREAT DENIAL PERIOD in the future history books. Either we need to balance the budget and rid ourselves of entitlements…..or we will continue to move toward socialism? I spent some time in France last year. I saw and heard how bad socialism is. The French hate it….. but they can’t change it.

    The reason I write this to you is to uncover the truth and outrageous injustice that is occurring currently in America. It is hard for me to believe that such outlandish activities are occurring in our good old USA without the press covering this. Wow! If these activities were going on to non-Caucasians….it would be deemed harassment and discrimination. It was a tough thing for me to experience. I did not know how to console these friends of mine? Pray for them. I believe they are doing the right thing…..and they are brave people. As Fritz always says…..Attitude is Everything. They will press on.

    So, in summary….I realize we are currently in a sort of “CIVIL WAR” in America. I can’t believe that there is so much HATE in the U.S. amongst people whom are arguing about benefits. I hope and pray it doesn’t come to physical conflict…and it should not! However, people during the Civil war put their life on the line for what was the “right thing to do for America”. I wonder if today’s citizen is as convicted to do the correct thing for our future? We need some new leadership in this country. This will only occur if people are brave enough like the RIpps and the Wyttenbachs to stand up and do the right thing without worry about their personal loss and repercussions. I take my hat off and applaud these people. Everything I divulged above is current and true. It still baffles me how these injustices are occurring right under our noses? No press to cover this side of the story. These families are concerned about going broke….but they are standing up for what is right and risking their livelihood for the right thing!

    God Bless-

    P.S. Remember- politics is NOT a spectator sport. We all need to get off the couch and GET ENGAED in correcting the system. The forefathers of our constitution would be turning over in their graves if they say the current state of the political system in America. We should and CAN fix this system with intellect and some sacrifices. Brutality and threats are not the answer. Ignorance currently rules. Knowledge and persistence will prevail. However, this system will NOT change unless smart people become enraged enough to participate in changing the system. Perhaps I finally realized I am a TEA PARTY member? Neither Republicans nor Democrats are correcting the injustices that have accumulated during the last 30-40 years.

    .

    • Kathy,

      P.S. Remember- politics is NOT a spectator sport. We all need to get off the couch and GET ENGAED in correcting the system.

      If you are referring to FedGov, then politics here IS a spectator sport.

      Getting off the couch and participating will have as much success as you getting of the couch and participating in the National Football League.

      You will get slaughtered.

      Pick -very carefully- what game you want to participate in.

      The forefathers of our constitution would be turning over in their graves if they say the current state of the political system in America.

      No. This is precisely the government Hamilton envisioned.

      We should and CAN fix this system with intellect and some sacrifices.

      At the FedGov level? Impossible.

      However, this system will NOT change unless smart people become enraged enough to participate in changing the system.

      The system is reinforced by methodologies and processes that prohibit change. You cannot change the system.

      Perhaps I finally realized I am a TEA PARTY member? Neither Republicans nor Democrats are correcting the injustices that have accumulated during the last 30-40 years.

      Your review-mirror hindsight is short by 115 years.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        Flag,
        Any opinion on S & P’s move today?

        • Gman,
          re:S&P

          Darn brave of them. It’s not that any of them don’t know reality, it is that they are afraid of the consequences of confirming reality.

          The markets are going down, commodities are saw-toothing, no one “out there” knows what to do….

          Hopefully this will encourage the FedRes to up interest rates.

          But they won’t because that would create a deeper Recession in the middle of a Presidential election year.

    • Kathy,

      Great post! Thanks for sharing. Wisconsin is in that odd mix of local becoming national events. In many ways it’s comparable to the Revolutionary war. Stay firm and let no flag cause you any doubts!

      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/04/the_news_youll_never_see.html

      April 18, 2011
      The news you’ll never see
      Ethel C. Fenig
      With the advent of the internet the liberal/leftie hold on the media has some gaps; the unpleasant truths they formerly suppressed, glossed over or reworked now often comes through in all its ugliness. These truths, as Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit puts it, will not be shown on the state run media. But he is one of many who does, recently posting a diverse–ah, that pc word–portrait of leftist thuggery around the country.

      In Madison, Wisconsin, home of fearless governor Scott Walker (R) there is

      The new face of the left.

      TrumkaObama Thugs Scream, Curse, Beat Drums, Blow Whistles & Make Obscene Gestures During Palin’s Wisconsin Speech

      This is what thuggery looks like.They don’t want to hear your side. They don’t want to discuss your views. They want you to shut up and be silent.
      This is today’s TrumkaObama American left. They must be soooo proud.

      In the great northwest, in Portland, Oregon

      “You’re a token!”
      Classy leftist thugs harass a black conservative at a tea party rally in Portland. Of course, the state-run media won’t play this. It doesn’t fit with their agenda.

      Socialists were out in full force to counter the peaceful patriotic Tax Day Protest in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Here are just a few sample quotations found in these clips. “look … I wipe my a$$ with the flag every night when I … when I take a sh*t man. You got it? Are you gonna to handle about it? Huh? You got any balls? … Huh? Bring your Mom I’d like to f*ck her. Bring your Republican Mama I’d like to f*ck her in the a$$.” “Shove the flag up your a$$ … a$$hole.” “Hey take a picture of this. Hey you f*cking homo right here.” “I’m gonna make a stencil out of this Mother F*cker.” “God D*mn the USA!”

      And of course in Arizona, the can’t-we-all-just-be-friends-and-speak-civilly-to-honor-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) contingent

      Open border protesters in white-face carried a Hitler sign at the tea party in Arizona on Friday.

      The leftists screamed on their bullhorn, “If you don’t like it, go home,” to the tea party protesters.
      A group of pro illegal immigration/open borders protesters and anarchists attempt to take away the freedom of speech of Tea Party members by drowning them out with bullhorns. One Hispanic woman painted her face white to mock white people, while others waved the Mexican flag.

      So…how much of this did you see on your local or even national news commenting about Tea Party protests?

      I thought so.

  44. A rather excellent fictional story about the consequences of hyperinflation:

    The day the Dollar died

    http://johngaltfla.com/blog3/2009/11/18/the-day-the-dollar-died-a-blovel-entire-series-single-thread-not-edited-for-content-yet/

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Good read, long as hell, but good none the less. Didn’t like the ending, so in real life we have to change it. I will say the author gave alot of credit to government that may be out of there thinking abilities. Worth the time! THanks!

  45. Happy 3,323rd Birthday to People of Israel

    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

    It was none other than Pharaoh whose mention of the “People of Israel” is the first such Biblical reference, 3323 years ago, using calculations based on information in the Torah. Serbian-born Eliezer Shulman, who was exiled to Siberia by the former Soviet Union in the 1930s, recently showed how he was able to calculate it while there, as follows:.

    In the first chapter of Exodus (Shemot), verse 8 states, “And there rose up a new king [pharaoh] over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people. ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel and more numerous and strong than we are.’”

    Until then, the Bible referred to Jews as the Children of Yaakov (Jacob), who at one point was also named Israel, while the Bible generally continues to refer to him as Yaakov – until the time of Pharaoh.

    Yaakov left the famine stricken Land of Israel with 11 sons to join his long-lost son Joseph. He had became the most powerful man in Egypt under Pharaoh after having been sold by his brothers and undergoing severe hardships that did not dampen his faith in the Creator.

    The Passover holiday recalls the days of slavery in Egypt under the new pharaoh and the Exodus to freedom, which is the theme of the traditional Passover Seder.

    However, the freedom of the Jews also marks their birthday as a people.
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143634

  46. Black Flag, et al,

    I am considering an at-home science project. I can buy “scrap” silver 800/pure/sterling for about a dollar / oz.

    I know that this can be easily enough refined at home.

    The questions are:
    A.) What is the effective cost (per oz of refined silver) of this process (ie, is it only viable in a scaled production)?
    B.) What can I get per oz on the market of home-brewed refined silver (ie, not in coin form).

    • Mathius,

      I can would help, but you have to pay.

      Where there is great profit, there are sharks.

    • Mathius,
      (a) – what process?
      (b) – you will need to assay the product. This has a cost depending on volume. The assay will stamp your bar with a serial number, weight and purity.

      You can ask what ever price you wish – typically you will get around the “spot” price – the quoted price on any market ticker – that is the LOWEST of the day.

      If it went up that day, wait until tomorrow to sell.

      • a.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJgBs5GsLrA&feature=fvwrel

        Though I’m sure there are better, and this is almost certainly over-simplified.

        The truth is, the profit margin seems too big for this to be real. Buy at $1-ish, sell at 40-ish, for a do-it-yourself project? Even if costs of product amount to $30/oz, the margin would still be 10. Even if it didn’t scale well, I just don’t see how such a gigantic hole would exist without someone filling it large-scale.

        If it seems to be too good to be true, it’s because it is.

  47. A little something for ya’l to chew on.

    At first glance it supports Flag’s dire predictions.

    But within the curve are definitive periods where spending is reduced.

    So the question is how to maintain that momentum.

    Bwahahahahahaaha

  48. SUFA

    The other day Black Flag discussed how the “Socialists” have been working on our brains for over a hundred years. Changing the meaning of words, even history itself as part of an effort to convince us that their way is the right way.

    I thought you would like to see some current evidence of this re-writing of history. Both in terms of our nations founding and more recently, what exactly Mr. Obama was saying when he “rallied the nation” in 2008.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/obama-returns-to-his-mora_b_850295.html#comments

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Interesting JAC!

      I wasn’t impressed at all. The author fails miserably in understanding weather patterns. Any idea that driving a country into default over morals is insanity.

  49. gmanfortruth says:

    Home made radiation tester:

    With all the fear of radiation fallout from Japan I thought it might be
    useful to tell you about a cheap, effective, homemade radiation tester you can easily assemble and rely upon.

    Follow these simple instructions, IT REALLY WORKS!!

    OPEN A BAG OF ORVILLE REDENBOCKER MICROWAVE POPCORN.

    JUST LEAVE IT ON YOUR TABLE. IF IT STARTS POPPING YOUR FUCKED.

  50. Hi BL-I told myself I was going to stay out of this conversation-but alas I find myself wanting to speak up. First of all true love is a powerful thing-if one waits until life is perfect-one will lose out. You are 36 years old-if you want a wife and child it is time to find one. I figure you may have already passed some by. I do not know what to tell you about being successful-I will tell you that love will take you along way. It is much easier to succeed with two instead of one. So quit thinking you are not worthy and look for a true love instead. If you are unable to build a business of your own-than work for someone else-because having a family-if that is what you desire is more important than a business of your own. Although with a woman who loves you and will work with you to build on your dreams will always be a plus not a minus-you do however have to pick the right woman 🙂 but your heart will normally guide you quite well, if you don’t allow your fears to control you. Go for it my friend-a woman who truly loves you will stand by you and help your succeed.

    • Bottom Line says:

      Response coming…later…

    • Bottom Line says:

      VH – ” Hi BL-I told myself I was going to stay out of this conversation-but alas I find myself wanting to speak up. ”

      BL – That’s okay, V. I never intended to openly spill my guts about my personal life to thousands of readers either. 😉

      I’ve been all over the world, and the one thing it’s taught me above all, is that we are all human, and more alike than we are different.

      I know I’m not alone, that there are probably a hundred people reading this that understand exactly where I’m coming from.

      I just couldn’t resist calling Flag out for a statement that is in stark contrast to my personal reality, …and I decided to just roll with it, as I might get some good advice.

      I think yer a real smart lady, V. I value your opinion, and I thank you.

      VH – First of all true love is a powerful thing-if one waits until life is perfect-one will lose out.

      BL – I agree. It is my reality. But don’t think I am waiting for “perfect”. I just want to have the piece of mind that I’m in the position to do it right before I take the plunge.

      VH – “You are 36 years old-if you want a wife and child it is time to find one.”

      BL – There’s that word again – “time” And you’re damn right it is.

      VH – ” I figure you may have already passed some by. I do not know what to tell you about being successful-I will tell you that love will take you along way. It is much easier to succeed with two instead of one. So quit thinking you are not worthy and look for a true love instead.”

      BL – I may appear to have a low self esteem when talking about all this, but the reality is that I am rather confident in me.

      See, here’s what it is…

      I reflect on my life and recognize that I am the exception. I have been through a lot of shit that usually destroys others. I have beat the odds just to get THIS far.

      I’ve gained a lot of wisdom from it. I know who I am and I like me.

      I know that I am very capable. I know I am a borderline genius who could be an engineer or doctor. I know I am a good looking man. I know I will be a good husband and great father.

      I can look in the mirror and say “BL, you’re a loser”, not because I don’t like me, but because it is the truth. I am one to be brutally honest with myself without feeling bad.

      What seems like a low self esteem is really frustration and disappointment of being a high potential low achiever.

      Yes, I have passed up a few. Mostly because I refuse to settle for less, both in a woman and of myself. It’s about standards for my children, not esteem.

      Of course, I’m not going to try to BS you into thinking I feel great about my situation, but I do know who I am and what I am capable of.

      VH – “If you are unable to build a business of your own-than work for someone else-because having a family-if that is what you desire is more important than a business of your own.

      BL – I agree. Having a family is paramount. It is the one thing I want most in life. I don’t really give a damn about personal success. I just want/need the means to do it right, to be able to properly provide.

      VH – ” Although with a woman who loves you and will work with you to build on your dreams will always be a plus not a minus-you do however have to pick the right woman 🙂 ”

      BL – Indeed I do. I have put an enormous amount of thought into this.

      I know what I’m looking for. And I know all that I intend to give. I know just how far I am willing to go for the right woman. And I’m not wasting it on just anyone willing. She’ll have to be one hell of a good woman for me to impregnate her. From me, that is the ultimate compliment.

      VH – but your heart will normally guide you quite well, if you don’t allow your fears to control you. Go for it my friend-a woman who truly loves you will stand by you and help your succeed.

      BL – Fear controlling me. Hmmmmmmmm.

      I won’t argue against that. I will say that whatever fear I have is a healthy fear.

      My fear is motivation to do it right. I would rather not do it at all than to bring children into the same situation I was born into.

      The fear is about not screwing it up, …not about not doing it.

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