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Michael Tanczos

Are 99%ers poking fingers at a failure of capitalism?

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Michael Tanczos    5681
Switching between various news channels and reading a dizzying array of news posts on the net regarding the 99% "Occupy" movements and the upcoming republican general election, I started to put some thought into the whole situation. It would seem that in a capitalistic system we would encourage companies to be as successful as they can be - likewise we would encourage individuals to be as successful monetarily as they can be. Now there are stop-gap measures and regulations to limit companies from becoming too powerful and controlling, since that hurts the free market. But we don't really have measures like this for high-earning citizens outside of taxation.

What my concerns were is that if we acknowledge those who accumulate wealth and earn a lot of money as being successful, why would we punish them through higher taxes? But on the flip side, modern day efficiencies and an international free labor market have lead to many U.S. workers being pushed out of a job and have increased the ability of the "rich" to get even richer. As a society though we have to question the role that government has in protecting our own people at the expense of companies accumulating wealth. Capitalism isn't a warm, fuzzy, feel-good system where everyone is wrapped up in a nice blanket and awarded a good job. It WILL eliminate jobs if that can be used to produce more wealth. So if society has a demand for paying jobs, what path are we heading down if there is no intervention to start setting up guidelines that are good for Americans.

So I get the republican viewpoint that a capitalistic society would have minimal regulations and government would play a very small role, because they're right. But is that good for society in general?

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Eelco    301
Define 'society in general'.

The global population is massively better off now than it was 50 years ago. A lot has happened since then, like the global supply of low/unskilled labor expanding by an order of magnitude or so, through the end of the cold war and asia dragging itself out of the mud.

If by society in general, you mean the american car factory laborer; yeah, that society has had a few setbacks, related to the above. But its a rather narrow definition.

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way2lazy2care    790
Personally, I don't think it's right that so many people think it's ok to think the solution to the problem of having to work two jobs or not having enough money to educate yourself etc. etc. is to just take money from more successful people. It's an easy out because there are more non-successful/moderately successful people in the US than there are tremendously successful people. Ideally the goal should be to create a system where the long term sees more balanced success across the board.

Solutions like lowering the barriers to entry for secondary education are more in line with my ideal. I think anybody who wants to increase their ability to benefit our society should be able without being crushed by debt.

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irreversible    2860
[quote name='Michael Tanczos' timestamp='1320320177' post='4880081']
Switching between various news channels and reading a dizzying array of news posts on the net regarding the 99% "Occupy" movements and the upcoming republican general election, I started to put some thought into the whole situation. It would seem that in a capitalistic system we would encourage companies to be as successful as they can be - likewise we would encourage individuals to be as successful monetarily as they can be. Now there are stop-gap measures and regulations to limit companies from becoming too powerful and controlling, since that hurts the free market. But we don't really have measures like this for high-earning citizens outside of taxation.

What my concerns were is that if we acknowledge those who accumulate wealth and earn a lot of money as being successful, why would we punish them through higher taxes? But on the flip side, modern day efficiencies and an international free labor market have lead to many U.S. workers being pushed out of a job and have increased the ability of the "rich" to get even richer. As a society though we have to question the role that government has in protecting our own people at the expense of companies accumulating wealth. Capitalism isn't a warm, fuzzy, feel-good system where everyone is wrapped up in a nice blanket and awarded a good job. It WILL eliminate jobs if that can be used to produce more wealth. So if society has a demand for paying jobs, what path are we heading down if there is no intervention to start setting up guidelines that are good for Americans.

So I get the republican viewpoint that a capitalistic society would have minimal regulations and government would play a very small role, because they're right. But is that good for society in general?
[/quote]

As an outsider I think both ideas are naive and frankly puny (as in "helpless"). The helplessness in this case stems from a plethora of problems and decisions in the middle of which lies the screwed up binary system you Americans are stuck with - as an end result you have the rich and the poor, but there's no middle class - just as there's no "moderate" party or a place for moderates to effectively express their opinion. Hell, you don't even have a news outlet that can be considered both moderate and respected. The result is a bias that manifests itself exactly the way it does right now: finger pointing, which leads to more bias. Add to that the potential crapper the country's economy is spiraling toward and you get something like this: [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoUpF7rvfnk"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoUpF7rvfnk[/url]

I don't agree that the rich should be taxed more. However I also don't agree with how the rich are [i]represented[/i] in America: as corporate leeches. The catch-22 here is that your legislation is so full of loopholes that have been carved in there over decades that it becomes punitive to distinguish between people who have accumulated their wealth legitimately and people who have, for lack of a better word, stolen it from the general public, that there's no longer a way or a fair method of telling the two apart. The result is blind hate and class warfare, which is perfectly normal and a historically proven consequence. If anything, this is history as it has always been. As such, ironically probably the best way to see how it'll turn out is by reading a couple of history books.

Oh, and note that the sentence "99%ers poking fingers at a failure of capitalism" is an oxymoron. Think about it for a second. I'll give you a hint: the keyword here starts with the number 9.


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Serapth    6671
The most hilarious thing I saw was a news poll saying that 46% of people support the 99% movement...

Then again, I find most western world protesters of this generation obnoxious to the extreme ( although frankly if I was alive in the 60's I would have probably hated hippies too, I sure as hell hate the generation of selfish bastards they became ) these days. The one that just boggles my mind is people comparing it to the Arab Spring, which is insulting to the extreme. Now, if the police start firing at them, I will give that comparison a bit more weight.

Then again, I am Canadian and simply put, our government is vastly superior and more representative of the people than yours and our banks were more responsible, so I don't really feel all that much outrage... ;) If I was an American I think I would be so exception disillusioned with politics at this point because your system has really become hijacked. I think as long as you have a two party system... a two party system paid for by the same lobbyist, representative democracy is dead. I think the best thing that could have happened to your country would have been for Ross Perot to have won, which would have completely shattered the two party system. Now, it is so horribly entrenched, short of an actual Arab Spring style uprising, you are screwed.

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Khaiy    2148
I think that that isn't the best representation of the issue. It's not that the rich are rich and need to be punished for it, or that their wealth should be scattered around in general or even that capitalism isn't fair. It's that things have changed in the last 60 years to redistribute wealth away from the middle and lower classes upwards. Whether or not you think that that's good or appropriate, it isn't how things used to be and and it does hamper opportunity for many.

Heavy wealth accrual depresses net spending somewhat (each marginal dollar is more likely to be spent the fewer dollars you have overall), and promotes speculation which raises prices on some things and generally tiies up money non-productively. And there's a sense (which I think is accurate) that the wealthiest have a disproportionate amount of political power, which they use to enrich themselves further at the expense of others and the free market itself.

I'm on my phone now so bit's hard to type out a better response, but economic opportunity is not good in the US lately. There's little mobility, and a person is far more likely to move down the ladder than up, even if the reward for getting to the top is greater than ever. This is much more severe in the US than in other capitalist countries like the UK, so it's not necessarily a feature of capitalism as it is of the American implementation of it. The 99% aren't anti capitalism, they're just against the disappearance of opportunity and an erosion of democracy.

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smr    2468
One of the most central issues concerning the 99% movement isn't necessarily wealth and how much of it someone has, it's that the people with the most wealth have the most access to our democracy and political system. As a consequence of that, the system has been and is continually being rigged in such a way that favors the wealthy by making it even easier to buy influence. A feedback loop has been created here and I don't think even the 99% movement will bring an end to it.

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Michael Tanczos    5681
[quote name='smr' timestamp='1320330840' post='4880144']
One of the most central issues concerning the 99% movement isn't necessarily wealth and how much of it someone has, it's that the people with the most wealth have the most access to our democracy and political system. As a consequence of that, the system has been and is continually being rigged in such a way that favors the wealthy by making it even easier to buy influence. A feedback loop has been created here and I don't think even the 99% movement will bring an end to it.
[/quote]

My point though is that we're still going to see industry becoming more efficient as more and more things can be automated or replaced with cheap labor from overseas. So as a result you do cut down on the middle class.. the rich get richer by virtue of being able to do more with less. The poor get poorer because they aren't necessarily needed.

BUT, as a country are we allowing businesses to operate in a fashion that gives them unfair(?) incentives that improves their economic position at the expense of the people? Your response would indicate that yes, in fact we do.

Should capitalism being constrained though by government to protect the working class of people or is the system doomed to create an increasingly larger divide between the poor and rich.

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way2lazy2care    790
[quote name='Serapth' timestamp='1320329759' post='4880138']
Then again, I am Canadian and simply put, our government is vastly superior and more representative of the people than yours and our banks were more responsible, so I don't really feel all that much outrage... ;) If I was an American I think I would be so exception disillusioned with politics at this point because your system has really become hijacked. I think as long as you have a two party system... a two party system paid for by the same lobbyist, representative democracy is dead. I think the best thing that could have happened to your country would have been for Ross Perot to have won, which would have completely shattered the two party system. Now, it is so horribly entrenched, short of an actual Arab Spring style uprising, you are screwed.
[/quote]

The problem has a lot to do with our single winner voting system. It creates an environment where the only result is two rather extreme parties where the middle is unrepresented. In Canada there is a parliamentary system where casting a vote that may not win can still get a better result than if you didn't cast that vote. It isn't really to do with how much money corporations are allowed to give people. If we had a non-single winner system we would be much better off because the amount of money necessary for corporations to get as represented in congress as they are now would be much much larger and the risk of not being represented for the money you donate would increase greatly. We'd also get many more middle of the road parties.

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smr    2468
[quote name='Michael Tanczos' timestamp='1320334486' post='4880160']
BUT, as a country are we allowing businesses to operate in a fashion that gives them unfair(?) incentives that improves their economic position at the expense of the people? Your response would indicate that yes, in fact we do.

Should capitalism being constrained though by government to protect the working class of people or is the system doomed to create an increasingly larger divide between the poor and rich.
[/quote]

Yes, of course our system allows people to acquire wealth at the expense of others. That's the nature of capitalism. When there is competition, there are winners and there are losers. I don't think that itself is unfair. As the saying goes: "you win some, you lose some." I think the wealthy win more than they lose. The unfair part is that the wealthy get to make the rules of the game that the middle class are losing. Deregulation is a prime example of this. Regulations are put in place to protect the environment and consumers -- the middle class. When we deregulate, it effects the lives of the wealthy in a positive way through increased profits and/or opening new markets. This is oftentimes at the expense of product safety. The wealthy have enough money to ensure that their own lives are not effected negatively by this -- they can afford the increased cost of safer products, and afford living in areas that are less effected by the damage done to the environment.


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lauris71    841
[quote name='irreversible' timestamp='1320328074' post='4880126']
As an outsider I think both ideas are naive and frankly puny (as in "helpless"). The helplessness in this case stems from a plethora of problems and decisions in the middle of which lies the screwed up binary system you Americans are stuck with - as an end result you have the rich and the poor, but there's no middle class - just as there's no "moderate" party or a place for moderates to effectively express their opinion. Hell, you don't even have a news outlet that can be considered both moderate and respected. The result is a bias that manifests itself exactly the way it does right now: finger pointing, which leads to more bias. Add to that the potential crapper the country's economy is spiraling toward and you get something like this: [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoUpF7rvfnk"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=HoUpF7rvfnk[/url]
[/quote]
Being also outsider I can only comment on the apparent side of US - and it indeed seems extremely polarized. For thing like abortion debate, where the only possible opinions seem to be either the outlawing of "next morning pill" or allowing abortions up to natural birth date. Or in "mainstream Hollywood" movies which sometimes feel like manichaeist gospels of existential struggle between the kingdoms of light and darkness. Or the whole "axis of evil" talk, that at least for me has clear resemblance to "great Satan" talk - both again being expressions of manichaeist dualism (in case of Iran I can actually give them some credit for being consistent with their historic religion 8-)

The more on-topic example is near religious intolerance between 99% movement and Tea Party. Although for me it seems that at core they should stand for the same thing - government-coporative elite ignoring the concerns of common Americans.

It may very well be, that it is namely this divisive nature of public debate, that allows the governmental-corporative establishment to grow out of control. Too much energy is spent on fighting over small divisive causes and too little is remaining about actually making sure that the elected government behaves in general in the rational self-interest of most of the population. But I have no idea how to change this.

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irreversible    2860
[quote name='smr' timestamp='1320336446' post='4880170']
[quote name='Michael Tanczos' timestamp='1320334486' post='4880160']
BUT, as a country are we allowing businesses to operate in a fashion that gives them unfair(?) incentives that improves their economic position at the expense of the people? Your response would indicate that yes, in fact we do.

Should capitalism being constrained though by government to protect the working class of people or is the system doomed to create an increasingly larger divide between the poor and rich.
[/quote]

Yes, of course our system allows people to acquire wealth at the expense of others. That's the nature of capitalism. When there is competition, there are winners and there are losers. I don't think that itself is unfair. As the saying goes: "you win some, you lose some."
[/quote]

Capitalism in and of itself isn't at fault here. Just the same as communism in its purest form isn't necessarily a bad system. It's how you use the system that determines its true value and in this case the big problem is legislation and how the government has been operating for a better part of the past century, [i]not[/i] the system, the market or even the companies (although in the latter case, as Eddie Izzard commented on Charlton Heston's notorious saying "Guns don't kill people, people kill people": "I think the gun helps"). Consider an umbrella in the rain: once you allow the rain to corrode the beams, the umbrella will start to leak. You allow this to happen for long enough time and eventually you'll find that the only viable solution is to buy a new umbrella. It's not that the umbrella doesn't work - it's that you didn't maintain it well enough.

As a point in case, let's take the through and through democratic republic of Greece. In most countries democracy stands on its own and supports the entire state like Atlas. And it works. It's when you start [i]reinterpreting and readjusting[/i] the properties that make up democracy (eg when bribery becomes a legitimate (not necessarily legal) means of payment and shuffling money around outside the regulated market is allowed to become a viable and preferred means of income) and allow that to happen for a long enough time that things start going south.

[quote]
I think the wealthy win more than they lose.
[/quote]

There's a temporal hiccup here - first you need to determine how did the wealthy become wealthy in the first place.

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lauris71    841
[quote name='smr' timestamp='1320336446' post='4880170']
Yes, of course our system allows people to acquire wealth at the expense of others. That's the nature of capitalism. When there is competition, there are winners and there are losers. I don't think that itself is unfair. As the saying goes: "you win some, you lose some." I think the wealthy win more than they lose. The unfair part is that the wealthy get to make the rules of the game that the middle class are losing. Deregulation is a prime example of this. Regulations are put in place to protect the environment and consumers -- the middle class. When we deregulate, it effects the lives of the wealthy in a positive way through increased profits and/or opening new markets. This is oftentimes at the expense of product safety. The wealthy have enough money to ensure that their own lives are not effected negatively by this -- they can afford the increased cost of safer products, and afford living in areas that are less effected by the damage done to the environment.
[/quote]
Nothing works as intended if the basic rules are bent - even regulations.
Instead of being a tool to ensure the basic safety of general population they become the tool for inhibiting competition. This is very clearly seen in agriculture - where countries routinely block imports from other countries over minor "safety concerns" - actually responding to big agriculture lobby. But it happens in other fields too.


The problem is neither rich people nor lazy welfare sponges. The problem is neither too few or too much regulations. The problem is, that certain powerful non-democratic groups have near total control over government.

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irreversible    2860
[quote name='Lauris Kaplinski' timestamp='1320338306' post='4880175']
[quote name='irreversible' timestamp='1320328074' post='4880126']
As an outsider I think both ideas are naive and frankly puny (as in "helpless"). The helplessness in this case stems from a plethora of problems and decisions in the middle of which lies the screwed up binary system you Americans are stuck with - as an end result you have the rich and the poor, but there's no middle class - just as there's no "moderate" party or a place for moderates to effectively express their opinion. Hell, you don't even have a news outlet that can be considered both moderate and respected. The result is a bias that manifests itself exactly the way it does right now: finger pointing, which leads to more bias. Add to that the potential crapper the country's economy is spiraling toward and you get something like this: [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoUpF7rvfnk"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=HoUpF7rvfnk[/url]
[/quote]
Being also outsider I can only comment on the apparent side of US - and it indeed seems extremely polarized. For thing like abortion debate, where the only possible opinions seem to be either the outlawing of "next morning pill" or allowing abortions up to natural birth date. Or in "mainstream Hollywood" movies which sometimes feel like manichaeist gospels of existential struggle between the kingdoms of light and darkness. Or the whole "axis of evil" talk, that at least for me has clear resemblance to "great Satan" talk - both again being expressions of manichaeist dualism (in case of Iran I can actually give them some credit for being consistent with their historic religion 8-)

The more on-topic example is near religious intolerance between 99% movement and Tea Party. Although for me it seems that at core they should stand for the same thing - government-coporative elite ignoring the concerns of common Americans.

It may very well be, that it is namely this divisive nature of public debate, that allows the governmental-corporative establishment to grow out of control. Too much energy is spent on fighting over small divisive causes and too little is remaining about actually making sure that the elected government behaves in general in the rational self-interest of most of the population. But I have no idea how to change this.
[/quote]

What the reason behind this is IMO, is publicity and control over media (kmh, power). That is, the don't-ask-don't-tell fiasko as well as the first responders' bill fiasko (which I still can't believe is happening) are prime examples of how the debate and current topic is and can be manipulated: simply put, it's far easier to maintain or acquire power in a state whose denizens don't concern themselves with the important matters (and by not allowing the smaller matters to be resolved easily, you split the opinion groups and keep new issues from being put on the table - you maintain the kind of status quo, [i]which is good for you[/i]).

I remember I was watching The Daily Show and laughing out loud at how the debt ceiling discussion was postponed [b]to the last fricking second[/b]. It was the first responders' issue all over again: "can we delay this long enough so that our ineptitude (and this goes both at the Republicans as well as the Democrats) to do anything about the bomb around our chests (jobs and economy) is concealed?". Point one: anyone with any sense could tell that by far the simplest and likeliest solution was to raise the debt ceiling. Point two: to any other problem out for debate right now, the solution isn't going to fall out of the sky - hence it doesn't hurt to postpone admitting that. The problem with first responders is that there's an actual time bomb: by the time you take action they'll be dead.

Here's an example of what happened outside my window: about 15 months ago one of the local parties had 3 roads near my house dug up for repairs. This was 8 months before elections. I bet this created quite a positive stir in most people in the neighborhood as the roads were like [i]really[/i] crap before that. The problem was that for the next 7 months the roads stayed dug up. Then, about 3-4 weeks before elections the roads were rapidly repaired, creating another stir. I don't even want to venture a guess as to how many people elected that party because of their swift action. I, for one, will hate them till hell freezes over. The moral here is that it's all politics and people and people's needs always come second to power. And in politics the want of the few generally outweighs the need of the many.

I sincerely believe Obama had (at least mostly) the best of intentions when he took office until he saw the metal beam he was going to pound his head against for the next four years. IMO he's really tried and I'm pretty sure many, if not most, of his failures are due to behind the scenes action that keeps reinforcing the steel beam. That isn't to say he's been a valedictorian president, but he sure as hell has been better than the previous one.

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Antheus    2409
[quote name='Michael Tanczos' timestamp='1320320177' post='4880081']
It would seem that in a capitalistic system we would encourage companies to be as successful as they can be - likewise we would encourage individuals to be as successful monetarily as they can be. [/quote]
Monetarily? That is all?

What about art? Literature? Society?

[quote]What my concerns were is that if we acknowledge those who accumulate wealth and earn a lot of money as being successful, why would we punish them through higher taxes?[/quote]

Accumulation of wealth is side effect, not goal. Ideal accumulation of wealth is war. Occupy a country, plunder it, exploit it.

BigCo is succesful. Because they interview several hundred people every day, who drive to offices in cars developed with government subsidies on roads built by government, were educated in schools funded by government, who live in safety because of army that protects their borders, because of police that keeps them same, because of oil that is abundant and because of healthy food - all ensured by government.

Why pay more taxes? Because they receive a lot from the government.

It's not punishment. It's recognition and acknowledgement. Give a little, get a little, give a lot, get a lot.

[quote]Capitalism isn't a warm, fuzzy, feel-good system where everyone is wrapped up in a nice blanket and awarded a good job.[/quote]
People do not want jobs. They are a side effect.

People want to live their life contently, raise family, see children grow up, live their final years in dignity. Job/employer structure is one way this can be accomplished, but it does not lead to it.

To large portion of world population, the concept of job means scraping together enough to buy some food, doing so until they die. No working hours, no health insurance, no job safety, no retirement - until your body is capable of doing hard work you'll live, then hope that your children will support you.

[quote]So I get the republican viewpoint that a capitalistic society would have minimal regulations and government would play a very small role, because they're right. But is that good for society in general?[/quote]

It's considerably more complex.

At simplest level, it's about bailouts. If a big bank runs out of money, it should go bankrupt.

But reality is not that simple. If a "too big to fail" goes out of business, it means 200k jobs are lost. This means 500k people are affected directly. It manes these 500k people can no longer afford services that pay bills to 3M people. It means half of those go out of business. So now you have 1.5M people out of work, who can no longer afford food. So WalMart sees 20% drop in revenue and fires 30% of workforce. So another 100k people are out of work.... Walmart stocks drop. Main stock index drops. 500 other companies suddenly cannot pay dividends, pension funds drop, ..... Boom. US goes under. EU, with close ties, goes under. China loses main export market, goes under. And then you have economic collapse not seen since fall or Roman empire. When money becomes worthless, when existing structures fall apart and you end up with anarchy. Even if 90% of the remaining economy were functional, the foundation falls apart and everything else follows.

Regulation is supposed to keep "too big to fail" from forming in the first place. But governments are slow. A business today can turn on a dime, within a week. Government needs one or two terms to change legislation.

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way2lazy2care    790
[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1320339677' post='4880182']
[quote name='Michael Tanczos' timestamp='1320320177' post='4880081']
It would seem that in a capitalistic system we would encourage companies to be as successful as they can be - likewise we would encourage individuals to be as successful monetarily as they can be. [/quote]
Monetarily? That is all?

What about art? Literature? Society?[/quote]
I find this somewhat ironic as the most successful artists, writers, and socialites/politicians end up being quite successful monetarily as well.

[quote]
Accumulation of wealth is side effect, not goal. Ideal accumulation of wealth is war. Occupy a country, plunder it, exploit it.

BigCo is succesful. Because they interview several hundred people every day, who drive to offices in cars developed with government subsidies on roads built by government, were educated in schools funded by government, who live in safety because of army that protects their borders, because of police that keeps them same, because of oil that is abundant and because of healthy food - all ensured by government.

Why pay more taxes? Because they receive a lot from the government.[/quote]

I also take issue with this. Warren Buffet gets essentially the same benefit from the government that my mother gets. My mother pays <$20,000 in taxes every year (probably a lot less, but I have no idea what her taxes are so I am being generous). She drives on similar government funded roads, drives a car developed with government subsidies just like him, was educated in the public school system at all levels, lives in safety for the same reasons (except I'm sure warren buffet probably pays body guards as well), etc. etc. He pays millions of dollars in taxes every year. Many many times what my mother pays in taxes every year for the same basic benefit from the government.

Not that I don't think they should pay more in general, but the general outcry that we should just increase the taxes on the rich is misguided. We should remove the loopholes that are there that allow them to have such low tax rates perhaps, but still the top 1% of earners in the US already pay 20+% of the taxes and make a similar percent of the income (fluctuates year to year). This isn't a number that gets thrown around a lot, but they do pay a huge amount of taxes already certainly not a disproportionate amount to their wealth.

If anything this should highlight that there are very serious problems with the system, and taking more from the top isn't going to solve those.

Similarly you shouldn't be mad at corporations for paying less taxes; you should be mad at the governement for setting up a system that allows them to pay no taxes. A corporation is predictable. It will do what it needs to to make as much money as possible. If they are put in an exploitable system they will exploit them. You cannot expect them to do any differently.

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alnite    3436
[quote name='smr' timestamp='1320330840' post='4880144']
One of the most central issues concerning the 99% movement isn't necessarily wealth and how much of it someone has, it's that the people with the most wealth have the most access to our democracy and political system. As a consequence of that, the system has been and is continually being rigged in such a way that favors the wealthy by making it even easier to buy influence. A feedback loop has been created here and I don't think even the 99% movement will bring an end to it.
[/quote]

This is IMO is probably one of the biggest cause people are out there. Rich people are funding political campaigns, and in turn, the elected officials (including the President) returns the favor by providing some type of loans or services, just in case of Solyndra and Obama administration. When you heard that, aren't you outraged? How did you burn through $500 millions in two years?

The trickle down economy is not working as the top people are saving themselves before they want to save others. Govt bailed company XYZ, company XYZ executives got bonuses, filed bankruptcy, and washed their hands. People are still not having jobs.

People have no jobs
People are pissed hearing news banks are getting bailed and executives getting bonuses
People get harassed by banks for not being able to pay back their loans/mortgages because they have no job.
People still can't get jobs
People have nothing better to do

What else are they going to do? Occupy movement is a natural reaction to what's been happening in Washington and Wall Street. Government activities have become privatized at the expense of the people.

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Alpha_ProgDes    6921
I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".

OWS aside, the US needs to destroy the two-party system. Dems and Reps cannot fix it. Not because they can't but because they won't. I'm fortunate in that I have a job, but I support their message 100% (no pun intended).

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Eelco    301
For the democracy-fetishist out there: whatever your final verdict on that system may be, it is very much democracy itself that is at the heart of crises such as these. Bubbles funded by artificially low interest rates, governments borrowing all they can until the house comes crashing down, bailouts; its all a necessary consequence of democratic politics.

Money you spend while you are in office accrues to your supporters, while any that you leave in the coffers will be plundered by the next guy. Why cut expenses when you can borrow? Why feel the necessary pain of a failing bank when you can pass on the hot potatoe to the future with compound interest? Why not let the good times roll with easy money; screw those crazy people who claim that interest rates are an essential signal in sanely coordinating the allocation of resources.

Democracy, fuck yeah. Roving bandit -> stationary bandit -> revolving bandit is not the in all respect monotonicly increasing function people make it out to be.

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SimonForsman    7642
Personally i think that neither Capitalism or Socialism works that well if you push them to the extremes, Both systems have pros and cons and rather than following one ideology like a slave a state would be better off trying to strike a balance that gets the best from both worlds, The market has to be free enough to encourage hard work and drive economic growth and still have socialist structues to reduce the impact poverty has on the lower classes.

In the case of the US i don't think a tax increase i really necessary to shift the balance towards a more socialist society, a simple re-prioritization of where to spend the existing tax income would go a long way.
(Education is probably the single most important thing here and spending tax money on it is a far better idea than spending it on a military that isn't really needed).
(This doesn't necessarily mean public owned universities etc, having the state pay the education for poor but bright and driven students might be a far more effective use of resources.

While the production industry will be able to do more with less workers the service industry is growing and will always require human labor.

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Sirisian    2263
Yeah reading for the past month on this topic it would appear a lot of people are out to close any loopholes in the taxing system that allow people to pay very little. For instance paying little for large amounts of accrued interest on bank accounts trivially. I'm not sure it surprised many when they heard that Warren Buffet said he paid 17% taxes essentially.

That and the more obvious group of people that just want money out of the government all together. Lobbying from a general standpoint seems like a good thing, but on the other hand it's far too easy for voices to be drowned out so only the people with time (and money) are heard which is a disproportionate amount of representation. Tricky subject. I mean someone can write a letter to their congressman but big business does more than a letter.

[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1320347975' post='4880247']
Personally i think that neither Capitalism or Socialism works that well if you push them to the extremes[/quote]
Exactly. A lot of democratic socialists just want to set up a minimum level of care. I was talking to a tea party member actually that doesn't like those kinds of programs. He specifically said that safety nets for people that can't afford insurance are against capitalism. The US is fun like that. Huge extremes.

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Eelco    301
[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1320347963' post='4880246']
Why raise taxes when you cut them and borrow to make up the difference! Socialism, fuck yeah! Oh.... wait.
[/quote]

And what might your point be?

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lauris71    841
[quote name='Eelco' timestamp='1320347825' post='4880245']
For the democracy-fetishist out there: whatever your final verdict on that system may be, it is very much democracy itself that is at the heart of crises such as these. Bubbles funded by artificially low interest rates, governments borrowing all they can until the house comes crashing down, bailouts; its all a necessary consequence of democratic politics.

Money you spend while you are in office accrues to your supporters, while any that you leave in the coffers will be plundered by the next guy. Why cut expenses when you can borrow? Why feel the necessary pain of a failing bank when you can pass on the hot potatoe to the future with compound interest? Why not let the good times roll with easy money; screw those crazy people who claim that interest rates are an essential signal in sanely coordinating the allocation of resources.

Democracy, fuck yeah. Roving bandit -> stationary bandit -> revolving bandit is not the in all respect monotonicly increasing function people make it out to be.
[/quote]
Democracy is abstract ideology - like capitalism or socialism - all they are workable in theory, but actual implementation requires considerable thought on small details to make the system of checks and balances (read negative feedback mechanisms) to work.
The current action should not be about jobs, outsourcing, tax rates, tax loopholes, regulations etc. etc. It should be about finding new solutions how to make government actually responding to all people - not only certain groups. Something is seriously messed up and the the simple formula: "elected official messes up our life and people elect new one whom they actually believe that he will do good job" is obviously not working.

Maybe some form of more direct democracy - easily doable in networked world. Mandatory sunset clauses in all laws. Right of people to give capital punishment to politicians. Random selection of lawmakers. Whatever - think fresh, maybe there is solution ;-)

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way2lazy2care    790
[quote name='alnite' timestamp='1320344831' post='4880221']
This is IMO is probably one of the biggest cause people are out there. Rich people are funding political campaigns, and in turn, the elected officials (including the President) returns the favor by providing some type of loans or services, just in case of Solyndra and Obama administration. When you heard that, aren't you outraged? How did you burn through $500 millions in two years?

The trickle down economy is not working as the top people are saving themselves before they want to save others. Govt bailed company XYZ, company XYZ executives got bonuses, filed bankruptcy, and washed their hands. People are still not having jobs.
[/quote]
That's not a trickle down economics problem. That is a problem with the way the government responded, and I am rightfully pissed that few of the board members related to the bailouts barely got a wrist slap. Trickle down economics work, but this was not that. That was bend over and take it economics.

There definitely should have been higher punishments and investigations for the board members for every organization that got bailed out.

[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1320347790' post='4880244']
I just really wish people would stop attributing the wealth redistribution complaint to OWS. That's not what they are asking for. They are asking for jobs. They are asking for corporations to be corporations not the 4th branch of the government. They are asking "why are you sitting on trillions of dollars, but are not hiring?".
[/quote]
I think the problem here is that if you go to an OWS protest/rally the majority of people ARE asking for wealth redistribution in one way or another. It is not what the movement is supposed to be, but it is very much what it's turning into.

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