Friday, December 22, 2006

Capitalist Economy Vs. The Social Welfare State.

We’ve heard it for years. Deregulated markets creates competition. Free trade creates jobs. Lower taxes creates more tax revenue and wealth for the people as a whole. Is it true?

While market deregulation in the United States began most clearly during the Carter administration when he deregulated the airline industry, that deregulation philosophy has been accepted as an absolute truth; that all industries with lower regulation perform better. Since that time the energy, media, and health care industries have been deregulated. Has it produced increased competition or monopolization? The answer is so clear as it is absurd to mention it.

The free trade myth of capitalist economy today almost holds as little credibility as the deregulation myth. It doesn’t take a social scientist to see that nearly everything for sale in the United States is made in China. The United States now has record trade deficits thanks to free trade. Domestic manufacturing in the United States is now at 11.7% of US Gross National Product, a figure so low that you must go back to the pre-industrial days of the Civil War to find similar numbers. To date, free trade with Mexico has led to a flat Mexican economy and a flood of Mexican immigrants searching for better economic conditions north of the Rio Grande. Free trade has led to more dangerous problems, that sees China now holding trillions in US bank notes, notes they could dump onto the market tomorrow and destroy to value of the dollar, sending the US into hyperinflation. Even traditional conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Buchanan have now come out against free trade and globalization.

While these two myths have been virtually destroyed, other myths still hold despite their obvious fallacy. The first part of this myth is that lower taxes create higher tax revenues. On the surface this plainly seems idiotic. It would be akin to telling a worker a cut in pay will lead him to a bigger bank account. Yet this is precisely the GOP mantra, even citing the increase of national tax revenues for the 2005, and attributing it lower taxes. Yet, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities note, the increase in 2005 revenues occurred because temporary tax cuts had expired. In short, taxes went up. For instance, the accelerated depreciation tax cut of 2002 expired by 2005, a tax cut that was estimated to have cost the treasury $51 billion a year. Additionally, US businesses were taxed for their foreign-held profits for 2005 (and 2005 only) at just 5.25%, when normally these profits are not taxed at all.

If all of these capitalists myths are indeed untrue, then one has to ask, does a capitalist economy produce more wealth for the people as a whole in comparison to a social welfare state? The answer isn't all that surprising. The United States spends the least amount of all industrial nations as a percentage of their GDP to the poor, and as a result has the highest poverty rates in the industrialized world. High-taxed social welfare states such as the Nordic nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland sees poverty rates that are half that of the United States.


Anonymous Ray Smith said...

Bulls-eye! Well said! Bravo! We need more people like you. It's like one great Socialist once said:

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

9:45 AM  
Blogger RSU said...

Well, at least you have the name of your blog right because you are living in a world of your own creation where Nitwits truly rule the day.

Before I offer my thoughts to your post, let’s make a few things crystal clear;

Capitalism offers everyone a chance to succeed according to their own skills, desirers, and drive. It moves quickly to fill the voids created by need, want, and circumstance. It inspires innovation, creativity, and wonderment in all things. And, when properly fostered, it creates opportunities that span the full spectrum of human interest. It’s also the closest thing we do to mimic nature’s natural selection by allowing only the best, most functional, and most versatile to advance with societal evolution.

Socialism on the other hand forces one to pick from a set standard of artificially created norms under the appearance of choice. It’s rigid, cumbersome, and highly resistant to change. Its purpose serves to alter nature’s natural selection processes by forcing the inclusion and acceptance of sub par performance, versatility, and functionality in all things human and material. It breeds apathy, resentment, and despair and when given full control, Socialism quickly finds that it must suppress the very things it purports to support; people and their freedoms of choice.

Want proof? Look to the former Soviet Union and compare that with the United States during any period and you’ll see huge differences at every measure.

As for the question of your post, the short answer is; YES!

What’s clear to anyone reading your post is that you really haven’t researched your topics well at all. Your entire post is a comedy of errors where you errantly compare apples to oranges in a vain attempt promote an idea of socialism over capitalism without ever saying so outright.

The deregulation of the airline industry is best explained in the following article. It also sheds a little light into the perspective of capitalism vs. welfare state that has your panties all bunched in a knot:

The energy sector that you fear has become a monopoly - is of our own making. It’s become so overly regulated by environmental controls that it actually prohibits competition from even contemplating entering the market through the sheer costs of compliance prior to production of the first kilowatt of energy.

You also seem to be worried about the media being too large, but without corporate means, much of our news would come too late to be of any value not to mention that smaller outlets would be harder than ever to vet for accuracy. The internet is filled with millions of new news sources; unfortunately, millions of them are also inaccurate if not outright false in their reporting; like yours for instance. Currently there is a huge shift occurring as corporate media’s are being whittled down in favor of the faster medium of the Internet. I don’t see too many people being worried that any monopolies are being created here.

As for the health industry; it isn’t being destroyed by capitalistic enterprise and monopolies but by the universal regulation and mandatory compliance of federally mandated group insurance programs and spending caps that actually set costs higher rather than promote lower fees through competition. Additionally, areas where costs are forced down and held artificially low must be recouped in other areas. That drives inflationary costs up for everyone.

Of course there’s also the fact that federally legislated services and care through our emergency rooms are going to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who cannot be turned away and are under no obligation to ever pay for the services they receive through our hospitals. Those costs are passed on to those who do pay resulting in expenses that far exceed the average means of most. As each week passes, we see the effects as more and more of our emergency rooms close their doors permanently affecting everyone whose service they once relied upon for help in an emergency.

You speak of free trade in our hemisphere as if it’s a bad thing. You conveniently ignore that NAFTA was developed as a counter to the emergence of the European Union that created a unified spending block and free trade zone of more than 450 million persons. We were forced to eliminate our trade barriers with Mexico and Canada to create a counterbalance to the combined purchase power of the EU. It also serves as an incentive for Mexico to step up its economic reforms at home. To date, they still have done little to spur their own domestic economic development. Until they do, emigration will remain a problem for them and the US.

If you want to know why everything is made in China, you need to look no further than our own laws for the answer. We tax our businesses and corporations mercilessly at nearly 40% (the fourth highest in the world) while China averages around 20% for foreign owned corporations and 33% for domestically owned. Europe averages 30% for both. 10% - 20% of a company’s bottom line can make all the difference when deciding to locate a business here or whether to outsourcing everything to another country to earn greater profits for itself and its shareholders.

Instead of allowing the market place to dictate workers wages we legislate wages far above that of other nations creating an imbalance that’s hard to ignore no matter what business you’re in. I realize that you can’t comprehend business law but you should be able to understand this: Why would you ever pay 40% tax on your profit when you can get away with only paying 20% and why on earth would you ever pay a worker $7.50 per hour when you can get three for the same price in China? DUH!

Your minimal understanding (I’m being generous here) of micro and macro economics is outright laughable. You’ve completely misstated (for your own means) how reduced personal taxes actually create higher tax revenues for the nation. You likened it to “telling a worker a cut in pay will lead him to a bigger bank account.” You couldn’t have gotten it more backward if you tried. In fact, I’d have had more respect toward you and your post if you’d have just said, ‘I think I’ll tell a lie here to see how many fall for it.’ Hell, who knows, you might actually believe the crap you wrote.

What you attribute to GOP mantra is an actual manifestation of greater personal wealth stimulating business growth (profit and personnel). It’s the individual personal tax rates that were reduced not the corporate rates. Those rates remained unchanged.

By reducing personal tax rates, your fictional worker actually does get a larger bank account because he gets to keep more of the money he earns. The benefit to the economy comes when he uses some of that extra income to purchase local goods and services that he otherwise couldn’t afford. The money he and others like him spend at those businesses and others ultimately lead to increased hiring’s allowing even more people to earn living wages that they too can use to purchasing additional goods and services for themselves thus furthering even more economic growth. Once in motion, the chain of events progresses until the economy reaches an equilibrium balanced by actions of the Fed. The action of adding more people to the tax roles, even if they are on the lower end, along with the increased revenues from corporate taxes provide the Federal Government the increased revenues they’ve boasted about.

So much for capitalist myths!

Do yourself a favor, Alva. Get an education, get a job, save your money, and then travel the world to see for yourself firsthand that there really is no place like home.

P.S. I find it interesting that you felt compelled to compare the USA with its population of 350 million, to countries with 5, 4.5, 9, and 5 million people respectively. All together, they represent 1/10th of our population and almost certainly experience 1/10th our problems.

The education is free Alva. The choice to use what you’ve been given is yours.


2:48 PM  
Blogger Alva Goldbook said...

Thanks at least for your attempt at civil discourse. Unfortunately, you have several misconceptions that sully your entire point.

Capitalism in no way offers anyone a chance to succeed; it doesn’t matter what their skills, drive, desires, juggling ability, or anything else is. Capitalism is a system by which economic power translates by how much CAPITAL you have; thus the name. It is a system by which the rich get richer, nothing more. If it indeed gave a chance to people with particular skills and drive then we’d have a few Mexican illegals who would be millionaires. We don’t.

Capitalism in no way inspires innovation or creativity. The human spirit inspires that. The profit motive, not the human spirit is what is rewarded in capitalism, to create things such as tennis shoes with lights in them, cinnamon dental floss, and edible underwear. I see no wonderment in that at all. If you do, then I offer my condolences. What capitalism produces is a narrow spectrum of products, just as a prison comminsary produces a narrow spectrum of food, not much of it very good. Rather capitalism produces a lot of junk, and then manipulates people into consuming that junk. You know this manipulation as advertising.

As for that junk it produces, not much of it spans much of human interest, rather it produces human distraction. For instance a capitalist publisher does not produce books to be read, but books to be bought. The publisher doesn’t care if you use that book as a door stop. The result is you get a lot of shitty books that are sold with good marketing. The same can be said of much of the popular culture in the United States…unless you think Britney Spears is talented. In which case, again, I offer my condolences.

Has the market ever produced an automobile that doesn’t start breaking down after you get done paying off the loan on it? Or hell, an automobile that lasts 50 years and gets 100 miles to the gallon and runs on something other than fossil fuels? Wouldn’t there be a demand for such a car if the market produced it? Would the car companies still be able to sell millions of cars a year if they did?

As most capitalist fundamentialits, you seem to think that the only alternative is a Soviet style centrally-planned economy. I am not a proponent of anything of the sort, and to quote Mikail Bakunin, “Liberity without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.” The Soviet system wasn’t the only centrally-planned economy to ever exist, capitalism is very much a centrally-planned economy as well. All you have to do is look at who has the ability to make major decisions of basic resources. While the abolishment of class seperation is a necessity, I don’t believe that simply paying everyone the same wage would create that equality. I agree that this leads to apathy and resentment. Rather people should be paid by their effort and sacriface, something capitalism claims to do, but of course we both know that coal miners make less money than business executives. Now if you think capitalism is free of breeding apathy, resentment and despair, as you charge socialism does, then you haven’t taken a good look around America lately. If you need a reminder go to any inner city in America and see if you can pick up on that apathy, resentment and despair, and see if you can find the “wonderment of capitalism” at work.

Comparing the US to the Soviet Union is the epidomy of comparing apples to oranges, which is precisely what you have done. I suggest you compare apples to apples and look at communist Russia and compare it to capitalist Russia. While communist Russia was indeed a horror, capitalist Russia seems to only be able to produce dead reporters, a strong-armed dictator named Putin, an economy run by the Russian Mafia, people murdered to have their organs sold on the black market, and unceasing homelessness.

I didn’t go extensively into airline deregulation, as I have written about the topic recently. You can read that post here.

It is typical of capitalist fundamentalists to suggest that government regulation stifles competition. Yet, there was far less regulation in the days of Standard Oil, and it was a monopoly. This isn’t the only example of history proving you wrong. The same could be said of the media. In 1992 23 corporations owned 50% of all media produced in the United States. This includes everything from books, magazines, movies, TV news, newspapers; everything. A few years later Clinton and the GOP congress deregulated media ownership rules and today 5 corporations own 90% of all media produced in the United States.

Is it really all these illegals and government spending caps that are producing our health care costs? Or is it UnitedHealth’s CEO William McGuire and is BILLION dollar yearly salary? The United States spends more per capita than any nation in the world for health care, and 1 in 5 Americans have no health care coverage at all. In Canada they spend about 40% less per capita than we do, and they have universal coverage. Their health care system is such a success that Candians have lower infant mortality rates, lower cancer rates, lower chronic illness rates, and longer life expectancies. All this while living in a harsher climate. Similar experiences can be found across western Europe and Japan.

If it hasn’t dawned on you that free trade is a bad thing, then you haven’t opened your eyes yet. To date NAFTA has produced 2 things: imports and exports. We are exporting American jobs and importing illegals from Mexico. That’s about it unless you count a lot of cheap plastic crap from China that the Chinese will soon strangle us with.

Our tax laws have nothing to do with Chinese imports. Our TRADE laws have EVERYTHING to do with those imports. Those poor overtaxed corporations saw themselves taxed not at 39%, but at 50% in the 1950’s and the 1960’s, and that was the golden age of America. Our economy showed those numbers as well, as in those years our GDP growth averaged 4.6% in the 1950’s and 4.3% in the 1960’s. In the 2000’s that number has been about 2.1%. Other than our tax laws, our trade policy was entirely different then, as we had a protectionist trade policy that enforced tariffs. You will find that today China enforces very stiff and protectionist trade tariffs and their economic growth is the result of that.

The last time we allowed the market place to dictate workers wages The Great Depression was the result. Worker productivy to wage ratios across the US reached 4:1, and people were forced to live off of new debt creation (known as credit). Eventually those debts have to be collected and pop goes the bubble. You find similar productivity to wage ratios in our economy today…at McDonalds.

We have in no way legislated our wages too high, rather the Chinese, and the other Asian Tiger economies have kept the value of their currency artificially low. This promotes cheaper Asians goods that stimulates higher demand in the United States. As for companies laying off US workers to open shop in China for cheap labor, perhaps you should wonder why we PERMIT them to sell ANYTHING to US consumers. Furthermore, you should wonder why we don’t revoke their corporate charters for doing so. DUH!

Reducing personal tax rates gives a worker a larger bank account by allowing him to keep more of his own money? Or does lowering individual tax rates create government deficits that forces the Fed to print more money to pay for those deficits which in turn makes that worker’s paycheck a little more worthless? Personal tax rates are meaningless unless you’re talking about WHO’S personal tax rate. Since the Reagan administration common joe American has seen his income taxes remain steady, but has seen his FICA taxes doubled and state sales taxes go through the roof. Common millionaire American has seen his income taxes go from 70% to 50% to 27%. In that same time period GDP growth rates have slowed and corporate, household, and federal debts have soared. Who’s screwing who?

As with snotty insults and presumptions, I will ignore them, as I generally do with Reich wingers. Instead I will leave you with the words of Simon Linguet, who wrote in 1767:

“it is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil, whose fruits they will not eat, and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live. It is want that drags them to those markets where they await masters, who will do them the kindness of buying them. It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him. What effective gain has the suppression of slavery brought him? ‘He is free,’ you say. That is his misfortune. These men, it is said, have no master. They have one, and the most terrible, the most imperious of masters: that is, need. It is this that that reduces them to the most cruel dependence.”

2:50 AM  
Blogger RSU said...


You are a train wreck of misinformation. Capitalism is what has and continues to bring millions of immigrants to our shores. With nothing in their pockets and only the clothing on their backs, they’ve called America their home and set about making their own fortunes for better or worse. With the exception of slavery, everyone who’s come to our shores has had one thing in common – a chance to make their own way according to their own skills, desire, and drive. In all this time, that has never changed.

I know you’ve never considered it but our “capitalistic” attraction has brought both the best of men and the scourge of society to our nation. Those who were talented and gifted used their skills to improve the many things for everyone else while those whose goals were less lofty attempted to undermine and rot our societies core. In all this time, little has changed there either.

Regardless, I don’t know who or what sold you on socialism as a means to an end, but I feel sorry for you in any case. I for one would never settle for the chains of socialism to hold me hostage and that’s exactly what you are advocating for you, me, and everyone else. You misconstrue capitalism as being the chains that bind us when it’s actually the key that sets us free. Socialism is the true prison but then you’ve already decided otherwise so what’s the use in arguing over it.

If you are an American, and I assume you are, I suggest that you study the Constitution and the works of our founding fathers a little more closely. They hated the very thought of the socialized state that you would create valuing instead the individual over the collective. This link should serve as a primer for you but please don’t stop there because you need to learn so much more about their true meanings and intentions for our great nation.

I’ll tell you what Alva, it’s people like you (don’t worry, you’re not alone) who think that by taking money and things from another, that their good fortunes will somehow rub off thereby making your own lives better. You seek nothing less than a full guarantee of life, health, wealth, and happiness all bought and paid for by someone else because you’re too undetermined, unfocused, or uneducated in the proper areas to work and earn them for yourself and are simply unwilling to accept that you can’t always get what you want in life. In that light, you have convinced yourself that you are fully justified to take the things from those who are more fortunate under the disguise of fairness and equality for the misfortunate.

Well, I’ve got news for you Alva . . . there are no guarantees in life of health, or wealth, or happiness and there never will be. Nothing will ever be equal, nor should they be. Life is not a cookie cutters duplicate of your neighbors or your fathers and nothing you or I do will ever make it so. Some will work harder than you, and some will work much less. Do you really believe they all deserve equal shares in spite of their levels of effort? I sure as hell hope not because those who work the hardest to earn the most for the rest will surely throw up their hand and quit their labors to get ahead. With that comes the collapse of your dream society.

What really pisses me off about people like you is that you never seem to understand that hard work and sound decisions are the hallmark of successful people. I’m sure you’ll mistake my use of the term “hard work” as the labor of a coal miner or some other person who prefers ‘sweat labor’ over the enhancement of their mind and the determination to improve their lot in life so let me save you the trouble of typing out a diatribe. Hard work is the embodiment of improving your standard of living through education, sound choices, and steady determination to succeed in the face of adversity and impulse.

Honestly, when I see or meet a socialist, I know that I’m talking to a lazy person who has convinced themselves that they are oh so clever by thinking they’ve found a way to cheat their way to a better life by stealing away a small portion of everyone else’s. In that respect, you have become the bloodsucker feeding off the sweat of others.

I also dislike the dishonesty of using select moments of time and history while twisting them to justify your own unscrupulous ends. You’ve taken a few anomalies of time and place and portrayed them as empirical examples of everyday occurrences instead of the oddities they really are.

Standard Oil is an excellent example of how you’ve misconstrued reality. Without their being a monopoly at the time, the oil industry would never have matured as it did thereby setting the stage for huge achievements in drilling and recovery of a precious commodity that’s turned out to be the wealth of our great nation.

Likewise, its enforced breakup also benefited the nation by spurring flexibility and competition through reduced prices spanning the entire petrochemical industry. In the end, every citizen has benefited by the more plentiful and inexpensive commodities.

You’ve also tried unsuccessfully to paint me into a corner I was never standing in by implying that I believe regulations stifle competition. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no problems with oversight to ensure that criminal behavior does not go undetected. I also have no problems with establishing guidelines and rules to ensure worker safety, health, and welfare. None of those things hurt competition and you’d be damned pressed to find a “capitalist fundamentalist” who would ever say so.

Also, your example of selling books regardless of their content is but another example where you attempt to fabricate a false reality toward your own end. No one has ever forced you or anyone else to purchase any publication and no publisher has the money or the time to simply produce doorstops just to part you from your money through clever advertising. If you are fool enough to purchase a book that didn’t interest you then the age old idiom of “A fool and his money are soon parted” fully applies to you and everyone else like you.

The same goes for automobiles. Cars, like most things, don’t last simply because people are too damned lazy to take care of them. Regardless of when things fail, knowing that people will trash out their own possessions out of sheer stupidity and lack of concern is not only measurable, but predictable, and marketable. But then, you’d rather blame the manufacturer instead of taking personal responsibility for your own actions which is what it all really boils down to Alva.

Personal responsibility Alva; you both accept it and steel yourself to all that it brings or you abrogate your responsibility to becoming a slave to the system as dictated by others.

Since you seem to love leaving quotes behind to ponder, I’ll leave you with a favorite from someone I deeply admire;

“There's a need for accepting-responsibility for a person's life and making choices that are not just ones for immediate short-term comfort. You need to make an investment; and the investment is in health and education.”
Buzz Aldrin

I sure wish more people would take his simple advice . . .


2:01 AM  
Blogger Alva Goldbook said...

Thank you for your lengthy response. It was quite amusing. I must confess that I think your talents are quite wasted on writing lengthy comments to me, and would be better suited to comedy halls and the like.

With that being said, lets see if we can pigeon hole some straw men. You state that capitalism is what continues to bring millions of immigrants to our shores. This is quite puzzling. I think we can both agree that most of those immigrants coming to our shores today are coming from our southern border of Mexico. I think we can also agree that the vast majority of those immigrants are Mexicans. Now, according to the CIA, “Mexico has a free market economy”, and is “increasingly dominated by the private sector”. Based on this we must conclude either one of three things: 1)The CIA has no clue what it’s talking about. Mexico is a socialist state, 2) capitalism only produces wealth and progress in countries with large Caucasian populations, or 3) you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.

So, I pose the question, if only to be redundant. If capitalism brings so many to our shores, why are those very same people running away from their own capitalist countries? Furthermore, if capitalism is as wonderfully attractive as you state, than why are there no influx of Nordes, Swedes, Finnish, and Danes coming to the United States to escape their nations’ socialism? Perhaps it isn’t that good ole American capitalism is marginally more capitalistic than Mexican capitalism (however one might try to quantify that), but that Mexico is a third world hell hole. Strangely, you will find the exact same dynamic at work in Europe with massive numbers of immigrants coming into the EU from the Middle East and northern Africa.

Again ignoring your presumptions, you state that capitalism is an attraction to both the “best of men” and the “scourge of society”. I thought one of the “glories” of capitalism is that it requires the “best of men” to be the best in order to get ahead, and all others are left in the wind. It seems to me that you are admitting that capitalism produces the “scourge of society” that we now enjoy. Bravo, you are taking note what Karl Marx figured out 150 years ago. Next you’ll tell me that bees make honey but unfortunately also make bee stings.

I want to thank you for your pity on me, but I must say that it is a bit misdirected. It might do your conscience good to instead direct that pity on those that capitalism has left behind, such as the 1 in 5 American children that are going to bed hungry tonight. And like I’ve said, I hate being redundant, especially when it becomes necessary for someone to understand me. As Mikhail Bakunin said: “Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.”

You assume correctly that I am an American, or more correctly, a citizen of the United States, but again your presumptions have gotten the best of you. Our Founding Fathers of this nation (or whatever that is supposed to mean) were not a monolithic bunch. The Federalists (John Adams, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton) had certain ideas while the anti-federalists (James Madison, Thomas Jefferson) has others. In fact, James Madison’s first veto was on a bill funding poor houses in the nation’s capital. Madison vetoed that bill not because of some half-witted ideology and interruptation of what “general welfare” means, but because the bill would have given those funds to churches that operated those poor houses. Madison vetoed that bill, as he saw it as a direct violation of the first amendment that “Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion”. I suggest for you LSU, to hit the books. I would suggest you begin reading those who influced those founding fathers, everyone from John Locke to Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Wilhelm Von Humboldt. Perhaps then you will have a modicum of understanding and respect for great Americans like Thomas Paine and his famous tome, The Rights of Man in his rebuttal of Sir Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. Once you’ve completed your chores, perhaps we can then return to the question of the general welfare. Until then, perhaps you can ponder why the state I live in is known as The Commonwealth of Virginia.

This is quite amusing. A capitalist telling me that “by taking money” from other people their “good fortune” will somehow “rub off on me”, or better yet, that fairness and equality is in some way “stealing” for that special CLASS of people are so amazingly productive. Wow. That is truly a breath taking thought. Of course, Pierre-Joeseph Proudhon dismantled this epiphany of yours some 140 years ago with three simple words: “Property is theft”. Why is property theft? Because wealth is a finite resource. I’ll repeat this, because it will do you good to fire your brains cells around that cold hard fact for a moment. Wealth is a FINITE RESOURCE. The truth of that statement should come without a second of question, as if it was an infinite reource, or if it could be created, then wealth would have no value. Now, since that is not the case, and since wealth is a finite resource, that means by default that if someone has a lot of wealth then that automatically means that many more people will not have very much wealth. Therefore, we can only conclude that to encourage theft, or to encourage people to become better theives than they already are, is to encourage injustice and to encourage the spread of mass poverty around the world and our great nation. You seem to be telling me that taking the wealth from the wealthy is wrong. Is telling a purse snatcher to return the purses he stole wrong? You seem to be backing the purse snatcher saying that it is only natural to snatch purses and if you want to be get anywhere in life I must become a skilled purse snatcher too.

The reality is that while you bemoan those in favor of “wealth redistribution” you forgot that ALL ECONOMIES, no matter what their form, is nothing but a complex system of wealth redistribution among various parties. Capitalism is alone however, in that by it’s very function, redistributes the wealth of the many to the few. If this was not the case, then there would be no millionaires or billionaires among us, let alone millions of children around the world who die of starvation every year. It happens on all levels. You get a job someplace. The only way for you to earn a paycheck is for your employer to make money off of your labor. Your employer cannot make a dime off of your labor unless your labor’s value is worth more than the value of your paycheck. That is wealth redistribution from you to your boss. That employer then cannot make a profit off the goods he sells unless he sells it for more than what he paid for it or to build it. That is wealth redistribution from the consumer to the seller. It is all a form of wealth redistribution, and in the case of you the employee, you must go down on your knees to beg your employer to give him the luxurary of enriching him, and not only that, for him to then have free will to tell you how to utilize your labor. I remind you that whenever someone has the power to coerce you out of your labor it is by definition slavery. The only difference between chattel slavery and wage slavery is that a chattel slave is owned, a wage slave is rented.

Since you brought up the question of productivity, I’ll answer a few of your quandaries. Yes, some people will indeed work harder than others, and that is assuming that all people are of equal talants. Obviously, that is not the case. If a short man and a tall man both went peach picking and both put in the same effort the tall man would have more peaches at the end of the day. Keep in mind that a wage earner’s incentive from day to day is to do the least amount of work that he can get away with. An employer’s incentive is to get the most amount of work out of his employee for the least pay. What does that lead you to naturally conclude? It means that those among us who are far more talented among their fields are encouraged to put in the least amont of effort. And I thought socialism created sloth. To put it another way, suppose you have a race where one runner is really fast, and everyone else has a broken leg. How hard will this really fast runner really work to win the race? How hard will everyone else really work knowing that there’s a really fast running in the race, and plus he doesn’t have a broken leg? Suppose now that instead of rewarding the winner of the race, you instead give a higher reward to all the runners if the collective times of all the runners are shorter. How hard will everyone work then? This is why people should be rewarded for their EFFORT AND SACRIFACE, not their natural talents, and not their bargaining power with their employer.

As for you being pissed off, I hope you’re undergoing therapy, as I’m afraid I’m going to upset you more. If, as you state, that hard work and sound decisions are the hallmark of successful people, then perhaps you can explain to me exactly how a lazy ass idiot frat boy somehow became a multi-millionaire and President of the United States. Now, of course you seem to be distinguishing hard work in it’s genuine meaning, for an ability to perform mental work, i.e. sweat labor verses brain labor. It would do you good to ponder why brain labor is of any more value than sweat labor, as I noted in the previous paragraph, a large and muscular person would be far more talented in sweat labor than say Steven Hawking. To value one kind of labor based on natural talents is no different than paying a woman or an Afro-American less money for the same labor performed by a white male. Or course, that isn’t entirely your argument, but rather what you attempted to be your argument. Rather you state that hard work is “the embodiment of improving your standard of living through education, sound choices, and steady determination to succeed in the face of adversity and impulse.” To put it another way, “hard work” is one in the same with “good luck”.

As usual, I will ignore name calling. And since I’ve been so accomindating to you so far, you will leave me no choice but to delete your next comment if you partake again. So leave calling me “lazy” or a “bloodsucker” for the school yard.

You seem to think that monopolies are an anomaly. They are not. They are the predictable consequences of unregulated capitalism. Furthermore, you seem to contend that monopolies are a just thing if the products they produce benefit the nation as a whole. Ergo, your statement about Standard Oil. You state that without that monopoly the progress in the oil industry never would have happened. This seems to presume that monopolies are more efficient than highly competitive markets. I suggest you take an economics 101 course so you can learn differently. Additionally, you seem to assume that oil drilling is indeed an achievement. I suppose you might be right about that, but given that the lastest science indicates that the consumption of that commodity could indeed kill every life system on the planet, then you must additionally concur that Hitler wiping out 6 million Jews was an achievement too. Lastly, while you state that oil has turned out to be the wealth of our great nation, I can only point to the endless billions and the thousands of lives sacrificed in Iraq and the massive and record-breaking profits of ExxonMobil, and say that oil has indeed turned out to be the wealth of some, but not of this great nation.

Oil is in no way an inexpensive commodity. And I’m not just talking about the price at the pump, or the wars we must fight to secure that commodity. It is a commodity that by the very nature of using it leaves a toxic residue. The cost of those effects are paid by us all. Economists know this as externalities. If we are to include the cost to the public for the consumption of oil, not to mention the cost of building a highway system that makes the consumption of that commodity possible, much less desirable, then oil is in no way inexpensive, and never has been. What is more insane is that bio-based fuels are now possible, turning everything from corn stalks to even household trash into fuel for your automobile. Bio-fuels would have a fraction of oil’s externalities, that would truly benefit the nation as a whole from the lowly family farmer to the wealthiest urbanite. Somehow the wonders of capitalism has yet to cease upon this. Perhaps you should wonder why.

Government regulation upon business doesn’t hurt competition? Well, I’ll be damned. You are correct that government regulation doesn’t hurt competition, and in fact, if you were to take a good hard look at it, you might find that government regulation in fact spurs competition and increases productivity. As for me having a hard time finding a capitalist fundamentalist who thinks differently, you’re simply mistaken. Laissez-faire ideology has been quite the norm among American economic circles for the last 30 years. From Milton Freedman and the Chicago Boys who orchestrated the fascist coup of Chile in 1973, installing Augusto Pinochet and his laissez faire experiment that ended in disaster, to Ayn Rand and the cult of so-called Objectivism that has been the mainstay for the “Libertarian” Party and huge number of GOP faithfulls. Among that clack, you can include Alan Greenspan and both his predecesor Paul Volcker and his successor Ben Bernanke among them. Additionally, you can include influential writers and economists in that group such as G. Edward Griffin, Murray Rothbard, and Thomas Friedman. Hell, you could even include Drew Carey, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone in that group.

Since my argument seems to have befuddled you, I guess I am forced to repeat it. I have never stated that anyone has ever forced me to buy any publication. Furthermore, it would cost a publisher nothing to con me into buying a book, rather it would produce a profit for that publisher. As you seem to be out of your element here, I suggest you read some Walter Lippmann, who contended that the masses were too stupid to enjoy the fruits of a democracy, and for that reason their minds must be regulated as an “army regulates bodies”. That is the point of advertising. Public manipulation to turn citizens into consumers.

Of course, the old adage of “personal responsibility” comes into play with automobiles and their shitty design. I suppose everyone should take the “personal responsibility” to not only toil hard hours to become rich in mist of Americans everywhere struggling just to survive, they must then somehow find the time, resources, and ability to become their own personal mechanics. All you need to know about the automobile industry is that US automobiles cannot be sold overseas not because they are too expensive, but because US automobiles do not meet the fuel economy standards of CHINA.

As for you quoting Buzz Aldrin, I’m a bit perplexed. Buzz Aldrin? I would have been more impressed if you were quoting the Ciggarette Smoking Man from The X Files. Hell, since we’re on the subject why not quote Chris Rock who said, “you mean to tell me that they can put a man on the moon and they can’t build a fucking El Daradio whose bumper don’t fall off?” Hell you might as well have quoted John Stewart Mill who said, “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.” I even would have thought more highly of you if you had quoted Voltaire who said, “A witty saying proves nothing.” Buzz Aldrin…Jesus Christ….

“As we view the achievements of aggregated capital we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies. While the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people are fast becoming the people’s masters.” President Grover Cleveland, 1894 State of the Union address.

4:15 AM  

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