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Forum Post: A Nonviolent Solution to the Political Conflict in the United States

Posted 8 years ago on June 8, 2012, 11:10 p.m. EST by Misaki (893)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement


Who bears the cost when someone is looking for paid work but unable to find any? The answer is usually some combination of family, friends, or the state. Indirectly, welfare provided by the federal government is paid either by taxpayers or by all holders of wealth through inflation. It is the responsibility of anyone subject to these costs to decide whether to accept them as the price of maintaining social stability within the current system, or to support changes so that these costs are no longer incurred.

Until now, many people have assumed that it was not possible to eliminate these costs because it would be even more expensive for the government to create jobs through additional spending. Economists have never offered a clear explanation for why the business cycle exists, or what leads to job creation at the end of a recession, and so many people have been forced to rely on ideological explanations for what is wrong with our economy.

These explanations are all wrong. The poor cannot volunteer to work for lower wages because ownership of land and restrictions on building drive up housing prices, and even if every single job opening in the United States today was filled there would still be millions of people out of work. We have plenty of educated workers in every field and over $1 trillion in student debt. The rich do create jobs through spending and many give generously to philanthropic efforts. The government does waste money through unnecessary programs and costs but this leads to more jobs, not fewer.

It is the middle class who allow unemployment to remain as high as it is. 56% of the population, as well as the Congressional Budget Office and Moody's, agree that higher taxes and government spending would lead to growth[1], but only 42% think that the government should create jobs in this manner[2]. In a democracy, it is the people who ultimately define the goals of government, not the elected leaders or a wealthy elite, and so our high levels of unemployment have continued.

This is not to say that the majority of people want unemployment to exist. Prior to the financial crisis, 68% of the population thought that money and wealth in the US "should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people". The fact that this proportion dropped sharply to 58% after the crisis and has remained at that level suggests that people incorrectly assume that the United States is lacking the wealth necessary to support more and higher-paying jobs[3].

Concerns about the economy have gradually been replaced with concerns about unemployment as the most important issue facing the nation, but ideological conservatives continue to promote the delusion that tax cuts on the rich lead to more "real" jobs than the same amount of government spending, as evidenced by the significant numbers of people who do not believe that higher government spending and taxes would lead to growth. This low valuation of truth is obvious when only 27% of registered voters think that the leading Republican presidential candidate says what he believes instead of what people want to hear, but 46% would choose to vote for him over the current US President[1]. Confusion about what is wrong with the economy is the result of deliberate efforts to limit the size of government or reduce assistance to the poor and unemployed.

At the heart of this lack of regard for the unemployed is the idea that if those without jobs were truly willing and fit to do the work requested by those in society who are able to pay, they would be able to find work. This ignores some simple facts about how the economy works. Sales and business deals are not made solely on the basis of product price or even product quality—there are many other factors, like social connections and brands, that determine which transactions are completed and reduce competitiveness.

Someone may have gone to college and be a brilliant expert in their field, but because their credentials are not prestigious enough they are not even be able to get an interview. A company might make outstanding products but because they do not personally know the CEO of a corporate client, they lose a contract to someone who does. An unemployed worker might be dedicated and skilled, but because this is difficult to prove and a workplace requires social compatibility as much as it does efficiency, their job application is rejected and a less productive existing worker continues to earn a higher wage.

The harmful effect of this simplified version of reality is that it causes people to assume that it is better for those with proven ability in a profession to work harder than to entrust the unemployed with a task they might not have experience with. To see how ridiculous this is, apply it to one of the most dangerous activities in the United States which, regardless of its risks, almost everyone eventually learns to do—driving a car.

There is no need for everyone to work as long as possible out of the mistaken belief that the United States is somehow lacking in the amount of wealth possessed by its rich. If we reject this idea unemployment can easily be fixed, without higher government spending and taxes, simply by adopting the accelerated work week. Instead of showing our dedication by working long hours, we use our time more efficiently by focusing on core tasks and completing the workload as quickly as possible. This front-loads our productivity and allows less important work to be done by another employee or, if necessary, by working longer hours at a reduced wage rate to recognize the lower contribution to the business's success or our lower productivity as a natural response to a longer work week.

Some might argue that the workers of our society are uniformly oppressed with low wages, or are too addicted to their consumer lifestyles to ever accept the slight reduction in workload and pay that would allow a business to hire additional employees. Contrary to this expectation, most of even the top 1% of income work in occupations where it would be possible to choose a reduction of pay and workload[4]. The stereotype of golf-playing managers who depend on their subordinates for all real work while they network with their peers may be unfair but more responsibility by employees in dictating their own work processes would reduce the need for management as well.

The alternative is for us to agree that we would rather the unemployed live off of welfare and use whatever means necessary to survive than provide a stable source of income by having the government create jobs through higher spending. In its own way, this would still be upholding the ideals of freedom and independence that the United States was based on—since any unemployed worker who spends more effort to find a job would be condemning someone else to permanent joblessness, the ranks of the unemployed would be filled not only with those who are unable to find a job, but also the altruistic.

Any abuse of welfare entitlements or government services would be transformed into a moral act of taking from the rich to give to the poor, similar to the story in English history of the heroic outlaw named Robin Hood. There would be no shame in using or even selling food stamps when their cost is borne by an uncaring society that prefers deception about the effects of economic policy over providing a job and an honest income for all individuals.

It is then up to taxpayers and others who provide support to the unemployed to vote for job creation to end this situation, whether through more government spending or by encouraging the use of an accelerated work week.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/19/us/politics/20120419_poll_docs.html
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/06/30/business/20110630poll-full-results.html
[3] http://www.gallup.com/poll/147881/americans-divided-taxing-rich-redistribute-wealth.aspx
[4] http://www.nextnewdeal.net/rortybomb/who-are-1-and-what-do-they-do-living



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[-] 4 points by dhapppy (3) 8 years ago

dhapppy6 minutes ago

After watching your show tonight I realized that you are the first person that saw what I saw at the OWS park takeovers. No one seemed to be there with the hundreds of voter reigistration forms that could have been filled out so they could get their voter ID card. Did everyone there with a laptop that could have filled out the form for the people think that everyone already had one? When I first started voting, I thought you just went to vote on Election Day. No one at my kitchen table or thousands of other tables were talking about voting and how to vote when I was growing up. Mr. Maher I wish you could shout it from the airwaves everyday so that people understand.

I am a black mother and I give you my permission to do this for me,,,Tell all minorities that they are not allowed to vote, especially Black people and I bet you would see them demanding to vote then. Remind them how it wasn't that long ago they couldn't vote and that people were lynched and tortured if they even tried to vote. SOMEONE NEEDS TO SHAKE US AND WAKE US UP

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

In your footnotes, number 3 talks of raising taxes on the wealthy in respect to wealth redistribution, this is what the 1% want us to focus on, when in fact right now we are not talking about redistribution at all we are talking about taxing rich people to pay off the debt we owe to rich people, they are going to get the money back when we redeem the bonds, maybe we should spread some of it around but that is not the current issue, paying off the debt that their cronies have ran up to stimulate their economy, which has made them rich, but it's time to pay the bill now.

number 4, falls into the trap of focusing on income, while I think the bigger problem lies with net worth, the procession of wealth begets the power that is controlling our system, don't get me wrong it is good but more studies on net worth would revel even more, hint most of them are born that way.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

when in fact right now we are not talking about redistribution at all we are talking about taxing rich people to pay off the debt we owe to rich people

Haha, exactly. An amazing number of people think that most or all of the debt is foreign owned.

Which is why this video which explains it has such a high rating~ Understanding the National Debt and Budget Deficit - YouTube

The reason economists don't spend more time trying to correct people though is that we tried giving all the money to the middle class. This was the 1970's, and the rich had been running out of money for 30 years with ~90% tax rates on marginal income for the rich. Interest rates on money, for the government and everyone else, had been going up all this time and in the 1970's there was high unemployment and high inflation, because the government did not raise taxes on the middle class to pay for its spending and instead just borrowed it, while still not spending enough to lower unemployment.

So having high inequality, to an extent does create jobs through spending on things like butlers or car parking attendents at mansions.

So the existence of the debt, and "economic problems in general" cause people to assume that we are borrowing the debt from foreign countries.

You are right about income vs worth. The rich have plenty of money to be able to keep spending even if they stop working.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

Morning misaki, I think your view of the 70’s may underestimate the affect of the creation of OPEC. When we were building the middle class in the 50’s and 60’s the high tax rates seemed to work fine. Our deficit Carter’s last year was only 29 billion that was the last time it was less than 100 billion till Clinton. It was in the 1980’s under Reagan after he started the war on unions that the middle class started shrinking.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

Interest rates were rising steadily during all that time leading up to the 70's.

(Another way to see the story is the income composition of the top 1% or maybe 0.01%, and how "business income" especially was very low during that time.)

OPEC, and oil crashes and so on, were just a trigger. Sort of like supercooled or heated water, when you shake it or drop something it in and it suddenly freezes or explodes into steam.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

not to be too critical but it runs six minutes and he misses a few things, one is that structural deficits are different, another is that unlike business, government does not sell a product, it is the role of government to determine what we need collectively and levy tax to do those things,

( you should hear the cons when I suggest that the government just build solar panels and sell them, remember how they fought to keep the government from offering health care coverage, they are really scared to death the government will start running like a business and people will find out the USA kicks ass)

and Clinton didn't just grow into a surplus, he raised taxes to get there, this is important information

and there is a radical suggestion coming from Romney, taking cap gains and dividends to zero for everybody, that is a radical change even if it is only 15% now

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

It would be better in that case for the government to buy solar panels and use them, since it could buy from the lowest bidder (as long as whoever makes the buying decisions is looking at prices).

That's a much easier task for bureaucracy than producing anything. Remember, the government doesn't even make military equipment.

and Clinton didn't just grow into a surplus, he raised taxes to get there, this is important information

Yes, this is it. People don't want the government to raise taxes because they think it wastes money. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/149543/Americans-Say-Federal-Gov-Wastes-Half-Every-Dollar.aspx)

It would be possible for the government to spend more to create jobs, after all European countries have government spending as a significantly higher percent of GDP, there is just voter resistance to it. Which is working less comes in.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

The government does buy solar cells.

Business buy stuff too, but they also make stuff and sell it, (or at least they used to before everybody started making money by moving money around), so if people want the government to be run like a business it needs something useful to sell that means hiring people to build it so it can be sold, why not start with solar cells and maybe houses too, just let the government hire people to build those things, they could pay more too with no CEOs or shareholders to pay.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 7 years ago

If the government workers are paid like these government employees it would probably be cheaper to just continue to buy stuff:


900 employees in the prison system in California made more than $200k, and 11,000 made more than $100k. Would solar cell manufacturing workers also get paid twice or more the median wage?

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

This is a lot of words for me to digest I got the ADD, could you boil it down a bit? I feel like you got good stuff to say, but I fear all who can understand it are already on board with step one rid the nation of the GOP and I do not mean to bring all the party bullshit to your post, but what I'm saying is a lot of people "get it" and most who would follow your position are already "with us"

but there are many ways to tell the tale, we're going to need them all....

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

It's basically summed up in these two links:



Poor people don't see the Democratic party as helping them. More than the Republican party, but neither really helps the poor much.

I guess there's an even simpler way to explain why problems exist, though: the government has two basic tools for creating jobs, central bank interest rates and government spending. The problem with both of these is that when unemployment gets too low, it has traditionally led to higher inflation. This is what leads to the concept of the "non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment".

But it's poor, most likely uneducated people who are the last to be picked for jobs (or just black/African-american people) and so they are the ones who end up being that unemployed 4% during normal times.

Another explanation of the idea of working less is here: http://occupywallst.org/forum/working-less-fixes-war-and-unemployment/ (also http://occupywallst.org/forum/tell-the-1-how-they-can-help-the-economy/)

But basically, there's no need to have "natural" unemployment because when people voluntarily work less and earn less, they will be more sensitive to prices and so prices won't inflate.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

One thing I discovered as I transverse the social-economic landscape was that as people began to actually have to pay income taxes they became more attuned to politics, the more they paid the more attention they paid, I don't know if that's anyone's "fault" seems sort of natural to me.

as I said in the other comment if we write better rules, I think people will like them once they get used to them

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

ah much better (for me) I see where you are coming from , it's clear you have some detailed understanding,

might I suggest an alternative viewpoint, rather than thinking of the government as helping the poor think of it as a rules committee, if the rules are fair “the marketplace” will provide for economic needs, how do you know if the rules are fair? By looking at the results and adjusting like any rules committee, that's all I’m suggesting an adjustment of the rules due to the fact that the game has become unbalanced in favor of those born wealthy, examples of needed rules changes are a living wage, and another would be the Federal removal of all “right to work” laws

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

the game has become unbalanced in favor of those born wealthy

Definitely true.

I don't like to look at it as a competitive situation though, but as a cooperative one. Rich and skilled people work less and have more free time; poor people get jobs, less time but more money.

as people began to actually have to pay income taxes they became more attuned to politics

This is why I have never really seen the point of reducing taxes for the poor.

It might help in the short term (and sadly, politics is often about the short term) but in the long term, if taxes are higher then people will not accept low wages and will put more political pressure on politicans to create jobs.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8277) from Phoenix, AZ 8 years ago

I suppose my metaphor does stress the "contest" in some ways we all compete for survival, for attention, for love(sex), I think but I certainly agree cooperation is also needed and at play.

My underlining point is that it's OK to look up every now and then and see how things are going, it's not enough to just say you support the middle class, you have to look at things over time and see how the middle class is doing and make changes if needed.

[-] 1 points by JonFromSLC (-107) from West Valley City, UT 8 years ago

One way I can think of to help the situation is to have people on unemployment get an additional slip of paper when they sign up that has two choices. One would be to agree to do highway cleanup crew for four days a week, four hours a day. If they agree to this, they get 150% of the unemployment that they normally would qualify for, and they get the full 99 weeks. If they turn down the option, they get 52 weeks and it's 100% of what they would normally qualify for.

This would accomplish a few things. It would certainly make public the people who really want to work, and those who don't. That's part of the issue. The media can group large chunks of the population together with labels but saying that all the unemployed people should receive the same benefits, and that they're all "hardworking Americans who just can't seem to find work" is nonsense. I don't know how many times I've passed a panhandler on the street within one city block of a help wanted sign. I digress. Furthermore, it would give people who are genuinely looking for work money to go out and get a job. $330 dollars a week? That's a crock. You can't afford to pay rent, and utilities, and put food on your table, or gas in your car, or insure that car for that matter. It's just not enough to live on and actually be able to go out and put some serious applications in to get a job. This way, the people that work on the highways would have more money to be able to look for work the other four hours a day. This would also mean that our roads wouldn't look like a bag of dogshit. I drive for a living and I have to say that the roads in America are disgusting. I've driven in 2nd and 3rd world countries, and although not quite as bad, the roads in America are gross, and this would clean them up.

We live in a beautiful and geologically diverse country, but if you're a tourist and you see what I see every day, you'll probably choose Canada next summer for your vacation.

Put people in a position to get a job and those who really want to succeed will.

My second point would be that the reason our economy is stagnating is because it's a consumer based economy. People selling things to people is what makes this engine run. People make things (usually those people are Chinese but whatever) and sell them to other people who sell them to other people who sell them to you. And your money pays their bills. If more of you want what those people are selling, they'll need to buy more from the Chinese. This creates jobs.

Want more jobs? Cap prices on the rates of healthcare. Raise minimum wage to $10 nationwide. Cut out the waste in EVERY program, military and defense spending along with foodstamps, welfare, and medicaide. Stop spending money on other countries (relief etc.) and pull our military out of all but 10 countries. Put all of those people on the border and close it down. We take in 200,000 people a month. The time for that is long gone. We are overpopulated and sinking. And it's the lazy people sucking 99 weeks of unemployment from the government tit that are furthering the problem.

We're drowning in debt, and people aren't spending their money because they don't know what is going to happen once the government cash machine stops spitting out 20's. The people running our country know that what they're doing is unsustainable and it's causing the ruin of our way of life. They either want it to happen, or they're clueless as to how to stop it. I don't think they're stupid. If they are, that says a lot about lawyers. 70% of them are lawyers.

I don't think anything is going to change until the country goes broke. That will force people to wake up and see that their precious liberals and conservatives weren't in it for them. They were in it for themselves. And who is rich, and who is starving?

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

One would be to agree to do highway cleanup crew for four days a week, four hours a day.

I think some areas might have programs similar to this, and there is definitely things like this for people who are on actual welfare... but how does this create jobs?

Cap prices on the rates of healthcare. Raise minimum wage to $10 nationwide. Cut out the waste in EVERY program, military and defense spending along with foodstamps, welfare, and medicaide.

None of this would actually create jobs... unless you took that spending and used it for something else, but either way money is going from the government to poor/unemployed people who spend it. The problem is that this money 'leaks' out of the economy into the pockets of corporations and the extremely rich, who are already spending all they can so if they get more money it just stagnates.

People work less and stop buying from the rich, we get more jobs. It's that simple.

They either want it to happen, or they're clueless as to how to stop it. I don't think they're stupid. If they are, that says a lot about lawyers. 70% of them are lawyers.

Even lawyers are having trouble finding good jobs. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/the-toppling-of-top-tier-lawyer-jobs/


[-] 1 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

Intellectual schizophrenia...

You pretend "job creation" while simultaneously you ignore the corporate political contribution that allows Free Trade; our manufacturers relocate to cheaper labor sources and then with no fear of tariffs, they export our resources, manufacture, and then re-import as product to the American market - corporate income taxes are but added incentive.

Corporate profit is astronomical; Wall Street does well... We lose our jobs and you propose to replace them with OUR tax dollars? Does that make any sense at all?

Beware the "pretenders"...

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

We lose our jobs and you propose to replace them with OUR tax dollars?


[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 8 years ago

Everyone needs to get their feet on the streets once in a while. Even if you live in the suburbs, you can get to your nearest major city, and participate in a protest once a month. If tens of thousands of people were marching in our cities every damn week, ideally during business hours (:)), we'd have a reasonable chance of fixing this mess.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

How does that address the delusion that people have of "we don't have enough rich people"?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 8 years ago

The only way to deal with a poorly informed public, is to try to get information out there. Activists do that by protesting (and other things as well, but by keeping ourselves out there in large numbers, hopefully it gives us the opportunity to disseminate information)?

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

If everyone who was unemployed convinced their friends and relatives to support the accelerated work week, I can't imagine that it wouldn't lead to its adoption.

Do people not have any unemployed friends that they can forward this message to? Is OWS composed only of college students (who are much less likely to be unemployed) with minimal connection to the unemployed?

[-] 0 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

You really need to spent some time in a work related "productive" environment; product is already fully accelerated; they work longer hours to increase volume, in many cases, of a product with low profit margin due to competition.

In Germany things are different - products are highly priced and they did not allow cheap imports of any kind until just recently; those cheap imports are now stressing their economy.

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

Looking back at history, the U.S. productivity has gone up tremendously and yet we did NOT lament the loss of 12-hour working days and the loss of child labor. Why is that? We used mechanized agricultural methods and we lost so many farming jobs. Are the children of former farmers who could be working these jobs starving? No, in fact we (including these children) have brazenly won the title of the "Fattest People on Earth, Ever." The U.S. has in fact fattened up the Chinese people, too. Ask these children if they had missed working on the farms like in the "good ole days." Why?

In these cases, there were changes in perspectives and personal situations so that the loss of the past was greatly compensated by the brighter future that has come to pass to become the present. It will be no different for our future as a country and as a world. We need new dream sequences and new situations. It may be the same old Earth but when organized differently any society CAN and WILL improve the lives of its members. To begin, we need to build a foundation of Truth, Trust, and Stewardship.

[-] 0 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

I think your view of the American worker is rather distorted. The 12 hour work day is still with us; in NY there is absolutely NO limit to the number of hours in the day that an employer can demand; our only recompense is the FLSA which provides overtime (and that is often circumvented).

Productivity can't be "front loaded"; production is already both efficient and highly accelerated.

The children of farmers do lament the loss of those jobs and I'll tell you why: first and foremost, the farm was a city unto itself, entirely self-sufficient, so the children lament the loss of both independence and the extended family; they also lament the loss of their real estate partnership... and those first two or three generations that left the farm to seek skilled labor positions generally felt that loss economically as well; in fact, it is a generational loss.

Be that as it may, twenty years ago in Small Town, USA, there were four factories; those factories imported wealth and that wealth moved in circular fashion throughout the local economy. Today those factories are gone - they moved to China, South America, Mexico; the average teenager does not concern himself whatsoever with education - there are NO jobs - and he will NEVER fill out a job application. Instead he'll grab his Second Amendment and put five deer in the freezer; he'll grow his own vegetables, and he'll utilize those "Food Stamps" as his only currency with which to buy services. This is reality; this is NOW - it's happening now.

You want to grow government, why? Why would anyone want to see plenary powers so extended as to permit government, and governance, monopolized; why would you want government to monopolize our employment? And what's worse - you want to charge the Middle Class for that monopolization!

You can't blame an already stressed Middle Class for not wanting to pay higher taxes; our loss of opportunity is the product of "Free Trade," fully supported by BOTH parties - that's why we've labeled in the singular, it's a single entity - corporatocracy.

I cannot reconcile such reasoning; we've fought the War on Poverty for over 50 years; we lost... and the life of perpetual poverty that the War's social services have created will never compensate for the loss one's identity and self-esteem.

You are all but stooges, partners, and pretenders... as corrupt as those who govern.

And next you'll be preaching "globalization" and "transnationalism," right? Did ever occur to you that the American worker may not want to move his family to Brazil?

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

You want to grow government, why? Why would anyone want to see plenary powers so extended as to permit government, and governance, monopolized; why would you want government to monopolize our employment?

Exactly; the accelerated work week allows the private sector to create jobs, circumventing government!

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

Have you ever been back at where you were years before? Things may have changed greatly and some have even disappeared for good. There is the sense of loss but by and large you have probably moved to a "better" place by your or your ancestral family's own reckoning and that is what "progress" can bring, both losses and gains.

I had visited the same place in many different capacities and every time my experience was different. Even if most things stayed the same, I still FELT different because I was there for a different purpose so my mental state was different and I saw different things and possibilities. Our mindsets determine what we perceive whether the cup is half full or half empty and by-and-large the wealthier people with happier childhoods see vast imagined possibilities while others see deserts and dead-ends. There is some truth to the poetic license that one can return to one's origin and see it for the FIRST time. What vision that offers is unfortunately deeply personal and I cannot really elaborate for everyone but I have seen enough about the power of imagination when a community has been inspired.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

I will not be preaching "globalization" and "transnationalism" because they are de facto here already. Moving family to Brazil or not is a person's own choice aside from getting the permission from Brazil to immigrate there. Some countries accept immigrants but most do not like accepting immigrants.

War on Poverty is an eternal war that can never be won if you believe in what Jesus Christ said. If it could be won, He would not have asked people to tend His "sheep" or feed His poor. As a result of the War on Poverty, I see great number of our elderly citizens faring much better than in the old days of adject poverty when Social Security and Medicare were not in effect. Things would have turned even worse if Food Stamps program was not around to catch the falling. Everything comes with a price, though, so we need to examine our tax code structure and expenditures. Most people do not want to pay higher taxes but there are worthwhile goals that a civilized society strives for so they should be paid for. It does not mean that the taxes have to come from the stressed Middle Class but yes, somebody needs to pay more and you probably know whom.

[-] 0 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

I wouldn't say that transnationalism is already here; I still consider myself an American, despite my "multi-cultural" genetic composition.

Tell me something, why would anyone assume that government growth equates to economic growth? What you are suggesting is that if we take from the incomes of those who comprise our economy to now contribute 50 cents on the dollar instead of the previous 40 cents (in withholding), that the government will somehow buy our way to a new found prosperity; does that make any sense?

Healthcare is projected to be 1/6 of our economy - comparable to that of all of Britain, all of France, twice that of India. We are trillions of dollars in debt; the interest alone has allowed China to not only build its military but also, with surplus dollars, buy up American businesses and real estate (all brought to us courtesy of Free Trade).

We look to the now failing economies of socialized Europe and say, "Yes we can," because we want to be just like them; does that make sense?

We'll never, ever, pay this debt. And it's considered "radical" and unreasonable to ask the government to stop spending, to even repeal Obamacare; does that make sense?

I don't necessarily share the belief that my paternal ancestors of Welch-English origin were less intelligent, or less educated; nor do I believe, despite the literally dozens who later participated in the Civil War that any were ever slave owners. What they were was intelligent, boldly independent individuals who looked to posterity - we exist today for that very reason. And that's exactly what we're all doing now - three generations from now, this family will be living in America; we are preparing them for the necessity of emigration.

It's live free or die, babeee... and you can't buy that with "healthcare," "social services," or "money for nothing" - these chicks will always be free.

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

Government expenditure is included in the U.S. GDP. Yes, it is possible that government taking 50 cents rather than 40 cents and spending that on worthwhile projects can pave our way to a new found prosperity. The important thing is to answer: What projects?

The economy is NOT a zero-sum game, nor does it behave linearly. It has a significant sentiment component. That is why policies and the general tone of the government can be so important. If the economy is really zero-sum, from where did we get all of that economic growth?

Our healthcare costs so much because the U.S. has been stupid, selfish, and arrogant, in its approach to healthcare. If we became more data rather than ideology driven (frankly, the rich are perfectly fine with their healthcare and when people talk about healthcare, some are referring to THAT but most people [likely you, too] are excluded from that), we could have reduced healthcare cost long time ago. Trillions of dollars in debt are manageable by an economy of trillions of dollars of GDP but the very alarming rate of growth IS extremely disconcerting. We know that there is DEFINITELY a limit out there, beyond which catastrophe will strike but it is not quite clear where that is. That is why we MUST review our tax structure and expenditure and take actions to avert a potential major disaster.

I did not say that we want to be just like socialized Europe because every case should be examined for its unique characteristics. The U.S. came from an extremely individualistic and right-wing context. Europe had long gone through major wars and social upheavals to know that the right-wing approach led to disasters so they might have gone too far left in reaction but their doing so did NOT move the U.S. much at all. There are some economies of socialized Europe which are doing far better than the U.S. because they struck the proper balance.

There is NEVER ever any requirement to pay off this debt but there is ALWAYS the requirement to NEVER let it get out of control. There is a tremendous amount of disinformation to persuade the nowhere-near-being-rich folks to align their interests with the rich and powerful. It is a necessity in a purported democracy but for those people who have lost their minds or never gained control of their minds, all that they can do is to be led around with a rope tied to the ring on their nose but that is just the way it is due to a form of "freedom" called human variation.

I believe that our ancestors were just as intelligent but they ARE less educated because they did NOT have our access to global knowledge like we do. Some of us are still uneducated by not taking advantage of our global heritage. Although we can take the thirsty to the water but we cannot make them drink.

Check back with me when it is your time to collect Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, or need other social services. I will tell you to "live free or die." Most likely, you will learn that you cannot live free so the other option will be what you have left. There is something called a social contract if you know what that means. Civilized society was founded on honoring contracts.

[-] -1 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

Haha... which economies of socialized Europe are you referring to that are doing better because they've "struck the proper balance"? Germany itself is teetering on the edge, ask its people. And it's not that I am not in favor or at war with social welfare, it's that I'm smart enough to realize it's not possible in light of our enormous debt.

The reason health care costs so much is that we have a fee for services approach coupled with liability necessity, being billed by those who have discarded the Hippocratic oath in favor of riches. We also have free loaders, which drive up hospitalization, and insurance companies that invest and tally losses on Wall Street.

The US came from a right wing context, are you kidding me? (Where do you people get this crap?) There was no right wing in precolonial Europe - everybody was religiously minded - and the ONLY "way" was the King's way.

We are NOT better educated; it's merely that we've been so far removed from those things that our forefathers were required to learn to survive, that you assume they no longer exist. The average colonial had four times the relevant knowledge stored in his or her head than any four year college student does today. And even if we were to assume that "college" equates to "education" - which it is definitely does NOT - their clerics were would fall into the category of "highly" educated.

A) It's all bullshit and B) social security, medicare, etc WILL be gone within two generations because reliance on the American taxpayer in light of zero growth and enormous debt is unsustainable.

You're living in a fantasy world - dreaming - and spinning BS in the hopes you'll never wake.

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

Northern Europe is doing relatively okay but their fiscal religion of austerity practiced in synchrony is causing wind-shear conditions in economies. Germany is doing fine. It is hard to consult with its people during this time of the year because they are having their paid vacations of six weeks at least. How much paid vacation do you get here in the U.S.? There is our debt but there is also Yankee ingenuity if you still remember that. Think about the possibilities first and how to achieve them later and do not stare at that debt all of the time because the fixation will snuff out any creative thinking. That was the "secret" of the ones who became successful - possibilities before limitations.

Healthcare cost so much because we pretend that we are all rich folks while we are not all rich. There is no efficiency of large scale provision of basic healthcare. Our people also seem to be woefully ignorant of other countries' healthcare systems and just kept on harping how the people of other countries come to the U.S. for treatments. The truth is that the U.S. provides hope for the wealthiest and richest segment of other countries' afflicted.

If you examine how the snakes of corporations and the governments are entwined, you will see that it is a form of fascism and I call that right-wing.

You are absolutely right that we have never learned much knowledge that our forefathers had to learn to survive. Regarding this, I had seen and used a slide rule, calculators, and computers but nowadays, many students would have never heard or used a slide rule although it was wonderful for visual representation of computation. Students have advanced calculators instead and that is just fine because we always lose some and gain some.

Social Security, Medicare, etc. will NOT be gone. They WILL be changed for sure. The new frontier will be customized manufacturing, done in the U.S., by the U.S., for the U.S. so the U.S. will regain some of its glory.

We must tackle the high cost of medical care - doctors have NOT abandoned their Hippocratic oaths in favor of riches but they HAVE huge medical school student loans to repay. Medical schools charge enormous amount of money. Other countries educate their doctors much more cheaply.

Last but not least, dreaming is very healthy for everyone. Where there is still dream, we still have hope. Where there is vision, the people will not perish. We thrive on the American Dream, not the American Reality!

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

We must tackle the high cost of medical care - doctors have NOT abandoned their Hippocratic oaths in favor of riches but they HAVE huge medical school student loans to repay. Medical schools charge enormous amount of money. Other countries educate their doctors much more cheaply.

It is more accurate to say that high medical school costs are the result of high doctor pay.

Medical schools necessarily compete with hospitals for skilled doctors to train students.

But as a percent of the top 1%, the medical profession has been relatively constant as inequality has increased.


[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

It is hard to determine which had really caused what (whether high personnel costs for hospitals employing doctors caused high medical school costs or high medical school costs caused employers having to pay higher doctor costs). One certainty though is the high intellectual barrier and monetary/opportunity cost of entry into the medical profession. These are likely due to the right-wing ideologies holding long-duration sway over much of the U.S. -- the mentality of "I want the best medical care possible from any doctor, clinic, or hospital with costs diverted to [private] insurance companies. Get the government out of my Medicare!" Over recent decades, insurance costs skyrocketed and health outcomes did not perk up much if at all. Yes, we got tons and tons of new "treatments" (never cures) and diagnostic tools. We went through "managed care" by corporations. The U.S. is still LIGHTYEARS BEHIND most developed countries in its health outcome quality to medical cost ratio. It is time that we realize that healthcare options may simply be over the heads of many average Joes so we should aim for moderate cost, government-run, universal healthcare for all. We should keep government out of the more advanced and profitable areas of healthcare but we should treat healthcare as a right and handle it accordingly.

Incidentally, we know so much already about lifestyle control over health that if put into practice large scale, we can eliminate vast amount of healthcare cost, not to mention alleviating much human suffering from heart diseases, strokes, diabetes, and cancers. Ahh, if only we do practice what we know!

There are the old sayings: "doctoring the data" and "engineering an escape." I hope that when it is my turn, I attain the engineer's bent and escape from the doctored data.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

The limited slots for medical residency are one of the reasons for high health care slots, by reducing the supply of certified doctors. The number of people who apply for residency is much larger than the number of slots.

A nice article describing how professions like doctors and lawyers use their political power to reduce competition from other countries: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/2012102915021526447.html

[-] 0 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

The fiscal "religion of austerity"? You know, many areas of this country were settled by German immigrants, including almost the entire state of PA - all of these regions practice a fiscal responsibility to this day and institute austerity as necessary.

While the Bible says that we shall save unto the third generation, I personally believe that this is an evolutionary mandate intended to ensure survival rather than a strictly religious mandate. Much of evolutionism is incorporated in the common belief system; the fact that many religions incorporate economic belief, granting it force of law as a religious mandate, is evidence of societal concern for these particular issues. And why do you suppose it would be suggested that we save unto the third generation? Would there be need to worry about "social services" if we had?

If I printed money to buy a Lamborghini, or even a Hyundai, and charged the bill to you and you objected because you have other financial concerns - like easting, for example - would you charge me, the victim, with "austerity"? Well, that's exactly the way the German people feel. And it's the way I feel.

I agree wholeheartedly that we have a government owned but to label it as right-wing is somewhat absurd because economic prosperity is not religious matter - there are 37000 lobbyists and all court those in power; these lobbyists would exist even if the right-winger had never existed.

Hitler was not a "right-winger," either was Mao; none were pluralistic. In fact, Pol Pot is remembered for his "social engineering" - which, of course, anything but, a Christianity's pluralism.

It's fine to dream; I dream continuously. But we also need to keep one foot on the ground so as not to rise above the clouds and disappear.

I get a total now of seven weeks vacation time; truth.

In the future we will not have any of these social services you now seek because our present path is unsustainable, short of WW III. Which is exactly where this world is headed, and believe me, military forces DO institute "austerity" measures - without some measure of austerity, they will not succeed to survive.

[-] 3 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

"Social services should be derived of a mutual prosperity." The greatest need for social services tends to occur when mutual prosperity reaches its nadir. Do we simply tell people that now that you need the services, we will NOT give them to you - we will give them when you no longer need them?

Savings is a quaint concept that unfortunately had been persecuted and nearly exterminated by our sophisticated demagogues and financial magicians with their credit-creation/money-printing machine. That is why we need China so much because saving fools are very precious commodities these days.

It is almost a form of poetic justice that China should send us poisoned food and toxic toys and in return we pay them with more IOUs created out of thin air. From thin air they came and to thin air they will go someday because there is just so much of it.

Our government is not beyond broke. If it were broke, treasury rates would have shot up skyhigh. In fact, they have reached nearly unprecedented LOW levels. The U.S. has huge amount of assets and on AVERAGE every American is living in a household controlling nearly a million U.S. dollars worth of assets (we also owe a lot but the net asset value is solidly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per family). That is well known in the investment world. The U.S. government lacks the WILL to tax those who have, NOT the power to do so. The catchword was "AVERAGE." Many of the wealthy manipulate the not-so-financially-savvy working-class people to use them as shills in a democracy. Most likely any tax increase will NOT affect the working-class people much anyway.

Austerity is definitely NOT a crime but it needs to be used judiciously. All power to you if you can be austere but I believe that we need to reset our national culture first so savers get a fair shake otherwise what would we do when we can find no more saving fools to rip off? China wised up quite a bit and had demanded special privileges and the U.S. granted them.

The financial conflagration did not come from a far-too-imposing governance. On the contrary, it came from the far-too-loose governance on our financial sector. We have way too many working class people who cannot see it the way it really is. One reason that I support Occupy Wall Street people is because many of them are young and college-educated and are amenable to doing research to prove or disprove hypotheses rather than just gulping the bait and sinker from the elites. That is HOPE. It is refreshing and it is American. We have many civil institutions which jostle for attention and influence and that competition has provided the U.S. with the restorative forces from time to time unlike some authoritarian regime's realms so that is GOOD!

I subscribe to the power of our Congress and I believe that our federal reserve should NOT overstep its bounds to manipulate the economy. The prerogative of economic stimulus rightfully belongs to our Congress. Doing economic stimulus through monetary policy beyond a year or so is our federal reserve trespassing its mandate. Quantitative Easing 3 is coming down the turnpike and it will be an abomination as we will find out in the long run.

[-] 0 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

The Chinese are no different than you and I; the reason they save money is because they do not live in a world of financial abundance - that job and those dollars may not be there tomorrow and they know it. Savings is not a quaint concept, it was never a quaint concept - it's vital to your future and the future of your children. That's the reason some strive to be "successful" - as future security it serves evolutionary purpose.

A million dollars in assets... and no doubt you included home market values in that, didn't you? Very funny... I mean, if it wasn't so sad, I could almost laugh.

Way too many working class people who can't see? We do see... we see jobs leaving the country and local economies that are stressed; we see homes that are priced beyond our means; we see municipalities that demand far more in taxes than we can afford; we see cars that are too expensive, food and gas that is too expensive - medical care, prescription drugs, education, on and on ... everything is too expensive for the working class in the world of NO JOBS.

America is broke - it's morally and financially broken, completely, from east to west - are there any municipalities that are not running multimillion dollar deficits that the villagers or their "constituents" can afford? We're beyond broke.

I do not subscribe to the "plenary powers" of Congress, not in the least - this is corrupt governance determined to continuously demand ever more from the people, while simultaneously they enrich themselves. We don't like it.

I have no problem with young people - I was young myself - but they need to learn the basics of life and that can only be learned through independent struggle. Worse - four years, six years, eight years of "education" in the form of extraneous knowledge, never to be utilized, in any aspect of their lives... and "research" cannot provide solutions to our economic concerns; they need to learn that every problem has a bottom line and the bottom line must be attacked if we are to efficiently effect change. This is not a case of not being able to see the forest through the trees, it's a case of not being able to see the trees in the forest. They need to know their trees first.

Quantitative easing, are you kidding me? Are you saying that you couldn't see this coming? You can only impart just so much improvement with low interest rates; it isn't working, how could it? This is a college education?

[-] 3 points by grapes (5232) 8 years ago

The Bible's "save unto the third generation" is an anachronism that does NOT work anymore in our brave new world of warp-able and warp-speed finance because savers and investors have been turned into suckers en masse. The smarter ones turned into big borrowers to hedge so that they can preserve some of what they have for their future. It unfortunately means that they only pile more weight onto the global inverted debt pyramid. The world is wising up so the pyramid is wobbly and the PIGS R US show continues.

There would still be a need for "social services" and by that I really mean "social contracts" because not everyone has children to take care of them in their old age, not everyone becomes successful in life (random fluctuations guarantee some failures), and not everyone stays healthy till the day they die. I have NO problem with letting people suffer in their old age if they are childless, starve in poverty, and die if they become sick as long as it is our social CONSENSUS here in the U.S. That is NOT my take on the will of the people of the U.S. and we had certainly learned from our dire experience of the Great Depression. Perhaps it has just been too long so we do not remember why anymore. Do you want us to re-learn the old lessons again in a way similar to how we had repealed Glass-Steagall and ignited the fuse of the financial conflagration?

Very few people on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps are buying a Lamborghini, or even a Hyundai. If you see people buying huge amount of food with food stamps in the supermarkets, you need to know that they may just feel EMBARRASSED to use food stamps so they try to do fewer shopping trips and that means they buy a lot of food when they do buy. As food-stamp usage becomes widespread, the social stigma will diminish (yes, even many upper middle class folks have to use food stamps to get by sometimes) so those food-buying sprees will become rarer. Would we have been better off without any of these social services? I do not think so because if we did not have them we would have had riots already and that would have devastated our financial safe-haven status and jacked up our national debt's interest rates. You know how big our national debt is so a little bit of increase in its interest rate is NO small change. Besides, we satisfied the social consensus that we take care of unfortunate people. By the way, if not for the grace of God, there may go you. Austerity is generally a virtue but it can be a vice in some context. I have no problem with some austerity but it makes no sense for many countries to impose austerity in synchrony because it may lead to a deflationary spiral.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

The Bible's "save unto the third generation" is an anachronism that does NOT work anymore in our brave new world of warp-able and warp-speed finance because savers and investors have been turned into suckers en masse. The smarter ones turned into big borrowers to hedge so that they can preserve some of what they have for their future.

Very true! See: http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-inflation-scam/
(also http://brontecapital.blogspot.com/2012/06/macroeconomics-of-chinese-kleptocracy.html)

To avoid inflation, we need to create jobs WITHOUT government spending—which is what "the accelerated work week" does.

[-] 1 points by Porkie (-255) 8 years ago

To save unto the third is not an anachronism; it's an evolutionary mandate and it occurs to ensure survival of the family - within three generations the value of the average savings, gained in times of prosperity, will have been depleted by inflation; it represents a maximum intended for our grandchildren and not our children. If every generation does this, then the genes are certain to be perpetuated. People do not save today because a) inflation has been relatively low and b) they can make more tomorrow. This is not likely to continue indefinitely and so, we save unto the third.

No society can survive with out some level of social services. But those services should be derived of a mutual prosperity; our government is well beyond broke and it continues to demand more from its people, who are also completely broke - if they were not broke we would not be seeking to further social services for them.

Where I live people are using Food Stamps as the medium of exchange; they are trading them, for example, for child care. Because there is no money. And where has the money gone? Well, follow the factories.

Lamborghini was intended as an analogy; we have a government that buys Lamborghinis and they charge it to the taxpayer... those that pay taxes in this country are the victims here. You accuse them of misbehavior in the institution of austerity when you should be defending them against the crime of a far too imposing governance.

Austerity in synchrony is not crime in concert - this is THEIR money.

As far as I know, the very first written social contracts appeared under Henry ! to define the limits of power in relation to the obligation of those vassals he appointed as second layer nobility. The first in this country were prepared on ships en route to various locations. You can, and should, try to imagine this same boat of people today because these events will be repeated again in the future - do you believe their social contract will include these items as their priorities? And if not, why not?

We've done nothing in this country to address healthcare costs despite the fact that we all agree it is too costly; we've done nothing to address poverty despite the fact that we agree their is not enough opportunity. Taking from the people when we have a Congress fully empowered to address our concerns - as if to say, it's NOT their problem - is a crime. They work for the insurance agencies and you are but an arm - the slippery fingers - of the party.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

(from #comment-792655)

our government is well beyond broke and it continues to demand more from its people, who are also completely broke - if they were not broke we would not be seeking to further social services for them.


Top 20% of income are responsible for 60% of consumer spending.

Worse - four years, six years, eight years of "education" in the form of extraneous knowledge, never to be utilized, in any aspect of their lives



[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 8 years ago

product is already fully accelerated


But that isn't even really the point. Businesses might be slightly more productive if people work less; but even if there was no change in productivity for things like manufacturing jobs, this would still create jobs and thereby lead to upward pressure on wages.

And in things where work isn't reduced to its simplest components, separating work into the "important" parts and allowing the business to hire more people to do easy work is a simple enough concept that would also create jobs.