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How Rich is Too Rich?  Has Sam gone off the deep end?
Posted: 31 August 2011 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]  
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Personally, I would never label anyone a ‘sociopath’ on any of these threads and we hopefully can refrain from all simplistic labels.  Labeling a person or school of thought is an anti-intellectual way of de-humanizing them and sweeping them under the carpet because you can’t find a way to deal with them.  I am weary of folks who label themselves.  When someone claims to be ‘compassionate’ or ‘spiritual,’ I usually approach them with caution but try to give them the benefit of the doubt.  All of the discussions I’ve seen on this board are worthwhile and stimulating.

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Posted: 31 August 2011 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]  
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Don’t have to defend Rand?  Uh-huh. 


I get so tired of repeating the obvious, but maybe one word in ten will begin to sink in even if you’re not listening.  Her ideas, when put to use, like those of the tea-baggers lead to disaster.  It can’t be put much more simply.


The need for socio-economic justice is real.  The larger the population, the more critical the necessity. 


Sure, the average human brain has trouble handling the concept of an ‘us’ (the term ‘monkey-sphere’ has been used to describe this phenomenon) beyond 120 individuals, but how hard can it be to see that a large, disenfranchised, armed, pissed off population is the most dangerous thing on the planet?  Really?  I’ll let a suicidal fool argue ‘laise fair’ regan-f-u-nomics with that crowd while i head for the open ocean as fast as i can row.

[ Edited: 31 August 2011 10:48 AM by rabbit]
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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 31 August 2011 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]  
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more labels, Rabbit?  Yes, of course, it’s all so simple.  The answer is right there but we’re all too dumb to understand.  But you get it.  It’s good vs. evil.  Right vs. wrong.  Democrats vs. Republicans.  Life is like Sesame Street.  Okay, I get it now.

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Posted: 31 August 2011 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]  
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Look up the definition of psychopath/sociopath.  It is, by definition, a lack of compassion.  The ability to act compassionately ain’t religion, it’s evolution.  That’s why it’s demonstrated among the higher lifeforms on this planet.

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 31 August 2011 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]  
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Compassion = a single, specific political remedy?  It’s not even debatable?  You’re that sure?  What, no compassion for billionaires?  Poor = good, Rich = bad?  Should we be compassionate toward a poor, pedophile/serial killer and not toward a extremely charitable, cat-loving billionaire?

[ Edited: 31 August 2011 10:51 AM by mormovies]
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Posted: 31 August 2011 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]  
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Wiggle, wiggle, twist and turn….


It really is simple.  Fair is fair.  The more complex the rules, the easier it is to cheat. 


Wealth honestly earned is nothing to be scorned.  But in what universe is it honest or just that executive salaries and bonuses should total more than a corporation’s total tax bill while the majority of their employees struggle to survive?  The very corporate ‘leaders’ who drove the economy into the ground are the ones being rewarded.  They should be fired at minimum, prosecuted for fraud if there were any real justice in our system.

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 31 August 2011 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]  
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rabbit - 31 August 2011 02:15 PM

panthamor, u may find, sadly, that, compared to the larger population, there are a higher proportion (i’d be willing to bet, statistically significant deviation) of posters here who could be clinically classified as sociopaths.  I look forward to the day when being a non-believer can’t be so easily associated with a wholesale lack of compassion.  Don’t give up and please try not to get frustrated, they’re not the majority.  And Sam’s posts are always worth reading.  Welcome to the forum, if no one else has said it yet.

 

Thanks for the advice and the welcome Rabbit. Very kind of you. Also nice to see how you used the word non-believer rather than atheïst (if it was consciously done), Sam and probably the majority of this community would approve of it.


I really am flabbergasted at how little or none compassion some people can exhibit. I would like to see how they would react if they would arrive at a situation where they are not able anymore to work and provide for themselves, in a society that leaves those people completely on their own. They’ll be crying for compassion from others in a heartbeat. But since they’re not in that situation right now they couldn’t care less.


Thanks again

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“Consider yourself. I want you to imagine a scene from your childhood. Pick something evocative… Something you can remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were there at the time, weren’t you? How else would you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you WEREN’T there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over… Steve Grand

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Posted: 31 August 2011 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]  
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Here are some quotes from you Mormovies

Should Lady Gaga make up to ‘x’ amount of $ and then forced to return some of the revenue to consumers or ship it to D.C. for redistribution?  How will this work?  Has it ever worked anywhere?

 

The equal, centrally planned, highly regulated society has been tried in EVERY other country and system throughout history.  Where did it work?

 

The countries in Scandinavia are renowned and respected worldwide for their successful execution of socialism, socialism meaning that everybody pays taxes proportionate to their income. So that the sick, unemployed, working impaired people are taken care for. That is what a responsible society does. It is proven that even the Neanderthals kept their people alive who couldn’t physically contribute to society. If you look at the statistics of welfare and well-being of those countries they all rank in the top 20 world-wide.


Whereas the gap between poor and rich is increasing ever faster in the states.

 

There is supposed to be a balance to prevent tyranny of the majority.


You got a funny, if it wasn’t so tragically delusioned, way of describing democracy.

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“Consider yourself. I want you to imagine a scene from your childhood. Pick something evocative… Something you can remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were there at the time, weren’t you? How else would you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you WEREN’T there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over… Steve Grand

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Posted: 31 August 2011 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]  
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The first quote is not fully mine.  What country do people literally risk their lives to live in?  I don’t think the answer includes any of the utopian Scandinavian countries.  Michael Moore doesn’t even rate those nations up there with Cuba or Canada.  Why wouldn’t all the wanna be socialists move to where the perfect economic state already exists?  Why spend time and frustration to try to make it happen here?  I would love to see this country experiment and take freedom to its extreme and I will put my vote toward that.  That’s just my radical single opinion and I’m not trying to be funny or sarcastic.

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Posted: 31 August 2011 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]  
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setting aside the issue of free will, which many intelligent people agree to disagree about, the problem with ideologies is much the same as with religions. it’s just too easy to internalize a belief system to such a degree that everything has to fit into the Right column or the Wrong column accordingly.

is anyone suggesting that one all-powerful individual should decide what is “fair” or “equal” and divide wealth & resources so that everybody get exactly what they deserve? I don’t think any reasonable person would demand that we make income distribution, or economic opportunity, or civic equality, or personal merit perfectly fair or equal. just more fair, more equal.

moral issues like this are very tricky of course, but it’s not rocket science either. if you work for a living, why shouldn’t you expect a living wage for your work? according to the rules of capitalism, the “market” decides what a living wage is, and if you have to choose between buying food or paying rent every payday (I’ve been there) you shouldn’t complain. to put it another way; the vast majority of working people work for money, but money never works for the people... unless you’re rich enough to turn that around. the very rich don’t need to work because their money does the work for them.

I read a book about libertarianism back when I was a young man (25 years ago, give or take) and a lot of it made a very strong impression. one thing I learned was that, in many respects, I already was a libertarian! at least on a personal level. I’ve always been as free as the situation allowed for, I live & let live, I don’t think govt should meddle in private lives… and yet, I could never reconcile my personal freedom with the political realm. governments are coercive by definition. we could strive for anarchism as a long-range goal, but how many people are ready for that? I’ve posed this to my libertarian friend, but he has no answer.

there is a lot of talk about “free markets” but in a nation (& world) largely owned and operated by a relative handful of obscenely rich people, and with a vast sea of humanity struggling for basic needs… how do you get there from here? if any sort of redistribution or taxation scheme is absolutely out of the question, what is the solution? more supply-side economics? if that was a workable theory wouldn’t we be seeing the trickle-down by now? how many more decades of tax-cutting and deregulation are needed before the rushing upward torrent of wealth starts to rain down on the working classes? 

it’s pretty obvious that, not only the tax code, but our entire economy is rigged for the benefit of the very few people who can afford to buy legislation and put the brakes on regulators. at this point I find it impossible to worry about what’s “fair” for billionaires. and if this is how we define capitalism, then to hell with capitalism!

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Posted: 31 August 2011 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]  
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how do you get there from here?


At the risk of sounding preachy, repetitious, or worse, i’ll quote myself because i have a suggestion:

  Capitalism isn’t necessarily corrupt when it’s used correctly.  We’ve been there before.  Even without re-regulation, there’s no reason why we ‘little guys’ can’t get together use the dirty tools of corporate law to our own advantage.  If the rules are skewed in favor of corporations instead of individual citizens, stop being an individual.  Incorporate collectively.  Find thirty or forty other people who have a common agenda (corporate mission) and scrape up the money to form a non-profit.  Pay yourselves as consultants as you grow your own food in a co-op, share housing, transportation, and child care as needed, all the while being at least as good a charity as any ‘church group’ on the block.  Start a for-profit as soon as possible, don’t forget to hire dentists, doctors, and any other in-house service providers as needed, and place both companies in a larger holding company along with other similarly missioned small corporations.  Now THAT’S a voting block.  Learn to play dirty pool, if that’s the house game.  Then watch how fast the rules get changed.

Just a rough idea.

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 31 August 2011 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]  
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Well spoken (sort of), Ray Man.  We all have valid perceptions of the problem, it’s the solution that will be difficult to agree on.  I think that our capitalist system has been perverted and corrupted (I believe it is potentially the most moral system tried but I know many will disagree).  Whatever the solution, I don’t think it requires trashing the whole system but it should be based on scientific, objective reality.  Sadly, it is difficult to find a common ground on any definition of reality.  And I don’t buy that the Poor and Rich are faceless, collectivist terms for Good and Evil as it’s too commonly inferred.

“It really is simple.  Fair is fair.”

>>> It is NOT simple.  That’s the problem.  What you consider ‘fair’ is not fair to others.

[ Edited: 31 August 2011 01:53 PM by mormovies]
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Posted: 31 August 2011 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]  
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I have an old car in front of my house that is scratched & dented, but it still starts and it will get me to the supermarket and back. beyond that, I dunno. the last time I had it worked on my mechanic gave me a long list of things that really needed to be replaced or fixed, asap. it’s way more money than I can spend on it, so I asked him how much it might be worth if I sold it, as-is. he said $1200… about half what it would cost to fix! this is not a parable, it’s real life.

I love that old car, it served me well for many years, but I’m probably gonna sell it. at some point, when you’re all out of options you gotta cut your losses.

can American capitalism be fixed? is wealth really relative? is poverty? yes, it is possible to be too poor, many people are too poor, through no fault of their own. can you be too rich? well, if you are so rich that you can make life impossible for others… and you do; then yes, it is possible to be too rich. this is not hypothetical, this is really happening. I’m not going to say “if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem” but there are some very rich, powerful people who are indeed part of the problem.

I know it’s fun for the super-rich to play games with politics to get more of what they want, but they need to be opposed strenuously! lives are at stake. again, I don’t care what’s fair to a billionaire. they are the burden to society, not poor folks. at some point we have to cut our losses and bring these parasites down. I won’t negotiate with economic terrorists!

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Posted: 31 August 2011 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]  
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A note from the other side

The aim of this note is to provide a brief explanation as to why many have reacted negatively to Dr. Harris’s essay on taxation. All large groups will contain variation, but despite convenient attempts to misunderstand or misrepresent us, we are not generally racists, religious zealots, anarchist libertarians or selfish misanthropes.

More, we understand that there is a valid role for a social safety net and that a certain measure of risk sharing is a necessary part of social organization. Group action, in many cases government action, has tremendous benefits and efficiencies of planning and scale. We understand that although all citizens are in the same “ship of state”. However in this economy, some of our fellow citizens are really and truly hungry at the dockside while the affluent sail past in yachts.

However, we also understand that the engine that has been most destructive to poverty and most enhancing of human welfare is capitalism.  Capitalism is the reason why the vast majority of men and women in the western world will eat better tonight and live better tomorrow than Louis XIV of France. However, capitalism is more than just a social welfare calculation. Like our moral sense (and morality itself) it is a sociobiological product of our evolutionary history. It feels right to protect our property.  We bristle at a threat to what we believe we have worked for and earned. We do not understand why one does not feel uncomfortable at appropriating what does not belong to them.

It is understood that Dr. Harris does not believe he is anti-capitalist. Nonetheless, in advocating disproportionate taxation he is in fact attacking the right to property, an essential pillar of capitalism. Pleas of poverty are appropriate when one is discussing charity, not when one discusses the obligations and rights of legally equal citizens. This is where morality lies.

Wealth disparities can lead to social problems and inefficiencies, and a real problem is that both wealth and poverty self re-enforce. Increasing the wealth and productivity of all citizens is in the interest of all citizens. I shudder to think of how many Einsteins or Mozarts have been lost to the grinding poverty of some parts of the inner city or rural countryside.

But an ineffective advocate for a good cause makes no friends. Dr. Harris would do far better with a different approach.  Can a meritocracy survive without a large inheritance tax ? Should capital gains be taxed less than other income ? Should we unequally subsidize each other’s home purchases with tax deductions ?

Most capitalists would say no on all counts. These changes would probably gather more funds than any proposed alternative – and hopefully be put to good use, investing in our collective future, infrastructure and children. A crucial difference, though, is the method. The method does matter, not just the consequence.

Thank you for considering my words.

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Posted: 05 September 2011 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]  
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BeAfraid - 27 August 2011 05:01 AM

And the USA is doing WHAT with its poor?

Giving them welfare, endless social programs, and immense tax breaks.

We have the LARGEST PRISON Population on the planet. We have more people in prison than the entire rest of the Earth combined.

LOL, think critically before you swallow nonsense like this. 


The US only has 4.5% of the world population and to have more prisoners than the entire rest of the world combined they’d have to have an incarceration rate that is twenty times the weighted average.


Look at these statistics and you’ll see that is not the case.  Also notice that Cuba is listed as having a zero percent incarceration rate.  That’s because this is the self reported rate.  Do you think communist countries like China aren’t doing the same thing, and with a billion or so people they effect the weighted average quite a bit.  Not that the nearly a tenth of a billion people killed by the Communists would even count in such statistics.  If you are dead you are in the cemetery not jail.


Not to mention that North Korea is essentially one large starving concentration camp.


Besides the incarceration rate has nothing to do with taxing the rich and everything to do with the drug war.  No we are not targeting the poor to throw in jail.  It’s people who partake in vices that have been criminalized.    A friend of my fathers, a hard working lawyer who had an innocent vice, Joel Proyect, ended up in jail for a long time.  He was anything but poor.

Now if instead of listening to the Democrats who support drug criminalization we listened to the libertarians this wouldn’t be an issue.  Again, however this is not due to economics or lack of government handouts.

In fact, I could make a good argument that the government handouts have increased crime over what it would otherwise be without it.  Not to mention other harmful effects on the poor.

But… Modern China has outperformed all western nations combined.

In the same sense that a couch potato sitting fat kid can outperform a seasoned athlete in terms of increase in performance if 1) The fat kid starts exercising 2) The athlete is force fed and put on a inhaler puffing cigarette smoke.

Again if we listened to Libertarians instead of Democrats we’d stop force feeding the economy, and stop making the economy breath contaminated air.

Oh, and BTW.  China is also suffering from a real estate bubble that will burst and cause all sorts of havoc.  Why?  Because they are following stupid economic policy too.  Just not quite as stupid as communism, so they are seeing improvement.

I suggest that you go have a read of Richard McGregor’s book (as a start) The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers before making any more statements that reflect your ignorance of modern day China (seeing that you seem to have no idea of its progress since the 1980s, other than US/Western Propaganda.

Was he even talking about modern day China?  I didn’t get that idea.  I think you are a little clueless about modern day China which does things like Kelo on a much grander scale.    Kelo where they condemned a thriving community under eminent domain to give it to a rich developer all in the name of government driven progress.  Today that land is barren and is used as debris dump.  That is NOT free markets.  Free markets is respecting property rights.  In China they do the same types of things on a massive scale, except they build giant vacant buildings on the sites.

This calls into question the claim that capitalism is the only successful economic model.

China moving towards more freedom in their markets and becoming more successful (still way behind US with 4x the population), and US moving towards more governmental interference (CRA, Fannie/Freddy, Fed, bailouts, Obamacare, etc). causing them to become less successful is in your mind evidence that free markets is not the way to go?

I don’t think you have a clue what you are talking about.

[ Edited: 05 September 2011 11:19 AM by Brian Macker]
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