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Rich Getting Richer, ever wonder why?

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Aceventura, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. arwflailingtoobman

    arwflailingtoobman New Member

    Location:
    Ontario
    I think wealth is finite because there's only so much resources that can be harvested or produced. That said, the economy is generally a positive sum game and, although dividing the pie is important, it can be expanded as well. Through the expansion of this pie, real wages for English workers in the nineteenth century, for example, were doubled after entire centuries of almost no growth. Similarly, the rate of extreme poverty has fallen very rapidly in recent years just because of rapid growth, or a rapid expansion of the pie, in emerging market countries like China. Around eighty percent of people in 1820 would have lived in extreme poverty, about fourty percent in 1980, and around twenty percent now, and that's all largely due to industrialization in different parts of the world.

    As for whether or not inequality is bad, I think it clearly is. Well, not really. Inequality in and of itself isn't bad. What's bad is poverty, and inequality doesn't necessarily require that others are poor, because of the positive sum game idea. I think America's choices for restoring middle class income growth are limited. Income growth for workers has largely shifted from first world to third world countries, while first world countries have taken on greater sophistication and managerial responsibilities. I think this is a natural movement that can't be avoided, and overall, I don't even think it's a bad one.

    I support wealth distribution out of empathy for the poor, not out of a desire to see things completely equal or level. American's should be better educated to cope with the modern world, and worker retraining programs should be larger, so as to help those who are displaced by change. Simple things like better EI, stronger transfer payments for people with dependents, and universal healthcare would help too, I think.
     
  2. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Location:
    Reading, UK
    You didn't answer my first or last questions but I can't find anything in the TFP rule book that says you have to. :)

    But rather than hammer at the reasons for the corporate exodus to cheap labor alternatives and why it has left the US labor force in the crapper - because most of here understand full well what the corporate incentives and motivations were/are to do so, as well as we understand how ill-prepared we were/are for it, could we possibly discuss the unnatural advantages which have been and are continuing to be given to the already naturally advantaged wealthy?

    I don't believe in wealth distribution or financial equality for all. I am not a socialist. I am fully behind capitalism and it's potential to reward those who have the ambition and put forth the extra effort to succeed. Capitalism is not broken and does not need fixing.

    But government (democracy) and capitalism are strange bedfellows. Capitalism is in the business of making a profit, government is in the business of protecting its citizens. In order for them to get along, they need to stay on their own side of the bed.

    I think most of us appreciate the value of Capitalism in our society but Capitalism does not appreciate or value the unprofitable principles of our democracy except in Democracy's role to provide a fertile atmosphere for turning a profit at the expense of it's consumerist citizenry which can also double as a labor force (until one factor or the other proves be a liability).

    Those who understand capitalism are smart enough not to underestimate it's hunger and wise enough to know it will rarely rise above it's own base nature and instincts.

    It's a beast that will never curb it's appetite willingly.

    But we have an elected government to rely on. We expect them to put a few barriers in place to make sure we have adequate protection from the capitalist nature. In return we give Capitalism the room it needs to do it's business to the benefit of all.

    So what happens when Capitalism rolls over in that bed, climbs on top of government and says "I'll pay you handsomely, if you let me fuck you and those you represent," and the government responds with "here's my off-shore bank account number?"

    So I'm not talking about the advantage of wealth naturally creating more wealth, or about decisions one would expect corporations to make to sustain profitability, though in my opinion, the shift to cheaper foreign labor markets has been more the result of corporate greed rather than need, in most cases. But it is what it is and I don't regard the globalization of manufacturing as a negative. I think we will all benefit in the long run by the rising standard of living, globally. I'm not averse to seeing the US drop down a few notches as the playing field levels - as long as our inability as a society to compete in the global labor market is our only disadvantage and the only reason for the wide disparity we are seeing between the top and the bottom.

    It's not, of course. As if the wealthy were not advantaged enough naturally, they are receiving unnatural advantages in the form of select and focused governmental policies and legislation, while being allowed to virtually operate without interference (despite the promise of stricter regulation after 2008), while we the people the government are supposed to be protecting from Capitalist abuse are left disadvantaged.

    All your ideas are great, arw, but you don't have to look too closely to see where our government stands on improving education, providing job and career re-training, raising the EI payment, increasing minimum wage and providing universal healthcare seeing that everyone has access to health care coverage. Those on Capitol Hill not looking to dispense with the entire lot of them are forced to watch the blood flow as these programs and others are slashed and cut. What you offer is called spending - it's a dirty word and we can't have any of it. We can't raise taxes a nickel either.

    Oy vey, such a state we're in.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I had never given much thought to Canadian politics and economics but since interacting with some of you here, mostly Baraka, I have been taking a closer look. Canada did a much better job handling the most recent recession than the US, did not have the housing bubble, and is not experiencing anything like the countries in the Euro zone. Canada is clearly on the right track. And now it appears they are continuing to do the right thing and actually lowering corporate taxes. Go figure.:)

    http://news.investors.com/Article/596263/201112291827/tax-cuts-give-canada-economy-a-boost.htm
     
  4. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Lower corporate tax rates are only a recent phenomenon. There is no indication yet that they are directly influential on anything in terms of growth. (It could, for example, be argued that the stimulus spending is an equal or greater factor.) Also remember that Canada has a relatively higher progressive income tax and sales taxes (the latter of which most provinces have between 12 and 15%).

    Also the article failed to mention some other things that contribute to Canada's stability: universal health care, the parliamentary system of responsible government with more than two political options, a regulatory environment* that would make most American conservatives cringe, and, of course, the stimulus spending beginning in 2008.

    There are several other factors that make Canada stand out compared to the U.S. as well, but they aren't as directly related. Think military spending, for example.

    *There are requirements for borrowers and lenders to mitigate their risks. For example, below a certain down-payment threshold, mortgage insurance is mandatory. Also, you don’t have the option of mailing in your keys and walking away in Canada. Mortgage debt belongs to the homeowner, not the lender, and the lender can do whatever it takes to get the money from you (or the government if the mortgage is insured), including garnish your wages or going after other assets.

    Oh, and subprime mortgages were/are such a small percentage of the market, that the same risk just wasn't there if you consider all the factors.
     
  5. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Do you believe the Conservative's agenda is going to be harmful to the Canadian economy? Do you think lower Corporate tax rates is going to drive business away or attract business? Will Canadian's be helped or harmed from this move? What was at the root of Conservatives winning the majority this year? We may have some similarities in the US, perhaps the US is a few years behind.
     
  6. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    The Conservatives resemble the rightest of Democrats and the leftest of Republicans. I admire their fiscal conservatism to a limit. There are assumptions about our economy that are made based on history and existing legislation. For example, tampering with universal health care too much is political suicide. The regulatory environment, especially in the financial and banking sectors, isn't something Conservatives want to dismantle, as much of it is a point of pride. If either of these things — a Canadian-style health care system or a Canadian-style regulatory environment in finance and banking — were proposed in the U.S. today, Republicans would cry socialism and shut whatever they could down. If both of these were proposed, they would issue a call to arms.

    This is what makes comparisons difficult between Canada and the U.S. So the simple answer is no, I don't think the Conservative agenda will hurt the Canadian economy, at least not in any serious way. At worst, I think they may make things more difficult for the lower and middle class than is necessary. Harper is well known for his secrecy and underhanded methods of getting his way. Now that he has a majority, hopefully he'll feel more confident in doing things out in the open so that Canadians know what is going on.

    It's not the overall economy that worries Canadians who don't support Harper; it's mostly his social policies and his views on Canadian cultural institutions.

    These are leading questions. My view on the recent change in the corporate tax rate is that it will have a marginal effect at best. There are many other factors influencing Canadian stability and growth. I've already outlined them above. The original article listed others as well. If the change in tax rate leads to lower overall federal revenues, that's something Harper will have to contend with. He's already contending with cuts across the board, so time will tell whether he's successful or not in the eyes of Canadians.

    The single biggest factor was the catastrophic implosion of leadership in the Liberal party. This lead to a very frustrating sequence of events. The reason why we went to an early election was because Harper's minority government was found in contempt of parliament (i.e. misleading parliament on budgetary matters, aka "lying") and was toppled by a vote of no confidence. The fallout? They won a majority.

    This wasn't a simple case of Canadians rewarding liars, nor was it a simple case of Canadians admiring Harper's means of getting things done. And although the Conservative platform had a lot to do with their strong base (the platform moved decidedly to the centre), what ultimately landed them their long-coveted majority was the failure of the Liberals to put forth a strong leader and a sensible platform.

    I'm not sure I see the similarities. Would you mind drawing some comparisons for discussion?
     
  7. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    ...
    Leave it to IBD and ace to ignore those facts.

    Didnt the Canadian $multi-billion stimulus package focus on infrastructure spending, developing clean energy programs, education funding, R&D funding, as well as middle class tax relief?
     
  8. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Yes, it was something like $35 billion (our GDP at the time was probably just over $1.5 trillion). The money was allocated broadly but benefited the middle and lower class the most. The income tax cuts benefited mainly those earning under $80,000. Infrastructure spending was allocated to roads, bridges, and public transit. There were further funds for broadband Internet access, schools, and social housing across the country. This infrastructure spending was the largest in Canadian history.

    There was also an increase in the benefits for low-income families, including the National Child Benefit and the Canada Child Tax benefit.

    The Conservatives had it in mind that such stimulus spending would encourage lower and middle class spending, thus alleviating the doldrums of the recession. It came at a cost of a projected $34 billion deficit.

    Remember though: the Canadian economy is about a tenth the size of the U.S. economy.
     
  9. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Canadian debt as a percentage of GDP is low compared to the US. The US is running at about 100%, Canada is about 1/3 of that. Canada could afford to spend what they spent.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/canada/general-government-net-debt-in-percent-of-gdp-imf-data.html
    --- merged: Jan 3, 2012 5:14 PM ---
    First, I am interested in understanding generally how your wealth creation point of view applies on a national level. Canada has clearly made some good choices. The country has maintained a spending discipline. Set priorities, i.e., national healthcare as a choice and is paying for it. The country generally has not taken excessive risks in housing, banking and other financial matters. The country is managing natural resources and attempting to do it in a environmentally friendly manner. The country is not over-exposed in foreign matters and has avoided the major costs of war. My point of view is predictable. I think Canada has positioned itself well, it should benefit from the mistakes made by other nations including the US. The Canadian people have made sacrifices, while other nations have not. Being able to lower corporate taxes is one of many ways that Canada can improve its national wealth by attracting business and higher paying jobs. I think wealth/capital should shift in Canada's direction because Canada has been doing things correctly. I thing wealth/capital should flow away from countries that have been doing things incorrectly. I would argue the same at the corporate level and even the individual level. I think there has to be consequences for good and bad decision making. Over the course of time we have been interacting, I have been presenting this asking questions in many different ways - and I simply can not get a good handle on your point of view. Is there anything you can add to clarify, perhaps in the context of nations and national decisions and choices?
     
  10. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Ace, let me get something out of the way first: The total tax and non-tax revenue for every level of government equals about 38.4% of GDP in Canada compared to the U.S. rate of 28.2%. That's an astounding difference—Canada's government revenues are 36% higher to be exact. Sure, it's a relative number, as it's tied into GDP, but the comparison is relevant.

    Despite the lower corporate tax rate (even before the recent cut), the tax burden on Canadians is much higher than the tax burden on Americans. This is a huge factor on government policy and decision making, as it influences the extent to which the government sees its role in the matters of Canadians. In American conservative terms, this would be "big government."

    The choices made in Canada have a number of motives and goals, but the question that often comes up in parliament during question period is, "Is this in the best interest of Canadians?" Under other circumstances, the charge may be made, "This is not in the best interest of Canadians!"

    The context for this may not be fully understood by outsiders, but generally these issues are usually brought up by opposition parties, of which there are currently four, not including independents. (How many are there in Congress?) This means you have a number of parties and a number of Members of Parliament who are raising issues for their constituents. Given the much, much wider political spectrum in Canada vs. the U.S., issues related to social democracy are raised, which are issues of the lower and working classes.

    In Canada, unions are still strong. (Here, teachers make as much as accountants, not retail clerks.) In Canada, social policies aren't only strong; they're expected. When certain groups of Canadians suffer, especially from outside influences, their concerns are raised in government; they are not relegated to mere collateral damage, nor are they ignored. One of the bigger indicators of this is the recent surge in support for the New Democratic Party, Canada's most prominent social democratic party, especially outside of Quebec.

    So in terms of Canada's domestic policies, they differ greatly from American domestic policies. This is made possible by a higher tolerance for taxation and government involvement. We also have more accountable government due to the political system. Missteps can easily lead to a loss of power before a term has even been completed. Not so in the U.S.

    We have legislation regarding balanced budgets, which is why we're moving back towards the black over the next year or two. But instead of austerity measures, we must simply bite the bullet with across-the-board cuts to our already "big government."

    So, as you say, we can afford most of the decisions we make. The reason for this is both political will and the will of the public. As much as we like to complain about taxes, we see what's going on south of the border, and so we grin and bear it.
     
  11. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    The difference is in debt. The US "revenue" growth has not covered US spending growth since the 1980's looking at the long-term trend line. Canada saw a long-term trend reversal in the mid 90's. In order for the US to see such a change, if we just looked at "revenues", we would need a rate well above 28.2%, 38.4%, perhaps going well into the 40% to 50% range, and this does not include national healthcare for all, which Canada has. The US has to get spending under control. "revenue" or economic growth is not enough. My argument is first get spending under control, get waist under control, reform the tax code, then look at passing the burden of debt reduction to tax payers.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Again, there is the issue of debt. The US debt burden per person is $44,900. The Canadian debt burden per person is about $22,000.

    If Canadians are making choices on what they want to spend money on and pay for it, that is a good thing. US politicians have been play games, leading people to believe we can spend, spend, spend without accountability.

    What happened in the mid-90's in Canada that lead to their trend reversal?
     
  12. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Either/or and other absolutist stances seem very much an American idea. Why not get spending under control whilst slightly increasing the tax burden where it makes sense? It would have a greater long-term impact. That's generally what the Canadian government does: balance revenues with spending.

    The difference is certainly in the debt, but that's the symptom, not the problem. Spending is a part of that too. The root of the problem is in the political system and the political culture. You seem to get that but perhaps see the numbers and think the solution is simply to spend less. Easier said than done.

    The political culture in the U.S. is both fascinating and mind-boggling to this outsider. The most high-profile and damaging events in American politics would never fly here. At best, you'll see self-contained and short-lived mini-versions of similar things. It's a different culture here, which is why I wanted to open the discussion to drawing comparisons.

    Canada has a responsible government, which basically ensures that power cannot run amok without consequences. The same features don't exist in American Congress. I don't know how else to get a president out of office besides death, abdication, or impeachment, but all of them seem like extremes and don't seem to happen very often. Votes of no confidence in Canada aren't exactly common, but they happen and are constant reminders of what can happen if a prime minster goes too far. They can be used as threats by the opposition.

    Every single one of our budgets are open to votes of no confidence. This ensures that a balanced approach is taken within parliament. Political strong-arming tends to still happen, but the wrangling is usually multifaceted and on more level ground than what I tend to see in American politics. Disagreeable budget proposals can topple the government here. It's a huge difference. It's the kind of thing that encourages governments to work with other members of parliament to get what they want without necessarily tromping on other representatives, who are accountable to their constituents. Majority governments tend to have less of this, as they have a lot of power due to the numbers of seats they fill; however, tides can turn here quite rapidly, as the last election showed.

    That was around the time when balanced budget laws spread nationally (i.e. both on the federal and provincial levels). It was enacted by the Liberals on the federal level and is meant to encourage the government to run surpluses unless certain circumstances dictate otherwise. Another thing may have been a factor as well: In the early '90s the Conservative government instituted the GST (Goods & Services Tax), a value-added tax that took some of the tax burden off of manufacturers and placed it onto consumers (which now allows multiple tax remittance). And NAFTA as well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Free_Trade_Agreement#Impact_of_NAFTA_on_Canada
     
  13. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    My hat is off to Canada. I want the same for the US. Tea Party people want the same for the US. Current US trends are not acceptable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The path the US is on will not be sustained, with both the tax burden and debt increasing as a percentage of GDP. I predict the US will do what Canada did in the 90's. I don't care which party takes credit, but currently both are to blame for our conditions and current trajectory.
     
  14. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    I made some last-minute edits to the last paragraph you quoted above. Please make sure you read it all.

    If you look at the circumstances, again, the comparison doesn't quite fit. Balanced budgets should essentially be the goal, but they don't always make sense. Even the Conservative government has been running deficits over the past few years. We're all Keynesians, and all that.

    The U.S. situation is different and rather dire compared to Canada. I agree that it's not sustainable, but Obama indicates that. Everyone wants to focus on deficit reduction. However, going too quickly to a balanced budget in a dire situation could do more harm than good. If Canada is an example of anything, it's demonstrating balanced measures to problems.

    The U.S. problems are their own. They'll require their own solutions.

    • End the stupid warmongering and the off-the-books spending required to maintain it.
    • Initiate a true universal health care system that will a) reduce overall health care costs, and b) stabilize the lower and middle classes (the largest consumer group).
    • Get the money out of politics (Canada has laws against excessive donations/spending—both on the partisan and non-partisan levels. Your politicians are Hollywood; ours are indie).
    • Sound regulations for the finance and banking industries. Shit is corrupt. End it.
    • Simplify the tax code, sure, but focus on getting the rich to pay as much tax, if not more, as a percentage compared to the middle class (close loopholes).
    • For the love God, cut the damn military budget! It's ridiculous how $1 out of every $5 is spent on the military, especially compared to the overall cost that other nations bear.
    • Focus economic growth on strengths and opportunities, not on nostalgia for halcyon days of post-war America. It's over. It's China's and India's time to catch up to the big boys now. You're mature; move on.

    /armchairpresident
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I disagree. When you look at Canada from the mid 70's to the mid 90's, I think we see a trend similar to what we see in the US currently. Canada turned it around, so can the US. I don't want to keep imposing on you for a Canadian history lesson, but what was going on in Canada during that 20 year period, when Canadian spending was out of control relative to economic growth?

    Perhaps it is an issue of semantics again. To me, a balanced approach involves first addressing the major problem. In the US it is spending. Nothing els matters until that is fixed. For example if a person is in an horrendous accident with many injuries, what is a balanced approach? First, you may need to stop the bleeding if the risk of bleeding to death is high. Mending a broken arm will have little value under those circumstances. As I outlined, I support a balance approach, starting with getting spending under control. I have no problem with paying more in taxes if I had confidence in the government.

    I have written many times that I respect honesty. If a person ran on that agenda, won, and acted in a manner consistent with their views, they would have my respect and I would follow their leadership even if I disagreed with their agenda. I am not saying I would not advocate for my point of view, I simply would give 100% support to the final decision.

    In the context of the "rich getting richer" , Canada's GDP is about 1/10 of the US's. I see that ratio improving in Canada's favor over the next decade regardless of what happens in the next few years politically. As I think about it, becoming a Canadian citizen would mean my share of the notational debt would be cut in half, and I would get free healthcare.:) Why does it have to be so freak'n cold up there?:p
     
  16. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    There were a number of things happening. In the '80s, the Conservatives got their first majority in nearly three decades. PM Mulroney's administration suffered from a lack of experience, and spending got out of control despite their best efforts. He tried to deliver on too many promises. (O the burthen of majority victories!) There were also two recessions: one in the '80s and one in the '90s. Much of that was also a time before free trade agreements in North America (and even abroad).

    When I use the word balance I refer to the image of a plane that requires weight at both ends to prevent it from tipping too far in one direction, or perhaps the image of something unsteady that needs weight distributed evenly to prevent it from going off-kilter. This is what I mean by a balanced approach to the deficit/debt. You want to do one thing first and then another next. Why?

    I'd rather see the balanced approach of slightly increasing revenues whilst cutting where cutting makes sense. The situation is pretty out of whack to the extent that cuts alone aren't nearly enough. What makes you think it's enough? America is a relatively low-tax environment and has been for a while. Does that make sense when deficits are so high? When the debt is so high?

    It's to keep the beer cold, eh? :cool:
     
  17. pan6467

    pan6467 a triangle in a circular world.

    I hate to interrupt, but if we are to compare the US to Canada, you cannot ignore US spending on military, black ops (to keep despots in power), an unnecessary, never ending war, the fact we are losing our tax base with fewer good paying jobs. When you have 1/2 or even a 1/3 of your population living in poverty, then the rich are forced or should be to make up the difference in lost revenue. It's different in Canada and other countries that are no where near our troubles because the middle class firmly exists in those countries. IT DOES NOT EXIST HERE, to say it does is to be blind. The rich need to either invest in better paying jobs or will eventually have to pay higher taxes here, cut military spending (not military benefits but black ops in the military budget), end the war.

    Canada also has natural resources they have no problem using to bolster their economy, we have those resources but refuse to allow or make it very hard to use them to bolster our own economy.

    We also need to cut corporate welfare to companies shipping jobs overseas, we should in fact punish them for destroying the tax base. Military funding, aid to other countries and corporate welfare eat far more of our tax dollars than all social programs combined do. "Provide for a common defense" does not mean shipping our troops to countries that are truly not a threat, nor does it mean propping up dictatorships simply for oil or cheap labor.

    The countries (China, India, etc) that have growing economies are NOT capitalistic in nature. Money is not finite, it is only a source to pay for goods. How much is enough to the multi-billionaires demanding they get tax cuts, while the rest of the nation starves? There will come a time when the economic inequality in the US will create serious issues and civil unrest. Hence, the need for talking heads with private jets and living in gated communities sell their souls and get on the radio or TV to tell people struggling and barely making ends meet that "they understand and are like those people." Yeah, when was the last time Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter had to make the decision of paying bills or buying food? But hey, they are just like all the rest of us, right?
     
  18. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    In a word - triage.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/triage
    The US government does not seem to have the ability to address multiple major issues at the same time. I do support tax reform, but in order to adequately know the best way to reform the tax code we need to get spending under control, cut waste (I don't expect perfection) and set priorities. In my view we have to do that before we can really address what is legitimately needed in the way of taxes. I have not or would support the Norquist pledge of never, ever, supporting a tax increase. I did like Cain's 999 plan and his reasons for it. Supporting a national sales tax is a new and increased tax. I think those living the millionaire life should pay taxes accordingly - there are ways to protect poor people from the tax being an added burden.
    --- merged: Jan 5, 2012 7:26 PM ---
    In one respect I agree about the US going overboard with unending wars. When we engage in war we should fully commit, get the job done ASAP and leave. We have to have clearly defined military objectives.

    I don't think we can say there is no middle class in the US. I think we still have a bell curve distribution as it relates to the numbers in income categories. In terms of controlling wealth, I don't dispute that the rich have been getting richer at a faster pace than everyone else. There are reasons for that. In summary I think it has been government policy. For example, government policy in California was the reason why I left the state, with my business. Millions of other businesses have left the state also over the last two decades. I had choices, that many did not have. Rich people have choices that poor people don't have. Just as I moved from California to North Carolina, I could move from North Carolina to Canada. with today's technology, I could live in Canada and run my US based business - and get free healthcare!:) I am 51, healthcare is becoming more and more an issue for me. In the past 2 years my premiums have gone up about 25% - at some point it is simply going to be too much.

    The US has natural resources. We could manage those resources in a responsible manner and still benefit from them. We unnecessarily restrict ourselves in this regard, why? I don't understand it.

    If the tax code is fair, we don't need to worry about jobs going overseas. Again if a corporation has choices, why would they pay a higher rate in the US if they can pay a lower rate elsewhere all other things being equal. Same with wages. The key involves the additional cost being justified.

    Our current tax code and those in Washington favor big business. The government had no problem protecting GM, but they sure didn't give a f*** about my business or the millions of other small businesses hit hard over the past 3 years.
     
  19. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Yet the U.S. remains one of the largest producers of several resource types in the world. Don't worry; the growth is happening. Take natural gas, for example. But remember: the production is already there. It's one of the historical cornerstones of American wealth.

    Cutting corporate welfare and military spending makes sense, but I disagree with you regarding the tax base. Companies aren't actively destroying the tax base. The tax base may be eroding, but that's different. What companies do is remain competitive. That's the nature of global capitalism. Penalizing companies away from going to labour overseas would hobble their competitiveness. This may lead to widespread business failures (especially amongst small businesses) and would most definitely lead to inflation. If you're concerned about the tax base, you should be instead focusing on how to rebuild the economy where opportunities exist. So manufacturing jobs are lost overseas and you have a bunch of automakers out of work: retrain them.

    Going against the grain could do more harm than good when change is inevitable. You can't have American workers compete on wages with Mexican and Chinese workers without paying for it somehow. So why compete directly? Focus on America's strengths: education, ingenuity, high-ticket technology-driven products and services (and resources). It's often necessary to give up the ghost with rapid and disruptive change. The global economy has changed even more so than the shift that happened post-WWII. You can't do business as usual. You need to innovate and move on. When the likes of China and India get wealthier, they're going to demand more sophisticated products and services that they can't yet produce themselves, and they currently need a whole shitload of products to build their infrastructure. There are already signs of this. Demand for natural resources, for example, and an increased demand for American cultural products.

    Wake up. They're capitalist in nature. That's why they're growing so fast.

    One of the most important factors of a stable society is a reasonable wealth disparity. The overall level of wealth seems not to matter so much when the disparity is out of whack.

    You know what? Beggars can't be choosers. What's frustrating about American politics is that both sides of the aisle seem pretty much bang-on about how serious things are, but they never fail to do far to little about it.

    Your triage analogy suggests that there are a number of separate entities with problems of varying severity. This is misleading. America as a nation is a single entity with a host of problems happening at the same time. When a single patient has serious issues, it makes sense to prioritize in order of risk/payoff, but in many cases, you need to handle all the problems within the same window of treatment: because the problems affect the same system, and the problems often influence one another.

    Simply reducing spending is not going to be enough. It would have to be too extreme for it to actually be meaningful. An extremist like Ron Paul has demonstrated that. He wants to take $1 trillion out of the feeble economy by next year. That's like drawing too much blood out of a patient when they're too weak and doing nothing to actively replace any. Let me rephrase that: Ron Paul wants to take nearly 7% out of the (feeble) economy—from a single source—within the course of a year. And to make up for that, he is simply going to leave it to chance.

    He's a doctor, you know.

    Oh, and Cain's 9-9-9 thing is simply ridiculous.
     
  20. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    There is nothing in history that supports this. What is reasonable? Who decides? The national per capa GDP of Canada using 2010 IMF data is about $39,000. Zimbabwe is $436. Would you support a redistribution of about $19,282 of Canada's wealth per person to Zimbabwe? For "fairness", for "stability", to be "reasonable". Would you stop Canadian economic growth until Zimbabwe catches up? Is it Canada's fault Zimbabwe is experiencing no economic growth?

    I keep saying there are reasons for this, assuming it is true. I can not see your logic. My logic is simple. The profit motive in humans has been constant over time. The rich are as equally motivated to get richer today as they were 1,00o years ago. The distribution of intellect and abilities has been relatively constant over time. There are always going to be smarter or more motivated people, when people achieve a certain level of success their motivations change. There should be a natural churning in economic status. When these processes get distorted, what is at the root of the distortion? The "rules of the game". Who controls the "rules of the game". Governments. Government can and does rig the game. I want government to be neutral. Do you? Or, do you want the government to pick the winners of your choice, at the expense of others?

    Perhaps the word is not perfect, but I think of triage being applicable in the circumstance faced by the US.

    This may be true, however start with...spending....

    Most states have a sales tax, personal income tax rate and business income tax rate. Many countries have a national sales tax. Is your comment just a reflexive response? Have you taken a serious look at his plan?