What is fair? (in Debates)


QBRanger February 8 2012 9:44 AM EST

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.ラbut millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?

Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their moneyラpaying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollarsラmust then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?

Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?

Is it fair that after the first three years of Obamanomics, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and some 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007?

Is it fair that roughly 88% of political contributions from supposedly impartial network television reporters, producers and other employees in 2008 went to Democrats?

Is it fair that the three counties with America's highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?

Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industryラwhich provides at least 10 times as much energyラpays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is "subsidized"?

Is it fair that those who work full-time jobs (and sometimes more) to make ends meet have to pay taxes to support up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who don't work?

Is it fair that those who took out responsible mortgages and pay them each month have to see their tax dollars used to subsidize those who acted recklessly, greedily and sometimes deceitfully in taking out mortgages they now can't afford to repay?

Is it fair that thousands of workers won't have jobs because the president sided with environmentalists and blocked the shovel-ready Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama's largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees on their investments in renewable energy projects that went bust?

Is it fair that federal employees receive benefits that are nearly 50% higher than those of private-sector workers whose taxes pay their salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?

Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?

Is it fair that nearly four out of 10 American households now pay no federal income tax at allラa number that has risen every year under Mr. Obama?

Is it fair that Boeing, a private company, was threatened by a federal agency when it sought to add jobs in a right-to-work state rather than in a forced-union state?

Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkidsラwho never voted for Mr. Obamaラwill have to pay off the $5 trillion of debt accumulated over the past four years, without any benefits to them?

Quyen February 8 2012 9:57 AM EST

Anti obama post?

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] February 8 2012 10:00 AM EST

Seems the top 1% also only pay about 22% of total federal taxes while owning 42% of wealth and 73% of financial assets, no doesnt seem quite fair.

QBRanger February 8 2012 10:30 AM EST

Did they not earn their wealth?

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 8 2012 10:40 AM EST

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

This seems like a very skewed way of saying it. I would completely expect that the more capitalist you make a country the more that the rich are going to have the burden of paying for the government. Afterall the whole point is to get as much money as possible. In a more socialist economy the rich are not going to be absurdly rich but instead only moderately rich and thus they won't be holding all the money with which to support the government.

QBRanger February 8 2012 10:42 AM EST

Agreed,

How much more is "fair"? It is not like the rich get off easy compared to every other country in the world.

And the US is not the only capitalist country in the world. We are just the best at it.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 10:43 AM EST

Define 'fair'.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 10:44 AM EST

Did they not earn their wealth?

Can you earn an inheritance?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 10:51 AM EST

Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkidsラwho never voted for Mr. Obamaラ

Is it fair that my kids and grandkids will never get free school milk any more? As Thatcher scrapped that in the 80's before I could even vote for her?

Is it fair that one of the richest people in the UK (with ᆪ161M) won it on the lottery for only a ᆪ1 stake?

Lochnivar February 8 2012 11:10 AM EST

What on earth ever lead you to expect life to be fair?

QBRanger February 8 2012 11:14 AM EST

Can you earn an inheritance?

No, but the person who left it to you did. And that person paid taxes on all that money they earned.

Is it fair to double tax people? That is what the inheritance tax is.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 11:16 AM EST

Is it fair you've inherated a fortune made from slave labour? Or martial might from the dark ages? Or child labour from overseas?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 11:17 AM EST

(General 'you' there, not aimed at anyone in particular! :P)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 11:18 AM EST

Is it fair you were born into royalty and the priviledged elite?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 11:21 AM EST

Is it fair that large pharmacuticals don't fund the creation of cures, becuase it won't make them as much profit?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 11:25 AM EST

Is if fair for the Chariman of a Bank that failed in the banking crisis, and had to be bailed out with public money, receives a ᆪ1M+ 'bonus' on top of his salary, for letting the bank fail?

Given a bonus for failing at your job. The epitome of fair, right?

Is it fair, for the privatised Rail industry to give out bonuses, when the service they provide is getting worse?

Is it fair for the privatley owned London Undergound to get rid off 600 'unneccesary' staff, only to advertise amassive recruitment drive 6 months later for 300 jobs.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 8 2012 11:32 AM EST

If that flat tax thread wasn't trolling. This new thread is. =/ I'll do these in order.
1) No*
2) Yes.
3) Yes.
4) Yes, they are the president's kids. SS in public schools would be awful in so many, maybe funny, ways.
5) Good one. Have a right proper debate there. Not really, but some can be pigs. Sure wish the super rich got taxed more on that and let the poor keep more for burial fees.
6) No.
7) You can't blame that on him anymore. Couldn't in the first place.
8) Maybe? Don't know where that one is heading other than imposing on media corps. Or that the republican crop was just as crazy then as they are now.
9) No.
10) Yes. Erin Brockovich save you child.
11) Yes. As those same full times would need that income if they were to get fired. Once you get down to the numbers games it's not as much as you seem to believe.
12) That's a mighty red fish you got there.
13) Yes and how long would those men keep their jobs or be away from their family hmm? Have just as many jobs to fill transporting the crude the usual way. And! The terrorist won't have a new target.
14) No. Though how many is some?
15) No* What jobs we talking here? Some jobs put lives at risk and some times private sector wipe their hinds with your 401k.
16) Nope. It's a crazy unsupervised system. See that World News were 20 million is being stolen from tax payers with fake fake limbs? Crazy I tell you.
17) No. Unions can be quite unreasonable. Still, glad we have some.
18) Can't answer that when coupled with such false assumptions. Will be years before anyone gets a handle on that. The poor got poorer and the rich got richer. What is unfair is that many got away with the gold.
19) Can we get two links? We can debate the pros and cons then. Til then gets the Maybe stamp.
20) Heck no! You are right! Fanny, Macky, Citi, Skankie, all should have went belly up and gutted! It's the American way! A hex on that handsome, despicable black man for being such a crafty real estate con agent before his term. A hex I say! -- Is that the fair answer you want? =/

Hey, hey. I got a question for you. Is life fair?

It is not like the rich get off easy compared to every other country in the world.
Bonk.
We are just the best at it.
Which answers 1,2,3,6,7,9,-nvm I'm 5 yrs old and that rant was loaded with fallacies. You should move to texas and become a sharpshooter. ;)

QBRanger February 8 2012 11:50 AM EST

Gun

Thank you for your honest responses. No sarcasm meant.

Hey, hey. I got a question for you. Is life fair?

No, but you, in American, have a chance to change your station in life. To forge your own destiny.

Of course life in itself is not fair. But life is also what you make out of it.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 11:55 AM EST

No one's defined 'fair' yet.

Until that happens we can't really have a debate about this at all.

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 8 2012 11:56 AM EST

s it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their moneyラpaying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollarsラmust then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?


What would be fair is no inheritance of real monetary value for anyone at all.

BestNUB February 8 2012 12:02 PM EST

I am currently participating in an intramural basketball tournament at my university. We are doing quite well (with a record of 2-0 so far). The other day, I decided to scope out the competition. One of the teams comprised of Clemson Football players and Jamie Harper, a PROFESSIONAL football player for the Tennessee Titans, who is currently taking classes to complete his degree (he left school early to enter the 2011 draft). So yes, life isn't fair. I have learned to accept it.

QBRanger February 8 2012 12:04 PM EST

What would be fair is no inheritance of real monetary value for anyone at all.

Funny, I feel the exact opposite.

The money someone earned has already been taxed. If you take it all away, is that just another tax on money already taxed?

And the ownership of land has been one of the main reasons countries show growth.

Do you propose to confiscate everything someone owns when they die? Like farms that have been passed from generation to generation? Or factories?

Imagine all the people that would be put out of work if the government takes Microsoft away from Gates when he dies. Or at least his stock which is considerable and a huge voting share. I think they would run it into the ground.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 12:08 PM EST

No, but you, in American, have a chance to change your station in life. To forge your own destiny.


So glad you said that, because in the US this statement appears to be less true than in other developed nations.

Basically the socio-economic status of the parents has more of an impact on the socio-economic status of the children in the US than elsewhere. Ironic, considering most Americans believe the opposite to be true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socio-economic_mobility_in_the_United_States


Lord Bob February 8 2012 12:26 PM EST

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?
Yes.

Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.ラbut millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?
Did you need to bash Obama to address education, or is that just because you wanted to?

How are millions of Americans denied "free choice?" If they have the money, they can do what Obama does (still not sure why he was dragged into this) and pay for a private school. For the vast majority of the people, those who can't afford private education, we have the public school system. Take that away, and you keep the poor down forever.

Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their money ラ paying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollars ラ must then pay an additional estate tax of 35%
Absolutely. They're dead. They don't need that money anymore, and massive handouts to rich kids who didn't earn it, but just inherited it by virtue of birth makes my stomach turn.

Actually, I take it back. It's not fair. Place an exemption of 10 million, then tax the rest at 90%. There, now it's fair.

..the first three years of Obamanomics..
Oh, knock it off already! You're not even trying to engage us in a civilized conversation with this mess. All you're doing is trolling.

I'll try to do the rest later. At this point I just can't take anything else written here seriously.

QBRanger February 8 2012 12:33 PM EST

Oh, knock it off already! You're not even trying to engage us in a civilized conversation with this mess. All you're doing is trolling.

Actually that was directly from a WSJ article. Obamanomics is killing us. Or do you still, after 3 years of an Obama administration with 2 years of a complete Democratic majority and 9 months of a supermajority, blame Bush? If so, whey does Obama take charge of the economy? For years after he leaves and the next guy takes over?

How are millions of Americans denied "free choice?" If they have the money, they can do what Obama does (still not sure why he was dragged into this) and pay for a private school. For the vast majority of the people, those who can't afford private education, we have the public school system. Take that away, and you keep the poor down forever.

Which is why I and most Republicans are for vouchers and school choice. So the rich do not have the only opportunity to send their kids to the best schools. Something the teachers union and therefore the Democrats (who get tons of money from unions) do not want.

Watching the movie Waiting for Superman was quite an eye opener for me. It was biased, of course, but spelled out a lot of why education in the US for the money is among the worst in the civilized world.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 12:43 PM EST

Actually that was directly from a WSJ article.
Another Rupert Murdoch smear rag. Why do you continue to post this crap, knowing full well what it will lead to?

BestNUB February 8 2012 12:43 PM EST

So obviously I am not well versed in political commentary but what's so bad with the economy so far? I read somewhere that the unemployment rate is the lowest since the first few months Obama took office. In addition by first hand experience, it's much easier to find a job now than it was when I graduated May of 2010.

QBRanger February 8 2012 12:53 PM EST

Why do you continue to post this crap, knowing full well what it will lead to?

Because I read and see Obama and his cronies railing on this "fairness" issue. And I would really like to know what fair means to Democrats.

The questions posed in this article are the exact same ones I have asked myself for up to 3 years now. It just seems to be hypocritical to ask for fairness for some and not others.

I just wanted a real explanation on how that is fair to the "rich" and successful. Or is fairness only for the less fortunate or less involved or less driven?

Lord Bob February 8 2012 1:16 PM EST

There are ways to politely ask the opposition for their input and opinions. Attacking Obama again (again!), or using phrases like "socialist Sweden" (conservatives use the word socialist as a slur) and "Obamanomics" is the wrong way to do it.

I have not read the rest of your initial post because of its ugly tone. If there are specific questions you would like to ask without adding any attacks or divisive language, I'd be happy to answer them in a more positive manner. There may be some stuff in there that we agree on.

Speaking of explanations, I'm still waiting on a response to that HSA thing I posted on your other thread. I'll reiterate that I wasn't arguing against your position, but looking for a conservative rebuttal to the criticisms posted on Wiki, for my own information.

QBRanger February 8 2012 1:27 PM EST

Look at the pros in the Wiki for the appropriate response.

If you wish to phrase your questions about HSAs in an independent form, we can have a discussion. But a copy/paste from the wiki is not the way to have a productive chat.

QBRanger February 8 2012 1:30 PM EST

I will address this:

In testimony before the US Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Health in 2006, advocacy group Commonwealth Fund said that all evidence to date shows that health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans worsen, rather than improve, the US health system's problems.[24]

The Commonwealth Fund is a private U.S. foundation (specifically, a think tank[1]) whose stated purpose is "to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency", especially for those they consider society's most vulnerable (e.g., low-income Americans and the elderly). It is active in a number of areas. It is currently lead by a progressive economist.

Since the Commonwealth Fund is led by a progressive, I would take most things it states with a grain of salt. Especially since progressives dislike HSAs. It is quite easy to fudge the figures to fit a predetermined conclusion you already have made.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 1:38 PM EST

Look at the pros in the Wiki for the appropriate response.
I did. Didn't really seem to address those points directly.

But a copy/paste from the wiki is not the way to have a productive chat.
Perhaps you still misunderstand. I am not looking to have a discussion, nor a productive chat, with you about HSAs. I am simply looking for an answer. That is not a discussion. It is a request for information.

But now I believe you are simply unwilling to comply with my request for your input, so I'll stop pursuing the matter.

QBRanger February 8 2012 1:46 PM EST

So what exactly is your question LB? You cut and paste a lot from the wiki. What do you wish for me to address specifically instead of the whole paragraph of which some included left leaning propaganda.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 1:54 PM EST

I was asking you to directly refute the points made, if you are able. I know it was left-wing. That's why I was asking you, a conservative, to answer. The entire point was to hear a conservative response to those criticisms. I don't know how to be any clearer on this.

I quoted directly from Wiki rather than posting it in my own words for the reason posted on the other thread.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 2:00 PM EST

But a copy/paste from the wiki is not the way to have a productive chat.
I'll also leave you to figure out what is so hilarious about this statement. (hint: look at your first post)

Lochnivar February 8 2012 2:06 PM EST

In the interest of fairness can we make a trade?
Flat tax rate
for
Equality in education (good schools for all, good nutrition, purely merit based post-secondary admissions, etc)

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 8 2012 2:31 PM EST

Based on some of the unicode character errors in the original post, I can guess that this entire post was copy/pasted from somewhere. Can I ask the source of this?

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 8 2012 2:35 PM EST

Nevermind, a google search came up with hundreds of thousands of results. This is one of those email forwards that possibly originated from the WSJ:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577206980068367936.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

http://roanokeslant.blogspot.com/2012/02/obamas-fairness-jihad-not-fair.html

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2012/02/07/a-fairness-quiz-for-the-president/

http://rickysplace.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/fairness/

Lord Bob February 8 2012 3:03 PM EST

This is one of those email forwards that possibly originated from the WSJ
He stated this was from WSJ a few posts above.

QBRanger February 8 2012 3:13 PM EST

Flat tax rate
for
Equality in education (good schools for all, good nutrition, purely merit based post-secondary admissions, etc)

That would be a grand idea but....

How can we get equality in education when the teachers union opposes vouchers and school choice. A union that gives to Democrats. We spend more per pupil than most countries with worse results than most.

Good nutrition, ok who decides what is good?

Merit based post-secondary admissions? Yep. Get rid of affirmative action! However, kids from the inner city have a hard time getting good schools and teachers. See my point above in this post as to one huge reason why.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 3:33 PM EST

How can we get equality in education when the teachers union opposes vouchers and school choice. A union that gives to Democrats. We spend more per pupil than most countries with worse results than most.

I didn't mention republicans or democrats, I'd appreciate them not being brought into the matter. Vouchers and school choice might work in cities, but in rural Missouri I can see there being serious issues. Unless you are saying it is 'fair' that where you were born should determine such things?

Good nutrition, ok who decides what is good?

You're a doctor aren't you? Isn't there a general consensus on what nutrients are required for human development? Vitamins, minerals, caloric intake, etc? I'm pretty sure there is (at least generally). I'm also pretty sure that poor nutrition leads to poor performance, so if we want to be fair it has to be addressed. Sending a half starved malnourished child to the same school doesn't in and of itself mean they have a 'fair' shot now does it.

Merit based post-secondary admissions? Yep. Get rid of affirmative action! However, kids from the inner city have a hard time getting good schools and teachers. See my point above in this post as to one huge reason why.

It will also get rid of legacy cases and people getting in on the back of a cheque.

It is going to cost to have a universally effective education system but since education has a high correlation with earnings it has to be done so we can fairly tax people based solely on their hard work and productivity.

Just out of curiousity, have you ever met anyone who ever went into teaching 'for the money'? I haven't. I wonder if we'd get better teachers if this were the case (or if we'd get the same manipulative crooks the financial sector and politics seem to be hoarding at the moment).

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 8 2012 3:35 PM EST

How can we get equality in education when the teachers union opposes vouchers and school choice. A union that gives to Democrats. We spend more per pupil than most countries with worse results than most.
Are vouchers the best option? If so, why exactly? I think the best people to decide education policy would be teachers and policy-makers with experience in education.

Good nutrition, ok who decides what is good?
You're a freaking doctor Ranger, why are you asking questions like this? There are nutritionists, there are people who their entire field is dedicated to learning about nutrition and what are the best foods to eat. They publish books, they give talks, they even have TV shows. You could easily put together a panel of these people to give their expert opinions on what they think would be good nutrition choices for kids given a selection of food.

QBRanger February 8 2012 3:43 PM EST

You miss my point Verifex.

If we let others decide what we give our kids does that mean if you give them a soda you are a bad parent worthy of a fine or jail?

Do we take the choices away from parents and give them to a central processing agency?

That is what I mean by who decides? The government or the parents of the kids?

Are vouchers the best option? If so, why exactly? I think the best people to decide education policy would be teachers and policy-makers with experience in education.

You need to watch the movie Waiting for Superman. Vouchers and school choice make it so schools have to get better to keep the kids and get the federal monies. Right now, what incentive is there for schools to try to do better? What incentive is there for teachers to try to do better when it is much harder to fire a teacher than have a doctors medical license revoked?

The teachers have one of the strongest, if not the strongest union. Why do they want choice when it means they get less forced dues? I would do the same if I were them.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 3:49 PM EST

My point about nutrition wasn't particularly geared towards choice, more towards accessibility.

Poor people have worse nutrition (generally) and someone being raised by a crack-head single mom is likely not getting a healthy breakfast. This is detrimental to their 'fair' shot. This is what I was addressing, not arresting parents for giving their kids a pop.

And you didn't address how the voucher system helps in sparsely populated areas which lack the numbers to support multiple schools.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 8 2012 3:52 PM EST

If we let others decide what we give our kids does that mean if you give them a soda you are a bad parent worthy of a fine or jail?

Do we take the choices away from parents and give them to a central processing agency?

That is what I mean by who decides? The government or the parents of the kids?

Am I missing something here? Who said anything about taking parents choice away here? I thought we were talking about making nutritional meals available in schools? Last time I checked, kids can bring their lunch from home, or get it at the school.

And honestly, I think most parents have no freaking clue what to give their kids, so in those cases it's great that they can hopefully rely on the school to give them nutritional meals. If some parents think that nutritious meals consist of all Twinkies all the time, then you have to pack your own kids meal. Ranger why are you being so obtuse on this? It's not like the topic of making school lunches more nutritional is some seriously contentious topic (outside of lobbyist efforts to push for un-nutritional food being available in schools).

QBRanger February 8 2012 4:04 PM EST

Just out of curiousity, have you ever met anyone who ever went into teaching 'for the money'? I haven't. I wonder if we'd get better teachers if this were the case (or if we'd get the same manipulative crooks the financial sector and politics seem to be hoarding at the moment).

Actually quite a few people I know go into teaching for a combination of decent pay, excellent benefits, tenure after 3 years, and summers and all holidays off.

But teachers as a whole are not bad people. It is their union that is preventing choice and competition.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 4:05 PM EST

Actually Fex, I'd add school breakfasts too...

QBRanger February 8 2012 4:10 PM EST

My point about nutrition was in response to Loch saying we should make good nutrition a part of any flat tax compromise.

If Loch meant only in school, IE schools serving only healthy meals, one can look to the experience LA has with that to see just how successful a program forcing kids to eat healthy will be.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 4:19 PM EST

If Loch meant only in school, IE schools serving only healthy meals, one can look to the experience LA has with that to see just how successful a program forcing kids to eat healthy will be.

You are right, one poor attempt at doing something means it will never work. Thank god the Wright brothers weren't so pessimistic or visiting my family in England would take a couple of months.

QBRanger February 8 2012 4:22 PM EST

You are right, one poor attempt at doing something means it will never work. Thank god the Wright brothers weren't so pessimistic or visiting my family in England would take a couple of months.

While it was, yes, 1 attempt, it was an entire school district. 650,000 meals daily:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/01/19/lausd-students-roundly-reject-healthier-school-lunch-menu/

If that is not a large enough sample size, I don't know what is.

You can offer healthy food, certainly I agree, but getting kids to eat it is not easy. I have a 10 and 6 year old and it is very hard to get them to eat healthy. Imagine when parents are not there or even absent from their lives.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 4:23 PM EST

Anyway, we are diverting out attention into specifics.

The basic point of the trade I was offering was to see if you were willing to endorse the spending (by the government) and implicit redistribution of wealth in order to provide every child the same chance at benefiting equally from a pure flat tax.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 4:27 PM EST

If that is not a large enough sample size, I don't know what is.

It was one program. ONE.

If someone conjures up a cure for cancer that doesn't work it won't matter how many you test it on, it still doesn't prove that cancer is incurable.

But yeah, let's feed the kids oil-dripping-salt-crusted fries every day with a chocolate bar and pop because the alternative might be difficult to work out.

QBRanger February 8 2012 4:28 PM EST

The basic point of the trade I was offering was to see if you were willing to endorse the spending (by the government) and implicit redistribution of wealth in order to provide every child the same chance at benefiting equally from a pure flat tax.

That is not what I got out of your proposed trade. I would never want MORE government spending as that is not needed to better our education system. We spend one of the highest amounts of money per child and yet get crappy results.

Time for school choice. Time to get rid of tenure for teachers and enact merit based pay. Time to get rid of the teachers unions and their resistance to progress.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 8 2012 4:30 PM EST

If Loch meant only in school, IE schools serving only healthy meals, one can look to the experience LA has with that to see just how successful a program forcing kids to eat healthy will be.

Come on Ranger, stop trolling us with your silly replies. You don't seriously think schools should offer unhealthy foods do you? This "playing devil's advocate" only goes so far before it's in the land of the absurdity.

The word "forcing" seems misplaced in your reply though, if kids want to eat unhealthy stuff, they can get it from home.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 4:37 PM EST

For the third and final time, what about places to small for your school choice option to work?

I went to school in the country, 45min bus ride to get there (school bus, obviously no public transport) are you saying two schools could operate and compete in such an environment?

Oh, and this may not have been clear, but post-secondary fees get covered by the government too... ie nobody gets ahead just because they have a wealthy family.

You have to decide at what point you want to give people a fair chance at reaching the top of the heap.
When they are born? "Hey, you're alive good luck"
When they finish highschool?
When they finish university/college?
How about age 30?

Since education is one of the stronger predictors of earnings in the US I figured that people should have an equal shot at that... this requires a certain redistribution of wealth.
That said, they aren't being given money, just a better chance to earn it. Shouldn't people be rewarded for their hard work?

QBRanger February 8 2012 4:41 PM EST

Quit saying I am trolling if it is not the reply you want to read or if it is not the "PC" reply that should be given.

You don't seriously think schools should offer unhealthy foods do you? This "playing devil's advocate" only goes so far before it's in the land of the absurdity.

This is yet again another straw man discussion twisting my words around. I think schools should give more healthy alternatives, however reality states that kids will not eat such fare. I am not saying give them a lard sandwich with grease dressing.

But what about a hamburger? French fries? I have no problems with my kids eating such fare. But the LA school district did. They tried to give the kids bean burgers and the kids threw them out.

Pizza? Some say it is ok, others say it is junk food. Who decides? Another government bureaucracy?

It is quite funny as hardly anyone in CB listened to me when we were having our health care discussion as I am a physician, but now I have to listen to nutritionists when we are discussing healthy lunches.

So which is it? Do we listen to our experts or listen to government bureaucrats?

QBRanger February 8 2012 4:48 PM EST

For the third and final time, what about places to small for your school choice option to work?

Sorry to say I have no experience in how good or bad such schools are. A lot matters with the teachers. But throwing more money at schools cannot be the answer. I have no idea what to do in isolated cases as the one in which you grew up.

What exactly was so bad about the school you went to? Did it not give you a good education? Did the teachers not care about the students like in some inner city schools? I would need more details on what is exactly so bad about the type of school you went to.

You have to decide at what point you want to give people a fair chance at reaching the top of the heap.

I prefer to have everyone regardless of age, sex etc.. to have a fair shot. But we all know that having a college degree means more to earning potential than not.

And I have no problem with that. Supply and demand. There is a lot of supply of uneducated laborers but less of a supply of college educated professionals.

That said, they aren't being given money, just a better chance to earn it. Shouldn't people be rewarded for their hard work?

I keep typing this. I agree completely. However, the hard work of a laborer is different than the hard work of going to college and getting a degree in something that is useful, ie not art history.

And becoming needed/specialized so you will have more chance at a higher paying job. Such is life.

I get paid for what I do for the reasons above. There are only 1,000 people in the US that can do what I can. Via education, hard worked, experience etc..

Lochnivar February 8 2012 5:10 PM EST

>Sorry to say I have no experience in how good or bad such schools are. A lot matters with the teachers. But throwing more money at schools cannot be the answer. I have no idea what to do in isolated cases as the one in which you grew up.

My school was fine, but of course I didn't go to school in the US, so it is apples and oranges. However, if there was a problem I fail to see how a voucher would have helped if the next school was an hour and a half away and sucked just as much.

I prefer to have everyone regardless of age, sex etc.. to have a fair shot. But we all know that having a college degree means more to earning potential than not.

Right, it does mean more to earning potential. Since not everyone has equal access to those degrees (independent of their abilities) then there isn't equal access to earning. I'm suggesting that gets changed.


I keep typing this. I agree completely. However, the hard work of a laborer is different than the hard work of going to college and getting a degree in something that is useful, ie not art history.

I agree, you take a degree in art history you shouldn't make as much as a nuclear physicist or an oncologist. There are also trades that pay very well. Electricians and plumbers make good coin.


There are 10,500 oncologists (averaging $285,000/yr) in the US compared to the millions of minimum wage worker. How many of those minimum wage workers really had a fair shot at becoming oncologists?

Maybe instead of locking people up at the highest rate in the world the US should educate their young (oh, and isn't incarceration a redistribution of wealth?).

QBRanger February 8 2012 5:21 PM EST

How many of those minimum wage workers really had a fair shot at becoming oncologists?

I don't know. How many have the desire and drive to go to college for 4 years, then medical school for 4 years, then residency for 4-5 years and then practice for another 4 or so to start making that money.

All the while getting in debt going to medical school (average student loan is over 150k for medical school).

All the while going many sleepless nights on call as an intern and resident continuing this cycle throughout your practicing years.

Working on average every 3rd weekend missing your kids school and other activities. Worrying about how to stay in business with all the cuts to Medicare with Obamacare coming online in a couple years.

Loch, I really do not know how many people have a shot at becoming or wanting to become an oncologist.

Lochnivar February 8 2012 5:27 PM EST

Loch, I really do not know how many people have a shot at becoming or wanting to become an oncologist.

Fair enough. The difference I see here is that you seem to attribute the main cause of failure to achieve that level of employment to a lack of drive and commitment whereas I feel it is a lack of opportunity.

If we implemented a flat tax and provided greater opportunity do you think that the numbers would go up? The study I read said there was a pending shortage of oncologists. Perhaps keeping more of what they make and not getting a massive debt from school would cure this...

Lochnivar February 8 2012 5:29 PM EST

... oh and of course having this path open to more people would surely help too.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 5:49 PM EST

If we let others decide what we give our kids does that mean if you give them a soda you are a bad parent worthy of a fine or jail?

In the UK we have 'Healthy Schools' program that does indeed decide what children should be eating at school (among other things)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Healthy_Schools_Programme

Just google Jamie Oliver for his part in banishing burgers from schools.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/school-dinners

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 5:52 PM EST

but getting kids to eat it is not easy

Actually, it kinda is...

When around 70% of your students are on 'free school meals' due to povety, and they get their lunches paid for, by the school, they will eat what the school provides (and it does provide choice), or not eat at all.

Mostly, the kids all eat what the school provides, and want more or get angsty when the choice they wanted has run out.

QBRanger February 8 2012 5:54 PM EST

Fair enough. The difference I see here is that you seem to attribute the main cause of failure to achieve that level of employment to a lack of drive and commitment whereas I feel it is a lack of opportunity.

I am 100% against limiting opportunities. I am 100% against making it so everyone has the same outcome.

If there are better ways to give opportunities, I would most of the time agree. I would need to see the details of course.

If we implemented a flat tax and provided greater opportunity do you think that the numbers would go up? The study I read said there was a pending shortage of oncologists.

No. Being a physician is not for everyone. It takes a lot of sacrifice in terms of money (in the beginning), time and many sleepless nights. Less physicians I know advise people to go into medicine as it is becoming more bureaucratic and less fulfilling. The paperwork needed to get paid by everyone from Medicare to private insurance eats profits. And reimbursements are threatened to go down every year until Congress enacts the "doc fix".

I know many primary care docs who make less than 100k a year and work over 80 hours a week. I know of at least 5 docs that retired early due to Obamacare. That is not a political statement, just a generic statement of fact.

When Obamacare gets full enacted, doctors will see less freedom in how they practice and get paid less. Why would anyone want to go into medicine given all the hoops you have to go through to get there and then find out you have more hoops.

Yes, there will be some docs who go into medicine for purely altruistic reasons. But too few to care for our aging population adequately.

QBRanger February 8 2012 5:55 PM EST

When around 70% of your students are on 'free school meals' due to povety, and they get their lunches paid for, by the school, they will eat what the school provides (and it does provide choice), or not eat at all.

Actually in LA, quite a few kids did not eat at all or ate from a black market that popped up selling chips and soft drinks.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 5:57 PM EST

however reality states that kids will not eat such fare. I am not saying give them a lard sandwich with grease dressing

A symptom of America. I refer back to Jamie Oliver. He runs a show for kids, where he shows them exactly how chicken nuggets are made, and makes some in fromt of them.

Then offers them to the kids to eat.

*Every* time he has done this, the kids 'eew' and squeal during the process and refuse to eat the nuggets at the end.

Until America.

Where the kids 'eew'ed and squaled as much as the rest. Then at the end voraciously gobbled up all the nuggets.

He was shocked to say the least.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 5:59 PM EST

Where the kids 'eew'ed and squaled as much as the rest. Then at the end voraciously gobbled up all the nuggets.
I watched that video and was immediately hungry for chicken nuggets afterward.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 6:01 PM EST

Actually in LA, quite a few kids did not eat at all or ate from a black market that popped up selling chips and soft drinks.

And in other schools in the UK, parents were seen smuggling burgers through school fences to give to kids.

That doesn't happen at mine.

And the amount of pack lunches bought form home is miniscule. The kids who pay, they buy the school meals.

There is no 'tuck shop' at my school (unless there's an event run for charity / vocational business courses).

99% of the kids in my school eat the school dinners.

Kitchen staff employed and regulated by the Local Authority.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 6:01 PM EST

I watched that video and was immediately hungry for chicken nuggets afterward.

I eat donner kebabs. Sober. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 6:04 PM EST

Why would anyone want to go into medicine given all the hoops you have to go through to get there and then find out you have more hoops.

I donno. Maybe their raison d'etre is to help/heal people, regardless of the red tape or pay they receive?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 6:10 PM EST

(Altruism has nothing to do with the above. ;) I'm not talking about any Mother Teresa's here!)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 6:14 PM EST

Third! :D (I do so wish we had an edit button /sigh)

Maybe they just flat out enjoy medicine.

QBRanger February 8 2012 6:19 PM EST

Maybe they just flat out enjoy medicine.

Certainly.

I do. But one has to be able to balance income with personal time for family. And one has to be able to pay the bills and try to have some idea of what the future will bring. And in the US one has to be able to pay back the hundred of thousands in student loans one typically has to take to go to medical school.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2012 6:32 PM EST

Unless daddy paid for all those, of course.

QBRanger February 8 2012 6:42 PM EST

Not many people I know had "Daddy" pay for medical school. Most took out loans.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 6:53 PM EST

And what about those that did get "Daddy" to pay for it? How fair is that?

QBRanger February 8 2012 6:56 PM EST

I would assume their "Daddy" worked hard to get his money and is enjoying the fruits of his/her labor. His/her hard work and sacrifice to get where he or she is.

I really do not worry about what others have and if that is "fair" enough. I worry about what I have and if I can provide for my family. How I can be more successful and become a better person. If someone else hits the lottery, invents the newest cure for cancer, or manages to hit more home runs than anyone who ever lived I could care less. Great for them and all they can or want to do with their money.

But to say that have to pay more since they are successful is, IMO, very wrong.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 7:04 PM EST

I would assume their "Daddy" worked hard to get his money and is enjoying the fruits of his/her labor.
The kids didn't work for it. They got it by virtue of birth.

I really do not worry about what others have and if that is "fair" enough. I worry about what I have and if I can provide for my family.
Oddly enough, the rest of us don't worry about what you have. We worry about ourselves too. And some of us worry about others who may be one paycheck away from disaster.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 7:05 PM EST

By the way, have you figured out why you are a complete hypocrite over the Wiki thing yet, or do you need me to point it out to you?

QBRanger February 8 2012 7:08 PM EST

By the way, have you figured out why you are a complete hypocrite over the Wiki thing yet, or do you need me to point it out to you?

Nope, not at all.

I was posting from an article to incite discussion.

You were posting from a wiki asking me to explain something in where there was no direct question.

Different scenarios entirely.

And yet, I still have no idea what exact question you were asking about HSAs other than copying and pasting a wiki article about the cons of something.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 7:21 PM EST

Nope, Ranger, from your own words:
I just wanted a real explanation on how that is fair to the "rich" and successful.

I posted a passage from Wiki, asking you for an explanation from a conservative point of view.

You posted an article from WSJ, asking us for an explanation from a non-conservative point of view. Then slammed me for quoting rather than writing it myself. Hypocrisy.

Yet another example of your infamous "it's only OK when I do it!" mentality.

But you are partially right. It's not entirely the same thing. I posted the Wiki text in an honest attempt to learn more about the Right's position on that issue. You posted the WSJ text to start an argument. You're right, there is a difference.

QBRanger February 8 2012 7:45 PM EST

No,

I posted this thread to see how others feel about what "fairness" is.

You think you can read my mind, and you do so poorly. Very poorly in fact.

Lord Bob February 8 2012 7:58 PM EST

I don't think so. Every time you post one of these divisive, far-right smear articles, the end result here on CB is the same. You're not a stupid man, and I've never accused you of being one. You HAVE to know how these things are going to turn out by now. Unless you keep posting this junk looking for a different outcome, you're posting it knowing full well that it will lead to an argument.

If I'm wrong, tell me, what did you expect differently this time?

QBRanger February 8 2012 8:06 PM EST

As I know right wing ideology very well and am not well versed on the left wing stuff, I thought some people (which some have) would post reasonable responses to the questions posed in the OP.

Some have, others have not.

lostling February 8 2012 8:08 PM EST

life is unfair :) governments generally cater to the majority of its people. which obviously is not the top 10%.

its not about equality its about winning votes

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 8 2012 8:12 PM EST

Continuing from what I posted last night. My view on inheritance and fairness is that as long as it exists you cannot talk about real fairness.

Inheritance is inherently unfair. What you receive as inheritance is not something you ever earned. It is something someone else earned and they happened to be related to you in some form. Even things like winning the lotto can be considered something that you earned yourself. You put yourself into the contest and came out the winner. Inheritance on the other hand is not like that at all. It could be fair if whenever someone died their monetary belongings were seized and distributed equally to everyone. Like you get a check in the mail for $60 inheritance and saying such and such died here is the distributed inheritance.

Truthfully though I think that the government should just take all that and then sell off the assets (land and belongings of no use to the government) and this way they could improve things for later generations (education). Eliminating it entirely would make a fair step towards making things fair and having everyone live based upon their own efforts. It still wouldn't be so by a long shot but it would be a good first step.

QBRanger February 8 2012 8:22 PM EST

Nat,

Do you realize what such a situation would do for the economy? Imagine someone making a family business, such as a restaurant. When they die, in your world, what would happen?

The government takes it over, sells it and keeps that money. A

Now imagine that on a much larger scale and imagine that for big companies.

Imagine if all of Steve Jobs stock went into the public/goverment's fund. If he had kids with his vision (given they would have worked with him for years) all that would be lost.

If we eliminate inheritance, we become a socialistic society PDQ.

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 8 2012 8:31 PM EST

But you can't seriously say we have equal opportunity until we do get rid of it. I would assume you would have the government give first dibs on all assets of the deceased, that is they would be able to buy it first if they wanted to. But other than that inheritance just ruins the whole ideal of equality.

Your success should be based on your success, not your father's success or your grandmother's success.

lostling February 8 2012 8:38 PM EST

plenty of things can be unfair

including

dna make up
education

if your gonna quibble about equality you should realize unless you clone people and put them in the same environment there is never going to be equality

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 8 2012 8:49 PM EST

And I would really like to know what fair means to Democrats.
We aren't democrats, we are elite anarchists for humanity too lazy and wise to be of Anonymous. Find a proper forum for if you want to find a flock of dems. ;)
Don't say you were asking for fairness after posting that tirade. Comes off as a dog wagging.... Being an email held in rather trollish regard doesn't help. Won't get into your food, drug, and blankets debate as I'm finding it just as irritably asinine as the title post.

btw I would have rented Waiting for Superman months ago if the one copy at blockbuster wasn't always out!

j'bob February 8 2012 9:00 PM EST

Natasha, I think it would be wildly UNFAIR for the government to come and decide that they have more right to whatever wealth I amass during my lifetime... my money, my property, be it intellectual or physical. Is my LIFE AND LIFE'S WORK open to Immanent Domain? When I die is everything I've worked and been taxed on already to wind up belonging to the government? Is that to be for everyone? When a poverty born man/woman pulls themselves up and works their whole life to provide for their family and wishes to leave their hardworking children a home, maybe the very home they grew up in, should the government be able to say, you didn't pay for that house, so it's ours... unless you buy it?

Taking it a giant step forward, part of the human condition often leaves one wanting to leave a legacy. To be "immortalized" through one's children and generations beyond. So if I become uber successful and have a large family in part to reach that goal of a legacy, should someone else be able to take all that away from me? Forget what my children may be entitled to for a moment, what right is there to take away MY DREAMS just because I've died. Hell, why wait until I die.... when I become old and unable to go to work every day why not just take what I've built up till then in order to make sure I don't squander what the government might get.

What about my inalienable right to MY pursuit of happiness ... which consists of leaving my hard earned wealth to the very people I love most in the world.

lostling February 8 2012 9:40 PM EST

Rights and fairness are totally different things

Sickone February 8 2012 9:48 PM EST

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Seems the top 1% also only pay about 22% of total federal taxes while owning 42% of wealth and 73% of financial assets, no doesnt seem quite fair.

Did they not earn their wealth?

Actually, no, they did not EARN their wealth.
They acquired it, certainly, but they sure as heck didn't earn it.
To REALLY earn something, you need to put something out into the world that's really worth more than you end up earning.
BANKS heavily leveraging the limits of fractional reserves certainly acquire loads upon loads of money, but they more than obviously do not actually earn any of them. That's one of the problems we have today - we have way more money than covered by any durable goods of any kind, and it's all thanks to irresponsible lending practices.

Does a pyramid scheme starter earn his wealth ?
In a twisted sort of way you could almost claim that he does, but I say no, he does not earn it, he acquires it. As in, he certainly does not do anything that would be deemed WORTHY of that amount of money.

While not generally and universally true, a large enough portion of the wealthy all across the globe (not just in the USofA) have not really earned their wealth at all - they have just (basically) stolen (in a fashion which was made LEGAL by some form of lobbying paid from their own unearned but acquired money) from a mass of other people... a large enough portion to justify the hasty generalization that no, generally peaking, the wealthy do not really deserve the money they have right now.

And it's not like taxation takes that money away - it just limits the amount of EXTRA money they can make on top of whatever it is that they ALREADY HAVE.
So, sure, it's not fair that the wealthy pay that much tax.
THEY SHOULD PAY A TRUCKLOAD MORE.

QBRanger February 8 2012 9:53 PM EST

Actually Sickone you are completely and totally wrong.

From this article: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2804431/posts

Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. They didn't inherit their wealth; they earned it. How? According to a recent survey of the top 1 percent of American earners, slightly less than 14 percent were involved in banking or finance.

Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of nonfinancial businesses. Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.

Lawyers made up slightly more than 8 percent, and engineers, scientists and computer professionals another 6.6 percent.

Sports and entertainment figures ラ the folks flying in on their private jets to express solidarity with Occupy Wall Street ラ composed almost 2 percent.

By and large, the wealthy have worked hard for their money. NYU sociologist Dalton Conley says that "higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do."

Yes, this article is from a Libertarian type site, but the facts are the facts.

Sickone February 8 2012 10:09 PM EST

And what exactly is a million dollars nowadays anyway ?
A very nice house is worth that much in many places.
Saying "millionaire" is not really much of anything.
But we're not REALLY talking about the self-made single-digit millionaires here, are we ?
No, we're talking about the triple digit millionaires and the multi-billionaires. Now, guess how many of those actually EARNED their money fair and square and recently ? You'll find the percentage to be a whole lot lower.

How high was Mitt Romney's tax burden again ? Around 15% ? And why is that ? Oh, right, because he was one of the guys who voted that capital gains should be taxed as a pittance instead of the "regular" rate. And how much of his cash is in various tax shelters and such ? Yup, a whole lot of it.
Sure, he might be only one of the top 0.1%, but if he would really pay his FAIR share of taxes (as in, a percentage of profit similar to that of a guy that earned only 200k per year and didn't try to artificially lower his tax burden by various loopholes), HIS _legally_ evaded tax burden could easily cover the same tax burden for literally thousands of other people from the opposite wealth bracket.

And again - you don't tax EXISTING wealth - you tax ADDITIONS to existing wealth.
It's not like the government is actually taking money you had away - it's just limiting how much ADDITIONAL money you can make.

How is that NOT fair ?

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 8 2012 10:13 PM EST

when discussions on fairness come up i always think of this quote:


Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
~Oscar Wilde

i truly believe that he is spot on with this one and most of us would be much worse off than we are now if life were truly fair. ; (

Sickone February 8 2012 10:14 PM EST

Either way, to clarify - the point is not that the wealthy should pay a higher tax bracket than they already are.
In fact, they probably should pay the same percentage as almost everybody else, so a LOWER percentage than they pay right now.
But then what is it then ?
It's that the LOOPHOLES THAT PERMIT PEOPLE LIKE MITT ROMNEY TO PAY TINY PERCENTAGES should be closed ASAP.

The problem is not high taxes - it's what's LEGAL from a, well, legislative standpoint, but morally speaking it's tax evasion.

Sickone February 8 2012 10:27 PM EST

Also, to further clarify - it's a HUGE mistake to directly compare "primary" tax burdens in the USA with "primary" tax burdens just about anywhere in the Euro-Zone.
The reason ? Value-Added-Tax and import duties. It basically acts like a secondary tax system, and percentage-wise it's comparative to or even higher than the average USA tax burden, and it's ON TOP of the regular primary tax burden.
The USA equivalent of sales tax is basically peanuts in comparison.
You talk about Sweden for instance ? For most goods and services, in Sweden, the VAT is 25%. Compare that to the claimed USA average tax rate of 24%, and you can easily see what I mean.

QBRanger February 8 2012 10:35 PM EST

I agree with some of your more salient points.

I think a flat tax, as I pointed out in another post, on ALL income would be the best bet for "fairness". Until the end, we had a fairly nice discussion on it.

Until different people's definition of fairness came about.

QBOddBird February 8 2012 10:37 PM EST

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Yes. That is my answer to your question. Yes.

Sickone February 8 2012 11:00 PM EST

In fact, I would consider things to be more fair in reverse - not that corporations should be considered people, but that all people should be considered corporations.
As such, there would be no more income tax at all, and it would be all replaced by a PROFIT tax (on just actual profit).
In some senses it would be what you guys already have, but it would be made much clearer, much more transparent, and much harder to avoid paying a "fair share".

Food (up to a certain upper "luxury" value limit per month), utility and similar bills (same caveat), clothes (same caveat as food, but per year), rent or mortgage (up to a certain value that would depend on location), money set aside for pension purposes (similar to the current 401k, and again, up to a certain value) house renovation after damages and other similar things (again, always up to a certain level) would all be considered REASONABLE OPERATING EXPENSES and taken out of the taxable bin completely, exempt from PROFIT taxes.

Saving money for the children's education (as long as deposited in an account that can only be used for such a purpose), purchasing equipment that can be used to enhance the efficiency of one's work, other payments for one's own education and so on and so forth (all of them again within certain limits) would be considered REASONABLE INVESTMENTS and would also be taken out of the taxable bin.

Everything above those limits would be considered a personal choice for convenience, luxury or whatnot and therefore not "excusable" from profit tax.


Take all the incoming cash from any source (it does not matter which), subtract the reasonable operating expenses and reasonable investments, THEN TAX ALL THE REMAINING AMOUNT BY A FLAT FIGURE which will be adjusted anually by the government.

These taxes would be paid automatically on a monthly basis by the employers based on estimates by the employee (rounded up), with a yearly regularization based on actual deductibility, which may give some money back to some people.


Most importantly, charitable donations would no longer reduce the actual tax one needs to pay, just the taxable amount !
Charity should no longer be used as a legal tax evasion method.

And last but not least, any and all religious organizations should LOSE THEIR TAX-EXEMPT STATUS.
If they want to not pay any taxes, they should not make any profits.

Sickone February 8 2012 11:08 PM EST

To be clear, I meant a certain percentage that would be the same regardless of amount of money taxed when I said "flat figure" in caps above.

Basically, on one hand you have all income (doesn't matter what source, could be gambling, could be honest work, could be anything, even including bank account interest and every other possible income source), on the other hand you have what can be considered reasonable expenses and investments (to avoid tax evasion), and everything that's left as a difference is considered PROFIT.
And you only tax profit. Not income.
And ALL profit would be taxed at the exact same percentage.

Then add a VAT or excise or however you wish to call it on certain classes of products - the more "luxury" it is considered, the higher the tax burden.
Oh, and legalize everything. Drugs, prostitution, you name it, all legal, all taxable. At a high VAT/excise rate too.

Obviously, neither of those would be a deductible expense, ever :P

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 8 2012 11:11 PM EST

1) Sickone is not totally wrong. Quit being unfair.
2) Right wing smear link by the first paragraph. Filled with an indeterminate number games. Then ended with the word envy. Gunny ain't eating this sammich.
3) 14%(rounding:P) is still a good deal of the pie.
4) That engineers, scientists, and computer experts combined are the minority says a lot and pops a squat on the earned point.
5) Loved the first comment down was about Paris Hilton. On that footnote, we should exemplify the movies Wall Street and Other People's Money with the 1% rather than trustfund babies.
6) Oscar Wilde is a bread helmet. :)

Nice Sickone, crazy in practice, but nice lol
Anyone else read that RIAA rage article and picture Ranger as his speech writer along the way?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 3:30 AM EST

I was posting from an article to incite discussion.

I'm sorry, but you weren't Ranger.

A couple of times I've asked to you to define 'fair', without which no meaningful discussion about your OP can be had.

This was posted only as a rant, and a seemingly anti obama one at that.

/shrug

For example, does 'fair' mean everyone is treated equally? Or does 'fair' mean that everyone is treated equally, according to their needs?

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] February 9 2012 3:58 AM EST


Is someone confusing "fair" with "just"? Fairness is a property of "a/the just X", not the other way around. Some of you are even confusing "rightful" with fair and just and throwing in lawful.

It's like confusing equal with equitable, both of which should probably also be considered in a discussion of "what's fair".

QBRanger February 9 2012 9:23 AM EST

For example, does 'fair' mean everyone is treated equally? Or does 'fair' mean that everyone is treated equally, according to their needs?

Yes

Hell no, that is socialism.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 10:59 AM EST

Ah I see.

So we're building some new school buildings at the moment. One is a gym.

In order to access the gym, there is a flight of stairs. Everyone has to use it.

Equality, right.

Is that fair on anyone unable to climb a flight of stair, say someone who has to use a wheelchair?

Fair?

Really?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:01 AM EST

Also then,

Obviously the following isn't fair;

Seems the top 1% also only pay about 22% of total federal taxes while owning 42% of wealth and 73% of financial assets, no doesnt seem quite fair.

Shouldn't everyone own an equal amount of wealth.

That would be fair, right?

Equality. Fairness.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:04 AM EST

> Lamborghiniメs Reventon supercar was without doubt one of the standout cars of 2007 and with only 20 examples rolling out of the factory your chances of snapping one up now are next to nil.

Only 20 ever made.

That's not fair. Everyone should have one.

Equality.

If everyone can't have one, none should. Right? That would be equality. That would be fair.

Right?

Lochnivar February 9 2012 11:12 AM EST

Incidentally, the title is of this thread is way cooler if you read it in Laurence Fishburne's voice from the Matrix...

Morpheus: "What is fair?"

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:14 AM EST

Morpheus: "What is fair?"

Unfortunately, no one can be told what fair is. You have to see it for yourself.

;)

QBRanger February 9 2012 11:18 AM EST

We can debate what is "fair" for days.

However I am not the one using that term as a political slogan. I am just questioning the opposite side as they have never given the appropriate definition of what is "fair".

All is hear is that the rich have to pay their "fair share" but nobody can tell me what that is.

So I am asking questions to try to find out what exact is meant by "fair". The best of the questions came in this WSJ article.

Do not ask me what is "fair", I am the one asking as it is a direct attack on successful people here in America by the ruling class.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:29 AM EST

The best of the questions came in this WSJ article.

Not really, they're terribly biased and really quite poor in logic as well.

Do not ask me what is "fair"

But you do have an opinion on what you belive the answer to be, you've mentioned it to me above.

I disagree, and gave examples why it's a flawed response.

So I am asking questions to try to find out what exact is meant by "fair".

Easy.

Everyone is treated equally, according to their needs.

/thread?

Lochnivar February 9 2012 11:35 AM EST

as it is a direct attack on successful people here in America by the ruling class.

You do know that the 'ruling class' in America is (by and large) a sub-set of the 'successful' people in America right?

Also, to be fair, how do we define 'successful'?

QBRanger February 9 2012 11:38 AM EST

Everyone is treated equally, according to their needs.

So the fact someone goes to advanced school for 8 years, works over 80 hours a week, works every 3rd weekend, goes many sleepless nights does not matter as long as they get the same car/house/vacation as the day laborer who digs a ditch for 40 hours a week who did not go to college or even finish high school?

And what about the single mom with 12 kids from 12 baby daddies? Should they get the bigger house than the lawyer or doctor with only 2?

Seems like a recipe for disaster.

Also seems like the socialistic manifesto.

Lochnivar February 9 2012 11:40 AM EST

So the fact someone goes to advanced school for 8 years, works over 80 hours a week, works every 3rd weekend, goes many sleepless nights does not matter as long as they get the same car/house/vacation as the day laborer who digs a ditch for 40 hours a week who did not go to college or even finish high school?

That really isn't what he said at all...

QBRanger February 9 2012 11:40 AM EST

Also, to be fair, how do we define 'successful'?

I define it as being happy with who you are. Comfortable with yourself.

My dad never finished college. Never made more than 50k a year. But he raised 2 successful kids who are self sufficient, do not live at home and have healthy children.

He sees himself as successful even though he does not have a lot of monetary gains.

Being successful =\= "rich"

QBRanger February 9 2012 11:42 AM EST

That really isn't what he said at all...

Actually that is exactly how I read it. Each according to his needs.

So what about the single mom with the 12 kids? Her needs is a huge house, plenty of food and likely a huge van or car to get around.

The lawyer with 2 kids. What is his/her needs? A smaller house with a subcompact "green" car and a modest amount of food.

What am I missing?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:48 AM EST

Ranger, you might want to read up on these two;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egalitarianism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_opportunity

Lochnivar February 9 2012 11:51 AM EST

What am I missing?

The point entirely....

You are looking at the output side instead of the input side.

In your single mom with 12 kids vs doctor with 2 kids example it isn't the 'needs' of the adults at question, they've had their chance and made their choices. However, the 12 kids of the junkie mom have the same 'needs' as the kids of the doctor. They need food and education (among other things).

Let's say one of the doctor's kids and one of the welfare mom's kids get mixed up at the hospital and nobody ever notices... wouldn't it be nice to think that they have the same chance to succeed in life?
Hey, one mis-labeling at the hospital and you go from a 60% chance of earning in the top 20% to a 60 chance of earning in the bottom 40%... yeah, seems fair doesn't it.

QBRanger February 9 2012 11:54 AM EST

Life is never completely and totally fair. We all know that.

But we try as good as we can, to give everyone the best shot at having a chance.

However obstacles are in the way a lot of the time.

Especially in education where I firmly believe that school choice and vouchers is a wonderful thing. Watch the movie I have quoted and see how just a chance to get to a charter school in the inner city can make a difference when they get chosen. Vs being put in the cattle call of the typical inner city school.

But throwing more money to failing schools is not the answer. Competition is.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:54 AM EST

:) +1 Loch

Also, don't miss this section;

Substantive equality of opportunity

Or the related;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_of_outcome

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 11:57 AM EST

Life is never completely and totally fair. We all know that.

Yup, as discussed in the section I posted above;

This term, sometimes called fair equality of opportunity,[17] is a somewhat broader[5] and more expansive concept than the more limiting formal equality of opportunity and it deals with what is sometimes described as indirect discrimination.[2] It goes farther, and is more controversial[5] than the formal variant, and has been thought to be much harder to achieve, with greater disagreement about how to achieve greater equality,[5] and has been described as "unstable",[17] particularly if the society in question is unequal to begin with in terms of great disparity of wealth.[43] It has been identified as more of a leftヨleaning political position[44] but this is not a hardヨandヨfast rule. The substantive model is advocated by people who see limitations in the formal model:

Therein lies the problem with the idea of equal opportunity for all. Some people are simply better placed to take advantage of opportunity.
ラDeborah Orr in The Guardian, 2009[45]

In the substantive approach, the starting point before the race begins is unfair, since people have had differing experiences before even approaching the competition.

You see, we can have this discussion intelligently, without the bias or Obama bashing. ;)

QBRanger February 9 2012 12:08 PM EST

And GL, you should read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron

Is that the society you want?

Lochnivar February 9 2012 12:15 PM EST

Sweet merciful lord Ranger.

That is NOT what he wants and not even remotely related to the comments he has made.

Nobody here has suggested any sort of tail end equality. Stop being preposterous.



Oh, and a 2009 Stanford study showed that only about 17% of charter schools outperform the public schools... so yeah, vouchers and charter schools are definitely gonna fix things.

QBRanger February 9 2012 12:21 PM EST

He wants a society where everyone has the same ????. Opportunity? Outcome?

If opportunity, how about stating idea on how to get there.

Lochnivar February 9 2012 12:57 PM EST

This is becoming tiresome and boring.

I did suggest an equal opportunity option earlier, it has since been buried.

Ranger, not everyone who suggests a measure of equality holds an end vision predicated on you handing your car keys to a hobo. I don't see any need to take all your stuff nor do I want someone to take all of mine.

We have different political ideologies and that is fine, but please try not to throw insulting crap like that Harrison Bergeron link at our beliefs and attempt to paint them with the same brush.

I firmly believe that people should be held responsible for their actions and choices and I have little patience for mollycoddling those who have consistently shown no interest in their own welfare.

That being said, I refuse to accept that in an advanced society the circumstances of someone's birth should define their opportunities.

QBRanger February 9 2012 1:10 PM EST

That being said, I refuse to accept that in an advanced society the circumstances of someone's birth should define their opportunities.

I wish you would stop with this exaggeration. Yes, there are some to which it applies but that is not the norm in the US.

I came from a lower middle class background and went to school and became what I think is successful. Plenty of others I know have done the same.

I have seen plenty of people squander their parents fortune and end up on the street.

But to refuse to believe that there is some degree of unfairness in the world is just to rosy glassed for me. The world itself is not fair. We try to make it as fair as possible.

Lochnivar February 9 2012 1:30 PM EST

I wish you would stop with this exaggeration. Yes, there are some to which it applies but that is not the norm in the US.

It is the norm in the US, more so than in other advanced countries... it just isn't perceived that way by Americans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility#Socio-economic_mobility_in_the_US

It isn't an exaggeration, it happens and is common... not universal, but common enough to be a problem in my eyes.

But since you don't think so I highly doubt you will read or believe the wiki article I linked or this one:
http://ftp.iza.org/dp1993.pdf
(which is fair enough as it is 60 pages of research as opposed of 1 page of partisan rhetoric).

QBRanger February 9 2012 2:14 PM EST

So Loch,

If you think it is that much of a problem, what is your solution?

Lochnivar February 9 2012 2:29 PM EST

Some measure of equality of opportunity... I actually made the suggestion way up there ^

You responded to it so I trust you can find it again...

Incidentally, since I am in Canada where the socio-economic mobility is a good bit better than the US it isn't as much of a problem for me.

QBRanger February 9 2012 2:38 PM EST

In the interest of fairness can we make a trade?
Flat tax rate
for
Equality in education (good schools for all, good nutrition, purely > >merit based post-secondary admissions, etc)

That is your suggestion? That's it?

Please tell me how you would make "good schools for all"? To throw something like that out there reminds me of someone in a beauty pageant saying "world peace" as a goal. Looks great. Try enacting it.

But how would you enact good schools for all? Especially with all the social economic problems the US has. IE, fatherless kids in the inner cities. 8+ kids to a single mom in the inner cities. 50% unemployment for black youths.

The other issues such as good nutrition or merit based secondary education are great but will do little to solve the perceived upwards mobility issues in the US.

Lochnivar February 9 2012 3:02 PM EST

But how would you enact good schools for all? Especially with all the social economic problems the US has. IE, fatherless kids in the inner cities. 8+ kids to a single mom in the inner cities. 50% unemployment for black youths.

I wonder if any of these problems resulted from poor opportunities and low education and perhaps a lack of social mobility...

Your education system needs a serious over-haul, it is a terrible mismanagement of assets. Spending per student is ridiculously high for the returns you see.
No, it isn't the teachers' salaries either, they aren't abnormal by world standards. Switzerland spends about the same per student but pays teachers 25% more than the US. So no union bashing ok?

Since I haven't taken the time to spell out a comprehensive restructuring of your education system here I guess I'll stick with world peace as my answer.

I have no idea where your hostility comes from, but isn't worth much more of my time.


Lochnivar February 9 2012 3:05 PM EST

The other issues such as good nutrition or merit based secondary education are great but will do little to solve the perceived upwards mobility issues in the US.


Oh, and since education is the major factor in earnings, and I have asserted that these would help provide some equality in education opportunities, I'd have to say by extension that they'd help with mobility...

QBRanger February 9 2012 3:13 PM EST

No hostility, but I would like more specific answers than "fix the education system".

That is a cop out of the highest order.

You keep asking me for specifics yet you give generalities.

Yes, people know we have huge problems in the inner cities and it is generational. Yes, everyone knows our education system is messed up. I tried to give a solution at least and you do not accept that. Fine. But do not rail on me for not answering your question when you cannot even give a better answer than "world peace".

And yes, the teachers union, especially in the inner cities, is a HUGE problem towards advancement and improved education.

Please watch the movie I quoted. Rhee in DC tried to improve education and got slammed. The unions are interested in preserving their dues so they can give to politicians to get more of the public's money.

That is not to say the teachers themselves are bad or corrupt, just the union juggernaut.

You certainly may not like my answer/solution but it is at least something compared to nothing I see from you.

QBRanger February 9 2012 3:16 PM EST

Oh, and since education is the major factor in earnings, and I have asserted that these would help provide some equality in education opportunities, I'd have to say by extension that they'd help with mobility...

We both seem to agree on it. I misunderstood your nutrition aspect earlier and I apologize for that.

But, I think this is a much smaller aspect of the overall problems kids have in the poorer sections of the US. Rampant drug use by adults and kids, lack of proper education and broken families are a huge problem.

We have a too strict judicial system when it comes to drug use. We should be putting these people in forced detox instead of jail, especially for lower level drug usage. By forced, get them to the wilderness in Idaho or N. Dakota and have them spend a year there getting straight, learning a trade and force them to be good. No running away or checking out AMA.

But back to education, it is a known problem and if you could at least give some try at a solution, this conversation could progress.

Lochnivar February 9 2012 3:21 PM EST

You keep asking me for specifics yet you give generalities.

I really don't recall asking for specifics beyond the rural issue with school vouchers, but that was in response to a very specific suggestion so I don't know that it was out of line. I certainly haven't been railing at you for specifics.

Please watch the movie I quoted. Rhee in DC tried to improve education and got slammed. The unions are interested in preserving their dues so they can give to politicians to get more of the public's money.

I'd actually seen this movie before this debate started... funny that you assumed I hadn't. I thought it was well done, but I wouldn't use it as my sole scholarly reference.

Lochnivar February 9 2012 4:25 PM EST

I'm actually not inclined give specifics of fixing the US educations system, nor should I have to in the context of this debate. It won't move the topic forward, it will just skew it off on a tangent.


My ability to 'fix' your broken education system has little bearing on the question 'What is fair?'.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 4:31 PM EST

And GL, you should read:

I think it's a funny and interesting story.

As a response, I'll ask you to read any of Ian M. Bank's 'Culture' novels.

But as you've asked what *I* want. I could say equality for all. I could say I want equality of fair opportunity. I could even say I'm Egalitarian and want Equality of outcome.

But the sad truth is, I'm not altruistic (and I doubt there's more than a tiny fraction of the worlds populace that is), I'm a lazy human being, who wants the most I can get, for myself and my familty, by doing the least to get it. I enjoy schadenfreude (there are some awesome 'fail' videos on youtube). I'm tempered by a strong moral compase, and an overactive conscience that likes to inflict waves of guilt.

What *I* want is to win the lottery and live a life of luxury, and am jealous and envious of others that have achieved this.

Nothing in life is 'fair' and I'm jaded and cynical of all politicians. Yup. Al of them, well, bar 1.

And a second best to all this is a society without policitians, or the dreary trappings of currency and 'worth'.

If only we had replicators...

So Ranger, what do *you* want?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 4:34 PM EST

But back to education, it is a known problem and if you could at least give some try at a solution, this conversation could progress.

My professional background is education.

And the largest stumbling block there is for student attainment is parental involvement.

You have to connect to the current generation of students parents, and have them invovled.

And if you fail to do so, it's a vicious circle.

You shoudn't be looking so much at what to change at school, but how you can change the attitude at home...

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 4:36 PM EST

What *I* want is to win the lottery and live a life of luxury, and am jealous and envious of others that have achieved this.

Or are born into it...

QBRanger February 9 2012 4:38 PM EST

So Ranger, what do *you* want?

A strong national defense. To protect democracy and capitalism.

Free markets for competition.

A limited government that keeps out of my way.

Personal freedom. To do what I want as long as it does not hurt others.

A level playing field for everyone of which outcome is merit based.

To be able to leave a legacy for my children.

To be able to keep most of which I earn.

Term limits for politicians.

World Peace!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 4:41 PM EST

A level playing field for everyone of which outcome is merit based.

That's Substantive equality of opportunity, which is a far cry from everyone being equal. ;)

And left-leaning politically to boot!

Lochnivar February 9 2012 4:44 PM EST

You mean this problem GL?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 4:51 PM EST

If only...

In the 2010 one, the parents shouldn't be there, and the kid shouldn't care what grade he got...

:(

QBRanger February 9 2012 5:03 PM EST

And left-leaning politically to boot!

I thought that was right leaning. Equal opportunity without special treatment like affirmative action programs or legacy programs.

All start on equal footing, where you end up depends on you.

QBRanger February 9 2012 5:04 PM EST

Loch,

As funny as that cartoon is, it has a huge dose of reality built in.

Lord Bob February 9 2012 5:28 PM EST

All start on equal footing, where you end up depends on you.
Then why are you for abolishing the estate tax? That seems like the one position that is the antithesis of starting on equal footing.

QBRanger February 9 2012 5:30 PM EST

I am against excessive taxation. The estate tax is just that, a tax on money that was already taxed.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2012 5:32 PM EST

Ah, I see.

Equal opportunity without special treatment like affirmative action programs or legacy programs. All start on equal footing, where you end up depends on you.

Is the antithesis of;

A level playing field for everyone of which outcome is merit based.

The playing field *isn't* level. It can't be. Due to (only a small list) things like dna, inheritance, social standing, etc.

You cannot have a level playign field without some sort of interaction by an outside agency.

You want both, but it just doesn't exist.

You'd have to remove things like currency, and live in a 'Culture' like society (which I why I mentioned the books above. Have you read any?) for this to happen.

And that won't happen until we invent replicators and the ability to change our dna at will (among other things, not least of which is some form of anti aging or immortality).

QBRanger February 9 2012 5:46 PM EST

The playing field *isn't* level. It can't be. Due to (only a small list) things like dna, inheritance, social standing, etc.

I completely understand and agree with that statement.

However, a level playing field can be and how I think it should be is the opportunity for all to succeed.

Yes, I know some people with an inheritance, good looks, athletic ability will have the better chances to "succeed". I personally am fine with that as long as the more unfortunate of people have a chance to be successful in other areas.

Yes, I know I never could be a professional basketball player due to my genes. I am ok with it. The child born with spina bifida may never walk. But if we give that child a chance to go to school and get an education, perhaps start a business and be able to keep what he earns, that to me is a win.

Life is never completely, totally fair. We need to make it as fair as we can. It is just everyone's definition of the word differs.

Sort of like when Potter Stewart saw the film The Lovers. "I know it when I see it." But everyone sees it differently :)

In this time and age, with the financial situation as it is, as well as all the future financial obligations we have to the young, old, infirm, it is difficult to get everyone on the same page as to what is fair.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 9 2012 5:51 PM EST

Hell no, that is socialism.
Burn the library! Burn the schools with libraries! Burn the police stations that kept my weed! Burn the fire departments! ....wait.... can't burn social security can we. =/
You might not have meant that as a generalization, but was 1950's fun. ;)

We can debate what is "fair" for days.
1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.
4. neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good: fair health.
However I am not the one using that term as a political slogan.
Yes you are.

questioning the opposite side
Would be kind to call the posed questions pandering. Couldn't accuse you of gilding the lily....
Ignoring realities and circumstance then "I understand, but completely disagree" thread after thread ruins your argument like I ruin your moods.
Repeating the all important question like we've only talked about cow hooves for 80 posts doesn't help either. Half a billion lives can't be answered in true or false form. There is no functional one size fits all policy so don't pretend that there is one out there waiting to be found. Or that your "side" has the best answer. Or carnage illuminati are hiding scrolls in cow hide.
Stop seeing a strictly two sided political argument while we're talking about beef. Say that a lot. I know! Got 5(?) people of different states, nationalities, and beliefs telling you what is wrong with your argument/question. Sometimes they give a straight why. Don't take what text given to an extreme and fail to relent after.
If ever you feel surrounded on all sides might suggest dropping the delusion that the wet corner you occupy has equal/fair/rightous standings. Then reevaluate. Do you really think "fair*equal*" overalls, obama slamming, and Harrison Bergerons are holding the line? Got a pair of white gloves and ketchup packets you might be interested in if so.

There was a page more worth here getting specific with your problems. Deleted in favor of my humorous par placeholders. Figure out for yourself why we denouce your dreamworlds and be fair about it. -.-

Also, to be fair, how do we define 'successful'?
Tapped that in another thread. Silly word I don't care to see again.

I came from a lower middle class background and went to school and became what I think is successful. Plenty of others I know have done the same.
Crabnuggets that word again! Have 3 nails, 2 logs, and a crown of thorns. Let's get this over with.

By forced, get them to the wilderness in Idaho or N. Dakota and have them spend a year there getting straight, learning a trade and force them to be good. No running away or checking out AMA.
Socialist!
it is a known problem and if you could at least give some try at a solution
More nails and a catchy tune about hammers.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] February 9 2012 10:17 PM EST

Loch won when he took a turn for the Sutekh at "Sweet merciful lord".

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 10 2012 3:40 AM EST

I just want to revisit the idea of treating everyone 'equally', without puttign in some 'special treatment' to level the playing field (or what not).

Take sports. Let's start with Boxing. So we treat everyone equally, and get rid of weight bands. The Bantomweight fighter has to throw down with the Super Heavyweight.

Or let's get rid of the paralympics, and make everyone compete against everyone else in the full Olympic games. Men and Women together too.

Everyone treated equally. Without any sort of special consideration.

Don't forget to scrap age bands as well. Let's throw the under 16's into the adult martial arts bands!

;)

A bit silly right?

That's why we have divisions, so that the playing field isn't 'equal' for everyone, but as fair as it can try to be.

Why should it be any different for all other aspects of life?

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 8:23 PM EST

I'll never blindly answer a list of questions someone poses as if they are legitimate to start with. Especially not when they are a cut and paste, mish-mashed litany of inconsistency and tangentialism. I've no idea what the original poster thinks after reading these diatribal interrogatories, much less know what his/her definition of "fair", "opportunity", "better", or even "tax" is. (That doesn't even get into the blatant political garbage with the Obama bashing...) This whole thing is a mess.

So, I'll start with a far more legitimate response, a question of my own. Who's asking? Or, since the original poster isn't the one asking (cut and paste is not an actual debate tactic. The poster knows this, right?), who do you think SHOULD be asking these questions? Are these questions a priority? Is any one of these questions more important than, say, "How do we stop 20,000 kids from dying of starvation every year?" or, "How do we stop a child from dying of malaria every 30 seconds?" I don't know. But could the questioner give us an idea of what he/she thinks is important? It seems extremely odd that someone would craft all these questions (mostly just boiling down to "This isn't fair! MINE!") without giving us some footing on the bigger picture.

To put it another way, how does someone have time to get THIS worked up over such an incredibly First World problem (and one might argue, a problem which the First World makes DAMN sure persists in the Overall World)?

Let's start there. Legitimize these questions. I don't negotiate with economy-based terrorists.

QBRanger February 10 2012 8:53 PM EST

To put it another way, how does someone have time to get THIS worked up over such an incredibly First World problem (and one might argue, a problem which the First World makes DAMN sure persists in the Overall World)?

Because the president of the greatest county in the world keep saying that the "rich" have to pay their "fair share" or some garbage to that effect. As if the "rich" are not paying enough as it is.

So in addition to asking what is fair in that regard, let us ask other "fair" questions of this president.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 10 2012 9:18 PM EST

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/president-obama-budget-cuts-tax-hikes_n_1269702.html

QBRanger February 10 2012 9:47 PM EST

Let us dissect this a bit:

The largest cuts would come from the defense budget and Medicare. Defense spending would be slash some $487 billion from the Department of Defense's projected budget, including savings from winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Health programs, primarily Medicare, would be targeted for $360 billion in savings, with most expected from cuts to providers, not beneficiaries. Another $278 billion in cuts would come from farm subsidies, federal worker retirement and other programs.

Obvious this is part of the holy grail of Democrats, cutting defense spending. Part of me agrees however that we do not need all those troops in Europe right now with all the money we spend on bases overseas. So that part I do agree with. To a point of not cutting too much.

We all know from the lack of enactment of the doctors Medicare cuts, it will likely never happen. If the doc fix is not done very so often, physicians will refuse to see Medicare patients like they do with Medicaid, for lack of reimbursement.

Overall, the plan calls for $2.50 in spending cuts for every dollar raised in taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year.

Another holy grail for the Democrats. Raising taxes on the wealthy while letting nearly 50% of people escape paying any federal income taxes.

And from my past experience with promises to cut entitlements later for tax increases now, see Bush the elder, it never happens.

The taxes go up and the entitlements never get cut.

If we want a "grand bargain" we need firm cuts to entitlements now and we need to raise taxes on everyone and let everyone have some skin in the game.

If we are really serious about getting out debt under control, I would be ok with everyone pitching in. But not a class warfare I keep seeing from this President.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 10 2012 10:13 PM EST

Another holy grail for the Democrats. Raising taxes on the wealthy while letting nearly 50% of people escape paying any federal income taxes.
Sigh....coupled the evils of don't tax the poor with a cup of religion and completely missed jesus along the way....

Back to fair *cough* That article said the attempt would end the bush tax cuts, loopholes, and hopefully ensure millionaires pay as much percentage as their office slaves.
The heck is the class warfare crap still if it's potentially correcting a problem? How can you say class warfare after ignoring the middle class for so many fairness posts? How is your grand bargain fair if someone needs to sell a kidney? Pick two of those and get back to me.

btw I liked Bush Sr

QBRanger February 10 2012 10:19 PM EST

Really does anyone believe that anyone will let the Bush tax cuts be removed for those making less than 200k?

Really?

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 10 2012 10:30 PM EST

If we take your fair and flat tax to heart. Sure! Scrap it all.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 10:42 PM EST

That's all the original poster took from my comments?

Legitimize your questions, OP. Hint: At least START by asking the question in your own words (i.e. cutting and pasting is NOT communication), so as to define the tone and words more fully (at the very least, by context). If you don't have the courtesy for that, then you are patently inconsiderate for expecting others to join in the discussion for no good reason -- much less call it a debate.

And wait -- didn't the original poster already HAVE this debate? I think that post was even titled "I want to have a debate," or somesuch. I hope the original poster understands that simply ranting about the same thing twice in two different ways is just that -- a rant.

Is the original poster nothing more than a ranter? Gross.

QBRanger February 10 2012 10:43 PM EST

Nice way to address the questions.

Instead of answering them, attack the questioner.

Nicely done Sut, you are a master debater!! A job in the government awaits you.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 10:54 PM EST

Careful.

So you are saying as long as anyone asks a question, others should simply answer? No thought as to the source or intent of the questions? No attempt at clarification or common-ground pursuit? Just answer. Hm.

If so, then yeah, I'm a master debater compared to you. If you believe what you just wrote, you don't even know what the word discourse means. You're a blight on the First Amendment, if that's the case.

And by the way, the next time some official wants to speak with the leader of Iran and some right-wing hawk says that's nuts, I'll point them to this thread: "Ranger said you should just answer, just talk. Why won't you talk?"

Your behavior grows more churlish every time I step in here to see what's going on. It's approaching entertainment. Maybe that's what you're going for?

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 11:00 PM EST

And if you must have an answer to every question, that's simple:

Yes.

Once you work out the:

-- inanity of the question
-- hypocrisy behind the question
-- just plain agree with saying "yes"
-- idiocy of the question
-- bias of the question
-- ease of finding something on the other side "just as bad", but a debate is never about, nor should it ever be, tit for tat.
-- questionable facts behind the question
-- debatable facts behind the question

then the only answer left is "yes".

You clearly didn't want an actual debate, so my answer is "yes". To all of them.

Now what?

QBRanger February 10 2012 11:00 PM EST

Certainly continue to attack the questioner instead of answering the questions.

Quite a brilliant strategy when you have no real answers to give.

Just throw a few insults and then say the questioner is being unreasonable.

Again, well done!!!

QBRanger February 10 2012 11:02 PM EST

The thing is...

there is a good portion of the population that thinks these questions are important to ask. That think things are out of control in some aspects of the government.

So instead of answering them with some attempt at a real answer, you ridicule them. Such I expect from you Sut.

Well done!

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 11:10 PM EST

Hey, Mr. Exclamation, I get it. Yeah. I'm awesome. I am well done. At least, medium well.

Thanks.

I did answer your questions. All of them. Look up.

Like I said: now what?

PS. You might might want to stop harping on the whole "The Top X percent pay N percent in taxes!" thing. Because while I suppose you could use that to help make some of your points, it also makes the exact opposite point. The reason the top folks pay more and more is because the top is breaking further and further off the Gaussian curve. So of course they pay more. How could they not, mathematically speaking?

Unless you really think all the rich folks are working INCREASINGLY harder and the poor folk are becoming INCREASINGLY lazy, pointing out the fact that the top folks are paying a larger percentage overall (even if that percentage were on a FLAT RATE) doesn't help your point. You're basically making the very point the OWS folks want you to understand.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 11:26 PM EST

Putting together some timing on posts, I realize you might could think my "yes" flippant -- insincere. Understandable, but not the case.

Here's the deal.

You "posted" some questions. I put that in quotes because YOU didn't do anything. You cut and paste. That gives no agile debater personal context, definitions, intent, or goal to work with. That would be fine, if you didn't actually expect any responses. But I think you did.

So, my answer to every question is "yes". I mean it. I'll stand by that answer. The answer is not glib or inaccurate. I am of sound mind and body. I approve this message.

More to the point, I put as much work into my answer as you did in posing the question. That's fair, right? If not, how about we start there? What is unfair about me simply answering "yes" to every question? (And meaning it.)

Fairness is what this is all about. Shouldn't the discussion process itself represent the epitome of the word? I say "yes".

What is your response?

QBRanger February 10 2012 11:28 PM EST

You might might want to stop harping on the whole "The Top X percent pay N percent in taxes!" thing. Because while I suppose you could use that to help make some of your points, it also makes the exact opposite point. The reason the top folks pay more and more is because the top is breaking further and further off the Gaussian curve. So of course they pay more. How could they not, mathematically speaking?

Finally! A real answer to one of the questions. You are correct. They do pay more due to their increased income.

Unless you really think all the rich folks are working INCREASINGLY harder and the poor folk are becoming INCREASINGLY lazy, pointing out the fact that the top folks are paying a larger percentage overall (even if that percentage were on a FLAT RATE) doesn't help your point. You're basically making the very point the OWS folks want you to understand.

That is one reason I like a flat tax. So people cannot use investment income as a sort of tax shelter. I realize this is different from my past posts on investment income but the discussions in CB have changed my thinking a bit on that subject.

However, I feel that these attacks on the "rich" cover people who honestly make their income and put them in the same category as those on wall street who move money for a living and pay a lower tax rate due to loopholes in the system. If everyone paid the same, I personally and only I personally would have a better feeling about the system as a whole.

QBRanger February 10 2012 11:36 PM EST

So you really think it s fair that federal employees make more than private sector workers?

You really believe it fair that companies like Solyndra received guaranteed loans and the government allowed high Democratic doners to jump in line to get repaid?

You honestly think it fair that people who were responsible for their mortgages have to subsidize those acted recklessly?

I think I know your feelings on unions so I will not bother about the Boeing question or the 27 states that require you to join a union and pay dues just to keep your job. If I am wrong, please correct me.

I also think I know your feelings on the Keystone pipeline. You agree with the environmentalists over job creation and more energy security.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 11:40 PM EST

Finally! A real answer to one of the questions. You are correct. They do pay more due to their increased income.

Waaaitttt, so that was some kind of a test? Thanks, teach! I'm glad I got the correct answer, and that you told me I did. Wish I could get a gold star.

As I said above, even on a flat tax, the wealth gap would still mean the top folks pay a disproportionate amount of the taxes (because they themselves are statistically DISPROPORTIONATE. In fact, with a flat tax, I would assume the high end would consolidate their wealth even more (because they'd have even more disposable wealth to throw towards maintaining the status quo) and make it even larger! We would keep going the way we are going. Even after implementing a flat tax, in fifteen years I'd come back here and see you complaining: "Is it fair that the top 1% pay 90% of the taxes and that 60% of people live in poverty and pay nothing?"

Pretty great world, I suppose, if you were in that 1% (which, by definition, 99% of folks couldn't be no matter how hard they worked.)

As for real answers -- I've given you a real answer. Yes. To all the questions. Wait, you didn't think you could just cut and paste a list of stuff AND decide what a "real" answer was, did you? No, I answered. If you don't cover each "yes", then you are the one lacking a "real" response, not me. I answered, just like you asked. I gave back the same level of debate and work as you put into the question.

Sounds _fair_ to me.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2012 11:50 PM EST

Given the context here, I am prepared to answer these intricate, multi-faceted questions directly and succinctly:

So you really think it s fair that federal employees make more than private sector workers?

Yes (it's not true here, so that's a loaded question, very much dependent on the definition of "make".)

You really believe it fair that companies like Solyndra received guaranteed loans and the government allowed high Democratic doners to jump in line to get repaid?

Yes. (Because I don't know what a "doner" is, and have no idea whether or not the latter assertion is true.)

You honestly think it fair that people who were responsible for their mortgages have to subsidize those acted recklessly?

Yes. We subsidize others every day (fluoride, vaccinations, snow-shovelling -- haven't we covered this?). Why on Earth would this be any different? I just subsidized my daughter's diaper for her. Lazy little punk. I can only hope she has to change MY diaper some day. Yeah, sweet.

You've already answered the other two questions (pretty much with wrong assumptions, but you're the teacher here!) so I won't bother to respond. Hm, maybe this "yes" thing is going to work out after all. You can just rock in place and answer all what "you already know" anyway, and not bother us with your cut-and-paste trolling?

Deal?

Soxjr February 11 2012 12:29 AM EST

I'm just wanting to make a comment about something I read earlier. I'm terrible about copy paste on here, and wouldn't know where to find it anymore at this point anyway.

Someone said something about how they worked so many hours, and every third weekend and was that fair. I personally worked seven days a week twelve hours the first six days and sixteen hours on the seventh day. I did this for about three months straight. I worked in a bakeshop of a factory that made crackers like saltines, oyster crackers and other types of crackers. The conditions were well over 150 degrees pretty constant and worse in the summer time. Would you not consider this hard work? You talk about how hard a person works as to his worth. I'm just wondering if you would consider this hard work? I know it's not smart, but not everyone ends up in college even if they wanted to go there. Now working this hard I made 1,664.40 per week before taxes, insurance, 401k and any other deductions. I cleared about 1,100 per week bring home. During the slow time the hours were less and I think I made about 40k a year. Wouldn't by your definition I should make more because I worked hard?? Or is that only if you work hard by your definition? I'm just trying to understand your position.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 11 2012 12:41 AM EST

Was the questioner that continued to attack, gives no real answers him/herself, and was unreasonable enough to deserve such insults. Am I talking about the ranter or the ranger? We'll never know. If you wanted real answers. Ask real questions. Echo, echo, echo...
The irony isn't lost on me for some of the questions I ask. Sometimes repeated cynicism is the fair answer. :P
No, a great portion of the pop did not ask those questions nor did they think obama is the anti-christ. We all think the government is crazy ignorant, but we don't blame the rich black guy for everything, because he's not been there 4/235 years yet! Will stop there so no crazy says I'm obama-worshipping.


To answer the recent questions....
1) What gov'jobs? What private sector jobs? Huh? Bonk.
2) Nope. That was a corrupted, miscalculated mess. I blame the company for trying to game the system(s). But wait! Banks and carmakers got themselves a loan too. Maybe that deserves a yes. ;)
3) Toxic loans were unfair for the whole country. I blame the CEOs down to the lenders.
4) Boeing is their own enemy if a federal agency had to step in or if unions crippled them.
5) Want to know the sound of one hand clapping? Turn around.

QBRanger February 11 2012 2:40 AM EST

Would you not consider this hard work?

I cleaned bathrooms as a janitor during college. Your point?

Or do you want to change the basic rules of supply and demand with respect to the labor force? Or perhaps make the minimum wage 30 dollars?

Deal?

If continuing to attack the questioner and failing to answer the question is your terms, No Deal!

Lord Bob February 11 2012 12:28 PM EST

However, I feel that these attacks on the "rich"
Wait, what? All you do is attack others! It's why nobody here can have a constructive conversation with you.

By the way, you're still a hypocrite over the whole copy/paste thing. Just a reminder.

QBRanger February 11 2012 12:37 PM EST

By the way, you're still a hypocrite over the whole copy/paste thing. Just a reminder.

I am not shocked you cannot see the difference.

One was a bunch of questions the other was a diatribe about the flat tax without any questions involved.

I had thought you smarter LB.

Lord Bob February 11 2012 1:01 PM EST

There is no difference beyond the pedantic nitpicking you use to justify your hypocrisy. I copied/pasted from one site looking to you for a response. I was very clear what kind of response I was looking for.

You copied/pasted from one site looking to us for a response. Then bashed me for doing the same.

The fact that your copy paste was in the form of a list of questions is irrelevant. The only true difference here is that you were trolling, and I was honestly, legitimately trying to learn if a conservative could pick out the flaws with these claims. A more responsible conservative would have been happy to help a liberal like myself see a more balanced view of the issue.

QBRanger February 11 2012 1:50 PM EST

As I stated numerous times, if your copy and paste actually had a question to be answered I would have.

You just copied a couple paragraphs that had no question for me to answer. So I copied and pasted the opposite view from that wiki article as the response.

Sorry you cannot see the obvious difference.

Soxjr February 11 2012 2:10 PM EST

It's amazing that my whole post was just shot down as I felt it would be by a simple response about how the person doing hard work that isn't getting paid as much just made a wrong choice. You fail to realize that if everyone was a doctor we wouldn't everything we needed as a society. I sure bet you enjoy eating and that person in the field picking whatever crop to get the ingredient that the chef cooks into your meal and the waitress that brings it to your table.. they are all needed, but those little guys are just that.. I guess they are just there for the rich guy so he can get what he wants. Can you not see why the lower class and middle class band together and say screw the rich, it's because the rich say.. you could have been here, just try harder and that isn't how the world works. Maybe if some of the rich realized that then conversations would go better. You can't use the example of the crack whore mom that doesn't do anything but live off the government as proof of what all middle and lower class people do, just like I can't compare every rich person to the embezzling criminal rich person I hear about on the news. Just a thought there.

QBRanger February 11 2012 2:14 PM EST

It's amazing that my whole post was just shot down as I felt it would be by a simple response about how the person doing hard work that isn't getting paid as much just made a wrong choice.

We are all defined as much by our choices as anything. Yes, manual labor is hard work. But there are plenty of people who can do untrained manual labor and the laws of supply and demand fix their wage as such.

Are you stating that a manual laborer who works so very hard should get paid 50 bucks an hour?

You greatly misunderstand what hard work actually refers to. What sacrifice means.

Lord Bob February 11 2012 2:15 PM EST

The difference is a question mark? Really? You justify attacking me for copying something because it lacked a question mark? This despite the fact that I was very clear that I was soliciting a response, and the type of response?

Fine. I'll play your game.

"Can you provide a rebuttal to the points made in this excerpt without resorting to attacks or other antagonistic language?"

There's a question mark. Now you have no more excuses.

Lord Bob February 11 2012 2:17 PM EST

Are you stating that a manual laborer who works so very hard should get paid 50 bucks an hour?
Where did anyone state anything like this?

QBRanger February 11 2012 2:22 PM EST

Sox did by complaining about how much he makes for all his hard work.

I was asking what wage he thought he should make for working in 150 degree heat working 7 days a week, 12-16 hour days.

50 dollars an hour? 40? 30?. What would be an appropriate salary he thinks he should make.

There's a question mark. Now you have no more excuses.

All those specifics were answered in the exact same wiki article. Come up with some original thoughts on the fair tax and we can have an adult discussion. Till then it seems the wiki is your greatest source for info on the subject.

Lord Bob February 11 2012 2:32 PM EST

Sox did by complaining about how much he makes for all his hard work.
I can't find anywhere in his posts saying 50 dollars an hour.

Come up with some original thoughts on the fair tax and we can have an adult discussion.
Wait, what? What I asked about had nothing to do with the fair tax.

But again, I'll play your game to point out your hypocrisy.

"Come up with some original thoughts on the what is fair and we can have an adult discussion."

Lochnivar February 11 2012 2:33 PM EST

So to recap, working hard is only working hard if Ranger thinks so... and Ranger only counts it as hard work if it ends up leading you to being wealthy.. . ?

Seriously dude, you spout off about hard work being the path to success and then turn round and say that we have to understand supply and demand.

Guess what, most of us do understand supply and demand.

Sox wasn't saying he should get paid $50 dollars per hour. He was saying simply that hard work alone is not sufficient to achieve wealth in America. This is a function of supply and demand, as we all understand. The consequence of this is that you no longer get to claim the lower class is lower class simply because they don't work hard enough. The lower class exists because in a capitalist society you need a large lower class for the production of goods. Raise minimum wage to $20/hr and watch companies flee overseas... and unemployment goes up... and we get more poverty. Not everyone can move up in the economy, so some people (about half the population) have to stay poor/lower middle-income, that's just the way it is.

Now if you want to debate the quality of life that they deserve for providing the human grease for the capitalist machine I'm sure you'll find some takers.

Lord Bob February 11 2012 2:35 PM EST

Actually that's wrong. You're telling me to talk about the fair tax as admission price to having a question on HSAs answered. So this would be more accurate:

"Come up with some original thoughts on the criticisms toward HSAs posted from Wiki and we can have an adult discussion about what is fair."

QBJohnnywas February 11 2012 3:30 PM EST

Yes work hard and you too can have the American dream. But make sure your hard work is the right sort of hard work or you wont get to be President one day. Even though you require lots and lots of money behind you to be President. And you probably need to come from the same tiny gene pool too. Much like the European Royals many Presidents are related to each other. Including Obama funnily enough.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 11 2012 5:42 PM EST

You greatly misunderstand what hard work actually refers to. What sacrifice means.
You seem to think hard work is represented by monetary value despite evidence to the contrary here and in daily life. Don't feel conflict when considering your own wealth to make you a harder worker than sox. Which lead to his false digit dismissal. I've called you a megalomaniac before. You seem to regress to this illness periodically as threads go on. Again. Get help.

QBRanger February 11 2012 9:57 PM EST

Get help.

Very typical of a liberal who disagrees with the conservative theory.

Quite expected.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 11 2012 10:04 PM EST

Hey guys, I think maybe we should lay off Ranger. I think this debate is going in a thousand different directions, and then it just seems to go back to personal attacks on Ranger. I think maybe you guys should all agree on topics of discussion first, then go forward with that.

If I had that video from Futurama I would post it here, anyways, pretend this is Henry Kissinger's head saying this:

This is not a productive line of discussion.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 11 2012 10:08 PM EST

Also, Ranger, I think we all appreciate you here in forums, as we wouldn't have anyone to debate the conservative view on some of these issues without you, but please refrain from making baseless attacks against everyone. (e.g. "typical liberal", "typical socialist", etc) It's not productive, and it just brings a lot of resentment to the table here and makes people start getting nasty. Please everyone try to stay cordial! :)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 12 2012 3:03 AM EST

Typical admin! :P

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 12 2012 3:07 AM EST

+3 typical gentleman

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 12 2012 3:12 AM EST

If we want to get back to a more interesting discussion than Obama bashing, anyone want to comment on my silly example of treating everyone 'equally' in sports.

And how that's obviously not 'fair'. And that to be as 'fair' as ossible, special considerations must be needed to level the playing field.

And why this should or shouldn't apply to the rest of life?

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 12 2012 9:21 AM EST

as stated above, i tend to think of life more as a team sport than and individual one, or at least i think it should be viewed that way.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 12 2012 11:04 AM EST

Guys v girls? ;)

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 12 2012 11:18 AM EST

pretty much! ; ) bast keeps pwning us though.

Lochnivar February 12 2012 11:40 AM EST

pretty much! ; ) bast keeps pwning us though.

Bast is a girl?

Anyway, fairness in sports done right:
http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06/01/win-a-soccer-game-by-more-than-five-points-and-you-lose-ottawa-league-says/

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] February 13 2012 6:40 AM EST


Verifex has overstated our stance.

Sickone February 14 2012 1:45 AM EST

It's simple economic thermodynamics.

People, like molecules in a gas, can be going faster or slower or whatever, but overall, the temperature of a gas (or, in case of people, the overall wealth level) only goes up if energy comes in (for the economy, it's a mixture of cheaper energy, better efficiency, other resources, etc).

Since we are NOT getting cheaper energy (we're actually getting it at increasingly higher prices), and since efficiency is not going up radically, the overall global wealth level kind of tends to stay the same.
A lot of nations which historically provided cheap labor are getting more stingy with their requirements (China being one of the last to still stay dirt-cheap while stable enough to support any serious industries), and the rich are getting richer thanks to the wonderful heavy-duty application of compound interest.

SO WHERE DOES THIS ALL LEAD ?

It leads to the fact poor people not only stay poor, but they KEEP GETTING POORER.
It's not politics, it's physics.
As long as we don't get cheaper energy, as long as we don't invent radically better technologies to greatly boost efficiency and as long as wealth keeps concentrating into the miniature black holes of the very rich, the "average joe" in the so-called "first world countries" will trend towards a decreasingly lower wealth level.
And that's how things just ARE.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 14 2012 4:10 AM EST

As I said, replicators. ;)

Worth and Wealth break down, when we can get whatever we want, for nothing. ;)

Sickone February 14 2012 5:36 PM EST

Well, we're quite a far way away from anything resembling replicators - in both the Star Trek sense and the nanotech sense - with nanotech being the more realistic possible candidate for the next century, if it's even actually possible.
Even if we eventually do get sci-fi-grade "consumer" nanotech (probably not in our lifetimes, maybe not even the lifetimes of our grandchildren), you'd still have the issue of supplying enough power for the assembly of things and also there's the need to feed the raw materials (which might in turn also require considerable amounts of power to obtain).
Suppose for a second that energy (and also linked to that, heat dissipation) eventually becomes a non-issue - which could take a very long while or never actually happen - and also suppose that we could manage to transmute elements at will at higher than negligible rates, you still have to deal with the issue of speed of production vs likely needs volume for quite a while even after the tech becomes mainstream - or maybe indefinitely, if the rate of human population expansion outstrips the additional capacity for constructing additional replicator capacity due to lax population control.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 14 2012 6:58 PM EST

Once you can build the first replicator, everything else becomes a non issue.

As you can produce the parts for aditional, and larger, replicaotrs, for nothing.

And on and on. ;)

Ah, an anti obama rage threat highjacked into a techy geeky thread.

That's a win! :D

Sickone February 15 2012 8:09 PM EST

Replicators still couldn't break the laws of physics - they can't create mass nor energy out of nothing, and it's also practically impossible to make them 100% efficient.

Concrete scenario : what if all you can do with tech 20 years in the future is a rudimentary replicator that can assemble everything and anything, but only 1 cubic centimeter per second, while taking up almost as much space as a current-day oil refinery and requiring the energy output of a large nuclear plant, also super-purified sources for all types of atoms to be used ?
Sure, you could build just about anything with it (including a new replicator if you like), but there would be very few thing that would be worth producing with it, since traditional production methods would be faster and cheaper. SOME things might REQUIRE a replicator to produce, since you could not produce it in any other way, but the list of useful things would be rather small.

Let's just say that it is highly unlikely we will ever have Star-Trek type replicators, since they kind of break the whole "laws of physics" deal quite badly (at least, the laws of physics that we think we know, for the time being).

AdminTitan February 15 2012 11:32 PM EST

they can't create mass

Just you wait.

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] February 15 2012 11:35 PM EST

How about anti-matter? It did not exist before but has been created in a lab :).

Also, 3d printers are the first steps we are making towards replicators :)

AdminTitan February 15 2012 11:49 PM EST

We can already theoretically create mass. E = m*c^2 .. or E/(c^2) = m

Like I said, just you wait :) But by then of course the singularity will have happened and we will all be bowing down to our robot overlords.

Lord Bob February 16 2012 12:35 AM EST

We can already theoretically create mass. E = m*c^2 .. or E/(c^2) = m
That requires more energy, and we can't create that either. We can get mass from energy and energy from mass, but the total amount of both is always constant.

AdminTitan February 16 2012 1:37 AM EST

Yeah; but there's nothing to say we can't you know, harvest antimatter from the center of a black hole, or some how absorb the energy of a star. I mean if we're going to be crazy, I say let's be crazy :P

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 16 2012 4:18 AM EST

I'll raise you deads and dwarf stars, but slap you for presumptuously skipping over the event horizon like a crack in the sidewalk. For shame.

Wise February 22 2012 3:07 PM EST

As for the poor getting poorer in developing countries - it's just plain wrong. Standard of living is constantly increasing (except perhaps for the past 4 years).

My parents did not have cell phones, computers, internet access, digital cameras or DVDs when they were kids. My grandparents did not have air conditioning, microwaves, indoor toilets or a whole host of standard of living benefits we have today.

The poor are not getting poorer unless one looks only at money, which is inaccurate.

QBRanger February 22 2012 3:20 PM EST

Wise,

I tried that line of logic a while ago.

However, some people only look at what they have compared to others and get jealous. All in the interest of "fairness".


Lord Bob February 22 2012 3:30 PM EST

So, advances in technology are being used as an excuse for widening wealth disparities.

"Poor people aren't poor! They have refrigerators! *GASP!*"

QBRanger February 22 2012 3:47 PM EST

I really fail to see what the problem is if some people make quadrillions of dollars as long as the "poor" in our country have the necessities of living.

Almost all families in the US have refrigerators. We have more people getting free food from the government than since the great depression. Most of the "poor" have a cell phone, TV, microwave.

Not every "poor" person can't work. I see that everyday in the ER. Some actually choose not to in order to get and keep the freebies the government gives.

Sorry if this looks cynical, but I see it everyday in the hospital.

Wise February 22 2012 3:49 PM EST

Of course it matters what they have now compared to before. In fact, the wealth gap is narrowing. Compared to the wealthiest Egyptian in 4000 B.C. - the poorest person in a developed country today lives better. Further, the richest person today benefits much less from their wealth than the richest person in 4000 B.C.

In other words, the difference, in developed-country standard of living, between the wealthy and the poor is less now than ever before.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 22 2012 3:53 PM EST

Sweet then. Poverty solved! Next!

Demigod February 22 2012 3:55 PM EST

In fact, the wealth gap is narrowing.

Nope. What you mentioned isn't the wealth gap.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 4:10 PM EST

"But.. but we have DVDs now! DVDs!!! Ergo, it's perfectly acceptable that there are people who don't know where their next meal is coming from, are selling off fictional goods on an internet game to make rent, and have no access to quality health care. I got mine!"

Not every "poor" person can't work.
Not every poor person is offered a job.

QBRanger February 22 2012 4:18 PM EST

People make choices.

Choices in what their education will be. Choices on where they live. Choices on multiple things in their life.

Should people who make the right choices pay for those who make the wrong ones?

Should I have to subsidize those PHDs in English Lit who can do nothing but teach?

Should I have to subsidize those that pursue a life in music or art that cannot sell anything?

Wise February 22 2012 4:27 PM EST

Money isn't a good measure of wealth. Standard of living is a good measure of wealth. In other words, money is only a tool to buy a good standard of living. That tool is losing its power as prices for a good standard of living fall.

And who in a developing country has any good reason for dying of starvation other than suicide or pride? Your hyperbole is nothing more than a straw man.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 4:56 PM EST

Do I really need to dispel the "poor people choose to be poor" myth again? Not every circumstance in a person's life is due to personal choice. Other people make choices too, people with far more money and power, and sometimes those choices interfere with the choices of others. This isn't even getting into circumstances of birth, genetics, fortune, etc.

Money isn't a good measure of wealth.
Yes it is.

And who in a developing country has any good reason for dying of starvation other than suicide or pride?
Ah, the hungry people in this country are just proud and suicidal. Got it.

Wise February 22 2012 5:03 PM EST

Who's hungry is this country? Never heard of food stamps for charity?

Oh that's right to receive that food people must swallow their pride.

Wise February 22 2012 5:08 PM EST

And as to money being a good measure of wealth, it's only what money can buy that makes it a measure of wealth. Money buys standard of living so that measure is better.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 5:09 PM EST

http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts/hunger-and-poverty-statistics.aspx

I guess they're all too proud and suicidal.

Seriously, where do you people come up with this crap?

Lord Bob February 22 2012 5:13 PM EST

And as to money being a good measure of wealth, it's only what money can buy that makes it a measure of wealth.
*facepalm*
And you buy things with money. That's why money is a good measure of wealth. I'm just rephrasing what you wrote here.

QBRanger February 22 2012 5:21 PM EST

And do I need to dispel the "Every rich person does not care at all about those less fortunate" myth?

Or the "People's choices do not matter" myth?

Yes, certainly there are those that due to circumstances outside their own control have problems. And that is what the social safety net is for.

It is not for those too lazy to work or those that want to game the system. And do not tell me there are not a large amount of these people because I see them every day.

But the liberal attitude is greatly summed by this statement by the former speaker of the house talking about Obamacare:

"We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,ヤ Pelosi said, モa bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care"

Lord Bob February 22 2012 5:31 PM EST

And do I need to dispel the "Every rich person does not care at all about those less fortunate" myth? Or the "People's choices do not matter" myth?
No, because nobody here said anything like that.

And that is what the social safety net is for.
And this is exactly what you are railing against with your "..subsidizing poor choices..." rhetoric.

It is not for those too lazy to work or those that want to game the system.
So you're setting up the "lazy liberal" straw man again?

The Pelosi thing could have been said to entrepreneurs as well, has nothing to do with anyone's points here, and was only posted to further your lazy straw man argument. I could properly respond to it, but it has nothing to do with anything, so I'll just dismiss it.

QBRanger February 22 2012 5:39 PM EST

And this is exactly what you are railing against with your "..subsidizing poor choices..." rhetoric.

Are you actually reading my posts??

Poor choices is not the same as a poor position in life.

Please try to understand I know the difference and hope you do as well.

The Pelosi thing could have been said to entrepreneurs as well, has nothing to do with anyone's points here, and was only posted to further your lazy straw man argument. I could properly respond to it, but it has nothing to do with anything, so I'll just dismiss it.

The difference is that I see it very pertinent to the discussion. You wave it off as you have no intellectual retort to what Pelosi stated. Entrepreneurs are one thing. Quitting your job to become a musician or artist is another entirely.

So you're setting up the "lazy liberal" straw man again?

Nope as I have not classified everyone on the social safety net as "lazy" as you would like others to believe.

There are actual people very unfortunate in life with the cards they are dealt. Those people do need the safety net and that is what the net was made for. It was not made for musicians to quit their day jobs so they can have free health care. However, this is what the biggest liberals publicly state.

You have to realize that not all "rich" people are greedy bastards looking out for only themselves. However, the "rich" want to be able to keep more than 50% of their earnings after taxes instead of giving to a government that does not know when to stop spending.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 5:52 PM EST

Poor choices is not the same as a poor position in life. Please try to understand I know the difference
Then what is it that you are actually complaining about here? Wise was using advances in technology as an excuse for widening wealth disparities, and suddenly you're back on those darn lazy freeloaders showing up in your hospital! If you're for the safety net then what is it exactly that you are addressing?

The difference is that I see it very pertinent to the discussion.
Which it isn't since it had nothing to do with anything that was said since Wise resurrected this thread at 3:07 PM today.

You wave it off as you have no intellectual retort to what Pelosi stated.
I do, I'm just not indulging you in your straw man.

Nope as I have not classified everyone on the social safety net as "lazy" as you would like others to believe.
Then why is this the first caricature you bring to the table in every single discussion where somebody brings up the under class? If you don't want this argument to be labeled a straw man, stop holding it up as the representative example of poor America and basing your arguments against social programs on it.

QBRanger February 22 2012 6:05 PM EST

Wise was using advances in technology as an excuse for widening wealth disparities

You seem to be fixated on the wealth disparity and Wise/myself are more fixated upon the standard of living people have.

Who the hell cares if Bill Gates or Joe Schmoe makes a quadrillion dollars a year if they make it honestly?

It seems you do from your posts and it seems you expect them to pay more than 1/2 to the government for programs that both the needy and the lazy use. Programs like Obamacare that let people quit their day jobs and be musicians or artists.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 6:46 PM EST

You seem to be fixated on the wealth disparity and Wise/myself are more fixated upon the standard of living people have.
Still, what does this have to do with the lazy liberal straw man?

Programs like Obamacare that let people quit their day jobs and be musicians or artists.
I'll ask again: where do you people come up with this crap?

QBRanger February 22 2012 6:51 PM EST

I'll ask again: where do you people come up with this crap?

Uh, directly from Nancy Pelosi sir!! Words from her own mouth I have quoted accurately and provided a youtube video on.

Still, what does this have to do with the lazy liberal straw man?

Perhaps you fail to understand what a strawman is.

Please let me refresh your memory, or even let you see the definition for the first time:

A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.

I never ever stated liberals were ALL lazy. I stated there are some who abuse the system rather than be productive members of society. I also stated that peoples choices have to matter and the results of their decisions matter.

You are yet again, using the "strawman" as an unsubstantiated attack on my discussion, rather than to discuss the actual facts.

QBJohnnywas February 22 2012 6:58 PM EST

God, a government that puts money towards artists and musicians, instead of Big business and warfare. Sounds like good thing to me.

QBRanger February 22 2012 7:04 PM EST

God, a government that puts money towards artists and musicians, instead of Big business and warfare. Sounds like good thing to me.

And I guess that is one area we differ. Especially is such harsh financial times.

While the arts are a great thing, we need to rebuild the economy rather than let people drop their day jobs and become "artists", living off of others hard work.

Now if a foundation or philanthropic society wishes to sponsor an artist, great. But that is their choice. Not one pushed on me using my money by bureaucrats in Washington.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 7:05 PM EST

Uh, directly from Nancy Pelosi sir!!
No, I mean how does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (I am not going to stoop to your level and call it Obamacare) allow people to quit their jobs and mooch off the government? It's not even a universal health care law for poop's sakes!

Perhaps you fail to understand what a straw man is.
To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.
Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

Nope, I'm using it right. This is what you do every time you hold up one of your lazy hospital patients as the representative example every time someone on these forums mentions anyone the lower class.

QBRanger February 22 2012 7:07 PM EST

LB,

Did you not hear/read what Pelosi stated?

And yet again, you are using the strawman incorrectly. Until you accept that, I will not respond to stupid and baseless accusations.

Lord Bob February 22 2012 7:18 PM EST

Did you not hear/read what Pelosi stated?
Yes, and I already dismissed it as irrelevant to what was being discussed, whether that topic was an excuse to widen wealth disparities, or the standard of living for the lower class in modern day America. You don't seem to understand that my intent here is not defending Pelosi's statements (though I could), but to dismiss them as irrelevant to the discussion, and to make yet another point about your debate tactics.

If you choose not to respond, meaning you will cease this "lazy/choice" nonsense, well that's just grand!

QBJohnnywas February 22 2012 7:23 PM EST

We are told we are going through harsh financial times yet companies around the world are seeing their profits rise. Some of the US and UK banks have seen a rise in profit of ten percent or more. The banks are still payimg out huge bonuses to their staff. Harsh financial times for some. For others these are boom times.

QBRanger February 22 2012 8:08 PM EST

Yes.

Perhaps if the climate was not so antagonistic to success here in the US, businesses would invest and expand.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 22 2012 9:45 PM EST

I tried that line of logic a while ago.
Got some on your nose.

Jealous and fairness again? I should stop reading right now....but you know I won't. :)
1) The needs seem expensive when taking in the costs in living.
2) Fridges & microwaves come with the apartments. Cell phones are cheap and needed.
3) Your days in the ER are making you...inhospitable.

Wise, was hoping for historical sarcasm in your words.

Choices in what their education will be. Choices on where they live. Choices on multiple things in their life.
Location, location, and bonk as some choices can't be made by a child.
Money isn't a good measure of wealth.
Use metric. To be fair the proud bones that won't take food stamps aren't stealing. ;)
And do I need to dispel the "Every rich person does not care at all about those less fortunate" myth?
Richie wasn't mentioned until you. >.>
"People's choices do not matter" myth?
That's a fact, Jack!...Please don't make Pelosi the posterboy of anything other than birth control. To count that hatchet faced bubble blower as relevant to our yelling is unsanitary.
Are you actually reading my posts??
Sadly. Why does "rich" need to be said twice when the talk was still about the poor? Then you drop Bill Gates & Obamacare in for no reason.
Especially is such harsh financial times.
Harsh because big biz and wars broke the fed-piggy. =/ Our greatest exports have been of art, media, manipulation, and music so not the worst investment.
antagonistic, success
1. Showing or feeling active opposition or hostility toward someone or something. Yeah, what's up with that?....Solyndra!
2. That word! That devil word!

Lord Bob February 22 2012 11:31 PM EST

Ranger, what are your thoughts on Obama's corporate tax proposal.

Honest question, I'm not gearing up for a sharp jab.

Mikel February 23 2012 12:02 AM EST

He's got the right idea, but why didn't he bring it up sooner? He's had 4 years to bring this up? Why now? Political maneuvering at it's finest, meaning that nothing will be done if he's re-elected.

This is what ticks me off the most, all we will be hearing about until the elections is over, is how much money he will make for his campaigning. With all the money these guys raise, why don't they use the excess to start paying down the debt? But that's another story.

QBRanger February 23 2012 12:31 AM EST

Ranger, what are your thoughts on Obama's corporate tax proposal.

I now have had time to actually read and evaluate it.

My thoughts:

While 28% is a step in the right direction, as Mikel stated, why now? Why not 3 years ago? But then again, better late than never.

However 28% would still be the 4th highest corporate tax rate in the world.

And contrary to other countries, we have a state corporate tax rate on top of the federal rate so corporations would be still paying more than 35% in a lot of states.

There are tax increases included in his plan. They include requiring US companies that operate overseas to pay a minimum tax rate on foreign earnings. This will keep corporations overseas.

He also plans to eliminate a lot of deductions for oil and gas companies such as expensing on drilling investments and depletion of wells. These are not loopholes but universal investment deductions every business gets. They will of course cause these costs to be passed on the consumer.

Meanwhile he still plans to uphold the Tax credit for Big Wind.

Overall, it is not real much of a cut for some companies and certainly not enough to stimulate the economy.

Lord Bob February 23 2012 12:31 AM EST

Political maneuvering at it's finest
This part is correct. I think he's baiting the Republicans. But I want to know what people think of the policy, not the motivations.

With all the money these guys raise, why don't they use the excess to start paying down the debt?
Thank Citizens United.

Lord Bob February 23 2012 12:33 AM EST

I now have had time to actually read and evaluate it.
Thank you for your response.

QBRanger February 23 2012 12:34 AM EST

Thank Citizens United.

Again on the CU case?

It was leveling the playing field vs Unions.

Get rid of unions giving plenty of money freely and we can then chat about corporations doing the same.

Lochnivar February 23 2012 12:37 AM EST

How about just putting a cap on Election spending... and capping 'lobbyist' election spending. Give 'em all equal air time and not a second more.

Screw the much loved 'spend your way to office' paradigm.

AdminTitan February 23 2012 12:41 AM EST

How about just putting a cap on Election spending

You have no idea how many people are in favor of this (well you might); but the problem is, is without the limits already in place, the rich(est) ones are the ones getting elected. While limit their own power *smile*

Wise February 23 2012 4:08 AM EST

"http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts/hunger-and-poverty-statistics.aspx

I guess they're all too proud and suicidal.

Seriously, where do you people come up with this crap?"

That site defines poverty and "food insecurity" as having to visit a food pantry 1-2 times ever or use federal aid. In other words that site actually supports my argument that nobody starves in developed countries unless they want to starve.

However, how many people do you think have starved throughout the centuries while rich people in the same country do not?

Seriously, where do people come up with this crap?....wow

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 23 2012 11:37 AM EST

If I'm reading right. If you don't panhandle, steal, or use government programs then you deserve to die of malnutrition in so many words. That does sound like the underlining intent. =/
Got maybe 18 million kids in this land that don't get full meals and possibly more adults. If you really do see the problem as keenly between pride and suicide without the muck on the sides then it's good I'm typing this mess.
Ok, look. Starvation isn't an instant event. Look at African kids, they spend years as supermodels, and you don't have to look like them to starve or be starving. Will admit we aren't using the correct terminology as it's suffering from hungry if you care to split that hair. No one is going to use the word famine so don't take that perception from this attempt at empathy either.
Can still be starving of suffering just by using more energy than you take in for weeks or months at a time. Not anemic bad, but still not good if someone were to pass out on a double shift. Which entails a person could simply not accept needed amounts of intake then they don't see themselves as starving until they get in that paper gown. Which close to reality. That's right, the double shift guy could just as well not know he needs food. A person can live a couple of weeks without food. One spending years dealing with hunger could just as well benumb the cravings, see themselves as a stronger person for the struggles, and/or become entirely focused on paying bills. While that example can be subjugated with pride is kin to a greater need. Zoning out basic needs in the process and no one tell me they have been living for years they know what time it is to eat. This is not a far fetched concept. Pride can be seen in telling, but is an additive taken from many variables. Not of the true problem. People are as likely to push themselves to starvation than to lay back at let it happen. That's all I'll say for now.
Hunger talks past this point to the blames of pride, apathy, or stupidity might be met with the term strawman. Fair warning.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 3:09 PM EST

[quote]While the arts are a great thing, we need to rebuild the economy rather than let people drop their day jobs and become "artists", living off of others hard work.[/quote]

Ah, I see we've moved far away from fair, and are now judging a persons worth.

Artists have no worth, eh.

Let's continue. Why don't we lump lawers and bankers in with artists too. Especially bankers.

QBRanger February 23 2012 3:25 PM EST

Artists have no worth, eh.

Unless they are self sufficient and not getting free government freebies that I and others who actually work pay for, yes they have little to no worth.

If they are not good enough to be able to sell their products on the free market, then they have little worth.

Especially in such tough economic times.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 3:31 PM EST

It becomes clearer. The only people of worth in this world are those who can sell something.

Got it.

Lochnivar February 23 2012 3:35 PM EST

On the bright side that means that Bieber and Nickelback are safe! Woot!

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 23 2012 3:39 PM EST

Government workers gathering statistical data and doing bio-medical research need to get real jobs! ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 3:40 PM EST

And all charities are worthless...

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 3:40 PM EST

Ah I get it, now that the USA has a singing president, music is socialist.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 3:41 PM EST

Not to mention all state teachers...

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 3:43 PM EST

"I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL REWARD ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ARTS AS WE REWARD ACHIEVEMENT IN BUSINESS OR STATECRAFT. I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL STEADILY RAISE THE STANDARDS OF ARTISTIC ACCOMPLISHMENT AND WHICH WILL STEADILY ENLARGE CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL OF OUR CITIZENS. AND I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH COMMANDS RESPECT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD NOT ONLY FOR ITS STRENGTH BUT FOR ITS CIVILIZATION AS WELL.

I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL NOT BE AFRAID OF GRACE AND BEAUTY."

QBRanger February 23 2012 3:43 PM EST

Government workers gathering statistical data and doing bio-medical research need to get real jobs! ;)
And all charities are worthless...
Ah I get it, now that the USA has a singing president, music is socialist.
Not to mention all state teachers...

Wow, we are really hitting the strawman hard now!!!

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 23 2012 3:45 PM EST

That's the funny thing about making statements with "absolutes" in them, is that the world has so few actual absolutes in it. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use." - Wendell Johnson

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 3:47 PM EST

No.

You have said above.

If you receive state funding, and can't at least break even by selling something in exchange, you're worthless.

I can't express my disagreement with that notion.

QBRanger February 23 2012 3:47 PM EST

"I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL REWARD ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ARTS AS WE REWARD ACHIEVEMENT IN BUSINESS OR STATECRAFT. I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL STEADILY RAISE THE STANDARDS OF ARTISTIC ACCOMPLISHMENT AND WHICH WILL STEADILY ENLARGE CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL OF OUR CITIZENS. AND I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH COMMANDS RESPECT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD NOT ONLY FOR ITS STRENGTH BUT FOR ITS CIVILIZATION AS WELL.

I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL NOT BE AFRAID OF GRACE AND BEAUTY."

I just look forward to having an America that remains the bastion of free enterprise and does not decay into the socialistic type of society Europe strives to be.

I do not want things such as the Grecian riots occurring in America due to people expecting the government to provide for them from the cradle to the grave.

As far as the arts, there are people who make money selling their art. People who make money acting and producing film. I do not want an America where anyone can call themselves and "artist" and sponge off the government in the pursuit of things such as Piss Christ.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 23 2012 3:50 PM EST

Ranger, do you disagree with the concept of spending tax dollars on loss-leader enterprises?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 3:51 PM EST

I just look forward to having an America that remains the bastion of free enterprise and does not decay into the socialistic type of society Europe strives to be.

lol

Belive it or not, most of Europe strives not to become America.

I do not want things such as the Grecian riots occurring in America due to people expecting the government to provide for them from the cradle to the grave.

You're misinformed as to the reason for the riots.

As far as the arts, there are people who make money selling their art. People who make money acting and producing film. I do not want an America where anyone can call themselves and "artist" and sponge off the government in the pursuit of things such as Piss Christ.

Why stop there?

Next up, Religion! How many Priests, Vicors, Imams, Rabbi, or the like make money?

Well, apart from those nice pastors that take donations then are seen driving aorund in a new BMW of course...

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 3:55 PM EST

Many of the classic British bands were formed while either in state funded education or on welfare. There are many people in bands who think that the introduction of paid education over the free model we used to have has killed the creativity that used to be everywhere.

State funded education made it possible for bands like The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd and many many others to get started.

When art becomes about making money it becomes the sort of thing Simon Cowell pushes.

QBRanger February 23 2012 3:55 PM EST

Belive it or not, most of Europe strives not to become America.

And that is why America is the greatest county.

You're misinformed as to the reason for the riots.

I do not think so, but please educate me on why there are riots in Greece. I thought they were do to the austerity measures the EU is imposing on Greece in order to get the bailout loans.

Well, apart from those nice pastors that take donations then are seen driving aorund in a new BMW of course...

Opposed to those people on welfare driving new cars here? Or those without jobs in England with huge apartments, just because they have a large family and are "disabled"?

QBRanger February 23 2012 3:57 PM EST

Ranger, do you disagree with the concept of spending tax dollars on loss-leader enterprises?

Like the Chevy Volt being a loss-leader?

It would help me a lot if you can define what you mean by loss leader with respect to tax dollars.

Lochnivar February 23 2012 3:58 PM EST

Two thigs:

1)
Opposed to those people on welfare driving new cars here? Or those without jobs in England with huge apartments, just because they have a large family and are "disabled"?

People can afford new cars on welfare? Really, this is endemic?

2)
And that is why America is the greatest county.

In your opinion...

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 4:01 PM EST

And that is why America is the greatest county.

Meet my friend hubris. He want's to say Hi!

I do not think so, but please educate me on why there are riots in Greece. I thought they were do to the austerity measures the EU is imposing on Greece in order to get the bailout loans.

"In the early-mid 2000s, Greece's economy was strong and the government took advantage by running a large deficit, partly due to high defense spending amid historic enmity to Turkey. As the world economy cooled in the late 2000s, Greece was hit especially hard because its main industriesラshipping and tourismラwere especially sensitive to changes in the business cycle. As a result, the country's debt began to pile up rapidly. In early 2010, as concerns about Greece's national debt grew, policy makers suggested that emergency bailouts might be necessary."

The Government had to cut back, and they did so by squeezing the populace. Who, surprisingly, don't like it.

Governemtn financial mismanagement, paid for by Joe Bloggs on the street.

Opposed to those people on welfare driving new cars here? Or those without jobs in England with huge apartments, just because they have a large family and are "disabled"?

Who's talking about opposition? You're lumping in all Religion with artists, right?

QBRanger February 23 2012 4:02 PM EST

People can afford new cars on welfare? Really, this is endemic?

About as endemic and as common as pastors driving new BMWs :)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 4:03 PM EST

That was a throw away comment, but you can continue to use it to avoid the point.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 23 2012 4:09 PM EST

Like the Chevy Volt being a loss-leader?

It would help me a lot if you can define what you mean by loss leader with respect to tax dollars.

Yes, similar to the Chevy Volt. Without getting caught up in all the specific details. And I know you are a stickler for details, so I'm trying to be general here, so try to bear with me.

Something like the government subsidizing someone with unemployment. They are paying money out with the hopes that this person will eventually turn a profit when they return to the workforce, and to make sure they don't totally fail as a person or family while they are unemployed. Is this something you agree with?

Another example: The government hands out grant money to scientists who present worthwhile research opportunities into areas that might present a possible new product or service that would make existing services more efficient. Maybe a new water filter that the government can install in water filtration systems across the country to get 6.5% more clean water out of the water system with the exact same power input and exactly the same level of maintenance. At the end of the day, the government is charging money through water utility districts, and the cost of clean water just became that much cheaper for the government. Is this something you agree with?

Another example: The government provides access to high-quality education to low-income families, in the hopes that the people coming out of such a system are very productive members of society and some day pay taxes into the very system that helped them become successful. Is this something you agree with?

Lochnivar February 23 2012 4:17 PM EST

About as endemic and as common as pastors driving new BMWs :)

According to:
http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-pastors-pay-rises-to-more-than-80-000-33898/

"Compensation packages, including benefits such as retirement, life insurance, health insurance and continuing education allowances, have increased to $81,113 per year for the average senior pastor."

So I think if they were inclined more Pastors than either of us suspect could afford a BMW :-)

That little tidbit rather surprised me.

Lord Bob February 23 2012 4:20 PM EST

In other words that site actually supports my argument that nobody starves in developed countries unless they want to starve.
They go to the food pantries because they are starving. Doesn't sound suicidal or too proud to me.

However, reading your last post, we may be talking about two different things here. I now think you are referring to people literally dying of malnutrition. I responded as if the subject was the hungry. So without conceding the point on technology vs. wealth disparity, or quality of life, I see what you meant originally on this topic.

QBRanger February 23 2012 4:31 PM EST

A loss leader, or simply a leader,[1] is a product sold at a low price (at cost or below cost)[2] to stimulate other profitable sales. It is a kind of sales promotion, in other words marketing concentrating on a pricing strategy. A loss leader is often a popular article. Sometimes leader is now used as a related term and means any popular article, in other words one sold at a normal price.[3]

What you are describing, other than the Volt, does not sound like a loss leader to me. It can be in most cases thought of as an investment.

And yes, I am 100% against the Chevy Volt.

"Compensation packages, including benefits such as retirement, life insurance, health insurance and continuing education allowances, have increased to $81,113 per year for the average senior pastor."

That 81k includes all compensation. Which is at least 18k for health insurance. Probably 15k a year towards retirement. So their "salary" is about 40-50k a year. Most pastors and rabbis I know work far more than 40 hours a week and most work every weekend.

Also, that is for SENIOR pastors. For every senior pastor, how many junior ones are there. In my temple we have 1 senior rabbi and 2 junior ones as well as a cantor.

My own rabbi, who works for a very well off temple in Florida (when I lived there) drove a Camry, not a BMW.

I know of very few pastors or rabbis that would even consider driving such a car as a BMW.

Lochnivar February 23 2012 4:38 PM EST

I know of very few pastors or rabbis that would even consider driving such a car as a BMW.

Oh I agree with you entirely. It is inconsistent with the life that they have chosen. But not impossible though.

Lord Bob February 23 2012 4:39 PM EST

Ranger, you're against subsidizing the arts, right? Then are you also against subsidizing religion?

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 4:40 PM EST

"As far as the arts, there are people who make money selling their art. People who make money acting and producing film. I do not want an America where anyone can call themselves and "artist" and sponge off the government in the pursuit of things such as Piss Christ."

The artist received a grant of $15k for this. The art itself sold in 1999 for $162k. That's a nice return for a worthless piece of art.

QBRanger February 23 2012 4:42 PM EST

How do we currently subsidize religion?

Lord Bob February 23 2012 4:43 PM EST

There's a Piss Christ?

*Googles it*

That's... just... awesome!

Lord Bob February 23 2012 4:44 PM EST

How do we currently subsidize religion?
Tax-exempt status. Not sure if they receive grants or not, but if so, there you go.

QBRanger February 23 2012 4:47 PM EST

Theoretically, religious centers should be non-profit. Therefore they should not have any "profit" to tax.

However, as we both know, that is not always true. Just look at all the land holding various churches have.

I believe we should not subsidize religion.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 23 2012 4:49 PM EST

Ok, investment, or loss-leader the concept is similar enough that you understand what I'm talking about.

What you are describing, other than the Volt, does not sound like a loss leader to me. It can be in most cases thought of as an investment.

And yes, I am 100% against the Chevy Volt.

You didn't answer any of my questions though, I asked you one for each example. Can you tell me what you think of those? Also, why are you against the Volt?

QBRanger February 23 2012 4:49 PM EST

The artist received a grant of $15k for this. The art itself sold in 1999 for $162k. That's a nice return for a worthless piece of art.

Then that artist should have taken a loan for 15k and then he would have been able to pay that loan back with interest and still made a fortune. Or find a benefactor to give him that money.

I fail to see your point about having the government get involved in the arts.

And did the government get the 147k profit from the sale?

Lord Bob February 23 2012 4:51 PM EST

I believe we should not subsidize religion.
Bravo! I applaud your position, and completely agree with your post.

QBRanger February 23 2012 4:54 PM EST

Veri,

I just wanted to be absolutely sure about what you were typing about. Since in the past I assumed something that was to me quite obvious and got reamed on it by others for my obvious assumptions.

But, I am going to pull a Sut on this one. I cannot answer every single permutation you give me about investments.

Loss leaders-no, it is basically a bait and switch which is borderline illegal.
Investments-depends on the type of investment and the pro forma.

For a company like Solyndra that had a crappy pro forma and it was well known to people in the government that it was going to fail.

Each investment needs to be individually evaluated. I cannot answer for each specifics.

AdminTitan February 23 2012 4:56 PM EST

"I LOOK FORWARD TO AN AMERICA WHICH WILL REWARD ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ARTS AS WE REWARD ACHIEVEMENT IN BUSINESS OR STATECRAFT..."

The US has a gaming industry equal to that of the rest of Europe over 18.5 billion. 10.89 billion in movie revenue, and billions in music as well. I consider these the cornerstones of modern arts as do a many other people it seems from sales. So, you're welcome the rest of the world; you're welcome for our beautiful works of art.

Lochnivar February 23 2012 4:58 PM EST

Don't forget the estimated between $2-$13 billion per year for the American porn industry...

Keep that art coming!

AdminTitan February 23 2012 4:58 PM EST

If you keep buying it, we'll keep making it!

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 5:03 PM EST

Titan, I think you'll find that its only Ranger who is putting the arts down unless they can be sold on the free market and as things that shoukd receive no state subsidy. Most art of course can be sold and most great art over the centuries has been sponsored and subsidised by government/monarchy.

Why shouldnt art, yes including games, receive subsidy?

AdminTitan February 23 2012 5:03 PM EST

Oh and from best estimates I could find, US accounts for "$754bn in 2011" of the entire "entertainment industry" a little over 1/3 of the entire rest of the worlds.

AdminTitan February 23 2012 5:04 PM EST

Why shouldnt art, yes including games, receive subsidy?

How about tell me why anything should receive subsidies?

QBRanger February 23 2012 5:07 PM EST

Why shouldnt art, yes including games, receive subsidy?

Why should they receive a subsidy?

If people want to buy it, like Piss Christ, people will have a market for their work.

But why do we need to subsidize any business?

And BTW, I am not putting the arts down. If they can succeed, great. If not, o well.

Movies are art and they succeed or fail on their merit. Video games are the same. What is so special about the "arts" you want to subsidize?

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 5:22 PM EST

I think that a government that supports it's people and it's country in becoming a better place is a better government. Simple as that. Nothing complicated, I just think it's better. I'm prepared to pay higher taxes to support a government that will make people happier and make the world a nicer place

Why is it a bad thing?

Lord Bob February 23 2012 5:28 PM EST

Putting the topic of subsidizing the arts aside for a moment, Piss Christ may be the best thing I've seen all week, but I fail to see how anyone requires $15,000 to drop a crucifix into a jar of urine.

QBJohnnywas February 23 2012 5:35 PM EST

Where art is concerned one of the biggest blocks to creativity is the need to pay the bills. Subsidies or sponsorship enable creativity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Endowment_for_the_Arts

QBRanger February 23 2012 5:39 PM EST

Why is it a bad thing?

Because what you think is art, I can think of as utter crap.

Just take Piss Christ. LB thinks it is the best thing since the wheel. I think it is one of the most disgusting forms of free expression I have ever seen.

Why should I have to pay for what I think is crap?

If someone can make it and sell it for a profit, great. But why should I have to subsidize something I utter loath?

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

I certainly respect your discussion about a better society. However, your idea of better and mine may be much different.

How about we give money to make more poker rooms? I love poker and feel happier when I play. But not everyone feels the same way. I know that is an extreme example but one can pick an infinite amount o examples to make the same point.

QBRanger February 23 2012 5:42 PM EST

In mid-2009, the NEA came under controversy again when it was revealed on a website run by conservative activist Andrew Breitbart that then-Communications Director Yosi Sergant had participated in an August 10, 2009 conference call that allegedly directed artists to create works of art promoting President Barack Obama's domestic agenda.

Directly from the wiki on the NEA. Which makes my point exactly. Why should the government give money to an organization that can be political. Or something that I disagree with.

Where art is concerned one of the biggest blocks to creativity is the need to pay the bills. Subsidies or sponsorship enable creativity.

Private sponsorship is great. Government sponsorship is bad. There are many foundations that commission works of art for their lobbies, for their buildings and homes. Get the government out of picking winners and losers.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 23 2012 5:56 PM EST

This Is SPARTAAA!

Lord Bob February 23 2012 6:24 PM EST

Just take Piss Christ. LB thinks it is the best thing since the wheel.
Yes I do. *grin*

Because what you think is art, I can think of as utter crap. ... Why should I have to pay for what I think is crap?
Again, not agreeing or disagreeing with you on the art subsidizing thing, but regarding your question:
I paid for the Iraq war, and thought it was crap. I also payed for farm subsidies, GE's tax refund, and wall street bailouts. I also paid for a $400,000 statue of the Ten Commandments that I really, REALLY didn't like. People pay for things they don't like all the time. Why is this argument valid for art?

AdminTitan February 23 2012 6:32 PM EST

I paid for the Iraq war, and thought it was crap.

It was, and we shouldn't have been there, and the American people shouldn't have had to pay for it.

I also payed for farm subsidies, GE's tax refund

See my earlier comment, no one should be receiving subsidies.

and wall street bailouts.

Yes this was a terrible terrible decision and should not have been done.

I also paid for a $400,000 statue of the Ten Commandments that I really, REALLY didn't like.

Yeah, you shouldn't have had to pay for that either :)

Lord Bob February 23 2012 6:34 PM EST

It was, and we shouldn't have been there, and the American people shouldn't have had to pay for it.
I know this, but if I recall correctly Ranger supported it, so I want to get his opinion on where the line is drawn here.

QBRanger February 23 2012 6:38 PM EST

I paid for the Iraq war, and thought it was crap. I also payed for farm subsidies, GE's tax refund, and wall street bailouts. I also paid for a $400,000 statue of the Ten Commandments that I really, REALLY didn't like. People pay for things they don't like all the time. Why is this argument valid for art?

The Iraq war, as much as you hate it, as in the interest of national defense. At the time, there was convincing evidence of WMD. But in any event, that was in the interest of national security and falls outside the boundaries of subsidies.

I agree that farm subsidies and the GE tax refund are bogus and should be stopped.

The wall street bailout may have been needed to prevent a total financial meltdown at the time. However.. those involved should be drawn and quartered for their actions. The banks should have paid back their monies with tons of interest. The Frank Dodd law is a pile of dung with respect to "too big to fail". And many other problems with it. If it was done right, I think many people would have less of a problem but it was done so poorly and so incestuously.

I have little knowledge of the 10 commandments statue you type about.

Lord Bob February 23 2012 6:40 PM EST

However.. those involved should be drawn and quartered for their actions.
It's hanged, drawn, and quartered. You forgot the hanging.

QBRanger February 23 2012 6:42 PM EST

I know this, but if I recall correctly Ranger supported it, so I want to get his opinion on where the line is drawn here.

Do not forget the Iraq war was supported by 297 Congressmen and 77 Senators with bipartisan support.

However, we can talk about the Libyan conflict of which I paid for of which I did not want. And our president did NOT go to Congress for authorization. That is multifold worse than the Iraq war.

If our president would have gotten Congressional approval for Libya, I would have supported it 100%. As I hope you would the Iraq war.

AdminTitan February 23 2012 6:48 PM EST

Do not forget the Iraq war was supported by 297 Congressmen and 77 Senators with bipartisan support

Was no declaration of war, so that is irrelevant.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 6:48 PM EST

I think that a government that supports it's people and it's country in becoming a better place is a better government.

This.

Johnny wins. ;)

QBRanger February 23 2012 6:48 PM EST

It's hanged, drawn, and quartered. You forgot the hanging.

No, I did not forget. I want them alive for the drawn and quartering. No chance to escape it via a too tight knot on the hanging.

QBRanger February 23 2012 6:50 PM EST

Was no declaration of war, so that is irrelevant.

The resolution authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States "as he determines to be necessary and appropriate" in order to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq."

It was.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 6:52 PM EST

How about tell me why anything should receive subsidies?

Then why should I pay any taxes?

QBRanger February 23 2012 6:54 PM EST

Then why should I pay any taxes?

To keep up a strong national defense.

For the basic societal safety net.

To keep fire and police and local services intact.

Not to give to the "arts" so people can quit their day jobs and be assured of free healthcare provided by people who still work.

AdminTitan February 23 2012 6:58 PM EST

"The resolution authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States "as he determines to be necessary and appropriate" in order to "defend the national security of the United States"

I don't think we want to get into a discussion of the crap that was passed during the Bush administration.

QBRanger February 23 2012 7:01 PM EST

I don't think we want to get into a discussion of the crap that was passed during the Bush administration.

Just like the garbage passed during Obama's reign?

Crap like that works both ways.

AdminTitan February 23 2012 7:01 PM EST

Then why should I pay any taxes?

I don't think you actually mean this.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 7:07 PM EST

Oh I do.

If the state isn't going to give anything back to me (like free education, subsidised transport, free health care), why on earth should I give them any money?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 7:08 PM EST

To keep up a strong national defense.

Let a private company do that. And charge for it. And make a profit.

Right?

AdminTitan February 23 2012 7:08 PM EST

If the state isn't going to give anything back to me (like free education, subsidised transport, free health care), why on earth should I give them any money?

Sorry, I'll respond when I get back from the hospital, I facepalmed so hard I think I broke my nose.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 7:10 PM EST

Heh. I'm of the same opinion about calling the 'arts' worthless...

AdminTitan February 23 2012 7:13 PM EST

Heh. I'm of the same opinion about calling the 'arts' worthless...

1M CBD to the first quote of me saying that in this thread

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 23 2012 7:14 PM EST

Never implied you did mate. ;)

But still, even Ranger thinks some things should be subsidised.

Lord Bob February 23 2012 7:18 PM EST

No, I did not forget. I want them alive for the drawn and quartering. No chance to escape it via a too tight knot on the hanging.
Actually they were only hanged enough to hurt really, really bad before the drawing and quartering to maximize the awfulness. So you should put the hanging back in.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 23 2012 7:22 PM EST

So you should put the hanging back in.

that sounds fair and thus we come full circle.

QBRanger February 23 2012 11:43 PM EST

Let a private company do that. And charge for it. And make a profit.

And there we have the end of any meaningful discourse about whether the arts should or should not be subsidized.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 24 2012 3:14 AM EST

No, that happened when you claimed all arts (and anything else that doesn't turn a profit) was of no worth.

I seriously think you're only trolling now Ranger. Honestly.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 24 2012 7:01 AM EST

Least the hungry were left alone and I do mean that.

Ranger, must be the 3rd time you've used the word bastion. Almost telling when broad figures are put on a giant stone pedestal.
I am not putting the arts down. If they can succeed, great. If not, o well.
Could you at least make room in your chest void for community theater? May be crap, but gives someone with a lisp hope. ;) ....btw following up Urine Savior rage with your poker addiction was art. Speaking of lisp.

Government sponsorship is bad.
Hope handouts for possible homosexuals to paint churchy man bits art doesn't fall in with this. Though we can agree a mandated wear-this-funny-tube-hat law would omit all fund management misgivings. ;)

At the time, there was convincing evidence of WMD.
Bonk.
That is multifold worse than the Iraq war.
Bonk, bonk.
To keep fire and police and local services intact.
Bo- wait...Hail comrade, Socialist!
Would be a fine time to plug in national healthcare as a public service of equal right, but we know how that will go. ;)

So! I'll leave this here.....
http://mediamatters.org/research/201109190020
That's off the top of google. Read a good article maybe half a year ago for how those greedy buggers failed to account for China, competitive bribes, an engineering brainfart on the factory floor upgrade that followed. All that good stuff, so I've known for a long while why they flopped down the tubes. Couldn't tell if you knew what actually happened as was so hit or miss. =\
Since you stamped everything from Jupiter to Frosted Flakes with Solyndra or Teacher's Union. Staying silent was a fine way to troll I guess.
This is probably the one time you've used that bad investment so appropriately so let's stop while on top. You've shillelaghed that solar straw pony long enough, Mac. Now is time to let go. Unless accurately fitting with gov loan practice and subjects to history. I don't think we need to read Solyndra again. =\


tl;dr Sucks the air out of your words with each use, so you got this long pointless spank for my discomfort. Whap, whap.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 24 2012 7:50 AM EST

And there we have the end of any meaningful discourse about whether the arts should or should not be subsidized.

declaring an end implies a beginning.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 24 2012 7:51 AM EST

Would be a fine time to plug in national healthcare as a public service of equal right

Exactly. But then wouldn't want America trying to become Europe, right? With its state funded education, transport, emergency servies and healthcare, to name a fraction.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 24 2012 8:21 AM EST

This discussion got me thinking about abolishing the Firce Service, and providing Firefighters as a 'for profit' organisation.

If your house catches fire, you can call them out, and they'll charge you to put the fire out. A one off fee when they get there. Even possibly fire insurance. You could set up an account with the company to pay them monthly to come put out any fires on your property.

Of course, if you can't afford thier service, they woud leave your property to burn down.

We could also do the same with the police force. House been burgled? Pay a fee for them to come and investiage.

We could use all the savings made from this to give publically funded banks staff even larger bonuses!

Why hello RBS...

Let's reward your staff for failing some more!

*cough*

The taxpayer-funded Royal Bank of Scotland was criticised yesterday for paying ᆪ785million in bonuses while posting losses of ᆪ2billion. The bank, which is 82 per cent state-owned after receiving a $45.5billion bailout, admitted the the bonus pool included ᆪ390million for its 17,000 investment bankers.

But hey, it's ok, as the bonus pool is 43% smaller than last years...

Duke February 25 2012 12:02 PM EST

GL do you know how bad its is for the economy if those bonus does not growth. You think only of yourself. Have you think about those banker in switzerland.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 25 2012 12:24 PM EST

It's true. ;) I'm only thinking of myself.

I want to run a company that makes a 2billion pound loss, and still reward myself with massive bonuses.

Who wouldn't. ;)

Lochnivar February 25 2012 12:30 PM EST

Who wouldn't. ;)

Socialists, that's who!


(my poor kids are going to be astounded when they read, and post to, this thread)

QBRanger February 25 2012 12:37 PM EST

(my poor kids are going to be astounded when they read, and post to, this thread)

Mine too.

Just, I guess, in the opposite way.

Lochnivar February 25 2012 12:41 PM EST

Just, I guess, in the opposite way.

I was just referring to the meandering longevity of the thread, not one side or the other. Since I do not yet have kids it is probably fair to say I was engaging in a touch of hyperbole...

Anyway, how do you know your kids will be on your side Ranger :-)
I'm just teasing ya, but both my dad's parents support Newcastle and he grew up a Sunderland fan... rebellion is the birthright of all children!

Lord Bob February 25 2012 12:48 PM EST

I was just referring to the meandering longevity of the thread,
Tell me about it. I've broken my record for most posts on a single thread. 45 and climbing!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 25 2012 6:46 PM EST

but both my dad's parents support Newcastle and he grew up a Sunderland fan... rebellion is the birthright of all children!

LoL!

I'm West Ham, my wife is Norwich.

Emma has decided she likes those guys in the red and white stripes. ;)

AdminTitan February 25 2012 10:27 PM EST

Since I do not yet have kids

That he knows of

Mikel February 26 2012 10:01 AM EST

Back to Gov funding of the arts.

Basically, No, the Gov should not back the Arts. The Arts have some big funding from Private investors already, why not continue to use that? And if someone makes it big, then they contribute funds back to the organization(s) that backed them.

The less things the government has it's hands in, then things will be run much better and won't have so much red tape and decreases the chances of it being mis-managed.



Now GL mentioned about the Fire Departments, we already have that problem here of firemen not putting out fires in rural areas if you aren't paying your fee's.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/tennessee-family-home-burns-while-firefighters-watch-191241763.html

A Tennessee couple helplessly watched their home burn to the ground, along with all of their possessions, because they did not pay a $75 annual fee to the local fire department.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39516346/ns/us_news-life/t/no-pay-no-spray-firefighters-let-home-burn/#.T0o7XocgdIk

No pay, no spray: Firefighters let home burn


The Police also generate income from Tickets issued, so they are not a complete drain on the Tax Payers money.

Tax payer money should be used by the Feds to pay for:
Fire Stations
Police Stations
Water Works
FBI
National Defense
Roads/Infrastructure
Schools
& I'm probably forgetting a few more things that it should be used for as well.



Now big Corp Bonuses should be very heavily taxed. Unfortunately in a Capitalistic market this is going to happen. There should be some caps in place though IE Sum of all Bonuses given out should not exceed xx% of Profits made for the Fiscal Year and taxed heavily.


I noticed also that it was brought up that the gov should fund research.
Wrong again, if there is a way to make money at it, a Private firm will find a way. Most already have their own R&D Departments dedicated to these quests already.

The only way I can see the Gov backing an area is if it is there is no one out there that can back the research in the private area. Which is going to be pretty rare.

Now going further, I really despise how the Gov pays farmers not to grow, so they can control the market rates. I think this is a very poor way of doing it. Let farmers grow (Farmers aren't stupid and they will grow things accordingly to the market rates in order to make a profit as well). If the gov is so concerned with keeping the prices at a certain rate and worried about surpluses, SELL OFF portions of the surplus to another Country! It's not like there isn't other starving countries out there that wouldn't buy it. What do you think they used to do before the government got involved in that area??

Pretty soon with all of the regulations for farmers, there will be few private farmers left. Who then is going to feed America? Commercial farming will be the only options we have left.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 26 2012 10:56 AM EST

while we are at it, let's get rid of tax exempt status for charities and churches. if they can't get enough contributions to exist without fed support then obviously they don't deserve to exist!

we should also likely get rid of donations being tax deductible for the same reasons. if people don't care enough to give without those deductions then obviously the government shouldn't be subsidizing donations to these organizations.

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 26 2012 11:59 AM EST

What about research that would be unprofitable however good for our society. Only way you are ever going to get this kind of research is through the government.

QBJohnnywas February 26 2012 12:04 PM EST

While we are at it, taking government funding away from business and research etc, lets keep big business away from government, get those lobbyists away from the politicians, keep their influence away from the lawmakers. Amazing how many big business call out for less regulation, less tax, but expect governments to mould their policies to suit them.

Also amazing how many of them become socialist when they hit trouble, expecting the state to help them out.

Mikel February 26 2012 12:43 PM EST

I'm fine with taking tax exemption status away from churches.

Natasha:
Did you read my post entirely or skip parts?

"The only way I can see the Gov backing an area is if it is there is no one out there that can back the research in the private area. Which is going to be pretty rare."

Johnny:
I am all for outlawing and imposing severe fines/penalties onto lobbyists who continue to try to influence politicians. Always have been. 9 times out of 10 they are not looking out for what is in the best interest of the people.

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] February 26 2012 12:50 PM EST

Lord Bob February 26 2012 1:14 PM EST

I'm probably forgetting a few more things that it should be used for as well.
Like universal health insurance!

QBRanger February 26 2012 1:19 PM EST

Like universal health insurance!

I am sorry but universal health insurance is not a right. Certainly not in the US under our constitution.

If you wish to make is so, there is a process to amend the constitution.

Lord Bob February 26 2012 1:29 PM EST

I am sorry but universal health insurance is not a right.
Neither is the FBI, or subsidies for big oil, but we pay for those.

Not all government programs are listed in the Constitution. In fact, few are.

Mikel February 26 2012 1:31 PM EST

I have heard many conflicting stories about paying Income Taxes in the US.

In prior times, there was no tax on "Income earned".

I have read stories where it is considered unconstitutional to pay income taxes and some people don't pay it.

What does everyone know about this?

Maybe this should be in it's own thread, not sure.

QBRanger February 26 2012 1:32 PM EST

I have read stories where it is considered unconstitutional to pay income taxes and some people don't pay it.

I think Wesley Snipes found out otherwise.

Mikel February 26 2012 1:34 PM EST

I would lump the FBI into the Defense category. I don't think we need an FBI and Department of Homeland Security. They can both be lumped together.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 26 2012 1:34 PM EST

mikel wasn't referring to constitutional rights either, his list was what he thought the fed should be using taxpayer money for. lb was stating he thinks that is a good use of said money. you may disagree with that but try to respect his opinion please.

Lord Bob February 26 2012 1:35 PM EST

It is Constitutional. See the 16th Amendment.

I've heard of people trying to get out of paying their fair share by trying to get out of paying income taxes by petitioning the government. These people are among the lowest form of scum in my book.

QBRanger February 26 2012 5:30 PM EST

subsidies for big oil, but we pay for those.

I am sick and tired of this age old talking point.

There are no specific subsidizes for "big oil" that any other company is not eligible for except for the last on this list:

Domestic manufacturing deduction - 1.7B
Percentage depletion allowance - 1B
Foreign tax credit - 850M
Intangible drilling costs - 780M

The only one specific to oil companies is the last. However that is less than 1/2 the amount we are giving Brazil for off shore drilling there.

I am not of course saying tax breaks should not be on the table with tax reform, however, one cannot make the argument that they should be removed only for big oil.

In fact, if one takes away a general tax break specific to only one industry that may be highly illegal. It is known as a bill of attainder. So what you are proposing is something that may be illegal in the US system.

Let us look at the "record profit" of one of the largest "big oil" companies, Exxon.

For the first quarter of 11 they had 10.65B profit. An amazing figure.

But let us look further shall we:

They paid 8B in taxes, or 42% of income before taxes. They put 7.8B into capital and exploration.

Now if one looks at the definition of subsidy from Dictionary.com one gets:

1. a direct pecuniary aid furnished by a government to a private industrial undertaking, a charity organization, or the like.
2. a sum paid, often in accordance with a treaty, by one government to another to secure some service in return.
3. a grant or contribution of money.

PS: the government is NOT writing checks to oil companies.

So please stop demonizing yet another successful business in an attempt to enact more socialist policies like universal health care.

Lochnivar February 26 2012 5:40 PM EST

So this would be like that whole '47% of American's pay no taxes' talking point, in that it is commonly spouted by one side but not actually true?

Hmm... can't see how that would be annoying.

QBRanger February 26 2012 5:43 PM EST

So this would be like that whole '47% of American's pay no taxes' talking point, in that it is commonly spouted by one side but not actually true?

Actually it is 49% of Americans pay no FEDERAL income tax.

That is a statistical fact.

While it is a talking point is it a fact.

Subsidies to "big oil" is not. As I described in my previous post. It is neither a subsidy or specific only to big oil.

If people wish to get rid of all tax breaks equally, that would be fair. But to target one industry is not.

So your point is wrong.

QBJohnnywas February 26 2012 6:00 PM EST

The API thinks it receives subsidies.

http://www.api.org/policy/upload/Oil_and_Natural_Gas_Taxes_Subsidies.pdf

QBRanger February 26 2012 6:05 PM EST

According to the strict definition, it is not a subside.

According to the DoE, they call it a subsidy.

The DoE can say a pig is a sheep and do we have to believe it?

Either way, that article shows Big Oil is paying their fair share and then some.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 26 2012 10:04 PM EST

You scared me mikel. While I agree the gov shouldn't "back" artists and perhaps give narrow loan options instead. That the farmer's market is gimped as well. Be from Monsanto or federal regulators(legalize it). Saying gov R&D is wrong is bonk worthy in the name of science. Whether we get into the exclusions of study/focus groups, projected futures, think tanks, LHC, warfare, CDC, or rocket fuel does not matter. That blanket statement was thoughtless. The applications for government research dollars aren't so rare nor should science be hampered by any political ideology.
I am sorry but universal health insurance is not a right.
Maybe life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be amended in from that one newsletter. Bit new age liberal but those words aren't all bad. How fair is your fair when not all get to live and be jealous. Don't remind me we've done the talking heads before. Not a question of beliefs so much a statement for when we speak of rights and human life. Don't confuse the two as fundamentally different within this young "christian" nation.
Karl Marx wasn't born until 1818, the founders weren't actual wizards, and we should apply some freakonomics for the hard answers. ;)

QBRanger February 26 2012 10:27 PM EST

Maybe life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be amended in from that one newsletter.

But it is not amended, yet.

And once the government controls healthcare, they get to decide who gets what, and who get paid how much.

Not a place I want to get my healthcare from.

Lochnivar February 27 2012 2:09 AM EST

" On the April 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, after co-host Gretchen Carlson stated that "yesterday we were reporting a story that 47 percent of all Americans don't pay any taxes," Fox Business host Stuart Varney stated: "Yes, 47 percent of households pay not a single dime in taxes. And some of those households actually make a profit from the Treasury." Co-host Steve Doocy asked, "Is that fair?" "

Fox News and some other right wingers spent a good chunk of time repeating ad nausea that "47% of Americans don't pay taxes".

It takes about half an internet second to find video of this.

Therefore point is right on the nose.

See, the actual stat that you cited, about federal income tax is correct, but it got misrepresented to make people feel a certain way. Almost like someone saying that the deductions to oil companies are 'subsidies' right?

Yeah that was my point.

And I'm pretty freakin sure that means I'm not wrong.

So I'll take that apology any time Ranger.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 27 2012 2:47 AM EST

they get to decide who gets what, and who get paid how much.
Uhh anyone and everyone could get the same care they receive now, someone in so many ways already decides who gets paid what, we're 37th in the world healthcare market, and Medicare isn't exactly orwellian. =/

First & third listed by google. I'll leave these here to speak for me....
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/how-much-do-doctors-in-other-countries-make/
http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/mythbusting-canadian-health-care-part-i
We're a boastful No.1 in responsiveness and cost if that compensates.

QBRanger February 27 2012 9:22 AM EST

Yes Loch


It should not be presented that way. They pay Medicaid and SS taxes.

When I quote that stat I always use the word Federal.

Lochnivar February 27 2012 12:47 PM EST

When I quote that stat I always use the word Federal.

Yeah, you're pretty good about that, but since I wasn't talking about you I don't really know how that relates.

QBRanger February 27 2012 12:53 PM EST

Actually you sort of were typing about me.

I was typing specifically about LB and his usage of subsidies and big oil.

Then you chimed in about the income tax. While others have failed to clarify it as federal, I have always used that term as it is the correct usage. So my age old talking point is based in fact.

If you want to compare apples to oranges (LB using one vs the generic media), then please do so but I will certainly call you out on it.

Lochnivar February 27 2012 1:15 PM EST

I am sick and tired of this age old talking point.

That was your comment about the oil 'subsidies'... I don't see any reference specifically to LB, or anyone, just a critique of a talking point you feel is invalid. I countered with one of my own, again not addressing any one person.

Then you chimed in about the income tax. While others have failed to clarify it as federal, I have always used that term as it is the correct usage. So my age old talking point is based in fact.

Careful with words like always... from the same author:

I guess the liberals mind cannot fathom hard work and success. And the inability to want to pay more into a dysfunctional government. Or pay more when nearly 50% pay nothing.


Yes, you did say that.

You have an almost pathological fear of admitting mistakes it seems and it really is quite something to watch. Respond to what is actually written, not just how it makes you feel.

QBRanger February 27 2012 1:26 PM EST

And you have a pathological problem about trying to play the "gotya" game.

Guess we both have our pathological problems *smile*

Lochnivar February 27 2012 1:30 PM EST

So your point is wrong.

I don't know how attempting to refute this assertion is trying to play a gotya game...

QBRanger February 27 2012 1:36 PM EST

Yes, there is certainly a lot you do not "see".

Lord Bob February 27 2012 1:37 PM EST

I am sick and tired of this age old talking point.
That's OK. I'm quite sick of your age old "lazy" talking points, among countless others.

There are no specific subsidizes for "big oil" that any other company is not eligible for !!!except for the last on this list!!!:
Emphasis mine.

I am not of course saying tax breaks should not be on the table with tax reform, however, one cannot make the argument that they should be removed only for big oil.
Now that I absolutely agree with.

None of what you said addresses my real point, which is that not every government program is listed in the Constitution. You dodged that entirely.

Lochnivar February 27 2012 1:40 PM EST

You dodged that entirely.

He does do that doesn't he?

QBRanger February 27 2012 2:21 PM EST

None of what you said addresses my real point, which is that not every government program is listed in the Constitution. You dodged that entirely.

Government has the right to tax and the right to spend.

What is in Obamacare is not a tax, it is a penalty for being alive in the US.

That is unconstitutional as I and others see it.

Unfortunately it will be decided by 9 people out of 330M.

But where does it say in the Constitution that the free healthcare is a right? You keep dodging that point. Repeatedly throughout multiple threads.

Lord Bob February 27 2012 2:30 PM EST

What is in Obamacare is not a tax, it is a penalty for being alive in the US.
This is hyperbole. But again, a universal healthcare system would be preferable.

But where does it say in the Constitution that the free healthcare is a right? You keep dodging that point. Repeatedly throughout multiple threads.
I did not dodge it. I addressed it by pointing out that it's irrelevant. You just didn't like the answer I gave.

Here, I'll repeat myself:
Neither is the FBI, or subsidies for big oil, but we pay for those. Not all government programs are listed in the Constitution. In fact, few are.

QBRanger February 27 2012 2:35 PM EST

Those are irrelevant LB.

Just like you like to use when I ask you for an answer.

But a right is something that you get that does not impinge upon someone else.

For healthcare to be a right, then someone else has to give it up. Like me or other doctors. So the government takes away from one person to freely give to another.

It is not like a tax, but is a service one has to give up. Which is not a right and cannot be considered one under the constitution.

The FBI, and you "subsidies" for big oil are not a service you have to give up to have present.

And it is not a subsidy!!! It is a tax break.

Lord Bob February 27 2012 4:17 PM EST

Those are irrelevant LB.
The individual programs I named and what you think of them are irrelevant. The point I was making is not. Please try to understand the difference between the two.

QBRanger February 27 2012 4:57 PM EST

As I understand you are telling me that a point I make is irrelevant but points you make are. Quite the double standard one uses when trying to avoid answering questions. Like where in the constitution does it say healthcare is a right?

Sorry but a rational conversation and discussion is not possible with that double standard.

Lord Bob February 27 2012 5:05 PM EST

As I understand you are telling me that a point I make is irrelevant but points you make are.
Yes. Your question about health care in the Constitution is irrelevant to the question of whether we should have it or not. I gave you the reasons why. You may not like those reasons, but that does not mean it's a double standard. "Wah, if my points are irrelevant then yours are too!" is not how this works.

QBRanger February 27 2012 5:10 PM EST

Yes. Your question about health care in the Constitution is irrelevant to the question of whether we should have it or not.

Of course it is relevant. You advocate free universal healthcare. Which means that someone has to provide that service to someone else, for free, or at least lower than market costs.

It is a most relevant point especially since you wish to give away my services at a free/reduced cost.

Lord Bob February 27 2012 5:29 PM EST

Which means that someone has to provide that service to someone else, for free,
Wait, what? It will be funded the same way Medicare is: by taxpayers. Just like all those other government programs that are not in the Constitution.

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] February 27 2012 7:25 PM EST

Why does a policy have to be explicitly inside the constitution which is a contract for the structure of the government?

AdminTitan February 27 2012 7:26 PM EST

Why does a policy have to be explicitly inside the constitution which is a contract for the structure of the government?

Why do people have to follow laws, I mean they're just written words?

Why don't we just allow people to kill anyone they want? I mean if they wanted to kill someone, they surely had a good reason?

Why are we all asking ridiculous questions?

Lord Bob February 27 2012 7:34 PM EST

Why are we all asking ridiculous questions?
Not sure, but Natasha's question wasn't ridiculous. She didn't ask why a law can't act against the principles outlined in the Constitution, she asked why a law must already be explicitly predefined in it. Of course, it doesn't, which was my point to Ranger.

There are several common sense answers to this, including the fact that if the Constitution already laid out every law we would ever need, we wouldn't have much need for a legislature.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] February 27 2012 8:04 PM EST


Now you're just being logical.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 27 2012 11:05 PM EST

> Like where in the constitution does it say healthcare is a right?
I took care to establish such evil socialist programs didn't exist at the time by one name drop. If you really care to argue over parchment set in stone then it's a full reverse past firefighters, FDA, armies, schools, and "see" what we have left once in 1777. -.- Hope you love to chug mercury between blood lettings.
While we're in the way-back machine! FDR isn't my fav prez, Teddy is ;), so don't hold this against me.
Pretty sure Titan was trolling as there were no ridiculous questions, but ridiculous answers. Or none at all.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 28 2012 2:05 AM EST

I propose the government stop funding all non-profitable ventures, and privatize all public agencies, except the military, and then proceed to sell off all government buildings housing anything other then military, judiciary, legislature and the president.

Then we can have a true democracy where everyone is equal and this is the land of the "haves", "the slaves", and the "soon to be extinguished".

</sarcasm>

Given to his own devices, I believe man is not inherently evil, but acts primarily in his own interests. I think on a micro-scale, this hurts nobody and creates progress that benefits us all, but in a society with such power, money and affluence, one individual man can also cause quite few casualties with his success.

I think our republic is strong because of the bold visionary leaders that could think ahead enough to construct laws to ensure that as a whole, our country is successful, and that our freedoms to succeed don't run over our societies capacity to create successful people.

I feel like the primary argument we have here is weighing individual success vs. success of society. I value success of society slightly more over individual success, but not everyone sees it like that. All I can say is that I am glad that we don't have too many extremists running our country that would change that balance and possibly hurt our success as a society.

DERPA [Red Permanent Assurance] February 28 2012 2:50 AM EST

You said the S word 9 times!?!?

Mikel March 4 2012 5:30 PM EST

"Piss Christ" apparently is acceptable, but the "Sleeping Mexican" is not.

http://news.yahoo.com/sleeping-mexican-proposed-mural-draws-tx-protest-173022324.html

Lochnivar March 4 2012 5:34 PM EST

Also on the walls of the original Mission Drive-In Theater was an image of a Mexican man wearing a sombrero and leading a burro - which some artists say is outdated and should also be ignored.

"Mexican-American children around here have never seen a burro," Velasquez said. "They don't know what a burro is."

Dude... there's a picture, I think they can figure it out what a burro is...

Sickone March 6 2012 3:03 AM EST

FACTS

The wealthiest 1 percent of households own 34.6 percent of all privately held wealth, and 42.7 percent of all financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home).

The bottom 80 percent of the population holds just 15 percent of the total wealth and only 7 percent of the total financial wealth (as a large portion of their wealth is tied up in their homes).

The bottom 40 percent of Americans ラ that's 120 million people ラ hold just 0.3 percent of the wealth.

The United States has more income and wealth inequality than most countries that have been studied, including India and China ラ countries that are traditionally viewed as having unequal distributions of wealth.
Among the 299 companies listed in the S&P 500 Index, the average CEO's compensation was $11.4 million in 2010, or 343 times more than the median pay ($33,190) of American workers. The ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay was just 42:1 in 1980, and is currently 25:1 in Europe.
According to data gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency for 2010, the United States has a Gini coefficient of 0.45, on par with such countries as Iran (0.44) and Mexico (0.48); this is higher than the Gini coefficients of 94 of the 134 countries that have been studied, including China (0.42) and India (0.37), and much higher than Canada, Australia and all of Europe. Sweden has the lowest Gini coefficient at 0.23.
The United States' Gini coefficient has been rising for decades; it was just 0.35 in the 1960s.

Between 1979 and 2005, the average after-tax income for the top 1 percent increased by 176 percent, compared with an increase of only 6 percent for the bottom 20 percent. Between 1990 and 2005, the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage actually declined by 9.3 percent when adjusted for inflation.

Most Americans have no idea that the wealth distribution is as concentrated as it is.
Duke University surveyed 5,522 Americans about their views on the country's wealth distribution. They found that most respondents (regardless of their genders, ages, income levels and party affiliations) guessed that the top 20 percent of Americans hold about 60 percent of the wealth (rather than the 85 percent that they actually hold). Survey respondents also guessed that the bottom 40 percent hold between 8 and 10 percent of the wealth in the U.S. (rather than the 0.3 percent that they actually hold).

Wise March 6 2012 4:53 AM EST

Ah, but the rich in China live like the rich in the US while the poor in China live in straw huts like the poor do here...oh wait that's not considered poor here that's considered homeless....

Lochnivar March 6 2012 5:02 AM EST

Yeah Sickone, that Duke study is trippy...

... and I hadn't seen the Gini coefficient numbers since the late 90s, ouch.

Sickone March 7 2012 9:00 AM EST

For those that don't know what Gini is or are too lazy to google/wikipedia it:


"The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example levels of income).

A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has an exactly equal income).

A Gini coefficient of one (100 on the percentile scale) expresses maximal inequality among values (for example where only one person has all the income)."

Basically, draw a graph.
Horizontally, you have number of people ordered from lowest income to highest income.
Vertically, you have total income earned by everybody up to that point.
At the very upper rightmost point, you will have all the people in the country and the sum total of income earned by everybody. From there draw a straight line down and one line towards the start of the graph, and you get a triangle.
Now divide the area below the graph to the area of the triangle - THAT is the Gini coefficient value.

Sickone March 7 2012 9:02 AM EST

Whoops, sorry - the area above the graph inside the triangle divided by the area of the triangle (or one minus whatever I accidentally typoed before).

Lochnivar March 7 2012 1:18 PM EST

Showed my brother this graph the other day, blew his mind.
I just think it is stunning that there is so much commonality in perceptions and ideals across the various subgroups and they are all completely out of touch with reality.

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