Is the American dream over?

1,339 posts in this topic

 

http://www.barnhardt.biz/

 

a woman scorned becomes a furry.The American Joan of Arc.What does it take to wake up America?

 

Really???

I certainly wouldn't want to wake up next to this...

post-25553-1324384733167.jpg

Then again... could be fun.

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There's no such thing as 'markets' without people making deals. The person with more money has more power and they will use that power to secure ever more money (a better deal) for themselves, achieving this not purely through economic activity but also through political activity - securing the necessary means to solidify and enhance their position. With no regulation there's nothing to stop them acquiring all of the money (and power) for themselves and this you can clearly see in figures from the US, which clearly show an ever increasing concentration of money and power at the very top of the pile. Is this a desirable outcome?

 

Although I realize that some would like to frame this solely as a binary debate between "regulation" and "absolutely no regulation at all", in reality what it is is discussion about the details of the regulation, and the US isn't some laissez-faire society as you may be implying.

 

You also discuss what is referred to by economists as rent-seeking but again suggest that the only options are binary, i.e., "regulation" or a Dickensian-style society. However, the fact is that regulations and their creation and manipulation are a source of riches for politicians, their campaign donors and lobbyists, who are often former politicians or aides themselves. In a nutshell, regulations won't make society "fair" in and of themselves and the current distribution of income and wealth in the US is not due to a lack of regulation, and, for that matter, may not be amenable to being significantly altered by changes in regulation.

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The 'regulation' in place is skewed to the betterment of those with the most money. That is the advantage that riches bring.

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For example, Nosey?

 

I'd also like an answer to this query (from anyone, not just HDB):

 

Let me ask you this, exactly which "unregulated free markets" caused the financial crisis and exactly how did they cause it?

 

 

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For example, rates of tax on different types of income - much lower on types of income preferred by the (very) rich.

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I don't think the tax code is considered regulation (other than of the levying of taxes) and its purpose is supposed to be the funding of the activities of government. It's definitely not the cause of income inequality in the US.

 

I assume you are referring to capital gains. Don't forget that they are not indexed for inflation and are usually the result of investments (i.e., risk-taking) made from what is already after-tax income. Interest income is taxed at marginal tax rates.

 

You may not be aware of this, but in the US overall effective income tax rates rise as income does, and it's a bit strange to claim a tax system that has the top 1% of earners paying almost 40% of all income taxes a regulatory tool of the rich. Income inequality's causes lie elsewhere, and are, unfortunately, much more difficut to resolve.

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You people are talking way past the problem which has been festering for decades.Just like cancer sneaks into a body unnoticed at the beginning, so the disrepair of the American economy started with behavior (on both sides of the aisle) to suck out the life blood of the harmony of the American nation.Now you have to be an insider or a follower to make a decent living and as the economic and financial record shows that ethics and "the law" as we had known it are disregarded and ignored.That's the basic fault and the blame for our present condition should be put on its doorstep.The OWS and the tea party were feeble attempts at correcting the situation but without leadership and fervor it was extinguished in no time.Tea party by takeover and OWS by simple arresting its participants.Hitler got his start by 'enforcing law and order and that was what the USA has now is the homeland security(like Herr Hitlers SA) and the given right to arrest people and keep them prisoner forever.Then look at what the Wallstreet crowd got away with and your Government even paid them billions of dollars.That's were the disease is and that was agreed to from both parties.Sadly I won't live that long anymore to see a correction but I do hope that it comes and not as bloody as revolutions usually are.There is hope when one looks what happened in Russia 20 years ago.

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"Unregulated free markets" don't exist in the US. I think that's what Conquistador is getting at. There's still some legislation in place, some of it better regulated than others.

 

There's surely been an erosion of regulation in the finance, banking, mortgage, credit card, oil, and some manufacturing industries, creating a perfect storm leading up to the international financial crisis.

 

As gaberlunzi and HDB illustrate, going into detail on all that would take a book, not a single post on TT.

 

I agree wholeheartedly with Conquistador's conclusion that politicians are self-interested and probably always have been. It seems to me that we do have a new problem in that the balance has changed between public and corporate/special interest influence on our legislators. This has been helped along by decisions such as Citizens United, as well as an easily distracted and disinterested populace.

 

When we have the kind of income inequality that we have today in the US, coupled with high unemployment and a large deficit, people naturally look around to see how we got there. We got there incrementally, and it's not possible anymore to point at any one issue, like corporate deregulation, that took the whole structure down and could fix the problem quickly and painlessly.

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Rght. And though it's often used as a straw man against OWS and others, I don't believe there are really that many people in the US who would want to get rid of the capitalist structure of our society.

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There's another very real problem, which nobody (or very few at least) ever seem to mention.

 

There seems to be this idea that everyone deserves anything they want. You know, if you can't afford a 5,000 square foot house on an acre of land backing against a stream and some woods, guess what, you shouldn't apply for a mortgage to purchase one. And denying you the mortgage is not an abuse of your rights.

 

What society tries to do is provide everyone reasonably equal opportunity to better themselves. That's not a guarantee of success. It's a promise not to beat you back down if you start to succeed.

 

I have seen so many people who led feckless lifestyles in their youth and early adulthood who now complain about the fact that they can't ever reach the same level of luxury that others, who have worked their asses off to achieve, have achieved. If you didn't take advantage of the opportunities that others did, why do you suddenly feel you are owed the sames result.

 

There's a further issue, of course, in that the wealthy (and especially pseudo-wealthy) use their monetary power to purchase a load of crap, instead of doing something constructive with it. You know, the type who go and buy a Rolex or a Porsche Cayenne, or some other piece of status bling instead of using that same money to help others less fortunate than themselves.

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I don't believe there are really that many people in the US who would want to get rid of the capitalist structure of our society.

 

I agree then again I would say only 45% of americans have an idea about pure capitalism. If they had pure capitalism we would be where we are at now in the 1930s...

 

Anyway the cynic is leaving the room. Rumor has it there is a party at PAs' place. Bring your own beer, and lots of money.

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I have seen so many people who led feckless lifestyles in their youth and early adulthood who now complain about the fact that they can't ever reach the same level of luxury that others, who have worked their asses off to achieve, have achieved. If you didn't take advantage of the opportunities that others did, why do you suddenly feel you are owed the sames result.

 

Forget about arguments based on who merits wealth and who doesn't anymore.

 

There are also plenty of people who work their asses off in the US nowadays just not to become homeless or starve. And of course, there are plenty of people who don't work at all, but have inherited wealth.

 

How hard you work is no indication of how much money you will earn. That's part of the inequality issue, as well. There are only so many hours available to work in a week, and one person may work those hours and earn a tiny fraction of what another person who works the same number of hours earns.

 

 

The top one percent saw their incomes rise by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while the bottom fifth of earners only saw their incomes grow by 20 percent during that same period. In addition, the total net worth of the bottom 60 percent of Americans is less than that of the Forbes 400 richest Americans. Perhaps even more shocking, the six heirs to the retail giant Walmart had the same net worth in 2007 as the bottom 30 percent of Americans.

Clearly, these numbers didn't just accidentally come about as a result of a pure merit-based society.

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There's another very real problem, which nobody (or very few at least) ever seem to mention.

 

There seems to be this idea that everyone deserves anything they want. You know, if you can't afford a 5,000 square foot house on an acre of land backing against a stream and some woods, guess what, you shouldn't apply for a mortgage to purchase one. And denying you the mortgage is not an abuse of your rights.

 

What society tries to do is provide everyone reasonably equal opportunity to better themselves. That's not a guarantee of success. It's a promise not to beat you back down if you start to succeed.

 

I have seen so many people who led feckless lifestyles in their youth and early adulthood who now complain about the fact that they can't ever reach the same level of luxury that others, who have worked their asses off to achieve, have achieved. If you didn't take advantage of the opportunities that others did, why do you suddenly feel you are owed the sames result.

 

There's a further issue, of course, in that the wealthy (and especially pseudo-wealthy) use their monetary power to purchase a load of crap, instead of doing something constructive with it. You know, the type who go and buy a Rolex or a Porsche Cayenne, or some other piece of status bling instead of using that same money to help others less fortunate than themselves.

 

Very good post - til the last paragraph..

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There's a further issue, of course, in that the wealthy (and especially pseudo-wealthy) use their monetary power to purchase a load of crap, instead of doing something constructive with it. You know, the type who go and buy a Rolex or a Porsche Cayenne, or some other piece of status bling instead of using that same money to help others less fortunate than themselves.

There is nothing wrong with capitalism.There is also nothing wrong what the capitalist do with their money; that is democracy.But there is definitely something wrong with the system when existing regulations are not enforced and taxations favor the high income earners.The tax cuts should be brought back to the level as they existed 30 years ago.The income tax free amount should be raised so a moderate life style is possible. As it is now in many places the water and heating for a shack are so high and the regulations for living quarters in many places so restrictive that many people lost all hope and live on the street literally.When I started life as an immigrant in Canada I was as poor as a church mouse, friendless, jobless and did not speak the language, yet I found a hole in a basement in someone's house I could afford. It was not free, but I could afford it! Nowadays that is outlawed for a variety of reasons, mainly to increase the construction industry's profit.Same principle applies to many other fields like health, education,traffic and virtually every field of living.Enforce a higher standard so more profit can be made for whatever interest group.That includes unions, and trade associations and all "closed" membership groups too.If you argue the government does not have enough money, you hit the problem right on the head.The government is overpaid and inefficient; fire them and see if someone can do a better job for less money. That is true capitalism and democracy too.

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So the idea is true democracy can only exist with true capitalism? What if people vote to change the economic system? What if they choose an economy that is more "socialist" in nature while maintaining a democratic goverment. . Say like France and Germany. Would it still be a democracy?

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what is socialistic if not capitalistic? The unions and trade associations are the biggest narrow minded capitalist there are.What difference does it make if the bank association or a corrupt union forces their interest on other people without regard to society as a whole?Why go to the edge of the economic destruction to press the last drop of blood out and kill of the body you want to make a living from? Even animals only kill for what they need to survive. Some people think they have to take all the traffic can bare in one swoop.I just don't believe that that advances life for humanity.

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The MAIN reason people who voted for Obama were naive was in thinking that ANYTHING could ever be accomplished with the religiously and ideologically fanatical right-wing nut-cases that the Republican party has become. Obama I believe wanted to make the country a better place. I don't think he's done a great job. But look at the shxx he has to deal with. The Tea Party and Limbaugh and Fox News and co. would rather see Washington burn than a Democrat have success. Period. Don't equivocate in response to that. The Republicans have poisoned American politics so badly since the days of Clinton that nothing is really achievable. Accept in cases where the Democrats cave and let wing-nut rigth-wing ideology have its way as with the Iraq War. FOR THAT they deserve blame.

 

What exactly have the evil Republicans prevented Obama from doing?

 

-closing Gitmo? Nope.

-prosecuting bankers? Nope.

-avoiding military action in Libya? Nope.

-pulling out of Afghanistan? Nope.

...

 

If Obama did not get something done in his first two years, his pledge to do so may have been insincere. No President in my lifetime has had the kind of political capital that Obama had coming into office.

 

Sorry to be repetitive, but the Iraq war was about oil, and except for the usual gang of dissenters, i.e Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders everyone was on board regardless of how they positioned themselves publicly.

 

I am surprised that the MF Global story hasn't gotten more traction here considering that it will probably impact crop production in the US next year and is a blatant example of banana republic politics.

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Why make your head hurt trying to understand MF Global when you can rant about the omnipowerful Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, who as any person with a brain knows run the US.

 

I'm still hoping HDB (or anyone else) will finally explain to us which unregulated free markets caused the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

 

It seems to me that firms which are already entrenched would want more regulation rather than less or none at all so as to cement their market power in an industry. Fewer regulations would make it easier for new entrants to compete, and less expensive, perhaps threatening profits. As regards the deregulation which started while Jimmy Carter was President, perhaps we should also consider the effects on consumer prices of good and services in those industries.

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Please Conquistador. You're arguing the exception against the rule.

 

Sarah Palin was a fucking vice-presidential candidate, and Limbaugh very much DOES exert a lot of influence. Stop denying it. He has half of American calling Obama a communist when most of them don't even know what that means.

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