Leaving the Left: An Ex-Democrat's Story

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In summary, the conversation revolves around the writer's decision to leave the Democratic party due to their shift away from liberal principles. The writer also mentions the left's response to events such as the Iraq election and Bill Cosby's comments, and the shifting political landscape in America. The conversation also touches on the idea of balance between the two parties and the current administration's actions.
  • #36
SOS2008 said:
First, why is this moving backward? Inheritance used to be through the maternal line. And are you saying this social arrangement changed due to religion, rather than industrialism?

I looked up Max Weber's book on Amazon. It's about 1400 pages (about twice as many pages as a Bible!), so I doubt I'll be reading it cover to cover any time soon. From what I gathered from Wiki though, what you're saying seems to be close to his argument. My take on it (again, just from reading the Wiki article on Weber) was he felt part of the Protestant ethic was 'work hard and make a good life for yourself.' This 'work ethic' as it came to be known was directly responsible for the development of capitalism.

Ron: Any chance I could get you to post an executive summary of your arguments based on the book? I think asking me to read a 1400 page thesis to be able to understand your POV is a little much. Besides, at the rate I read, it would be months before I got through with it. :mad:
 
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  • #37
lol 1400 pages... yah. "Hey, let's continue this conversation in december after i read this book"
 
  • #38
Grogs said:
I looked up Max Weber's book on Amazon. It's about 1400 pages (about twice as many pages as a Bible!), so I doubt I'll be reading it cover to cover any time soon. From what I gathered from Wiki though, what you're saying seems to be close to his argument. My take on it (again, just from reading the Wiki article on Weber) was he felt part of the Protestant ethic was 'work hard and make a good life for yourself.' This 'work ethic' as it came to be known was directly responsible for the development of capitalism.

Ron: Any chance I could get you to post an executive summary of your arguments based on the book? I think asking me to read a 1400 page thesis to be able to understand your POV is a little much. Besides, at the rate I read, it would be months before I got through with it. :mad:
I would agree that women have lost ground due to religion. I'm not sure how this connects with the OP though. I was a card carrying Republican until a State of the Union speech made by Bush Sr., and the realization of how disconnected the Bushies are with the common, hard-working American.

Though I'm not a Democrat, I disagree that the Dems don't stand for anything. A recent quote from Dean:

May 22, 2005 on Meet the Press:

I'm not going to be lectured as a Democrat — we've got some pretty strong moral values in my party, and maybe we ought to do a better job standing up and fighting for them. Our moral values, in contradiction to the Republicans', is we don't think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night. Our moral values say that people who work hard all their lives ought to be able to retire with dignity. Our moral values say that we ought to have a strong, free public education system so that we can level the playing field. Our moral values say that what's going on in Indian country in this country right now in terms of health care and education is a disgrace, and for the president of the United States to cut back on health-care services all over America is wrong. Democrats have strong moral values.
The Republican party has drifted from it's platform far more (big government, deficit spending, etc.).
 
  • #39
SOS2008 said:
The Republican party has drifted from it's platform far more (big government, deficit spending, etc.).

I think ill clarify for people who don't know and might see that and get the wrong impression: Republicans have (or had) stood against big governments and against deficit spending and against big budgets.
 
  • #40
Grogs said:
I looked up Max Weber's book on Amazon. It's about 1400 pages (about twice as many pages as a Bible!), so I doubt I'll be reading it cover to cover any time soon.

"Economy and Society" is probably the greatest book ever written in the whole of the social sciences. Max Weber was a genius in the same league as Newton, Darwin and Einstein.


Grogs said:
Ron: Any chance I could get you to post an executive summary of your arguments based on the book?

In relation to the Leftist connection, let me apply Weber's methodology in the following way:

In ancient and eastern societies, people are rewarded in accordance to their lifestyle and their position in society. In China for example the Mandarins were subjected to an examination before being granted posts and privileges in the administration. Yet that examination had little to do with the actual skills needed to perform their duties. It tested a candidate in calligraphy, poetry and other artistic "skills", so that he could fulfill his position in that particular class. In Hindi India people were/are severely limited by the Caste system, having to follow myriad arbitrary rules regarding their behavior and relation to other classes. For example, if someone from an inferior caste casts a shadow upon your food plate, the food must be discarded. A person's occupation was predetermined by his birth, and the way to perform it strictly ordained, any deviation in the most insignificant detail punished in the next reincarnation. In the East, the way someone lives and works is strictly regulated. There is no room for individuality. The result is of course static societies with very little power of innovation or transformation.

What makes the West unique among the many civilizations is that overtime it developed the concept of rationalization and of decision-making according to calculus, not ritual. That is the axis upon which our modern world is built. You can see rationalization affecting diverse developments throughout Western history: the Catholic Church constituted as an institute, cities as associations, calculability and systematization in the law, and most spectacularly, capitalism. All of the above were unique to the West until the great globalizations of the 19th century.

People get paid according to the law of marginal productivity, prices and interest rates are fixed by supply and demand, business is conducted in such a way to maximize earnings and minimize costs, private property is protected and the law made predictable so that large scale investments can be possible, and resources are allocated according to efficiency criteria. Most important of all, the individual is let free to choose his own path.

The Leftist is different. He wants to do "good". He'll promote "social justice" and "human rights". He'll demand "fair pay". He'll ban "usury" and set "heartless corporations" straight. And to that end he'll seize authority and the power to coerce.

And then we will be back at the beginning, with life regulated from above.

In the brief post-WWII period when Left-wing economic policies were applied in the US, if a minor technical fault that could be easily corrected prevented a train from departing, and the union-determined worker strictly allocated to correct that defect was unavailable, the train was forced to remain stopped and everyone prevented from fixing the problem until the ritualistically-assigned union-person was available to fix it. When a couple decided to start a private mail and package delivery service in response to gross inefficiencies in the government-run USPS, they were arrested. And today, east Germany withstands a 16% unemployment rate because of ritualistically and irrationally government and union assigned wage levels.
 
  • #41
Ron Damon said:
In the brief post-WWII period when Left-wing economic policies were applied in the US, if a minor technical fault that could be easily corrected prevented a train from departing, and the union-determined worker strictly allocated to correct that defect was unavailable, the train was forced to remain stopped and everyone prevented from fixing the problem until the ritualistically-assigned union-person was available to fix it.

Citations for this story please?

When a couple decided to start a private mail and package delivery service in response to gross inefficiencies in the government-run USPS, they were arrested.

...and for this one. I lived through the period and don't remember these cases. They sound more like the stories the GOP used to tell about the Labour Party's postwar rule in the UK.

And today, east Germany withstands a 16% unemployment rate because of ritualistically and irrationally government and union assigned wage levels.

Ummm, today there isn't any East Germany, as a nation. The Berlin Wall fell, remember?
 
  • #42
selfAdjoint said:
Citations for this story please? ...and for this one.

Milton Friedman - Free to Choose
F. A. Hayek - Constitution of Liberty

selfAdjoint said:
Ummm, today there isn't any East Germany, as a nation. The Berlin Wall fell, remember?

Unemployment rose in both Western (+14,000) and Eastern (+3,000) States
where the adjusted unemployment rate reached respectively 8.7% (+0.1 point)
and 18.8%. In Germany as a whole, the unemployment rate remained
unchanged at 10.8%, its highest level since December 1998.
 
  • #43
Ron_Damon said:
Milton Friedman - Free to Choose
F. A. Hayek - Constitution of Liberty


Two polemic works. And did THEY give explicit citations for the stories? Would Friedmann pass along an antisocialism story without checking it? Would Hayek? You better believe they would!
 
  • #44
selfAdjoint said:
Two polemic works. And did THEY give explicit citations for the stories? Would Friedmann pass along an antisocialism story without checking it? Would Hayek? You better believe they would!

Quite frankly, I am relating those two examples from memory, and I *think* I read them in one of those two books many years ago. Then again, I read a quite a bit, so mabe I saw them in another economics book.

Hayek and Friedman are extraordinary thinkers, and anyone interested in these issues would do well to read them.
 
  • #45
Ron_Damon said:
"Economy and Society" is probably the greatest book ever written in the whole of the social sciences. Max Weber was a genius in the same league as Newton, Darwin and Einstein.
Weber is considered to be an important sociologist, but not the only important one - it depends on whether or not one agrees with his perspective. Karl Marx is the original genius from whose work Weber drew to develop aspects of his theory. Sociologists differ about the extent to which Weber agreed with Marx's analysis:
It is conventional to regard Weber as one of the major critics of Marx and Marxism. The reasons for this position are: (i) that Weber's emphasis on the role of culture, especially religion, in shaping human action appears to be a refutation of economic determinism (q.v.); (ii) the importance of subjective orientation of individuals in Weber's analysis of social relations is said to be in contrast to the analysis of objective structural effects in Marxism; (iii) Weber's account of status groups and markets appears to run counter to Marx's emphasis on economic class and relations of production; (iv) Weber was explicitly critical of Marxist analysis of the imminent collapse of capitalism, since he argued that the planned economy in socialist society would enhance rationalization, not terminate it. An alternative view is that: (i) Weber regarded Marx, along with Nietzsche, as one of the most important thinkers of the nineteenth century; (ii) Weber's criticisms were directed at institutionalized Marxism (in the form of the German Democratic Party) rather than at Marx; (iii) the Protestant Ethic thesis was not intended to be a refutation of Marx; (iv) Weber often wrote in a manner that suggests a strong element of determinism; (v) Weber's description of the nature of capitalism as an 'iron cage' was often very close to Marx's analysis and, in particular, there is a close relationship between the concepts of alienation (q.v.) and rationalization; (vi) Weber came to regard capitalist society as having a logic which operated independently of the subjective attitudes of social actors. (5) Weber's sociology and his attitude towards Marxism have to be seen in the context of German society between 1870 and 1918... More at http://www.soci.canterbury.ac.nz/resources/biograph/weber.shtml
The similarities between Weber's and Marx's theories are discussed in a 2000 paper by University of Wisconsin sociologist Erik Olin Wright. The paper is entitled 'The Shadow of Exploitation in Weber's Class Analysis' and is available online at http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/weber.pdf . And it is arguable whether 'Economy and Society' is "the greatest book ever written in the whole of the social sciences" - Marx wrote a number of books, including 'Capital' volumes 1, 2 and 3, which are regarded by many to be the social science equivalent of Darwin's 'The Origin of Species by Natural Selection'. It's all a matter of one's ideological position and one's subjective opinion.
RON_Damon said:
In relation to the Leftist connection, let me apply Weber's methodology in the following way:

What makes the West unique among the many civilizations is that overtime it developed the concept of rationalization and of decision-making according to calculus, not ritual. That is the axis upon which our modern world is built. You can see rationalization affecting diverse developments throughout Western history: the Catholic Church constituted as an institute, cities as associations, calculability and systematization in the law, and most spectacularly, capitalism.
There is nothing rational about capitalism. It is an anarchic system where the 'unfettered free market' regularly results in crises of overproduction and crises of shortages, and where investors (capital) scramble to catch up with chaotic 'market trends' (look at the stock market – all attempts to predict what it will do next fail). A *rational* economic system would involve some kind of planning - ie, it would involve a planned economy, where instead of leaving production up to unpredictable 'market forces', production decisions are based on quality information (recent technological innovations facilitate such planning on a global scale). That is how I interpret the meaning of 'rational' and 'decision-making according to calculus', in any case.
RON_Damon said:
People get paid according to the law of marginal productivity... prices and interest rates are fixed by supply and demand, business is conducted in such a way to maximize earnings and minimize costs, private property is protected and the law made predictable so that large scale investments can be possible, and resources are allocated according to efficiency criteria. Most important of all, the individual is let free to choose his own path.
An alternative view on this: if they’re lucky, workers get paid according to the 'going rate' of the only commodity they have to sell, their labour power - in other words, they get paid as much as it takes to sustain and reproduce the labour force. When workers are able to organise themselves into unions and present a united front they sometimes have the power to increase their wages above the bare minimum or to demand better working conditions. Those days are gone, as the powers of trade unions have been drastically eroded as a result of a number of complex factors arising from the globalisation of capitalist production. Workers are now forced to work for bare minimum wages, as the growing class of the 'working poor' demonstrates. American author Barbara Ehrenreich's 2001 book, "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America", an extract of which is quoted at the URL shown below, writes about the US working poor,: http://www.pbs.org/peoplelikeus/resources/essays7.html
Ron_Damon said:
...prices and interest rates are fixed by supply and demand, business is conducted in such a way to maximize earnings and minimize costs...and resources are allocated according to efficiency criteria.
Or, another way of looking at these issues: prices and interest rates have to try to 'catch up' with belated attempts at balancing demand and supply; business is conducted in such a way as to maximize earnings for investors and minimize costs (frequently by reducing labour costs and thus the earnings of workers). Resources are allocated according to profit (rather than human need) criteria.
Ron_Damon said:
Most important of all, the individual is let free to choose his own path.
The individual is 'let free' to starve if he/she is not prepared to accept the wages offered, no matter how low those wages may be. As Marx writes in The Communist Manifesto
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed — a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market. Ref: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm
And a much more polemic piece that is bound to upset some readers (close your eyes if you are easily upset by notions of abolishing private property!):
By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying. But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeois about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself. You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society. In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend. – Ref: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm
Ron_Damon said:
The Leftist is different. He wants to do "good". He'll promote "social justice" and "human rights". He'll demand "fair pay". He'll ban "usury" and set "heartless corporations" straight.
Too right the leftist will do these things. How inhuman of leftists! How deplorable and unreasonable!
Ron_Damon said:
And to that end he'll seize authority and the power to coerce. And then we will be back at the beginning, with life regulated from above.
Umm, no – not quite… this is just what supporters of the status quo assert. To the ends of promoting social justice, human rights, a sustainable environment, etc., he (or she, perhaps?) will urge the people to no longer put up with the way they are being coerced by the economically and politically powerful class.
Ron_Damon said:
In the brief post-WWII period when Left-wing economic policies were applied in the US…
Keynesian economic policies are only relatively ‘left-wing’. They fully supported capitalism, only trying to ‘patch’ it up and diminish its worst excesses of exploitation (ie., the ‘reforms’ are cosmetic and while they may marginally diminish profits, they do not threaten the profit system: they try to make it more tolerable and to thereby decrease the threat of people standing up against it). These ideas represent what real left-wing socialists call ‘benevolent capitalism’ – and don’t worry; such ideas will in no way return: capitalists are far too greedy to allow that to happen now that they have (at least temporarily) the upper hand in their conflict against the working class.
Ron_Damon said:
Truly , if a minor technical fault that could be easily corrected prevented a train from departing, and the union-determined worker strictly allocated to correct that defect was unavailable, the train was forced to remain stopped and everyone prevented from fixing the problem until the ritualistically-assigned union-person was available to fix it. When a couple decided to start a private mail and package delivery service in response to gross inefficiencies in the government-run USPS, they were arrested.
Ah, yes – and here are examples of the ‘successes’ of the ‘free market’s’ workings: http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0222-04.htm ; http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWe...releases/2005/PR40072.RailSecSunday11605.html
 
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  • #46
alexandra said:
Weber is considered to be an important sociologist, but not the only important one - it depends on whether or not one agrees with his perspective. Karl Marx is the original genius from whose work Weber drew to develop aspects of his theory. Sociologists differ about the extent to which Weber agreed with Marx's analysis.
And it is arguable whether 'Economy and Society' is "the greatest book ever written in the whole of the social sciences" - Marx wrote a number of books, including 'Capital' volumes 1, 2 and 3, which are regarded by many to be the social science equivalent of Darwin's 'The Origin of Species by Natural Selection'. It's all a matter of one's ideological position and one's subjective opinion.

Both Weber and Simmel thought Socialism reminiscent of ancient Egypt, and Keynes explicitly called Marx's work "an obsolete economics textbook". And that was 80 years ago. Though an admirer of Marx's scholarship, Weber's breath of knowledge and brilliant work of synthesis are worlds beyond anything Marx ever accomplished. And comparing Marx, the founder of a sect, to the leading proponent of a scientific discipline rigorously supported by empirical evidence is preposterous. Comparing Weber to Marx in the way your quote does is pointless, as Weber never intended his work to be a "refutation" of anyone else's views, but rather a comprehensive survey of society, and trying to weld connections between the two results in meaningless comparisons.

alexandra said:
There is nothing rational about capitalism. It is an anarchic system where the 'unfettered free market' regularly results in crises of overproduction and crises of shortages, and where investors (capital) scramble to catch up with chaotic 'market trends' (look at the stock market – all attempts to predict what it will do next fail). A *rational* economic system would involve some kind of planning - ie, it would involve a planned economy, where instead of leaving production up to unpredictable 'market forces', production decisions are based on quality information (recent technological innovations facilitate such planning on a global scale). That is how I interpret the meaning of 'rational' and 'decision-making according to calculus', in any case.

The inability to predict stock market fluctuations attests to the system's rationality, not the other way around. You have to think of the economy as an ecosystem that evolves and reinvents itself continually. Just as no higher authority "planned" for the development of the many species that adapt themselves in various degrees of perfection to their habitat by a trial and error mechanism, a market economy's greatest strength (much like Science's)lies on that motley of men and women scurrying about thinking, developing and applying new and better ways to live. If the liberty to pursue one's own path, and the error-correcting mechanisms associated with it (the free market) are turned off and replaced by preordained regulations, rituals, and authority-planning and coercing, human creativity and inventiveness is either squashed or siphoned off to defeat arbitrary rules. In contemporary Egypt, where wheat prices were set by the government, peasants allow the crops to dry out so they could sell them as livestock feed, a product that is not regulated by the government. As a result, Egypt has had to start importing wheat in massive amounts, despite having a huge comparative advantage in it, and in direct contradiction to the planner's intention of obtaining food cheap! (Guy Sorman - El Capitalismo y sus Enemigos) In the Soviet Union, the 1-2% of land that remained in private possession provided up to half the the food of that country! (Walter Adams, James W. Brock - Adam Smith Goes to Moscow).

alexandra said:
An alternative view on this: if they’re lucky, workers get paid according to the 'going rate' of the only commodity they have to sell, their labour power - in other words, they get paid as much as it takes to sustain and reproduce the labour force. When workers are able to organise themselves into unions and present a united front they sometimes have the power to increase their wages above the bare minimum or to demand better working conditions. Those days are gone, as the powers of trade unions have been drastically eroded as a result of a number of complex factors arising from the globalisation of capitalist production. Workers are now forced to work for bare minimum wages, as the growing class of the 'working poor' demonstrates.

There is no empirical evidence for a relationship between union power and worker's income. The share of national income going to labor has remained constant at about 3/4 since 1970, despite the huge fluctuations in union's influence during that period. (Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus - Economics)

alexandra said:
the whole of your post.

What really makes me crazy (and the reason I got out of economics and into physics) is the fact that intelligent men and women still passionately defend a system from which people are willing to escape by jumping across barbe wired walls, running through mined fields, evading snipers and attack dogs, and throwing themselves into shark-infested waters in a truck tire.
 
  • #47
Because these posts belong in the Political Perspectives thread, briefly, there seems to be confusion with:

1) The current higher standard of living in the first world versus many third world countries where economies have been suppressed by corruption and greed and not necessarily practice of systems other than capitalism.

2) The reality of what a truly free market would be like, where profit is the only objective.

3) A view of capitalism as infinite in a world of limited resources.

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm

In 1998, the last year for which figures are available, it took over $250,000 to be in the top 10% of wealth holders. It took over $3,000,000 to reach the top 1%.
Look at the gap between the top 10% and 1%, and then let it sink in that only 10% are making $250,000+ (that's not that much). My guess is even though people aren't in these groups, they think they will be, so they support it.

I've been meaning to discuss human nature and superstructures further (not unlike arguments of nature versus nurture) but wanted to try and do so from a more global view, and not just about the U.S.

Getting back to the topic of this thread...though this article addressing Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" is not completely of a serious nature:
The working class's refusal to synchronize its politics with its economic interests is one of the enduring puzzles of the present age. Between 1989 and 1997, middle-income families (defined in this instance as the middle 20 percent) saw their share of the nation's wealth fall from 4.8 percent to 4.4 percent. ...As the GOP drifts further to the right, and becomes more starkly the party of the wealthy, it is gaining support among the working class.

I have never seen a wholly satisfactory explanation for this trend, which now spans two generations. It's the decline of unions, says Thomas Frank. It's values, says Tom Edsall. It's testosterone, says Arlie Russell Hochschild. Each of these explanations seems plausible up to a point, but even when taken together, their magnitude doesn't seem big enough. Republicans, of course, will argue that it's simply the working man's understanding that the GOP has the better argument, i.e., that the best way to help the working class is to shower the rich with tax breaks. But the Bush administration has been showering the rich with tax breaks for more than four years, and the working class has nothing to show for it.
http://slate.msn.com/id/2118237/#ContinueArticle

I'm not sure how much the working man is buying this right now...or will continue to buy it.
 
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  • #48
Example of Left being Right.

In the City I live there is a big political fight. There are new neighborhood groups fighting against allowing "Big-Box stores" continue development in the city, Now last year I wrote letters to the editor giving blue-prints on how people can start their own independent businesses to create an a local labor shortage. We already had a company called T-mobile decline to create 800 new Jobs in My City, but they went to the next largest City North of here and built it there. The reason is because the unemployment rate was a lot higher due to the closing of factories in the last decade. I attened at least one neighborhood meeting, and in fact it was their first one. My advise is to start your own independent business to create a lobor shortage so no big corporation will feel like they can fil up their staff positions. When I gave my advise one of the Leftist spoke up and said: "That's a good idea... Why don't you do it?" I told him I have been for the last ten years, with a business in which my employees drove into the ground. ( See The future a question of a opinion.) Since then they have taken the tatic of Voter refferendums ( June election ) and writing letters to the editor of the local newsparer insulting City hall employees. ( See post on Energy 2nd post) Since then I have myself written counter letters to the editor of the local newspaer supporting these big box stores because they will create jobs. Granted they wil be part-time low paying jobs, but they are geared as secondary jobs. Currently it is so hard for anyone to get a second job in which the work scheduel will revolve around one's primary gig.

Basically, in a local economic sense my surrounding leftist are not wanting to do what it takes to act upon my suggested solution. However, I have been in talks with one of their leaders to actually sway her group into actually implimenting my formula. Hence, even though one can get disgusted with the actions of the left, does not mean they should isolate them in condemnation. Within time, before the next economic battle gbetween big box store takes affect, my economic measures will break my city's co-dependency upon out of state corporations to reduce the local unemployment rate. So yes, leftist do make mistakes, but it does not mean we can not still create alliances form them when they learn their way is not the best approach.
 
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  • #49
The one good thing about those kind of corporations is the fact that its almost guaranteed that they will bring in long-term jobs. People sure will seemingly complain about both sides of an argument. I wonder if its just because they rather complain then do anything productive.
 
  • #50
Funneling Profits

I'm not saying that you are wrong, because on the outside, that would be a logical deduction. However, it's a matter of direct competion of already exsisting small independent businesses and profits getting funneled out of state. There is also the transforming of Natural habitats that would create other problems. Like in Natick Massachusetts, before the Sun goes down, the mosquietoes, (I can't spell that right now, but the biting bugs come out to suck your blood.) Where I am at they don't. The reason is there are so many nature predators that make sure they don't get overpopulated. Once these natural habitates are constructed into Malls, then these bugs will plague local residents. However, there are concerns about traffic, noise air and sight pollution. WhereI live is ten square miles and only has at max 22,000 people. In this county and the one next door there's about 116,000 people.

The point that I probably didn't make clear, was that there is a way to create a solution out of this problem by playing both sides. That is to say, the corporations that treat their workers like disposable slaves, vs. the local independent businesses that only hire the "creame ala crop," of workers in the available pool. Now by having those that oppose corporations, start their own businesses, weither they make a profit or not, to reduce the local labor shortage is the key. This way, workers are treated with more respect, because the labor pool is drained faster than expected, and those that have been deemed "unemployable," are recruited into the work force. This also has already existing entreprenuals, like web masters, to get more business in the ensuring "propaganda wars." Then you will have people racing to get the exisiting under employed to pick up secondary jobs. Of course people from surounding towns will drive and then settle in this city, but the surrounding populations are not that high to start with. Then there's also other cities North of here having higher starting wages with better benifits. If someone is making $20,000 in these here parts they are considered rich. A two bedroom apartment starts out a $500 a month.
 
  • #51
SOS2008 said:
Getting back to the topic of this thread...though this article addressing Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" is not completely of a serious nature:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2118237/#ContinueArticle
The working class's refusal to synchronize its politics with its economic interests is one of the enduring puzzles of the present age. Between 1989 and 1997, middle-income families (defined in this instance as the middle 20 percent) saw their share of the nation's wealth fall from 4.8 percent to 4.4 percent. ...As the GOP drifts further to the right, and becomes more starkly the party of the wealthy, it is gaining support among the working class...

I have never seen a wholly satisfactory explanation for this trend, which now spans two generations...
The explanation is simple: that 4.8 to 4.4% drop is an irrelevancy. What matters is the fact that the middle class's income has increased in that time. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/h03ar.html

This is a key to understanding why the Democrats are losing people: the American Dream is not an us-vs-them proposition. If I'm getting richer, I don't care that someone else is getting richer faster. The Democratic party is trying to play up the us-vs-them card and it isn't working because people can't reconcile it with what they really care about (their own situation).

Think about it: what did Clinton ask the votors in 1992? Did he ask them "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?" or did he ask "Are you more better off today than your neighbor was 4 years ago?"
 
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  • #52
russ_watters said:
The explanation is simple: that 4.8 to 4.4% drop is an irrelevancy. What matters is the fact that the middle class's income has increased in that time.
It increased in keeping with cost of living. A percentage drop means the increase is at a slower rate than it was in the past.

But forget the battle of the charts and graphs. Step away from the comfortable background, peers with degrees, management, etc. because this is more like the top 10% of wealth. How do you think the true middle class, an administrative assistant, the FedEx carrier, etc. feel about their lives and futures?
russ_watters said:
This is a key to understanding why the Democrats are losing people: the American Dream is not an us-vs-them proposition. If I'm getting richer, I don't care that someone else is getting richer faster. The Democratic party is trying to play up the us-vs-them card and it isn't working because people can't reconcile it with what they really care about (their own situation).
Enabling Americans to pursue the American Dream is something the Republicans seem disconnected from. Your opinion about the Dems having an us-vs-them strategy is based on what?
russ_watters said:
Think about it: what did Clinton ask the votors in 1992? Did he ask them "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?"
Imagine if Bush asked this.
russ_watters said:
...or did he ask "Are you more better off today than your neighbor was 4 years ago?"
Since their neighbor was unemployed, well yeh they were better off.
 
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  • #53
SOS2008 said:
It increased in keeping with cost of living. A percentage drop means the increase is at a slower rate than it was in the past.
No, it has increased faster than the cost of living. Jeez, how many times do I have to post this data before this myth is dispelled? Look at the data I posted. The second table is adjusted for inflation. Except in the very short-term recession years, all income groups are gaining ground.

See, that's my point: you are buying into the Democrats' mantra that "the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer" (conclusion: we must level the field by taxing the hell out of them). The Democrats are making you believe something that isn't true. Doesn't that anger you?

I alluded to this in another thread, but this is one of the few remaining Marxist myths that people still believe, and they only still believe it because they are being tricked by those who they choose as leaders. The vast majority of people have outgrown the unrealistic/idealistic Marxist utopia vision, but they still cling to a few Marxist prinicples. This one in particular, namely, the myth that the rich get rich by standing on the backs of the workers. Naa, maybe that's unfair - in Marx's time it may not have been a myth. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. In the time of sweatshops and child labor, maybe it was true. But as the data clearly shows, it is not true today.

Further, history has shown the corollary as well: forced equality doesn't bring everyone up, it brings everyone down (see: every attempt at communism, ever) - except, of course, the richest 1% who still exist in every attempt at Communism (though they are a different richest 1% - they don't get there by their own efforts in Communism).
But forget the battle of the charts and graphs. Step away from the comfortable background, peers with degrees, management, etc. because this is more like the top 10% of wealth. How do you think the true middle class, an administrative assistant, the FedEx carrier, etc. feel about their lives and futures?
Pretty dang good. Regardless though - you just inadvertently agreed with me - you asked about their futures, not their neighbors' futures.
Your opinion about the Dems having an us-vs-them strategy is based on what?
The Democratic get-the-rich campaign strategy. Specifically, Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC. Democratic candidates try to gain support by saying 'we will take money from the rich and give it to you'. Americans know that isn't the American way.
Imagine if Bush asked this.Since their neighbor was unemployed, well yeh they were better off.
Huh? You really believe people think that way? Do you think that way? If they are unemployed and their neighbor is unemployed, does that make it ok? C'mon - you know how it really works. People people may complain about inequality, but they only worry about their own house and their own job.

And yes, I know - people are, to some extent, driven by envy, but it isn't the overriding factor. The fact that the Democratic party has to trick you is evidence of that. But the real proof can be demonstrated by a simple thought experiment:

Choose between A and B:
A. I give you $10 and I give the person next to you $20.
B. I give you $100 and I give the person next to you $1,000.

Now, Americans do nothing better than they complain, but while they complain, they'll still choose B. The Democratic party misinterprets the complaining as evidence people would rather choose A. Or maybe they don't - maybe they really do believe the Marxist myth from above. But believing something directly contradictory to the evidence is worse even than religion - its delusion.

[tidbit] A quick google shows that the "Are you better off...?" question was used first by Reagan, to stunning success in his campaign against Carter. http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/poll000614.html are the results of that poll for several Presidents.
 
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  • #54
Cited above, http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/072804Z.shtml is Bill Clinton's speech to the DNC from last year. Some excerpts:
We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives.
Do you? To Clinton's credit, he vastly reduced the welfare rolls, but that's counter to the usual democratic position. Regardless, Democrats typically favor social programs and social programs, like welfare, don't allow equality of opportunity, they grant equality of outcome (as noted by the link in the OP): steal from the rich and give to the poor.
They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security.
This implies the myth noted above (the rich are getting richer while "we" are getting poorer). How to fix it? Steal from the rich and give to the poor.
Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united.
Ironic sentiment, seeing as how the previous statement - indeed the entire point of the speech - is to divide the nation. Or perhaps it is just to unify the 99% and divide them from the 1%? Us vs them, again.
When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank you note - until I realized they were sending you the bill.
Very clever (genius, even). He's characterizing himself as a "them" but saying he really cares about "us". Same point though: steal from the rich and give to the poor. Actually, this on goes even further: he implies that "they" are stealing from "us". He doesn't quite lie, but like Michael Moore, he doesn't have to: you draw the factually inacurrate conclusion for him - all he does is imply it.
Everyone had to sacrifice except the wealthiest Americans, who wanted to do their part but were asked only to expend the energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts.
Same idea as above, slightly recharacterized: the Republicans are giving the rich your money. Still factually wrong when you say it that way too.
The one billion dollar cost would have been paid for by reducing the tax cut of 200,000 millionaires by five thousand dollars each. Almost all 200,000 of us would have been glad to pay 5,000 dollars to make the nearly 300 million Americans safer...
Sure you would have, Bill. :rolleyes: But again: we need to take money from the rich to give to the poor.
These policies have turned the projected 5.8 trillion dollar surplus we left - enough to pay for the baby boomers retirement - into a projected debt of nearly 5 trillion dollars, with a 400 plus billion dollar deficit this year and for years to come. How do they pay for it? First by taking the monthly surplus in Social Security payments and endorsing the checks of working people over to me to cover my tax cut. But it's not enough. They are borrowing the rest from foreign governments, mostly Japan and China. Sure, they're competing with us for good jobs but how can we enforce our trade laws against our bankers? If you think it's good policy to pay for my tax cut with the Social Security checks of working men and women, and borrowed money from China, vote for them. If not, John Kerry's your man.
Is the pattern becoming clear yet? Again, characterized slightly differently: the Republicans are giving the rich your money. Nevermind that Clinton handed Bush a recession and as a result, tax revenue took a hit. Nevermind that economists typically agree that tax cuts do, in fact, stimulate the economy. The message is clear: we need to reverse the trend and steal from the rich to give to the poor.
Democrats favor shared responsibility, shared opportunity...
do they, Bill? From all you said above, it sounds like Democrats favor the rich having all the responsibility and the poor all the "opportunity".
Republicans favor concentrated wealth and power, leaving people to fend for themselves...
Again, the income inequality myth.
I think we're right for two reasons: First, America works better when all people have a chance to live their dreams.
All people except those that alreay have money, you mean. And guess what, Bill - income inequality is what enables all people to have the chance to live their dreams!
By the only test that matters, whether people were better off when we finished than when we started...
There's that, but...
our way works better - it produced over 22 million good jobs, rising incomes, and 100 times as many people moving out of poverty into the middle class.
Your way works better? When did the stock market peak, Bill? What did you do to try to soften the inevitable recession that followed you out of office?

Now contrast that with http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2004/demconvention/speeches/obama.html . Obama is living proof that the son of poor immigrants can succeed. But look at how dangerous - blasphemous, even - his message is:
Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats... We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?
How can he say such a thing? No red states and blue states? How do we know who the enemy is? How do we know what we are supposed to be against? If the rich aren't are enemy and we can't get ahead by taking their money, we'll have to earn it ourselves! What a horribly cynical view! [/sarcasm] If he isn't careful, the Democrats are going to run him out of the party (see: John McCain). We're not supposed to believe that that (the American Dream) is possible unless we steal it from our common enemy: the rich.

Oh, and by the way, I'd vote for Obama in an instant. Unlike most Democrats in government, he understands the American Dream.
 
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  • #55
Americans went from one income to two incomes over time in order to maintain a high standard of living. I don't have time at the moment to go though all the posts/data, but how does this factor?
 
  • #56
2CentsWorth said:
Americans went from one income to two incomes over time in order to maintain a high standard of living. I don't have time at the moment to go though all the posts/data, but how does this factor?
Due to the increasing divorce rate and proliferation of single-parent families, I think its a wash, but its a good question. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/incpertoc.html is the data on individuals, but unfortunately, it isn't sliced as neatly as the household data. It may take some effort wading through it...

A google search reveals the average "household" size in 2003 was 2.61. According to THIS site (which mostly talks about how much bigger our houses are getting), "Since 1950, the average new house has increased by 1,247 sq. ft. Meanwhile, the average household has shrunk by 1 person." That implies to me that its more than a wash: the shrinking household size means that the income increases are even bigger than they appear - but again, complicated question and I'm not sure.

edit: http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/tabHH-6.pdf are the household size stats.
 
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  • #57
russ_watters said:
No, it has increased faster than the cost of living. Jeez, how many times do I have to post this data before this myth is dispelled? Look at the data I posted. The second table is adjusted for inflation. Except in the very short-term recession years, all income groups are gaining ground.
You are correct that this was discussed before, and if I recall, there is conflicting data depending on what source one prefers to use. So not to become derailed into discussion of issues I was not posting about, I return to what I posted in regard to a source I used:

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm

In 1998, the last year for which figures are available, it took over $250,000 to be in the top 10% of wealth holders. It took over $3,000,000 to reach the top 1%.
Look at the gap between the top 10% and 1% of wealth holders. Then realize that only 10% make it to $250,000 or more.

The rest I will reply to under Political Perspectives, as it is more appropriate to that thread.
 
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  • #58
SOS2008 said:
You are correct that this was discussed before, and if I recall, there is conflicting data depending on what source one prefers to use.
I don't recall any controversy over the data, merely that people are unaware of it (though I've posted it so many times that that really isn't acceptable).

While 2CentsWorth's question is a good one, I think the evidence is pretty strong that 1. the shrinking household size makes the increase in relative income larger and 2. the average household lives much better than in the past (which is what is really important).

The most common objection is from people who don't scroll down to the second table and don't think the data is inflation adjusted.

There is other data that we've discussed that also supports the point. The fact that poverty levels in the US have dropped by half in the last 40 or 50 years (I can dig that source out again if you need it) is direct evidence that the poor are getting substantially richer.
So not to become derailed into discussion of issues I was not posting about, I return to what I posted in regard to a source I used:

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm
Look at the gap between the top 10% and 1% of wealth holders. Then realize that only 10% make it to $250,000 or more.
You said that before - what is the relevance of that?
 
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  • #59
russ_watters said:
I don't recall any controversy over the data, merely that people are unaware of it (though I've posted it so many times that that really isn't acceptable).

While 2CentsWorth's question is a good one, I think the evidence is pretty strong that 1. the shrinking household size makes the increase in relative income larger and 2. the average household lives much better than in the past (which is what is really important).

The most common objection is from people who don't scroll down to the second table and don't think the data is inflation adjusted.

There is other data that we've discussed that also supports the point. The fact that poverty levels in the US have dropped by half in the last 40 or 50 years (I can dig that source out again if you need it) is direct evidence that the poor are getting substantially richer. You said that before - what is the relevance of that?
Based on data provided by alexandra in another thread about the problematic use of credit, specifically in the US, I would not rely on any data regarding material possessions (size of home, etc.) as an indicator of prosperity.
russ_watters said:
...what is the relevance of that?
The most obvious is that this means 89% of the population makes less than $250,000 (and currently you can barely buy a home for that).
 
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  • #60
Informal Logic said:
The most obvious is that this means 89% of the population makes less than $250,000 (and currently you can barely buy a home for that).

Yah maybe in California... but $250k will get you a damn good home almost anywhere else in this country. And a house is a huge investment! Are you saying people should be able to buy brand new homes each and every year in order for them to be 'making it'?
 
  • #61
Pengwuino said:
Yah maybe in California... but $250k will get you a damn good home almost anywhere else in this country. And a house is a huge investment! Are you saying people should be able to buy brand new homes each and every year in order for them to be 'making it'?
This is just one example of rising cost of living in comparison to what most people earn. Are you trying to misconstrue information again?
 
  • #62
You need a far better example because only in places like San Francisco will you barely be able to have a house for $250k. Plus of course, when in the modern age has a years salary ever been able to buy you a house? Havent mortgages been around a rather long time?

You seem to be the one misconstruing information as you bring a very bad example which is inevitably false to the table as believe it somehow is a fact of life.
 
  • #63
Pengwuino said:
You need a far better example because only in places like San Francisco will you barely be able to have a house for $250k. Plus of course, when in the modern age has a years salary ever been able to buy you a house? Havent mortgages been around a rather long time?

You seem to be the one misconstruing information as you bring a very bad example which is inevitably false to the table as believe it somehow is a fact of life.
http://houseandhome.msn.com/homes/homesoverview.aspx?GT1=6551

And in the future (I believe this is at least the third time to be suggested to you) do not accuse me or other members of faulty information when you rarely if ever provide sources to back up your claims.
 
  • #64
Jonny_trigonometry said:
Both republican and democratic parties are wrong, but when they are balanced equally, things are good.

Wrong. Compromise between then two groups is just as bad as either having their way. The government needs to be leveled, with all hands aboard before any progress can be made.

The deomcrats are swinging more left because the republicans are swinging more right.

Evidence? It could just as easily be argued that republicans are going mroe right in reposnse to the Democrats, something which seems more likely from my perspective. Either way, its bad.

To affiliate yourself with either one makes you ignore valid arguments of the other side.

Since when? I thought that was caused by being human.

I'm a democrat right now because I feel the nation needs to be more balanced (since the administration is radical right). If Kerry were elected, I would've liked it for a while until i saw the nation becomming too left wing, and at that point i would join the righties.

So you have no principles.

Regardless of the political spectrum, I see the current administration as paranoid control freaks in a desperate attempt to make everyone behave the way they do. Thier attitude is far less forgiving than the previous administration. Just listening to the tone of Lord Bush's voice when he talks down to the people (as if he's teaching us something) is kind of scary. He doesn't accept failure, and will never humble himself. When there is no room for failure, there is no way to learn from mistakes and hence, no way to improve the situation.

Sounds like politicians in general. All of those descriptions could be applied to ceratin Democrats as well. (I'm not contesting the validity of them being applied to Bush at all, mind you)

Comparing Clinton's behavior with Bush's says it all, Clinton was nailed to the cross when republicans heard of his falacious activities (at least he wasn't thinking of taking over other nations) and was even empeached by those unforgiving republican control freaks who believe they know what is best for others. Clinton didn't even break the law in that scandal!

Yes he did. he committed perjury. That is why he was impeached. Not because he had sex. Perjury was the issue. He should have been thrown out of office for it.

Another thing that he was nailed to the cross for was Whitewater, the Repubs tried to tarnish his reputation by spending millions on investigating his completeley legal real estate dealings. Did Clinton ever use scorn and finger pointing? NO, he made light of it and cracked a few jokes. Bush on the other hand has gotten away with much more scandalous activities such as stopping the hunt for Osama when they had him cornered in Torrah Borrah

Evidence?

, lying to the American people and the world about WMD

Assuming facts not in evidence. Its equally possible he was lied to by advisors and he believed them, or that the advisors simply did not know the information was bad. Just because he was wrong does not mean he was lying.

, jumping to conclusions about Iraq's involvement in 9-11

Kinda like you about him.

{QUOTE], constantly contradicting himself and denying it all, supporting the patriot act and homeland security[/QUOTE]

Are you against homeland security?

, thus weakening our constitution, and much much more. There is plenty of evidance that he was involved in insider trading when he was on the board of directors at Harken energy

And plenty of evidence that Clinton's dealings in Whitewater were not entirely legal, and plenty of evidence that Clinton committed perjury, what is your point?

, but the Dems aren't spending millions trying to make Bush accountable for it (unlike how the repubs spent millions on the whitewater investigation which turned out to find Clinton innocent).

Because they don't have millions to spend, after blowing it all on an election they lost?

What about Bush's military record, or how he cheated his way through yale in 2.5 years to get a 4 year degree?

News to me. You'd be surprised how many people used to get degrees in far less time. Like PhDs in 2 years, instead of 6 or eight.

Getting through in 2.5 years is not evidence of cheating. You're drawing unsupported conclusions for no more reason than that you like the conlcusion.

What about the 20 years he spent on his daddy's ranch doing cocaine? what about the piles of recordings of Bush talking on the phone admitting many of these types of scandalous activities?

Since when do liberals care about people using drugs? Democrats ***** and moan about the war on drugs being a waste, but if a republican uses drugs they make a huge deal about it. Hypocrites pointing fingers at hypocrites.

The Dems haven't tried to empeach Bush and I don't know why, there is a very good case against him, but I guess the Dems are just too nice... [/'QUOTE]

If by good case you mean the Democrats making up conclusions not supported by evidence, yes. Clinton was impeached because his crime was in a courtroom, he committed perjury. He was not impeached for his sex life. The media found that more interesting to report, but he was impeached for perjury, a crime he did commit, while in office. And there was proof, real evidence.

The thing with the Dems is that they believe other people know what is best for themselves, and repubs believe they know what is best for others.

Bull****. Both sides think that they know what is best for others. And they should all face summary execution for crimes against the American people, IMO. Every last one of them.

Both viewpoints must be balanced in order to amiliorate our world. It's nice that you've found some reasons to be fond of bush, but consider the above things also, you can't just ignore them.

You mean your fabricated conclusions not supported by evidence?

I wrote an email to bush today with a subject "f### you very much", and it read like this: Dear Lord Bush, screw you a##hole!

Then you are immature and pathetic, but about average from what I've seen of people. Congratulations for bearing that standard so proudly.

Should I be afraid? honestly I am a little, because maybe next time I go on an airline, I'll be pulled to the side and hassled like what happened to some of the Kerry supporters before the election... Maybe I'm on his list now.

You're an idiot.

If I sent that same email to Clinton would I be afraid? I would think not, because he wouldn't take it negatively.

Of course, he would have considered you a moron. He would have been right. (i'm descending into ad hominem here, and deserve to be blasted for it, but this is just too much).

We all have the freedom to say what we want

Yeah, like the freedom to say 'Policeman' without being called a misogynist.

, and we have the freedom to interpret what others say to and about us negatively or positively

Or misinterpret. Best called the freedom to be a moron. I'd rather not have that one myself.

. With homeland securit and the patriot act, these freedoms are incrementally being compramised. Perhaps Bush wants people to look at him in fear rather than look at him in hope.

Patriot Act should not be renewed, but maybe you don't actually know what the term 'homeland security' means. Nothing about 'homeland security' has to do with personal liberties being compromised. It simply means protecting our country. Are you against that? Or do you mean something else, and are incapable of expressing it?

I think it's great to try to look for the good side of Bush, and I commend you for doing so, but in the process you may disregard his bad side and that won't hurt him as much as it would hurt you.

There is no good side to the man, aside from the fact that he is not a liberal.
 

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