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Polarized America & Class War Politics

  1. Jun 25, 2006 #1

    Astronuc

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    "Polarized America" & "Class War Politics"

    As he often does, Paul Krugman hits home with poignant issue - economic disparity in America, and the politics which supports it - even thrives upon it.

    "Class War Politics" by Paul Krugman, NY Times, June 19, 2006
    The poor don't have money, so they don't contribute big bucks to political campaigns, so the politicians ignore them!

    So much for Democracy. And the Bush administration wants to make the rest of the world that way. Perhaps thats why Bush and buddies are comfortable cozying up the dictatorships like that of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea. :rolleyes:

    On the domestic side of politics (NY Times, June 23, 2006):
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
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  3. Jun 25, 2006 #2

    loseyourname

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    No link? I know I can search the NY Times archive myself, but come on, I don't want to do that!

    What they should really do with the estate tax thing is exempt anyone that owns more in land than liquid assets. A lot of family farms are lost because the land is so valuable but the person paying the taxes has no actual cash with which to pay a tax. This obviously benefits corporate farms a great deal since corporations don't die.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
  4. Jun 25, 2006 #3
    The NY Times is pay per view. Even to get their free 14 day trial one must sign up and give credit card info ect. The link below has the original article in full text.
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/06/paul_krugman_cl.html

    As far as poverty and the USA, we seem to also export it to other countries.

    http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/134647.php

    So who is farming those thousands of acres now?

    So these so called leftist Mexican farmers have come north to become our next lower class.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
  5. Jun 25, 2006 #4

    Evo

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    Uhm, I registered for the FREE NYT account. I don't pay anything, never have. I read it all the time.

    If you're paying, you need to sign up for the free registration.
     
  6. Jun 25, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    For certain editorials, such as those of Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman, one has to purchase an on-line subscription "Times Select". Otherwise, the articles, which appear in the NY Times newspaper are free for one week.

    As for Krugman's column - Class War Politics - one can see a brief statment, but to read his column, one has to subscribe to TimesSelect. IIRC the subscription is about $50/annum, and one can download 100 articles/month free.
     
  7. Jun 25, 2006 #6

    russ_watters

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    Some things I agree with, some I don't. The part about "the great bulk of the viciousness coming from the right" made me laugh, and Astronuc - the politicians ignore the poor? C'mon, the Democratic platform is targeted directly at the poor-middle class. Or perhaps a gun the democratic politicians give them to aim at the rich. From my point of view, yes, a lot of politicians thrive on the economic disparity, but it is by and large the Democrats who benefit from it and therefore push to keep it an issue. It is why guys like Obama will never be allowed to make it far in the Democratic party - get rid of the class struggle and the party's constituent base and reason for existence evaporates.

    I also think he's (and the Democratic party) are really fooling themselves about where they are and what they have to do to become relevant again. If the Republican party were really just for the rich, only 5% of the population would support it. The eat-the-rich game is not working and that's the main reason the only President from the left in 25 years was elected in the middle of a recession, driving out a one-termer. You can only hate the rich so much when you do still want to be one of them. And you can't convince a guy who has a bigger house than his dad did that he's worse off than his dad just because Bill Gates exists.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
  8. Jun 25, 2006 #7

    Evo

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    Well, that would explain why I never pay. :tongue: But I am detracting from the rant.
     
  9. Jun 25, 2006 #8
    Bill Gates isn't a good whipping boy for this topic.

    .
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2006/jun/25/bill-gates-seen-as-role-model-in-philanthropy/

    edit:
    It was announced on the news today that Warren Buffet is giving billions in stock to Gate's philanthropic organization.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
  10. Jun 26, 2006 #9
    does he publish it anywhere that I might be able to get at a library?
     
  11. Jun 26, 2006 #10
  12. Jun 26, 2006 #11

    Astronuc

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    Same here. I am just providing food for thought. Often expressed opinions and even texts oversimplify a very complex situation.

    I was stunned by the number (dozens) of homeless in Washington DC, many of who are clearly mentally ill, and in some cases, suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse. Many were sleeping on the grass or on benches in parks near the White House during the night and throughout the day.

    I don't think comments like that help in the analysis or in finding a solution. On the other hand, I am concerned about the propensity for politicians to villify or otherwise disparage the opposition - it goes both ways.

    Yeah, in general I think that many politicians do - even many Democrats who seem to exploit the poor, but offer little in the way of viable and sustainable solutions. Well, I guess I should have said "politicians ignore the reality of the poor".
     
  13. Jun 26, 2006 #12

    Astronuc

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    The book, "Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches," by Nolan McCarty of Princeton University, Keith Poole of the University of California, San Diego, and Howard Rosenthal of New York University, should eventually be available in libraries, at least in the US, and possibly at various universities.

    Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman have several books in print. Krugman is at Princeton, and he may have some of his articles on his website. On the other hand, his columns are likely copyrighted by the NYTimes.

    Sorry 'bout that. I am just blowing off steam.
     
  14. Jun 26, 2006 #13

    arildno

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    Rather on a side note, but perhaps not:
    I'm currently reading Howard Zinn's "The people's history", it is a very interesting read. :smile:
     
  15. Jun 26, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

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    My wife just bought a copy. It's been on my To-Read list along with dozens of other books. :biggrin:
     
  16. Jun 26, 2006 #15

    loseyourname

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    That doesn't seem right. I know I've read Krugman's pieces on the NY Times archive before for free. They were essays, though. Are those separate from his column?

    I'm not expecting you to know, by the way. I'm reading what I can find right now from google. Sounds like the same stuff he was saying in "For Richer." Okay, I found a link to what appears to be the entire article:

    link
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  17. Jun 26, 2006 #16

    russ_watters

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    Yeah, he used to be the generic whipping boy, but I was too lazy to think of someone else. I'm actually a pretty big fan of his (even before he started his charity work).
    That makes more sense. It is a cruel irony that since their constituent base is largely poor, they must stay poor in order to be of use to the party. The Republicans therefore have more to gain by the poor being better off.
     
  18. Jun 26, 2006 #17
    It all started with this guy.

    Newt changed the tone and Republicans have become nasty in politics. And it seems to suit them because I see no signs of it bothering their conscience. Actually there are no real Republicans left, the party was taken over by the nasties.

    Here is John Edwards' gun
    I suppose it is better than ignoring it altogether, otherwise there would not even be a mention of raising the minimum wage for the first time in nine years.

    Really?

    If that were true Russ, don't you think that the Republicans would be out in the forefront eliminating poverty, raising everyones standard of living, not just the select few.

    But the Republican Congress just killed legislation to raise the minimum wage, while giving the top 5% a $600 billion tax cut. :confused: :bugeye:

    I agree on both points. Hating the poor is easier, 'cause who wants to be poor?

    Hating the rich while you wish to be rich is envy not hate. That is what keeps people supporting the capitalist system. Greed and envy are powerful motivators.

    I don't hate the rich, nor do I want to be one of them.

    Democrats are proposing to help lift people from poverty, Republicans are telling their friends to give to charity.
     
  19. Jun 27, 2006 #18

    russ_watters

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    Newt is a buffoon, but if you think partisan negativity started with him, you need to pick up a history book. Certainly there is an ebb and flow, but don't pay him the credit of having such an impact on the political scene.

    http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/inside.php?sid=3929
    Yes, and as I said, it is a cruel irony that the political success of his party requires the failure of his policies - regardless of whether or not he wants them to succeed.
    Is it better? The Democratic party exists by convincing people they are incapable of supporting themselves. The damage that does to those people and the nation as a whole is devistating. People who don't think they are capable of succeeding on their own stop trying.
    They are. See, that's the point you and the Democratic party as a whole are missing - even though you've seen the data. The Republican party has had a stranglehold on national politics for 25 years because people believe in the American Dream and with them in power, the American Dream has been happening for more and more people. They believe that if I try hard enough, I can succeed and I don't need a government handout to do it. And you know what? They are right. Naked capitalism is what drives the US's economy and is the reason why odds are you'll have a bigger house than your parents did.
    And yet, people vote for them. Why? Unless the Democratic party accepts the reality that people are interested in fairness and the American Dream (and naked capitalism is the primary component of both), they will never understand why a party who (in their minds) only cares about 5% can get 55% of the vote. They're not even trying to understand(or, perhaps, simply cannot accept) where those other 50% come from. And if they won't - they have no hope of ever convincing that 50% of the population to vote for them.
    Huh? I don't know if I should call that a strawman or a deliberate mischaracterization. Surely you know it isn't true and isn't what I said. No one makes hateful statements toward the poor. There is no "eat the poor", only an "eat the rich". Again, what you and your party just plain don't/refuse to see is that the Republican simply have a different (and, as history and economics show, better) way of dealing with the problem of poverty.
    Granted, but I think people fool themselves into thinking they don't envy the rich but only hate them. You said you don't want to be rich. Fine - but virtually everyone in the world wants to be better off than they are now.
    Yes, they are. And attempting to short-circuit that doesn't work. It is ironic (sad and hopeless, even) - you know it is a reality, yet you fight against it. Skyhunter, if I though wishing could change human nature, I'd be a communist. It is a beautiful system - everyone working together for the common good. What could be better? But it doesn't and can't work, and just like in physics, politics is constrained by reality. You cannot change human nature by wishing - or legislating - it.
    Hate, dislike, whatever. Regardless of what you want to call your feelings toward them or what you want to become, the reality you do want to punish them for being rich. Democratic policies toward the rich are putative to the point they can be considered nothing else.

    But that isn't even the worst of it. In addition to punishing the rich, via punishing them, the Democratic party rewards the poor for being poor. And that's their real hook. The second irony of Edward's lofty goals above is the reality of how it is applied: reward the poor for being and, more importantly, staying poor (because that's what free money does) and you can claim you tried while simultaneously maintaining your constituency through bribery, yet keeping them poor because of it. I guess that's a double irony...
    No. Democrats are trying to convince people they are trying while not actually helping, and Republicans, through capitalism, are actually doing it by supporting the American Dream.

    And whether you believe that or not, unless you can accept the reality that the American people believe it, your party will continue to flounder.

    One good domestic policy thing I'll give Clinton - he did something that Democrats hated but actually helped: he put restrictions on welfare and reduced the welfare rolls. Heck - that's why my dad (a Republican) voted for him the second time!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  20. Jun 27, 2006 #19

    Gokul43201

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    ...and no gay marriage, and no flag burning and no abortion...

    A large chunk of the Republican voters picked Bush because he was a religious man. It had very little to do with Capitalism or welfare programs. Do you really think a capitalist atheist stands a chance of being elected President any time soon?
     
  21. Jun 27, 2006 #20
    Your "irony" has no consequences whatsoever, because it could apply to almost any situation. By the same logic, it is beneficial for any politician who rallies around any policy to fail in his or her endeavors. For example, I could argue that it is beneficial for the Republicans to never pass an amendment criminalizing abortion, or an amendment banning gay marriage.

    In fact, I'd go as far as to say that your point is incredibly disingenuous. By saying "Democrats are better off as long as they fail at their policies," you're really implying "Democrats intentionally fail at their policies."

    This is pure opinion.

    First of all, do you really believe that the Republicans are for naked capitalism? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: They may not be for social welfare, but they're all about the corporate welfare. Just go back and look at the Republican Congress' voting record. For God's sake, they extended the copyright term by 20 years solely for the benefit of Disney, one of the world's largest corporations. Most Republicans are also for putting caps on medical malpractice judgments, even though the experts have determined that malpractice insurance accounts for less than 1% of the total health care costs (yes, that includes "defensive medicine"). Tell that to the widow of a man who died in routine surgery because his multimillionaire surgeon had a few too many at lunch.

    Secondly, the American Dream® is simply not possible for everyone. It's easy for you or me to think so, growing up at least somewhat intelligent, but tell that to the poor kid with an IQ of 80, or to the single mother who works two jobs just to feed her kids. I guarantee you that you do not work as hard as millions of people who are significantly worse off than you (though it is very easy for someone to delude themselves into thinking otherwise).

    They get 55% of the vote for three reasons. First, they're funded better, mainly because they're typically richer to begin with. Believe it or not, statistics have shown that the more money you spend on a campaign, the better you do. Now, I guess you could make the argument that the richer you are, the smarter and therefore more qualified you are to have the job, but I don't think you want to go down that road.

    Secondly, they've shown themselves to be better at universally using easily-digestable labels (e.g., flip-flopper, liberal, East Coast Liberal, West Coast Liberal, tax-and-spender, womanizer, soft on defense, soft on crime, cut-and-runner, etc.) I'm not saying that these labels mean anything; rather, they're just fodder for the more easily brainwashed among us.

    Finally, Republicans are better at getting out the vote from the Religious Right by playing up such "issues" as gay marriage near election time. Is it a coincidence that the last time I heard the words "gay marriage" in the press was in November 2004? (Speaking of the religious right, the Republican party has completely controlled the government for almost two years now. If they really care about abortion so much, why haven't they even attempted to pass a Constitutional amendment banning it?)

    Actually, in retrospect, I forgot about two other sources of votes for the Republican party. One is from people whose parents were staunch Republicans, and would never change their beliefs no matter what evidence was presented, because they have been ingrained from birth. (To be fair, Dems also have these votes.) The other is from people who were or are in the military. The Republicans have shown a willingness to fund them far beyond what is necessary, and have even made baseless wars to keep them employed.

    This assertion is completely baseless. Sure, the Republicans may have controlled the government during a period of economic growth, but so have the Democrats. I would like to see some statistics backing up your argument that their way of dealing with poverty is "better." From what I've heard, the number of people in this country under the poverty line has increased by 4 million people in the last six years.

    Do you know how our tax system is supposed to work? Across the board, everyone is (in theory) supposed to pay the same percentage of their income as taxes. While income tax may favor the poor in lieu of the rich, other taxes, such as sales tax, greatly favor the rich. (Someone making $20,000 a year is going to spend a much greater fraction of their income on consumables, and pay more sales tax, than someone making $200,000 a year.) Moreover, richer people typically get the benefit of the corporate subsidies. This is how the system's supposed to work in theory. If you decide to go and give major tax cuts to the rich, assuming that the correct balance had been established before, you've effectively placed a greater burden on the poor. You're mischaracterizing the balancing act as a punishment, which shows a misunderstanding of basic economics.
     
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