why are the American poor refused to do jobs that are there? — Brooklynian

why are the American poor refused to do jobs that are there?

America still needs tons of agriculture workers. from picking apples to picking what ever... tons of stuff are rotting in the fields right now.

So much illegal labor has been deported under the current regime.

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Comments

  • Any idea which "regime" that might be?

  • its under the current two party elephant and donkey regimes.

  • Hey Armchair. Is English not your first language ?

  • i wasn't born here and i'm mostly self taught.

  • Electing neither the donkeys nor the elephants might stop deportation.

    Alternatively, we could decimate the social welfare "safety net" to make almost starvation the consequence for unemployment.

    Likewise, wages could be increased to just below the rate that would make such employers unprofitable.

    The labor market has only so many forces....

  • whynot The labor market has only so many forces....

    This may all be, but I get the sense from past similar issues that AW wanted to take this time to point out the supposed spoiled, lazy attitude of Americans. I don't get the sense he will respond to discussions regarding the reasons the average unemployed American family isn't packing up their family to become migrant farm workers.

    Back breaking work for little to no pay and no health insurance as well as losing your home while you're on the road picking fruit seems to be a reasonable alternative to unemployment to AW. I suspect bringing up the reasons why, by not choosing to do this, the unemployed should not be viewed as lazy, would cause AW to simply accuse one of being, what was it, one of boygabriel's acolytes?

  • First I will digress and state that acolyte is a less loaded term than comrade.

    Now, I will return to the subjects you address and concur.

  • stooges or clones, not acolyte just too religious of a term for my taste.

  • not everyone is gifted with height or strength or intelligence or creativity etc..

    not everyone in this society is cut out to be doctors or engineers etc..

    some people who are on generational welfare could go do some of these farm jobs. pay isn't as bad as you think. if it's so bad you think people travel across a dangerous border cross deserts and murders and other people to get here to work those farms?

    doubt it, but now with the hardline tactics enforced they are actually having a effect on the illegal immigration but without lazy generational welfare folks or out of job folks replacing them. now tons of food rotting in the fields.

    Alot of Americans bitch about not able to get jobs, there are jobs, not jobs they are willing to do, they probably get a little more than welfare but they have to work very hard. to earn a little bit more.

  • AW: I'm still not biting. You say what you want to and then any time someone gives you differing points of view, even with checkable references, you post a picture with a sign saying you've gone fishing or some crap about aliens on the History channel.

    The only frustrating part about this is there are a number of points you make that could be interesting starting off points for discussion. But, as I said, there is no point in starting anything since you shut down as soon as another, stronger view comes along.

  • I read somewhere that we pay the smallest percentage of our income for food of any first world nation. If we paid migrant workers higher wages, this would change.

    ...but I am not convinced we are willing to accept the tradeoff.

  • me shut down? last time i check i wasn't a mod, can't shut anything down.

    lol i just don't feel like repeating myself. for the same points. point out where i didn't answer anything that wasn't already answered.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Electing neither the donkeys nor the elephants might stop deportation.

    Alternatively, we could decimate the social welfare "safety net" to make almost starvation the consequence for unemployment.

    Likewise, wages could be increased to just below the rate that would make such employers unprofitable.

    The labor market has only so many forces....

    Just so you know, wages could be increased to more reasonable levels and it wouldn't bankrupt or damage a single food corporation.

    For example, you could raise minimum wage in one of the ugliest industries in the nation, meat processing, and the cost would be literally pennies per McDonald's hamburger.

    Your jump from starvation to unprofitable corporations is simplistic and worse, simply inaccurate.

    armchair_warrior said:pay isn't as bad as you think.

    once again you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    in order to make any money whatsoever you have to pick fruit at a rate that is almost literally back breaking.

    over and over again there are scandals of effectively forced servitude, indentured workers, or pay so small it's a cruel joke.

    Please do some research about our food labor industries (as well as what "free trade" and NAFTA have done to the Mexican labor market) so you at least have half a clue what you're talking about.

    Here you go Armchair, spend 10 minutes learning something about what you're attempting to talk about:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130840422

  • BG wrote: Just so you know, wages could be increased to more reasonable levels and it wouldn't bankrupt or damage a single food corporation.

    For example, you could raise minimum wage in one of the ugliest industries in the nation, meat processing, and the cost would be literally pennies per McDonald's hamburger.

    Your jump from starvation to unprofitable corporations is simplistic and worse, simply inaccurate.

    whynot_31 said:

    I read somewhere that we pay the smallest percentage of our income for food of any first world nation. If we paid migrant workers higher wages, this would change.

    ...but I am not convinced we are willing to accept the tradeoff.

  • ...but I am not convinced we are willing to accept the tradeoff.

    literally cents per burger.

  • Boygabriel said:

    WhyNot wrote: ...but I am not convinced we are willing to accept the tradeoff.

    literally cents per burger.

    ah, but there are other costs beyond a more expensive burger. A workforce that is paid above subsistence is likely to use some of its wages and leisure time to demand things like voting rights, safer work conditions, and quality education for their children.

    A giant snowball of personhood ensues.

    ...while I would like to think that I am ready to deal with the consequences of improving the lives of meat processors and migrant workers, I remain unconvinced that those who agree with me have the will, or the means, to enact such policies.

  • In addition to the question of pay per hour for agricultural work, the problem of population distribution is just as important. Most agricultural work is in low population density areas while most people in need of even "entry level" jobs are in urban areas. Since we have no way to move these people to the places where workers are needed and few places to house them decently, the problem remains.

  • Even among those corporate entities that have adopted "American" rules for their ag. workforces, the conditions are such that few Americans are willing to work. Long hours, no breaks, lots of repetitive stress injuries, etc. Whether we want to believe it or not, the vast majority of US citizens are simply too soft to undertake this kind of work. Especially when it doesn't come with health insurance, sick days, vacation days, 401(k)'s etc.

    I'd suggest you read Working in the Shadows which details this problem accurately.

  • If you believe that the two political parties are different when it comes to such issues and that voting matters, we will given an opportunity in Nov 2012 to decide "How to address unemployment of US citizens despite lots of jobs for hard working immigrants". Our choices are pretty similar to the last election:

    A. Decimate the safety net,

    B. Increase wages.

    C. Restrict the supply of labor via deportation.

  • if it's not backbreaking than it's not consider hard work is it? I paid my dues, but the lazy in this country still refuse to do a honest days work. rather get more kids.

    poor is poor because of what they are refusing to do to escape it. people aren't going to magically get money. they have work towards it or they'll be forever charity cases with beggar bowls.

  • AW-

    Fear not, I suspect the party the obtains power in 2012 will try one or more of three things I mention.

    ...then we will decide if the changes were a good idea and either reverse them or implement more of them.

  • armchair_warrior said:

    if it's not backbreaking than it's not consider hard work is it? I paid my dues, but the lazy in this country still refuse to do a honest days work. rather get more kids.

    poor is poor because of what they are refusing to do to escape it. people aren't going to magically get money. they have work towards it or they'll be forever charity cases with beggar bowls.

    There are significantly more people looking for work than available jobs.

    Once again your generalizations about the poor are pointless and wrong.

  • Boygabriel said:

    There are significantly more people looking for work than available jobs.

    Once again your generalizations about the poor are pointless and wrong.

    There are a shit ton of chronically unfilled positions, either cause there aren't enough qualified applicants, or cause the work is too hard (for Americans)

    So while there are prob more applicants than jobs, that's exacerbated by the limitations of the labor pool

    Im still at a loss as to what is gained from advocating for the poor beyond the realm of reason

    Appeasing white/liberal guilt? Lol.

  • Appeasing white/liberal guilt? Lol
    Because there are no poor white people?

  • Cool The Kid said:

    There are a shit ton of chronically unfilled positions, either cause there aren't enough qualified applicants, or cause the work is too hard (for Americans)

    So while there are prob more applicants than jobs, that's exacerbated by the limitations of the labor pool

    Im still at a loss as to what is gained from advocating for the poor beyond the realm of reason

    Appeasing white/liberal guilt? Lol.

    Damn - you must get the truth out there then!

    Everyone seems to think unemployment and underemployment is running extremely high.

    Quick - tell them of these jobs!

  • Americans who want goods + a standard at prices that prompt $2/hr labor that won't work in the same factories for less than $20/hr are kind of in a pickle

    And Americans tend to run from the subjects (math, science) that are the backbone of what little growth/jobs there are left (STEM), which are (justifiably/rightfully) being taken primarily by immigrants

    You go on Monster.com & look in IT, engineering, medicine, etc, there are a shit load of jobs. I get at least 2 calls a month from job recruiters. Obviously everyone can't go into those fields and someone who has been working for 20 yrs can't just flip a light switch and become an IT manager. But the point is, yes, corporations are short sighted and more profit driven than they used to be, and the world changed faster than many could keep up... but Americans have def shied away from the sectors of the economy that have long term growth

    I know you hate to hear me assign any responsibility for this mess on anyone but those you hate but we all have a hand in it

  • Those careers are great options if you're born into enough privilege.

    If you weren't, it is very difficult to achieve mobility or get a white collar job.

    The OP's suggestion that people should just work as fruit pickers for less than minimum wage and no benefits whatsoever is a joke.

  • O god please spare us the 'privilege' talk. Blah not even gonna bother we have already had this discussion.

  • The funny thing is that each of you (CTK and BG) is absolutely correct in your respective recent comments, and yet you seem to disagree with one another!

    I guess I'm just not smart enough to perceive the underlying philosophical differences.

  • Booklaw-

    I think part of the difference between BG and CTK stems from the degree to which "our" poor, as citizens of one of the wealthiest countries on earth, have more "rights" than the poor of other countries.

    For example, some advocates believe that "our" poor have the right to turn down low paying, dangerous, manual labor and should be allowed to survive on the safety net.

    While just about everyone believes some sort of a safety net should exist, some believe our present safety net does the overall economy (as well as the poor themselves) a disservice by allowing them to avoid such work. While such debates are always entertaining and emotion filled, I tend to view the safety net in less emotional terms: It is one of the useful tools that the government can use to control the supply of labor.

    In an economy of surplus labors such as ours, dangerous, low paying labor can only be avoided only if the wages and working conditions of "our" poor continue to be artificially inflated through things like minimum wage laws, safety nets, immigration regulations etc.

    ...and I am not impressed with our government's present ability to keep these things in place.

    In other words, their ability to avoid such miserable conditions is not on the basis of a "right": It is based instead on what other skills an individual has, and an ever shifting sense of what US citizenship should provide. So, work conditions and employment are not a guarantees at all, but are the result of an ever shifting tolerance for misery, influenced by micro and macro political climates and economic forces.

    At present, our political system seems unable to further increase taxes on the rich.

    As a result, I think citizens will eventually be filling the positions presently filled by undocumented immigrants; Armchair might have to re-write this post by 2025.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    O god please spare us the 'privilege' talk. Blah not even gonna bother we have already had this discussion.

    Sorry, privilege exists and is central to any economic discussion.

  • CTK thinks we don't have an unemployment problem, we have an attitude problem.

    AW is inclined to agree with him.

    I think the playing field is heavily skewed towards corporate profits and investment returns, and most aspects of our economic system are controlled those who stand to benefit the most.

    Corporations are people, after all.

    I think the government's job is to fill the gap between what is best for quarterly earnings & hedge funds and what is best for the widest number of Americans (and people of the world), especially the least advantaged and the ones with the least access to money and political power.

    I have no faith whatsoever in the decency or viability of "free" markets and libertarianism.

  • In this discussion, the biggest privilege may be being born a citizen.

    ...for better or worse, this is a rapidly eroding privilege: It may soon be so eroded that our poor may have to work in difficult jobs, like the rest of the world.

    Likewise, the more privileged people may have to take a step downward.

    Only the very top portion of society (those whose existence actually transcends their national citizenship) may find away to prosper.

    That's the trick: Disassociate yourself anyone who is unable to garner huge amounts of wealth, then you stand the chance of being oblivious to the misery of the rest of the world.

    Oh, oblivion, I crave you so.

  • Definitely, there are two (related) comparisons to be made:

    Life as an American vs another country, and life in the US as someone born to, say, the wealthiest 25-50% and parents who didn't go to college, vs those that were luckier.

    Likewise, the more privileged people may have to take a step downward.

    That's not usually how it works though. Those at the bottom are hit the hardest. It's the same logic/mathematics as why a flat tax such an awful idea.

  • Yes, any social class that can extract the "marginal excess value of labor" from the class below it, will.

    All of us have a vested self interest to maximize our utility.

    For some, this utility almost exclusively takes the form of money, aka "fiduciary obligation".

    For most, utility maximization seems to take the form a mixture of money and a sense of inner connectedness and fairness with our fellow human.

    True altruists are rumored to exist, but are rarely seen in the wild.

  • BG, I totally agree with your last post (except I reserve judgment on your characterization of CTK's beliefs).

    We obviously have an employment problem, caused in part by an education problem (i.e. too many people too poorly educated to compete for non-menial jobs in modern industries), which in turn is caused by social problems, such as parents who do not or can not support their kids' educational needs, peer groups who elevate parties and popularity, or in some cases drugs and gangs, over math, science, foreign languages, etc., etc.

    If there is to be a debate about this, perhaps the debate should focus on how best to educate kids and young adults so that they are capable of holding down jobs more demanding than those at Walmart and Burger King.

    Otherwise we're reduced to discussing whether and to what extent the rich should provide a safety net for the poor and the middle class, which would put us in the same pathetic position as the US Congress.

    Of course, there is an alternative strategy: rather than begging for a safety net, simply kill the rich, steal all of their assets, and live like kings until the army walls off Connecticut, the Upper East Side and other privileged communities, and lets the rest of the country turn into a giant lawless ghetto.

    Silly though that may sound, that is the likely outcome of a dystopian society in which the rich the keep getting richer and everybody else keeps getting poorer. Sooner or later all hell will break loose.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Yes, any social class that can extract the "marginal excess value of labor" from the class below it, will.

    And any group that can get away with enslaving another group, will. Doesn't make it ok, or even in the best interests of a functional society.

    Strange how the natural course of our society isn't always what's best or right.

    All of us have a vested self interest to maximize our utility. For most, this takes the form of money, aka "fiduciary obligation".

    all self interests were not developed equally. access to a decent life (affordable health care, the ability to afford a child) is complicated.

  • booklaw said:

    Silly though that may sound, that is the likely outcome of a dystopian society in which the rich the keep getting richer and everybody else keeps getting poorer. Sooner or later all hell will break loose.

    Dead on. I don't think it's silly at all.

    I appreciate your thoughtful response and agree with much of it.

    A starting point for the discussion would be how one defines "safety net" and "obligations/dues" to society.

  • BG-

    Don't worry. As Booklaw points out, if one group profits from (exploits, enslaves, yada, yada) another group too much, there will be a revolution.

    There are revolutions literally all of the time.

    However, the kind of revolution that actually creates a world in which resources, education, talent and privilege are distributed equally has yet to happen.

    Such a revolution is always in the future because we are always fighting (or embracing) the urge to distribute wealth to the strongest, from the weakest.

    We live now.

  • I don't need revolution.

    I'd settle for reasonable progressive reform in a handful of areas.

  • Boygabriel said:

    I don't need revolution.

    I'd settle for reasonable progressive reform in a handful of areas.

    Great.

    In a double-spaced document with no more than 30 pages, please convince the nation it has a greater obligation to those less fortunate than it presently feels, and that the program you propose are effective at relieving their guilt and/or improving the nation.

    The Needs Statement should write itself, and Cornell West might be willing to look the other way if you plagiarize from him.

    Given the obstacles, I would make sure to not write that proposal on a contingency basis. I would make sure to demand an hourly or flat rate.

  • Boygabriel said:

    CTK thinks we don't have an unemployment problem, we have an attitude problem.

    AW is inclined to agree with him.

    I think the playing field is heavily skewed towards corporate profits and investment returns, and most aspects of our economic system are controlled those who stand to benefit the most.

    This will probably blow your mind, but I agree!

    Boygabriel said:

    I think the government's job is to fill the gap between what is best for quarterly earnings & hedge funds and what is best for the widest number of Americans (and people of the world), especially the least advantaged and the ones with the least access to money and political power.

    I have no faith whatsoever in the decency or viability of "free" markets and libertarianism.

    Well that's like, your opinion, man

    Since we're making crass presumptions about those who disagree with us I still think you have an unhealthy obsession with punishing the rich... only that's based on what you actually said, not just me disagreeing with you

    I think as is gov't is grossly inefficient and shouldn't be depended on to solve all our problems. HOWEVER, I do think there is an unholy matrimony between gov't and corporations that is detrimental to the country that has manifested itself in bought policy that hurts the avg person

    For example, if banks hadn't bought the gov'ts guarantee on principal for student loans, they would not make those loans, which in turn would prohibit schools like NYU from charging $40K/yr tuition, which prices normal folks out of a decent higher education

    Or how about govt's manipulation of the housing market & mortgages that also enable housing bubbles and artificial propping up of home prices, beyond the realm of the avg American household... also to the benefit of the financial industry and of course by no coincidence

    You can't talk intelligently about what is good for the country w/o really delving into the mechanisms & driving forces of the changes that got us to this point... talk of "punishing the rich" might garner applause at local progressive party meetings, but logical measures like banning lobbying and moving away from gov't intervention(i.e., arbitrary "equalizing" taxation on those some interested party deems as having too much w/no regard for gov't spending etc) and towards government regulation (i.e., forcing banks & financial entities to remain transparent and adequately capitalized) is really what it will take.

    And as far as "attitude", yes, its a legit problem. When you have industry in Alabama shutting down because illegal immigrants get forced out and the remaining Americans don't want to do the work they were doing at the level of efficiency they were, even for legal + significantly higher pay, I think its safe to say Americans have an attitude problem. Platitudes of "the good old days" when Americans could work at a leisurely pace as they had no competition on the global front is meaningless... we don't have the luxury of those old times, and most companies, ESPECIALLY those that are process/manufacturing based, have nowhere NEAR the profit margins or room for inefficiency that defined work in the old days. And financial markets/the US economy doesn't have the pools of guaranteed growth to provide pensions (plus those pensions progressives romanticize have proved to be unsustainable anyway- see Rhode Island).

    The bottom line is your POV just doesn't line up with the real world... talk of saving the poor and spiting the rich are meaningless, such dialogue doesn't lead to solutions that will actually move anyone forward

  • There are def gaping holes in how the gov't deals w/corporations... i.e., offshore income taxation, etc

    But putting a gun to the heads of corporations does nothing. Dismantle the loopholes and pay to play rules that enable them to enrich themselves at the expense of the American people and you will see immediate change to benefit the common man.

    And I really want to drive home the point about our "new" competition. Back in the 50s-60s or whenever the fuck people refer to as the country being perfect, there was no China, there was no India, Europe was still picking up the pieces from WWII, and the world was nowhere near as globalized/interconnected as it is now. So American companies that can employ people w/essentially no skills don't have the leeway they did before to pay "living wages" and "pensions". It's a whole different ballgame.

    And the old retirement plans were unsustainable. Like I said Rhode Island's public sector has pension plans that wound up paying damn near 90% of retirement pay, often for periods longer than the recipients were employed. Etc. I mean if we are going to talk about this lets have some realistic expectations and a comprehensive understanding of what was, is, and can be, sustainably

  • Again, I find myself agreeing with everything CTK just said, whereas before I agreed with everything BG said. Is it possible that they're not all that far apart in their views, and that they've both been harping on relatively minor differences, rather than on the major points on which they agree?

    I'll pick one trivial nit with one of CTK's comments: I have little doubt that if you dismantle the loopholes and pay to play rules that enrich American corporations (assuming you could get their toadies in Congess to do that, which is highly improbable), the corporations, their managements, shareholders, and lobbyists, and their Congressional servants would all agree that you were "putting a gun to their heads".

  • Booklaw-

    I see major points of disagreement between CTK and BG, but will try to discuss the issues from only my perspective.

    I see BG believing that Americans can enjoy the standard of living they have enjoyed for the past 50 some years, and putting too much emphasis on how much money the wealthy are earning. While I wish our system did not allow the rich to garner ever-increasing amounts of wealth, I don't perceive BG as paying enough attention to our nation's huge trade deficits over the last 30-some years, this has played a role in concentrating the wealth into a few hands, but has also massively exported wealth and jobs away from America.

    Likewise, I do not feel CTK fully appreciates the amount of crap that will hit the fan if the various social classes all have to take a downward step over the next 20 or so years. While some believe this economic decline (coupled with a fraying of the safety net) will a create a pretty peaceful acceptance of new, lower paying, more menial, jobs, I am not as optimistic. While thee are certainly poor folks with work ethic problems, I see this as a largely a structural crisis.

    In an attempt to maintain a standard of living that has long been simply financed by debt and trade deficits, I think we will see lots of effort wasted by all sides of the debate on things that do not move us forward; we may see the resurgence of unions and living wage laws and taxation that are so "powerful" they drive businesses away). I also see the potential for lots of ugliness:

    - trade wars and artificially high wages that we isolate ourselves from the world

    - tolerated attacks against people who "under price us"; undocumented immigrants

    -various social classes violently and desperately fortifying themselves from the classes below them.

    I would love to move the country toward living within its means and have people return to work. While I would love to increase taxes our rich, this option does not seem feasible in our present climate. As a result, I believe we must lower our "defense" budget and safety net to that of the countries we are competing against. Because those in favor of more progressive taxation have been unable to provide concrete methods to implement such plans, I have frankly grown tired of their jabbering and have begun to view them as fanciful distractions.

    However, it will be hard to convince a populous that has no understanding of economics of the need for these measures. If we are not careful, we will have austerity riots: Americans will convince themselves that because THEY are not to blame for the economy, the blame can and should be placed on someone, or somewhere else.

    Lately, it seems fashionable to believe this country's woes began with the housing bubble mortgage crisis, was escalated by the rich getting really rich, and then culminated in the bank bailout of 2008. These are great problems to work on, and I support such efforts. However, our nation's problems are much, much larger, and have been brewing for decades.

    While I would love to give people time to adjust to the new reality, I do not think the global economy will allow it.

    This is going to be quite a ride. People may need to first protesting austerity, THEN accept the jobs AW describes.

  • I don't think we have to take a huge hit in how we live. Bear in mind, a lot of basics are out of the reach of many Americans, but we also make a lot of bad financial choices to live beyond our means. Yes, even poor people.

    I just think BG's solutions are short sighted. Even if he wants to punish the rich, his methods wouldn't be effective. The most effective "punishment" would be systematic destruction of the power structure that enables them to enrich themselves at the cost of others... which can't be done through forced wealth reassignment. We have to divorce gov't from the corporations. Period. Do away w/the goofy "robber baron" laws, make lobbying illegal, make corporations pay taxes on foreign income. Pay off the deficit and get the country out of slavery to the Federal REserve. Etc. It seems very simple to me.

  • Is it wrong to accept that we will always live in a world in which:

    -corporations will be a major part of government,

    -lobbying will be as strong as the illusion of democracy,

    -corporations will exist largely tax free,

    -the deficit will grow, and

    -the "evil" Federal Reserve will prosper

    and simply try to manage the chaos and make the best of it?

  • Yes, WN, I think it's wrong. It leads to a society I wouldn't choose to live in, and one in which I don't want my children to be forced to live.

  • What if this is an exercise in which the winners are the ones who learn to sing in the rain, as opposed to those who try to make it stop raining?

    In other words, I have a hard time believing that even in situations wherein I see no chance of success, I must fight. I have an even harder time believing that fighting is the right course of action if I believe I will be worse off after losing the fight.

    While I'm all for the ethos of continuous self and societal improvement, I also believe that there are times in which the best we can achieve is the status quo, or mitigation of a retrenchment.

    This may be one of those times, and we may need to tolerate those who don't have a full understanding of the problem stating we are settling for mere mediocrity.

  • I think (and I'm pretty sure BG would agree with me on this) that accepting the status quo is giving up, and to be frank giving up is unacceptable

    Much of the changes Americans have faced over the last 50 years (mainly increased competition from abroad, reasonable spikes in workplace efficiency) have been beyond their control... but the changes in how our gov't operates were completely within our control. Reagan/Bush I+II were elected, not ordained

    If accepting the status quo and "hoping for the best" within that context is all we can do, there's nothing to talk about and nothing to be changed. It's a gross dismissal of the gravity of the problems our country is facing.

    Where the disagreement is is what the problems are, and how we should fix them... not whether or not the problems are worth fighting for. We don't know if whether "fighting" will put us in a worse position than we are now for sure; that's a pessimistic outlook. But given the course the country has taken over the last 50 years I KNOW that doing nothing will put us in a continually worse position than we are in now

  • One thing is certain: As a country, we will now have to vigorously compete for jobs and industries that were once ours by default.

    At present, when our economy does create jobs, they are worse paying than the ones we have lost.

    New York state and city job growth since mid-2008 has occurred mainly in industries such as tourism, where average annual wages are less than $45,000, the Fiscal Policy Institute said in a study released Tuesday

    source: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20111129/POLITICS/111129912#ixzz1fCRWBzLS

    Does anyone believe that we should advise unemployed citizens to refuse these jobs, and let them be filled by only undocumented persons?

    At what wage and working conditions is a job acceptable? ...at what point do we declare "that job is good enough for you", and further fray the safety net to force people to accept such positions?

  • I am not so sure I agree that the economy is ONLY generating jobs that are worse/lower paying. I know from experience there are a lot of jobs out there for people with the right skills... talk of "privilege" is just a meaningless excuse. Where there is a will there is a way.

    And even still, a $40K a year job is good money. The problem is not the income gap as much as it is the skyrocketing costs of housing, higher education and healthcare, which are ALL as they are due to varying degrees of corporately influenced gov't intervention. The great irony of the progressive movement is that they seek salvation in the very gov't that continues to fail the American people.

    The solutions are very simple. Housing- gov't has to stop guaranteeing + buying mortgages... home prices will drop significantly (even now!) as a result. Higher education- gov't has to stop guaranteeing principal on private student loans. No bank would lend $100K to a 18 year old kid w/o any collateral. Healthcare is more complex but a single payer system w/various caveats + incentives + requirements on the part of the participant is a start IMO. The discussion on how the country needs to be fixed can't be one sided...

  • I tried to edit my last paragraph but it wouldn't save...

    To me approaching things from the "why the fuck are things so expensive" angle makes more sense than approaching things from the "why am i not being paid what i feel i deserve" angle. If your landlord comes to you w/a new lease that's 20% higher than your old one, you don't go to your boss and say "i need a 20% raise"... you negotiate w/the landlord or make necessary adjustments to adapt within your means. IMO the problem here is the spike in costs, not the wealth/income discrepancy.

  • I think it comes down to being able to redistribute income.

    If we are unable to do this, our poor have no rights to live better lives than other countries in the same situation. Without government assistance, everyone (be them rich or poor) has their wages and work conditions dictated by the market.

    ...and, of course, their ability to manipulate it.

  • Income is not the issue. If people defined as poor in the US were able to

    - have access to decent public schools

    - be able to afford to buy a home

    - be able to afford healthcare

    - be able to afford higher education

    with "afford" meaning being able to do so and still have disposable income, there would be no logical reason to entertain the concept of forced income redistribution

    We shouldn't be looking at poor vs rich... we should be looking at poor vs housing/healthcare/education/inflation... and examine what the driving forces are behind any discrepancy

    Income/wealth are not a zero sum game... i.e. just because one segment of the population is moving faster than the other in some metric doesn't mean its at the slower moving segment's expense

  • I agree. As I mention on the previous page, I view many of the super wealthy as being independent from the US economy.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    Income is not the issue. If people defined as poor in the US were able to

    - have access to decent public schools

    - be able to afford to buy a home

    - be able to afford healthcare

    - be able to afford higher education

    with "afford" meaning being able to do so and still have disposable income, there would be no logical reason to entertain the concept of forced income redistribution

    We shouldn't be looking at poor vs rich... we should be looking at poor vs housing/healthcare/education/inflation... and examine what the driving forces are behind any discrepancy

    Income/wealth are not a zero sum game... i.e. just because one segment of the population is moving faster than the other in some metric doesn't mean its at the slower moving segment's expense

    I largely agree with this. We also agree on real reform that needs to happen such as reducing corporate influence, banning lobbying, getting private money out of politics, having more effective regulation.

    What we disagree on is our tax system, or the lax enforcement thereof.

    We need to rein in cost of living of all the things you mentioned, but we also need to do things like change capital gains taxes and have more tiers of income tax. A debate we've had a couple times before.

    WN: we may see the resurgence of unions and living wage laws and taxation that are so "powerful" they drive businesses away).

    There isn't a ton of evidence which supports your assertion that such things "drive business away". There is certainly an absence of evidence that the balance effect on the nation's economy is negative.

    WN: Is it wrong to accept that we will always live in a world in which: ….. and simply try to manage the chaos and make the best of it?

    Spoken like someone of privilege.

    It implies that these things are the way they always were, which is emphatically false.

    Many developments are new. Especially things like our current taxes,or our increasingly distorted distribution of wealth.

    It's disingenuous to argue that we have to accept the changes that occur to favor the wealthy, but we should accept that we can't change things for the other 90%.

    WN: At what wage and working conditions is a job acceptable? ...at what point do we declare "that job is good enough for you", and further fray the safety net to force people to accept such positions?

    talk about wealth distribution… downward.

    WN: I see BG believing that Americans can enjoy the standard of living they have enjoyed for the past 50 some years,

    Wrong.

  • BG wrote: There isn't a ton of evidence which supports your assertion that such things "drive business away". There is certainly an absence of evidence that the balance effect on the nation's economy is negative.

    Aren't lower wages and high taxes a primary reason for companies locating elsewhere?

    BG wrote: Many developments are new. Especially things like our current taxes,or our increasingly distorted distribution of wealth.

    Please reverse globalization, and bring back a need for labor to the degree that we can demand wage increases. If you were to take the billions from the billionaires, would it be enough to balance the trade deficit and raise wages? (answer: It might help a little, but the big problems would remain)

    BG wrote: WN: I see BG believing that Americans can enjoy the standard of living they have enjoyed for the past 50 some years,

    BG wrote: Wrong.

    BG-

    We seem unable to tax the 10% to help the 90%, and even if we did, it would not eliminate the effects of globalization. So, I believe the question is how far do you think we should let the standard of living of the 90% fall?

    My sense is that it must fall to the level that businesses are willing to do business in the US again.

  • Boygabriel said:

    I largely agree with this. We also agree on real reform that needs to happen such as reducing corporate influence, banning lobbying, getting private money out of politics, having more effective regulation.

    What we disagree on is our tax system, or the lax enforcement thereof.

    We need to rein in cost of living of all the things you mentioned, but we also need to do things like change capital gains taxes and have more tiers of income tax. A debate we've had a couple times before.

    I agree that the tax structure needs work. Our outlays are pretty much at the historic 20% level, but our receipts are about 2/3 of that. Doing away with the Bush tax cuts and all the games corporations play would take care of most of that.

    Where we disagree is in the idea that fair taxation would enable a better quality of life for the avg American... which by proxy puts the responsibility of the quality of life on the gov't. Fair taxation is important but the two things are unrelated.

  • Boygabriel said:

    Spoken like someone of privilege.

    It implies that these things are the way they always were, which is emphatically false.

    Many developments are new. Especially things like our current taxes,or our increasingly distorted distribution of wealth.

    It's disingenuous to argue that we have to accept the changes that occur to favor the wealthy, but we should accept that we can't change things for the other 90%.

    How new are we talking? We have to break things up as things don't all fall under the "the wealthy are rigging the game in their favor" umbrella.

    Like I said before much low skilled labor has declined in relative value because of the relatively recent entrants of players like China, India, east Europe into the global labor market place, as well as automation & higher efficiency.

    Something I talked about on another board was the mis-definition of the term "distribution of wealth"... like I said, wealth is not some finite sum... and the word "distribution" in this context is purely statistical; there's no absolute force siphoning wealth in one direction or another

    Again though I agree that just throwing our hands up and saying "this is just the way things are" is wrong. Many things, mainly the 3 biggies I keep harping on, as well as the drop in tax receipts in the interests of the rich (and the corresponding deficit) are all pretty recent developments. But again we have to make sure when we talk about all these factors we don't confuse tangle threads of cause/effect.

    Boygabriel said:talk about wealth distribution… downward.

    Again, the term "wealth distribution" here is no different from the term "height distribution" when talking about a basketball team. The centers don't steal height from the guards, there is much more at play here.

    It's less, "the rich stealing from the poor" and more "shit becoming so expensive the poor can't afford it or save anything after buying it", which is partially the theft you speak of, but definitely more the result of shitty gov't policy. Reversing bad policy, NOT arbitrarily raising taxes + "actively" redistributing wealth, is the answer here.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Aren't lower wages and high taxes a primary reason for companies locating elsewhere?

    Sometimes. There are a lot of government policies that encourage companies to do so. We could consider retooling gov policy to help Americans, not help wealthy American investors.

    As for the second part of my statement, raising wages can actually be a boon for the economy and for business, as it creates more disposable income. But companies currently shy away from seeing this logic. It's exactly where the gov can step in to bridge the perceived gap between what's best for business and best for American workers.

    Please reverse globalization, and bring back a need for labor to the degree that we can demand wage increases. If you were to take the billions from the billionaires, would it be enough to balance the trade deficit and raise wages? (answer: It might help a little, but the big problems would remain)

    The trade deficit and whether Walmart workers are paid a living wage are related but different.

    Globalization is not some immovable force which we are incapable of influencing.

    Currently we influence to the benefit of the 1%.

    BG-

    We seem unable to tax the 10% to help the 90%, and even if we did, it would not eliminate the effects of globalization. So, I believe the question is how far do you think we should let the standard of living of the 90% fall?

    Again the effective tax rates for the wealthy have stayed the same, while their income has skyrocketed. This is a new development.

    It's unclear to my why some new developments are ok, and some are not.

    We taxed the 10% and 1% differently as recently as 10 years ago.

    We are fully capable of it.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    Something I talked about on another board was the mis-definition of the term "distribution of wealth"... like I said, wealth is not some finite sum... and the word "distribution" in this context is purely statistical; there's no absolute force siphoning wealth in one direction or another

    Perhaps. But income and assets have skyrocketed recently while our tax rates have stayed the same or regressed. So we're working within a structure that was largely developed for a situation that has changed dramatically.

    This is what has changed our distribution of wealth. (I use the term as a simple reference to who has what % of wealth, not who is stealing form who)

    Cool The Kid said:It's less, "the rich stealing from the poor" and more "shit becoming so expensive the poor can't afford it or save anything after buying it", which is partially the theft you speak of, but definitely more the result of shitty gov't policy. Reversing bad policy, NOT arbitrarily raising taxes + "actively" redistributing wealth, is the answer here.

    Largely agree, but "redistributing wealth" is a term as problematic as any other that we use here.

    I am not proposing income caps, or a one time fee that the 1% must pay to the rest of us.

    We have a lot of bad policy, but a lot of that is dictated and controlled by the 1-10%.

    The gov shares blame, but so do the people calling the gov's shots.

  • Boygabriel said:

    Perhaps. But income and assets have skyrocketed recently while our tax rates have stayed the same or regressed. So we're working within a structure that was largely developed for a situation that has changed dramatically.

    This is what has changed our distribution of wealth. (I use the term as a simple reference to who has what % of wealth, not who is stealing form who)

    What would be the purpose of raising tax rates in response to rising incomes if the goal is not to cap income?

    Again I agree that tax rates in general are too low, but you do realize that as income goes up, given a constant tax rate, so would revenue, correct?

    Boygabriel said:We have a lot of bad policy, but a lot of that is dictated and controlled by the 1-10%.

    The gov shares blame, but so do the people calling the gov's shots.

    This just got really boring, because I agree with you one hundred percent here.

    Bottom line, you squash corporate influence on gov't, good things will happen for the avg American. The only thing though is it has to happen through [i]policy,[i] not arbitrary tax hikes. Taxes and spending should be dictated by our fiscal goals, not a means of controlling growth in certain segments- and that goes for the goofball Reaganites who suggest lower taxes = higher economic growth. The last 4 years have shown that is simply not true. So I think tax hikes should happen, but only because tax rates are unreasonably low, and because we have a huge deficit. Even though our outlays are within the range of historical norms, we still should make temporary cuts to help get the deficit under control. Our fiscal policy pendulum has swung the wrong way.

  • I think this all comes down to whether businesses can be forced to treat workers as more than simply an input; Inputs are purchased from the most reliable, least expensive source.

    Over the last 40 or so years, companies have been increasingly successful at avoiding most of the costs related to training and health insurance, and the tools available to governments and workers to force companies to pay them seem to be shrinking.

    Without effective wealth redistribution, I see no way for a particular locality or country to exempt itself from these forces, and don't see how someone could think that US workers should not have to do low paid, menial labor.

    Spending more money than we have just temporarily obscures this reality.

  • Shifting the cost of healthcare and training onto employees wouldn't be so bad if the cost of healthcare and training didn't also become prohibitively expensive

  • Cool The Kid said:

    Shifting the cost of healthcare and training onto employees wouldn't be so bad if the cost of healthcare and training didn't also become prohibitively expensive

    From a company's point of view, the costs aren't prohibitively expensive until the employees stop paying them. Even in such a situation, the company could simply move to a country or locality in which these costs were born by government.

    If the company is in a sector that is does not rely on employees "strong enough" to demand such benefits, there is no reason for it to operate in a country where such benefits are provided.

    It is a race to the bottom.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    What would be the purpose of raising tax rates in response to rising incomes if the goal is not to cap income?

    Again I agree that tax rates in general are too low, but you do realize that as income goes up, given a constant tax rate, so would revenue, correct?

    True, but when you have weird tax codes like your $200,000th dollar gets taxed the same as your $1,000,000th dollar, then it becomes problematic.

    Or when so many people are gaining wealth that gets taxed as capital gains.

    Cool The Kid said:This just got really boring, because I agree with you one hundred percent here.

    noooooooooo

    Cool The Kid said:So I think tax hikes should happen, but only because tax rates are unreasonably low, and because we have a huge deficit.

    Agree big time.

  • whynot_31 said:

    I think this all comes down to whether businesses can be forced to treat workers as more than simply an input; Inputs are purchased from the most reliable, least expensive source.

    This where an active, progressive government can make a difference.

    What remains to be seen is if the US's pathological dislike of "The Government*" will be overcome by concern for plummeting quality of life or employment prospects.

    Perhaps it's time for this country to stop equating "free market deregulation" with patriotism.

    And companies are paying the price for dramatically increased health care costs. It is one of the main reasons we do lose jobs overseas. It is one the main reasons our auto industry is so non competitive abroad.

    *Important note: most Americans benefit from Government programs but have no idea.

  • Boygabriel said:

    True, but when you have weird tax codes like your $200,000th dollar gets taxed the same as your $1,000,000th dollar, then it becomes problematic.

    I don't see how that is problematic. It's no different from your $20,000th dollar being taxed the same amount as your $30,000th. If the gov't can tax a millionth dollar at the same rate as the two hundred thousandth and meet its financial obligations, what's the problem? I don't agree that the tax curve has to be more progressive... tax rates should go up for EVERYONE, including the middle class Americans who deduct their way out of paying any income tax.

    Boygabriel said:Or when so many people are gaining wealth that gets taxed as capital gains.

    Are you suggesting people shouldn't be allowed to acquire wealth through capital gains? I agree that the tax rates on them now are unreasonably low, but they are set to come back to reality with the Bush tax cut expirations (which I really hope actually do expire). There's a big diff between taxing at a level that enables the gov't to function well, and taxing at a level that... neutralizes wealth? I still think you are needlessly hung up on income/wealth discrepancies. The way to fix that is through policy that brings the cost of necessities back within the reach of the avg American, NOT the mindless tax hikes on those arbitrarily deemed to have "more than they need". That's a slippery slope not worth exploring... we are seeing the failure of socialism in Europe as we speak. The cracks did not start forming until the Bush tax cuts & various other changes in policy that affected the costs of basics (housing, healthcare, higher education).

  • Boygabriel said:

    This where an active, progressive government can make a difference.

    What remains to be seen is if the US's pathological dislike of "The Government*" will be overcome by concern for plummeting quality of life or employment prospects.

    Perhaps it's time for this country to stop equating "free market deregulation" with patriotism.

    And companies are paying the price for dramatically increased health care costs. It is one of the main reasons we do lose jobs overseas. It is one the main reasons our auto industry is so non competitive abroad.

    *Important note: most Americans benefit from Government programs but have no idea.

    I strongly disagree...

    You blame the corporations... I blame the gov't that allowed itself to be bought by them. 9 times out of 10 if you look at a problem the avg American is facing, some how, some way it was borne out of misguided public policy. The 3Hs are the easy biggies I can point to.

    Not to mention, gov't is generally pretty inefficient in operation as well... for example, I think a simple payer system would work well for healthcare, but I shudder at the thought of enabling the gov't to handle its administration.

    Again, the progressive movement's biggest oversight is in expecting the same people who sell representation to the highest bidders to wake up one day and decide to take an interest in the people. Americans would be far better off pushing for laws banning outright corporate influence on gov't, reversing the damage done by past corporate influence, and putting term limits + banning lifetime tenure on federal reps. There is a gross hypocrisy in the idea that the gov't is wrong for putting corporate interests ahead of the people, but "progressive" for putting poor people's interests ahead of everyone else. Its still biased representation and it's not good for the country.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    I don't see how that is problematic. It's no different from your $20,000th dollar being taxed the same amount as your $30,000th.

    Given general costs of living, it is very much different, IMO.

    I don't agree that the tax curve has to be more progressive... tax rates should go up for EVERYONE, including the middle class Americans who deduct their way out of paying any income tax.

    The only people who do that are making so little money that income tax might push them into poverty or something. These people are still paying a significant portion of their income to taxes.

    Cool The Kid said:Are you suggesting people shouldn't be allowed to acquire wealth through capital gains? I agree that the tax rates on them now are unreasonably low, but they are set to come back to reality with the Bush tax cut expirations (which I really hope actually do expire). There's a big diff between taxing at a level that enables the gov't to function well, and taxing at a level that... neutralizes wealth? I still think you are needlessly hung up on income/wealth discrepancies. The way to fix that is through policy that brings the cost of necessities back within the reach of the avg American, NOT the mindless tax hikes on those arbitrarily deemed to have "more than they need". That's a slippery slope not worth exploring... we are seeing the failure of socialism in Europe as we speak. The cracks did not start forming until the Bush tax cuts & various other changes in policy that affected the costs of basics (housing, healthcare, higher education).

    I hold both opinions:

    we need to address various costs of living

    we need to reform our tax code

    Cool The Kid said:

    I strongly disagree...

    You blame the corporations... I blame the gov't that allowed itself to be bought by them. 9 times out of 10 if you look at a problem the avg American is facing, some how, some way it was borne out of misguided public policy. The 3Hs are the easy biggies I can point to.

    I blame both.

    Not to mention, gov't is generally pretty inefficient in operation as well... for example, I think a simple payer system would work well for healthcare, but I shudder at the thought of enabling the gov't to handle its administration.

    I agree that single payer is the way to go, but to respond to your example, do I fear gov run health care more than I dread dealing with my health care now? No. Not by a long shot.

    "inefficient" can refer to a lot of things. Currently our private health care system is massively inefficient in terms of cost to user, and also to providing good care. What it IS efficient at is profits.

    Cool The Kid said:Again, the progressive movement's biggest oversight is in expecting the same people who sell representation to the highest bidders to wake up one day and decide to take an interest in the people.

    This is a sweeping generalization that I don't have any thoughts on beyond this:

    There are tons of progressive groups out there doing exactly what you are saying, and working on local levels to make real changes, from social services to keeping people in their houses.

    Cool The Kid said: There is a gross hypocrisy in the idea that the gov't is wrong for putting corporate interests ahead of the people, but "progressive" for putting poor people's interests ahead of everyone else. Its still biased representation and it's not good for the country.

    That is a largely philosophical statement. Which I strongly disagree with.

    The govt is there to help the broadest number of people possible, and offer help to the less privileged, advantaged, and wealthy.

    If we get to a point where our problem is that the govt is too helpful to poor people (HA!), then we'll be doing pretty well, IMO.

    But I personally can't equate the problems of favoring the wealthy or corporations too much, and favoring the poor too much.

  • BG wrote: we need to address various costs of living

    I do want to live in a place wherein the government is the primary force behind setting prices or the availability of goods and services.

  • whynot_31 said:

    BG wrote: we need to address various costs of living

    I do want to live in a place wherein the government if the primary force behind setting prices or the availability of goods and services.

    Um, you already do.

  • I was being sarcastic.

    ...I think such a place would be miserable.

  • Boygabriel said:

    Given general costs of living, it is very much different, IMO.

    Again the disconnect. How does raising taxes on income above $1,000,000 help ease the cost of living burdens on the avg American?

    Boygabriel said:The only people who do that are making so little money that income tax might push them into poverty or something. These people are still paying a significant portion of their income to taxes.

    Yes, these people prob pay a sizable amount of their income to SS & sales tax. But the mortgage interest, child help and other "normal people" deductions go much further for people at the bottom of the curve than the top. This is all proven by the progression along the income line on what people pay in income tax.

    So the question here becomes, looking at all taxes, at the end of the day who pays more? Lets compare... the 50% line is at $32K as of 2009 for individuals... the top 50% paid at a rate of 12.5% avg, bottom paid 1.85%. SS/MC amount to about 7.5% and cap at 110K (which is the top 10%- IOW 90% of Americans pay 7.5% of their income to SSI/MC). So what does all this gibberish mean? Even if the bottom 50% spent all its income on goods subject to sales tax (we can take NYC's 8.75%), 1.85% + 7.5% + 8.75% = 18.1%, which is MUCH less than the 24% that the top 1% pay. So I'm confused as to how 18% is significant, but 24% is not enough. ESPECIALLY when you consider that many in the bottom 50% are living on benefits that often times are exempt to SS/MC taxes. The "fairness" angle is bunk.

    Boygabriel said:I agree that single payer is the way to go, but to respond to your example, do I fear gov run health care more than I dread dealing with my health care now? No. Not by a long shot.

    Systems in which there is no incentive for good performance over bad generally fail... and that is the case w/most gov't administrations (and for that matter many people perpetually on benefits)

    Why do you think a gov't run system would work any harder to optimize your healthcare experience more than a for profit entity that wasn't able to buy its way out of doing the right thing?

    Boygabriel said:"inefficient" can refer to a lot of things. Currently our private health care system is massively inefficient in terms of cost to user, and also to providing good care. What it IS efficient at is profits.

    I think some of this comes from a breakdown in our expectations of what care should provide. If you buy car insurance and are a bad driver, your rates correspondingly go up. Americans generally make pretty unhealthy choices, but because there are no discounts or penalties for lifestyle choices, there is no financial incentive for living healthier which would do far more to bring costs down than any reform. I agree that there is a lot of needless red tape, but at the same time it's kind of silly to talk about healthcare reform for a country where more than half the people are overweight.

    Boygabriel said:That is a largely philosophical statement. Which I strongly disagree with.

    The govt is there to help the broadest number of people possible, and offer help to the less privileged, advantaged, and wealthy.

    If we get to a point where our problem is that the govt is too helpful to poor people (HA!), then we'll be doing pretty well, IMO.

    But I personally can't equate the problems of favoring the wealthy or corporations too much, and favoring the poor too much.

    The bolded is your opinion. I disagree because it sets us down a slippery slope, to where people (like you) argue that it is the gov'ts job to provide a base standard of living for every American, at the expense of those (you or some other interested/biased entity) deemed as having "too much". Being poor in and of itself does not dictate being in need... I think it is the job of the gov't to provide an environment where people are able to take care of themselves as best as they can, and intervene in situations where people can't (i.e., the disabled). But painting all poor people as victims of society is counterproductive and not at all what the US gov't's intention was. This is the land of opportunity, not entitlement

  • Regardless of how government spends its money, it should live within its means.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    Again the disconnect. How does raising taxes on income above $1,000,000 help ease the cost of living burdens on the avg American?

    You missed my point. I wasn't talking about easing cost of living burdens.

    I was stating objective truth. The difference between a middle class person's 20,000th and 30,000th dollar is far more significant than the difference between a wealthy person's 200,000th and 1,000,000th.

    That is why different tax rates and tiers exist already.

    Systems in which there is no incentive for good performance over bad generally fail... and that is the case w/most gov't administrations (and for that matter many people perpetually on benefits)

    The same is true of private health care. I don't see how you can single government out.

    We have the least cost efficient health care in the western world, and virtually the only one that is almost entirely private.

    This would seem to counter your argument that the gov is inherently less efficient, esp. in health care.

    I think some of this comes from a breakdown in our expectations of what care should provide. If you buy car insurance and are a bad driver, your rates correspondingly go up. Americans generally make pretty unhealthy choices, but because there are no discounts or penalties for lifestyle choices, there is no financial incentive for living healthier which would do far more to bring costs down than any reform. I agree that there is a lot of needless red tape, but at the same time it's kind of silly to talk about healthcare reform for a country where more than half the people are overweight.

    That's a tough comparison to make. Health care is there to keep you healthy, not solely mitigate costs in the event of disaster, which is what auto insurance is.

    The bolded is your opinion. I disagree because it sets us down a slippery slope, to where people (like you) argue that it is the gov'ts job to provide a base standard of living for every American, at the expense of those (you or some other interested/biased entity) deemed as having "too much".

    I thought wealth and quality of life weren't a zero sum game?

    Being poor in and of itself does not dictate being in need... I think it is the job of the gov't to provide an environment where people are able to take care of themselves as best as they can, and intervene in situations where people can't (i.e., the disabled). But painting all poor people as victims of society is counterproductive and not at all what the US gov't's intention was. This is the land of opportunity, not entitlement

    It's supposed to be a land of opportunity but as we agree, due largely to corporate influence, that concept rings pretty hollow.

  • It's supposed to be a land of opportunity but as we agree, due largely to corporate influence, that concept rings pretty hollow.

    To be fair, the "land of opportunity" of both corporations and individuals is similarly constrained by having to pay taxes.

    I'm glad corporations provide a force that effectively constrains government.

  • whynot_31 said:

    It's supposed to be a land of opportunity but as we agree, due largely to corporate influence, that concept rings pretty hollow.

    To be fair, the "land of opportunity" of both corporations and individuals is similarly constrained by having to pay taxes.

    I'm glad corporations provide a force that effectively constrains government.

    It's all moot given the disproportionate power of corporations and the weakness of our gov.

  • I don't think corporations have more power over government than they do other aspects of society.

    In light of their influence and power, how do you propose weakening them?

    Despite a falling standard of living, people seem to view government and corporations as equally to blame.

    Should we agree on which is more to blame before we start changing things?

    For example, I don't blame corporations for making money due to a weak government.

  • Boygabriel said:

    You missed my point. I wasn't talking about easing cost of living burdens.

    I was stating objective truth. The difference between a middle class person's 20,000th and 30,000th dollar is far more significant than the difference between a wealthy person's 200,000th and 1,000,000th.

    That is why different tax rates and tiers exist already.

    What is the value of making the tax curve more progressive than it already is? I.e. if we can meet our fiscal obligations at pre-Bush tax cut rates, why do we need to go further?

    Boygabriel said:That's a tough comparison to make. Health care is there to keep you healthy, not solely mitigate costs in the event of disaster, which is what auto insurance is.

    No, the analog is 100% valid. Insurance is, as Chris Rock put it, "in case shit happens". You get car insurance to cover the costs in case you get in an accident. You get health insurance in case you get sick. If you put yourself in situations where you are more likely to get into an accident, your premiums are higher. So why shouldn't health insurance premiums be higher for people who make unhealthy lifestyle choices?

    Boygabriel said:I thought wealth and quality of life weren't a zero sum game?

    It's not... i.e., Bill Gates becoming a billionaire from inventing Windows doesn't make poor people poorer. So why the well being of the poor suddenly becomes his responsibility upon crossing an arbitrary income threshold is unclear to me.

    I don't care one way or another as I am not and prob never will be a billionaire, which is fine. But I am just trying to understand why you feel it is imperative to make the tax curve more progressive (beyond repealing Bush tax cuts). It won't help the avg American. It won't address the issue of gov't overpromising and overspending. It won't get the economy going again. So why the insistence?

  • Sit through this...


  • this is for the bleeding hearts :p.

    for the record :p i do donate money to the poor lol.

  • Cool The Kid said:No, the analog is 100% valid.

    No, it's not.

    Car insurance doesn't keep your car healthy, it pays in cases of accidents.

    Health insurance covers accidents AND keeps you healthy (in theory) with check ups, teeth cleaning, medications, etc.

    Sorry, this analogy is very flawed.

    Cool The Kid said:So why shouldn't health insurance premiums be higher for people who make unhealthy lifestyle choices?

    I'm not arguing that particular point, and I don't even know how we got here.

    We have the most inefficient health care system in the developed world. We also have, by far, the most privatized one.

    I'll wait for an argument that this is just coincidence.

    Cool The Kid said:

    What is the value of making the tax curve more progressive than it already is? I.e. if we can meet our fiscal obligations at pre-Bush tax cut rates, why do we need to go further?

    That's a pretty big if, my friend.

  • Years ago I was briefly acquainted with farmers in Central New York - they would work with a state agency (sorry, don't remember which one) that would arrange to have agricultural workers brought in from, say, Jamaica, to do the farm work. They were paid minimum wages but the money came as a big relief to those poor workers. State agencies and farmers can do the same for poor workers from cities today. But many such agencies have been closed down and there is no organized group to transport people who would like these jobs. If the government was to recreate the CCC it sure would help many farmers and greatly reduce unemployment among the young.

  • To avoid transportation problems, some of the farmers (either alone or in cooperation with other farmers) provide housing to the workers. NYS Homes and Community Renewal even has a small program in which funds are provided to the farmers to keep the housing up to code.

    I think good, honest work like this would do some of our citizens a world of good.

    ....but, as we have established, US citizens will likely only consider this work if all of the other alternatives available to them were worse.

  • whynot_31 said:

    To avoid transportation problems, some of the farmers (either alone or in cooperation with other farmers) provide housing to the workers. NYS Homes and Community Renewal even has a small program in which funds are provided to the farmers to keep the housing up to code.

    Things might be ok in NY State (that's a big assumption itself), but in Florida, for example, or Texas, workers are regularly found to be living in shacks that resemble little more than shanty towns with no running water.

    whynot_31 said:I think good, honest work like this would do some of our citizens a world of good.

    ....but, as we have established, US citizens will likely only consider this work if all of the other alternatives available to them were worse.

    Or if there's livable wages and things like health care.

    But we'll never know if that would work b/c that will never happen.

  • I do not argue that things are OK in NY State, or that I would want to hold such a position.

    I think the central point is that such positions exist in the US, and that they have always provided pay and working conditions that are largely determined by the global market because we are (and have been...) much less willing to subsidize the work of illegal immigrants with government programs.

    At this point, even our willingness and ability to subsidize the work of citizens is being "questioned" (those in favor of such policies would say "under attack").

    As the safety net, especially TANF, is dismantled, citizens will be once again be forced to do unpleasant, low paid, manual labor. Illegal immigrants will be displaced.

    ....like it or not.

    Six states and the District of Columbia have cut their TANF benefit levels since August 2010, our new report shows, reducing assistance for more than 700,000 low-income families that represent over one-third of all low-income families receiving such assistance nationwide.

    Source: Linked in text above.

  • Rent subsidies to folks residing in public housing authorities are also being discussed.

    I'd like to think that these folks will then be forced to accept low paying jobs, but I've got to agree with the author: The folks this policy will affect are so low skilled and unemployable that many are likely to simply end up homeless.

  • Fucking site won't let me post/quote.

    The purpose of health INSURANCE is NOT to "keep you healthy". The onus of your own health is on YOU. Health insurance exists solely to ease the financial burden of keeping yourself healthy.

    This is the fundamental difference between us. BG you seem to place the responsibility for people's outcomes on institutions and outside forces. If someone is unhealthy, it is probably because their health insurance did not help them enough. If someone is poor, it is because society did not give them enough. Etc. People & the world don't and SHOULDN'T work that way.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    Fucking site won't let me post/quote.

    The purpose of health INSURANCE is NOT to "keep you healthy". The onus of your own health is on YOU. Health insurance exists solely to ease the financial burden of keeping yourself healthy.

    That makes no f-cking sense.

    I brush every day. Cavities happen.

    I was born with depression. Nothing I can do. Need medication though.

    I have high cholesterol. It's genetic. Need medication.

    You're acting as if every health problem in this country is due to McDonald's or smoking.

    Get real.

    If someone is unhealthy, it is probably because their health insurance did not help them enough.

    Frequently if someone is unhealthy, it is GENETIC, or CHANCE, or BAD LUCK.

    Your libertarian mindset that everything is a consequence of choices people make is a fantasyland unlike anything I've heard of since I debated communism as a college freshman.

  • Boygabriel said:

    That makes no f-cking sense.

    I brush every day. Cavities happen.

    I was born with depression. Nothing I can do. Need medication though.

    I have high cholesterol. It's genetic. Need medication.

    You're acting as if every health problem in this country is due to McDonald's or smoking.

    Get real.

    What do genetics have to do with the assertion that the onus is on health insurance to keep people healthy?

    You brush your teeth, good. If you didn't brush your teeth health insurance could not stop them from rotting.

    You are predisposed to depression? You have to seek help and care for it. I wish the US took emotional disorders more seriously. But health insurance won't make you happy.

    You are predisposed to high cholesterol? Health insurance won't (and shouldn't) come to your house and make sure you eat right. You have to do that. All health insurance is there to do is make sure that if something DOES happen beyond your control, you have financial assistance in paying for medical care. PERIOD.

    And you made that leap, not me. But much of the spike in healthcare costs are due to the US' generally unhealthy lifestyle. We are collectively fatter and less active, and many of the health problems (and consequently costs) stem from that. I'm not blaming you for being genetically predisposed to diseases... if you feel like that that is your problem, not mine. I've never said anything to that effect.

    Boygabriel said:Frequently if someone is unhealthy, it is GENETIC, or CHANCE, or BAD LUCK.

    Not if said unhealthiness is tied to choices you make, like being overweight. That is 100% within everyone's control.

    Boygabriel said:

    Your libertarian mindset that everything is a consequence of choices people make is a fantasyland unlike anything I've heard of since I debated communism as a college freshman.

    More quantum leaps.

    Let's stick to assertions that people actually make- i.e., your assertion that it is the job of health insurance to keep people healthy. I haven't said or even implied any of the things you claim I did in this post.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    More quantum leaps.

    Let's stick to assertions that people actually make- i.e., your assertion that it is the job of health insurance to keep people healthy. I haven't said or even implied any of the things you claim I did in this post.

    Sucks when people do that huh?

    Maybe you should look into your habit of saying things like:

    BG you seem to place the responsibility for people's outcomes on institutions and outside forces. If someone is unhealthy, it is probably because their health insurance did not help them enough. If someone is poor, it is because society did not give them enough.

    Cool The Kid said:But much of the spike in healthcare costs are due to the US' generally unhealthy lifestyle.

    Do you have any evidence of this whatsoever? Because health care costs have skyrocketed in the last 10-20, yet Americans were fat, lazy and smoking long before then, if I'm not mistaken.

    Did something happen in 1980 that caused Americans to all of the sudden get unhealthy? I guess people were depressed about Reagan getting elected?

    The "much of the spike in healthcare costs are due to the US' generally unhealthy lifestyle" is a falsehood you've tried to push before.

    It's no more true now than it was then.

    Sorry.

  • There are a lot of holes in your plot.

    First of all, healthcare expenditures have risen in lockstep with obesity rates.

    http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

    Second of all, since 1980, our collective life expectancy has jumped by about 5 years (~6%),

    http://aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf

    and the population has grown by 80 million people (35%)

    http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/uspop.htm

    So much of what your graphs show is not a mystery.

    To add to that, in the last 30 years there have been a lot of new medical procedures & drugs invented. A lot of these new tools are expensive. How do you think we pay for them?

    You're CRAZY if you think these things have no effect on healthcare expenditures. Likewise you're crazier if you think the one factor here we have full control over- our lifestyles- isn't the BIGGEST factor here. Someone who lives an unhealthy lifestyle will have higher healthcare costs than someone who doesn't. And the whole country is collectively & voluntarily less healthy than it was 30 years ago.

  • Cool The Kid said:

    There are a lot of holes in your plot.

    First of all, healthcare expenditures have risen in lockstep with obesity rates.

    http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

    That's great. Do you have any actual evidence? correlation isn't causation, now is it?

    Second of all, since 1980, our collective life expectancy has jumped by about 5 years (~6%),

    Not only is life expectancy a misleading index of quality of health care, it's especially useless for analyzing cost.

    The US spends more and gets less care per dollar of any developed nation.

    It's a fact you simply have to wrap your mind around if you are going to continue to attempt to discuss health care costs.

    You're CRAZY if you think these things have no effect on healthcare expenditures.

    I never claimed that. What were you saying about quantum leaps? Where's that cute gif you had?

    Likewise you're crazier if you think the one factor here we have full control over- our lifestyles- isn't the BIGGEST factor here.

    You have no evidence of this whatsoever.

    Someone who lives an unhealthy lifestyle will have higher healthcare costs than someone who doesn't. And the whole country is collectively & voluntarily less healthy than it was 30 years ago.

    Quantum leap gif goes here too.

  • While you two debate the reasons for why healthcare costs are soaring, is there a role for someone that just wants the government to allot a budget that it then abides by?

    Such a system would, of course, be insane: we would run out of money about 3/4 of the way thru the year.

  • Do I think we should set an arbitrary limit, rather than reform our broken system and maximize health care dollars... reducing cost AND expanding benefits?

    No.

    Oh, hey, look at this:

    http://brooklynian.com/forum/brooklyn-politics/they-said-it-couldnt-be-done-obama-might-get-single-payer

  • As you are aware, the current system is nothing but a blank check, wherein only a small portion pays for care.

    While you assure me that the real reform in the form of single payer is possible, do we continue to feed the current "system" that simultaneously spends insane amounts of money on overhead while starving the actual health providers?

    If we are bankrupt by the time single payer arrives, does it really matter how much we "save" once it arrives?

    Saving money is not equal to having money.

  • Boygabriel said:

    That's great. Do you have any actual evidence? correlation isn't causation, now is it?

    This was a response to your assertion that healthcare expenditures spiked over the last 10 years. According to your graph, when multiplied by GDP, they haven't. Expenditures actually decreased from 2008-2009.

    Boygabriel said:

    Not only is life expectancy a misleading index of quality of health care, it's especially useless for analyzing cost.

    Life expectancy is relevant in the context of the new medical procedures that have been created over the last 30 years.

    Boygabriel said:The US spends more and gets less care per dollar of any developed nation.

    It's a fact you simply have to wrap your mind around if you are going to continue to attempt to discuss health care costs.

    I never denied this. Nor does it really mean much, nothing I said denies this.

    One, the US has the highest quality healthcare in the world. No Americans are leaving the country to get better healthcare.

    Two, the US is easily among the least healthy countries in the western world... which would amount to more healthcare spending per person.

    As far as your proof...

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11913328

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CGAQFjAG&url=http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=18&objID=446267&mode=2&ei=thThTvC9EorDtAbs1LyOCQ&usg=AFQjCNFcBL7vUwEaLXhJ-FjhcyPs9s2TPg

    http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/2011-01-12-obesity-costs-300-bilion_N.htm

    Although logic would tell you that an unhealthy lifestyle would probably result in higher healthcare expenditures. And its pretty common knowledge that Americans collectively lead an unhealthier lifestyle than they used to.

    Again it comes down to you hating the prospect of people accepting the consequences of the choices they make.

  • You're asking a loaded question and it's dumb.

    "Given that reform isn't an option, should the country and its govt continue to spend way too much money?"

    Um, no?

    I don't know what you want me to say.

    I argue for reform.

    I don't even know what you believe.

This discussion has been closed.