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Old 08-27-2019, 04:21 PM
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Do conservatives genuinely not understand the liberal position on wealth? (Fox News oped)


I'll start by posting a link to the opinion article that inspired this thread.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/caro...-million-house

Basically, this is an editorial by Carol Roth as a contribution to Fox News critcizing the Obamas for bidding 15 million dollars for a home in Martha's Vineyard. The criticism includes a statement that Obama spent his presidency "demonizing everyone else's success." She also contrasts the money the Obamas have earned with Trump, stating that Trump "earned his money before taking office."

Here's what bothers me about this article in particular and the Republican's portrayal of what Democrat's believe about the rich and wealthy in general. It seems to me the Republican's portray the Democrat's as wanting to punish those that are successful. The problem is that those who make there charge seem to conflate two different classes of people.

The way I see it there are rich people who earned their money through their own labor, and then there are the wealthy who made their money off of other people's labor. Republicans seem to believe (or at least publicly claim) that Democrats want to punish those in the former group. My belief is that Republicans care primarily about people in the latter group, and use their platform, such as the above article, to try to confuse the public.

Here is how I differentiate the groups. The rich have made their money mostly off their own work. The reason why they earned so much is because their skills are in high demand, are very rare, or of a nature where they can be offered to billions of people. These are mostly people in the entertainment industry such as actors (Robert Downey Jr., Will Smith, George Clooney) singers (Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger, Madonna), authors (Stephen King), athletes (Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Lebron James) and so on. The reason they are rich is because modern technology allows them to provide their services to billions of people, not because they benefit from the labor of thousands of low wage workers. There are also a few such as the doctors who serve those other rich folks (Dr. James Andrews) and high priced lawyers that also serve the other rich / wealthy folds (Mark Geragos).

The wealthy, by contrast, are the people who are executives at or own large businesses and make their money off the labor of the employees of those businesses. People like the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and so on.

My belief is that Republican's are primarily interested in helping those in the latter group. Of course they would lose the support of enough of the public if they portrayed themselves as serving the interests of just that group. Because of that, they portray the Democrats as wanting to punish people in the former group, when it's really the folks in the latter group who should be the ones who are "punished" by paying a larger share in taxes, whether of their income or wealth. What do you all think?

FWIW I think the Obamas fall into the camp of people who earned their own money, and Trump as one of the people who made his money from other people's hard work.

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 08-27-2019 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:57 PM
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I'll start by posting a link to the opinion article that inspired this thread.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/caro...-million-house

Basically, this is an editorial by Carol Roth as a contribution to Fox News critcizing the Obamas for bidding 15 million dollars for a home in Martha's Vineyard. The criticism includes a statement that Obama spent his presidency "demonizing everyone else's success." She also contrasts the money the Obamas have earned with Trump, stating that Trump "earned his money before taking office."

Here's what bothers me about this article in particular and the Republican's portrayal of what Democrat's believe about the rich and wealthy in general. It seems to me the Republican's portray the Democrat's as wanting to punish those that are successful. The problem is that those who make there charge seem to conflate two different classes of people.

The way I see it there are rich people who earned their money through their own labor, and then there are the wealthy who made their money off of other people's labor. Republicans seem to believe (or at least publicly claim) that Democrats want to punish those in the former group. My belief is that Republicans care primarily about people in the latter group, and use their platform, such as the above article, to try to confuse the public.

Here is how I differentiate the groups. The rich have made their money mostly off their own work. The reason why they earned so much is because their skills are in high demand, are very rare, or of a nature where they can be offered to billions of people. These are mostly people in the entertainment industry such as actors (Robert Downey Jr., Will Smith, George Clooney) singers (Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger, Madonna), authors (Stephen King), athletes (Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Lebron James) and so on. The reason they are rich is because modern technology allows them to provide their services to billions of people, not because they benefit from the labor of thousands of low wage workers. There are also a few such as the doctors who serve those other rich folks (Dr. James Andrews) and high priced lawyers that also serve the other rich / wealthy folds (Mark Geragos).

The wealthy, by contrast, are the people who are executives at or own large businesses and make their money off the labor of the employees of those businesses. People like the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and so on.

My belief is that Republican's are primarily interested in helping those in the latter group. Of course they would lose the support of enough of the public if they portrayed themselves as serving the interests of just that group. Because of that, they portray the Democrats as wanting to punish people in the former group, when it's really the folks in the latter group who should be the ones who are "punished" by paying a larger share in taxes, whether of their income or wealth. What do you all think?

FWIW I think the Obamas fall into the camp of people who earned their own money, and Trump as one of the people who made his money from other people's hard work.
Iím not sure that your distinction between wealthy or rich has much utility or consistency. You seem to discount the value and rarity of entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

And I donít think that Democrats want to punish the successful. I think Democrats observe that in a democracy a very sizable portion of the electorate can be purchased via wealth redistribution. So, if political power is the goal of the politician, exploiting class envy, even when long term counterproductive, is exceedingly effective.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:02 PM
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This is actually very simple. Fox News opinion prices praise any Republican and demonize any Democrat. It doesn’t matter what either says or does. If a Republican does it, it’s good; if a Democrat does it, it’s bad.
They are also masters of making their opinions look like news.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:14 PM
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The view many conservatives have of liberals is that 1) liberals want to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor and/or 2) liberals have something against the wealthy. Whether this view is accurate or not is beside the point; that's the view many conservatives have.

So when someone like Obama signs multi-million dollar book deals and buys a $15 million house, conservatives think "hypocrisy."

To be fair, many liberals think that conservatives 1) hate the poor and/or 2) like to see the rich get even richer at the expense of everyone else. Few people see their opponents fairly.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:15 PM
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My perspective is quite different from both posts #1 and #2. The wealthy have most of the money, relatively speaking, and thus for tasks that government is best suited to accomplish, they can get the most funding from those wealthy folks. And wealthy folks can afford relatively high taxes and still live comfortable lives (unlike the poor and working classes), while also retaining the motivation to earn more (as long as their tax rate is below ~50-60% or so) and thus serving the entire economy, so it makes the most sense to rely on the wealthy for the most funding of government (relatively speaking).

There's absolutely no conflict with this belief and with a desire to earn more money, from book deals or anything else, even into the millions of dollars. I'd presume Obama would be fine with paying ~50% taxes on his new earnings -- if so, there's no hypocrisy there at all.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 08-27-2019 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:20 PM
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Iím not sure that your distinction between wealthy or rich has much utility or consistency. You seem to discount the value and rarity of entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

And I donít think that Democrats want to punish the successful. I think Democrats observe that in a democracy a very sizable portion of the electorate can be purchased via wealth redistribution. So, if political power is the goal of the politician, exploiting class envy, even when long term counterproductive, is exceedingly effective.
I should have been more careful in my phrasing. When I said Republicans I meant Republican politicians and pundits, and not rank and file voters.

As for the value of entrepreneurial skill and leadership, that becomes more difficult to parse out. I recognize the skills of someone like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. On the other hand, the government does need to be funded. Someone needs to pay for everything the government does, and I think the Democrats (politicians) position is that the wealthy should pay tue most. In practical terms, the Republicans (again the politicians) seem to believe that the upper middle class and the rich whose income is mainly in wages should be footing the bill.

My hypothesis is that if taxation was the only issue, and both sides ran on those platforms openly (Republicans = tax the upper middle class and rich and Democrats = tax the wealthy) that the Democrats would win overwhelmingly. The reason they donít, in addition to the complicating factor that people vote on other issues as well, is because itís Republicans who successfully manage to convince the working class that the wealthy somehow deserve their wealth because of their own hard work, and therefore taxing them at a higher rate is somehow unjust.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:32 PM
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Here is how I differentiate the groups. The rich have made their money mostly off their own work. The reason why they earned so much is because their skills are in high demand, are very rare, or of a nature where they can be offered to billions of people. These are mostly people in the entertainment industry such as actors (Robert Downey Jr., Will Smith, George Clooney) singers (Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger, Madonna), authors (Stephen King), athletes (Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Lebron James) and so on. The reason they are rich is because modern technology allows them to provide their services to billions of people, not because they benefit from the labor of thousands of low wage workers. There are also a few such as the doctors who serve those other rich folks (Dr. James Andrews) and high priced lawyers that also serve the other rich / wealthy folds (Mark Geragos).

The wealthy, by contrast, are the people who are executives at or own large businesses and make their money off the labor of the employees of those businesses. People like the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and so on.
That's an interesting distinction, and not one that I think most people focus on.

For one, it seems to discount managerial and business skill as... skills. Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs had skills too. Their skills just happened to be in marketing and business executing and stuff. Have you ever managed employees? Getting a group of low wage employees to accomplish goals is not a trivial task. Getting hundreds of thousands of people to work together without it all falling apart into chaos is absurdly difficult.

And even in the arenas you mentioned, Michael Jordan's coaches and Stephen King's agents and Madonna's record executives all have skills too. But they're clearly also relying on the skills of the famous people.

(also, most of those athletes got rich off of merchandizing deals, not athletic skill).

ETA: and now I see that you've cross-posted a clarification. No need to re-clarify.

Last edited by iamthewalrus(:3=; 08-27-2019 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:35 PM
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The view many conservatives have of liberals is that 1) liberals want to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor and/or 2) liberals have something against the wealthy. Whether this view is accurate or not is beside the point; that's the view many conservatives have.

So when someone like Obama signs multi-million dollar book deals and buys a $15 million house, conservatives think "hypocrisy."

To be fair, many liberals think that conservatives 1) hate the poor and/or 2) like to see the rich get even richer at the expense of everyone else. Few people see their opponents fairly.
I'm not a Democratic politician, just a Democratic voter, but the way I see their positions even someone like Bernie Sanders and AOC seem to distinguish between someone who is rich because they have wages in high six to seven and figure range vs. people whose earnings come from ownership in large businesses.

I agree that Republican politicians want to see the wealthy get more wealthy. I don't think Republican politicians hate the poor. I think it's more like they believe that if the poor want to move up from that level that they need to do it on their own rather than with government assistance.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:58 PM
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... Few people see their opponents fairly.
This is true.

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Iím not sure that your distinction between wealthy or rich has much utility or consistency. You seem to discount the value and rarity of entrepreneurial skills and leadership. ...
This too.

The categories of "people who earned their own money" and "people who made [their] money from other people's hard work" are not nearly as clear-cut as you seem to think they are. For example, you mentioned Lebron James as being in the former category, but Lebron James wouldn't be able to get a sweet endorsement contract from Nike if there weren't a whole bunch of hard working kids slaving away in sweatshops in Asia to make shoes and athletic wear for him to sell. His NBA salary depends in part on the low-paid janitorial staff that meticulously cleans the facilities he plays in and sells tickets to watch. He couldn't make the money he does without the help of broadcasters, security staff, advertisers, etc. In other words, he "didn't build that" (by himself).
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:03 PM
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I'm not a Democratic politician, just a Democratic voter, but the way I see their positions even someone like Bernie Sanders and AOC seem to distinguish between someone who is rich because they have wages in high six to seven and figure range vs. people whose earnings come from ownership in large businesses. ...
Where do you see this distinction being made? Bernie Sanders presidential campaign website says:

Quote:
The wealthy and multinational corporations in this country will start paying their fair share of taxes. We are going to end austerity for working families, and provide some austerity for large, multinational corporations.
The bullet points he lists there are generally targeted at taxing the rich / wealthy more, but don't appear to distinguish between rich / wealthy that "earned their own money" vs "made ... money from other people's hard work"
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:20 PM
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Where do you see Sanders even talking about people who earned a lot of money from their own work at all, there? He's talking about corporations.
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:23 PM
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"...The criticism includes a statement that Obama spent his presidency "demonizing everyone else's success." She also contrasts the money the Obamas have earned with Trump, stating that Trump "earned his money before taking office."

What we have here is another in a long line of examples of Faux news being full of shit.
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:06 PM
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My perspective is quite different from both posts #1 and #2. The wealthy have most of the money, relatively speaking, and thus for tasks that government is best suited to accomplish, they can get the most funding from those wealthy folks. And wealthy folks can afford relatively high taxes and still live comfortable lives (unlike the poor and working classes), while also retaining the motivation to earn more (as long as their tax rate is below ~50-60% or so) and thus serving the entire economy, so it makes the most sense to rely on the wealthy for the most funding of government (relatively speaking).
This is more or less my view. I prefer taxes on rich people because (to paraphrase the quote) "that's where the money is." I honestly don't care where the money came from,* whether they "earned it" or "lucked into it." It isn't about punishing them or trying to make them suffer. I don't demonize people for having money. For me, it's purely utilitarian. Taxing poor people isn't productive.

So, no I don't think I would be a hypocrite if tomorrow I were to make a lot of money, so long as I paid the requisite taxes on it and continued to push for a more progressive system - even though it would hurt me personally.

* for purposes of taxation. I do think there are morally and ethically wrong ways to acquire money - but I don't think that's a tax consideration.
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:50 PM
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Where do you see Sanders even talking about people who earned a lot of money from their own work at all, there? He's talking about corporations.
You're kidding, right? It's right there in the first two words: "The wealthy". He's clearly talking about both. The next paragraph goes on to say "corporate CEOs in this country often enjoy an effective tax rate that is lower than their secretaries" and "we have got to demand that the wealthiest Americans, large corporations, and Wall Street pay their fair share in taxes." Several of his bullet points apply to wealthy individuals, not corporations:

"Pass the For the 99.8 Percent Act to establish a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaire and billionaire inheritances."

"Tax Wall Street speculators through the Inclusive Prosperity Act."

"Scrap the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes through the Social Security Expansion Act so that millionaires and billionaires pay more into the system."

"End special tax breaks on capital gains and dividends for the top 1%."

"Substantially increase the top marginal tax rate on income above $10 million."

"Close tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and large corporations." (this one obviously refers to both)
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:00 PM
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The view many conservatives have of liberals is that 1) liberals want to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor and/or 2) liberals have something against the wealthy. Whether this view is accurate or not is beside the point; that's the view many conservatives have.

So when someone like Obama signs multi-million dollar book deals and buys a $15 million house, conservatives think "hypocrisy."

To be fair, many liberals think that conservatives 1) hate the poor and/or 2) like to see the rich get even richer at the expense of everyone else. Few people see their opponents fairly.
As a liberal I find that a fair representation of my views and of conservative views.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:02 PM
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In other words, the kind of wealthy people he wants to go after are the ones who don't earn their wealth.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:05 PM
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The view many conservatives have of liberals is that 1) liberals want to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor and/or 2) liberals have something against the wealthy. Whether this view is accurate or not is beside the point; that's the view many conservatives have.

So when someone like Obama signs multi-million dollar book deals and buys a $15 million house, conservatives think "hypocrisy."

To be fair, many liberals think that conservatives 1) hate the poor and/or 2) like to see the rich get even richer at the expense of everyone else. Few people see their opponents fairly.
True. It seems easier to think that it is somehow intrinsic that the opposition's policy is deliberately hateful as opposed to just wrong.

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I think Democrats observe that in a democracy a very sizable portion of the electorate can be purchased via wealth redistribution.
And FWIW some other faction may observe that in turn another sizeable portion of the electorate can be persuaded via the promise to put them back on top and put Those Other People in their proper place.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 08-27-2019 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:23 PM
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You seem to discount the value and rarity of entrepreneurial skills and leadership.
I think a lot of conservatives overvalue it. How many wealthy people are really making money through entrepreneurship and leadership and how many are making money through the fact that they had access to a lot of starting capital? If I was given ten million dollars to start with and five years later I have eleven million dollars, is it really accurate to say I earned a million dollars through my own efforts? Or is that something that most people of average intelligence would be able to do is they were in that situation? If the latter is the case, then one of the main determinants of who makes wealth is who has access to the situations where people can make wealth.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:42 PM
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It’s my view that Democrats simply view more successful and wealthy people as having more “skin in the game”, and therefore should pay the lion’s share.

What I mean is that, if you become wealthy, you are even more reliant on, (or ought to give credit to) the physical, legal, and societal infrastructure of the country than a person who is barely scraping by. You, the millionaire, are such because you live in a country with paved roads, educated citizens, consistent laws, relatively crime free cities and towns, etc. Thus, given your reliance on these things, you ought to be expected to pay for them. And, because you are taking greater advantage of these pillars of our society than the average person, it’s fair for you to pay a more significant share.

I believe this is exactly what Obama was referring to when he was excoriated for telling people that “they didn’t build that”...he was talking about the American infrastructure which the wealthy have utilized for their benefit.

Nothing in this philosophy says that a person can’t or shouldn’t make oodles of money or own expensive and luxurious things. It simply stands for the proposition that people who get to that point have the most to lose if society were to crumble, so they should be the first ones we look to to pay for its perpetuation.

Last edited by Moriarty; 08-27-2019 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:17 PM
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The view many conservatives have of liberals is that 1) liberals want to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor and/or 2) liberals have something against the wealthy. Whether this view is accurate or not is beside the point; that's the view many conservatives have.

So when someone like Obama signs multi-million dollar book deals and buys a $15 million house, conservatives think "hypocrisy."

To be fair, many liberals think that conservatives 1) hate the poor and/or 2) like to see the rich get even richer at the expense of everyone else. Few people see their opponents fairly.
Many rich liberals want their taxes to be increased to distribute money to the poor through government, and of course many rich liberals, like Bill Gates, spend a lot of their money on the poor.
Conservative tax policy certainly supports the idea that they want the rich to get richer. I don't know if they hate the poor, but stuff like resisting Medicaid expansion or trying to cut food subsidies sure looks like they do.

As for Trump making money before being president - remember he made more at age two than probably anyone here ever did. He is a piss poor example of pulling oneself up by ones own bootstraps.

BTW, Obama had a best seller before becoming president. I don't know if he was rich, but I'm sure he was doing okay.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:33 PM
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The real division is between money made with sweat and money made with money.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:22 AM
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In other words, the kind of wealthy people he wants to go after are the ones who don't earn their wealth.
That's not what Bernie said. He simply referred to "the wealthy" / "the wealthiest Americans" and "millionaires and billionaires" without regard to how they acquired their wealth.

Let me ask you because perhaps this is the source of the disconnect: do you believe any rich person "earned" their wealth? If so, which one(s)?
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:01 AM
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Let me ask you because perhaps this is the source of the disconnect: do you believe any rich person "earned" their wealth? If so, which one(s)?
The question wasn't directed at me but my answer would be yes. There are many wealthy people who earned their wealth. Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are examples who have been mentioned in this thread. These men developing new businesses.

But most corporate executives don't belong in this group. They're not creating new businesses; they're just managing businesses that other people created and moving large sums of money around.

Can you tell me what Stephen Schwarzman did to earn seventy million dollars last year?
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Old 08-28-2019, 04:20 AM
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Let's just start with the obvious: nobody at fox news cares about understanding the liberal position unless they can use that understanding to better attack it. It continues to be a right-wing propaganda network. They will not give democrats a fair shake on anything, because their job is to support the right wing. Any analysis they have on left-wing positions is going to necessarily be in bad faith, because everything they write is in bad faith. I mean, look at this fucking bullshit:

Quote:
Unlike President Trump, who earned his money before taking office, the Obamas have benefited handsomely from their time in the White House.
Anyone who could read this line without having their bullshit detector go off is the kind of person who loses their savings to 419 scams and fucking deserves it.

Quote:
From telling small-business owners they “didn’t build that”
Anyone still reading after this fucking whopper should hit up a neurologist, as they may qualify as legally braindead and therefore no longer need to pay taxes.

So yeah, blatant, obvious bad-faith bullshit; this is a question we should never have to ask about Fox News. Obama is, fundamentally, a capitalist. A capitalist who made some pushes towards progressive ideology, but fundamentally someone who believes in capitalism, believes in wealth, believes in the ethics of people becoming unreasonably wealthy - just look at him becoming unreasonably wealthy. Any claim that he's somehow a "socialist" or that, as the article states, spent time "demonizing everyone else's success", is akin to claims that he went on an apology tour - whoever you're talking to is at best dumber than a sack of pig shit and at worst a lying sack of pig shit (no points for guessing which this Fox News opinion writer is), and neither is worth engaging with on any level unless you're somehow sentimentally attached to them, and even then only to give yourself a damn good reason to no longer be sentimentally attached to them.

That said... I don't agree with "the liberal position" on wealth. I don't think there is a coherent position at play here, and I don't think the position laid out in the OP is particularly convincing.

You can buy a really nice home for a million dollars. Like, a really nice home. Nicer than most millenials will probably ever manage to afford. For 15 times that, you could buy a really nice home and draw countless people out of poverty. It's the same fundamental problem was with Bezos's billions - it's basically just immoral to be rich. Every dollar Obama spent on a McMansion in a posh neighborhood is a dollar that wasn't spent saving someone's life. It's very nearly the same problem as with Bernie Sanders being a millionaire, except Obama was never (and never pretended to be) a socialist, despite the insane ravings of the bad-faith right-wing crowd.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 08-28-2019 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:16 AM
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I think a lot of conservatives overvalue it. How many wealthy people are really making money through entrepreneurship and leadership and how many are making money through the fact that they had access to a lot of starting capital? If I was given ten million dollars to start with and five years later I have eleven million dollars, is it really accurate to say I earned a million dollars through my own efforts?
IMO, yes.
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Or is that something that most people of average intelligence would be able to do is they were in that situation?
IMO, no.

If that were true, there would not be anything like a venture capitalist. If the average person can earn a million dollars in five years if he starts with ten million, there is no need to give the ten million to anyone - invest it yourself and get the million without any middleman. But most of the things that venture capitalists invest in, fail. Most small businesses, fail. And not just because they don't have enough capital. Because investment is managing risk, and some people are better at managing risk than others. A lot of investment is luck. A lot of it isn't.

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But most corporate executives don't belong in this group. They're not creating new businesses; they're just managing businesses that other people created and moving large sums of money around.

Can you tell me what Stephen Schwarzman did to earn seventy million dollars last year?
He managed a business that he founded, moving large sums of money around.

It is a little surprising to me to see people who lived thru the subprime mortgage crisis of a few years ago or the popping of the dot-com bubble some years before that saying that investment is easy, or has some guaranteed rate of return.

Also surprising to see Obama or Bill Clinton earning tens of millions from giving speeches because they used to be President being spoken of as having earned their money from the sweat of their brows, while Sam Walton got there from exploiting the labor of others, because Wal-mart is better at supply chain management than anyone else in the country.
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My hypothesis is that if taxation was the only issue, and both sides ran on those platforms openly (Republicans = tax the upper middle class and rich and Democrats = tax the wealthy) that the Democrats would win overwhelmingly. The reason they donít, in addition to the complicating factor that people vote on other issues as well, is because itís Republicans who successfully manage to convince the working class that the wealthy somehow deserve their wealth because of their own hard work, and therefore taxing them at a higher rate is somehow unjust.
Also, probably, because Republicans point out that the wealthy and upper-middle and middle-class already fund almost all of government right now. And, as pointed out, there aren't enough "wealthy" to tax enough. And therefore, you have to do what we are doing right now - tax the top 53%, or raise capital gains taxes to discourage investment.

It was many years ago, but some French woman said she voted for the Communists because they were going to stick it to the rich. Then they took office, and she found out that she was "the rich".

Regards,
Shodan
  #26  
Old 08-28-2019, 08:20 AM
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Wouldn't putting $10 million in CDs, bonds, or even just a savings account be likely to result in an additional $1 million or so in 5 years? By my math, anyway, that easily works out -- even at 2-3% per year, 5 years is more than enough to get from $10 to $11 million. That sounds like the kind of thing that an average person can do.

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Old 08-28-2019, 08:21 AM
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I see taxes as insurance that the government (at all levels) protects them from external and internal harm. Look at cars: own a Lamborghini? Expect to pay $8K or more in car insurance. Own a Kia? Maybe $1K. And rightly so, the Lamborghini is more valuable. So corporations and the wealthy have a lot more to lose than the average wage-earning working person if society/rule of law goes to shit, and so they should pony up much more in taxes.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:08 AM
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I don't have a problem with the Obamas enjoying the trappings of great wealth unless they're simultaneously lobbying for lower taxes, which I haven't heard them do.

The "liberal position on wealth" seems to be that 1) the rich need to pay more in taxes to fund needed government programs (no argument there), and 2) that hugely expensive expanded or new programs can be financed entirely with taxes on the rich without requiring tax hikes on the middle class (which is bullshit).
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The wealthy have most of the money, relatively speaking
You might have the makings of a best-seller there.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:34 AM
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I think the problem is the distinction between those who are rich by their own efforts and those who are perceived as parasites getting rich off others' labor.

It's a matter of timing and scale. Does anyone really think that when Lebron James retires, that he's somehow going to be poor or even middle class, even if he gets no more endorsement, coaching, acting or commentator deals? Of course not, he's invested his money, and stands to make a pretty penny off those investments- probably mostly stocks- i.e. ownership shares. So his seed money came from basketball, but his income will be from the sweat of others' brows, so to speak. Does he instantly go from "noble guy who became rich through his own sweat" to "parasite of the working class" the instant he retires? Of course not. Beyond that, most of us are all that sort of parasite to some extent, if we have investments, retirement accounts, etc... It's just a matter of scale at that point.

As for the conservative/liberal views on wealth, I think it's that one side looks at equality, while the other looks at fairness. One side is saying effectively that if we have a million dollars in stuff that needs paying for, and we have 50,000 people, then everyone needs to pony up $20, and if you can't, then you're not paying your equal share which is your own problem. The other is saying basically that $20 to one person has a different impact to them than $20 to another, so some people should pay $5, while others should pay $60 because they can support it, and it's more fair to everyone involved.

The idea that everyone should pay an equal share is sort of a fundamental conservative one- there's a strong concept that you should pay your own share, and not expect others to pay more because it's a hardship for you. There's also a strong notion that not being able to pay one's own full share is shameful and shouldn't be societally acceptable. Meanwhile, liberals are more concerned with the idea that one's equal share is not necessarily fair, even if it's strictly equal, and advocate more of a share payment that's indexed by ability to pay.

So where the liberal may see a rich/wealthy person not paying as much as they are able while others pay amounts that are a hardship, the conservatives see someone paying their equal share and then some, while others attempt to shirk their responsibilities.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:11 AM
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Many conservative voters genuinely misunderstand the liberal position on wealth, because their leaders and Fox News intentionally misrepresent it.

Insofar as there even is a "liberal position on wealth," I think bump explains it pretty well above. But it's been advantageous for conservative leadership the last few decades to paint the picture more like this:
  1. Everyone wants to be wealthy, right? That's the whole point of the free enterprise system!
  2. See those liberals over there? They hate the wealthy!
  3. Those liberals want to fix things so you can never be wealthy!
  4. See? Liberals hate America and everything it stands for.
So of course from this POV, the Obamas being worth millions makes them hypocritical (and possibly corrupt).
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:15 AM
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The real division is between money made with sweat and money made with money.
But why? What ethical position allows the difference?
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:19 AM
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Many conservative voters genuinely misunderstand the liberal position on wealth, because their leaders and Fox News intentionally misrepresent it.

Insofar as there even is a "liberal position on wealth," I think bump explains it pretty well above. But it's been advantageous for conservative leadership the last few decades to paint the picture more like this:
  1. Everyone wants to be wealthy, right? That's the whole point of the free enterprise system!
  2. See those liberals over there? They hate the wealthy!
  3. Those liberals want to fix things so you can never be wealthy!
  4. See? Liberals hate America and everything it stands for.
So of course from this POV, the Obamas being worth millions makes them hypocritical (and possibly corrupt).
A different but similar position might be that they are not corrupt, but merely gamed a corrupt practice (politics) to gain tremendously.

The real question is why does this NOT get looked down upon with the same disdain as any other reason for people making money?

I mean, the answer is simply partisanship.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:26 AM
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A different but similar position might be that they are not corrupt, but merely gamed a corrupt practice (politics) to gain tremendously.

The real question is why does this NOT get looked down upon with the same disdain as any other reason for people making money?

I mean, the answer is simply partisanship.
Who is looking down with disdain on people who make money? That's the exact misrepresentation I'm talking about.

Outside of strict Marxism, there is no liberal school of thought that casts disdain on anyone who is wealthy just because they are wealthy. Just because a liberal politician may want to tax wealthier people an extra percentage point or two does not mean liberals despise them for being wealthy.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:27 AM
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So corporations and the wealthy have a lot more to lose than the average wage-earning working person if society/rule of law goes to shit, and so they should pony up much more in taxes.
And, they do pony up much more in taxes. But we have a lot of freeloaders who are poor and don't contribute anything. I'm not against mandatory government service to "pay" for our nation; there should be an option to buy out for the rich, since they're better off paying taxes than wasting their time working for free.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:32 AM
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IMO, no.

If that were true, there would not be anything like a venture capitalist. If the average person can earn a million dollars in five years if he starts with ten million, there is no need to give the ten million to anyone - invest it yourself and get the million without any middleman. But most of the things that venture capitalists invest in, fail. Most small businesses, fail. And not just because they don't have enough capital. Because investment is managing risk, and some people are better at managing risk than others. A lot of investment is luck. A lot of it isn't.

It is a little surprising to me to see people who lived thru the subprime mortgage crisis of a few years ago or the popping of the dot-com bubble some years before that saying that investment is easy, or has some guaranteed rate of return.
I think you're supporting my argument but from the opposite side. I was saying there are probably a lot of middle class and poor people who would have the capability to manage large amounts of money successfully if they had the opportunity. And your post is pointing out that lots of rich people who have large amounts of money don't have the capability to manage it well.

Both sides point to the same thing; that having wealth is not proof that you have the capability of making wealth.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:56 AM
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A different but similar position might be that they are not corrupt, but merely gamed a corrupt practice (politics) to gain tremendously.
This is particularly funny because Obama isn't earning massive wads of cash by offering access to the white house, or by hosting official functions at his failing resorts. He's being given money to tell his story. A book deal for a memoir. A Netflix show. Obama is gaining not because he's a politician (in fact, he's pretty much been completely inactive in politics) but because he's famous and people care what he has to say.

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The real question is why does this NOT get looked down upon with the same disdain as any other reason for people making money?
Because, by and large, liberals don't look down on people for "making money". Hell, even leftists generally don't look down on people for "making money", with the exception of the obscenely rich, which are a whole different kettle of fish from your bog-standard millionaire (hint: a million seconds is 12 days; a billion seconds is 31 years). I'd ask where you get this shit, but I think we already know given the topic of the thread.

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I mean, the answer is simply partisanship.


Kearsen, do you care about your family?

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And, they do pony up much more in taxes.
By what metric?

By an absolute metric, Warren Buffet pays more in taxes than his secretary.
By a proportional metric, Warren Buffet pays less of a percentage of his income than his secretary.
By a metric that considers the marginal utility of each consecutive dollar, it's an absolute farce - they pay a pittance that has virtually no effect on their quality of life.
  #37  
Old 08-28-2019, 12:02 PM
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As for the conservative/liberal views on wealth, I think it's that one side looks at equality, while the other looks at fairness. One side is saying effectively that if we have a million dollars in stuff that needs paying for, and we have 50,000 people, then everyone needs to pony up $20, and if you can't, then you're not paying your equal share which is your own problem. The other is saying basically that $20 to one person has a different impact to them than $20 to another, so some people should pay $5, while others should pay $60 because they can support it, and it's more fair to everyone involved.

The idea that everyone should pay an equal share is sort of a fundamental conservative one- there's a strong concept that you should pay your own share, and not expect others to pay more because it's a hardship for you. There's also a strong notion that not being able to pay one's own full share is shameful and shouldn't be societally acceptable. Meanwhile, liberals are more concerned with the idea that one's equal share is not necessarily fair, even if it's strictly equal, and advocate more of a share payment that's indexed by ability to pay.

So where the liberal may see a rich/wealthy person not paying as much as they are able while others pay amounts that are a hardship, the conservatives see someone paying their equal share and then some, while others attempt to shirk their responsibilities.
While I don't disagree with this description, I think it fails when taxes are honestly analyzed, because everybody does pay equally, percentage-wise.

Part of this, in my opinion, comes from the fact that people typically don't understand marginal tax rates. Take AOC's proposal to create a 70% marginal tax rate. Most people hear that and think she wants to take 70% of the wealthiest American's income - not true! What she has proposed is taxing 70% of that taxable income over $10 million.

Not fair, conservatives say. Why not? Because, they say, that person is being unfairly singled out for their wealth.

I'd argue that this is not the case; in fact, it's very equal. Why? Because everybody in America would pay a 70% tax rate on their taxable income over $10 million - it's just that for most of us, that number is 0, so the tax owed is 0.

Sounds ridiculous, you say? Why? It works the other way, too. The person who made $11 million last year paid the same percentage in taxes on the first $50,000 as somebody who only earned a total of $60,000. They paid the same percentage on the first $150,000 as somebody who only earned $150,000.00, too. (And so on). It's, in fact, completely even across the board.

The only difference is when you are paying a percentage of a number above zero that makes people think that they are paying so much more. But, hey, you live in a society where your taxable income exceeds somebody else's, why wouldn't you expect your amount owed to be more than somebody who scored a big fat zero? After all, you gained more by what the taxes provided, and stand to lose more if those provisions are gone.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:41 PM
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I think you're supporting my argument but from the opposite side. I was saying there are probably a lot of middle class and poor people who would have the capability to manage large amounts of money successfully if they had the opportunity. And your post is pointing out that lots of rich people who have large amounts of money don't have the capability to manage it well.
If the average person was just as good as managing money as the CEO of a financial services firm, lottery winners would never go bankrupt. As I said, some of investing is luck. Some of it isn't.
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Both sides point to the same thing; that having wealth is not proof that you have the capability of making wealth.
It's not proof - it's evidence.

Plus, I think you are kind of missing the point. If you go into your bank and say, "loan me ten million and I will pay you back eleven million in five years", they are not automatically going to hand over the ten mil because the deal is a no-brainer. Because
  1. The deal is not a no-brainer - there is an actual risk that it ain't as easy as you think, and they will lose some or all of the ten million, and
  2. you are competing for the ten million with people who promise to pay back twelve million, or twenty, and have a specific business plan for how to do it that is more plausible than yours, and
  3. As I said, if it is easy to make eleven million on a ten-million investment, then they don't have to loan you the money. Just do whatever you were going to do, and collect the profit themselves.
Sure, some people borrowed money from their rich parents, and now are extremely wealthy. And some investors lose money. But that's the point of investments - sometimes they lose money - in fact, a lot of the time they lose money - but sometimes they turn out to be Staples or Calumet Coach and you turn enough of a profit to make up for the losses.

The notion that "the rich" is just an average schmuck who got lucky is not always a good rule of thumb. "There's a difference between the rich, and you and me", and it's not just that they have more money.

Regards,
Shodan
  #39  
Old 08-28-2019, 12:51 PM
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Obama is clearly hypocritical, he recently said in a speech "There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”
He also said "I mean, it shows a poverty of ambition to just want to take more and more and more, instead of saying, ‘Wow, I’ve got so much. Who can I help? How can I give more and more and more?’ "

There is no meaningful distinction between those who earn their money by working and creating and those who earn their money by organizing others. Both take large amounts of hard work and skill. People like Obama and Sanders who make money selling books, still need armies of low paid people who make paper, bind books, transport books, and sell books.

There is the argument that Obama made about "You didn't build that" which implies that since public infrastructure helps people make money those who make more should have a higher burden of paying for that since they got more out of it. What this misses is that the public infrastructure is the same for everyone. I grew up with a basketball hoop in my backyard, just like Micheal Jordan did. He was able to put that infrastructure to better use than I did. Bezos uses the same public roads to deliver packages that the rest of us use. He used those roads to build a internet delivery empire and I have used them to go back and forth to the supermarket.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:03 PM
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There is the argument that Obama made about "You didn't build that" which implies that since public infrastructure helps people make money those who make more should have a higher burden of paying for that since they got more out of it. What this misses is that the public infrastructure is the same for everyone. I grew up with a basketball hoop in my backyard, just like Micheal Jordan did. He was able to put that infrastructure to better use than I did.
Michael Jordan made millions of dollars from the hoop in his backyard?

He made millions playing in a huge arena, served by a multitude of roads and public transit (built by the city of Chicago) to get spectators to and from the game. He made millions by having his games broadcast over public airwaves, to televisions powered by the wires installed by the electric company, under a monopoly negotiated by the local government. He made millions selling shoes made in another country, and imported through publicly funded ports, railroads and roadways.

Jordan didn't make jack fucking shit from that hoop in his backyard, just like everybody else.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:04 PM
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Here is how I differentiate the groups. The rich have made their money mostly off their own work. The reason why they earned so much is because their skills are in high demand, are very rare, or of a nature where they can be offered to billions of people. These are mostly people in the entertainment industry such as actors (Robert Downey Jr., Will Smith, George Clooney) singers (Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger, Madonna), authors (Stephen King), athletes (Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Lebron James) and so on. The reason they are rich is because modern technology allows them to provide their services to billions of people, not because they benefit from the labor of thousands of low wage workers. There are also a few such as the doctors who serve those other rich folks (Dr. James Andrews) and high priced lawyers that also serve the other rich / wealthy folds (Mark Geragos).

The wealthy, by contrast, are the people who are executives at or own large businesses and make their money off the labor of the employees of those businesses.
So if you are a celebrity, you are being paid a market wage, and not off the backs of the common people that buy tickets to movies, concerts, sporting events, or are enticed into buying products that they don't need that are promoted by said celebrities. These are the rich.

But the wealthy include managers and executives in corporations that are paid market wages for the services they provide to those corporations, that also employ lots of other people that are paid market wages for their services, but since the market wages of these laboring people are lower than those of the executives, these executives are considered wealthy, but not rich (as defined by the OP)

And for these reasons the wealthy should be taxed more than the rich?
  #42  
Old 08-28-2019, 01:09 PM
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I think you're supporting my argument but from the opposite side. I was saying there are probably a lot of middle class and poor people who would have the capability to manage large amounts of money successfully if they had the opportunity. And your post is pointing out that lots of rich people who have large amounts of money don't have the capability to manage it well.

Both sides point to the same thing; that having wealth is not proof that you have the capability of making wealth.
If people have the ability to manage money successfully the barrier to entry is very small. Jeffrey Epstein started as an assistant to a floor trader and became a partner in four years. Warren Buffet started out as a salesman and was a millionaire in 11 years. Micheal Burry was a doctor who did investing at night and starting a fund that was managing 600 million after 4 years.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:15 PM
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Michael Jordan made millions of dollars from the hoop in his backyard?

He made millions playing in a huge arena, served by a multitude of roads and public transit (built by the city of Chicago) to get spectators to and from the game. He made millions by having his games broadcast over public airwaves, to televisions powered by the wires installed by the electric company, under a monopoly negotiated by the local government. He made millions selling shoes made in another country, and imported through publicly funded ports, railroads and roadways.

Jordan didn't make jack fucking shit from that hoop in his backyard, just like everybody else.
Jordan started with the hoop in his backyard. Those same roads and public transport are available to transport your fans. Those public airwaves and wires are available for you to broadcast your athletic feats. Those same ports, railroads, and roadways are available for you to import and sell a shoe with your name on it.
If you have not had the same success as Micheal Jordan it was not because he had access to a separate infrastructure but that he used the shared infrastructure in a more productive way.
  #44  
Old 08-28-2019, 01:18 PM
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Obama is clearly hypocritical, he recently said in a speech "There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”
He also said "I mean, it shows a poverty of ambition to just want to take more and more and more, instead of saying, ‘Wow, I’ve got so much. Who can I help? How can I give more and more and more?’ "

There is no meaningful distinction between those who earn their money by working and creating and those who earn their money by organizing others. Both take large amounts of hard work and skill. People like Obama and Sanders who make money selling books, still need armies of low paid people who make paper, bind books, transport books, and sell books.

There is the argument that Obama made about "You didn't build that" which implies that since public infrastructure helps people make money those who make more should have a higher burden of paying for that since they got more out of it. What this misses is that the public infrastructure is the same for everyone. I grew up with a basketball hoop in my backyard, just like Micheal Jordan did. He was able to put that infrastructure to better use than I did. Bezos uses the same public roads to deliver packages that the rest of us use. He used those roads to build a internet delivery empire and I have used them to go back and forth to the supermarket.
None of this shows any hypocrisy.

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  #45  
Old 08-28-2019, 01:21 PM
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And, they do pony up much more in taxes. But we have a lot of freeloaders who are poor and don't contribute anything. I'm not against mandatory government service to "pay" for our nation; there should be an option to buy out for the rich, since they're better off paying taxes than wasting their time working for free.
There will always be slackers and moochers; this is part of human nature.

The key issue is what bothers you more?

That freeloaders get stuff, or that people who try to do the right things (and may make mistakes) still suffer?

From my experiences of 60 years wandering the Earth, I feel that republicans/conservatives are more bothered by the former. Democrats/Liberals, the latter.
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  #46  
Old 08-28-2019, 01:25 PM
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If that were true, there would not be anything like a venture capitalist. If the average person can earn a million dollars in five years if he starts with ten million, there is no need to give the ten million to anyone - invest it yourself and get the million without any middleman. But most of the things that venture capitalists invest in, fail. Most small businesses, fail. And not just because they don't have enough capital. Because investment is managing risk, and some people are better at managing risk than others. A lot of investment is luck. A lot of it isn't.

Regards,
Shodan
It appears that you either have never invested or invested incompetently. If my investments only made 10% after 10 years I'd sure as hell find another investment advisor. I did not start with $10 million, alas, but I did start with a reasonable amount and they've made a lot more than that rate of return.
I've checked my monthly statement and found I've made more than my starting salary at Bell Labs many months. And what did I do for that money? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Do you think it takes above average intelligence to put money into an index fund and make a better return over 10 years than your example?
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:27 PM
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Is my math here wrong, or is it accurate to say that it's actually pretty damn easy to turn $10 mil into $11 mil in 5 years?

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Wouldn't putting $10 million in CDs, bonds, or even just a savings account be likely to result in an additional $1 million or so in 5 years? By my math, anyway, that easily works out -- even at 2-3% per year, 5 years is more than enough to get from $10 to $11 million. That sounds like the kind of thing that an average person can do.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:30 PM
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After all, you gained more by what the taxes provided, and stand to lose more if those provisions are gone.
I know how tax brackets work- basically everyone's taxed the same on each increment of income- Jerry Jones pays the same amount of tax on the first 50k of his income as someone who makes 51k, for example. The argument is about when it's all said and done, and averaged out, not at each bracket.

I also think it's a mistake to look at it in a way that implies that people with more money somehow derived more advantage from the taxes they paid than others have. That's just flat out not true. I mean, I went to a private school for high school. I didn't gain ANY benefit from the school tax my parents paid for those 4 years. And I didn't gain any LESS benefit from the taxes paid to subsidize my college education at a state school than someone making three times my salary who went to the same school did- we got the same exact thing- a break of X amount per credit hour that was effectively subsidized by the taxpayers.

The only place that the "more to lose" notion comes into play is when public safety comes into play, and even there, it's dubious. I mean, if my house burned down or was burgled, it's more expensive than a low income one, but I'm also in a considerably better position to make those losses good, having some amount of financial reserves and insurance, which is not something people on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale have. Look at it this way, is it a bigger deal for a guy making $500k a year to have his million dollar mansion burn down, or for a guy making $40k have his $80k house burn down? Whose life is going to be MORE impacted if the fire department isn't there to put out the fire?

The argument still comes down to the idea that rich people have more for the government to take without it causing them pain than poorer people do. All the rest of this is basically rationalization.

Last edited by bump; 08-28-2019 at 01:33 PM.
  #49  
Old 08-28-2019, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
And, they do pony up much more in taxes. But we have a lot of freeloaders who are poor and don't contribute anything. I'm not against mandatory government service to "pay" for our nation; there should be an option to buy out for the rich, since they're better off paying taxes than wasting their time working for free.
So, what are you going to do with the people whose paying jobs will now be done by those in government service? The WPA worked because there wasn't private or state money to do those jobs, and there was a large pool of people available for them.

A freeloader is someone who intentionally does not work to get benefits. Our welfare system is not very generous, so I suspect there aren't a lot of them around. Someone who can't get a job because of health or mental issues is not a freeloader.
The rich may pay more than the working poor, but it hurts less. If you are making only enough to barely pay rent and feed a family, each dollar in taxes hurts a lot more than ten dollars for the guy who can hardly spend half his income. I've made enough in some years to pay higher taxes, and it didn't hurt a bit.
  #50  
Old 08-28-2019, 01:38 PM
HMS Irruncible is offline
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Originally Posted by octopus View Post
I think Democrats observe that in a democracy a very sizable portion of the electorate can be purchased via wealth redistribution. So, if political power is the goal of the politician, exploiting class envy, even when long term counterproductive, is exceedingly effective.
So your position regarding Republican politicians must be:
  • None of them are effective (easily contradicted by recent history)
  • They ascended to office by means other than appealing to the electorate (very believable)
  • They ascended to office by some unmentioned way that is even more effective.

Assuming you don't want to concede the first two points, please explain how Republicans are choosing the less-effective strategy that keeps getting them elected to office.
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