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American Entitlement Beliefs and the Economy
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Big Mac
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Dec 31, 2008, 05:13 AM
 
It disturbs me when I come across people who appear to have strong entitlement beliefs about economics. Case in point: A new acquaintance explained to me yesterday that every person in America should have a good job, a house, cars, luxury goods and money to educate their children, just by virtue of being American. That's why this guy supports unions - he thinks that unions guarantee good wages. He believes in Socialized medicine because he thinks that's another way to improve the American standard of living. (Don't get me started on that.) I think it makes little sense for one to believe American citizenship means an entitlement to a good job.

Certainly the ideal is to achieve that standard of living. But there's no way to guarantee that every person will gain that. Our Declaration of Independence calls for "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," not the guarantee of happiness in all its materialistic forms. I told this guy that in my opinion a lot of America's past economic success was due to the freedom of our markets and our creativity, not unionism, government entitlements and regulations. I asked him why he would support Socialized medicine when it's a fact that our current Socialized medicine system - Medicare - is going broke, despite the fact that it covers only a fraction of the population. He couldn't give me answer.

It seems to me that a problem Americans will have going forward is a lack of economic competitiveness due to this entitlement mentality. We've created an immense beast of a federal government, growing far immenser as we speak, and state governments aren't far behind proportionally speaking. Everyone is starting to think with an entitlement mentality - look who we elected in November. Entitlement programs are going to be the next financial crisis, but the electorate just wants to vote itself ever more benefits - budgets be damned. No one wants to face reality that one year of Social Security and Medicare equals the combined spending of five years in Iraq. The Detroit auto makers can't compete because of unreasonable union demands, yet somehow the foreign producers can maintain viable plants here in the United States. It seems that many Americans are expecting too much from others, whether it be their employers, their governments, or their fellow Americans in the form of higher taxes we will all be paying as a result of fiscal recklessness. Foreigners are only going to buy our treasury notes from our skyrocketing debt for so long. And going forward, will we be able to compete as a country against leaner, hungrier countries whose citizens haven't yet been trained to desire entitlements as Americans have?
( Last edited by Big Mac; Dec 31, 2008 at 05:26 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
gradient
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Dec 31, 2008, 06:18 AM
 
There's no way to guarantee those things for every single person, you're right. You could, though, provide everyone with a much better chance at acquiring and holding onto them simply by not spending trillions of dollars on wars and redirecting even a small portion of that cash to programs that directly benefit American citizens such as education, employment insurance and health care.

This is a tired debate, mind you, and one that I'm unlikely to have the stomach to debate fully. It still saddens me every time I hear or read someone declare themselves in favour of the have/have-not society.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 31, 2008, 06:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
You could, though, provide everyone with a much better chance at acquiring and holding onto them simply by not spending trillions of dollars on wars and redirecting even a small portion of that cash to programs that directly benefit American citizens such as education, employment insurance and health care.
It is kind of you to ignore the fact I raise: One year of Social Security and Medicare payments is equivalent to five years of spending in Iraq. There's no way to get around that. And there's no proof that entitlements makes us any better off than killing terrorist filth in foreign countries. I think entitlements make us worse off by making the citizenry more dependent on government handouts, not to mention the truly devastating effects on our national fiscal solvency they have in the long term.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Dec 31, 2008 at 06:30 AM. )

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shifuimam
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Dec 31, 2008, 07:47 AM
 
It's funny that you post this, because I was just watching part of IOUSA a few days ago.

People like to point to things like the war in Iraq, pork barrel spending, and Bush's tax cuts as reasons why the government needs more money, when the harsh reality is that a massive portion of the federal budget covers what essentially amounts to welfare programs.

The war amounts for less than three percent of our $8.x trillion national deficit. It's really not as big of a spending drain as the left wants you to believe.

Social Security and Medicare are two social programs that are already broken and are now facing a tsunami wave of Baby Boomers retiring in the next decade or so. We can't sustain that with how Social Security currently works, period. It's turning into a financial black hole for the country, and it's only going to get worse.

When you look at where we are today, Big Mac is absolutely right - our culture of immediate satisfaction, entitlement, and rampant consumerism is more to blame than anything else for the current state of the economy. The subprime mortgage meltdown that started in 2006 goes directly back to providing mortgages to people who couldn't afford them and had no business having them. However, our sense of entitlement has corrupted us into think that our country somehow owes us a house, so we had idiots like Jimmy Carter and BIll Clinton go out of their way to force banks to provide extremely risky mortgages to people who in no logical capacity could afford them.

You look at this ridiculous auto bailout, and it points back to union blackmailing (no business can afford to provide lifetime health care coverage to its employees forever) and dealership regulations that prevent them from shutting down some of the independent dealerships across the country. Yes, the Big Three's general direction and business model hasn't been able to compete with Asia's auto industry for years, but the fact is that the UAW has managed to force the American industry into checks they simply can't cash anymore.

Nobody wants to talk about giving up the freebies to which they've become so accustomed. Nobody wants to admit that unions allow large groups of employees to bully and blackmail corporations into providing asinine benefits that can't be financially sustained in the long term. Nobody wants to talk about the fact that Social Security is bankrupt, and it's only going to get worse. If a candidate started talking about cutting back Social Security and Medicare, you can be guaranteed they wouldn't have a chance in hell of getting elected, because Americans have gotten too used to expecting handouts from the government.

When you stop and think about it, the government shouldn't be responsible for your personal retirement. Wouldn't it be much nicer if you were allowed to take the hundreds of thousands of dollars you've dumped into that system over your lifetime and invest it in your own retirement, rather than paying for someone else's life?

Our concept of what we actually have a right to and what is essentially a privilege has gotten seriously skewed. The government can't - and shouldn't - be held responsible for the well-being of individual citizens. However, as America tiptoes closer and closer toward becoming a socialist state, we've forgotten this concept.

And before you say "look at countries x and y, they're so happy", consider this basic idea:

What's one reason why public schools fail in some areas? Lack of funding for adequate staffing. A teacher trying to manage 30 fourth-graders is less likely to be able to give each of them individual attention, so kids slip through the cracks, get pushed through the education system, and graduate without being able to even read or perform basic arithmetic. What's the solution? More money? No. Obviously, smaller classrooms historically provide a better learning environment and allow teachers to focus more on students with learning problems.

There are more than three hundred million people in the United States. It's utterly ridiculous to think that the federal government can manage to hold the hand of each individual citizen and ensure each citizen's personal happiness and well-being. Too many people exploit the system, too many people fall through the cracks, and forty or fifty years after implementing what seemed like a genius system (Social Security), we're facing a major financial crisis because of it.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Dec 31, 2008, 07:50 AM
 
Couldn't have written it better myself, shifuimam. I saw one trailer for IOUSA and then didn't hear anything about it, but now I'm going to check it out. People who think the current financial downturn is a big problem are going to be in for a very rude awakening in the next 15 years when the Baby Boomers retire and the pyramid schemes known as Social(ist) (In)Security and Medicare go completely bust. That's when we'll see the economic shît storm hit. At least I'll be able to point to the record of my posts online warning people ahead of time, although I plan to do much more.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Dec 31, 2008 at 08:01 AM. )

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shifuimam
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Dec 31, 2008, 07:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
It still saddens me every time I hear or read someone declare themselves in favour of the have/have-not society.
And it still frustrates me every time someone still believes we can be an all-have society.

Not everyone can be a have. It's a harsh reality of life, but no economy can indefinitely sustain a model that allows everyone to have what they want all the time. Period. It's impossible to make sure that everyone has housing, because not everyone wants "just a place to live".

The subprime mortgage meltdown came from people buying homes they couldn't afford. It didn't come because these people were homeless. They could rent, They could live in Section 8 housing. No, they wanted to own a home. Suddenly, we have Democrats in office twisting the arms of banks to underwrite ridiculously risky mortgages, and it all imploded a decade later.

There is no objective "standard of living". You can't say that everyone deserves a house, because that's just not true. You can't say that everyone deserves a nice car or a high-paying job or a private education in the Ivy League. You can't even say that everyone deserves free health care, because the average American shouldn't even be spending that much on health care each year.

The federal government simply cannot be expected to ensure some kind of standard of living and well-being and happiness for each of the individual 300mil+ citizens of this country. You have to take your future into your own hands, and if you want to be a have, you have to work for it. Yes, it's hard, and yes, you might fail. The government is not an endless credit line to sustain your lifestyle, however, and that's what people have come to expect from it.
     
red rocket
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Dec 31, 2008, 08:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
And it still frustrates me every time someone still believes we can be an all-have society.

Not everyone can be a have. It's a harsh reality of life, but no economy can indefinitely sustain a model that allows everyone to have what they want all the time. Period. It's impossible to make sure that everyone has housing, because not everyone wants "just a place to live".

The subprime mortgage meltdown came from people buying homes they couldn't afford. It didn't come because these people were homeless. They could rent, They could live in Section 8 housing. No, they wanted to own a home. Suddenly, we have Democrats in office twisting the arms of banks to underwrite ridiculously risky mortgages, and it all imploded a decade later.

There is no objective "standard of living". You can't say that everyone deserves a house, because that's just not true. You can't say that everyone deserves a nice car or a high-paying job or a private education in the Ivy League. You can't even say that everyone deserves free health care, because the average American shouldn't even be spending that much on health care each year.

The federal government simply cannot be expected to ensure some kind of standard of living and well-being and happiness for each of the individual 300mil+ citizens of this country. You have to take your future into your own hands, and if you want to be a have, you have to work for it. Yes, it's hard, and yes, you might fail. The government is not an endless credit line to sustain your lifestyle, however, and that's what people have come to expect from it.
Any economy that is based on increasing mechanisation, imports and the methodical outsourcing of jobs will automatically see continuing increases in unemployment and people having to rely more and more upon welfare.

Profits continually increase, but are not used as they should be, to improve the general standard of living and make things easier for citizens, but instead are being stolen by a small clique of greedy reactionary parasites.

You simply cannot have a culture where management gets rewarded for outsourcing labour, destroying jobs for the domestic workforce, and then criticise the people that have been made unemployed for not working and exploiting the welfare state.

What you should want is for as many people as possible to have a sense of security. That is not caused by toil, it is caused by having money. The more that taxes and profits are distributed as equally as possible, the better for the whole of society in the long run. The state exists for exactly that purpose, providing citizens with services on a fair and equal basis.
     
gradient
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Dec 31, 2008, 08:37 AM
 
You guys are reading more into my comments then what I said or intended.

Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
It is kind of you to ignore the fact I raise: One year of Social Security and Medicare payments is equivalent to five years of spending in Iraq. There's no way to get around that. And there's no proof that entitlements makes us any better off than killing terrorist filth in foreign countries. I think entitlements make us worse off by making the citizenry more dependent on government handouts, not to mention the truly devastating effects on our national fiscal solvency they have in the long term.
Au contraire. In fact that I didn't mention Medicare or Social Security at all. I mentioned education, employment insurance and health care. Just because the current systems are broken financially, doesn't mean there aren't better systems available that will achieve the same ultimate goal, which is to improve and ensure the health and well-being of all citizens. Your attitude seems akin to the old adage about throwing the baby out with the bath water.


Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
And it still frustrates me every time someone still believes we can be an all-have society.

Not everyone can be a have. It's a harsh reality of life, but no economy can indefinitely sustain a model that allows everyone to have what they want all the time. Period. It's impossible to make sure that everyone has housing, because not everyone wants "just a place to live".
I did not say that I believe we can be an all-have society, merely that I'm saddened by those actively supporting what is an increasing have/have-not disparity. That's a purely moral/emotional response on my part.

Please also note that the very first thing I said was that I agreed with Big Mac that there is no way to guarantee "a good job, a house, cars, luxury goods and money to educate their children". I do, though, believe that we can work towards something better then what we currently have in place. I should also point out that no sane person would ever suggest that a societal model be built around allowing everyone to "have what they want all the time". What comes into play are basic standards of living - no more, no less. Nobody NEEDS luxury goods: televisions, automobiles, yadayada. What every single person does need is food, water, basic clothing and shelter. Without those things you will die. Anyone who would suggest that a society shouldn't attempt to provide those things for all of it's citizens saddens me deeply.
     
ebuddy
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Dec 31, 2008, 08:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
And it still frustrates me every time someone still believes we can be an all-have society.
Correct and unfortunately, it's more realistic to have an 'all, have-not' society. to your post above!

Not everyone can be a have. It's a harsh reality of life, but no economy can indefinitely sustain a model that allows everyone to have what they want all the time. Period. It's impossible to make sure that everyone has housing, because not everyone wants "just a place to live".
Yep. The government is not resourced to care more for you than you care for yourself.

The federal government simply cannot be expected to ensure some kind of standard of living and well-being and happiness for each of the individual 300mil+ citizens of this country. You have to take your future into your own hands, and if you want to be a have, you have to work for it. Yes, it's hard, and yes, you might fail. The government is not an endless credit line to sustain your lifestyle, however, and that's what people have come to expect from it.
Sad, but true. I've got a little experiment folks can run using water to show why this fails. You line up 10 people and tell them all to cup their hands. The 10th person is the one in need of the water. Pour one cup of water into the cupped hands of person 1 and tell them to pour their contents into the cupped hands of person 2 and so forth. By the time you get to the 10th person, there is very little water left. It is very simple, but true. You might be thinking; "yes, but we can line their hands with something and watch that each person is being careful not to drop water". Unfortunately, they need to lose a cup to get a cup the next time. The minute they make due with less, the less they'll get. It'll literally get wasted to ensure the same amount next allotment.

How some folks can absolutely rail on the current Administration for waste, fraud, deceiving the populace to war, and unprecedented civil rights abuses in one breath then advocate we hand over our health care, housing, food, and essentially the entire economy in another is confounding.
ebuddy
     
ebuddy
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Dec 31, 2008, 09:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by gradient View Post
Au contraire. In fact that I didn't mention Medicare or Social Security at all. I mentioned education...
... in which more is spent per child than in any other industrialized nation yet we rank; 16th in math and science?

employment insurance and health care.
I'm not sure I know how the government can do this. If you don't have healthcare in this country, you're not trying. I know this from personal experience. There are over 3 million children eligible for Medicaid yet remain un-enrolled.

Just because the current systems are broken financially, doesn't mean there aren't better systems available that will achieve the same ultimate goal, which is to improve and ensure the health and well-being of all citizens. Your attitude seems akin to the old adage about throwing the baby out with the bath water.
The problem is there is a wealth of evidence both in the US and abroad that suggests any such proposals for more government become less popular in places that have traditionally relied upon them. Having tested these theories out for longer than the US has been in existence, they move towards privatization while the US is moving more towards larger government. If the bathwater is so bad that it might poison an entire society, a baby or two may have to be thrown out with it. This is the sad reality IMO.

I did not say that I believe we can be an all-have society, merely that I'm saddened by those actively supporting what is an increasing have/have-not disparity. That's a purely moral/emotional response on my part.
I don't buy the "disparity" argument. This ideal is founded on the notion that those who "have more" have somehow stolen it or taken it from those who "have less". There is absolutely no data to support this notion. This ideal is also founded on the notion that a government power structure will somehow have more integrity or are more accountable than a private, capitalist power structure. i.e. the strong majority of Americans oppose bailouts, but bailouts increase. The strong majority of Americans support tighter restrictions on immigration, but illegal immigration increases. We simply aren't being represented.

I should also point out that no sane person would ever suggest that a societal model be built around allowing everyone to "have what they want all the time". What comes into play are basic standards of living - no more, no less. Nobody NEEDS luxury goods: televisions, automobiles, yadayada. What every single person does need is food, water, basic clothing and shelter. Without those things you will die. Anyone who would suggest that a society shouldn't attempt to provide those things for all of it's citizens saddens me deeply.
The lowest income quintile per Census Bureau enjoys;
  • 46% of them actually own their homes and they average 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and porch or patio.
  • While just 30 years ago, 36% of all US households had air conditioning; 76% of the poor have air conditioning today.
  • The American poor have more sq footage of living space than the average person (all incomes) in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens...
  • Nearly 75% own a car and 30% own two or more cars.
  • 97% own a color television set and over half own 2 or more color television sets.
  • 78% have a VCR or DVD player, 62% have cable or satellite reception.
  • The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals between the poor and middle class are essentially the same. In fact, in most cases exceeding the recommended norms. Poor children eat more meat on average than all income groups with protein intake 100 times the recommended norm. This by definition has relegated them statistically "super-nourished" and in fact America's poor today are one inch taller and 10 lbs heavier than the GIs who took to Normandy in WWII.
The middle class in many cases are calling for socialized healthcare while Census Bureau statistics show they are spending more on eating out and movies/entertainment than they are on their own healthcare. With car payments that rival mortgages of just a couple decades ago and homes twice the size they need, their calls should fall on deaf ears. Period.

What you're talking about is destitution. The sad reality with this degree of poverty is that it is overwhelmingly due to mental illness and/or severe drug addiction. There are a wealth of programs to address all of these cases. If you're not getting help, you're not trying. Worse, there are accounts of those in vans going about the city when forecast calls for extreme cold and you'd be surprised at the number who won't leave their park bench and the number of those who not only refuse your help, but would readily chase you away. The government will never be resourced to care more for you than you care for yourself.
ebuddy
     
shifuimam
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Dec 31, 2008, 09:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
What you should want is for as many people as possible to have a sense of security. That is not caused by toil, it is caused by having money. The more that taxes and profits are distributed as equally as possible, the better for the whole of society in the long run. The state exists for exactly that purpose, providing citizens with services on a fair and equal basis.
But when you stop and realize that the government is full of humans who are just as flawed as the citizens it protects, it becomes a much less secure situation. People need to take their security into their own hands. They can't expect their government to unilaterally protect them - it's quite obvious that governments can become corrupt and end up destroying the very security they claimed to provide to their citizens.

WRT fair and equal, that is entirely subjective. Is it fair that if I work hard and get promoted at work, I'll be "rewarded" with a higher tax bracket, which means more of my money is stolen and given to people who don't want to work for it?

It's naive and idealistic to think that humans can really live in a utopian communist-type society where everyone shares everything and everyone has the same stuff (e.g. "equal"). The fact of the matter is that humans are driven by instinct and selfishness. With the gift of conscious thought, we can choose to resist our selfish and self-serving instincts, but people are selfish. It's human nature. In a perfect world, communism works. However, in reality - this inherently flawed existence - capitalism and free enterprise do work better, because it means that there are rewards for advancements and research and hard work, and as selfish people we are far more inclined to work when there is something waiting for us at the finish line.

Originally Posted by gradient View Post
Au contraire. In fact that I didn't mention Medicare or Social Security at all. I mentioned education, employment insurance and health care. Just because the current systems are broken financially, doesn't mean there aren't better systems available that will achieve the same ultimate goal, which is to improve and ensure the health and well-being of all citizens. Your attitude seems akin to the old adage about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I did not say that I believe we can be an all-have society, merely that I'm saddened by those actively supporting what is an increasing have/have-not disparity. That's a purely moral/emotional response on my part.

Please also note that the very first thing I said was that I agreed with Big Mac that there is no way to guarantee "a good job, a house, cars, luxury goods and money to educate their children". I do, though, believe that we can work towards something better then what we currently have in place. I should also point out that no sane person would ever suggest that a societal model be built around allowing everyone to "have what they want all the time". What comes into play are basic standards of living - no more, no less. Nobody NEEDS luxury goods: televisions, automobiles, yadayada. What every single person does need is food, water, basic clothing and shelter. Without those things you will die. Anyone who would suggest that a society shouldn't attempt to provide those things for all of it's citizens saddens me deeply.
And our current society does provide those things to people who ask for them. We do have welfare programs. There are homeless shelters in every city and many towns to provide a bed to sleep in at night.

The thing is, people aren't satisfied with that. A person living in Compton isn't going to be satisfied until they're living in Bel-Air. And, beyond that, what many people fail to realize is that there are quite a few broke-ass homeless people who ultimately choose that life.

Take the example of a woman I worked with at Starbucks. She was homeless for awhile, and she had too much pride to be seen going into a homeless shelter for a free hot, healthy meal. Instead, she chose to eat out of a trash can.

Or, take the man I know of in Indianapolis who lives under a tree on a church property. He's a drug addict, and his extremely wealthy parents spent tens of thousands of dollars sending him to the best rehab programs in the country. Trouble is, he doesn't want to break his habit. After years of burning money on him, his parents got sick of it and kicked him out. He chose his addiction over having food and shelter.

No, not everyone is like this, but if you compare the life of a homeless person in, say, LA or Manhattan to the life of someone living in abject poverty in Haiti, people here have it pretty damn good. There are options for these people - it's that many of them are disinterested in cleaning up their lives. It's that they are satisfied living what we see as a less-than-human standard of living. Throwing more money on the problem is going to be a waste of time. Those people simply must choose to help themselves before anyone else can lift a finger for them.

What the left wants is to create a purely subjective and arbitrary standard of living by which to compare the citizens of the United States. Living in a little studio apartment and surviving on ramen and cheez-wiz isn't enough for them - they want to provide home ownership and "better" food and free money to people. I've seen how welfare subjects live. I was surrounded by them in high school, when my mother and I lived in a low-income area of Indianapolis. These people were living what I saw as a subpar life, but they were happy to stay at home watching satellite TV and subsisting on Doritos and Diet Coke every day. You can't force people into a higher standard of living.

When you read about child abuse cases in government projects, where the apartment is infested with roaches and rats and there's animal and human waste everywhere, do you think that's because that single mother doesn't have enough money, or do you think it's because she has no respect for herself, her family, and her environment, and is completely disinterested in making the best of what she has?

However, to avoid detracting too much from the OP, the fact is that Americans do harbor a strong sense of entitlement. Citizens of this country believe their government is obligated to provide them with various elements of their life to keep them happy. As has been quoted so many times, the constitution ensures your right to the pursuit of happiness - it does not promise happiness or prosperity or even mediocrity.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 10:09 AM
 
I find these debates frustrating because all we are arguing about is a matter of degree. The federal government does support some kind of minimum standard of living through various means, like the federal minimum wage. We can't have a total free market economy any more than we can have a total planned economy, and I think everyone acknowledges that. Yet we can't accomplish things like social security reform because both sides take extreme rhetorical positions.

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Dec 31, 2008, 10:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Certainly the ideal is to achieve that standard of living. But there's no way to guarantee that every person will gain that.
And, in fact, the American economic system would likely collapse if every person achieved that standard of living since nobody would be doing the crap jobs that represent a low standard of living.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 10:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
It is kind of you to ignore the fact I raise: One year of Social Security and Medicare payments is equivalent to five years of spending in Iraq.
Where's the math for this?

Canada has about 10% the population of the US, yet I'm fairly certain that Canada isn't spending $52B (10% the cost of five years in Iraq) on it's annual Social and Medical Insurance plans.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 10:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
And, in fact, the American economic system would likely collapse if every person achieved that standard of living since nobody would be doing the crap jobs that represent a low standard of living.
That's an excellent point, and one people easily ignore (or just don't realize from the outset).

A well-rounded society involves people from all kinds of economic "classes" - you have to have some level of the broke-ass desperate types who work temp jobs and drive garbage trucks and snowplows. Those low-class, blue collar jobs are still jobs, and they're still necessary for a fully functioning community.

Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
I find these debates frustrating because all we are arguing about is a matter of degree. The federal government does support some kind of minimum standard of living through various means, like the federal minimum wage. We can't have a total free market economy any more than we can have a total planned economy, and I think everyone acknowledges that. Yet we can't accomplish things like social security reform because both sides take extreme rhetorical positions.
I think it's more that we can't accomplish Social Security reform, because fixing it means reducing it, and nobody is willing to accept that as the only viable solution.

The problem is that people are only projecting into the very near future. By the time I retire in forty years or so, I will have dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Social Security. Without desperately needed change, though, I won't see any of that money. Either way, I'm going to lose. I'd rather cut off right now and quit burning money on it, rather than lose exponentially more of my income over the next four decades with zero personal return or gain.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 10:42 AM
 
When SS began, the ratio of workers to retirees was around 12-15:1 It is now 3:1
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 10:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Where's the math for this?

Canada has about 10% the population of the US, yet I'm fairly certain that Canada isn't spending $52B (10% the cost of five years in Iraq) on it's annual Social and Medical Insurance plans.
Just a quick Google search returned this:

At the end of 2007, nearly 50 million people were receiving benefits: 34 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, and 9 million disabled workers and their dependents. During the last year an estimated 163 million workers had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes. Total benefits paid in 2007 were $585 billion.
And, from a CNN money article:

The bill for Iraq over the past five years is now approaching a cumulative $500 billion, or about $100 billion per year on average.
ebuddy was off by $85 billion. Social Security is costing nearly six times as much as the war in Iraq annually.

There is currently a surplus in the Social Security budget, and that money is being used to lessen the deficit in other federal budgets. The critical problem is that as more and more baby boomers retire, that surplus is going to dwindle down to nothing, at which point Social Security will move into the red, which will not only increase its own deficit but the deficit of the other budgets that were relying on its surplus for their funding.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
You simply cannot have a culture where management gets rewarded for outsourcing labour, destroying jobs for the domestic workforce, and then criticise the people that have been made unemployed for not working and exploiting the welfare state.
Why do you think so many companies are so interested in outsourcing jobs?

Here, we have this ridiculous idea of unions, where blue collar workers mobilize and create a force to blackmail and bully corporations into providing benefits they cannot afford to provide. By moving manufacturing and manual labor work out of the United States, corporations are protecting themselves from the financial black hole that unions have become.

And, the fact of the matter is, even broke-ass Americans working in factories have a higher standard of living than a Chinese factory worker or a Mexican farmhand making less than a dollar an hour. The cost of living is higher here, the standard of living is much higher, and businesses are going to go where labor is cheap.

While outsourcing can be very bad - my particular field (web development) is almost entirely outsourced to India now, except in small business, government work, and the non-profit sector - at the same time, other countries' economies are, at least in part, dependent on outsourced labor needs from the United States. Do you think China would be where it is today if it weren't for cheap labor and cheap manufacturing in that country, the need for which has been provided by Western society?

There is a happy medium in there. Companies sometimes can't afford American labor costs, and the global economy is far too dependent on America to suddenly pull back en masse.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Just a quick Google search returned this:
Ok, so it seems that Canada is currently spending around $170B per year on Health Care. Of course, this includes the running of all hospitals, which are nationalized in Canada.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Ok, so it seems that Canada is currently spending around $170B per year on Health Care. Of course, this includes the running of all hospitals, which are nationalized in Canada.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada
And if Canada has roughly a tenth of the American population (it's actually like 11% according to the 2007 census, but 10% is close enough), that's $1.7 trillion, not accounting for the fact that the more people you have, the more likely you are to have an increase in serious medical problems, which translates into a marked increase in total health care expenses.

That number alone shows what a bad, bad, bad, bad idea nationalized health care is in a country as large as the United States, and doesn't even take into account things like surgery waiting lists, or the blatant fact that pharmaceutical and medical technology research and development would be almost entirely halted once privatization in the health care industry were removed (or severely restricted).
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
And if Canada has roughly a tenth of the American population (it's actually like 11% according to the 2007 census, but 10% is close enough), that's $1.7 trillion, not accounting for the fact that the more people you have, the more likely you are to have an increase in serious medical problems, which translates into a marked increase in total health care expenses.

That number alone shows what a bad, bad, bad, bad idea nationalized health care is in a country as large as the United States, and doesn't even take into account things like surgery waiting lists, or the blatant fact that pharmaceutical and medical technology research and development would be almost entirely halted once privatization in the health care industry were removed (or severely restricted).
What politician has proposed that the U.S. adopt a Canadian, French, or U.K. style of national health care? I've haven't heard any politician--even Democrats-- talk about nationalizing hospitals or pharmaceutical companies. The only thing that's being proposed is that the poor would get access to their own health insurance. That health care would still be provided by private companies so I don't see what you're afraid of.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
And if Canada has roughly a tenth of the American population (it's actually like 11% according to the 2007 census, but 10% is close enough), that's $1.7 trillion, not accounting for the fact that the more people you have, the more likely you are to have an increase in serious medical problems, which translates into a marked increase in total health care expenses.

That number alone shows what a bad, bad, bad, bad idea nationalized health care is in a country as large as the United States, and doesn't even take into account things like surgery waiting lists, or the blatant fact that pharmaceutical and medical technology research and development would be almost entirely halted once privatization in the health care industry were removed (or severely restricted).
Yep. I concede the point on cost.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:37 AM
 
Yes, but you can't really deny that the ultimate wet dream is a fully socialized health care system. We're just taking baby steps before we take the plunge.

I'm not entirely convinced that health care is that inaccessible, either.

Americans need to take better care of themselves. A healthy adult shouldn't even really need to visit the doctor each year, aside from known preventive measures such as pap smears, mammograms, and colonoscopies. And, as I have discovered through hearing others' stories, many hospitals will allow you to pay down a bill gradually, even with no interest.

At the end of the day, the end result is still the same - gainfully employed and productive members of society will be taxed further to cover the asses of people who can't or won't achieve more for themselves. Suddenly, on top of paying into health care for the elderly and the poor (it's not like we don't already have Medicaid, remember), AND paying for my own health insurance, I'll be covering someone else's health insurance, too!

The real kicker is that it's likely that broke people using government health care will end up getting better and cheaper health care than myself, even though I make more than them and, for all intents and purposes of this discussion, would be considered economically and socially superior to them. It's certainly not something that excites me.

I hear arguments from both sides of the political spectrum about health care for children. That is a seriously sticky situation - we don't want children to needlessly suffer, but if women know that their children will pretty much become wards of the state (while still in the primary care of the mother), there's a hell of a lot less motivation to, you know, not get pregnant.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 11:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Why do you think so many companies are so interested in outsourcing jobs?

Here, we have this ridiculous idea of unions, where blue collar workers mobilize and create a force to blackmail and bully corporations into providing benefits they cannot afford to provide. By moving manufacturing and manual labor work out of the United States, corporations are protecting themselves from the financial black hole that unions have become.
It's so tiring to read of these nasty unions, allegedly breaking corporations. Are we admitting that we have poor management, who are, after all, in charge of running the corporations, and giving the unions what they want? Inept management has run this country into the ground, not people asking for pay raises and benefits. It's also interesting to note that the growth of the middle class in America was largely accomplished by working class people buying the cars they made, and the appliances and houses they built, and the fact that the roads we drive on were built by our tax dollars, as were many effective government institutions, like NIH and OSHA (which the present administration has eviscerated, but that's another story altogether, isn't it). The facts are that unions and management alike got fat and happy together for many years, as they saw no end to building American products, ignoring the threat of cheaper wages elsewhere (or pretending the threat didn't exist). We Americans are a short-sighted people, who, despite being relatively intelligent, don't operate using reason, but rather operate on emotion, being used to taking what we want, when we want. We have now reached a point where we have people all over the globe who want to increase their standard of living, and are willing to work at lesser wages and benefits than we have to get there, and we don't know how to respond to that, so one of the convenient scapegoats becomes those nasty unions, when in fact we have no one to blame but ourselves. History is replete with the rise and fall of empires; this is just another example.

And, the fact of the matter is, even broke-ass Americans working in factories have a higher standard of living than a Chinese factory worker or a Mexican farmhand making less than a dollar an hour. The cost of living is higher here, the standard of living is much higher, and businesses are going to go where labor is cheap.
The fact of the matter is that our standards of living are going to decline, perhaps precipitously, as we discover that the rest of the world doesn't need us as much as we think they do. Making useless generalizations about how much better off the average American is compared to a Chinese factory worker or Mexican farmhand accomplishes nothing but to point out such useless generalizations.

While outsourcing can be very bad - my particular field (web development) is almost entirely outsourced to India now, except in small business, government work, and the non-profit sector - at the same time, other countries' economies are, at least in part, dependent on outsourced labor needs from the United States. Do you think China would be where it is today if it weren't for cheap labor and cheap manufacturing in that country, the need for which has been provided by Western society?

There is a happy medium in there. Companies sometimes can't afford American labor costs, and the global economy is far too dependent on America to suddenly pull back en masse.
You're correct in your assessment that the global economy is too dependent to suddenly pull back en masse; unfortunately, the rest of the world is discovering that there are other people who will buy what they produce, and someday relatively soon we're going to find out just how unnecessary we're going to become on the world stage. Our arrogance and hubris have kept us at the center of attention for longer than most empires enjoy similar power and status, but, once again, history is full of tales of rising and falling powers, and although we'd like to believe we're special, the facts are that we're not. We've especially shown that in the last few decades, where we've deluded ourselves into thinking we can make a living via a select few moving money around, and given away our manufacturing abilities to the very countries who are going to supplant us.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 12:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Yes, but you can't really deny that the ultimate wet dream is a fully socialized health care system. We're just taking baby steps before we take the plunge.
I don't see a huge movement toward socialized medicine really. There is widespread concern that health care become more accessible, obviously--but even among my friends who are often very liberal recognize that nationalized medicine would not be right for this country.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I'm not entirely convinced that health care is that inaccessible, either.

Americans need to take better care of themselves. A healthy adult shouldn't even really need to visit the doctor each year, aside from known preventive measures such as pap smears, mammograms, and colonoscopies. And, as I have discovered through hearing others' stories, many hospitals will allow you to pay down a bill gradually, even with no interest.
Paying down a bill is feasible for a relatively inexpensive procedure. However, its hard to pay down a $100,000 bill if you're making minimum wage. I agree Americans need to take better care of themselves but if you're working two minimum wage jobs its hard to find time to exercise.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
At the end of the day, the end result is still the same - gainfully employed and productive members of society will be taxed further to cover the asses of people who can't or won't achieve more for themselves. Suddenly, on top of paying into health care for the elderly and the poor (it's not like we don't already have Medicaid, remember), AND paying for my own health insurance, I'll be covering someone else's health insurance, too!
We're going to experience higher taxes regardless of what happens with health care in this country. The only choice left for us is what to do with that money. There are plenty of gainfully employed and productive members of society who, for whatever reason lose their jobs--or get sick for extended periods. I like the idea that such a person has the opportunity to get better and become productive again.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
The real kicker is that it's likely that broke people using government health care will end up getting better and cheaper health care than myself, even though I make more than them and, for all intents and purposes of this discussion, would be considered economically and socially superior to them. It's certainly not something that excites me.
Why do you think you'll get a lower standard of health care? Once again however, this will not be "government health care" per se since no political leader in the U.S. is proposing truly nationalized health care.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I hear arguments from both sides of the political spectrum about health care for children. That is a seriously sticky situation - we don't want children to needlessly suffer, but if women know that their children will pretty much become wards of the state (while still in the primary care of the mother), there's a hell of a lot less motivation to, you know, not get pregnant.
Ideally, over time the standard of living and education level for poor people will improve if the right programs are put into place. Educated, middle class mothers are less likely to have children they aren't financially ready for.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 12:13 PM
 
So, given that the US is basically broke, entangled in the Greatest Ponzi scheme of all times (Social Security), and the Fed keeps printing money like there's no tomorrow.

When do you guys think will the run on the US $ start ?

All those foreign creditors and investors will wake up some day stop believing the lies our government is putting out about the brilliant future we have. They will start demanding their money back, which we can't, because we spent it on useless consumption and gave them basically IOUs.

Welcome to hyperinflation and stagnation.

It's gonna be an awful rough ride, once this whole scheme starts to fall apart.

-t
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
It's so tiring to read of these nasty unions, allegedly breaking corporations. Are we admitting that we have poor management, who are, after all, in charge of running the corporations, and giving the unions what they want? Inept management has run this country into the ground, not people asking for pay raises and benefits. It's also interesting to note that the growth of the middle class in America was largely accomplished by working class people buying the cars they made, and the appliances and houses they built, and the fact that the roads we drive on were built by our tax dollars, as were many effective government institutions, like NIH and OSHA (which the present administration has eviscerated, but that's another story altogether, isn't it). The facts are that unions and management alike got fat and happy together for many years, as they saw no end to building American products, ignoring the threat of cheaper wages elsewhere (or pretending the threat didn't exist). We Americans are a short-sighted people, who, despite being relatively intelligent, don't operate using reason, but rather operate on emotion, being used to taking what we want, when we want. We have now reached a point where we have people all over the globe who want to increase their standard of living, and are willing to work at lesser wages and benefits than we have to get there, and we don't know how to respond to that, so one of the convenient scapegoats becomes those nasty unions, when in fact we have no one to blame but ourselves. History is replete with the rise and fall of empires; this is just another example.
There are other factors at work here, but unions are not a good or useful thing anymore. They are based wholly around human selfishness and ignorance.

Look back on that stupid Screen Writers Guild strike last year during the prime time television season. Those writers going on strike didn't just affect them. It didn't just affect the actors making hundreds of thousands an episode. It impacted hundreds of employees, from the guy who sweeps the sound stage at the end of a day to the woman who touches up Steve Carell's makeup before each take of an episode of The Office. It was much easier to go on strike to get what they wanted, so they did, and it hurt a lot more people than their little group.

The United Auto Workers union has managed to completely blackmail the Big Three into providing asinine benefits, like lifetime health care coverage and an overpriced, unaffordable pension plan. They've managed to secure for themselves wages that are far higher than what Honda or Toyota pay their factory workers in their American engine plants. It has decimated the financial state of American auto companies.

Yes, the Big Three have been needing to change their business model for more than a decade. They've been too focused on gas-inefficient luxury vehicles like Hummers and large SUVs. They got into the quality control game far too late - only in the past five years have I seen American cars come close to the build quality of even a Hyundai, let alone a Toyota or a Honda or a Nissan.

But even if they fix their business and manufacturing model and improve their output, they are still bound to the UAW. They are still bound to the complex contracts they have to sign with independent dealerships, which prevents them from shutting down many of those dealerships to save costs. They still have to fund the benefits for all those retired employees and all those current employees who are under the current union contract. It's a massive amount of money, and it's more than any sane corporation should have to spend on their employees.

There are multiple groups to blame for the failure of the America auto industry - the UAW is by no stretch of the imagination an innocent victim here.

Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
I don't see a huge movement toward socialized medicine really. There is widespread concern that health care become more accessible, obviously--but even among my friends who are often very liberal recognize that nationalized medicine would not be right for this country.

Paying down a bill is feasible for a relatively inexpensive procedure. However, its hard to pay down a $100,000 bill if you're making minimum wage. I agree Americans need to take better care of themselves but if you're working two minimum wage jobs its hard to find time to exercise.
I don't think that most people face those kinds of medical bills. It's more like people who have diabetes from morbid obesity, or respiratory problems from years of smoking. It's stuff that I as a taxpayer shouldn't have to fund, because it's stuff that is unnecessary.

I don't think we're going to immediately drop into nationalized medicine, but I do think that it is eventually inevitable - quite possibly during my lifetime, even.

Educated, middle class mothers are less likely to have children they aren't financially ready for.
I don't get this. At all. There is enough on network television alone to allow broke women to comprehend that having irresponsible, unprotected sex can result in a child.

And, even if you are the rare case where you're so ignorant that you don't realize it, why do these women get pregnant multiple times?

There was this idiotic article in the Indianapolis Star several years ago about how sad it was that a local single mother had her children taken from her. She had six children. By five different men. In a span of about eight years.

I'm sorry, but SCREW THAT. That woman needed to keep her knees shut or get her tubes tied. Instead, because she was single and a racial minority, she was living on government cheese paid for by my tax dollars. I was supporting the fact that she was too stupid to avoid getting pregnant six times.

I understand that an increased standard of living will probably increase the number of high school graduates and intelligent, gainfully employed offspring from low income, low class families. I don't understand how a higher standard of living is required to comprehend the very simple biological fact that unprotected sex causes babies.

It doesn't take a genius or even a junior high education to realize that if you already have to go on welfare to support illegitimate child #1, there's a damn good chance you're not going to be able to handle six of them.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 12:54 PM
 
IMO, unions served a very valuable purpose, when they were created and governments didn't regulate things like working conditions and minimum wages. Now, however, they don't seem to serve any purpose ... and I'm generally left leaning.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 01:24 PM
 
Absolutely. Back when unions first came up, blue collar employees were being heavily exploited by their employers. Some jobs, like working in mines and in factories, presented safety threats to the employees, and OSHA didn't exist yet to ensure employee safety.

Now, however, risk-free jobs are unionized (the office admins at my last job were in a union - what kind of personal injury threat comes from answering the phone all day?), and unions are used more to blackmail corporations than anything else.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 02:41 PM
 
One area where I can still see the need for unions is government employees. There's a conflict when your employer is the body that's supposed to be protecting you from being taken advantage of by your employer.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 02:47 PM
 
The thing is, I don't see a need for unions there, because government jobs are already ridiculously cushy.

I'm a government employee, and the health and retirement benefits here are far, far better than any private corporation could hope to offer. There's definitely no abuse or exploitation going on there - you get paid a little less (the rule of thumb in the US is 15% less than competitive private organizations), but the benefits more than compensate for the salary difference.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 02:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
IMO, unions served a very valuable purpose, when they were created and governments didn't regulate things like working conditions and minimum wages. Now, however, they don't seem to serve any purpose ... and I'm generally left leaning.
Unfortunately, longer working hours (with less overtime protection), less benefits (or the elimination of them altogether), and stagnant wages are making a return, as the gap between the rich and the rest continues to widen.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:10 PM
 
It's heartening to see government employees and insurance industry hacks dumping on factory workers. It sometimes helps to have actually struggled to make ends meet, to see both sides of the equation. Never having been a "wealthy" person, I guess I don't appreciate their perspective either. However, knowing the difference between right and wrong, helping your fellow man, and generally being a good citizen is completely foreign to the privileged posters here. For shame!!!
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
So, given that the US is basically broke, entangled in the Greatest Ponzi scheme of all times (Social Security), and the Fed keeps printing money like there's no tomorrow.
Yeah, too true, but don't forget that Social(ist) (In)Security's unfunded liabilities are dwarfed by Medicrap's.

All those foreign creditors and investors will wake up some day stop believing the lies our government is putting out about the brilliant future we have. They will start demanding their money back, which we can't, because we spent it on useless consumption and gave them basically IOUs. Welcome to hyperinflation and stagnation. It's gonna be an awful rough ride, once this whole scheme starts to fall apart.
We're going to see hyperinflation eventually from all of the money the governments around the world have been printing as of late. However, I personally don't think the $ will ever be allowed to collapse for one simple reason: If the dollar collapses, everything else is levered to it. We saw that this year when the American financial crisis caused the $ to strengthen considerably against the other world currencies, oil and gold. Counter-intuitive certainly, but that's what will happen again if the $ ever comes under siege. It really is the world's reserve currency, and it can never be allowed to fail because too much of it is held by the world, and it props up too much of the world. The $ is literally too important to ever fail, and if it ever did the rest of the world would fail with it.

As for the US economy itself, there are a few scenarios I can foresee long term. Either the pyramid scheme entitlement benefits are substantially scaled back to save the budget, or there's a major showdown over it that shuts down government until a solution is found, or Congress decides not to care about the national debt and eventually America ends up declaring national bankruptcy. That would be cute. But the $, as far as I can determine, will never be allowed to fail. The rest of the world is just too connected and dependent on it.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by stumblinmike View Post
It's heartening to see government employees and insurance industry hacks dumping on factory workers. It sometimes helps to have actually struggled to make ends meet, to see both sides of the equation. Never having been a "wealthy" person, I guess I don't appreciate their perspective either. However, knowing the difference between right and wrong, helping your fellow man, and generally being a good citizen is completely foreign to the privileged posters here. For shame!!!
Jealousy is an ugly thing, isn't it? And, shockingly, it's what drives people to demand that the rich (or the middle class, such as myself) distribute what they have to those who want more.

I'm not wealthy. I'm not remotely wealthy. I'm your average middle class citizen. Everything in my life I have worked for, so don't you dare criticize me for being a successful individual who has done something with my life. If it weren't for people with taxable incomes, your precious social programs couldn't exist. You do realize that, right? That money has to come from somewhere, and biting the hand that feeds you is no way to behave.

You are completely out of line to insinuate that those who are successful or financially stable or disinterested in having more of their income stolen by the government are somehow morally corrupt, unwilling to help others, and are "generally bad citizens". Being unhappy about the government stealing my income to give to others is not the same as being a cold-hearted selfish blue meanie who won't help anyone with anything, and you know it.

Take your insults elsewhere.
( Last edited by shifuimam; Dec 31, 2008 at 03:29 PM. )
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:27 PM
 
Dude, I am NOT broke. I HAVE worked for the govt. (contractor), and I HAVE seen how hard you work! 15% less pay for 75% less work is not my idea of working hard! YOU have the entitlement mentality. And YOU don't want to share it. Again, shame on you!!!!
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:33 PM
 
If you want to call it entitlement to believe that people should be allowed to keep what they have rightfully earned, then fine. That is not the topic of the thread or the original post.

People believe they are entitled to certain things without having to work for them - health care, housing, education, etc. As I previously said, I have worked for everything I have. You're goddamn right I'm entitled to keep that, because I gave myself to obtain it.

I don't want to arbitrarily distribute my income - or anyone else's, for that matter - to people who neither deserve it or are willing to work for it. Shame on you for lowering your standards for society to the point that you are willing to settle for lazy, broke citizens who want to stay at home, pop out illegitimate children, and live on taxpayer dime as a lifestyle.

Don't come in here telling me that I don't work hard. I don't give two sh!ts if you worked as a government contractor somewhere and saw people not working as hard. You know absolutely nothing about me, nothing about what I do, and nothing about my work ethic. Coming in here and flinging blind insults at others does nothing but make a person look judgmental and uneducated.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:33 PM
 
No need for the personal attacks.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:36 PM
 
Yea, ease up... I didn't mean to rile you up...
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by stumblinmike View Post
Yea, ease up... I didn't mean to rile you up...
Yes, you did. Your attacking attitude and insinuations that we're horrible people for not embracing socialism with open arms made that clear.

If you have something of value to contribute to the conversation, by all means do so. But don't come into any thread here and start randomly yelling out how selfish others are, or how they should be ashamed, or how they are bad people. It brings nothing to a conversation.
     
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:39 PM
 
When you're 24 years old, you have a certain amount of experience on the planet..
When you're 48 years old, you have twice that experience...
I appreciate your moxy, but sir, you really don't know what your talking about!
     
shifuimam
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:41 PM
 
And there are 53-year-olds who still don't have life figured out. There are also grown adults who still don't know the grammatical difference between "you're" and "your".

Again, you know nothing about me, nothing about my life, and nothing about what I have experienced. Please do not make baseless assumptions about me. Please do not come in here screaming about how I have no work ethic or that I'm a selfish evil person or that I have no heart or that I have no morals. Those attacks are unnecessary, inappropriate, and unwarranted.

If you have something of value to contribute here, do so. Otherwise, find another forum to troll.
     
stumblinmike
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Dec 31, 2008, 03:52 PM
 
I stand corrected (on the grammar).
I state again, your young, inexperienced and full of pi** and vinegar...
I know, I have been there!
No, I don't know you.
I have worked in a factory!
I went to school and got a better job.
In MY experience the AVERAGE factory worker works MUCH harder than ANY govt. worker. ANY!!!
Good for you, you have a good job helping people.
MANY factory workers CANNOT improve their lot, saddled with stagnant wages, cheap immigrant labor, and management that doesn't care about quality, just quantity. I HAVE SEEN IT!!!!
I will bet that in the future, your views will have mellowed , as you will see firsthand how hard work and dedication SHOULD help you advance, but OFTEN doesn't!!!
I ONCE had views like yours, I have seen the light.
I apologize in advance for any spelling/grammitcal errors.
     
shifuimam
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:03 PM
 
I'm not as inexperienced as you think I am. I'm not naive or idealistic. I'm well aware of the realities of life. Perhaps a factory worker cannot do much more with his life, but why can't he learn to be satisfied with what he has?

This comes back to my comment about the left wanting to judge American citizens against an arbitrary standard of living. If a factory worker drives a ten-year-old car and lives in a cheap little aluminum siding house in a low-rent subdivision and can't afford to go out to eat every week, I'm not seeing any reason why he should be getting handouts from the government.

My comments about the unions are not that factory workers are inherently bad people. It's that unions have too much power to blackmail their employers into providing benefits that the company simply can't afford. This is blatantly clear with how the UAW has manipulated the American auto industry, and it's a big reason why the Big Three have tanked so horribly.

You can't assume that because I'm not yet in my 40s, I'm naive, ignorant, unwilling to see the truth, or anything else. So how about this: please refrain from making any statements directed at my individual person and character, including things like "you'll figure it out eventually" or "you'll wise up soon enough". The only conclusion you can possibly draw from this thread is that I'm a conservative Republican. You cannot legitimately create any assumptions on whether or not I have real-world experience, whether or not I've been wealthy in the past, or whether or not I work hard. Your experiences in life do not allow for a blanket generalization on the total American workforce.

Perhaps you worked as a government contractor somewhere, and were unimpressed with the work ethic of the specific government employees you dealt with. Unfortunately, you can't use that as a basis for how the rest of us work. In fact, everyone I know here works plenty hard. We love our jobs, but we're not lazy bums. Please do not tell me that I (or the people I work with here) don't work as hard as someone else. That's completely subjective, and since you know nothing about me, it's not your conclusion to make. Period.

Now can we please get back to the original topic at hand?
     
Dakar V
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
why can't he learn to be satisfied with what he has?
Because the commercial entities in this country are hell-bent on doing the opposite.
     
stumblinmike
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:09 PM
 
Absolutely!
The unions are not perfect, people should work hard to get what they deserve, and the silver-spooners should walk a mile in the other guys boots before calling them lazy, baby popping cretins!
Better?
PS:Now get back to "work"!!!!
( Last edited by stumblinmike; Dec 31, 2008 at 04:17 PM. )
     
Zeeb
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:15 PM
 
I would say that only naive beliefs that some posters hold on the forums is that one pure political philosophy is THE best answer to all our problems. There is actually very little actual discussion going on here. Just purist political philosophies bouncing off each other.
     
Chuckit
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by stumblinmike View Post
When you're 24 years old, you have a certain amount of experience on the planet..
When you're 48 years old, you have twice that experience...
I appreciate your moxy, but sir, you really don't know what your talking about!
Would you like me to get a quote from an old person who happens to be a conservative so the idea can be magically valid thanks to his age?

Really, there are some things you can write off as youthful ignorance, but this isn't one of them. It's actually more common for people to be liberal in their youth and conservative when they're older, so if anything you have it backwards.
Chuck
___
"Instead of either 'multi-talented' or 'multitalented' use 'bisexual'."
     
stumblinmike
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:19 PM
 
Who said I was common? I think once people see how others struggle, it changes their thinking. I know it did for me!!! And I would say I am a better person for it. (not judging, mind you)
     
Zeeb
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Dec 31, 2008, 04:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I'm not as inexperienced as you think I am. I'm not naive or idealistic. I'm well aware of the realities of life. Perhaps a factory worker cannot do much more with his life, but why can't he learn to be satisfied with what he has?

This comes back to my comment about the left wanting to judge American citizens against an arbitrary standard of living. If a factory worker drives a ten-year-old car and lives in a cheap little aluminum siding house in a low-rent subdivision and can't afford to go out to eat every week, I'm not seeing any reason why he should be getting handouts from the government.

My comments about the unions are not that factory workers are inherently bad people. It's that unions have too much power to blackmail their employers into providing benefits that the company simply can't afford. This is blatantly clear with how the UAW has manipulated the American auto industry, and it's a big reason why the Big Three have tanked so horribly.

You can't assume that because I'm not yet in my 40s, I'm naive, ignorant, unwilling to see the truth, or anything else. So how about this: please refrain from making any statements directed at my individual person and character, including things like "you'll figure it out eventually" or "you'll wise up soon enough". The only conclusion you can possibly draw from this thread is that I'm a conservative Republican. You cannot legitimately create any assumptions on whether or not I have real-world experience, whether or not I've been wealthy in the past, or whether or not I work hard. Your experiences in life do not allow for a blanket generalization on the total American workforce.

Perhaps you worked as a government contractor somewhere, and were unimpressed with the work ethic of the specific government employees you dealt with. Unfortunately, you can't use that as a basis for how the rest of us work. In fact, everyone I know here works plenty hard. We love our jobs, but we're not lazy bums. Please do not tell me that I (or the people I work with here) don't work as hard as someone else. That's completely subjective, and since you know nothing about me, it's not your conclusion to make. Period.

Now can we please get back to the original topic at hand?
Ok, I'll try to bring this thread back at little.

I'm actually a manager of unionized employees. (Since I'm the manager, I'm not in a union myself.) After working at my employer for almost 3 years, I can certainly say that my unionized employees do not work as hard as the non-union workers at my company. They punch out at 5pm and whatever work that is not done sits until the next day. All sick days are treated as a benefit and every single sick day is taken by the end of the year.

However, there's flipside to this story. The union workers I have tend to be smarter and highly trained. I can usually trust them to do fairly complex tasks on their own and they are friendly to talk to. Additionally, they have worked at the company for many years making them even more valuable. The security of unions seems to attract people who don't like to change a lot. They'd rather have that security in their lives rather than get paid more to fully utilize their potential in a less secure environment. If the union at my company were eliminated I would lose those workers since the salary for their positions would likely come down to market. My highly skilled union workers who are a bit on the lazy side sometimes would be replaced with the standard, minimum wage fare of the area which are completely unreliable, with almost zero social or work skills. You'll know the type of worker I'm talking about when you call certain customer service lines and get greeted with someone with extreme attitude who wants to get you off the phone.

Additionally, even though I'm not in a union myself the unionized work force sets the tone for all of us actually. Since my workers clear out at 5, I generally stay until 6 or so to tie up loose ends if I need to--rarely longer.

Overall, I acknowledge the inherent problems with some union workers but I'm glad I work and manage them. Do I think unions are good for all types of organizations? NO. There are highly corrupt, counter productive unions out there that think their company exists only to pay them benefits and not serve customers but you can't paint everyone with the same brush.
     
 
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