3
   

Economy: Human Hardship

 
 
leowis1
 
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 09:38 am
Last week I'm going home from work and walking through the train station (Philadelphia). There was a guy standing there with a sign "LAID OFF. FAMILY IN NEED. PLEASE HELP". He was not a homeless person or a druggie. He was clean cut and respectible looking. He was so embarrassed to be standing there that he was looking at the ceiling. It hurt seeing this. I was sad for him. He has haunted me this past week. I can't get him out of my mind. I searched the internet for pictures of the great depression. Over and over I see pictures of men just like him holding the same signs. This is soo sad.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 2,817 • Replies: 45
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 10:01 am
@leowis1,
When I lived on Long Island, there was a guy like that who would go on the trains before they left Penn. Station. He'd say, "I just need $2.50 to get home to Syosset. (or wherever)." He was smart enough to keep his story straight.

One time, though, he stayed too long and the train left Penn. Station, bound for Jamaica. He cursed the conductor up and down - he didn't want to be on that train. And of course he didn't, as it was all a scam. He was panhandling on all of the trains. On the Huntington branch, he'd claim to be going to Syosset. On the Great Neck branch, he'd pretend to be going to Little Neck, etc.

I am not saying that this guy is a scam artist or that all folks are who are asking for $$. But scammers absolutely do exist, and their modus operandi is to make you feel as guilty as possible so that you will open up your wallet. And you may be doing someone a favor. Or you might be buying them another bottle of Thunderbird. You have no way of knowing, or confirming, any of this.

Want to do good for people and have at least a little bit of an assurance that it's going to people who need it (or, at least, that the people who are taking your $$ are accountable for it)? Then do some research and give to a charity that supports the homeless.

Here's a review of a charity that helps homeless veterans in Philadelphia -
http://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/view/the-philadelphia-veterans-multi-service-education-center-inc
leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 10:21 am
@jespah,
I did not give this guy money. I believe him because he looked ashamed to be asking. But it all could be an act? The economy sucks and I believe we're on the cusp of a depression. We're 4+yrs removed from the panic of 2008 and nothing feels better. The unemployed + under employed is probably over 20%. Our easy money policy has to end either voluntary or involuntary (bond holder revolt). And that's when the house of cards is going to come caving in. That guy with the sign just makes the vision very clear to me. And its very sad.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:01 pm
@leowis1,
Unfortunately, the have's and have not's are increasing in numbers - even as our economy continues to struggle to maintain job growth. With the politicians in Wn DC trying to their very best to destroy what we have, it seems like a lost cause to even write to them to be "more rational." With the sequesture facing us on March 1, the GOP's stance of "no negotiating" will further destroy the middle class.

Politics lacks logic or common sense, and we're the ones who voted them in.

Congress' performance rating is at a new low, but people will continue to vote in the same representatives from their districts.

We are our own worst enemy. Good luck when the sequesture hits our economy on March 1. We deserve it.
leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 01:56 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I don't know if the sequestation is a bad thing? We tried deficit spending in yr2008. It was successful in employing teachers, firefighters and policemen. But when the funds expired in yr2010, they were still laid off. Townships had to right size their govt/business with revenues. I've lost confidence in govt spending as a solution. Spain, Greece and Portagul are going through incredible hardships because the bond holders want their money back. I see the same outcome here if govt spending continues. But I don't know....
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 03:34 pm
@leowis1,
The sequesture is a bad thing; the government will cut funding for jobs at a time when consumer spending is barely maintaining our economy. With those thousands who lose their jobs, consumer spending and tax revenues will drop. This will spiral into more jobs losses, because demand for goods and services will decrease.

The sequesture will also cut funding for job training, $1.6 billion cut in cancer research, low income people will lose food aid, border patrol will be cut, FAA employees will face 11 days of forced furloughs, EPA will be cut, the IRS and FBI will furlough workers, workers at national parks will be reduced, and the unemplyment benefits will be cut 9.4%.

This is not the time to be cutting government funded jobs or benefits to the needy; it's the time to spend more money on our education and infrastructure.

Our government does everything ass-backwards, and people wonder why our economy is in trouble.

leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 09:48 am
@cicerone imposter,
I understand everything you wrote. Is there a difference between this approach versus Spain, Italy and Greece? If so, what it is? And why wouldn't our bond holders demand higher interest rates for riskier investments?

Simpson & Bowles wants to get our debt ratio to 70% of GDP. A healthy ratio. Right now its 103%. I think Greece got to 125% before bond holders refused to buy anymore bonds from them.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 10:50 am
@leowis1,
Our deficit as a percentage of GDP is still manageable. That's "if" our government doesn't further screw up our recovering economy.

The government needs to spend more money on our schools and infrastructure - to remain competitive in the world marketplace. There's no other issue more important for the future of this country, but the GOP only latched onto "the growing deficit," and wants to cut all government spending with "no tax increases for the rich."

There are certain government departments that are necessary to run any government to keep its citizens safe from consumer goods and the defense of our country. It also means our government should assist those who have suffered natural disasters such as they have from Sandy recently, and to provide for those who cannot find jobs - to feed and shelter them. These are much more important issues than fighting other people's wars half way across the world.

Our government has lost site of what is important; our citizens should come first - not after foreign wars and billions in gifts to other countries, to oil companies, and farm subsidies.



leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 11:14 am
@cicerone imposter,
I agree with what your focus. But I think saying "tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich" is hurtful. Everything that's important to you requires funding. I think the rich are taxed so much that they've had enough. And now they're not investing in new opportunities to generate growth for us "non-rich" people. I think the Buffet Rule would generate like 50billion over 10yrs. That's alot of money, but its nothing when you run 1trillion dollar deficits each year.

There's realestically nothing more to tax. Our spending is not aligned with our revenues. I'm wary of ending subsidies to oil companies and agriculture. That money is simply subsidizing our purchase price. Take away the subsidy and the prices rise. Its a zero sum benefit. But it sounds good when you're campaigning.

I appreciate this thoughtful conversation. Hurling insults is so destructive.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 11:36 am
@leowis1,
How did you arrive "tax the rich" is hurtful? Their income and benefits have been increasing at more than double digit rates for over two decades while the middle class income has more-or-less stayed stagnant.

Even one of the richest Americans, Warren Buffett, says he pays less taxes than his secretary. What's fair about that? And why is it hurtful for them to pay more taxes? Please explain?

Their ability to pay more taxes in a country that provided them with the opportunity to earn it is not "hurtful." Hurtful to whom?
leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 12:46 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Hurtful to us middle income people. We need them to invest in businesses and start ups so that we can become/stay employed. Then we pay taxes. If you tax to returns on investment, you disincentivize them from investing in the first place. This is why we have no growth in our economy. Everything is fueled by govt spending.

Secondly, capital gains tax is a tax on money that's already been taxed. You and I both get a paycheck. And we spend it at our discretion. I may blow my money on something you think is foolish. You may buy a stock or lend money to a friend to buy a farm or a business. My quality of life is better because I'm enjoying my money. If your investment does well and you get returns on your money, why am I entitled to it?

Capital gains is something we should all encourage because it means success. But even if you got your Buffett Rule, it would still only generate nickles when you're spending dollars. The programs that are important to us are going to get cut one day if nothing changes. Our spending trajectory is unsustainable. Greece, Italy and Spain found that our the hard way.

There are some people who speculate that the size of govt is stifling private businesses/investment for who can compete with the govt? Maybe if we give private companies a chance to fill in the void that will be created by the sequester we will begin to see growth. Something has to change.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 01:08 pm
@leowis1,
Where's your evidence that "they invest in businesses and start ups?"

Who said anything about anyone being entitled to somebody else's money? Do you really believe taxation is a transfer of money from the rich to the poor?
You've been brain-washed by the GOP, and no amount of evidence to prove otherwise will change your mind.

Taxation is required to pay for many things including funding our our schools and infrastructure maintenance, repair, and building.

Social security has a surplus, and at current rates will fund current beneficieries and rates until 2033. The government "must" make adjustments to the tax base for social security and Medicare, and increase the age for benefits. No party has done a good job of making these changes even though they know something must be done.

The GOP was responsible for the greatest portion of our deficit when compared to the percentage to GDP. GW Bush approved drug benefits without funding it. GW Bush also started the war in Iraq that was illegal, and cost our country $811,285,222,823 in addition to the innocent lives lost by both countries.

Nobody said that the Buffett rule will solve all our problems. Where did you get that idea from? Not from me!

leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 01:27 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I'm listening to President Obama. He mentions corporate jets and Warren Buffet all the time. In his speeches he is always saying "make them pay their fair share". There's not enough income to tax to meet our spending liabilities. Where's my evidence of start ups? Last summer SpaceX sent a rocket to the space station for resupplies. An unbelievable accomplishment. SpaceX didn't compete with the space shuttles. The space shuttles were defunded by the govt. Private companies can be succussful in providing services.

Even if the wars never happened, we would still be in this situation. $811B is like 9months of our annual deficit. As horrible as they were, they are used as a distraction from our deficit spending.

Respectfully.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 01:36 pm
@leowis1,
That's only one company; how do they employ the unemployed by one "successful" company? Where's the investments by the rich to start new companies to increase jobs? You provided one.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 02:13 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

When I lived on Long Island, there was a guy like that who would go on the trains before they left Penn. Station. He'd say, "I just need $2.50 to get home to Syosset. (or wherever)." He was smart enough to keep his story straight.

One time, though, he stayed too long and the train left Penn. Station, bound for Jamaica. He cursed the conductor up and down - he didn't want to be on that train. And of course he didn't, as it was all a scam. He was panhandling on all of the trains. On the Huntington branch, he'd claim to be going to Syosset. On the Great Neck branch, he'd pretend to be going to Little Neck, etc.

I am not saying that this guy is a scam artist or that all folks are who are asking for $$. But scammers absolutely do exist, and their modus operandi is to make you feel as guilty as possible so that you will open up your wallet. And you may be doing someone a favor. Or you might be buying them another bottle of Thunderbird. You have no way of knowing, or confirming, any of this.

Want to do good for people and have at least a little bit of an assurance that it's going to people who need it (or, at least, that the people who are taking your $$ are accountable for it)? Then do some research and give to a charity that supports the homeless.

Here's a review of a charity that helps homeless veterans in Philadelphia -
http://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/view/the-philadelphia-veterans-multi-service-education-center-inc


You are drawing a red herring with the story about the scammer.

There is a real job shortage out there, that may get worse if the Reps don't work with the Dems to stimulate the economy.

Also, we have a real, and growing plutocracy, with the super-rich sucking up most of the income and wealth. The top 10 percent in income own 93 percent of the wealth, leaving the 90 percent fighting over the seven percent wealth remainder. Moreover, the super rich are prospering like crazy, and the fortunes of the middle class are plummeting.

Unless the Reps come to their senses, or are voted out of what power they have, we will have another great depression.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 02:17 pm
@Advocate,
They will not be voted out of power, because this trend has been on-going for too long.

Once they get the idea in their heads that our deficit is growing too fast, and taxing the rich is wrong, there's no hope that our government will change as needed.

Look at all those conservatives who's homes and businesses were destroyed by Sandy, and they want our government to help them rebuild, but they don't want to increase taxes on the rich.

There's no cure for.....

Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 02:20 pm
@leowis1,
leowis1 wrote:

I agree with what your focus. But I think saying "tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich" is hurtful. Everything that's important to you requires funding. I think the rich are taxed so much that they've had enough. And now they're not investing in new opportunities to generate growth for us "non-rich" people. I think the Buffet Rule would generate like 50billion over 10yrs. That's alot of money, but its nothing when you run 1trillion dollar deficits each year.

There's realestically nothing more to tax. Our spending is not aligned with our revenues. I'm wary of ending subsidies to oil companies and agriculture. That money is simply subsidizing our purchase price. Take away the subsidy and the prices rise. Its a zero sum benefit. But it sounds good when you're campaigning.

I appreciate this thoughtful conversation. Hurling insults is so destructive.


The rich are not taxed enough. Their effective income tax rate is only 17 percent, which is less than the rate applicable to the average worker. Due to a big exemption and loopholes, few pay any federal estate tax to speak of. Importantly, taxes are the way to cut back our plutocracy.

If you recall, Romney only paid at a 14 percent rate. This because of a crazy loophole that allows hedge-fund managers to treat what is really ordinary income as capital gains. And this doesn't speak to, I believe, the taxes evaded by using tax havens.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 02:23 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

They will not be voted out of power, because this trend has been on-going for too long.

Once they get the idea in their heads that our deficit is growing too fast, and taxing the rich is wrong, there's no hope that our government will change as needed.

Look at all those conservatives who's homes and businesses were destroyed by Sandy, and they want our government to help them rebuild, but they don't want to increase taxes on the rich.

There's no cure for.....




It was quite funny to me when Rubio, in his recent reply to Obama, attacked government, but then went on to praise Medicare to the sky.
leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 02:26 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Really? I just proved to you that private enterprise can achieve amazing results. It does work. The Defense Department contracts out most of its business to Lockeed Martin, Boeing etc. They don't build their own air planes and missles.

All across the country there are charter schools. That is, non govt institutions. The biggest opponents to privatization are unions. They are directly threatened by cost effective competition. Coincidently, they are also big supporters of the president. You hear from every state opportunities to privatize some govt function. That's where you find the most value for your money. Give the sequester a chance. I think with the low interest rates, people will take the chance to start their own business!
leowis1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Feb, 2013 02:35 pm
@Advocate,
I am tired of hearing about loop holes. If a member of the govt, from either party, is unhappy with something then propose a bill to change it. That's why they're elected. To speak these words without doing anything to change it is insulting to my intelligence.
 

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