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Why the long face America

 
 
rayban1
 
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 10:37 pm
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 958 • Replies: 15
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 10:56 pm
The author conveniently ignores the disparity in the growth of real income among all Americans. From 1980 to the present, right through two Republican, one Democratic and another Republican administration, the old saw about the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer has never been more apt in American economic history.

Perhaps Mr. Baker might understand this better if he realized that the wealthiest Americans have embraced this "growth cycle" wholeheartedly because they are the principle beneficiaries. The same cannot be said of the wage earner in America, which goes a long way to explain why the majority of Americans may be less than enchanted. A common wage for an unskilled worker is $12.50/hour. On the basis of a standard work year with 2080 hours, that is $26,000 per annum. Gasoline has soared over $2.00 per gallon. He who earns $26,000 per annum pays a significant part of his annual income at the gas pump. He who earns $260,000 per annum pays no more at the gas pump, and his total expenditure for gasoline as a factor of his gross income is one tenth that of the $26,000/annum earner. The same condition applies to all commodities.

Yes, it's a wonderful life--if you were set up in advance to take advantage of it.
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rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 09:21 am
Setanta wrote:
The author conveniently ignores the disparity in the growth of real income among all Americans. From 1980 to the present, right through two Republican, one Democratic and another Republican administration, the old saw about the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer has never been more apt in American economic history.


You also seem to have a convenient loss of memory regarding the Robber Barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You seem to forget that the majority of wealth in those ugly days was controlled by a mere handful of very wealthy families while the workers were given a few pennies an hour.

ROBBER BARONS
This disapproving term was used to describe late-nineteenth-century industrialists, especially those who ostentatiously displayed their wealth. The phrase gained widespread popularity as the title of a history published in 1934 by Matthew Josephson in the depths of the Great Depression. It was applied to industrial leaders and corporations of the late nineteenth century, such as Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Steel, John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, and Cornelius and William Vanderbilt and their railroads. Emphasizing efficiency, these men used increasingly modern practices like large-scale, specialized production in place of decentralized methods. They also practiced "vertical integration," controlling not only the manufacturing and sale of the final product but also the raw resources. Thus, Carnegie Steel was involved in coal and iron, and Standard Oil owned wells and refineries, and controlled railroads that transported the oil to market. The term robber barons also has been applied to financiers such as Jay Gould and J. Pierpont Morgan, who set up large trusts and provided loans for these industrialists.

Their defenders have described Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and their peers as "industrial statesmen" because they enhanced and modernized the American capitalist system by making the nation more productive and thus stronger economically and internationally. But the term robber barons suggests a different view that puts more emphasis on their indifference to the public welfare and their display of wealth at the expense of their workers: huge mansions, for example, in contrast to the company towns or urban squalor in which their employees lived. Such comments as William Vanderbilt's "The public be damned!" expressed the scornful attitude that earned the robber barons their unsavory reputation.

You base your disapproval on the following statement regarding the plight of the UNSKILLED WORKER.


Setanta wrote:
The same cannot be said of the wage earner in America, which goes a long way to explain why the majority of Americans may be less than enchanted. A common wage for an unskilled worker is $12.50/hour. On the basis of a standard work year with 2080 hours, that is $26,000 per annum.


We need the source of your figures in order to determine the percentage of the electorate that your challenge actually represents. You say it represents a majority of American workers......there are millions of workers who would be insulted to learn that they are unskilled.

One of the points the author made is that the current US economy, with a steady 3.5 annual growth rate and low unemployment of 5 %, is the envy of the world.

Another of his points is that the US citizen is the benefactor of competiveness created by globalization but we as yet don't realize it.

His main point however is something else we don't yet realize.......when we embrace the current factors instead of being suspicious of them, we will really be the winners.

In the past 100 years, with the aid of the labor unions who are the real creators of the redistribution of wealth, capitalism with all it's warts has allowed the industrious citizens of the US to create the envy of the world.

The above is not an endorsement of labor unions in general because I highly disapprove of their violent methods, however the fact remains that they caused the necessary redistribution of wealth that was needed to allow the fantastic growth that we have achieved.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 10:02 am
In which case, you might note that labor unions arrived on the scene after the "robber barons" (thanks for a history lesson i did not need), and before our current plight. Reagan's determination to practice union busting encouraged capitalists who followed suit for as much as they were able. When unions were powerful, even non-union workers benefited from their gains. Now, many workers have few to no benefits, and often pay a very dear price for the benefits they do have.

As for providing source material, i've provided just exactly as much as your author did. As for the violence of the unions, you apparently are unaware of, or are willfully ignoring the violence of the police and private goons hired by business owners. Those times were ugly on both sides.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 10:07 am
Let's say for the sake of conversation that the economy is picking up and domestically things aren't so bad.

And yet, America is sullen, has lost confidence and hope in itself. **** flows downhill, and that is the REAL bush legacy. The great uniter has polarized the country to the point that otherwise reasonable people automatically consider everything that issues from the current administration to be bullshit, and that's a piss poor, inadequate leader. Period.
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 10:41 am
Perhaps it is the fact that in the last ten years or so,

For every dollar the average income of the Median family rose,

The average income of the Rich rose somewhere around 16.000 dollars.

This tends to lead to, yeah, a disparity.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 11:04 am
All I have gotten so far is that you all believe the wealthy should share their wealth with you.........when the Hollywood millionaires lead the way, I will listen

Once again any useful discussion has been thwarted by the prophets of doom and gloom.......have a nice day supporting each other........I'm outa here.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 11:09 am
rayban1 wrote:
All I have gotten so far is that you all believe the wealthy should share their wealth with you.........when the Hollywood millionaires lead the way, I will listen

Once again any useful discussion has been thwarted by the prophets of doom and gloom.......have a nice day supporting each other........I'm outa here.


useful as long as no one disagress and offers a dissenting opinion as to why the long face I see. I mean, the question WAS, "Why the long face America", correct? Well, that's to be expected. See ya later. :wink:
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 11:59 am
rayban1, you seem to think that happiness is, or should be, directly related to economic success. Didn't anyone ever tell you that money does not buy happiness?

According to your economic premise, those who have financial success, whether that success comes on the backs of the poor or not, should be happy.

My long face has nothing to do with finances. I have plenty to eat, clothes to wear and a roof over my head. I can well afford to drive the biggest, ugliest behemoth on the block, if I so choose. Instead I drive an 8 year old Honda that gets 26 mpg city, 32 highway, wear clothes that I've had for years, and try, try, try to focus on what's right with the world.

What disturbs my happiness and brings on my long face is the lack of respect that our current administration shows towards anyone who doesn't prescribe to it's narrow, theocratic view of the world. The arrogance, conceit, and overall self-righteousness of our American Taliban scares the crap out of me.

The elitist mindset of many of my Hummer-driving neighbors, who behave as if anyone else on the road is invading their personal space, equates readily to the same American mindset that anyone else in the world who doesn't step aside for us, as we march our way through touting our globalization rhetoric, is invading our rightful space on the planet.

Why the long face? Because we're becoming someone we have no right to be.
0 Replies
 
Mills75
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 12:23 pm
Damn. I was going to point out that employment statistics stop counting people after they've been unemployed for a certain length of time, fail to adequately address underemployment, and don't even think about comparing the average wages and benefits that were offered by manufacturing jobs that have since been exported to the average wages and (lack of) benefits offered by the predominantly service jobs that have sprung up to fill the void (full time at McDonalds is not a replacement for full time on the line at GM).

Since the growing disparity between the rich and poor has already been adequately addressed, I was also going to tackle the subjective definition of "standard of living", but the debate's over so I guess I'll save it... Crying or Very sad
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rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 12:55 pm
J_B wrote:
rayban1, you seem to think that happiness is, or should be, directly related to economic success. Didn't anyone ever tell you that money does not buy happiness?

According to your economic premise, those who have financial success, whether that success comes on the backs of the poor or not, should be happy.


I will not sit idly by and allow you to put me on the defensive because of some selfrighteous wrong headed opinion that you have formed from something I have said.

I posted the article because I thought it an interesting study of our own perception of our economy. Just a few short months back, a majority of the American people chose this president for a second time. There are many factors causing a perception among some that this country is headed in the wrong direction. The author is merely pointing to some bright spots in the economy where the prophets of doom and gloom see nothing but failure, and cause for despair.

If you want to blame your depression on the current administration, that is your right. Please don't try to attach some blame to me because I happen to remain optimistic about the economy and the overall direction in which we are headed. Also if you are so self righteous about the poor, you might ease your concern by giving everything you don't need, to the poor.

Perhaps then you couldn't afford to live in a neighborhood where your neighbors drive hummers. No one in my neighborhood even knows what a hummer is......well maybe one or two......at any rate no one here owns a hummer.

Now I'm outa here again for good.......if you all want to squabble about the article it is fine with me........just don't address anything to me. I've had a bellyfull of whining about the wealthy, depression because someone's neighbors drive hummers and just plain doom/gloom purveyors.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 12:59 pm
Mr Ban it sounds like you need a hummer.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 01:03 pm
Maybe a little antacid for that bellyful....
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 01:13 pm
rayban1 wrote:

I posted the article because I thought it an interesting study of our own perception of our economy. Just a few short months back, a majority of the American people chose this president for a second time. There are many factors causing a perception among some that this country is headed in the wrong direction. The author is merely pointing to some bright spots in the economy where the prophets of doom and gloom see nothing but failure, and cause for despair.

If you want to blame your depression on the current administration, that is your right. Please don't try to attach some blame to me because I happen to remain optimistic about the economy and the overall direction in which we are headed. Also if you are so self righteous about the poor, you might ease your concern by giving everything you don't need, to the poor.


But the question asks, 'Why the long face?' Perhaps I misdirected the question to be yours, not the authors, but your follow-up discussions with Setanta seemed to indicate an agreement with his concept of "Cheer up, America. Things are pretty rosy!" Your admission to optimism in the overall direction in which we are headed confirms it.

As to my self-righteousness about the poor, I am anything but self-righteous. You have no basis of knowledge about what I do for, give to or think of the poor. Nor do you have reason to think I don't already give away everything I don't need. You know me not!

Have a nice day!
0 Replies
 
Mills75
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2005 02:56 pm
dyslexia wrote:
Mr Ban it sounds like you need a hummer.

Laughing
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DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2005 02:08 pm
Mills75 wrote:
dyslexia wrote:
Mr Ban it sounds like you need a hummer.

Laughing


hell, if he doesn't want it, i'll take it. i'm having a stressful day...

i agree with the artical in that, yeah, most americans are better off than the rest of the world's citizens.

it's that most americans are not better off than they were 4-5 or 6 years ago that bothers me.

growth in economy is useless to the average american if the benefits of that growth remain at the top.

there has been much made about profitibility.

that's such a red herring. if you cut enough jobs, hire in at a lower rate, cut benefits and also demand longer hours and more work without paying overtime, of course there's a larger profit margin.

duh ?!?!?!

as far as things being wonderful, no they aren't. oil is at a historical high and is expected to stay there. that in turn impacts the flow and cost of every single business venture, including import and export.

greenspan is talking about raising the rates again. tenth time in a year as i understand it.

all of this is at least partially fixable. but if we don't start soon, things are going to get out of control.
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