A Better Way

Posted Sunday, September 18, 2011, at 2:44 PM
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    The idea that wasn't floated was spending cuts. It's been parsed that there is not a revenue problem, there is a spending problem. Spend less money than you generate. Seems overly simple.

    PS - I participated in the shared sacrifice by paying a very nice share of taxes last year as well as donating a nice chunk of my 401k. Paycuts for politicians is a nice gesture, but negligable concerning the current situation.

    -- Posted by Mickel on Sun, Sep 18, 2011, at 6:06 PM
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    Could you provide some citations so I may explore your statements? You have made many claims but I'm not sure where they come from. For example:

    "in order to fix the money woes of the country. In response it has been suggested that Congress vote itself a pay cut." Who suggested that Congress' reducing its pay would fix the money woes? I don't think that if they all voluntarily returned all of their salaries it could fix the money woes.

    Another example: "a vote came up in the House of Representatives to give a tax cut to middle class households. Surprisingly that bill failed" What bill is this, if my representative voted against a bill whose sole purpose was to reduce taxes on the middle class I'd like to talk to him about it. I just want to make sure that this bill you are talking about wasn't just another one of the attempts of some people trying to pass bad ideas along with good ones, then disengenuously omitting important information to make people look bad, when they could easily just set up individual bills to pass good ideas.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 18, 2011, at 7:29 PM
  • *

    I begin to wonder if Michael is even trying anymore. This is just a mishmash of left wing extremist ideas. No citations, not points of proof, just wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    I love the whole medicare, medicade and social security paragraph. If Whoever stated that if the congress voted themselves a pay cut was seriously implying that it would pay for a fraction of the cost of those 3 programs, then they are an absolute idiot. Just scratching up some stuff, but the rank and file members of congress make $174,000 per year. take that times 535 and you get $93,090,000. I am guessing that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security cost a smidge more than that. I am not willing to say that the figures are remotely realistic, I just threw it together.

    This blog is laugable, even when compared to others of it's ilk. I keep combing the blog for a mention of cutting or reigning back spending, but all I seem to see is the predictable party line of, "PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE!"

    I don't have a big deal with asking the "Ebil Ebil rich" (or whatever anyone making above the poverty line is called nowadays) to pony up a bit more of their income...IF whatever they are going to be paying for is reasonable.

    Just like I don't mind buying lunch for someone before they get paid. But I will tell you I would be mightily miffed if I agreed to buy em a burger and then found out that it had to be one of those 500 buck hand massaged japanese beef burgers. I might even be more irked if I found out it had to be served on a disposible platinum and gold plate.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Sun, Sep 18, 2011, at 9:52 PM
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    Could you please define what you think "shared sacrifice" means? I am curious.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Sun, Sep 18, 2011, at 9:54 PM
  • shared sacrifice, noun, - a sack-rov-ice that bof you and I can put on our beers and pops to keep em ready for drinkin.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 9:56 AM
  • to be fair to Michael, he made no mention of "fair share" (in this post, anyway), but along that vein, I, for one, am so utterly weary of the "fair share" mantra. WHO in blazes is the ONE WHO determines WHAT the FAIR SHARE is?

    And I have, still, been unable to find the law that says ANYONE cannot pay more in taxes than what the law requires.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 10:06 AM
  • The top tax rate is 35% not 15%. I have heard the President mention that Billionaires pay 15% and the middle class pays 25%. The top bracket is 35%.

    Long Term Capital Gains is 15%. You only pay the 15% if you have a qualified long term capital gain.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 10:58 AM
  • *

    "Numerous millionaires" have said they would not mind paying more taxes?

    I can think of only one, Warren Buffett. If they raise tax rates, he won't be paying much more tax. He only pays tax on his relatively small wage. One of the main reasons he is rich is he has not ever paid much income tax. He would pay a fortune if he sold his Berkshire Hathaway stock, but he has never done that and never will--thus, deferring his tax bill into perpetuity while his stock continues to increase in value. He has avoided all estate tax on his fortune when he dies by donating all his stock to a charitable foundation run by Bill Gates. Watch what the man does, not what he says. He doesn't have faith in the government to do right with his fotune when he's gone!

    The Social Security system is going the way of all government programs, it's going broke. They need to raise taxes, reduce benefits, or both. A recent retiree went to the SS office and thought she was in the wrong place, as half the people were young. They were all the disability people. Since unemployment benefits have run out, suddenly many more people are claiming disabilities!

    The tax rates are NOT the lowest in 50 years now. When Reagan was president he got them lowered to a top rate of 28%--top rate is now 35% (but actually more when you consider all the credits and deductions that get phased out as your income rises). Michael, you don't know taxes.

    Governments and charities are always the same. The will spend all you give them, spend more than that, and always ask for more, more, more. Why feed the monster, it only grows then.

    Our states are broke. Our cities are broke. Many of our citizens are broke. Many of our banks and businesses are broke. And our federal government is broke. Too much spending by everyone.

    Stop the spending. That is central message of the Tea Party, but they are ridiculed as being racist radicals. Think, people. Don't just accept the media lies and distortions.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 10:59 AM
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    I just had a thought. "Shared sacrifice" should mean everyone pays more.

    Does this mean you would support raising taxes on the 46% who don't pay anything now? We all know where Michael stands. He fully supports gouging those who work to pay for those do not.

    But that is "shared sacrifice" I could support. How about everyone having some skin in the game?

    The rich are rich for a reason. The poor are poor for a reason. What is the reason, Michael?

    Don't ignore responsibility, for it won't ignore you.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 11:07 AM
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    Ron Paul wins straw poll in CA:


    Every time they take a poll, Ron Paul wins.

    But the media is still acting like he's too old, too radical. LOL. He's the people's choice, at least among Republicans. They only talk about Perry and Romney--the two RINOs in the race.

    The media, being liberally biased, always push the centrist Republicans. That's the only ones they can stand.

    So like in 2008 we have a choice between a Socialist Democrat and a Socialist Republican. But the people want a true conservative!

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 11:51 AM
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    What Socialist Democrat and Republican ran in 2008? Please refresh me Boomer. I know in the end that Obama was the Democratic candidate and John McCain was the Republican candidate, but I know you can't be talking about those two. Neither one of them even come close to fitting any definition of Socialism. Or are you using the Fox News definition of Socialist, where everyone to the left of "true conservative" is a Socialist?

    If you truly believe that Perry and Romney are centrist Republicans then you have been completely brainwashed by the "liberal" media. Among the candidates, only Ron Paul comes even close to a centrist Republican. It certainly isn't Romney (but then again where he fits in is anyone's guess as much as he has flip-flopped and pandered in the last five years). If Perry is a centrist Republican than the whole system needs to be started over, there is nothing centrist about him.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 3:26 PM
  • *

    "If Perry is a centrist Republican than the whole system needs to be started over, there is nothing centrist about him."

    Isn't this interesting, Michael Hendricks knows EVERYTHING about political leanings. It's official, there is no more reason to debate. After all he has chastized posters often for not knowing what a "liberal" is, he's told us that their definition is wrong, implying that only a "liberal" knows what a "liberal" is. Now only Michael Hendricks knows what a "centrist Republican" is and that posters who don't toe his line again know nothing. It must be awesome to be the only one who knows anything.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 7:26 PM
  • wallismarsh

    Hi Wallis,

    I think the president made that comment because a good percentage of those making more than a million a year do so through Capital Gains.

    For Tax Year 2010 - if the asset was owned for less than one year the Capital Gains was the same rate as the Marginal Tax Rate. If the asset was owned for more than one year the Capital Gains Tax was 15% on all of the upper income brackets.

    I don't know if I would call one year a long term investment. Long term investments like art and other collectables remained fixed at 28%.

    See top of page 3 in the following link for Jan. 1, 2008 through Dec. 31, 2010 Capital Gain rates.


    -- Posted by Geezer on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 9:06 PM
  • Boomer62

    Reagan did implement the 28% Marginal Tax Rate the last year he was in office (1988) and it remained at that level through 1990.

    However, if you look at the Capital Gains tax rates it is a different story. The last time Capital Gains Tax was close to todays rate of 15% for upper income brackets (if assets are held for at least one year) was in 1933 when the rate was 12.5%. That is a 77 year time span.




    -- Posted by Geezer on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 11:51 PM
  • Boomer62

    After further review and study of Historical Tax Rates I found where in fact the 28% initiated by Reagan was not the top tax rate.

    From 1988 through 1990 there were several categories that were included in a 33% "rate bubble".

    See page 9 of the following link.


    -- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 12:35 AM
  • Geezer - Try owning a stock in this market for over 12 months. It seems like a lifetime.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 5:43 AM
  • Wallis

    I hear ya. It's not unusual for the market to fluctuate by several hundred points on any given day anymore. Most investment managers are now pushing long term investments - the ride it out theory. Of course that only works if you have the income flexibility which allows long term investment in the first place.

    On another note, I look forward to hearing what you have to say about President Obamas proposed tax changes for the Oil and Gas Industry. I have included the proposed changes he submitted to the joint committee in case you haven't had the time to review them yet.


    -- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 7:40 AM
  • Hello, Michael. Nice post. Thank you for your time and effort. I wonder about your thoughts on Obama's newest tax increases on the wealthy; specifically, is the timing advantageous politically? Should this come to pass, is it too little to late, has Obama lost the center?

    Sensible people (including at least one of America's billionaires--perhaps more as you point out) would agree with you that the wealthiest should be paying more taxes than they are--corporations should be paying more as well as far as I am concerned. But as you probably have noticed, Obama has not been exactly a hell-dealer when it comes to enacting anything that resembles Democratic policies, yet suddenly he unleashes a proposal with more than a few ideologically left-of-center fiscal policy proposals. Why would Obama surrender party principles vis-a-vis the Bush tax cuts expiring, for example, only to come out swinging a few months later? Can it be as simple as campaign tactics?

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 12:58 PM
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    Benevolus, I would like to think it is a mixture of things for Obama. What I mean is that I would like to think that it is partly campaign tactics, as well as trying to get the economy running, and solving the debt problem, as well as him finally tiring of Republicans demanding compromise and at the end of the day the only one that has actually compromised is Obama. I would really like to think and believe that.

    I am a realist, however, and I know that the timing is advantageous to the campaign season about to ramp up. I don't believe that Obama has fully lost the center but he has lost severe ground. Talk is cheap, we've heard this before. Obama talks strong about what he wants to get done and then little by little he gives up certain things he wants to get support from the other side of the aisle: extension of Bush-era tax cuts, dropping of the single payer opt in health care for the mandated health care for examples.

    We will see if he holds strong on this tax bill and force the Republicans hands or fold again.

    I've said before and I'll say again I honestly don't see a Republican candidate that can beat Obama in the general election. They are fighting so hard against each other trying to secure what they consider to be the base of the party that by the time one of them does win the nomination they will be so far right that the center will look elsewhere.

    Among those in support of taxing the millionaires and billionaires more are Warren Buffet (for whom the plan is named after), Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and an entire group called the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength (they have been calling on a tax for themselves almost as long as Obama has been in office) http://www.fiscalstrength.com/

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 1:53 PM
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    While I'm thinking of it can we drop this silly little game of calling the idea of taxing the rich "class warfare"? It is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard from those that oppose a tax increase (or actually a better and more honest way to put this is returning tax rates for the rich to previous levels).

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 1:55 PM
  • *

    Sorry for the lateness of this reply Mickel but I am very curious to your suggestion that the idea of spending cuts has not been floated. All the leadership of the Republican Party has suggested is cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and completely eliminating the Department of Education and FEMA.

    Oddly enough this is the same Republican leadership that went in severe scare tactic mode during the "debate" over health care and told any senior citizen that would listen that part of the Democrats plan for health care reform was to severely cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

    That's the leadership for you. Lie to senior citizens about their programs being cut and then after the election proposing the cuts themselves.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 2:07 PM
  • "class warfare" was fought along time ago and the wealthy won

    -- Posted by president obama on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 7:26 PM
  • Mike - It is class warfare when people are defined by their economic class. You never hear well to do people publicly say that problem with the economy is that poor people don't spend enough money. Yet you do see people defining well to do people as "Rich" and needing to pay "Their fair share". Therefore it is class warfare as the "Rich" are singled out and portrayed by some who are ripping off the system.

    The fact is our tax rate is progressive and the amounts go 15% - 25%-35%. Therefore the higher your bracket the greater percentage tax you pay. Since the law is the law and the IRS enforces the law the "Rich" are paying their fair share.

    To say otherwise is simply not accurate. The goal of the Democrats is to run a campaign attempting to get the "poor" to vote for them while claiming that the Republicans are only for the Rich.

    For someone who thinks you understand politics so well I can't believe you are attempting to represent you do not know Democrat rule #1 in a campaign.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 8:19 PM
  • Geezer are far as not allowing oil companies to deduct expenses it doesn't really affect me that much. The Rig count will drop as a result of this and oil prices will eventually go higher.

    So we will lose jobs and oil production. Oil prices will rise about 25% then the Rigs will return. It will mean higher tax revenue to the government but that gain will be offset with the $1.00 per gallon increase in gasoline prices.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 8:26 PM
  • *

    bigdawg, the idea of class warfare against the rich is almost as laughable as the idea that Christianity is under attack in America (despite having more people in the United States declaring themselves as Christian by a large margin).

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 10:11 PM
  • Mike, what I find interesting is (and this thread is a good example) the moment modest and sensible people attempt to address the immense economic inequities and/or the expansive gap in opportunities between rich and poor people in the US, the default accusation is that "class warfare" is being waged.

    Class warfare, as a term and a concept is pretty hollow at this point as a result of its overuse. But it is funny to me that people on the right who have adopted the term often know so little about its etymology.

    The term comes from Marxist thought, of course, where its argued that as a law of behavioral physics, dialectically opposed interests in capitalist societies (i.e., the bourgeois, and proletariat) necessitate a hierarchical social class structure. This hierarchical arrangement, hypothesized Marx, would eventually, LITERALLY, lead to class-warfare (warfare is often translated as "struggle" but most scholars believe that Marx meant struggle and warfare interchangeably).

    Marx of course was wrong about a lot of things, and he clearly underestimated the power of the middle class to act as a buffer between the rich and poor. But for what its worth, and since Warren Buffet and "class warfare" are thematic for this thread, perhaps it is appropriate to evoke his thoughts here...

    "There is class warfare alright, but its my class, the rich class that's making war, and we're winning." --Warren Buffet to the New York Times, 2006

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 1:27 AM
  • I do find it humorous that when Warren Buffett made suggestions in 2008 to the Obama team they rejected his ideas accusing him of having conflicts. He owns stocks (Insurance and Bank stocks among others). He was accused of pushing ideas that could increase the value of his holdings. Now when he is suggesting something that the Administration likes he is quoted as being perfect all of the time.

    Warren Buffet still thinks that corporate taxes are to high. He still thinks Obama Care is a mistake. Any of you guys want to acknowledge everything he has so say or just this one thing?

    Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid still own this jobs issue. The government raising taxes to pave more roads isn't going to help.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 5:42 AM
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    "bigdawg, the idea of class warfare against the rich is almost as laughable as the idea that Christianity is under attack in America (despite having more people in the United States declaring themselves as Christian by a large margin)."

    Would you prefer different terms? How about class terrorism? Class insurgency? Your argument is seriously flawed. You suggest that the majority cannot be warred upon my a minority. Do you think that Al Qaeda is representative of all Muslims?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 8:49 AM
  • *

    I would be remiss Boomer if I didn't mention your statement about Ron Paul winning a straw poll. That's all well and good for him, but the last time I checked straw polls don't count for anything. He achieves nothing by winning straw polls.

    It is also quite interesting that every time that the Republican Party gets what they consider to be the person to beat Obama, or at least challenge him, they soon flame out. When it was thought that Donald Trump was going to enter the race and when he was challenging Obama on the myth of his birth he was leading the pack. When the "birth certificate" fiasco fizzled, Trump disappeared. Then along came Michelle Bachmann. She was the darling of the TEA Party and even won one of those, apparently, all important straw polls, this one in Iowa. She quickly shot to the top of the field. But soon her poll numbers began to plummet.

    Then it was time for the great white hope in Rick Perry, a Bush clone. When he finally announced, he too shot to the top of the field. Once it became apparent that his Texas Miracle that he was so proud of wasn't so much a miracle but in fact paid for by the federal government he numbers began to look shaky.

    The one person's numbers who have remained near the top and constant is Mitt Romney.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 9:33 AM
  • *

    Considering that what we got in "Obamacare" was actually conservative in nature pushed forward by Republicans it isn't all that shocking that Buffett would advise scrapping it, wallis. Once again you are guilty of leaving out all semblance of context just so you can attempt to pigeon hole people. He favored Obama's original plan for health care reform which little if any actually made it into Republicancare.

    As for corporate taxes there is no record of your claim that Buffett believes they are too high, so I can't really answer that for you.

    I was wondering, though, wallis. A poster earlier took your candidate, Perry to task for being a centrist, yet you oddly remained silent. Any response?

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 9:42 AM
  • *

    Oh and by the way it's very mysterious how you once again, wallis, give the Republican leadership in the House a complete pass on creating jobs. In your mind it is only Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. However, the last time I checked Pelosi was no longer the majority leader in the House, that roll belongs to Boehner. Considering that the Republicans swept into the majority on the promise of jobs and have yet to even attempt to pass any type of jobs bill speaks volumes. Yet you give them a complete pass. Very strange.

    Something to note. Since the Congress became split between the Democrats in the Senate and the Republicans in the House and all the focus has changed to social issues and taxes the unemployment rate has once again began to rise, but I'm sure once again you will give an absolute complete pass to Republicans and only blame the Democrats for it.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 10:00 AM
  • if we drop the "class warfare" mantra, how about you drop the "fair share" and "shared sacrifice" mantra? and I still havent seen any response as to WHO decides what "fair share" is.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 1:02 PM
  • *

    "Fair" is a week in August around these parts. Other than that, it means whatever you want it to mean.

    The only "fair" tax is the one I don't pay, but everyone else does.

    Warren Buffett is a financial genius. He pays at a lower rate than his secretary because he reports very little income, legitimately. He only draws a $100,000 per year salary from Berkshire Hathaway. I expect his secretary gets a higher salary than that (it's a very demanding job), and she might be single while Buffett is married. So she would pay a higher rate on a higher taxable income, that's the way a progressive income tax works. The fact that his stock holdings have increased enormously in value has no bearing on his taxable income--he only pays tax on that if he sells the stock, which he never will. He lets his profits run, tax free, which you have to admit is part of his plan.

    But Buffett is just using the issue to get favors from this president. Obama has given him awards and kudoes galore. And Buffett loves the attention. Berkshire pays for the $28,000 a plate dinners so he can smile at Barrack, not Buffett.

    Michael hates it when you refer to pitting the poor and middle clases against the rich as "class warfare". But that's clearly what it is.

    Why can't you be honest, Michael? You love this "class warfare"! Because you think it "fair" to tax somebody else at a higher rate than you pay. Yippee!!

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 1:59 PM
  • Michael, while having lunch, I had an inspiration. I WILL go along with your "fair share" mantra if you will let ME be the one who decides what is fair. Deal?

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 2:19 PM
  • *

    Michael, I know specifics are not your bag, but here (straight from the 2008 IRS stats) are the facts. http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=129270,00.html

    I would use more recent numbers if they were available.

    The total number of tax returns reporting gross income over $1 million in 2008 was 319,068. Those returns reported income totalling $938 billion, and they paid federal income tax of $255 billion.

    If we taxed those people at 100% (yep, take it ALL) instead of 35% we would collect an additional $683 billion in taxes, assuming they would sit still for that (ludicrous, I know). That additional tax revenue divided by $50 billion per day the federal gov't is now spending, would keep the Feds in cash for only TWO WEEKS!

    You can beat your "class warfare" drums if it makes you feel good, but the reality is simple. Taxing the rich is not going to balance the federal budget. Not now, now ever.

    It's the middle class that has always paid the bulk of the tax. And that's me and you.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 2:37 PM
  • Doodle Bug/Boomer,

    I think you are missing the point re: "class warfare."

    Take a look at this video if you have time:


    Clearly there are staggering inequalities between the haves and the have-nots in our society, and these inequalities surface very clearly, in tangible ways, in places like public schools. But there are other places, like income tax brackets for example, where the matter of what is fair, or equal, becomes a bit muddier.

    Let me try to make another analogy to schools. In 1974 the Supreme Court ruled in Lau v. Nichols that equal access to education wasn't actually equal unless schools accounted for differences (in ethnicity and language). This is not unlike the tax issue, in that equal taxation likewise is actually unequal unless differentiations are made for income.

    This distinction among haves and have-nots becomes even more important to address when you realize how unequal opportunities are between the rich and poor from the beginning (i.e., in schools as the video shows).

    If our nation is concerned with equality, which it seems to be, then until the gaps in education and opportunities are closed, and until our system stops privileging suburban communities and ignoring inner-city communities, a steeply graduated tax system is not only necessary for revenue, it is the only MORAL way to arrange the tax code. In other words, if our system is designed to advantage the rich, the rich are obligated to pay more, at least in my opinion.

    Regardless, expressing this opinion, or even asking my representatives does not mean I am engaging in "class warfare," it simply means that I am considering equality in ways that you may not be. We are not at war, just in disagreement.

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 4:55 PM
  • Benevolus: I will concede your point that there are staggering inequalities between the haves and have nots. And I also believe that will continue to be the case in a capitalistic society. In my opinion, there will never be equality. I believe if everything were equal, you will destroy initiative. If you work harder than I do, should I expect to have the same benefits you do? If I do have the same benefit you do, why should I work as hard as you do? I am always leery of using schools as examples; I dont have the stats at hand nor will I look them up, but I believe that we are spending more and more on education and what has it gotten us? Then you have the schools with dedicated and innovative teachers that are "out shining" most of the rest of the public institutions. This goes to your point re opportunity. I will also concede that point. I also believe you cannot legislate equality.

    And class warfare is terminology that has been in use since ??? I believe it is generally used to illustrate differences of opinion.

    And I realize this post rambles some and is a little dis-jointed.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 5:58 PM
  • *

    Boomer I believe you have completely misconstrued my words. I fully do believe that there is class warfare occurring. I just don't believe that it is being directed from the poor and the middle class to the rich, I do believe it is the other way around.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 6:45 PM
  • Doodle,

    It's a pleasure to converse with you. Thank you for your time. You ask some really tough questions, and I cannot answer all them with anything resembling authority.

    But, since you asked...Here are my opinions re: your challenges:

    "If you work harder than I do, should I expect to have the same benefits you do?"

    1) You might find that in any system hard work doesn't directly correlate with more benefits. In our system, there are people who work incredibly hard, two or three jobs often, in order to give their children opportunities they didn't have themselves. In fact, what made America strong was the this very dream: 'I want a better life for my kids'...These folks are often referred to as the working poor. Capitalism and the inequalities you admit come with it, make it possible for some to have to work until exhaustion in order to make what others earn in a day, or a week, or a month.

    Point: all systems are flawed, the bigger question is, which part of you responds to your less advantaged (but still fellow) Americans? Your heart? Or your wallet?

    "If I do have the same benefit you do, why should I work as hard as you do?"

    2) Please allow me to respond with a very well done (and animated) video. This is really interesting actually. Some folks at MIT, Carnegie Melon and the Federal Reserve Bank have challenged the principles of human motivation. It turns out that people aren't so easily manipulable by money as you might think they are...


    Point: Capitalistic interests (i.e., earning money) clearly isn't what makes people perform better or become more motivated. The science on this is pretty conclusive. If you watch the video you understand that people's interests are far more complex...to answer your question...you will work as hard or harder than I do because of three principles: "Autonomy, mastery, and purpose."

    "I am always leery of using schools as examples; I dont have the stats at hand nor will I look them up, but I believe that we are spending more and more on education and what has it gotten us?"

    Really good point Doodle. Spending on education has skyrocketed since Sputnik and the race to the moon. Federal dollars used to make no difference in local education...Now it makes the nut. But the problem is, as you might suspect, that the connection between spending and educational outcomes is entangled in a web of crazy complexities.

    For example, George W. Bush passed No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which spent hundreds of millions of federal dollars on standardized testing and accountability and injected more Big Government control on local education policy than had ever been enacted on local legislative bodies in our history. But, one really important thing it did was hold local administrators and districts accountable to their non-English speaking, and special needs students because they would be tested along with everyone else. It should come as no surprise then, that when everyone was tested, including the most vulnerable and undereducated students in our country, that the results looked pretty bad. But even this point leaves open criticisms for the way we measure student success (for example, can we really say that someone's ability as a student is wrapped up in an ACT/SAT score?)

    "Then you have the schools with dedicated and innovative teachers that are "out shining" most of the rest of the public institutions."

    3) I do have to take exception to this comment. Innovative teaching (and teachers) exist in all domains of education in the US. Sadly, a vast majority of the really great innovations happen away from the kids who really need it. This is not a problem of education, this a problem of Americans not worrying about their neighbors kids, so to speak. The bigger question in my mind is what responsibility do we all have to make sure the youth of this nation are well educated?

    "This goes to your point re opportunity. I will also concede that point. I also believe you cannot legislate equality."

    4) Well, at least regarding schools, public facilities, civil rights for blacks and women, for language users other than English, for Native Americans, and even the rights of non-US citizens imprisoned in places like Guantanamo Bay, the US sure has a long history of legislating equality. No doubt.

    "And class warfare is terminology that has been in use since ???"

    5) Since Marx. Since the 19th century. See my earlier post.

    I didn't find your post disjointed at all, Doodle. I thought you presented some really good questions. Also, I would not claim that my opinions are anything other than how I have come to view the world.

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 7:23 PM
  • Mike- If you think the class warfare thing is coming from the top down how would you feel if someone wanted to raise your taxes? How would you feel if someone accused you of not paying your fair share? How would you feel if you were accused of not hiring enough people?


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 9:27 PM
  • I believe that this class warfare deal is real. I also feel that if unemployment were lower that people wouldn't have the time or desire to sit around and think about all of this stuff. They would be busy working.

    I revert to my sustained position over the last 3 years. Jobs are what heals a recession, not government programs, etc. At this point, I am afraid that reelection mode has set in for the President and the jobs situation will not improve.

    There bear campaign in the stock market has begun in earnest (just as expected and with the right timing). I expect a vertical move down to the low 1000's on the S&P.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 5:56 AM
  • thanks for the reply Benevelous. gives me several more things to ponder. more in a day or two

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 10:01 AM
  • Wallis,

    Thanks for your time and thoughts. Your first paragraph gives me pause though. I maintain that "sit[ting] around and think[ing] about all of this stuff" is as important to our democracy as unemployment rates are to our economy. Thomas Jefferson pointed this out a couple hundred years ago when he dreamed up the idea that rich Virginians had a responsibility to pay taxes to help educate poor Virginians. He wrote:

    "..the tax that will paid for this purpose is not more than a thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

    So, Wallis, unless you are too busy working to sit around and think, would you care to explain how exactly class warfare is real? Who is waging such a war? Why aren't the poor winning/benefiting?

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 12:03 PM
  • *

    What leads to jobs, wallis? Several things. Properly running and funded programs help create jobs. Millions of Americans went to work during the late 30s and 40s because of government programs. I feel you will deny this yet provide no proof of why the above is true.

    I do know that you fully believe that trickle-down economics provide jobs, yet you continually fail to provide proof that it actually works. You either ignore and/or deny that we went through eight years of trickle-down economics with Bush and employment steadily decreased for those eight years. Employment didn't suddenly drop off in Bush's last year, it steadily declined in almost all of Bush's eight years.

    I have the feeling that you will point to Reagan's version of trickle-down economics as the true system and how it worked. However, Reagan did raise taxes through both of his terms, which violates the true nature of the idea of trickle-down economics. When trickle-down economics was first installed under Reagan unemployment went up not down.

    I also find it odd that you seem to believe that if people are working they won't have time to waste by thinking about serious subjects:

    "I also feel that if unemployment were lower that people wouldn't have the time or desire to sit around and think about all of this stuff."

    Do you not work yet find plenty of time to stop and think about all this stuff? It is a very strange comment to be sure.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 12:50 PM
  • Wallis

    I don't see it as class warfare; I see it more as broken promises and political influence only wealth can provide.

    The 2003 Tax Cuts for the Wealthy were sold to the American Public as the best possible solution to spur economic growth and create jobs. Growth and jobs creation has been declining ever since.

    How do you think the average person feels when the wealthy and corporations are then able to shield their earned income in offshore tax havens until highly paid lobbyists coerce Senators and Representatives to push through legislation for a Repatriation Tax Holiday? You can boast all you want about the 35% tax rate being fair because it is progressive, but when those offshore funds come home at a 5.2% tax rate your argument gets thrown out the window.

    The 2004 American Jobs Creation Act allowed more than 800 companies to bring $300 billion in profits that were untaxed but overseas back to the United States. The companies said bringing the money home--"repatriating" it, they called it--would mean lots of jobs. Sen. John Ensign, the Nevada Republican, put the figure at 660,000 new jobs.

    Pfizer, the drug company, was the largest beneficiary. It brought home $37 billion, saving $11 billion in taxes. Almost immediately it started firing people. Since the law took effect, Pfizer has let 40,000 workers go. In all, it appears that at least 100,000 jobs were destroyed.

    Now Congress is gearing up again to pass another tax holiday, promoting a new Jobs Creation Act. This time we are talking about letting almost a trillion dollars of deferred income come home at a greatly reduced tax rate under the same guise.

    Despite skyrocketing incomes, the federal tax burden on the richest 400 has been slashed, thanks to a variety of loopholes, allowable deductions and other tools. The actual share of their income paid in taxes, according to the IRS, is 16.6 percent.

    Compare that to the vast majority of Americans, whose share of their income going to federal taxes increased from 13.1 percent in 1961 to 22.5 percent in 2007.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 2:11 PM
  • *

    I don't truly see how anyone can believe or say that a tax rate that is going down (not up) on the rich is a progressive tax rate. It is a regressive tax rate. The rich are paying the lowest percentage of taxes since 1929. Coincidentally, when the tax rate was slashed in 1929 to 24 percent, the belief was the same as it is today. They believed that by slashing taxes that the economy would stabilize and improve. I think we all remember what happened.

    The tax rate for the the rich hit 94% in 1944 and stayed in the 90s for two more presidents, yet the economy continued to improve (which is opposite of what we are told is supposed to happen).

    From that point until 1973 the tax rate remained above 70% yet the economy still continued to thrive.

    When Reagan once again slashed the highest tax rate, the unemployment rate once again went up the amount that taxes were cut (50% drop in taxes, 50% rise in unemployment.

    When Clinton raised the tax rate back to 40%, Republicans went all doom and gloom and predicted that the economy would crash and businesses would got out of business. The opposite happened.

    I've already discussed how George W. Bush slashed the tax rate and unemployment went up.

    There is a correlation between tax rates and unemployment but it is not the correlation that we have been spoon fed by those that believe in trickle-down economics. The correlation is reverse. The higher the tax rate on the highest level the lower unemployment.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 3:13 PM
  • *

    Mike- If you think the class warfare thing is coming from the top down how would you feel if someone wanted to raise your taxes? How would you feel if someone accused you of not paying your fair share? How would you feel if you were accused of not hiring enough people?


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 9:27

    If someone wanted to raise my taxes and it meant that the economy could stabilize I would be all for it. If someone accused me of not paying my fair share and I was being taxed at a lower rate percentage wise as those making less money I would plead guilty as charged. If I were accused of not hiring enough people and I had put a hiring freeze on in my company because simply because it meant I would make even more money and that if I continued to hire people I would still be making money I would plead guilty as charged.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 3:18 PM
  • *


    I fully agree with you here: "Properly running and funded programs help create jobs."

    My problem is I don't think I can count on our government to do either of those things correctly. It has a terrible track record when it tries.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 7:42 PM
  • Hi SWNebr Transplant,

    What do you think about the interstate/highway system? How about the FBI? ATF? CIA? What about the military? What do you think about fire departments, police stations, waste management, water, etc? Certainly we trust our governments to do a lot of things for us, and I think we have to admit that for the most part the government does a pretty decent job of performing these tasks. We live relatively comfortably here (at least some of us) and government plays a big role in that,wouldn't you agree?

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 8:06 PM
  • If someone accused me of not paying my fair share and I was being taxed at a lower rate percentage wise as those making less money I would plead guilty as charged.

    Mike - That statement is made up. It does not exist in the tax code. Therefore, who is making it up and why?


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 6:31 AM
  • http://www.allamericanblogger.com/17371/obamas-jobs-bill-makes-it-illegal-to-dis...

    This is yet another example of how President Obama is just a clueless wonder.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 6:37 AM
  • *


    I think the interstate/highway system should have been fixed with "shovel ready jobs". I see a lot of work done and money probably not spent the best way, wouldn't you agree?

    I think the FBI, ATF, and CIA all overstep their bounds and engage in activity that they shouldn't be doing. See "Operation Fast and Furious" or whatever it's called, and the CIA's history of covert operations in foreign countries. Wouldn't you agree?

    I think the military's budget is ridiculously high, that it should work to do things more efficiently. Wouldn't you agree?

    I think fire and police departments don't consider tax payer money enough and I see a lot of problems with those services. Wouldn't you agree?

    I don't know enough about wastemanagement to form an opinion. I think it probably should cost more where I live, but I also don't know what role organized crime and thuggish unions still play in those services.

    I similarly don't know enough about water systems to have an opinion.

    Here is an interesting comment you made: "I think we have to admit that for the most part the government does a pretty decent job of performing these tasks."

    Weren't you on the other blog taking government agencies to task for execution? Does that not fall under your "pretty decent job" most of the time?

    You also said: "We live relatively comfortably here (at least some of us) and government plays a big role in that" I'm not sure how to answer that; yes and no? Does the government not also play a big role in the uncomfortable lives that at least some of us have? How should one measure the effect?

    Interestingly enough, in your recitation of government services, you have listed almost all of the things that even the staunchest conservatives agree are the government's role. You have not touched on what those conservatives see as government over stepping its bounds. Do you also have several examples of what people on the right feel are non-essential government services that are being performed pretty decently?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 10:05 AM
  • Wallis

    Your comment about the President of the United States seems a little misguided. The proposed American Jobs Act legislation does not prohibit an employer from determining if the unemployed candidate is qualified to fill the position, or prevent him from hiring someone who is qualified yet currently employed. It simply states that unemployment alone can not justify their non consideration for recruitment or employment. If unemployment is the only consideration determining prospective employment opportunities it is considered discrimination. And yes, there are fines and penalties addressing these acts.

    (d) Construction -- Nothing in this Act is intended to preclude an employer or employment agency from considering an individual's employment history, or from examining the reasons underlying an individual's status as unemployed, in assessing an individual's ability to perform a job or in otherwise making employment decisions about that individual. Such consideration or examination may include an assessment of whether an individual's employment in a similar or related job for a period of time reasonably proximate to the consideration of such individual for employment is job-related or consistent with business necessity.

    The "Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011" begins on page 129 of the following link.


    -- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 2:50 PM
  • Geezer please answer this question. Why does this language even exist? If you are going to hire someone, odds are, they are unemployed?

    Does it not seem odd that we are now saying it is against the law to not hire someone if they are unemployed? I do not understand this at all unless something fishy is going on.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 4:14 PM
  • I have actually hired about 25 full time and contractors over the last 6 months. I am confused. Anyone else that actually hires people understand what this means?

    Wallis Marsh

    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 4:16 PM
  • *


    "If unemployment is the only consideration determining prospective employment opportunities it is considered discrimination"

    So being unemployed is now a historically disadvantaged or persecuted group?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 7:19 PM
  • *

    I for one think that this is much needed legislation, otherwise after all the currently employed people die out, america would become a stagnant civilization. After all, unemployed people are not, or in some locals cannot be hired.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Fri, Sep 23, 2011, at 10:37 PM
  • Wallis & SWNebr Transplant

    I will try and answer both your questions on this issue.

    The primary reason the Fair Employment Opportunity Act was included in the American Jobs Act was due to a drastic increase of recruiters and employers having exclusionary recruitment and hiring practices for the unemployed. These feelings were also conveyed in recent polls:

    In a national survey Hart Research Associates conducted for NELP last month, 90 percent of respondents described the refusal to consider unemployed job applicants as "very unfair" (80 percent) or "somewhat unfair" (10 percent). Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said they favor a congressional proposal making "it illegal for companies to refuse to hire or consider a qualified job applicant solely because the person is currently unemployed."


    Definition of discrimination:

    Unfair treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit.

    I just don't know how we can justify denying equal opportunity for gainful employment based on if a person is currently employed or unemployed. Don't work history, education, and job specific qualifications usually determine suitability of prospective employees? How are you going to determine any of these qualifications if the candidate is disqualified from consideration?

    Wallis -- I for one and many others thank you for your job creation efforts and your opinions concerning business issues. I sometimes disagree with you but I do value your opinion. This will not impact your ability to hire qualified candidates for your business unless you implement some sort of an exclusionary policy which discriminates against the unemployed. You are still able to make the decision on who you consider most qualified from the field of candidates. This provision only creates a level playing field for those candidates.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 12:51 AM
  • Hi SW,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. We are likely to agree that in many cases the people who make governmental decisions/run government programs (e.g's., "Fast and Furious", No Child Left Behind) commit unbelievable and often unforgivable errors in judgement. I think I could likewise defend the argument that boneheaded decisions and often criminal (or at least unethical) behavior exists throughout the private sector as well. Corporations and governments, small business and city councils are all run by people. A consequence of humanity is imperfection. This is as true for public sector leaders as it is for private sector leaders (who are typically the same people anyway).

    I do think, and hopefully you agree with me, that one can simultaneously see all the good our government does, and yet still be able to critically scrutinize the things we believe it messes up. This speaks to your point about my argument on the other blog. Mike calls our justice system unjust, and I would argue that in many cases his is a defensible argument. I would resist painting in such broad strokes, certainly the system has been just in good number of cases as well. My tendency is to support the government (and the justice system) and to criticize when and where I think its needed. I am not a 'throw the baby out with the bath water' kind of thinker.

    To answer your final question/argument perhaps it is necessary to clarify my original point (sorry for any obfuscation)...I think that many critics of "big government" fail to see the contradiction between the idea that government is inept and cannot successfully run big intricate programs, and yet clearly they trust in and support things like the military, interstate/highway systems, federal law enforcement, import and export standards, etc., all of which are "big government programs" and all of which function and perform their tasks reasonably well. But is you insist on my pointing out something the government does well (and that the right stereotypically criticizes) I would say the Census is a pretty amazing feat of governmental organization and action.

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 1:13 PM
  • *


    "I could likewise defend the argument that boneheaded decisions and often criminal (or at least unethical) behavior exists throughout the private sector as well"

    I'm confused, what in this argument needs defended? I think there are many examples of private actors committing crimes. I don't excuse either private or public bad behavior because they may have "meant well".

    In your discussion of "big government critics" I think you are either trying to hide the ball or you don't understand the criticism. As I understand the argument of most critics, the point isn't that the government doesn't have a role, the point is that the government does things that are not in its role. Therefore arguing that the government is doing what those critics think it is constitutionally mandated to do doesn't really seem to serve a purpose to me.

    Thank you for your census example. Although, I don't remember a great number of protests over whether the government has the right to conduct a census. That you believe it is an amazing feat further encourages my view. What does the census do? The government has employed enough bean counters to record and organize information. My complaint is that governments spend too much time and money collecting data but don't use that information to effective purpose.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 3:53 PM
  • *


    Is there evidence that companies are refusing to hire people solely because they are currently unemployed?

    How do you feel that unemployment fits in your definition of class or category rather than individual? I don't see how a strong argument can be made to that effect.

    Even if one concedes that it is a class or category, how will one prove that it is the only reason why people weren't hired. If I was an employer and my choice was between two similar people, one who hasn't worked in a year and one who hasn't worked in two weeks, why shouldn't I be able to consider that the person who has been working for the past year is probably more in tune with industry standards? If that was the only difference between them am I discriminating against the other person?

    It just seems like meaningless throw away languange inserted into law yet again.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 4:04 PM
  • Transplant

    Take a minute of your time and look at the link I provided in the above 12:51 post. Some employers and recruiters are currently and specifically excluding the unemployed in their requirements for consideration.

    As an employer you do have the right to make the decision if one candidates experience is more in line with your expectations. But does that translate into a right to deny all unemployed candidates their opportunity to compete for gainful employment?

    If you need someone with specific technical requirements or knowledge of current standards or practices, why not just state that in your minimum requirments associated with the particular job?

    For example, in my field of study knowledge of CAD, COGO,and other software applications are almost always a requirement for consideration. There are very few people that can claim working proficiency in all the popular software utilized these days - so most job listings contain specific software requirements along with various certifications needed such as a valid First Aid Card, Hazardous Material Training, CDL, knowledge of specific governmental regulations,etc., etc.

    Gotta go now, time for chores - thanks for the excellent exchange of opinions - it is most appreciated!!

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 6:20 PM
  • *

    I would just like to clear something up Benevolous. I do not believe that the entire justice system is unjust. I do believe it to be unjust when it comes to the death penalty.

    The two most recent cases show to that to an extent with Davis being executed despite him being convicted on flimsy evidence and eyewitness testimony later being recanted and the West Memphis Three having to plead guilty to get out of jail despite most of the evidence pointing to their innocence.

    For the large part we have a very good justice system in this country. However, when it comes to the death penalty I believe there is a rush by those in states where it is legal to put someone, sometimes anyone, to death for a crime and that's where the injustice comes in. One innocent person being put to death is one too many. When innocent people are put to death or released for guilty plea there are actually two acts of injustice occurring. One is the innocent person that was convicted and executed and two the person/people and the families that will never see justice.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 2:10 AM
  • *

    "If you are going to hire someone, odds are, they are unemployed?"

    Really Wallis? So it is next to impossible to hire someone that is employed? That seems strange.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 2:13 AM
  • *

    "This is yet another example of how President Obama is just a clueless wonder."

    So does this statement and all the other character attacks you have made against the President mean that you hate America? I don't think it does I'm still just trying to figure out your logic that what I say means I hate America but that somehow doesn't carry to anyone else.

    Care to explain?

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 2:15 AM
  • *


    Why do you frequently try to misrepresent what people say to mean something they didn't? Here is a good example:

    "Really Wallis? So it is next to impossible to hire someone that is employed? That seems strange."

    You said this in response to Wallis' comment: "If you are going to hire someone, odds are, they are unemployed?"

    I don't have to agree with Wallis' comment to understand that what he said is a far cry from saying it is "next to impossible". Odds are means that it is more than 50% likely, less than 50% against. Is that next to impossible in your opinion or are you trying to put words in people's mouths again?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 10:21 AM
  • Transplant

    After thinking about our discussion yesterday involving the unemployed I realized there was one aspect we hadn't even considered. After you read my thoughts on the issue I would appreciate you also providing an opinion from your perspective.

    The Unemployed are desperately trying to retool their skills to be competitive in the job market during a time of high unemployment rates. To some degree, businesses play a part in these decisions by laying out their requirements for job consideration. This in turn provides the Unemployed with the needed information to assess any deficiencies in their own abilities.

    Many of the Unemployed have chosen to eliminate their ability shortfalls by attaining further education or job specific training which would satisfy or exceed job qualification expectations. In many cases these individuals are actually more qualified than those currently in the work force. Some businesses are tapping into this resource as a means of providing cost-effective training for current employees suffering from the same shortfalls. It is not uncommon for new employees with advanced skills to provide company wide training which benefits the company as a whole.

    If an Unemployed person takes the necessary steps to meet the qualifications that businesses say they should possess, have they not earned the opportunity to be included in the pool considered for employment?

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 12:13 PM
  • *


    I think you are interpreting my comments more broadly than I intended and I apologize if I didn't make myself clear. The point I was trying to make was that it would be very difficult to prove that a company didn't hire someone solely because they had already been unemployed. I didn't mean to say that it could never happen or that it should happen. That is why I feel adding words to law is pointless. In general I feel laws should be as clear and succinct as possible.

    However, I will try to respond to your question. First, if a person who had been unemployed and has returned for further training, wouldn't they present themselves not as unemployed but as a student or in training? If so they wouldn't fall under the governments definition of unemployed and wouldn't be protected by the wording in the law anyway. Second, if they had been seeking the training required by a position they would not be less in touch with industry standards which was my argument for hiring someone not unemployed long term. Absolutely they should be included in applicant pool; however, I don't think they should be given an advantage over other employees.

    My concern with bills like this one purports to be is that it seems the government is attempting to force things that don't exist. A company can't be forced to create jobs just to give someone a job, there must be a need for that job. We can't "create jobs" by saying there should be more jobs. In my view the unemployment problem should more accurately be termed a lack of need problem. It isn't that people can't get a job its that there aren't job needs that fit people's skills. In our case I fully commend anyone who returns for training in an attempt to find work. I have a lot more trouble supporting extension of benefits without requiring action on beneficiaries parts.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 1:49 PM
  • Transplant

    Thanks for your reply, it is appreciated.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sun, Sep 25, 2011, at 8:13 PM
  • Benevelous: sorry for the delay in responding. I did watch the youtube video you provided a link for. Very interesting and it does give one pause to ponder. I feel that my education has been expanded. I have no doubt some of the things presented are true and accurate. One question comes to mind though. If, and I mean a large IF, the groups that presented the video were liberal, would/could a panel of conservatives come to a different conclusion?

    And I will completely agree with your premise that motivation of individuals is a vastly complex issue.

    I appreciate your respectful, intelligent replies. I also repect your research. We may not agree on every thing, but I believe we could have good discussions and gentlemanly disagreements.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Mon, Sep 26, 2011, at 10:56 AM
  • Doodle Bug,

    Thank you for the encouraging response. I think I can agree to gentlemanly conduct since you seem willing to as well. I find discussions are far more productive under these terms anyway.

    To that end, you bring up an interesting point about bias in research. I would enjoy that discussion, actually, and I am sure that we could have a spirited exchange. However, I first need to know which video is in question, the RSA: Drive video about motivation, or the Trading Schools video.

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Mon, Sep 26, 2011, at 1:23 PM
  • Benevolus: (first, an apology; I havent looked at all the previous posts, but think I may have mis-spelled your screen name). Wasnt really questioning the video, but more a hypothetical question. Watched the youtube presentation by MIT, et.al.; probably the motivational one. On second thought, I probably was wondering about the political leaning of the presentation. I also believe one mans research, whichever side, is another mans junk science.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Mon, Sep 26, 2011, at 5:13 PM
  • Doodle Bug,

    No worries re: spelling. I can't complain about spelling or grammar because doing so would be the height of hypocrisy, given how bad I am at both.

    I wouldn't want to give the impression that scientific research is without bias. The very fact that a researcher chooses to use scientific methods rather than anecdotal evidence and observations is inherently a bias--i.e., scientists are biased towards scientific methodologies and explanations (and rightly so in my opinion, but that is another discussion).

    However, as the video points out, the research was funded and conducted by "the mainstream of the mainstream," i.e., it was funded by the Federal Reserve Bank, and carried out by economists at Carnegie Mellon, the U of Chicago, and MIT. I can't think of a good reason to assume that there is some kind of left-wing conspiracy afoot. If you are an integral part of the economy (as the Federal Reserve is) and you want to understand why so many people are using their valuable time and skills to work on products that they give away for free, you would probably seek this answer by looking to your most well-trained economists and researchers. My point is, the question isn't whether people are motivated by money (if this was the question I think your concerns might be more substantial). But clearly people aren't always motivated to perform better to earn more. The question being asked is: why is this so?

    I don't see much room for conspiracy in that, or bias, or even junk science. I see an explanation/conclusion. I think you can certainly argue with and critique their conclusion--that when money is taken off the table, people are driven by purpose, mastery, and autonomy. I mean, why not: inspiration, community, and usefulness? for example. But we already have proof that a great number of very skilled people aren't driven by money, or else Wikipedia, Linux, etc., wouldn't exist.

    Anyhow, I think you are right to wonder about sources of information. I believe skepticism and doubt are consequences of a reasonable person who is paying attention. But in this case, I don't see the political/ideological underpinnings that might otherwise suggest a conspiracy. Do you?

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Mon, Sep 26, 2011, at 6:59 PM
  • No, I dont. Being of the conservative bent, I find it difficult to believe money not being a motivational factor. I am not saying it is not possible, only that I find it difficult to believe.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 9:40 AM
  • Well, what I like about the video is that it concedes the point you make. The narrator says that you have to pay people enough to "take the issue of money off the table." But that once you do this, then we begin to see what statisticians call diminished returns.

    Meaning, more money returns a better performance to a certain point, and to that point you are getting a good return on your investment. But this research is saying that once you hit this point money stops returning higher performance, and then more money = a worse return on your investment. To their point, once money isn't an issue, people become interested in autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

    So you see Doodle Bug, this is place where we can both be right; an example in which seemingly Republican and Democratic ideologies are both in play and supportable. I wonder if there aren't other examples where this it true as well!?

    -- Posted by Benevolus on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 11:28 AM
  • completely agree with your last paragraph. And, upon further reflection, I can also see that when money isnt an issue, people will be more interested in autonomy, mastery and purpose.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 12:31 PM
  • "shared sacrifice". It is a noble idea, everyone shares in sacrifice in order to help the country get out of the recession.

    Flash! good news, if Warron Buffit and anyone else that feels they are underpaying taxes, or just that it is a nobil idea can send money without filling out any long forms to this address.

    Gifts to the United States

    U.S. Department of Treasury

    3700 East-West Highway

    Hyattsville, MD 20782

    Now! wasn't that easy, no staged rhetoric or political bull.

    -- Posted by Keda46 on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 7:18 PM
  • Mike was certainly right about Kerrey never remembering a face or name. I told him once I always remembered his name but he never remembers mine. He might make this Old Democrat vote Republican.

    Cal Freehling


    -- Posted by csfree on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 12:58 PM
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