"We are a country of God", Glenn Beck. Are we?

100percentAtheist
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"We are a country of God", Glenn Beck. Are we?

 http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/28/glenn.beck.rally/index.html?hpt=T1

It's ordinary fascism to me.  I'm somewhat really scared.  Should I be? 

 


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100percentAtheist wrote:everything will be ready for him.

    Sorry,but I disagree with your assessment of Glenn "the clown" Beck,I don't think that he will pose any danger to America.Remember Mike Huckabee (a former Governor) and Mitt Romney also a (former Governor) They both played the religious card but most of the people just ignored them.  

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Ken G. wrote:  

Ken G. wrote:

    Sorry,but I disagree with your assessment of Glenn "the clown" Beck,I don't think that he will pose any danger to America.Remember Mike Huckabee (a former Governor) and Mitt Romney also a (former Governor) They both played the religious card but most of the people just ignored them.  

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Beck is harmful because

Beck is harmful because people take him seriously. What makes him harmless is the fact that we have a constitution that allows us to call bullshit bullshit.

He lies about the founders and tries to make him out to be bible thumpers, which they were not. He takes their religious vlews and tries to turn them into public law. He omits their countless objections to religious entanglement in government. He blames the middle class and poor as being lazy.

And he works for a network which is nothing but a corporate entity out to milk credulous people with right wing clap trap.

He is an actor and nothing but a well paid orator. He has no credibility in facts nor does he care to state facts. He is a marketing tool, nothing more.

 

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cj wrote:Pick a service you

cj wrote:

Pick a service you take advantage of every day - roads for instance.  Compute the cost of building the roads for your daily commute.  Determine how much in taxes you pay to support the building and maintenance of the roads.  Odds are you will not pay back what you use in your lifetime.  If this is not a good example for you, try something else - state university costs to educate you vs what you pay in tuition.  I have yet to find a community service that I have taken advantage of that I can pay for my use of that service in my lifetime given the amount of taxes I pay.

Then obviously YOU do not pay enough taxes. I'm pretty sure I overpay for just about every community service I use. It is well documented that if I will receive any social security the amount I get will be far less then I'll pay in if I get anything at all, I pay for my own medical care, I pay so much in gas taxes I should probably get a road named after me, I paid to go to a private university, I pay $15/night in hotel taxes every night which I guess is my contribution to whatever community I'm in for fire/police protection etc. I donate around $400 year in various speeding and traffic tickets to the state highway patrol and I haven't even gotten to state or federal income taxes yet where my money is going to bailout wallstreet millionaires because they kissed the right asses. So exactly what great government service am I using that I won't pay for in my lifetime? And why should I be obligated to pay for services I don't use so that you can use them? I like you and all but I would rather go play poker and stimulate the economy for some cute cocktail waitresses. 

 

(Yes before you say it, I know it is ironic that my paycheck comes indirectly from the government which is one of the reasons y'all should eliminate property taxes so you don't have to pay jerks like me to tell you how much you have to pay in taxes. ) I would happily give up my career in exchange for the elimination of property taxes, that is how much I despise the system.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:cj

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

Pick a service you take advantage of every day - roads for instance.  Compute the cost of building the roads for your daily commute.  Determine how much in taxes you pay to support the building and maintenance of the roads.  Odds are you will not pay back what you use in your lifetime.  If this is not a good example for you, try something else - state university costs to educate you vs what you pay in tuition.  I have yet to find a community service that I have taken advantage of that I can pay for my use of that service in my lifetime given the amount of taxes I pay.

Then obviously YOU do not pay enough taxes. I'm pretty sure I overpay for just about every community service I use. It is well documented that if I will receive any social security the amount I get will be far less then I'll pay in if I get anything at all, I pay for my own medical care, I pay so much in gas taxes I should probably get a road named after me, I paid to go to a private university, I pay $15/night in hotel taxes every night which I guess is my contribution to whatever community I'm in for fire/police protection etc. I donate around $400 year in various speeding and traffic tickets to the state highway patrol and I haven't even gotten to state or federal income taxes yet where my money is going to bailout wallstreet millionaires because they kissed the right asses. So exactly what great government service am I using that I won't pay for in my lifetime? And why should I be obligated to pay for services I don't use so that you can use them? I like you and all but I would rather go play poker and stimulate the economy for some cute cocktail waitresses. 

 

(Yes before you say it, I know it is ironic that my paycheck comes indirectly from the government which is one of the reasons y'all should eliminate property taxes so you don't have to pay jerks like me to tell you how much you have to pay in taxes. ) I would happily give up my career in exchange for the elimination of property taxes, that is how much I despise the system.  

I see. You look upon paying for services on a "rent to own" basis. I see it more as maintenance expense.

If you have a car, do you get it serviced? If you do it yourself, change the oil & check things for wear?

Some things you have to keep paying for even after you buy them.

I'd be afraid of getting rid of property taxes - at least now the city/state has to pay you when they take your land.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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mellestad wrote:@CJ:  That

mellestad wrote:

@CJ:  That is a great point.  I realize many laws are stupid or overzealous or underzealous or just plain wrong...but what I think many libertarians miss is that the bulk of them were made for a reason, and that reason was good enough to convince people they were needed at the time.

 

Do you think that most people are even aware of a majority of the laws that affect them? Even if you pay real close attention it is difficult to keep track of all the laws. That is why lawyers specialize. How many thousands of pages were there in just the healthcare bill and the stimulus? Two laws that everyone knows passed but have no clue what is in them. Most congressman don't even know what they are voting for, they don't even bother to read it. At the federal level at least, laws today are a conglomeration of what the right lobbyists wanted. For example, the "SAFE Port Act" was a bill supposedly designed to prevent terrorists from bringing nuclear or chemical weapons into the country. Sure, everyone is behind that. Then some damn moralist decided they wanted to ban internet poker in the US so they throw it in the bill. Next thing you know a dozen internet poker sites are shutdown and regular law abiding citizens like me become criminals. Did we ever have a national discussion on the issue? Are most people who don't play internet poker even aware of what was in the law? And what the hell does it have to do with stopping terrorists???

 

mellestad wrote:

It is naive to think things will purr along just fine if we turn the nation into a Randian utopia overnight.  Over and over I talk to Libertarians who think what we need is to wipe out all 95% of Federal and State law, then everything will be perfect.  I don't buy it.

 

I don't think anyone who seriously thinks about it does. Nothing can be done overnight but it would be nice to start moving in the right direction. And nothing will ever be perfect. People without problems will create new ones. I am of the opinion that the more radical a politician the more likely they are to survive first contact with Washington D.C. culture and have some small effect on it and it would be a good thing if they spent some significant time looking at and repealing laws instead of only passing new ones.

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:Then

Beyond Saving wrote:

Then obviously YOU do not pay enough taxes. I'm pretty sure I overpay for just about every community service I use. It is well documented that if I will receive any social security the amount I get will be far less then I'll pay in if I get anything at all, I pay for my own medical care, I pay so much in gas taxes I should probably get a road named after me, I paid to go to a private university, I pay $15/night in hotel taxes every night which I guess is my contribution to whatever community I'm in for fire/police protection etc. I donate around $400 year in various speeding and traffic tickets to the state highway patrol and I haven't even gotten to state or federal income taxes yet where my money is going to bailout wallstreet millionaires because they kissed the right asses. So exactly what great government service am I using that I won't pay for in my lifetime? And why should I be obligated to pay for services I don't use so that you can use them? I like you and all but I would rather go play poker and stimulate the economy for some cute cocktail waitresses. 

 

Okay, you really haven't done your homework.  (Lots of other good info on the same web site.)

 

http://www.artba.org/about/faqs-transportation--general-public/faqs/#1 wrote:

How much does the federal gas tax cost the average U.S. driver/family each year?

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average motor vehicle in the United States, including cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks, is driven 11,720 miles per year.

Assuming the national average fuel economy of 20.4 miles per gallon, the average vehicle uses 598 gallons of motor fuel per year.

At a tax rate of 18.4 cents per gallon, consumers pay an average of $105.62 per year in federal gasoline taxes, or just under a penny per mile, for each vehicle they own.

According to the Census Bureau, the average American family owns 2.1 vehicles, which means the average family pays $221.79 in federal motor fuel taxes each year, or about $4.27 per week. 

How much do state gas taxes cost the average U.S. driver/family each year?

State gasoline tax rates range from a low of eight-cents-per-gallon (in Alaska) to more than 30-cents-per-gallon, so the amount of tax paid will vary by state of residence. The average tax rate among all states, however, is 20.48-cents-per-gallon, according to the Federal Highway Administration. This means the average cost of state gasoline taxes is $117.56 per vehicle. The average family with 2.1 vehicles thus pays $246.87 per year or $4.75 per week.

 

I looked up Ohio, it is 28 cents per gallon, but we can round it up for you to $5 per week.

You say you do a lot of traveling, so let's double the amounts.

($10 state per week + $9 fed per week) * 52 weeks per year = $988 per year.

 

[quote = same source as above]

How much does it cost to build a mile of road?

There is no single answer to this question. Construction costs per mile of road depend on location, terrain, type of construction, number of lanes, lane width, durability, number of bridges, etc. It costs more to build a new road than to rehabilitate a road or add lanes. Roads cost more to build in urban areas than in rural areas. Roads in mountainous terrain are more expensive to build than roads on flat land.

Nonetheless, some states have developed cost models to guide planning for their highway construction programs. These models give a ballpark figure for various kinds of highway improvements. The following are some examples:

  • Construct a new 2-lane undivided road - about $2-$3 million per mile in rural areas, about $4-5 million in urban areas.
  • Construct a new 4-lane highway -- $4-$6 million per mile in rural and suburban areas, $8-$10 million per mile in urban areas.
  • Construct a new 6-lane Interstate highway - about $7 million per mile in rural areas, $12 million or more per mile in urban areas.
  • Mill and resurface a 4-lane road - about $1.25 million per mile.
  • Expand an Interstate Highway from 4 lanes to 6 lanes - about $4 million per mile.

The Florida Department of Transportation has published its generic cost per mile information for 2009 online.

The Arkansas Highway Department's estimated cost per mile for 2005 is available online

Highway construction costs have risen about 25 percent since this was posted.

 

And why do you deserve a free pass on the costs of maintaining and constructing the roads and infrastructure you spend so many miles on?  Your vehicle contributes to the wear and tear just like any other vehicle.  How impressed am I that you have to pay about $1000 per year in gas taxes?  Not very.

I'm unemployed - still, damn it - and I pay almost the same taxes - 24 cents a gallon in Oregon.  We don't put in as many miles as you do I'll bet and my car gets better mileage than yours does, so my total is less.  I could use it elsewhere, sure.  But I rather like having paved roads and bridges and such.  And how many years would you have to pay $1000 a year in order to resurface just one trip you make?

(Hint: 1.25 million per mile * number of miles in trip = cost to resurface one road that you use regularly.  Take this total and divide by $1000 and you would have the number of years it would take you to personally pay for resurfacing that road.  Now aren't you glad you share the cost of road maintenance with other taxpayers?)

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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cj wrote:jcgadfly wrote:Cj,

cj wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Cj, can i borrow that story?

I've a friend who is a "national sales tax Tea Party " person who believes that taxing the rich is punishing success.

 

Sure.  Try not to mangle it too much.

Yeah, I've heard that before - the person who grew up as a trust fund baby really worked hard for the money.  Or the one who managed to sell their stocks high.  In my experience those who work hard can pull themselves up one socioeconomic notch.  The ones who jump two or more levels are usually incredibly lucky.

Pick a service you take advantage of every day - roads for instance.  Compute the cost of building the roads for your daily commute.  Determine how much in taxes you pay to support the building and maintenance of the roads.  Odds are you will not pay back what you use in your lifetime.  If this is not a good example for you, try something else - state university costs to educate you vs what you pay in tuition.  I have yet to find a community service that I have taken advantage of that I can pay for my use of that service in my lifetime given the amount of taxes I pay.

 

 

Why is it either or? My boss got lucky when his grandmother left him a shitload of money. He bought the food joint I work with with that money. You know what he does all day when he is at work? He counts his money, plans on his computer, and mostly shmoozes with the customers and then usually leaves an hour to an hour and a half before we close. I wouldn't call that hard work. He may have mental stress from hard decisions, but he most certainly doesn't get his hands dirty like his workers do. He helps out sometimes. but he does not put in the physical labor we do.

NOW, having said that, does that mean because he is physically lazy he is bad? Or that he uses us to make his money, does that make him bad? No, in fact, he is one of the best bosses I have ever had. He is laid back, doesn't stand over us and micromanage us and treats us like humans, not robots.

NOW, on the other hand. Hard work is a bullshit myth being sold by itself. For our three class system to work there has to be a middle and even poor class. Hard work will not always get you up that ladder, otherwise there would be no middle or poor class and we would all be rich.

LUCK has as much to do with where you end up in life as much as the hard work you might put in. Competition is as much luck as it is skill. I keep my job, because I am good at it. But even that is not a garuntee because the owner could decide, beyond my own control, that he cant afford me. I do make more than most at my position. It would be economically better for him to fire me and hire someone at less cost.

I don't fault someone for getting lucky or having money handed down to them. But I also don't think the class you are in means you have to be a slave to work. It is not the amount of hours you put in, but the quality of the work you do.

"Hard work" is bullshit because if anyone of us got lucky, or worked to a point where we didn't have to, we wouldn't. Being a jaded desk jocky or jaded CEO who likes being a workoholic doesn't mean because they do it all the other classes should as well.

IT IS NOT EITHER OR. I don't fault all rich people for what they want. I just don't think the other two classes should be put in a lopsided economy where the highest paid make almost 500 times more than the lowest paid forcing them to work 24/7.

I have also seen lazy people who work 2 or 3 jobs but do nothing while they are there unless they are told. I myself work 1 job but do more in one day than most of my co-workers do in 2 or 3 days. I can do that because I was lucky enough to have my mom buy me a house. Because I didn't have rent or mortgage I could afford to be more productive on my job because I was not worn out having to pay rent and utilities.

MOST people are not that lucky. But just as I was lucky in having my mom by my house. My boss was lucky to have grandparents give him the money to buy the place I work at where he does not do much physical labor.

I think whatever job you have it is not about the amount of hours you put in, but the efficiency and quality of the work you do. My boss, in that same respect, has improved the place and made it better, not because of any physical labor he does, but the decisions he makes and the way he treats us.

BUT, again, even his ownership is not a given. We all could get wiped out by a hurricane. We could be out competed by another place (not likely, but still part of the free market). Or our entire economy could get so bad that the entire area dries up. It has happened and can happen.

In the end to me, it is not what someone's class is or what their title is. I think everyone on their death beds isn't going to be concerned (if moral) with what they owned or didn't own. I think most moral people are going to think about their families and how they treated others while alive. Material things come and go, but relationships are in the end, all we have.

Life is not a given or a script and a war between classes is not helping our economy and the class that has the most to improve it seems to be selfish. (not all rich people) just far too many in the corporate class.

 

 

 

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100percent Atheist wrote:Should I be ? ? ?

      No you should not be a little scared. Here's Alexander Zaitchik author of "Common Nonsense :Glenn Beck and the triumph of Ignorance"  

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  Ken G. I am not scared

  Ken G. 

I am not scared by Beck or his potential (pretty miserable) to become a political leader.  I am afraid of that enthusiasm of american people blindly supporting dangerous idiocracy.  

 

By the way, a few minutes ago, Michael Savage on air cited Deuteronomy ~11:9-15 about "land of milk and honey".

He said that US is the land of milk and honey, especially for immigrants.  But now many immigrants and americans are starting to believe "other gods", and so the america dies.  (?) In fact, he failed to cite the rest of the biblical story that says:    Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.  Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.

(Deuter 11:16-17)

 

And then 

 

If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow--to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him--then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.  Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea.

(Deuter 11:22-25)

 

I wonder,  is Savage going to invade U.K. or what? Smiling

 


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cj wrote:And why do you

cj wrote:

 

And why do you deserve a free pass on the costs of maintaining and constructing the roads and infrastructure you spend so many miles on?  Your vehicle contributes to the wear and tear just like any other vehicle.  How impressed am I that you have to pay about $1000 per year in gas taxes?  Not very.

I'm unemployed - still, damn it - and I pay almost the same taxes - 24 cents a gallon in Oregon.  We don't put in as many miles as you do I'll bet and my car gets better mileage than yours does, so my total is less.  I could use it elsewhere, sure.  But I rather like having paved roads and bridges and such.  And how many years would you have to pay $1000 a year in order to resurface just one trip you make?

(Hint: 1.25 million per mile * number of miles in trip = cost to resurface one road that you use regularly.  Take this total and divide by $1000 and you would have the number of years it would take you to personally pay for resurfacing that road.  Now aren't you glad you share the cost of road maintenance with other taxpayers?)

  

 

 

 

 I never said I deserve a free pass. I'm bitching about other people who think they deserve a free pass. I pay more gas taxes than average because I use the roads more and that is good. You made the claim that I used more in government services than I would pay back in my lifetime. Between my gas taxes and income taxes I will pay at least, and probably more than, my share to build the roads. I think the gas tax is a great way to tax people for using the roads because those who use them the most pay the most. So ditch the property tax and don't use any income taxes to build roads. Just charge a high enough gas tax and I would be perfectly happy. And yes, you would pay just as much per gallon as me. If you can't afford the higher gas tax, drive less get a bike and save the environment.      What pisses me off is when I have to write a five figure check to the government which then turns around and hands it out willy nilly. I think if you use a government service you should pay for it. If you don't use it why should others expect you to pay for it? Make social security, unemployment, medicare, universities etc. voluntary. If you pay into them you can use the services, if you don't then why should you? Why should I have to pay taxes to fund a crappy public university when I still have to shell out 65k of my own money to attend a decent private university? Why do I have to pay taxes to fund the Columbus Library system which runs a budget of 45 million a year for a library? (For 45 mil I better get a massage and caviar while reading my book) Why did I have to pay for the government to buy GM when I was smart enough to never by stock in it? Why do I have to pay for the retirements of a bunch of old people who own more stuff and have more money than me?  You want to go to a public university? Pay for it! You want the government retirement plan? Pay for it! You want government healthcare? Pay for it! You want government libraries? Pay for them.  I don't want any government services for free. I'm willing to pay for each and every one I get. If I want to give something away for free I will give it to a charity where I know it will go to help people who actually need it without politicians and lobbyists taking their cut.   

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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100percentAtheist

100percentAtheist wrote:

  Ken G. 

I am not scared by Beck or his potential (pretty miserable) to become a political leader.  I am afraid of that enthusiasm of american people blindly supporting dangerous idiocracy.  

 

By the way, a few minutes ago, Michael Savage on air cited Deuteronomy ~11:9-15 about "land of milk and honey".

He said that US is the land of milk and honey, especially for immigrants.  But now many immigrants and americans are starting to believe "other gods", and so the america dies.  (?) In fact, he failed to cite the rest of the biblical story that says:    Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.  Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.

(Deuter 11:16-17)

 

And then 

 

If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow--to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him--then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.  Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea.

(Deuter 11:22-25)

 

I wonder,  is Savage going to invade U.K. or what? Smiling

 

 

Savage might.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


cj
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Brian37 wrote:Why is it

Brian37 wrote:

Why is it either or?

 

It isn't, I was feeling lazy when I replied and didn't want to write a book.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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@BeyondSaving

You want less taxes and fewer laws.  Right?  Think it might solve a lot of problems, right?

I don't know.  Literally.  I. don't. know.  The tax revenue in the US is a smaller percentage of GDP than many other industrial nations.  The income tax 1944-1945 was at 94% for incomes over $200,000.  Top bracket now - 35%.  So taxes have significantly reduced over the years and as near as I can tell it hasn't made a speck of difference for the general health of the economy.  But I freely admit, I wasn't around in 1945, not even a gleam in daddy's eye, so what the fuck do I know?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

US 28%, UK 39%, Switzerland 30%, Sweden 49%, Australia 30%, etc.  Numbers are as of 2009.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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I can see the argument that

I can see the argument that it isn't beck himself who's dangerous but the fact that he's rallied so many people to his banner. Some of it might just be the sheeple effect, IE some people look for a voice to follow and Beck happened to shout the loudest. Some of them are fans of him and his show. But yeah, enough people are out there that you could get a block of crazies. The John Birch society showed us that it can happen, an advantage though is that the internet allows us to undercut fallacious claims or lies because we can fact check much more easily. So far it looks more like all he has is the reactionary brigade, afraid of change and afraid of a new and different world. But if there is a major disaster or some new attack we might see a panic and someone calling for direct action could sound awful appealing.


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Joker wrote:So far it looks

Joker wrote:

So far it looks more like all he has is the reactionary brigade, afraid of change and afraid of a new and different world. But if there is a major disaster or some new attack we might see a panic and someone calling for direct action could sound awful appealing.

 

Yup, US Capitol fire maybe .... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire


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cj wrote:Brian37 wrote:Why

cj wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Why is it either or?

 

It isn't, I was feeling lazy when I replied and didn't want to write a book.

I am sorry if I misunderstood what you said.

I simply, myself, not responding to you now, but in general to all reading this, hate the us vs them between classes.

I do get tired of hearing "hard work" as if it is the only measure of morality, that slavery is a measure of morality. Most of us, try to work, or if get lucky, will put ourselves in a position where we don't have to work hard. Even at work I work ahead and think ahead so that when it is slam busy things are easier on everyone. Reducing stress on the job helps make one more productive.

Again, my boss got lucky and because of that luck he was able to buy his way into a position where he didn't have to physically work hard. I also got lucky in that my mom put me in a position of only having to worry about car insurance and utility bills. As a result of not having to work two jobs, I am more productive on the one I have.

I don't judge people like Paris Hilton, other than she does the same stupid crap I did as a teen and many of my friends did at her age. I also get down on poor people who slam someone who "left the hood" and call someone a sellout because they moved up. I also get down on rich people who put down the poor because they don't have what they have.

I merely see the corporate class turning the middle and poor classes into slaves to bills and cost of living which doesn't help parents spend time with their kids. It doesn't help reduce crime. It doesn't help educate people. It just seeks to hoard money and exploit workers.

Again, it is not an indictment of the open market, it is an abuse of power I object too.

I think France has a healthy attitude in that they limit the hours of work, pay livable wages and give people pleanty of time off to recharge and spend time with their families.

America is being run into the ground by the corporate class because it has nothing to do with building a healthy society, it is all about profit. I have no problem with profit, I have a problem with profit being the only thing that should be important in a society.

 

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cj wrote:You want less taxes

cj wrote:

You want less taxes and fewer laws.  Right?  Think it might solve a lot of problems, right?

I don't know.  Literally.  I. don't. know.  The tax revenue in the US is a smaller percentage of GDP than many other industrial nations.  The income tax 1944-1945 was at 94% for incomes over $200,000.  Top bracket now - 35%.  So taxes have significantly reduced over the years and as near as I can tell it hasn't made a speck of difference for the general health of the economy.  But I freely admit, I wasn't around in 1945, not even a gleam in daddy's eye, so what the fuck do I know?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

US 28%, UK 39%, Switzerland 30%, Sweden 49%, Australia 30%, etc.  Numbers are as of 2009.

 

Actually when it comes to the actual tax rate I'm not so picky. I just want everyone to pay and I want substantially less government spending. Set the rate at 1% or 99% just tax everyone at the same rate or better yet ditch the income tax and go with a consumption tax. Tax rates actually have a much smaller effect on the economy than most politicians like to pretend. True, if you cut taxes you will see an increase in the economy at first but within a few years the effect wears off. The same is true of tax increases. At first it is a drag on the economy and then it adjusts and starts working like normal. If you set the tax rates at confiscatory levels (70%+) rich people will work really hard to hide their income. What we have now is a system where everyone pays a different rate. Those at the bottom pay nothing, those at the top hire lawyers to avoid paying (or only pay capital gains) and those of us who do fairly well but are not quite rich pay the tab for everyone. The poor get their social programs and the millionaires get their bailouts and everyone wonders why people making between 50 and 200k a year get so irritated. We make just enough not to qualify for any benefits but not enough to really get into the bribery game. I pay approximately 40% of my income in taxes when you add everything up. Do you think Bill Gates pays 40%? I'll pay 40% but Gates better as well and also the schmuck working at McDonalds. Set the tax rate at 40% for EVERYONE and see how fast people will want to ditch government programs. It would probably create a few more libertarians like me. 

 

I do not believe the government should be in the business of mass redistribution of wealth. If you don't pay taxes you shouldn't expect to get a bunch of freebies. The government shouldn't take money from one person and turn around to hand it to another. I find it morally repugnant for people to expect the government to take care of them for free. I have no problem with charity but don't come to my door with the force of the government to take it from me. 

 

From a purely economic standpoint we are spending our way into a hole with all of our social programs and bailouts. In the next few years our debt will be larger than GDP. That means if the government confiscated 100% of the income of everyone in the country we would still be in debt. We are doing absolutely nothing to even slow the growth of our debt. Instead we pile on healthcare which is somehow supposed to magically reduce the debt???? Ok, I know you might not be an economist but have you ever bought something with your credit card and thought the balance would go down? You can take it to the bank that healthcare reform will cost boatloads more than predicted just like every other government entitlement has because they never factor increasing costs, consistently underestimate how many people will use the program and always overestimate the tax revenue. Sooner or later we will have to pay off the debt or face an economic collapse that will make the Great Depression look like an economic boom. Since our economy is already in a decline the best way to reduce the debt is to cut spending because if we raise taxes the economy will get worse in the short run. And it isn't like there are not enough areas in our government that could use a spending cut.

 

And yes, in my little dream world there would be a lot fewer laws especially at the federal level.  

 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote: Set

Beyond Saving wrote:

 Set the rate at 1% or 99% just tax everyone at the same rate or better yet ditch the income tax and go with a consumption tax. 

 

From what I read you are a big advocate of a consumption tax.

Can you explain please what you mean by this consumption tax, what do you include in it. 

Do you consider the following as subject to the proposed consumption tax:

- buying stock

- building a yacht

- paying for work to a worker in your company

- paying medical bills

?

 

All people need approximately the same amount of food to survive.  If by consumption tax you mean that tax is payed only from dollars spent and not from dollars earned, then this means that people who live pay check to pay check will pay taxes at the maximum rate.   Is this what you support?

 


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100percentAtheist wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 Set the rate at 1% or 99% just tax everyone at the same rate or better yet ditch the income tax and go with a consumption tax. 

 

From what I read you are a big advocate of a consumption tax.

Can you explain please what you mean by this consumption tax, what do you include in it. 

Do you consider the following as subject to the proposed consumption tax:

- buying stock

- building a yacht

- paying for work to a worker in your company

- paying medical bills

?

 

All people need approximately the same amount of food to survive.  If by consumption tax you mean that tax is payed only from dollars spent and not from dollars earned, then this means that people who live pay check to pay check will pay taxes at the maximum rate.   Is this what you support?

 

The most researched plan for a consumption tax is the "Fair Tax" http://www.fairtax.org/PDF/PlainEnglishSummary_TheFairTaxAct2007.pdf 

I support most of what is in it although it isn't perfect. I would certainly vote for it. It does not tax investments although any broker/adviser fees etc would be taxed.

Building a yacht (or anything else) would not be taxed when the raw materials are purchased but would be taxed when sold just like state sales taxes.

Paying a worker for you company would not be taxed although you would collect a tax for any services provided to the consumer. For example, an oil change place would not be taxed on what they pay the mechanic but there would be a tax on the bill to the consumer.

Medical services would be taxed like the mechanic or any other service.

In order to help the poor the Fair Tax offers a "prebate" so in effect no one pays taxes on any spending below poverty level but pays the full tax on everything above poverty level. Those who eat ramen noodles wouldn't be paying any tax while those who eat caviar would.

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter how much money you earn, it matters how much you spend. If you are a billionaire but live the lifestyle that is below poverty you pay no tax. If you are a movie star that buys everything you see you pay a lot of tax. It is your choice and how you live your life that determines how much tax you pay.

One are of the fair tax I do take exception with is the elimination of the estate tax. Unlike many on my side I think a large estate tax is healthy as large heir families tend to offer less to the economy than fresh entrepreneurs and we did fight a war to get away from aristocracy. I think it is wrong when one or two families basically own entire towns when the people who initially made the fortune are long dead. Although, the consumption tax does have the effect of decreasing the wealth of those families unless they actively produce enough to replace it.   

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:The

Beyond Saving wrote:

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter how much money you earn, it matters how much you spend. If you are a billionaire but live the lifestyle that is below poverty you pay no tax. If you are a movie star that buys everything you see you pay a lot of tax. It is your choice and how you live your life that determines how much tax you pay.

 

Excuse me, but this is a stupid idea.

First, the majority of people are neither billionaires nor movie stars. 

Second, billionaires normally will never ever spend all they have before their next "pay check". So, say a billionaire has 100 millions annual income (from stock, for example, but who cares, it's not taxable).  Out of 100 millions he puts 50 millions in new stocks (tax free), and 50 other millions he spends on purchases.  Say, we have 20% consumption tax.  So, this billionaire pays 20% of 50 millions = 10 millions (wow, it's a lot).  But this is only 10% of his total income!!!! 

An average Joe's family, is living a pay-check-to-pay-check life, and they pay 20% in taxes.  

So, how is this FAIR tax?  Well, poverty line?  Okay.  So this system that you support should simplify the system a lot, at the end there will be only to types (classes) of people:  1) those living below poverty line and 2) those who are happy not to pay a dime for their stock purchases or income.

 

You should be either a multi-millionaire, or a somehow misled person to believe that this system can work and be really a fair one.

 My impression of the document to which you have provided a link is that it tries to convince middle-class families that their taxes will not go up.  Fine.  So what is it about then?  Who's taxes will change?  Oh yes, it is about reducing the taxes on rich and super-rich.  Smiling   By the way, in my state I ALREADY pay ~8.5%  sales taxes on ALMOST everything, which includes all food, medicine, and most of services.  Add 23% federal tax and we get 31.5% tax.  Nice.  Especially since I now pay something like 10% federal +8.5% sales tax.
 

 


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I agree with everything you said. 


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The last time a flat tax was seriously being considered, the magic number was 15% and there would be a budget surplus.  Don't know if anyone has researched this recently.

Consumption tax is just a fancy name for sales tax.  If food, utilities, rent and medical (appliances, supplies and pharmaceuticals) were exempted, I might buy into it.

People gripe about Oregon's high income tax all the time, but we pay very low vehicle taxes and we have no sales tax.  Property taxes are really not very far off from other similar communities out west.  I've lived where income taxes are high, sales taxes were higher, and vehicle and property taxes were outrageous.  You adjust.  Griping about it only raises your blood pressure.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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100percentAtheist wrote:
 

Second, billionaires normally will never ever spend all they have before their next "pay check". So, say a billionaire has 100 millions annual income (from stock, for example, but who cares, it's not taxable).  Out of 100 millions he puts 50 millions in new stocks (tax free), and 50 other millions he spends on purchases.  Say, we have 20% consumption tax.  So, this billionaire pays 20% of 50 millions = 10 millions (wow, it's a lot).  But this is only 10% of his total income!!!! 

Billionaires and millionaires don't actually bring in 100 million in income. Their status is measured by the value of their investments and is only subjected to tax when they realize a gain, which means actually selling the stock. Generally, the wealthy are going to keep their money in stocks until they take it out to spend it or switch from one investment to another. Generally they get their spending money through dividends which is only taxed at 15%. The system is designed to encourage investment both domestic and foreign. Where do you think companies get money to attempt new ventures and pay employees when moving into a venture that is not yet profitable and self-sustaining? What do you think stock is for? More investors means more jobs, more production and a better lifestyle for everyone. When a company needs more cash on hand they issue more stock then use that cash to develop more jobs, which right now we really need.

 

 

100percentAtheist wrote:
 

An average Joe's family, is living a pay-check-to-pay-check life, and they pay 20% in taxes.  

So, how is this FAIR tax?  Well, poverty line?  Okay.  So this system that you support should simplify the system a lot, at the end there will be only to types (classes) of people:  1) those living below poverty line and 2) those who are happy not to pay a dime for their stock purchases or income.

You can break people into whatever or however many groups you want. Right now we could break it into those who pay taxes and those who receive benefits. Generally economists break income groups into five quintiles and politicians break it into three groups, poor- middle class - rich. The advantage is someone close to the poverty line would pay little to no taxes (which right now they pay 15.3% social security and medicare even with no income tax obligation) if they live a minimalist lifestyle they have the option to invest their savings in their retirements or savings.  

 

100percentAtheist wrote:
 

You should be either a multi-millionaire, or a somehow misled person to believe that this system can work and be really a fair one.

My impression of the document to which you have provided a link is that it tries to convince middle-class families that their taxes will not go up.  Fine.  So what is it about then?  Who's taxes will change?  Oh yes, it is about reducing the taxes on rich and super-rich.  Smiling  
 It would work, that isn't even really in question. Whether or not it is fair is debatable but you certainly don't have to be a millionaire to benefit. Those who consume relatively little would pay lower taxes, those who consume a lot would pay more. The rich and super-rich (those who make all their money on capital gains and little to none on income) currently pay at most 15%. (Often they get away with paying less through tax loss harvesting, 1031 exchanges and other strategies) Since a good CPA or attorney is going to advise them to only realize gains on money they intend to spend most will effectively be paying more taxes. So the rich person who cashes in some stock to purchase a $50 million jet would pay 11.5 million in taxes, right now they would most likely pay 7.5 million. The rich person who cashes out 50 million and invests it into a new company (creating jobs) would not pay any tax. For those in the middle class, the ones who buy extravagant houses and drive expensive sports cars would probably be paying higher taxes, those who invest their money and live a modest lifestyle would pay less.   
100percentAtheist wrote:
 By the way, in my state I ALREADY pay ~8.5%  sales taxes on ALMOST everything, which includes all food, medicine, and most of services.  Add 23% federal tax and we get 31.5% tax.  Nice.  Especially since I now pay something like 10% federal +8.5% sales tax.
 Which would be offset by not paying any taxes on your income including the FICA tax. So you are getting at least a 15.3% raise, if you also pay 10% federal income tax you are now bringing an extra 25.3% home every paycheck. By the time you are done negotiating your new pay rate with your employer you would probably more or less break even depending on your spending habits. I consider the system to be "fair" because it applies to everyone exactly the same and you only pay taxes if you make the voluntary choice to spend more money. Compared to the current system where the rich and super rich find loopholes around paying their share while those of us in the middle class pay through the nose it is much more fair. If you think the tax is too high then maybe we should have a serious discussion about cutting spending, because the government spends way too much. Also, those who visit our country but don't live here would also be contributing and all of those working illegally would as well. Since they also enjoy some of the benefits provided by the government I think it is fair they pay their part as well.   

 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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cj wrote:The last time a

cj wrote:

The last time a flat tax was seriously being considered, the magic number was 15% and there would be a budget surplus.  Don't know if anyone has researched this recently.

Consumption tax is just a fancy name for sales tax.  If food, utilities, rent and medical (appliances, supplies and pharmaceuticals) were exempted, I might buy into it.

People gripe about Oregon's high income tax all the time, but we pay very low vehicle taxes and we have no sales tax.  Property taxes are really not very far off from other similar communities out west.  I've lived where income taxes are high, sales taxes were higher, and vehicle and property taxes were outrageous.  You adjust.  Griping about it only raises your blood pressure.

Most current proponents quote around 17%. My big problem with the flat tax is it would not take long for politicians to begin creating exceptions, for example, most plans exempt capital gains entirely. Although, right now no tax system is going to create a surplus without a substantial increase in taxes. I believe we should cut spending. If we change to a system where people directly see the taxes they are paying far more would be concerned about government spending and real change would stand a chance. Right now, most people don't see how much they pay in taxes. You go to the store and buy something you don't see a breakdown of how much you paid is inflated because the company pays an income tax. The cost of new taxes generally gets passed to the consumer and we obligingly complain about the company "gouging" us and ignore all the money going to Uncle Sam.

 

You could exempt  by category but who pays more for food, rent and medicine? The rich. They buy more expensive foods, pay far more in rent (ever see the price of a New York Penthouse? Donald Trump pays rent.) and of course pay for the best doctors and more for their medicine. So by exempting those categories you are missing a lot of tax revenue that needs to be made up elsewhere. That is why the idea of a prebate is included. So the poor are effectively refunded the amount of tax they could expect to pay on food, rent etc. While the wealthy still have to pay tax on their fancy penthouse and food. 

 

I mostly have a bone to pick with property taxes because it is disgusting that some poor widow on a fixed income is evicted from her house because her property value has skyrocketed and she is paying more in taxes than she paid for her mortgage when the house was bought 50 years ago. At the same time, farmers own thousands of acres and millions of dollars worth of buildings but pay less in taxes. It is wrong, disgusting, immoral and prone to corruption.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:More

Beyond Saving wrote:

More investors means more jobs, more production and a better lifestyle for everyone. When a company needs more cash on hand they issue more stock then use that cash to develop more jobs, which right now we really need.

 

This is the biggest misconception.  Most people work for small businesses, and stocks and investments have nothing to do with the cash flow for creating jobs.  Small businesses work off of borrowing mostly and the banks tightening up lending is their problem.

 

http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/sbfaq.pdf wrote:

Small firms:
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
• Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
• Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
• Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
• Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.
• Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.

 

 

So what will get the economy going is loosening up loans to small businesses.  Forget the corps and stocks and investing arguments. 

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Beyond Saving wrote:1) The

Beyond Saving wrote:

1) The system is designed to encourage investment both domestic and foreign. Where do you think companies get money to attempt new ventures and pay employees when moving into a venture that is not yet profitable and self-sustaining? What do you think stock is for? More investors means more jobs, more production and a better lifestyle for everyone. When a company needs more cash on hand they issue more stock then use that cash to develop more jobs, which right now we really need.

2)  So the rich person who cashes in some stock to purchase a $50 million jet would pay 11.5 million in taxes, right now they would most likely pay 7.5 million. The rich person who cashes out 50 million and invests it into a new company (creating jobs) would not pay any tax. For those in the middle class, the ones who buy extravagant houses and drive expensive sports cars would probably be paying higher taxes, those who invest their money and live a modest lifestyle would pay less.

3)  If you think the tax is too high then maybe we should have a serious discussion about cutting spending, because the government spends way too much.

 

Thank you for enlightening me, seriously.

 

A few more questions:

1) If "more stock" = "more jobs", then why we have so few jobs now when the stock is doing fairly okay?

 

2) If instead of purchasing a jet, a billionaire "invests" $50M in his own company, which purchases a jet, then he pays ZERO 0%. Right?

 

3) I actually think that tax is TOO low, especially on the families making $250K and more. 

 

Even if the government collects huge taxes and operates as an investor on the stock, it just CANNOT be worse than bankers who screwed up people and the system for their own personal benefit.  At least, the government will not pay multi-million $$$ bonuses.  Hey, how about NATIONALIZATION of the NYSE and a few major banks? Smiling

 

 

 

 

 


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Kapkao wrote:Hint: Pay no

Kapkao wrote:

Hint: Pay no attention to that fool Glenn Beck -no one except libertarians take him seriously

 

hope you're not implying beck is a libertarian, because he isnt

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cj wrote:Beyond Saving

cj wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

More investors means more jobs, more production and a better lifestyle for everyone. When a company needs more cash on hand they issue more stock then use that cash to develop more jobs, which right now we really need.

 

This is the biggest misconception.  Most people work for small businesses, and stocks and investments have nothing to do with the cash flow for creating jobs.  Small businesses work off of borrowing mostly and the banks tightening up lending is their problem.

So what will get the economy going is loosening up loans to small businesses.  Forget the corps and stocks and investing arguments. 

Whether you invest through a loan or by purchasing stock in a company makes no difference, neither transaction is taxed and therefore encouraged. More money invested means more money available for loans at a lower rate. Many wealthy people make a living by investing massive amounts of money in startup ventures, it is called venture capitalism and is extremely risky since most small businesses fail. You can't get a bank loan unless you have collateral, which means you already have money. Furthermore, more money invested in banks allows for them to be a little more lenient with their loans and accept higher risk. By encouraging more people to invest money, whether in a bank CD, savings account, stock or even investing directly provides more liquidity to the economy. The reason we have no liquidity now and even large companies have trouble getting loans is because everyone is so deep in debt and afraid of getting deeper into debt. Borrowing money to start a business is a bad idea and not something I would encourage but I've seen idiots do it.

 

And many of the "small" businesses are financed/owned by people who own large businesses. For example, my father technically owns a small business but got his funding through United Healthcare one of the largest insurance companies around.

Also many "small" businesses are actually branches from large companies that might create a small company to shield the parent company from legal and tax liabilities in a new venture. Glenn Beck owns a small company called Mercury, but where did he get the money? Fox and his radio show. Rush Limbaugh owns EIB which counts as a small company even though most of the money it receives comes from clearchannel. I could go on and on.

Also, many "small" businesses are actually franchises. For example, you might eat at a McDonald's but it is actually owned by a person who has a franchise agreement. The corporation picks up the tab on nationwide advertising and in return gets a fee or percentage of revenue. So yeah, investing in large companies helps expansion too. The idea that large companies don't have a dominant affect on the economy is absurd.

 

Add to that, some rich people make a living creating a small business then selling it to a large corporation and taking the profits to go create another small business. Much like a flipper buys houses to fix them up and resell them.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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100percentAtheist wrote:A

100percentAtheist wrote:

A few more questions:

1) If "more stock" = "more jobs", then why we have so few jobs now when the stock is doing fairly okay?

A couple of reasons, first the benchmarks used to measure the stock market are don't measure every single stock. The Dow Jones only includes 30 companies. The Nasdaq includes 3000 companies and is not doing "fairly okay" its all time high was over 5000 back in 2000 and is now around 2200. The NYSE composite is similarly down to around 7000 from an all time high of around 10300. What this tells me is that investors are fairly confident in really big companies but scared of smaller companies. Which makes sense when you watch the actions of the government which has decided there is a thing as "too big to fail" why not invest in large companies? 

Large companies have been holding tight and building up cash reserves instead of using their excess cash to invest in new ventures. Now some smart economists would argue with me here but I believe the main reason is they don't know what the tax situation is going to be and they don't know the full extent of what the healthcare reform will mean for them. They are storing up cash so they have the funds on hand to pay for the increases in their medical expenses and deal with the Bush tax cuts expiring. Remember when I said a tax increase has the temporary effect of slowing down the economy? Well the threat of one has the same effect. Companies believe they will have a large tax increase combined with large increases in costs for medical expenses. Until those actually go into effect and they know what their expenses are going to be it is wise for them to avoid massive growth or branching out new companies right now. You can bet they are paying an army of CPA's to go over their books and calculate the worst case scenarios they might have to face next year. Personally, I believe it would be better if Congress either came out and said they were extending the tax cuts or announce that they will expire rather than keeping everyone in this "wait and see" mentality. Then they could at least do the math and make decisions. Although, the healthcare debacle remains. 

 

100percentAtheist wrote:

2) If instead of purchasing a jet, a billionaire "invests" $50M in his own company, which purchases a jet, then he pays ZERO 0%. Right?

 

Not exactly. If a company purchases a jet for the purposes of leasing it out or reselling it the company would not pay tax. If it is purchasing it for purposes of consumption (using it for its own purposes such as to provide it as a benefit to the owner and/or employees) then it pays taxes. This really wouldn't be any different from today where a company can write off the purchase of a jet bought for business purposes but not if it is used for personal purposes. The bill is only in its infancy stages so there is no telling exactly what would come out in the end but I would support very severe penalties on anyone caught trying to use their business to provide themselves with untaxed toys.

 

100percentAtheist wrote:

3) I actually think that tax is TOO low, especially on the families making $250K and more. 

I think we spend too much. 

 

100percentAtheist wrote:

Even if the government collects huge taxes and operates as an investor on the stock, it just CANNOT be worse than bankers who screwed up people and the system for their own personal benefit.  At least, the government will not pay multi-million $$$ bonuses.  Hey, how about NATIONALIZATION of the NYSE and a few major banks? Smiling

 

Now I think your just trying to get my goat  

Never underestimate government bureaucrats, they can ALWAYS make it worse. Remember, this is the government that has blown $1 TRILLION dollars to "create jobs" and somehow has managed to make no noticeable change to the job market, ask CJ. They paid $18 million dollars for a website. Tell me that you couldn't find someone to make a kick ass website for $5 million in a job market where many web designers are out of work. Seriously, who gets the money? People who kiss politicians asses. I'm willing to bet the designers who actually made the site got more like $30-40 an hour and the rest went into someones pocket.

The collapse was not just the bankers fault. The government has been pushing banks for years to offer loans to poor people through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By guaranteeing the loans through Fannie and Freddie they encouraged bankers to offer loans to people who had no reasonable expectation to pay them back. Hey if you can sell loans and collect the closing costs then foist it off on someone else when the loan never gets paid back would you be picky who you gave it to? Well now everyone can get a loan to buy a house and the housing market booms. Prices are climbing faster than anyone can keep track of and even when a house goes into foreclosure you can turn around and resell it for a profit. Hey, throw your credit card debt on top of your house and pay us the interest, when you can't pay it anymore not our problem. Then when the shit hits the fan, the government does what everyone thought and bailed them out. Everyone involved walks away ridiculously rich, a handful of smaller banks in the middle get put out of business and a few mortgage traders got caught but for the most part the taxpayer is caught holding the bag. Why? Because of Fannie and Freddie government constructs.

Now in my little world every one of those jerks running the Ponzi scheme would have suffered the collapse themselves. The businesses involved should have been left to go out of business and the people who invested and turned a blind eye to their actions should have lost all of their money. If you have nothing to lose in an investment but get the full return you will happily gamble. Imagine you walk into a casino and you are told by someone that they will replace all of your money if you lose you are going to take a lot more risk than you would if you walk in with your own money and suffer the loss personally. Same principle. The government guaranteed protection, why wouldn't they gamble? I have no problem with them gambling, but when they lose the money they should suffer the loss. That way investors will keep a closer eye on what the company does. Government employees treat government money the same way. They don't care how much things cost, they are not paying for it.

As for the multi-million dollar bonuses, who cares? It only affects you if you are an investor. If the investors don't think the bonuses are appropriate they can go invest in a different company or if enough don't like it they can replace the CEO. If a large company is too wasteful with its money it will go out of business (unless the government bails them out). 

On a side note, if you do have a 401k or other retirement investments I strongly encourage you to be very involved in picking and choosing what you are invested in. It is against the law for me to suggest specific investments but educate yourself it is your money and operators of mutual funds do not always have your best interest in mind. If you do use a middle man get to know them VERY well and make sure you trust them. One of the reasons companies get away with being irresponsible is the increase in investors who have no clue what stocks they are invested in because of the increase in 401ks. The average 401k investor can't even tell you what types of funds they are invested in let alone which companies are in those funds. And stocks might be tempting because of the potential for growth but they can collapse rapidly too. Look into commodities, annuities, fixed investments, buying land etc. (Your 401k advisor generally makes more money on stocks and mutual funds so they tend to default to those unless you ask specifically) If you don't have the time or aren't confident enough to choose investments yourself at least educate yourself to the point you can ask specific questions of whoever is doing your investing. Ask them "Why did you invest in company X" and if they can't provide you with a good answer fire them.

For the more adventurous you can look into peer to peer lending in which you are basically acting like a bank and making a loan to an individual. It is a great way for people who have trouble getting loans to get loans from people who have extra money. It can be extremely risky as people often use it as a last resort but you get the pleasure of helping someone with a face. I have invested before and have had good experiences. It is also a great way to loan to family members or friends because you don't have to do the actual collecting which can be harry. Consider it charity with a chance for a return.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


cj
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I know about venture capital

I know about venture capital having once considered of starting up my own business.  It is for start ups and expansions, not for operating costs.  Notice the word "capital".  And hiring people is an operating cost.

Is it a good idea to be borrowing for operating costs?  Probably not, but a lot do.  The banks have plenty of money, that apparently is not the problem.  The small businesses have collateral - their business and inventory.  It is the apparent worth of the business that is the problem.  Just how much could you sell that business for?  Not as much as you could 3 years ago.

Thousand acre wheat farms are considered small businesses.  Their net usually can be made to look pretty low, there are reasons they are raising wheat and not subdivisions on that land, and they don't employ any workers.  And they borrow money every spring and pay back what they can at harvest.  Yeah, small comes in many shapes and sizes.

I wasn't meaning to say large corps have no effect, I'm saying they have less effect than the over the top lobbying implies they have.  And we would be better off if we (collectively) paid more attention to encouraging small business.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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