A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
'Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.' - Groucho Marx

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  1. #1
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    Default Obama: New Vision Of America Where Prosperity Is Shared

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/vid...is_shared.html

    Seriously? Come on guys, it's from RCP instead of Fox this time. Tell me all about how it's taken out of context. Tell me all about how this isn't what he meant to say. Tell me all about how this isn't the latest in a long line of comments that have unmasked his Socialist or Communist leanings.

    Somebody please tell me what exactly about sharing prosperity is good for America. Tell me, please, because I would really like to know. Is something going over my head here? Am I reading too much into this? Or is Obama the Socialist that Conservatives have been claiming he is all along?
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    I can't argue with his following statement though:

    "I believe we have to keep working to create an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it here if you try. That's what's at stake in November. That's what is why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America."
    However, I have bolded the key statement though.
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    "I believe we have to go forward," Obama said. "I believe we have to keep working to create an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it here if you try. That's what's at stake in November. That's what is why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America."

    That statement doesn't sound very socialist to me, but then again, he already lost my vote thanks to Rosary Joe.


    EDIT: Ha, great minds think alike, Neo!
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    Yes, but the part you both highlighted is contradictory.

    When talking about sharing prosperity, how can you, in the same breath, say you can make it here if you try? Sharing the prosperity would lead me to believe you can also make it here if you don't try. Am I wrong?

    I find it funny that he gets defended as not being Socialist, just because he pads a Socialist comment with a softer one. You can't ignore what he said, just because he added some fluff.
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    Haven't read the article, Extreme, but are you saying the success is mutually exclusive? That if you prosper I can't? That if you sell a hundred thousand copies of your book that you might not celebrate some of your well earned fortune at my restaurant? And that I too am likely if making more cash might not go out and by a gift for my wife or go on an expensive vacation?

    There is a difference between socialism, where the state owns and controls all paths, and saying we are in it together and our success is interdependent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    Haven't read the article, Extreme, but are you saying the success is mutually exclusive? That if you prosper I can't? That if you sell a hundred thousand copies of your book that you might not celebrate some of your well earned fortune at my restaurant? And that I too am likely if making more cash might not go out and by a gift for my wife or go on an expensive vacation?

    There is a difference between socialism, where the state owns and controls all paths, and saying we are in it together and our success is interdependent.
    He specifically said America should move forward from our current system/policies, and move forward to an America where prosperity is shared.

    To me, that sounds like a more hard line approach to his share the wealth sentiment. It tells me he wants to go full steam ahead with wealth redistribution.

    That tells me that if I work hard and make it, I have to share my earnings with people who sat on their ass their whole life and just waited to collect on the earnings of those who worked for it.

    It also tells me that I shouldn't work hard and bust my ass to make it, because whether I do or don't, the money is going to be shared. Who wants to work hard, when they can do nothing and receive the same benefits?
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    You may be right... but I suspect you are over-reading. Now, I'll leave over the possibility that I'm under-reading.

    One of the basic tenets of traditional liberalism is that the purpose of the government is to protect the little guy from the bully in whatever form bullies take: Soviet Union, Nazis, KKK, corporate polluters, child abusers, etc. There is also a socialistic element that says that we have a shared responsibility... the purpose of taxes is to pay for the common good... military, police, courts, education, etc. All of those are examples of elements that lead to shared prosperity (from a Democrats' point of view).

    Mind you, I picked the examples that I think that Conservatives and Liberals both agree should be supported by society. The question then becomes where is that line. When is a hand up a crutch, when are we fascilitating sloth, are we helping a few to cripple the many? Where does our mutual duty end?

    I think we have a shared responsibility to make America great, but I also think that we have the right to enjoy the fruits of our own effort, but even moreso, I think we have the right to fail and those that choose to... should.

    So, within in my poorly constructed answer, let me say that I think that what we call socialism today is not black and white. You want a fire department that rushes to the rescue of everyone and not just those that pay a bill before the hose is hooked up, right? You want police that protect the rights and safety of everyone? You want courts that are blind to status, money, etc?

    In other words, you want shared prosperity... to a degree. Maybe not Obama's degree. Maybe not my degree. But in some form.
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    This is going to be no different than the previous thread.

    Half of everyone thinks he is saying that all you rich people should give me your money, while the other half think he is saying that the concept of prosperity should be something which is available to everyone who works hard.
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    Yep, Ren got it. This is a non-issue for me.

    But it brings up an interesting debate. Why is the idea of income redistribution so bad?

    Stop throwing things at me, listen damn it!

    The gap between rich and poor is at an all time high. Why would it be bad to reduce it? I am not at ALL suggesting we take money from the rich and give it to the poor, which is the first strawman most people throw up when this topic comes up. I'm NOT suggesting a revolution, or socialism, or anything of the sort. Just wondering why it is a bad thing when we talk about redistribution of wealth?
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    Goal, how inspired would you feel to work hard to get way ahead in the world if you know that once you get there you will have some of it taken away for use by others unwilling to work as hard as you?
    Last edited by Neophyte; 08-15-12 at 05:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    Goal, how inspired do you feel to work hard to get way ahead in the world if you know that once you get there you have some of it taken away for use by others unwilling to work as hard as you?
    I think this is the stigma that needs to be defeated when discussing the redistribution of wealth. I am not discounting that there are lazy people on welfare who do not work nearly as hard as the people footing their bills; this is not in dispute. There is, however, a large portion of the population who works extremely hard, but cannot get over the "hump" so to speak. Personally, I think this segment of the poor/welfare population greatly outnumbers the lazy, worthless segment, but maybe I am just an idealist.

    The elephant in the room is that there is a great number of people in this world who have only succeeded because their parents were successful before them; a lot of people never get that opportunity. Most people want to just say, "well if they only worked hard and applied themselves, they too one day could go to an Ivy League school and become the CEO of Spacely Sprockets." Well, for a lot of people, working hard means maintaining a 4.0 GPA while looking after brothers and sisters, working at a job to help support the family, and generally doing a lot more work than others. I believe that what Obama wants to do is level the playing field; its tilted towards those folks at the moment.

    Some will call this socialism, I call it 'making things fair.' Very different from the Marxist state most of the right seems to think Obama envisions for America.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    Goal, how inspired do you feel to work hard to get way ahead in the world if you know that once you get there you have some of it taken away for use by others unwilling to work as hard as you?
    Have you ever done charity work? Did you work hard or just goof around because you weren't getting a big pay day at the end?

    Intrinsic motivation generally drives one harder than extrinsic motivators. Yeah, the money and stuff is nice, but the really successful people aren't driven by the paycheck. Their fire comes from something else.

    Besides, it's a false question really. Are you not willing to work hard knowing that some of your effort will be turned into salary for teachers, police, firemen, soldiers, sailors, marines, etc? Right now, today... your money is being taken away and put to thousands of uses... some for your direct benefit, some for your indirect benefit, and others that don't help you personally at all. Does it hurt your work ethic if some of your sweat is taken away and turns into a grant that helps to cure Parkinsons or cancer?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    I think this is the stigma that needs to be defeated when discussing the redistribution of wealth. I am not discounting that there are lazy people on welfare who do not work nearly as hard as the people footing their bills; this is not in dispute. There is, however, a large portion of the population who works extremely hard, but cannot get over the "hump" so to speak. Personally, I think this segment of the poor/welfare population greatly outnumbers the lazy, worthless segment, but maybe I am just an idealist.
    I can't speak for everyone in the world obviously but there were more than just a couple of folks in my home town on welfare who didn't ever work if they didn't have to. As long as the government was giving them money, they were content to just live off it. Sure, it wasn't a lot of people but it was more than just a few too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    The elephant in the room is that there is a great number of people in this world who have only succeeded because their parents were successful before them; a lot of people never get that opportunity. Most people want to just say, "well if they only worked hard and applied themselves, they too one day could go to an Ivy League school and become the CEO of Spacely Sprockets." Well, for a lot of people, working hard means maintaining a 4.0 GPA while looking after brothers and sisters, working at a job to help support the family, and generally doing a lot more work than others. I believe that what Obama wants to do is level the playing field; its tilted towards those folks at the moment.
    I don't buy it. We are all dealt challenges in this life. Being poor or being rich are just two of them, and make no mistake, I know a number of people for whom growing up rich was as much a challenge as growing up poor is for others. Truth be told, more of my currently successful friends grew up in what many would call disadvantaged homes than grew up well off.

    The conditions you grow up under have less to do with your success than the expectations and supervision you grew up with. You want the real elephant in the room? It's parents unwillingness to BE parents and their expectations that school systems will not only educate their kids but tun them into contributing members of society. Sorry but that second part starts at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    Some will call this socialism, I call it 'making things fair.' Very different from the Marxist state most of the right seems to think Obama envisions for America.
    It is but I don't think it will help. The truth is that humans just don't appreciate things that are given to them as much as things they earned themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    Have you ever done charity work? Did you work hard or just goof around because you weren't getting a big pay day at the end?
    I have done charity work and when it was my choice to do it, I worked hard. Because I wanted to do whatever it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    Intrinsic motivation generally drives one harder than extrinsic motivators. Yeah, the money and stuff is nice, but the really successful people aren't driven by the paycheck. Their fire comes from something else.
    I guess it depends on the level of success we are talking about. No, I don't think Bill Gates was driven by the paycheck but I have been and by many accounts I am somewhat successful. But the payout between Bill and I has been very different too. I think he was driven by the paycheck at first though.

    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    Besides, it's a false question really. Are you not willing to work hard knowing that some of your effort will be turned into salary for teachers, police, firemen, soldiers, sailors, marines, etc? Right now, today... your money is being taken away and put to thousands of uses... some for your direct benefit, some for your indirect benefit, and others that don't help you personally at all. Does it hurt your work ethic if some of your sweat is taken away and turns into a grant that helps to cure Parkinsons or cancer?
    Yes, right now some of my money goes to all those things and I don't have an issue with supporting some of those things most of the time (don't get me started on teachers when we are homeschooling our kids).

    But I disagree with your idea that I don't benefit directly from those things. Just as I benefit from an home owners insurance policy, I benefit from all those things (excepting perhaps teachers). They all, in some way, provide me with an insurance policy.

    To be honest, I would prefer that work like what you speak of for Parkinsons or Cancer be done by private funding but then I am a believer in minimal government, not the nanny state. I don't want them mixed up in things they don't do well and frankly I don't think do they do much well.
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    Neo, if I was driven to succeed in something that wouldn't change if the top tax bracket went from 35% to 40%. I doubt such a change would make a significant portion of people in this country throw their hands up and go '**** it I'm just going to go on welfare.'

    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje
    I'm suggesting a revolution, or socialism, or anything of the sort.
    ... did you mean to put a 'not' in there somewhere?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    ... did you mean to put a 'not' in there somewhere?
    I have NO idea what you're talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    Goal, how inspired would you feel to work hard to get way ahead in the world if you know that once you get there you will have some of it taken away for use by others unwilling to work as hard as you?
    That's not what I'm talking about, though as Henry pointed out, I misphrased my thoughts. I'm not talking about raising taxes (though I think that probably needs to be done, along with the massive spending cuts that certainly need to happen), I'm just talking about the fact that the rich control an overwhelming portion of the money in this country. Far more than just about anytime before now. We talk a lot about equality of opportunity, and I don't think it exists nearly as much as it used to. I'm not sure the Horatio Alger story could be written today. And to be sure, part of the reason why is because of government regulation and the like. But part of it is certainly because there isn't a great deal left to go around once you get outside of the super-rich stratosphere.

    I'm not sure that's a good thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    I have NO idea what you're talking about.



    That's not what I'm talking about, though as Henry pointed out, I misphrased my thoughts. I'm not talking about raising taxes (though I think that probably needs to be done, along with the massive spending cuts that certainly need to happen), I'm just talking about the fact that the rich control an overwhelming portion of the money in this country. Far more than just about anytime before now. We talk a lot about equality of opportunity, and I don't think it exists nearly as much as it used to. I'm not sure the Horatio Alger story could be written today. And to be sure, part of the reason why is because of government regulation and the like. But part of it is certainly because there isn't a great deal left to go around once you get outside of the super-rich stratosphere.

    I'm not sure that's a good thing.
    Please support the assertion I highlighted with something to back it up.

    You're saying there is a bigger disparity between the rich and the poor today more than ever?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    I am not discounting that there are lazy people on welfare who do not work nearly as hard as the people footing their bills; this is not in dispute. There is, however, a large portion of the population who works extremely hard, but cannot get over the "hump" so to speak. Personally, I think this segment of the poor/welfare population greatly outnumbers the lazy, worthless segment, but maybe I am just an idealist.
    You're absolutely right, but how would you propose a redistribution of wealth that wouldn't involve a Robin Hood scenario? It's an honest question, I'm asking you because you said this, but I am addressing everyone who favors it. I hear it suggested a lot, but never here an outline for how it would be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    I believe that what Obama wants to do is level the playing field; its tilted towards those folks at the moment.

    Some will call this socialism, I call it 'making things fair.' Very different from the Marxist state most of the right seems to think Obama envisions for America.
    What I want to know, is why does the playing field have to be level? Why does it have to be fair? There's more to life than money, and life itself isn't fair. Competition breeds success and advancement of the species. If you take away competition, you breed a world full of slugs.

    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    Have you ever done charity work? Did you work hard or just goof around because you weren't getting a big pay day at the end?

    Intrinsic motivation generally drives one harder than extrinsic motivators. Yeah, the money and stuff is nice, but the really successful people aren't driven by the paycheck. Their fire comes from something else.
    What about in situations like Lanky mentioned? Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, so they don't have to worry about anything. I personally think worry is what drives us, and anyone who doesn't ever have something weighing on them to succeed and not screw up, then there's nothing to drive them at all. Sure, no stress would be nice, but being content gives you nothing to strive for.

    I personally have done a lot of charity work. Not because I had to, or to look good for a camera like people on tv do, but because in spite of how I come across here, I actually do have a huge heart, and do a lot to help people.

    As far as actual work for a paycheck goes, I have worked myself to the bone my whole life to get nowhere. I worked at an electronics factory called M&G Electronics, where I worked as a screenprinter for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. We made panels, buttons, controls, etc. for companies like Grady White, Cummins, Honda, John Deere, etc. and had a team of people in the department I worked in that consisted of 8 people including myself. Each day, there was a stack of work orders to be completed. There was no time frame to do the work, but they couldn't sit there for months either.

    Even though there was no quota, there was definitely a vast difference between people and their output, work ethic, and quality of work. On average, I put out 500-600 pieces every single day. I had days as low as 300, and days as high as 1,000. I have always worked at a faster pace at every job I've had, but this place was ridiculous. The next fastest was JoJo. He put out a steady 300 every day, but he worked 7 days a week. The combined total for the rest of the team in an entire week? 500 For an entire week. While I was doing over 3,000 pieces every week, and never getting returns from QC, everyone else but JoJo was putting out less than 100 a week, and constantly getting returns for reworks for horrible quality.

    I loved the job. I figured if I proved myself for long enough, it would be rewarded. I was told upon hiring that there was evaluation every 6 months, so when the time came, I expected a decent pay increase. So I went in the office making $7.45 an hour, and came out making $8.25 an hour. I felt cheated, but I realized at that time, a nearly $1 an hour raise in a month was a good thing. Then I found out that everyone else had received the same raise. So I quit. As soon as I started walking out, they knew what was up, and literally ran me down and asked what it would take to keep me there. They knew I was a pile of money walking out the door. I looked my boss straight in the face and told him that my hard work isn't going to pay my coworkers bills, and I left. No amount they could have offered me would have mattered at that point.

    To me, that is the epitome of sharing the wealth. It's a terrible idea, and no matter how it is structured, I will likely never agree with it. Hard work should be rewarded, not split equally with everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    Besides, it's a false question really. Are you not willing to work hard knowing that some of your effort will be turned into salary for teachers, police, firemen, soldiers, sailors, marines, etc?
    It's no more a false question than that was just a false statement. Last time I checked, law enforcement, firefighters, etc. are not funded by the federal government. At least not anywhere that I've heard of. And most EMTs are volunteer, as are a huge amount of fire departments. Not only that, they are generally locally funded, and no locality I know of is going for the wealth redistribution angle.

    Aside from all that, calling what you listed wealth distribution, is no different than calling paying a bathroom monitor wealth distribution. You're a smart guy Burg, you know that isn't what's being discussed. Not every single example of money changing hands is the wealth distribution Obama speaks of, and I know you know that. Obama wants everybody's net worth to be the same. It's not akin to paying taxes, no matter how hard you twist.

    Trying to guilt trip people into thinking something political is a good idea is no way to run a country, just a way to ruin one.
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    These days, I'd argue that police and firemen certainly are paid from federal coffers... at least in part. How many states are broke? Where are they getting their money from? That federal assistance money that's going into law enforcement, education, etc. is your tax money at work, but at a more simplistic level... are you saying you are for socialism at the state level, but not the Federal?

    Is it okay if the taxes you pay to the state is redistributed for roads everyone can use, or hospitals, police, teachers, firement, judges, jails, etc. More, do you think these "local" entities are entirely local and none of the monies they receive is from other sources than the town where you live? Does your block pay the entirety of the cost of the police station, fire department, and school that supports it? If not, and you want those things... then you believe in socialism.

    Anytime you pay taxes on anything... that money is redistributed for the benefit of all in some fashion. So, whether it's the science of studying cow farts or protecting our borders, we've all participated and supported socialism since 1776. It's just the degree and the amount of oversight that gets frightening.

    Edit: and I would have quit that job too. The intrinsic rewards were not high enough in that kind of gig and so the externals had to compensate. Now, the externals you were seeking were twofold... money and respect. You got too little of either. It's possible you would have stayed if one or the other was higher. At least for a time.
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    Well, slept on this subject and think we should raise taxes after all. Not really raise them, just cut out some of the loopholes, maybe a flat tax is the solution. My effective tax rate last year was about 2.5%, and that was with me doing the taxes, and my wife had a job for half the year. We are what most would consider solid middle class, but because of four kids, my deductions I can take for work (home office, travel, etc), we ended up paying very little in taxes. The reason I bring this up is that I'm guessing the super rich have armies of accountants who are a lot of better at doing taxes than I am, so I figure GE paying no taxes is closer to the norm than people paying the tax rate they "should". So close up some of those loopholes and deductions. Hell, I'm even willing to keep some deductions in place for the wealthy who actually create jobs. Not talk about it, but actually do it, and create verifiable jobs (the IRS in this scenario is greatly reduced, so validating these claims should be a lot easier).

    Now, on the other end, we need more social workers. Lots more. Teachers too (plug for my wife ) Smarter people than me should be able to calculate the money we would save by being able to better verify people's income states so the system doesn't get abused. If we cut down (a lot) on the abuses, wouldn't that free up some money for social workers who could monitor the abuses better (also possible to perhaps simply raise the salaries of social workers to entice better candidates out of college - I don't know enough about the field).

    So there.
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    OLine. DLine. Secondary.

 

 

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