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Old 02-18-2013, 04:56 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The problem with conservativism in 2013.

The key problem that I believe conservativism has to face in 2013 and the near future is that it doesn't have an answer to what has become the most critical problem for the 21st century economy: inequality.

There has been a historical tendency over the past 15 years and three Presidents to concentrate more and more wealth with the wealthy, and less and less wealth with everybody else. Inequality is at all time highs on that front, and it gives the middle and lower classes less spending money, slogs down the economy, and ultimately splits the economic pie even greater into the hands of the few.

Liberalism has a whole host of solutions, bordering from the more free market tendencies of the Democratic Party and the mainstream liberal movement, to the more socialist suggestions frequently made by the party's left wing. Some of them can be argued as legitimately good ideas (raising the minimum wage, capping the multi-billion dollar tax breaks for huge corporations, any number of investments in college education), some of them are obviously more on the fringe.

Conservativism's answer seems to be singular and ineffective: get "government out of the way," undo the massive structure of government regulation, and the economy will grow. And like a rising tide that lifts all boats (think "trickle down" economics), as the economy grows, so too will the fortunes of the lower and middle classes. Honestly, if conservativism has more of a message than this right now with regards to inequality, I've missed it.

The problem with this message, and conservativism in general right now, is that it seems outdated for 2013. As the economy has grown at times throughout the past fifteen years, the middle class and working poor have seen less and a less of a return on that progress, and the upper class has soared. In other words, the absolute core conservative response to the biggest issue affecting working Americans in 2013 is no longer applicable. It had some bearing, perhaps, in previous decades, but we now reside in an era where this dynamic no longer holds water.

Economists are reportedly attempting to figure out why that is the case. A decrease in education quality seems, to me, to be the most convincing cause, although obviously this is something that deserves a holistic analysis.

But either way, I don't really see convincing analysis that growth is enough anymore. It seems that a reduction in inequality seems now to be just as important.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...06b_print.html

Growth isn’t enough to help the middle class
By Jim Tankersley
Published: February 13

Two kinds of middle-class Americans are struggling today — people who can’t find any work or enough work, and full-timers who can’t seem to get ahead.

Democrats and Republicans prescribe economic growth to help both groups. There was a time that would have been enough. But not today.

In the past three recoveries from recession, U.S. growth has not produced anywhere close to the job and income gains that previous generations of workers enjoyed. The wealthy have continued to do well. But a percentage point of increased growth today simply delivers fewer jobs across the economy and less money in the pockets of middle-class families than an identical point of growth produced in the 40 years after World War II.

That has been painfully apparent in the current recovery. Even as the Obama administration touts the return of economic growth, millions of Americans are not seeing an accompanying revival of better, higher-paying jobs.

The consequences of this breakdown are only now dawning on many economists and have not gained widespread attention among policymakers in Washington. Many lawmakers have yet to even acknowledge the problem. But repairing this link is arguably the most critical policy challenge for anyone who wants to lift the middle class.

Economists are not clear how the economy got to the point where growth drives far less job creation and broadly shared prosperity than it used to. Some theorize that a major factor was globalization, which enabled companies to lay off highly paid workers in the United States during recessions and replace them with lower-paid ones overseas during recoveries.

There is even less agreement on policy prescriptions. Some liberal economists argue that the government should take more-aggressive steps to redistribute wealth. Many economists believe more education will improve the skills of American workers, helping them obtain higher-paying jobs. And still others say the government should seek to reduce the cost of businesses to create new jobs.

The problem is relatively new. From 1948 through 1982, recessions and recoveries followed a tight pattern. Growth plunged in the downturn, then spiked quickly, often thanks to aggressive interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. When growth returned, so did job creation, and workers generally shared in the spoils of new economic output.

You can see those patterns in comparisons of job creation and growth rates across post-World War II recoveries. Starting in 1949 and continuing for more than 30 years, once the economy started to grow after a recession, major job creation usually followed within about a year.

At the height of those recoveries, every percentage point of economic growth typically spurred about six-tenths of a percentage point of job growth, when compared with the start of the recovery. You could call that number the “job intensity” of growth.

The pattern began to break down in the 1992 recovery, which began under President George H.W. Bush. It took about three years — instead of one — for job creation to ramp up, even when the economy was growing. Even then, the “job intensity” of that recovery barely topped 0.4 percent, or about two-thirds the normal rate.

The next two recoveries were even worse. Three and a half years into the recovery that began in 2001 under President George W. Bush, job intensity was stuck at less than 0.2 percent. The recovery under President Obama is now up to an intensity of 0.3 percent, or about half the historical average.

Middle-class income growth looks even worse for those recoveries. From 1992 to 1994, and again from 2002 to 2004, real median household incomes fell — even though the economy grew more than 6 percent, after adjustments for inflation, in both cases. From 2009 to 2011 the economy grew more than 4 percent, but real median incomes grew by 0.5 percent.

In contrast, from 1982 to 1984, the economy grew by nearly 11 percent and real median incomes grew by 5 percent.

Today, nearly four years after the Great Recession, 12 million Americans are actively looking for work but can’t find a job; 11 million others are stuck working part time when they would like to be full time, or they would like to work but are too discouraged to job-hunt. Meanwhile, workers’ median wages were lower at the end of 2012, after adjustments for inflation, than they were at the end of 2003. Real household income was lower in 2011 than it was in 1989.

Obama alluded to the breakdown between growth and middle-class wages and jobs in his State of the Union address. “Every day,” he said, “we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

But outside of some targeted help for manufacturing jobs and some new investments in skills training, the proposals Obama offered focused comparatively little on repairing the relationship between growth and jobs, or growth and income. Obama’s boldest plans included increasing the minimum wage and guaranteeing every child a preschool education. Both aim largely at boosting poorer Americans and helping their children gain a better shot at landing the higher-paying jobs.

The Republican response to Obama’s speech did not appear to nod to the new reality at all. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) said that “economic growth is the best way to help the middle class” and offered few job-creation proposals that appeared materially different from what Republican politicians have pushed since the 1980s.

Economists are still trying to sort out what broke the historical links between growth and jobs/incomes.

Economists are still trying to sort out what broke the historical links between growth and jobs/incomes.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists Erica Groshen and Simon Potter concluded in a 2003 paper that the recoveries from the 1990 and 2001 recessions were largely “jobless” because employers had fundamentally changed how they responded to recessions. In the past, firms laid off workers during downturns but called them back when the economy picked up again. Now, they are using recessions as a trigger to lay off less-productive workers, never to hire them back.

Economists at the liberal Economic Policy Institute trace the problem to a series of policy choices that, they say, have eroded workers’ ability to secure rising incomes. Those choices include industry deregulation and the opening of global markets on unfavorable terms for U.S. workers.

In the latest edition of their book “The State of Working America,” EPI economists argue that an “increasingly well-paid financial sector and policies regarding executive compensation fueled wage growth at the top and the rise of the top 1 percent’s incomes” at the expense of average workers.

Robert Shapiro, an economist who advised Bill Clinton on the campaign trail and in the White House, traces the change to increased global competition.

“It makes it hard for firms to pass along their cost increases — for health care, energy and so on — in higher prices,” he said. “So instead they cut other costs, starting with jobs and wages.”

Shapiro said the best way to restart job creation is to help businesses cut the costs of hiring, including by reducing the employer side of the payroll tax and pushing more aggressive efforts to hold down health-care cost increases.

Obama seems to have embraced an approach pushed by Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz: helping more Americans graduate from college and go on to high-skilled, higher-paying jobs. It’s a longer-term bet. But as senior administration officials like to say, the problem didn’t start overnight, and it’s not likely to be solved overnight, either.

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Old 02-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #106
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Not sure what you mean. Arms? It takes a lot of arm effort for you to type or something? Maybe you need vitamins.
I was referring to the furious pace for your constructing of strawmen.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:15 AM   #107
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The Problem with the Marxist/Socialist view on income equality in 2013, is that it has been tried, and failed every time. Perhaps it is because it is a failed economic system that doesn't adequately deal with human nature, you know, sloth and shirking on the one hand, while it doesn't adequately reward innovation and productivity on the other. Ummm, I don't know, perhaps that is why most of the rest of the world is living in a shithole, and the US has more well off, well fed, well cared for poor than any other place on the environmentalists planet.
Um, no. Go back and read about the 1920's in the US.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:19 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
I was referring to the furious pace for your constructing of strawmen.
Saying there's a limit to the levels of taxation is apparently a strawman now.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:25 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by blaise View Post
Saying there's a limit to the levels of taxation is apparently a strawman now.
Is anyone saying there isn't?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:31 AM   #110
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Is anyone saying there isn't?
He posted a quote saying the wealthy should pay. They already do. My reply was regarding the fact that there's obviously a limit to how much they can pay.
Not sure why this is complicated for you.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:39 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by blaise View Post
He posted a quote saying the wealthy should pay. They already do. My reply was regarding the fact that there's obviously a limit to how much they can pay.
Not sure why this is complicated for you.
He posted a quote from Adam Smith, whose book Wealth of Nations is the basis of our economy and it's structure.

No one was arguing that there isn't a limit. You are making up things to argue against which is why I asked if you were working out your arms today. Not sure why that is complicated for you.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:14 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by blaise View Post
He posted a quote saying the wealthy should pay. They already do. My reply was regarding the fact that there's obviously a limit to how much they can pay.
Not sure why this is complicated for you.
I posted a that I believe the top earners should pay more then their current tax rate. I' and others have pointed out from articles that we have had a higher top rate tax in the past, which also happen to be times when the economy did well. I support raising top tax rates closer to previous levels.

No where did I mention that I support 100 percent income tax.

This argument is not one extreme or the other. You construct straw man arguments by jumping to an extreme that no one has supported. I agree, there is obviously a limit to how much they can pay.

Hey, great thing our tax system is progressive then, right? Your first twenty thousand is taxed just the same as mine. Your first fifty thousand is taxed just the same as Trumps.

In the progressive tax system everyone is taxed basically same amount for the first couple hundred thousand. (not counting everything that affects an individuality tax code).

That is a fairly strong non-limit.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:14 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
He posted a quote from Adam Smith, whose book Wealth of Nations is the basis of our economy and it's structure.

No one was arguing that there isn't a limit. You are making up things to argue against which is why I asked if you were working out your arms today. Not sure why that is complicated for you.
I know what he posted. And the wealthy do pay now.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #114
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I disagree with your economic theory. I will expand on this later.

...

On to your economic theory. I believe in a progressive tax system because I believe it is the most fair form of payment for the services provided by society that increase wealth.

For example: A restaurant cannot make any money if there is not a basic road to connect it to customers,if it doesn't have basic utilities, a educated workforce, reasonable certainty of security, etc. All these things have in common is they are supported by our government and society, for the benefit of economic prosperity. We all benefit. I challenge you try to become a multi-millionaire in a country lacking basic infrastructure or a country without a strong police force.

Now, some benefit more. Since the American society played a role(one aspect of many) in someone becoming successful, I believe their taxes should be proportional to that. The rich just have more to lose if American Society goes down. Remember, that all income is taxed the same up to certain levels. My twenty thousand a year is taxed just the same as Trumps first twenty thousand. Hence progressive.

I also believe that a higher top tax rate promotes reinvestment into companies and businesses, as seen in the 1960's.

I also am aware that the Chicago School of Economics (which is generally your theories) have failed in the past. I would encourage you to look at Chile between 1973 and 1989.

Source: http:// www.huppi. com/kangaroo/L-chichile.htm
"Chile: The laboratory Test"

"Many people have often wondered what it would be like to create a nation based solely on their political and economic beliefs. Imagine: no opposition, no political rivals, no compromise of morals. Only a "benevolent dictator," if you will, setting up society according to your ideals.

The Chicago School of Economics got that chance for 16 years in Chile, under near-laboratory conditions. Between 1973 and 1989, a government team of economists trained at the University of Chicago dismantled or decentralized the Chilean state as far as was humanly possible. Their program included privatizing welfare and social programs, deregulating the market, liberalizing trade, rolling back trade unions, and rewriting its constitution and laws. And they did all this in the absence of the far-right's most hated institution: democracy.

The results were exactly what liberals predicted. Chile's economy became more unstable than any other in Latin America, alternately experiencing deep plunges and soaring growth. Once all this erratic behavior was averaged out, however, Chile's growth during this 16-year period was one of the slowest of any Latin American country. Worse, income inequality grew severe. The majority of workers actually earned less in 1989 than in 1973 (after adjusting for inflation), while the incomes of the rich skyrocketed. In the absence of market regulations, Chile also became one of the most polluted countries in Latin America. And Chile's lack of democracy was only possible by suppressing political opposition and labor unions under a reign of terror and widespread human rights abuses.

Conservatives have developed an apologist literature defending Chile as a huge success story. In 1982, Milton Friedman enthusiastically praised General Pinochet (the Chilean dictator) because he "has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle." (1) However, the statistics below show this to be untrue. Chile is a tragic failure of right-wing economics, and its people are still paying the price for it today. "

/the article continues, citing all statistics.
We've tried radical equality before too.

So after all of that, you completely missed the point of my "theory". It's really math, more than theory. If you're poor and you want to move up in terms of class, how do you do it? You have to have more income. Progressive income tax schemes will tax that additional income harder than a flatter income tax scheme will. Which guy is going to be more upwardly mobile? The guy whose additional income is getting diverted to the state or the guy whose additional income is going to his pocket? The answer is pretty obvious.

Your sense of fairness (which I don't agree with, btw) doesn't trump math.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #115
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First, I don't feel you answered my questions.

Let's assume we both agree that the U.S. suffers from third world level income inequality (remember I said assume). How, in your opinion, does that strengthen the American Economy. What positive benefit do you believe it gives our country?
I did answer your question. I told you that I don't know why it would be good or bad. That's why I asked the people who are convinced that it's bad to explain why. So far, I'm learning that it's more an article of faith than a well reasoned position.

But, I'll give you a list of countries that have a lower Gini coefficient (less income inequality) than the US, and I can tell you that I'd rather have our inequality than the economic conditions in any of them:

Slovakia
Bulgaria
Ethiopia
Pakistan
Egypt
Iraq
Bangladesh
India
Greece
Uzbekistan
Chad
Nicaragua
Democratic Republic of the Congo

How many of those do you envy for their equality and their upward mobility?

If you look at all the countries listed on that wiki page, you will see pathetic third world economies both above and below the US level of income inequality so I'm not sure how to apply the premise of your hypothetical. Are we suffering from Ethiopian levels of inequality or Botswanan levels?
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #116
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On to ... the question you asked me in another post. What time frame? Let's go with from 2000 to present. you can start at 1990 or 80 if you want as well.

Show me where, during this time frame, lowering the tax code of top earnings resulted in a trickle down effect in --1)a growth in middle class, 2) growth in median wages, 3)growth in employment.
The graph in post 77 seems to indicate that the poverty level goes down after the Reagan tax cuts, up after the Bush I tax increase, down after the Clinton tax increase, and then up after the Bush II tax decrease. What that tells me is that tax cuts and increases aren't the driving factor for poverty levels (and by implication, the size of the middle class).

But for the purpose of answering your original question, during the period between 1982 and 1989, in the aftermath of the Reagan tax cuts, income inequality was growing but there was a pretty steady decline in the poverty rate (and by implication, an increase in the size of the middle class).
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:22 PM   #117
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1. Your ignorance of the subject matter doesn't alter the fact that there is evidence that extreme levels of income inequality is bad for an economy.
It seems like if it's so obvious, someone would be able to explain it in their own words. OTOH, if it's just a gut instinct to go after the rich, I can understand that. Liberal pied pipers have been playing that tune for a long long time.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:22 PM   #118
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We've tried radical equality before too.

So after all of that, you completely missed the point of my "theory". It's really math, more than theory. If you're poor and you want to move up in terms of class, how do you do it? You have to have more income. Progressive income tax schemes will tax that additional income harder than a flatter income tax scheme will. Which guy is going to be more upwardly mobile? The guy whose additional income is getting diverted to the state or the guy whose additional income is going to his pocket? The answer is pretty obvious.

Your sense of fairness (which I don't agree with, btw) doesn't trump math.
Yes, because the key to upward mobility is clearly to let the already wealthy keep and obtain even more
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:24 PM   #119
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
Probably not being at banana republic levels of income inequality
What about Hong Kong levels?
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:25 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
The graph in post 77 seems to indicate that the poverty level goes down after the Reagan tax cuts, up after the Bush I tax increase, down after the Clinton tax increase, and then up after the Bush II tax decrease. What that tells me is that tax cuts and increases aren't the driving factor for poverty levels (and by implication, the size of the middle class).

But for the purpose of answering your original question, during the period between 1982 and 1989, in the aftermath of the Reagan tax cuts, income inequality was growing but there was a pretty steady decline in the poverty rate (and by implication, an increase in the size of the middle class).
Being above the poverty line does not equate to being middle class. Your deductions are haphazard, nonsensical, and filtered through the spooge Grover Norquist left in your eye.
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KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.KC native Forgot to Remove His Claytex and Got Toxic Shock Syndrome.
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