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Jim Webb in the WSJ-Class Struggle

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by gifford1967, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. gifford1967

    gifford1967 Contributing Member
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    Class Struggle
    American workers have a chance to be heard.

    BY JIM WEBB
    Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

    The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

    Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.

    In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. Trickle-down economics didn't happen. Despite the vaunted all-time highs of the stock market, wages and salaries are at all-time lows as a percentage of the national wealth. At the same time, medical costs have risen 73% in the last six years alone. Half of that increase comes from wage-earners' pockets rather than from insurance, and 47 million Americans have no medical insurance at all.

    Manufacturing jobs are disappearing. Many earned pension programs have collapsed in the wake of corporate "reorganization." And workers' ability to negotiate their futures has been eviscerated by the twin threats of modern corporate America: If they complain too loudly, their jobs might either be outsourced overseas or given to illegal immigrants.


    This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation's most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the "rough road of capitalism." Others claim that it's the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism.
    Still others have gone so far as to argue that these divisions are the natural results of a competitive society. Furthermore, an unspoken insinuation seems to be inundating our national debate: Certain immigrant groups have the "right genetics" and thus are natural entrants to the "overclass," while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes.

    Most Americans reject such notions. But the true challenge is for everyone to understand that the current economic divisions in society are harmful to our future. It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.

    America's elites need to understand this reality in terms of their own self-interest. A recent survey in the Economist warned that globalization was affecting the U.S. differently than other "First World" nations, and that white-collar jobs were in as much danger as the blue-collar positions which have thus far been ravaged by outsourcing and illegal immigration. That survey then warned that "unless a solution is found to sluggish real wages and rising inequality, there is a serious risk of a protectionist backlash" in America that would take us away from what they view to be the "biggest economic stimulus in world history."

    More troubling is this: If it remains unchecked, this bifurcation of opportunities and advantages along class lines has the potential to bring a period of political unrest. Up to now, most American workers have simply been worried about their job prospects. Once they understand that there are (and were) clear alternatives to the policies that have dislocated careers and altered futures, they will demand more accountability from the leaders who have failed to protect their interests. The "Wal-Marting" of cheap consumer products brought in from places like China, and the easy money from low-interest home mortgage refinancing, have softened the blows in recent years. But the balance point is tipping in both cases, away from the consumer and away from our national interest.


    The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.
    With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade. Nothing is more important for the health of our society than to grant them the validity of their concerns. And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization.

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009246

    Boy I'm glad Webb was part of that conservative Democratic wave that swept over Congress.
     
  2. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    Who is this communist propaganda mouthpiece? Is he on the payroll of Castro? :eek:
     
  3. deepblue

    deepblue Member

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    Can someone provide a couple concrete examples of tax loopholes for the top 1% in this "vast system of loopholes"?
     
  4. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    There's this crazy one, where if they reinvest earnings into developing their company, they don't have to pay taxes on it.
     
  5. mrpaige

    mrpaige Contributing Member

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    That is crazy.
     
  6. rimrocker

    rimrocker Contributing Member

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    http://bbs.clutchfans.net/showthread.php?t=119974

    But it probably deserves a thread all its own...

    Button it down Repubs... class warfare is on its way... and about damn time.

    I don't want to become Victorian England or Industrial Revolution America...

    I also agree with Webb that...

    OK, maybe Iraq's first, but this is up there.

    I don't think many can argue against this...

    Unfortunately, it has spread beyond the elites to those identifying with the elites.

    And this is hard to refute...

    The Dems spent from 1933-1968 building the Middle Class in this country and the Repubs spent from 1968-2006 tempting folks with the idea that someday you can be rich, "just like us"... and that means you have to support the policies that favor rich people because YOU will eventually make it. Maybe the country's waking up.
     
  7. Saint Louis

    Saint Louis Member

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    Well if enough people become poor with nothing to lose, we can bring back the guillotine to take care of the rich.
     
  8. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    What a total CROCK OF SCHIT. From reading this, he's a communist at heart. He obviously doesn't understand the first concept of business, and his work experience (virtually none in the private sector, other than his forays into kiddie p*rn) verifies this.

    What qualifies Jim Webb, a former military guy, lawyer and author, to opine on economic matters? NOTHING. Which is why you have such a poorly conceived letter grounded in lies and half-truths. He is a protectionist who also wants to punish success in business. Shouldn't we have an incentive structure that REWARDS success? Stagnant wages? Disappearing jobs? What economic world is this wack-job living in? Unemployment is at record lows right now. Corporate profits are quite strong. The stock market is booming. This man is an economic simpleton who is clearly out of his league when opining on these matters.

    Perhaps the WSJ elected to publish this trash so that Americans can re-familiarize themselves with how much the liberals' economic policies are out of touch with reality. That's the beauty of the liberals' new found visibility. It's a reminder to voters of what unpopular policies they support.
     
  9. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    And what exactly qualifies Trader_Jorge to comment on what qualifies Jim Webb?
     
  10. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    If you think about it, who reads the Wall Street Journal? The 1% of Americans who Jim Webb is ridiculing with this piece. People like myself who are well educated, wealthy, and successful in business.

    What a moron for submitting this incredibly poorly written letter to the WSJ. Better know your audience, Jimmy. This is why I think the WSJ purposefully published it. They knew that any educated businessman would laugh at such a preposterous letter. This is great advertising for the RNC.
     
  11. rodrick_98

    rodrick_98 Contributing Member

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    NAFTA?
     
  12. rimrocker

    rimrocker Contributing Member

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    Here's another article that might make your head explode... enjoy...

     
  13. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    Why am I constantly seeing Democrats trying to tell us what is "fair". What constitutes a "fair wage"? A wage is a negotiation between a worker and an employer. If you are not getting what you believe your skills deserve, you don't take the job. Simple as that. If you don't have the skills to support your desired wage, then perhaps you need additional skills. The bottom line is that the market is a very good arbiter as to what is a fair wage and what is not. Artificially influencing the labor market leads to economic inefficiencies. No one disputes this. In a non-obstructed marketplace, a worker's wage is set by the marginal benefit that his work creates. If you don't create value, you don't receive value. When that economic truism is altered, selected people begin to receive more than they create, resulting in job loss and reduced profits to the greater entity.

    Perhaps Mr. Webb would like to institute an Office of Central Planning, to instruct the market on all prices? Let's call China on how best to implement this initiative. Or the old Soviet Union bosses. Or perhaps Fidel? What a crock.
     
  14. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    And the laissez faire capitalism of the 20s and 30s worked oh so well....
     
  15. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    ...but ...gifford1967 was the one who actually posted the article. Based on your response, I'm thinking you didn't read it until you read it on this BBS. So that puts you outside the list of people who are educated, wealthy, and successful in business, right?
     
  16. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker I lost a bet

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    Why is this bad? If I want to hire someone to build my widgets, and there are 2 applicants, one who will do it for $0.47/hr and the other who wants $7.25/hr, assuming they will build widgets of equal quality, why would I hire the guy that wants 15 times the salary for the same work?
     
  17. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    It is fine if you want to achieve equlibrium by reducing your economic conditions to those of SE Asia or Mexico.
     
  18. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    Gotta love his intra-letter contradiction. Let's see, first I'll slam outsourcing, then I'll talk about its benefits! Hopefully my audience is as dumb as me and they'll buy it!

    This OpEd is nothing more than uninformed demagoguery intended to stir up people who are too stupid to realize that it is false. Anyone with any semblance of business knowledge dismisses this moron for the fool that he is.
     
  19. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Warren Buffet and Bill Gates gave a talk/town hall-type meeting at Univ. of Nebraska which they broadcast on public television up here. One of the students asked if they support the repeal of the estate tax, Buffett said no, because a 15% capital gains tax means he and Bill are, effectively, in a lower "income" tax bracket than we are.

    Of course, I ain't got no pension, so I actually support a low capital gains tax, which means it's probably technically not a loophole for the rich.
     
  20. Major

    Major Member

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    Because maximizing GDP in the short-run and in the long-run are very different concepts. Your strategy will maximize GDP in the short-term. In the long-term, economic disparities do not lead to a maximizing GDP. It's in the interest of everyone to help the lower classes move up, to provide a larger consumer market, reduce social services expenses, etc.
     

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