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Jim Webb in the WSJ-Class Struggle

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

  1. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    While I appreciate the offer, and certainly understand its value to you, I respectfully decline swapping my economic knowledge for your left nut. While my womanizing prowess would likely be enhanced by the three pronged Gigantor in my pants, I feel that this benefit is less recognizable to women as compared to my outward displays of wealth.
     
  2. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Member

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    But sadly education is steeped in inequality and limited access.
     
  3. RocketMan Tex

    RocketMan Tex Member

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    [​IMG]

    Trader_Jorge displaying his wealth....outwardly.

    :D
     
  4. rimrocker

    rimrocker Member

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  5. deepblue

    deepblue Member

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    Are you freaking kidding me?
     
  6. thadeus

    thadeus Member

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    Is this true? It might be. But also note that those who have more money than average are not necessarily likely to have natural talents, great skills, or creativity.

    Did they pursue wealth as an end in itself? Some highly paid doctors and (maybe) bankers may very well be smart/talented - and some may not.

    I'm doing fine. And I really am smarter, more talented, and more skilled than many of those rich people (and many poor people too) - but I don't need anyone to tell me that, I already know it. I also know many other people who are doing alright, but who are incredibly talented/intelligent/creative and only work because it allows them to realize the goals of their intelligence/talents/creativity. They don't work to buy status. They are not concerned with wearing the most expensive clothes. They don't care how cool their car is. They don't need to buy the respect of perceptive people.

    The distinction I made, and that you're ignoring, is between those who pursue wealth (both real - cash money, and symbolic - fancy cars and designer clothes) as an end in itself. And, likewise, they don't rabidly denounce things that might allow poor people to not be so poor, or might cause wealthy people to not be so wealthy. They don't need to. Granted, there are exceptions on either side, but one shouldn't be too quick to declare themselves an exception to this focus on status through wealth.

    This direct implication is not mentioned in Chapter VII ("Of the Wages of Labor") of "The Wealth of Nations", the section the quotation comes from. And I don't recall seeing it anywhere in the book itself (yes, unfortunately, I've read all 900 pages of it). I'm not saying it's not there - I'm saying I don't remember it being there. Can you give me a chapter heading? His analysis of education is not geared toward it making a person capable of earning more, but of preventing the worker from becoming "as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become" because the worker "whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur." (please note how this applies to bureaucrats and bank managers as well ;) ) He advocated education, not as a means of enrichment, but because "the division of labor destroys intellectual, social, and martial virtues unless government takes pains to prevent it" (all from the first paragraph of Article II of "Of the Expence of the Institutions for the Education of the Youth" ). He wasn't advocating education for decreasing poverty, but for maintaining the virtues that a society needs its people to have in order to survive. Smith wasn't particularly concerned with social mobility either.

    It should be pointed out that the first quotation comes from a paragraph under the heading "High earnings of labour are an advantage to the society" - for those of you who believe a higher minimum wage is somehow contradictory to the principles of free trade.
     
  7. weslinder

    weslinder Member

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    First, it's much more equal and accessible than it was 250 years ago.

    Second, thadeus was trying to use Adam Smith's quote to justify redistribution of wealth, when that's clearly not what he was endorsing.
     
  8. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Member

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    Yes, I don't think Adam Smith would ever favor anything like wealth redistribution. The very concept of government intervention in the economy didn't even become mainstream until the Roosevelt administration bought into Keynes's economic theories on government spending.
     
  9. SamFisher

    SamFisher Member

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    If Adam Smith were alive today, he'd be cowering in fear of mechanical horses and giant metal flying birds and talking magic boxes. The guy wasn't jesus. An important man, but economics has advanced a bit from the point of sitting around and parsing words to establish "WWASD"
     
  10. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    We don't "count" on it, but it's one of several income streams that will make our "retirement" a nice one. However, I know many people that do count on it. I think the wealthy should pay it, along with everyone else that does. It would be a way to help keep it funded, and isn't going to be a "backbreaker" for those who would be affected by not having SS income limited, in my opinion.



    D&D. Here You Are!
     
  11. thadeus

    thadeus Member

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    I wasn't using Smith to justify the redistribution of wealth (although I believe that if some redistribution fails to happen we're going to become dangerously unstable as a country), I was using it to present an alternative viewpoint to people who insist that the GDP is somehow representative of the well-being of a nation. It is, in a very limited sense, but not in an absolute one.

    Feels good to be honest, doesn't it? I, on the other hand, have to rely on my good-looks, intelligence, charisma, and artistic talents to attract women. ;)

    I agree. All of Adam Smith's economic principles were derived from using labor as the absolute standard of value - the actual physical act of producing something. He wouldn't recognize the world anymore in an economic sense. But, his observations on how human nature functions within an economic system are, I think, still valid.
     
  12. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Member

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    The capital gains tax IS a loophole as it allows the very rich to avoid paying the same tax rate as the tax rate for other income. Repealing the estate tax would create another loophole that would allow the very wealthy to avoid taxation.

    There are dozens of other loopholes, for example, businesses can deduct certain vehicle expenditures. This would be fine if it were a contractor deducting his pickup as it is used for work or a business deducting a bucket truck if they install equipment in hard to reach places, but the same deduction can be used to buy a Hummer for an executive when the vehicle is not used for business.
     
  13. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Member

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    The thing is, the estate tax doesn't kick in until the estate is over $3 million under current rules. It can be even more if there is a small business involved in the mix and up to a certain point, you can do a lot to minimize the estate tax through trust funds and other instruments.

    The estate tax only affects (and SHOULD only affect) the massive estates of people like Gates or Buffett. Oddly enough, these two guys strongly support the estate tax.
     
  14. Yonkers

    Yonkers Member

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    But then you deride other people who aren't wealthy and don't see this as an issue. It's against our self interest, you might say, to not force the richer to share their wealth with us, but that's what we feel is right. They feel that way and they happen to be rich, but that doesn't make them right.
     
  15. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Member

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    That money is already "taxed multiple times." The "multiple taxation" theme is a red herring designed to get people whom the estate tax will NEVER affect to somehow feel like THEIR children are going to be affected.
     
  16. weslinder

    weslinder Member

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    I must confess that I am basing my comments on commentaries I've read about Adam Smith's work, as I've never read him myself. I will do my best to find the commentary I've read and where the passage in Smith's work was.
     
  17. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Member

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    And it would, unfortunately, the very wealthy have more access to much better education, which creates connections that are unavailable to people without this wealth.

    That is a part of why having "Two Americas" is such a bad situation.
     
  18. SamFisher

    SamFisher Member

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    No, that ALONE doesn't make them right. Their argument (that america AS A WHOLE is made worse by drastic income inequality) has merit on its own.

    Historically, ever-increasing dynastic concentration of wealth and ever-declining social mobility leads to economic stagnation, instability, and, IMO, to use a cliche, is unamerican.
     
  19. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    angrymoon, you are clueless. Utterly clueless.

    Obviously, the capital gains tax is not a loophole. A loophole, by definition, is an ambiguity that makes it possible to evade an obligation. It's using the backdoor to take an aggressive tax position and avoid paying taxes. Parking your money in stocks for over a year, and paying a 15% rate on capital gains, is in no way taking advantage of an ambiguity to avoid taxes. So your point falls.

    Second, over half of American households own stock in one form or another. So your demagoguery which links "the very rich" to equity ownership is exposed to be another lie. Do you suggest raising the capital gains tax rate, so that over half of Ameican households can pay more in taxes?
     
  20. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Member

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    ROFLMAO!!!!

    t "m" j calling someone "clueless." The irony is thick in the D&D today.

    A loophole in this context is taking advantage of the law to avoid paying your fair share. If someone makes money over and above the investment, it is income. Since it is defined as "capital gains" and not "wages," it is taxed at a 15% rate instead of the higher rate that most people would end up paying if the income were wages. Having a lower capital gains tax rate ends up creating a loophole that allows someone to avoid paying thier fair share of taxes on what would otherwise be defines as "income."

    Of that half, how many derive the majority of their income from capital gains? You know as well as I do that this number is exceedingly low and includes only "the very rich." And yes, I would suggest that capital gains be treated as any other form of income and taxed at the same marginal rate as the rest of that person's income, whatever income level that may be.
     

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