Balkinization  

Monday, October 20, 2008

John McCain on Socialism and Welfare

JB

From an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday, October 19th:


WALLACE: In your radio address yesterday, you raised the "S" word, socialism.

MCCAIN: Sure.

WALLACE: But you did it indirectly, so let me ask you for some straight talk. Do you think that Senator Obama is a socialist? Do you think that his plans are socialism?

MCCAIN: I think his plans are redistribution of the wealth. He said it himself, "We need to spread the wealth around." Now, that's one of...

WALLACE: Is that socialism?

MCCAIN: That's one of the tenets of socialism. But it's more the liberal left, which he's always been on. He's always been in the left lane of American politics.

That's why he voted 94 times against any tax cuts or for tax increases. That's why he voted for the Democratic resolution, budget resolution, that would impose taxes on — raise taxes on some individual who makes $42,000 a year.

That's why he has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate.

WALLACE: But, Senator, when we talk...

MCCAIN: So is one of the tenets of socialism redistribution of the wealth? Not just socialism — a lot of other liberal and left wing philosophies — redistribution of the wealth? I don't believe in it. I believe in wealth creation by Joe the Plumber.

WALLACE: But, Senator, you voted for the $700 billion bailout that's being used partially to nationalize American banks. Isn't that socialism?

MCCAIN: That is reacting to a crisis that's due to greed and excess in Washington.

And what this administration is doing wrong, and what Paulson is doing wrong, is not going out and buying up home loan mortgages, home mortgages, and giving people new mortgages at the new value of their home so they can stay in their home.

They're bailing out the banks. They're baling out these institutions.

WALLACE: But you voted for that.

MCCAIN: Of course. It was a package that had to be enacted because the economy was about to go into the tank.

During the — during the Depression, we had a program to take care — where they went out and bought homeowners' mortgages, and then over time they even made money as the values of homes began to increase.

If we don't turn — the housing market was the catalyst — the greed and excess, and Fannie Mae and Freddie, which some of us proposed legislation to rein in — the Democrats were in charge of Congress for most six — for the last couple of years, and they did not act, and so — and Senator Obama did not act.

But the point is that, of course, when a — when a — that's the reason why we have governments, to help those who need help, who can't help themselves, and when time of crisis to step in and do what's necessary to preserve the lives and futures of innocent people.

It wasn't Main Street America that caused this. It was Washington and Wall Street.

. . . .

WALLACE: You say that Obama's tax plan amounts to welfare because he'll give refundable tax credits — in effect, checks — to 40 percent of Americans who don't pay any income tax.

MCCAIN: Federal income tax, yes.

WALLACE: Right.

MCCAIN: Yes.

WALLACE: Obama points out that no one will receive one of these refundable checks if they aren't at least paying payroll taxes, Social Security taxes.

And your health care plan would also give these refundable checks to that same 40 percent who don't pay income taxes, federal income taxes. So if his plan is welfare, isn't yours?

MCCAIN: Well, it's — the difference is that we need to provide — it's a fundamental requirement to give people the chance to have affordable and available health insurance, or the option is to go into a big government program such as we have in Canada, in England and others.

Americans right now are without health insurance. They need to get it.

* * * * *

To summarize: a key tenet of socialism is redistribution of wealth. However, a 700 billion dollar bailout of banks and Wall Street firms is not socialism. Rather, it is "help[ing] those who need help, who can't help themselves," which is not socialism (because it is not redistributive?). Giving tax credits to people who pay payroll and Social Security taxes under Obama's health care plan is welfare (indeed, why isn't it socialism as well?). However, giving tax credits to individuals under McCain's plan is not welfare (and presumably, is not socialism either).

As far as I can see, according to McCain, "socialism" and "welfare" are thus defined as "redistributive policies that my opponent favors." Redistributive policies that I favor-- like using taxpayer money to buy up old mortgages and subsidize new ones-- are neither socialism or welfare; they are helping people. Where both my opponent and I have supported the same redistributive policies (like the recent bank bailout bill), they are socialism or welfare when he proposes them and not socialism or welfare when I propose them.

The insanity of McCain's remarks comes from two important facts about American government. First we live in a regulatory and welfare state in which one of the most important tools of government is taxation and spending, which are almost of necessity redistributive in character and/or effect. Second, at least since the time of the the New Deal Americans assume and expect that government will engage in redistributive policies to solve social problems and deal with crises. The bank bailout and health care reform policies are only the latest examples of techniques of governance that have become as American as apple pie.

McCain cannot really turn his back on the basic features of American governance in the post New Deal era; at most he can argue about the different ways that government should engage in redistributive taxing and spending policies to promote the public interest. Thus, his use of "socialism" and "welfare" are completely disingenuous, little more than scare tactics designed to obfuscate basic political assumptions about governance that both major political parties share.

Comments:

This was another Tim Conway moment for John McCain. He's searching for buzz words instead of substance and reason. I don't think he has any sense of tax policy. Rather, he searches for the buzz words. And he continues with Joe the Plumber despite the facts that came to light. Perhaps because of the many homes Cindy had provided for him, he can woo the American voter by showing that Joe the Plumber is symbolic of America. Before this he had Joe Sixpack, who at least has some connection to Cindy's fortune. And then there's hockey mom Sarah Palin high-sticking logic and reason. The positive side is that this gave us Tina Fey to get America laughing again.
 

Thus, his use of "socialism" and "welfare" are completely disingenuous, little more than scare tactics designed to obfuscate basic political assumptions about governance that both major political parties share.

"Incoherent" is an apt way to describe McCain's debate performances and general campaign style. Not to mention that his first objection to "redistributive" policy is when it involves directing income downwards from the upper to the middle & lower classes. He doesn't appear to have much problem with redistributing in the other direction, as per the financial crisis.

But more broadly there is no possibility of either government OR civilization without redistribution of wealth. The Republican party, the party of the rich, generally just does its level best to prevent any rational discussion of what is best for "the general welfare" from breaking out, as such a discussion will inevitably lead in the direction of greater redistribution than currently prevails.

Their solution to the threat of progress is simple: Just don't talk about it.
 

-- The bank bailout and health care reform policies are only the latest examples of techniques of governance that have become as American as apple pie. --
.
That's a profound observation. It also speaks well for the success of the Democratic party and liberals in general, at implementing the policies of governance that they favor. "More government" for all -- it's as American as apple pie.
 

Let's also be clear here. McCain's comments about "welfare" are for one purpose and one purpose only: Welfare = BLACK! OMG! I mean, I really expect to hear about cadillac-driving welfare queens before it's all said and done.

And "socialist" = "other" = isn't Barack Hussein Obama one of those Arabs or Muslims or something? Whatever he is, he's not part of the "Real" America, the "Pro-America" part of America. This is all McCain has left, and he doesn't care that his words make no sense anymore. They're not intended to. They're intended to scare, they're intended to play on the still quite large portion of our population that is racist and xenophobic. (Witness the reaction to Colin Powell's endorsement -- he only did out of black solidarity, natch.)

I dearly hope it's too late for such tactics to work.
 

Of course redistribution of wealth from one group to another is a tenet of socialism. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Socialism used direct state ownership of the economy to achieve this goal. The left in a free market society is simply a watered down version of socialism and uses government welfare states to pursue redistribution.

Redistribution is hardly as American as apple pie. The People generally reject the purer forms of redistribution like welfare and the political class works hard to disguise it as "tax cuts," "tax refunds" or "tax deductions." If redistribution was popular, there would be no need to use such euphemisms.

As a side note, social insurance is not redistribution. You pay taxes as premiums against the risk that you will require the service in the future.

Neither is a progressive tax system, whose proceeds go to common goods rather than as wealth transfers to another group because all tax payers can enjoy the good.

As for the McCain interview, he is correct that Mr. Obama supports massive new redistribution of wealth under the lie of "tax cuts."

In contrast, the rescue package as it was enacted, is supposed to be a break even or even profit making enterprise where the risk remains with the banks from whom these assets are being purchased. To the extent that the government renegotiates the mortgages of those who are facing foreclosure in order to maintain the value of the mortgage on behalf of the tax payers, this is not redistribution.

That being said, McCain is playing the populist and is selling his plan as a bailout of home owners. This can be properly seen as redistribution and is a very questionable tactic for the candidate of the party of free markets and small government. Then again, McCain has always been more of a Reagan Dem and a true believer Elephant.

The only thing a poor GOP voter can do is enjoy Palin's pure Reaganism while looking at McCain through red state colored glasses and hold our nose to vote for the least redistributionist evil.
 

The last eight years have seen a marvelous redistribution of wealth, from the poor and middle class to the rich and very rich.

If it is policy to redistribute wealth, results have been impressive from Republic rule.

If this be socialism, let us make the most of it.

Which is merely to say, the discourse on the airwaves is divorced from reality to such an extent that it means nothing. Nothing. Its real purpose isn't to mean anything, it's scare talk in code. Thanks glennnyc for decoding.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

A Southern politician once rode to victory on the charge that his opponent was a heterosexual whose daughter was a thespian. McCain is close to that bottom, though not quite. Let's consider the delta.

Jack fairly nails him here. He and his party are now reduced to hurling the lexicon of a spent propaganda campaign at policies that make more sense to more people than their own do. These paint the alternatives as anathema, so impious, so sharp a break with the tried and true as to be beyond considering. In fact even to examine them is risky: they might just dispirit us. The loyal citizen is told to look no further than the policies' advocates. Here the imagery of Satan takes over. "That one" does his best among the idle, those on the dole, and among those who hate what we stand for. Occasional courtesies don't undercut the message: Satan is often complimented on his caginess, even for a perverse honesty.

This is how the Republicans insulate their own ideas from scrutiny. It's not a bad tactic. Their approach to governance is shopworn -- a total failure, grossly unfair, and the antithesis of action for the common good. Once alternatives become thinkable, people will begin noticing that the city on a hill is an ever-shrinking gated community.

By backing away from these labels the Democrats play into Republican hands. The terms of abuse have little or no traction in most of the world. Here they are as defamatory as "Muslim." That is why Colin Powell's point about Islam only scratched the surface of our benighted habits of political speech. We will find no way out of our dilemmas so long as horns are seen on one side only.

Socialism shmocialism! We'll be better off when our ability to say this turns only on mastery of our physical tongues.
 

If I may say so, McInsane sounds like an incoherent barking eedjit there....

Cheers,
 

Prof. Balkin:

First we live in a regulatory and welfare state in which one of the most important tools of government is taxation and spending, which are almost of necessity redistributive in character and/or effect.

Indeed, the salient point here. If it's just taking money and giving the same amount back, why even bother? Of course, libertarians would say, "yes indeed, why bother?" But they're basically loony ideologues...

Cheers,
 

jpk said...

The last eight years have seen a marvelous redistribution of wealth, from the poor and middle class to the rich and very rich.

Really? Under a federal tax system where the top 20% of wealth creators pay nearly all the income taxes, exactly which government in your universe is taxing the other 80% to cut checks to the top 20%?
 

Somebody even more incoherent than McInsane:

In contrast, the rescue package as it was enacted, is supposed to be a break even or even profit making enterprise ...

Which is why it only requires $700 billion (and counting)...

.. where the risk remains with the banks from whom these assets are being purchased.

McInsane suggested in the debates that the gummint should purchase the distressed mortgages from the banks at face value. It is in this proposal that McInsane differs from Obama on the rescue. How our RNC flack thinks this is leaving the "risk" (rather than the boodle of money) with the banks is something that I'll have to consult my nearest schizophrenic on....

Cheers,

'
 

Really? Under a federal tax system where the top 20% of wealth creators pay nearly all the income taxes, exactly which government in your universe is taxing the other 80% to cut checks to the top 20%?

# posted by Bart DePalma : 2:08 PM


Wealth creators? When did counterfeiters start paying taxes?
 

"[A]t most he can argue about the different ways that government should engage in redistributive taxing and spending policies to promote the public interest. Thus, his use of 'socialism' and 'welfare' are completely disingenuous..."

I don't think it's completely disingenuous. It's not just that McCain wants particular forms of public-interest-promoting redistribution; he presumably wants less of it, even though, as you and Chris Wallace point out, he still wants a lot. He might also distinguish short-term policies that have (side) effects on wealth distribution from a long-term policy in favor of wealth redistribution itself.
 

The only thing a poor GOP voter can do is enjoy Palin's pure Reaganism...

Which consisted of pretending to be helping the poor (and deluded) Republican sycophantic suckers while instead working as hard as possible to help out the rich ... a policy continued by Dubya.

BTW, here's a current affairs (and economics) quiz for our dear LSR. Check it out, folks!

Cheers,
 

-~>
NEW YORK, June 26 -- Warren E. Buffett was his usual folksy self Tuesday night at a fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as he slammed a system that allows the very rich to pay taxes at a lower rate than the middle class.

Buffett cited himself, the third-richest person in the world, as an example. Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent.

========
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/27/AR2007062700097.html

Even the very richest person is embarrassed at the level of taxes he pays. The system is still nominally progressive, but by categorizing much investment income, largely earned by the richest people, differently from earned income, and taxing it at low rates, it causes unfairness in the system, and makes the system look more progressive than it is.
 

crf:

Even the very richest person is embarrassed at the level of taxes he pays. The system is still nominally progressive, but by categorizing much investment income, largely earned by the richest people, differently from earned income, and taxing it at low rates, it causes unfairness in the system, and makes the system look more progressive than it is.

Yes, it's passing strange that we see fit to tax income that is unearned at a lesser rate than we do income that some shlub had to bust his/her balls to earn. What's up with that? Is "earned income" purer so that taking a bigger chunk of it is less a crime, or is it that unearned income is purer (not contaminated by the sweat dripping from one's brow) and thus exempt from the desires of gummint?

Cheers,
 

Capital gains taxes are properly lower than income taxes because of the risk of loss inherent in investment.

If Buffet had his money continuously in stocks during the past couple years, he experienced a 40% loss.

In contrast, at most Buffet can fire is secretary and her income stream will pause until she finds a new job. There is no risk that Buffet will be able to reclaim 40% of the secretary's income over the prior two years and force her to experience a net loss of wealth.

Additionally, we want to encourage the investment in our economy that creates jobs and provides more goods and services at ever less cost.
 

BTW, if Buffet's receptionist and the millions like her in NYC started voting for candidates who would cut rather than raise her taxes, she would not be paying anything close to 30% of her income to her Dem run government.

Even serfs only paid about a quarter of their production to their liege lords.

A receptionist in Florida might pay around 20% of her income at all levels of government
 

Additionally, we want to encourage the investment in our economy that creates jobs and provides more goods and services at ever less cost.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 3:01 PM


Numbnuts, investment doesn't create jobs, customers create jobs.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

What a pile'o'crap:

["Bart"]: Capital gains taxes are properly lower than income taxes because of the risk of loss inherent in investment.

If you have a loss, you can offset earnings. If you have no capital gains, you have no capital gains tax. If you work nowadays, in this Rethuglican environment, you are at "risk of loss" every day (the unemployment has been creeping up again, just as it did under the last Republican administration; see my link above).

But even if you can have a loss (and not pay the tax, or even use it to offset other earnings), why should that entitle you to lesser taxes on unearned income?!?!?

Try again, "Bart": Why should unearned income be taxed less?

Cheers,
 

"Trickle-down" Theory (Otherwise known as "piss on me and tell me it's raining" theory:

Additionally, we want to encourage the investment in our economy that creates jobs and provides more goods and services at ever less cost.

Which explains why real wages have decreased this decade, while worker productivity has increased....

Cheers,
 

A Southern politician once rode to victory on the charge that his opponent was a heterosexual whose daughter was a thespian.

Obama's joke at the Alfred E. Smith dinner reminded me of this story. Obama said that Fox News had accused him of "fathering two African American girls in wedlock".
 

See here (at "Accountability Journalism") for an attempt to explain why McCain's health-care proposal isn't redistributive.
 

Almost as if on cue, Gallup released a poll today which asked respondents:

Which approach should government concentrate on to fix the economy?

Take steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans

or

Take steps to improve overall economic conditions and the jobs situation.

Adults rejected redistribution 84% to 13% and even Dems rejected redistribution 77% to 19%.

This is why Obama lies and calls his massive redistribution checks "tax cuts."
 

Bart, thanks for pointing out a great example of a poorly-worded survey question. I can use that one in my next research methods unit.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

"Bart" cites a Gallup poll question:

Which approach should government concentrate on to fix the economy?

Take steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans

or

Take steps to improve overall economic conditions and the jobs situation.


Fallacy of bifurcation (or worse). Then, to top it off, we have the question, what would you like to do to "fix the economy"? And "Bart" is surprised that the preferred answer is to "improve [] economic conditions". Like wow. Geenyusses would been stumped on that answer, but the wisdom of the people shines through. Glad Gallup asked that question ... and gave those choices for answers.

Cheers,
 

A great cartoon lambasting this phenomenon on the Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 blog...
 

What is so confusing about the options offered by Gallup - get a job to earn your own money vs. having the government take someone else's money ad give it to you?
 

Additionally, we want to encourage the investment in our economy that creates jobs and provides more goods and services at ever less cost.

You ought to thank Chinese & Indian workers for that, Bart.
 

"Bart" DeObtuse:

What is so confusing about the options offered by Gallup - get a job to earn your own money vs. having the government take someone else's money ad give it to you?

Those weren't the options (and had they been, you might find a bit different response: "What? Tell me to shut up and go get a f**king job? You calling me lazy?"). I've explained it (and PMS_Chicago pointed it out as well). See if you can read for comprehension this time. The salient parts are in bold to make it a bit easier for those of third grade reading comprehension levels.

Cheers,
 

I'd note for the hard-of-thinking that asking for the solution to the problem of how to "do X" and offering as one of the solutions is to just "do X" is somewhat insulting to the respondent ... and hardly constructive inquiry.

Cheers,
 

What is so confusing about the options offered by Gallup - get a job to earn your own money vs. having the government take someone else's money ad give it to you?

# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:00 PM


I wish I could say that I'm confused how you could consider that a legitimate poll. Sadly, I'm not.
 

arne langsetmo said...

I'd note for the hard-of-thinking that asking for the solution to the problem of how to "do X" and offering as one of the solutions is to just "do X" is somewhat insulting to the respondent ... and hardly constructive inquiry.

Do you actually go to polls to determine how to solve problems?

That explains a great deal.

Gallup offered a fluff poll to see if anyone was actually buying into socialistic redistribution and the answer was a resounding no.
 

Gallup offered a fluff poll to see if anyone was actually buying into socialistic redistribution and the answer was a resounding no.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:19 AM


Sweet Jesus, are you fucking stupid. When your poll asks "how do you fix X", and you include a response that essentially says "you should do some stuff that will fix X", then the poll is POINTLESS. It tells you NOTHING.
 

Baghdad, if Gallup wanted to really show that people don't support Obama's ideas, these should have been the responses to their question:

1. Shift the tax burden more towards the poor and middle class.

2. Shift the tax burden more towards the wealthy.
 

Here's a few more examples Gallup could use for other issues:

Which method should America use to deal with our dependence on foreign oil?

a) Invest in alternative energy sources

b) Take steps to lower the amount of oil we import

(Result: Americans rejected alternative energy sources by a huge margin!)

What steps should America take to ensure equal protection for same-sex couples?

a) Give them the right to marry

b) Ensure that they have access to all protections granted to hetero couples by the law

(Result: Americans rejected gay marriage!)

How should America stop illegal immigration?

a) Build a big fence

b) Take steps to stem the tide of illegal immigration

(Result: Americans rejected the idea of hardening our borders!)

How should America fix the economy?

a) Encourage people to keep their jobs

b) Take steps to improve overall economic conditions and the jobs situation.

(Result: Americans reject working for a living by a 75-25% margin!)
 

wealth creators

Ah, that lovely right wing myth: they're wealth creators! They wave their magic wands, and poof! Abracadera! I have created wealth!

They're not the rich and the super rich. They're not the people who we as a society reward with far more money and opportunity and law the way they like it. They're not lucky, or powerful, or just plain good at getting money to flow from others to themselves.

No, its magic time! They're magic wealth creators, and if we talk nice to them, maybe they'll trickle some on down to us!

As myths go, this one's pretty impressive. You will actually hear right wingers uttering that if we tax them there wealth creators too much, why, they'll just stop creating all that wealth. As if it would just disappear, evaporate, an opportunity somehow unavailable to anyone else. Paradise lost! Quite a myth.

The reality of rich getting richer and middle class and poor getting poorer, however, is an inconvenient truth that doesn't support this myth, or its believers, or its propounders. Reality's harsh that way. Facts don't go away when you spew myths. That's why we call them "facts".

The reality is that yes, wealth can be created, but no, there is no class of "wealth creators" that's synonymous with income. It's silly to pretend the guy who invented the microprocessor is somehow in the same class as the guy who used his connections to get insider info and dumped his Enron stock and kept the money drained from the other investors.

The reality is, wealth creation is orthogonal to income. The poor are creating vast wealth -- for someone else. E.g. VISA.
 

"Bart" DePurposefullyObtuse:

[Arne]: I'd note for the hard-of-thinking that asking for the solution to the problem of how to "do X" and offering as one of the solutions is to just "do X" is somewhat insulting to the respondent ... and hardly constructive inquiry.

Do you actually go to polls to determine how to solve problems?

That explains a great deal.


Do you actually purposefully go out of your way to avoid the plain meaning of what others wrote? That would explain a great deal.

Try reading it again, and see if you can glean from my comment what is to everyone else here obvious.

A further hint for the brain-dead: Asking someone what method they'd prefer (ignoring the "fallacy of bifurcation" presented), and then not actually giving them a solution, but just a restatement of the problem ("just do 'X'") -- while hard to argue against -- is hardly constructive or informative. That such pertains here should be obvious from the words bolded. But I'm finished trying to school you on elementary school logic, "Bart". If you can't figger it out this time, that's sad, but it is solely your cross to bear.

Cheers,
 

jpk:

Ah, that lovely right wing myth: they're wealth creators! They wave their magic wands, and poof! Abracadera! I have created wealth!

Only one step away from the "Free money! Free money over here!!!" hucksters. It should not be ignored that the RW foamer talk stations here run radio ads for the amasing "Transforming Debt Into Wealth" program. I guess they know their market (in the past, I've noted that the Limbaugh show was a favourite venue for ads for prophylactic nose strips for mouth-breathers and remedial reading programs).

Cheers,
 

On job creation, this from Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue back in January about going after "anti-business" candidates:

"I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media," he said. "It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits - and who it is that eats them."

In this man's world, workers don't perform jobs and use benefits when their luck runs out, they eat them. They don't create anything, just feast. This while the wealthy do the dirty work, not lavishing wealth and perks on themselves, just raking in their fair share, or less than that since they deserve it all, being the only productive force on the scene.

And anyone who thinks something's wrong with this picture is called a class warrior. How long can you overbake an idea before it turns into char? I'd like to know the difference between the Chamber's thoughts and medieval theology. Can anyone help me?
 

jpk:

Everyone who provides a good or a service is a wealth creator.

Free markets do not "reward" anyone with a windfall of undeserved wealth. Free markets are about the purest democracy there can be because producers must provide a good or service the consumer wants at a fair price or they will go out of business. Folks who are good at providing goods and services at a fair price (and those who risk their money investing in these folks) make more money than those who do not.

The propaganda that the rich get richer while everyone else gets poorer in a free market is utter socialist crap. Since Reagan freed up the markets in the 80s. ever single quartile of income has increased its income in that they get more goods and services for the time they work.

The propaganda that the poor proletariat workers are creating the wealth earned by their employers is even more outrageous socialist nonsense. Earth to jpk - socialism without management was tried and failed. The state took the place of management and that failed as well.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

The propaganda that the rich get richer while everyone else gets poorer in a free market is utter socialist crap.

Who says we have a free market? But FWIW, do you have any evidence to back up this assertion?

Since Reagan freed up the markets in the 80s. ever single quartile of income has increased its income in that they get more goods and services for the time they work.

Cites?

I do note the elision of wages to "goods and services". A related question would be: Are they getting more goods and services for the amount they produced? (which, roughly translated, is: "Did their real wages go up as much as theri productivity?")

But I'd note that folks that are getting unearned income don't put in time working for it. Anything divided by zero is undefined.

Cheers,
 

And in related news (to "Bart"''s ecomium to the glorious wonders of "management" and "wealth creation"), we have this:

Merrill Lynch executive vice president Peter Kraus “is likely to leave with more than $10 million in compensation” after the company was bought by Bank of America last month. “He isn’t affected by a provision in the government’s rescue plan that curbs executive compensation, a person familiar with the situation said,” the Wall Street Journal noted. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Merrill Lynch “plans to cut about 500 jobs in its trading division as Chief Executive Officer John Thain shrinks the workforce to gird for a recession.”

That'll play in Peoria,

Cheers,
 

Here's a dose of sanity on Obama and "socialism" from Louis Proyject, a self-described "unrepentant Marxist".
 

Free markets do not "reward" anyone with a windfall of undeserved wealth.

That's a doozy. Leaving aside Arne's point that "free markets" are not necessarily anywhere to be found, let's consider what happens when huge fortunes are inherited. Certainly, lazy and untalented offspring often wind up with "undeserved" wealth. They even may hire competent financial managers to invest and increase their fortune. Is the profit on undeserved wealth deserved?

Bart, you live in a fantasy world of platonic ideas because your mind is too weak to traffic in the messy world of facts. It is humorous in a slightly nauseous way that you appear to think you have some credibility here.
 

Since Reagan freed up the markets in the 80s....

BTW, Saint Ronnie "freed up the markets" the same way he literally took a hammer in his hands and tore down the Berlin Wall single-handedly. Which is to say, not much if at all, and his part in either was negligible.

As I pointed out in a previous point, people have done much better financially under Democratic administrations.

Cheers,
 

The propaganda that the rich get richer while everyone else gets poorer in a free market is utter socialist crap.

Tell it to the socialist Census Bureau.

From the above 1998 publication:
Whether the trend toward increasing
income inequality the country has
seen in the 1970s and 1980s will
continue, or whether it has stopped
or even reversed itself, remains to
be seen.


As of 2005, it had continued.
 

Did anyone here watch the Charlie Rose Show from the Harvard Business School the other night? GE's CEO Immelt commented on the significant role of government in the many businesse of GE as being appropriate, suggesting that the free market is not entirely free. Another alumnus from India stated that from the view of India, continuing George W's policies via McCain would be beneficial to India (think nuclear!), but looking at the presidential race world-wide, both the US and the world would benefit from the election of Obama, demonstrating to the world the greatness of a democracy that would elect someone with the name Barack Hussein Obama. Bottom line advice from the panel: "Don't spend more than you earn." I learned that growing up in the 1930s-40s, but should have better heeded this lesson.
 

Coming late to this party.

JB wrote: "As far as I can see, according to McCain, "socialism" and "welfare" are thus defined as "redistributive policies that my opponent favors.""

Duh. Why would any of us here take at face value such obvious use of boogey-man scare tactics? Why would any of us here grant credence to this kind of schlock? We already know that it is sauce for the goose but gravy for the gander; such is the stuff politics is made of.

JB: "...scare tactics designed to obfuscate basic political assumptions about governance that both major political parties share."

This isn't questioned by anyone who counts. The question remains, however, what to do about it? Answering that question will be similar to answering the question, "When did 'liberal' become the new N-word, and what can be done about it?"
 

Free markets are about the purest democracy there can be because producers must provide a good or service the consumer wants at a fair price or they will go out of business.

Which works pretty well -- when the market is free. Obvious counterexamples litter the market. VISA is a rich source.

"Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of western civilization?"

"I think it would be a good idea."

The same may be observed of the free market.

The notion that a consumer can simply take his business elsewhere is a notion that any consumer who is not brain dead can tick off counterexamples to.

The right wing free market myth is that the market is free. The reallity is a market that in example after example is less than free.

Some say we should act to keep markets free, but Gosh We Don't Want Government Intervention!

To be fair, principled folks on the right do support government action to preserve competition. The rest of the right wing is simply a screen for big business these days, and that's sad. The right used to stand for something.
 

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