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(The New York Times)   The myth of America as the land of opportunity is busted by some Nobel winner   (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com) divider line 109
    More: Sad, Nobel Laureates, Ayn Rand, equality of opportunity, environmental hazards, second inaugural address, Alan Krueger, achievement gap, Stiglitz  
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8204 clicks; posted to Politics » on 18 Feb 2013 at 3:31 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-02-18 02:10:14 PM  
8 votes:

Nadie_AZ: The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

I read this, and I am not sure I can believe it. If it were true, then the GOP would be a far more progressive party than it is. Same with the Dems.


50% of people have an IQ below 100. People vote against their own best interests. People vote for religion and hate. People vote for bigotry.
FFS W was elected twice. He was the least intelligent president ever.

But ensuring equality of opportunity does not mean the same thing to everyone. Dems think of that as providing aid to people at the bottom. GOPs think of that as cutting taxes so government is out of their way (which would otherwise prevent opportunity)

The fact that you dont "believe" a poll is proof that most people dont even understand how polls work.
2013-02-18 05:27:51 PM  
7 votes:

o5iiawah: The wealthy can only do that if they ingratiate themselves with government. your beef, Occupy's beef, the Progressive agenda....

All of it should be directed towards Washington, DC.

Thanks to the tax code they write, GE and facebook pays no taxes and GETS billions back whilst a schlub earning $50,000 in a factory probably pays $14,000 and is just happy to get a couple hundred bucks back in middle February. Thanks to the laws they write, companies escape prosecution when they commit fraud. Thanks to government, it is easier to get rich investing in congressmen and lobbying than in R&D for a product. Who needs the market to buy your products when you can convince government to do it? What is easier, making a product that 309,000,000 people might want or making a product that a few people in Washington can order 309,000,000 people to pay for?


Wealth is social power. It has always been power. It will always be power. The rich will always attempt to extract privilege for themselves, because that is what humans do with power. Yes, there will be far-seeing individuals who do otherwise, but they will never be the majority as long as humans remain humans. The only way to oppose power is with power. At the most basic levels, what other forms of power are there?

There are two options: violence or law. The club or the gavel. Either the people who object to this self-serving behaviour kill the wealthy to curb their excesses, or they make rules to curb their excesses and force them to comply by threat of sanction of some kind.

The former happens when people rise up and say enough, and kill the wealthy and take what they have. All other things being equal, that's bad. It's the worst possible solution. It is brutal and unjust and leads to misery and poverty and atrocities done to one and all, because it is rarely if ever applied in any kind of controlled or rational fashion once it gets started. The French Revolution is the classic example, but hardly the only one.

Law is when the member of society agree together that a certain behaviour will be allowed or not, and variations on that idea with greater and greater complexity. The other word for it is government. The whole point of a representative system of government is that the people are the ones who are ultimately supposed to hold the power. The actual government actors are supposed to be their representatives, in that they represent the will of the collective of individuals who make up the nation.

And the government is not beholden to wealth - at least in theory. Continued of government does not directly depend on solvency, although obviously the lack thereof is a big problem.

Now, the wealthy in general do not get wealthy by being stupid or complacent. They generally understand that government is the only social actor that can seriously challenge their acquisition of further wealth and power. And so they seek to co-opt the representatives of government and the mechanisms of government to their own use, which is what you are complaining about. And that's true - but it is also incomplete. Because it still remains that government is the only powerful social actor that is directly beholden to the people, and which has the power to oppose the natural human tendency of the wealthy to seek power and privilege for them and theirs.

Because they will also seek to disenfranchise the population by alienating them from government. By presenting the government as other and untrustworthy, ruled by elites and unresponsive to the common man. They will tell you that the government is the problem. This is only true to the extent that the wealthy have made it so by co-opting it and disrupting the political will of the general population. Because the people can always take back the government - IF they are informed. IF they understand what the real issues are. IF they can coordinate their individual social actions into a collective political action.

So when you say government is the problem, instead of enjoining governement actors to remember who they are actually supposed to be beholden to and take action, you are part of the problem. When you encourage isolationist individualism, you are part of the problem. When you cheer corporate America and distrust government, you are part of the problem. Make no mistake, the Tea Party had the support of powerful right wing corporate backers precisely because it was perfect for defusing and redirecting the social anger over inequality of opportunity into something that they could use to further strengthen their position at the expense of society at large. Conversely, OWS faced the conundrum that the very disorganized nature that made it impossible to coopt also made it nearly impossible to transform into effective political action, and easy to slander and parody in the corporate press.

It never fails to boggle my mind why so many conservatives would prefer to let corporations whose only goal is increasing the wealth of their shareholders run free to do as they please in the name of maximum possible profit rather than seeing them leashed and limited by the actions of a governement that in the end is supposed to be "by the people, for the people". Do they really think those corporations will be good corporate citizens just because?
2013-02-18 05:05:56 PM  
6 votes:
Do you know what the number one predictor of income is in the United States? Education level, right? IQ? Or maybe it's number of hours worked per week? No. It's your father's income. Too many people are faced with the bitter reality that no matter how hard they work or how smart they are, they will never make as much money as a moron with rich, well-connected parents.
2013-02-18 04:39:34 PM  
4 votes:
Giltric:

How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?


They took from me first.  From my tax dollars going to support Walmart's employees (health care, food etc.), to Wall Street taking money to fix their bad bets, and to the low taxes paid on Capitol gains while I still pay a 1/4 of my income to pay for all of this Corporate maleficence.
Oh, lets talk about  the blood and gold my country has spent for the wars used to get earth from countries that profit "Shareholders"  and not me.
I pay and pay and pay. From not having enough money to fix our decaying streets to less of everything from police, to healthcare, to fire departments, to school my city is being bled to death.
Everything that touches my life is less and less and less and I'm told that even less is in my future. While at the same time I see report after report of money being held on the "sidelines" because of some reason or another.

Does taking from them benefit me? Only in so much as them taking from me has benefited them.
Bringing them down to mere citizens of this country, I'm cool with that, having banker kings hasn't worked so well for most of us as far as I can see.
2013-02-18 04:38:32 PM  
4 votes:

Philip Francis Queeg: The Stealth Hippopotamus: 12349876: That's not the point. The point is the hope is a lot less than it used to be. One person can do it, one person has always been able to do it, but one person's experience has nothing to do with what's going on at the societal level.

That is exactly the point, that is the tip of the point. If we don't believe it it can never be. Have you ever heard of a self fulfilling proficiency?! Yeah I know we have someone on the biggest and loudest soap box in the country telling you you cant do it. I know that. But if there ever was an example of someone beating long odds it's him! (And yes I messed up, it was Harvard Law Review.). You can do it. Your kids can do it. Everyone can do it. You may or may not become the super wealthy but you can improve your station and push your family up the ladder. Maybe you are shooting for more of a change than is realistic? Going from emigrate to midclass is a huge jump but it can be done by one family push one kid into a good school. Now mid class to millionaire is a hard jump. But the sure way not to do it is to be negative and never try.

So we should ignore reality, pretend there are no problems and tell ourselves happy stories rather than trying to improve things?


Because "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!" worked out so well for this lady:

altrapoint.com

All you conservative types asking why we should take more from the rich, why we should take what they earned, the answer is very simple:

Concentration of wealth into the hands of a tiny percentage of the population is how you create an aristocracy. The defining characteristics aren't the fancy titles. It's the social power and privilege passed down through inheritance. It's great that you get people like Obama and Buffet making it big.

But when the wealthy set up social barriers to entry into their class that ensure that most of their wealth will end up in the hands of themselves, their peers and their children, whether directly through inheritance of privately owned wealth or indirectly through the inherited control of legal entities like foundations and businesses and through privileged access to education and opportunity, then you have a huge farking problem for any nation that dares to imagine itself as some form of representative democracy or republic.

And no matter how many anecdotes you trot out about specific individuals making it big, it remains that the plural of anecdote is not data, and the general social trends are towards increasing inequality of opportunity and social stratification based on wealth. You are building yourselves an aristocracy of wealth and privilege and your poor conservative base is cheering it on.
2013-02-18 04:37:17 PM  
4 votes:

Giltric: How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?


For one, all that tax revenue could do amazing things like fix our ailing school system, repair our terrible infrastructure, invest in renewal energy so we can stop sending oil money to nations that hate us, provide health care to each and every American, and reinvest in our universities.

For two, it would put that money back into hte economy instead of letting it sit in off shore accounts or the stock market. HINT: investing in the stock market doesn't actually create jobs. If it did, our near-record DJIA would mean our 7.8% unemployment rate would be around 3%.

For three, it would mean all those rich assholes who can afford to spend $300 million to defeat a president would have fewer money to devote to defeating a president. Since the tax rates on our upperclass counterparts are so low, they've amassed so much wealth that they now run our government. We are a plutocracy. That's why Monsanto can sue farmers whose organic crops have been tainted by Monsanto seeds and pollen. That's why Dick Cheney's company got all those sweet, sweet no-bid contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan. That's why a college student can owe $173,000 for illegally downloading 17 songs from the internet but Glee can literally steal Jonathan Coulton's song. That's why the banks and Wall Street got bailed out and all those foreclosed homeowners got kicked out of their homes. That's why unemployment is still at nearly 8% but the stock market is at near record highs.

So yes, the upper class needs to be torn down a few notches, and with that tearing down we can shore up the rest of us.
2013-02-18 08:50:25 PM  
3 votes:

o5iiawah: That is not what I am complaining about. Re-read everything I have written.

The market can seriously challenge the acquisition of further wealth and power so they will use government, acting outside of its authority, to protect it. The market though, is the aggregate of hundreds of millions of people acting in their own best interests. They are a lot harder to placate than a few dozen people on a banking committee.


Nonsense. Without the existence of law to define and control the action of the socially powerful, there is no market, because the unchecked actions of social power by those who experience early success means that they are able to create monopolistic protectionist conditions that are self-serving. That's how you got things like aristocracy and later guilds in the first place: because in the absence of some social force preventing it, the powerful will always act to promote their own interests over that of society at large. For examples, see most of human bloody history. Markets are good for driving economic growth, and so certain governments have created and protected them from the wealthy and powerful in order to increase the general economic growth of the nation instead of a privileged few, but make no mistake, they did not come into existence by themselves.

Seriously, have you never even heard of the tragedy of the commons, or game theory? Market systems are inherently unstable. They exist only when there are powerful social forces acting to protect or create them. They are not some kind of all powerful magic force that can prevent the abuse of power by the wealthy. In fact currently it is by using the markets to their own advantage that the wealthy maintain and perpetuate their position.

o5iiawah: And again, we have a government which was established to protect individual rights, establish a system of uniform commerce among the states, protect property, mediate contracts and settle bankruptcies. You and I arent arguing on this point but for the fact that government DOESN'T DO IT.


It doesn't do it because it has been co-opted by the wealthy and powerful, and as long as the only things government does is that short laundry list, that was and is inevitable, because humans live to game systems. We will always seek to find loopholes and exploits in any system of rules or laws, and as no system of rules or laws created by humans is perfect, there will always be such loopholes. Government must therefore be able to grow and change to remain equal to the new ways it will be challenged and exploited by the wealthy or powerful, else it will grow to be irrelevant and useless. I submit to you that the idea that large government is always bad and small government is always better is an ideological position that is not borne out by facts, but which admirably suits the purposes of the wealthy and powerful in curtailing the ability of government to limit their ability to maximize their own personal benefits and those of their classs.

The goal should not be small government, or large government, but effective government; that is, government that most effectively exercises the social actions that it must in order to promote and maintain the goals of an egalitarian representative democracy that endeavors to promote the general welfare of the nation it represents, whatsoever nation that may be - I do not limit that argument to just the USA, mind you. If reducing it's size will remove redundancy and bureaucratic inertia and result in more responsiveness without curtailing effectiveness, then shrink it appropriately. Likewise, if changing conditions and exploitative behaviour on the part of private enterprise (cfe. Wall street et al. in the last couple of decades) require an expansion of government in order to more closely monitor and regulate their activity, then grow the government to do so.

The goal and methods of government should be dictated by pragmatic requirements, not by ideological sloganeering.

o5iiawah: Again, I havent. Just government overreaching or neglecting its enumerated authority.


In other words, government is the problem when it doesn't adhere to your narrowly defined ideological position. I hold such unrealistic positions as having very little value, if any.

The appropriate reach of government is determined by the necessities of governance of the society and time in which it finds itself, and the challenges posed by same. To argue otherwise is to play into the hands of those who would undermine government in order to exploit the people for their own gain and the gain of their close others, be they peers or relations.

You can't have it both ways. Tie the hands of government, render it unable to act in a given social arena, and you do not render that arena free by some magic. You simply allow other social actors with the means to do so an unfettered arena in which to pursue their own agenda, none of which are beholden to the people of the nation as is the government.

o5iiawah: The whole reason we have government to begin with is to protect what we have and ensure that a few bad actors dont ruin things for everyone. We need rules for individuals, so we make local laws. We hold those who administer those laws accountable. We have state laws and elect people to execute those laws with means of holding them accountable. We have federal laws and elect people to execute laws, placing limits on their authority and holding them accountable. There's anaccountability mechanism in place for every element of government because government owns an exclusive monopoly on force.

Wal-Mart cannot kick your door in at 4am. Wal-Mart will never judge your fate in court. Wal-Mart will never be able to send you to war. Only government can and so there's a reason we hold them extra accountable. I can choose not to shop at Wal-Mart. I can choose not to work for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has personally done nothing to me and never can unless I willingly on my own accord choose to enter their business and if an agent of Wal-Mart harms me in any way, we have government to settle the dispute.

Nobody can hurt you (without penalty) rich or poor unless the government allows it.


Wal-Mart can't kick down your door - but they can arrange with their cronies to have a monopoly in an area so you can't shop elsewhere because certain goods cannot be found elsewhere. Likewise, they can undercut the wages so that you can't find a comparable job for better pay in an area, and so prevent you from bettering yourself economically. If you do not think Wal-Mart and other large corporations are doing exactly that right now, you have not been paying attention to what is going on with the growing inequality of your nation.

What you fail to grasp is that this is not Wal-Mart being a bad actor. This is Wal-Mart being a corporation. The fundamental structures of corporate economics mean that all other things being equal, maximum possible profit is the goal. All actions will be pursued based on that calculation - because if they don't they will lose out to a competitor who does follow that rule. Corporations acting as corporations will always be bad actors when viewed from the persepective of an ethical human being because that's how the capitalist economic system is set up.

Meanwhile, you worry about a police state. Guess who has an incentive to create that police state? Guess who it is that benefits from a world where the little guy cannot stand up for himself, cannot fight back, must fear the government? The wealthy and the powerful.

Cui bono is the age old question. Who benefits? When you have a democratic system of government, who benefits from police state powers? Generally speaking not the actual politicians; an autocracy of some sort is the way to go if you want to become wealthy and powerful as a politician. Look at Assad in Syria, or the Saudis, or all the banana republic Central American dictators of the 20th century. Heck, look at Stalin for that matter.

No, not the politicians, their place on the stage is designed to be transient, and that's ingrained deeply enough to be nearly unchangeable. No, it is their wealthy backers who benefit. The corporations, the lobbyists. They don't change when the politicians do. The system of government was designed to be responsive to the common man, but has been subverted to large extent by the wealthy and powerful because it suits them for it to be so.

And none of this changes a single fundamantal point: Only government is powerful enough to seriously oppose wealth in the social arena, all else, religion, journalism, even academia, has all already been subverted for the most part, and that can only change if government is first taken back. The market is the fiction they sell to you, conveniently failing to mention how it is defined and supported by the government they already have subverted. Thus every attempt to strengthen "the market" actually strengthens the wealthy. That's the great lie of trickle-down economics. Competitive markets exist when the governement acts to restrain the activities of corporations that would otherwise use their existing social power to ruthlessly enshrine and protect their own sources of wealth and power. They are already doing so. Do the words "too big to fail" sound familiar?

And finally, police-state shenanigans are rare. They attract a lot of very negative attention when they happen, and they are not conducive to the long-term health of any given regime. Use them too often and sooner or later you get that mob violence response I mentioned before. Meanwhile, corporate economic shenanigans are endemic to the system. Corporations engage in them frequently, because they can and because it's usually profitable to do so - even if they eventually get caught and punished. After all, do you really think the cost to Wall Street in terms of both fines and actual losses as a result of the latest financial fiascos is anything close to the wealth they extracted from it before their house of cards collapsed on them?

In short, your fear of a rare event is causing you to be complacent about a constant problem. That's an irrational response no matter how you slice it.

WhyteRaven74: KiltedBastich: Because "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!" worked out so well for this lady:

She never said it.


I am aware; it was more of a summation of her attitude and the attitude of the court at the time than a direct quote, but the narrative isn't as compelling when presented that way. She's still the iconic example of the perils of the rich and powerful ignoring the plight of the poor and downtrodden.
2013-02-18 06:34:46 PM  
3 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Flargan: Yes, because history teaches us that it did improve the lives of many.
After the Depression of the 1930s we learned how important it was to protect society from the self-interest of capitalism.
Not only did we make rules we enforced them.
And our society flourished during a period of stringent rules/regulations.


Yes we have those in place. Won't you admit that you can over regulate something? Or are more regulations always the answer?


Yes, we CAN overregulate something. But that's not what the problem is today. Funny how the world's economy was crashed by investment bankers meddling with the mortgage market less than ten years after the repeal of Glass-Steagal made that possible. Funny.
2013-02-18 06:33:45 PM  
3 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Yes we have those in place. Won't you admit that you can over regulate something? Or are more regulations always the answer?


More regulations are the answer when deregulation was the problem.
2013-02-18 05:46:24 PM  
3 votes:

kg2095: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.

I really doubt that could happen in other western nations. Not in the UK and certainly not in Australia where the media are constantly prattling on about the 'unique' Australian attributes of 'a fair go for all', 'mateship'  (that's loyalty to one's friends) and egalitarianism. Australia has a female Prime Minister but I can't see a member of racial minority being elected as Prime Minister anytime soon.

An African American being elected president of the USA just 4 decades after the end of segregation sets the US apart from other nations.


i.telegraph.co.uk
2013-02-18 05:27:13 PM  
3 votes:
I haven't looked at the prices in a while but when my son was first starting college, I tried to get him to move to Norway. There was no tuition to go to the universities there (I think there's still a 300 and up to something like 700 NOK semester fee - which I think is $50 something for 300 NOK to $100 something USD for the higher amount - but still no tuition) no matter what country you're from originally. That semester fee pays for itself in discounts on public transportation and a student health clinic if you have medical issues, among a host of other things. I do know you aren't eligible for cash aid from the gubermint if you're one of those poors (like me), so you'll still need to be able to prove you're able to pay your rent and feed yourself. (Everyone in my family except for the five of us are in Norway, so he'd not have to worry about that, either. He could have stayed with relatives.) Luckily though, there are scholarships you're eligible for no matter in which country you were born. The rest of Scandinavia charges a little bit, but only for foreign students. If you're from an EU country (or Switzerland) or are an exchange student, there's still no charge.

Why oh why can't people in the US realize this kind of thing would benefit all of us in the long run? Bite the bullet, so to speak, make higher education an attainable, cheap goal and for those we know aren't college material, do just as Obama said at the end of his SOTU speech - make sure they're trained and ready to work when they finish high school. Some of us have been saying that for years now and pointing out that's a common strategy throughout Europe. How incredibly shortsighted is it to not focus more on REAL skills, especially marketable skills, and make sure the little darlings are employable right out of the gate, whether they're going on for higher learning or not?

Why can't we put more money into education here, even if it does mean a tax increase? I don't understand this slow suicide the US seems hell bent on committing. I'd be highly uncomfortable relying completely on this generation to care for me long term if something were to happen to me or I somehow, miraculously, make it to a ripe old age and there is no family that can care for me, necessitating my placement in a care facility. We should be putting more money into our own country's infrastructure, including education. After all, if your house is falling apart, you repair it and repairs cost money. You've got to pay that money, even if you don't want to do so, if you want that house to be there for you in the future.

At the rate we're going as a nation, we're not going to have much of a house left. We have a lot of problems in the US, ranging from a crumbling infrastructure to poor education, lack of decent, affordable health care and all points in between, it seems. Nearly everyone I've heard talking about this sort of thing says they want these problems fixed, but no one wants to help pay for it or otherwise make it happen. It's a little scary to me to even imagine how much further we're going to have to fall before attitudes change. Growing up, I kept hearing how the US was the Richie-richiest and bestest country EVAR, so of course I never thought we'd allow our country to fall this far for the benefit of the few. Man, was I ever wrong.
Great, now I haz a sad. Well, the old lay-deez are gone so I guess I can drown my sorrows in a couple snaps of akvavit and a chocolate chip cookie or two. Anyone else want some? It's Aalborg akvavit and I used Alton Brown's "Big Softie" recipe for the cookies...
2013-02-18 04:58:37 PM  
3 votes:

Philip Francis Queeg: o5iiawah: I'd say that having a 60% chance of moving out of poverty and into the middle class while living in a country where nobody starves to death, nobody is denied the best medical treatment in the world, just about everyone has a cellphone with access to the internet is pretty damn good.

What country is that?


Where the country that is ranked 38th in the world for medical care is  'the best medical treatment in the world'.
2013-02-18 04:56:52 PM  
3 votes:

o5iiawah: I'd say that having a 60% chance of moving out of poverty and into the middle class while living in a country where nobody starves to death, nobody is denied the best medical treatment in the world, just about everyone has a cellphone with access to the internet is pretty damn good.


What country is that?
2013-02-18 04:34:55 PM  
3 votes:

ManRay: If only there were massive government programs aimed at helping poor people and giving them an opportunity to succeed and build a better life. If something like that was put in place a generation ago we would have less disadvantaged now.


In some ways, things indeed were getting better after WWII and the postwar boom into the Great Society era until the 1980's and the economic squander/blowback from the Vietnam War. Not for most black families without any inherited capital to build on, but for some.

i.imgur.com

Then the income differential really hit. You can't expect some compensatory programs to replace the job of actually governing well.
2013-02-18 04:09:24 PM  
3 votes:

sheep snorter: Poor people earning over 180,000 bucks a year.
disclaimer: this graphic is from some douche who wants you to think that the black folk on it don't pay taxes.


[i.imgur.com image 614x408]


Let's see:
Single parent making $250,000 -- 1.2% more income in taxes
Single person making $230,000 -- 1.2% more
Family making $650,000 -- 3.3% more

Yeah.  Sucks to be them.
2013-02-18 03:43:52 PM  
3 votes:
Higher education isn't the problem.  The problem is that our culture seems to value education of any kind less and less with each generation.  That problem isn't so easy to fix with public funding, so we ignore it.
2013-02-18 02:25:14 PM  
3 votes:
2013-02-18 01:59:25 PM  
3 votes:
The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

I read this, and I am not sure I can believe it. If it were true, then the GOP would be a far more progressive party than it is. Same with the Dems.
2013-02-18 11:10:10 PM  
2 votes:
natazha
Nothing to add here.

It happened for one person, therefore every other person for whom it doesn't happen is lazy.


Ghastly
Besides, as I've stated many times before when Fascism 2.0 takes over the United States most of the population will love it, live comfortably under it, and not even recognize it.

If someone was going to turn the US fascist, first they'd section off all the land into small units and assign a loyal member of the ruling party to oversee each one. All productive enterprises (or at least the vast majority of them, including all major industry) would be run by members of the ruling party. Everyone else would be given just enough rudimentary education to make them a functional worker, with a healthy dose of nationalist and ideological propaganda. The ones that seem promising would be given a chance to prove their loyalty in higher education, after which they would be allowed to join the ruling party. The rest would be surveilled and kept disoriented with a massive and arbitrary system of demerits and punishments that would get them locked into an intractable bureaucracy, even those that aren't imprisoned (which would be a large number- maybe 1% of the population at any given time). Periodically there would be a high-profile arrest of a terrorist cell, to keep the populace convinced of the need for the police state- naturally, practically all of these plots would be concocted by the government.

Even those who manage to stay clear of that would be kept under control through the constant pressure of having to justify their existence by working, because it would take a certain amount of work-credits to have a house or apartment; those who do not would be forced out and pursued like animals, even if there was an excess of housing- in fact, armed guards would often be posted at empty housing, just to make sure nobody tried to get in. Work, naturally, would mean at least several hours per day of effective enslavement, since the taskmasters would be well aware that the workers' very existence depended on getting those work-credits. The number of work-credits required to have housing would gradually increase over time. Most perversely, it would be incumbent upon the workers to find places at which to sell themselves. Having a large number of desperate people would also make it easier to force those currently working to work harder without complaining, since there are so many potential replacements.

The government, of course, would be mainly a way of funneling wealth to well-connected members of the ruling party, with a bare modicum of public services to keep things from completely falling apart. There would be a major internal debate among the ruling party as to whether even that was too much.

The media would be the pinnacle of spectacle, full of Id-stroking garbage like sports, celebrities, and completely irrelevant minor tragedies given the attention appropriate for a major humanitarian crisis- anything to take the mind off the stress of the day. But this is the most devious part: Other media would not be banned, because that would be too blatant. Hardly anything would be explicitly banned. Instead, people would be constantly told how free they are, even though trying to actually exercise those freedoms would often be impossible due to bureaucracy. There would be no mandatory military draft; instead schools and the media would be saturated with propaganda extolling the virtues of joining, saying it would be a path to escape- even though the rates of homelessness, substance abuse, depression, suicide, etc, would all be worse for veterans than for the general population. That complicated system of demerits and punishments would all be blamed on specific missteps of the individual. The stress and desperation of trying to find work would be presented as a 'choice'. You could also trade in work-credits for minor amenities and amusements (as one might trade in tickets from an arcade), but nothing offered would really be any use; instead, there would be a constant barrage of propaganda about how fulfillment comes from acquiring these things- the act of acquisition itself would become a goal, a way of measuring whether or not a person is properly justifying their existence. From time to time the people would even be allowed to cast a ballot for one section or another of the ruling party (with policy differences being almost entirely cosmetic), and that would be used as a way of dismissing any complaints- if you don't like how things are under the Blues, vote for the Reds; if you don't like how things are under the Reds, vote for the Blues; and if you don't vote then you can't complain, because you didn't even bother doing your part.

It's a good thing America today is nothing like that.
2013-02-18 07:49:29 PM  
2 votes:

slayer199: Of course, nobody wants to point the finger where it belongs...the massive growth of government from taxation, regulation, and redistribution of wealth...beginning with FDR.


FDR passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? The trend towards regulation started in the late 19th century with the rise of Carnegie and Rockefeller.

You know, every time laws get passed that restrict or regulate something, it's usually because a small percentage of the targeted group acted like selfish jerks. I might not be so supportive of, say, public smoking bans, if not for all the times that a jackass smoker responded to my polite request to hold their cigarette a little further away by blowing smoke in my face and saying "fark you, I'll do what I want."

The greedy robber barons have no one to blame but themselves.
2013-02-18 07:11:09 PM  
2 votes:

Snarfangel: Not that anyone cares, but I rather like Stiglitz. If he had a daily column in the Times and Krugman the occasional guest column, I wouldn't complain.


Sergeant Grumbles: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Yes we have those in place. Won't you admit that you can over regulate something? Or are more regulations always the answer?

More regulations are the answer when deregulation was the problem.


Yikes, I can't begin to reiterate how true that is just by pointing to California's rolling blackouts and skyrocketing electricity prices after deregulation.
2013-02-18 06:16:27 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Philip Francis Queeg: No we don't. You might have heard of a Law called DOMA, for one example.

you've never heard of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws? the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Americans with Disability Act of 1990? Older Workers Benefit Protection Act? Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994)? Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994? I could go on but I think I've proven my point.



So it's ok, to deny same sex couples the equal protections of the law since those laws exist? Is that your point? We can ign
ore all other legal inequalities since we have addressed some?

The Stealth Hippopotamus: The hard work was done by better men than we.


Better men than you. There is still much hard work to do. It's clear that you simply are not up to helping. Perhaps we are better off if you just sit on the sidelines in a self congratulatory haze while others continue the labor improving the world your children, grandchildren, and future generation will live in.
2013-02-18 06:16:22 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.


Someone wins the Powerball jackpot more often than your example of "opportunity" occurs.
2013-02-18 06:11:44 PM  
2 votes:

kg2095: An African American being elected president of the USA just 4 decades after the end of segregation sets the US apart from other nations.


He is half Kenyan - half Caucasian. Not that is really matters. What he isn't is a child of the African American slave experience.
2013-02-18 05:59:48 PM  
2 votes:

The_Sponge: Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: we just don't think that people should starve because they've made mistakes, had bad luck, or acted stupidly.


At what point does a person f*ck up enough where you say "enough is enough"?

Do you really want a consequence-free utopia?


At what point should we let your children starve to death?
2013-02-18 05:30:23 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Philip Francis Queeg: We have long, long way to go.

I have to know. What does the finish line look like? When do you sit back and say "we have reached the promised land"?


There isn't a finish line. Humans are imperfect. We always find a way to fark others over. The battle against that is eternal.

Are you honestly saying that you believe we have reached the finish line and are sitting in the promised land?
2013-02-18 05:14:35 PM  
2 votes:

Giltric: namatad: zedster: slayer199: zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age

And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.

Maybe, but you are skipping some data points here, let's skip the 1800s and move to post-WWII. The middle class grew during the 1950s and continued into the 70s, then it started to crash down a bit. Why?

[cdn.theatlantic.com image 615x447]
Source

this is all about the reagan royalty revolution. Until we undo that, we will continue to wallow.
bring back the death taxes. bring back cap gain taxes. bring back (implement) wealth taxes. reinstate glass-steagall.

these efforts would have little to zero impact on 99%

oh wait, the 1% decide what will happen.
nevermind

How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?


Taking from the top 1% who are hoarding resources and giving it to the bottom 99% who are starving usually builds the 99% up by way of much-needed calories.
2013-02-18 05:13:09 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Philip Francis Queeg: Not that progress was made because people have agitated, protested, scraped and clawed for every tiny bit of progress. It isn't due to people like you who want us only to celebrate how wonderful everything is. No, it is due to those how have refused to accept the status quo.

p>


And people were able to scrape and claw for progress because of our system. Our system was set up so that people could petition the government and demand address of grievous. I believe that we have everything in place to allow the evidential evolution to a state of equality for all people. You can not force the human heart.


So the time has come to stop agitating, clawing a scraping and just pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves what a perfect country we are? Fark that. We have long, long way to go.
2013-02-18 05:07:13 PM  
2 votes:

stevenrushing: Let me just come out as one very against "equality of opportunity". I don't want the government artificially putting the children of those who did not properly prepare them for life on the same playing field as my children. I am working hard to give my children a leg up, a head start in life. By definition, to have a head start, there are going to be people who start behind you, and there are people who are working even harder than I am, or whose parents or grandparents worked harder than mine, whose children will be ahead of mine. I do not deny them that.


The only proper role of the government is to ensure that we are all equal before the law. Not equality of outcomes or even equality of opportunity.There is so much work here to be done. The rich often go to different judges, different prisons, and face shorter sentences. This is a serious problem in our society, and needs to be rectified. I don't claim to have all the answers, but we can start by paying defense attorneys competitively with what the private sector pays, and by auditing judges so that they are not a law unto themselves.


Before someone says I must have had it good as a child, let me assure you that I grew up incredibly poor, and have worked my whole life to be where I am.


Translation: I got mine, Fark you!
2013-02-18 05:04:56 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.


That poor black kid was raised by his two,white grand parents. He want to a predominantly white school in Hawaii, excelled in basketball and graduated with academic honors. Since the age of ten Obama lived in a stable home and was loved. He was exceptionally talented and intelligent. He didn't have a learning disability, a physical disability, a mental illness or live in extreme poverty in an unstable home. Obama had many God given abilities and a lot of breaks that most people don't get. Obama went to Occidental, Columbia and Harvard. Pat of his education was paid for by scholarships. Not everyone is smart enough or fortunate enough to get that kind of education.  Hell, many people of every color dream of the kind of support, talent and opportunity that Barack Obama has had and it's only a dream.


Spare me the "poor black kid" bull.
2013-02-18 04:54:01 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: We've made great strides in a short amount of time. We've only been a country for less than 300 years. How fast do you think we can go?! From being thought of as property to being on the Supreme Court in 3-4 generations?! I'm not saying the work is done. But maybe the ground work is already laid.


That work was done NOT because American is inherently exceptional. Not because we told ourselves lovely stories about an "American Dream".

Not that progress was made because people have agitated, protested, scraped and clawed for every tiny bit of progress. It isn't due to people like you who want us only to celebrate how wonderful everything is. No, it is due to those how have refused to accept the status quo.
2013-02-18 04:53:55 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: 12349876: That's not the point. The point is the hope is a lot less than it used to be. One person can do it, one person has always been able to do it, but one person's experience has nothing to do with what's going on at the societal level.

That is exactly the point, that is the tip of the point. If we don't believe it it can never be. Have you ever heard of a self fulfilling proficiency?! Yeah I know we have someone on the biggest and loudest soap box in the country telling you you cant do it. I know that. But if there ever was an example of someone beating long odds it's him! (And yes I messed up, it was Harvard Law Review.). You can do it. Your kids can do it. Everyone can do it. You may or may not become the super wealthy but you can improve your station and push your family up the ladder. Maybe you are shooting for more of a change than is realistic? Going from emigrate to midclass is a huge jump but it can be done by one family push one kid into a good school. Now mid class to millionaire is a hard jump. But the sure way not to do it is to be negative and never try.


What does that have to do with the article?  I thought it was about how America is now one of the worst counties in the western world to be upwardly mobile in, that doesn't mean nobody can do it.

Why does America have less than half the upward mobility of Canada and 1/3 the upward mobility of Denmark? Instead of saying 'you can do it' why don't you look at why you aren't doing it and try to fix it, isn't that better than walking around with blinders on?
2013-02-18 04:36:20 PM  
2 votes:
This is America, becoming a Millionaire is as easy as winning America Idol (or at least making it to the finals), being a pretty girl who can sing & posting your voice on the youtube (we sure like song), choosing the right case on a game show or inheriting it!  and if you think it's more difficult than that you're just a naysayer!

disregard every thing you see every day, going to and from work, your first job to your second, pay no attention to the thousands of people on the same freeway stuck in traffic, never you mention the neighborhoods divided by property values & incomes, this is one great country where anything can happen and more than likely will (to your advantage, never disadvantage), so please, stay focused on your success & never give up, there's 24 hours in a day and between work & school & sleep & eating, all you need to do is get in the millionaire line.

/foreigners need not apply, our unlimited success is limited to Americans only!
2013-02-18 04:02:50 PM  
2 votes:
Poor people earning over 180,000 bucks a year.
disclaimer: this graphic is from some douche who wants you to think that the black folk on it don't pay taxes.


i.imgur.com
2013-02-18 03:58:26 PM  
2 votes:

Nadie_AZ: The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

I read this, and I am not sure I can believe it. If it were true, then the GOP would be a far more progressive party than it is. Same with the Dems.


There's not really a disconnect here. Most Americans believe in equality of opportunity. Most Republicans will tell you they don't believe in equality of outcomes and that it's an important distinction. This is, of course, foolish. Most democrats don't believe in equality of outcome, we just don't think that people should starve because they've made mistakes, had bad luck, or acted stupidly. The problem is, many Republicans believe we already do have equality of opportunity, despite the fact we do not. The key is not to deride them as heartless monsters that want the poor to fail, the key is to gently educate them to the fact what they were told about opportunity in America is wrong. This is very hard to do, as I'm sure there's a number of them in this very thread insisting we already have it, and hard work is all it takes, and the poor are poor because they suck, and yada yada yada.
2013-02-18 03:54:58 PM  
2 votes:
Of course America is still the land of opportunity. There are dozens of chains of big box stores for people to choose from for employment after 30 years of conservative voodoo economics.
2013-02-18 03:52:57 PM  
2 votes:

Giltric: Outsourcing labor to countries where you can pay someone the American equvlant of 2$ a day? Automation?


And importing cheap labor.

Fact is it is harder to become middle class these days. Graduating from high school and getting a job in a factory isn't the middle class path it once was.
2013-02-18 03:45:51 PM  
2 votes:

Nadie_AZ: I read this, and I am not sure I can believe it. If it were true, then the GOP would be a far more progressive party than it is. Same with the Dems.


You presume that politicians are responsive to voters rather than monied interests.
2013-02-18 03:34:18 PM  
2 votes:

slayer199: Of course, nobody wants to point the finger where it belongs...the massive growth of government from taxation, regulation, and redistribution of wealth...beginning with FDR.


Do you know how we all know you didn't RTFA?
2013-02-18 03:30:45 PM  
2 votes:
People still believe that crap?

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.


Look!!  A single anecdote that proves anyone from anywhere has an equal chance of achieving anything as everyone else!!
2013-02-18 02:54:24 PM  
2 votes:

zedster: slayer199: zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age

And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.

Maybe, but you are skipping some data points here, let's skip the 1800s and move to post-WWII. The middle class grew during the 1950s and continued into the 70s, then it started to crash down a bit. Why?

[cdn.theatlantic.com image 615x447]
Source


this is all about the reagan royalty revolution. Until we undo that, we will continue to wallow.
bring back the death taxes. bring back cap gain taxes. bring back (implement) wealth taxes. reinstate glass-steagall.

these efforts would have little to zero impact on 99%

oh wait, the 1% decide what will happen.
nevermind
2013-02-18 02:41:34 PM  
2 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Aar1012: What are the odds of it happening again? What are the odds that a poor black kid or any poor kid that was born within the past decade would be able to do the same?

The dream isn't dead, but it is on life support


It a really really long shot. It was a really really long shot to begin with. But it was and is possible. The dream doesn't come with a guarantee


A Family Affair: Intergenerational Social Mobility across OECD Countries - PDF

The US has the third lowest upward mobility index behind Italy and Great Britain

Ignore the dream of being break out rich or even two cars in the garage and a chicken in every pot. The real American dream has always been if you play it straight your children will have more opportunity then you had. With 20 somethings and younger today we are seeing the dream evaporate. The cost of education has shot up, the job market has crashed. We (Gen Y) were told go to college, get good grades, and you will be alright. Instead you have JDs waiting tables and people with solid degrees doing jobs they could have done out of high school. Don't give me the crap about oh if you went into STEM, thanks to outsourcing, H1As, loss of grants, etc... those fields aren't that much more secure these days.

We are looking at a lost decade and a lost generation unless we decide that we need to do something about it instead of attempting austerity. The life time earnings of Gen Y are going to be significantly less just because of how late we are getting into actual jobs.
2013-02-18 02:18:57 PM  
2 votes:
Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.
2013-02-18 02:12:15 PM  
2 votes:
I realized it was a myth by my second year of college
2013-02-19 05:59:00 AM  
1 votes:
The American Dream was predicated on the idea of a "classless society", a meritocracy where what family you were born into didn't matter so much as what you could accomplish with your own skill and hard work. No ruling classes of nobility like in the old countries they came from. America was a fresh start for all.

To have gone from those heady optimistic times to today where upward mobility has slowed to a trickle is sad.
2013-02-19 03:33:23 AM  
1 votes:

DrewCurtisJr: So the answer to creating more good jobs is taking full time jobs with benefits and turning them into part time positions?


The answer is abolishing the concept of "work" and wage slavery as a whole.
Not a futurist or a primitivist. It's not about the level of tech, it's about the social relations in society.
The Abolition of Work by Bob Black would be a good place to start reading.
2013-02-19 01:00:33 AM  
1 votes:

o5iiawah: the USSR, Libya and currently Syria were taken down or pestered to bankruptcy largely as a result of a tireless, armed insurgency who knew the layout of the terrain and who eventually got on-the-fence locals to come over to their cause. That is another thread altogether but there's plenty of examples in the last 50 years of human history of established, regular armies getting harassed to no end by an angry band of locals.


The revolution will never have the support of the population. Fascism 2.0 will have the benefit of history at its side. It'll realize the Iron Fist is nowhere near as effective at controlling the population as the fluffy pillow. People will be kept comfortable, productive, and saturated with opiates of all kinds. Fascism 2.0 will be sold under the banner of freedom. "Government" will be almost non existence replaced instead by a coalition of large multinational corporate monopolies. There will be no El Presidente for Life, the President will just be a figure head elected by the people so they can feel they're part of the process. That's assuming the office even exists and hasn't been drowned in a bathtub in the name of freedom. The ones right now who love to talk about "2nd Amendment Solutions" will be the ones defending Fascism 2.0 the most.

The actual rebels who would be fighting it will not be the future George Washingtons, they'll be the future Osama Bin Ladens. They will not be engaging in straight up fire fights with the Armed Forces of the United States, because just like every other insurgents that have tried that they will lose those battles. They will instead be doing things like blowing up shopping malls, movie theatres, and office buildings. The closest they might get to an actual military target will be when they blow up a police station.

The new fascism will have the advantage of being able to study the whole history of human civilization. They will know how to keep the population happy enough not to revolt. They will make sure bellies are full and hands aren't idle. They will control population size enough so that there are enough people to fill every roll needed to make the world work. Everyone will have some function to perform, assigned to them by the corporations that control their district. Everyone will have a roof over their head, assigned to them by the corporation that assigned them their job.

The 2nd Amendment Solutions crowd seem to think that fascism is going to happen one day when Obama pulls off his rubber mask and reveals himself to be Hitler and goes BWAAAHAAAHAAAA and suddenly jackbooted stormtroopers will start repelling from black helicopters and take over the US.

Market research shows that kind of fascism historically doesn't work for very long. Dictatorships and boots on the throat tyranny doesn't tend to work very long. The New Fascism will be sold to you by advertising firms that will make the Nazi's Propaganda Machine look like a kid's lemonade stand. Guns won't do squat against that. Once it takes hold it's not going anywhere.

The only possible defence against it is to not vote it in in the first place. As long as people hold onto their fantasies that they're going to be the next George Washington in the glorious revolution they're pretty much laying the foundations for it to happen.
2013-02-18 11:26:13 PM  
1 votes:
DrewCurtisJr
So the answer to creating more good jobs is taking full time jobs with benefits and turning them into part time positions?

We don't need more jobs. There's already plenty of wealth. The productivity gains of the past few decades have just been taken by the 1%. If we took 'em back, we could turn the full-time jobs with benefits into two part-time jobs with the same pay and benefits. That's the 'peace dividend' of the Class War.


Jaws_Victim
Employers, especially major corporations, will never hire more workers when they make one person do kore work for less money. It kind of makes me want to steal shiat at whatever shiat job I get.

huasipungo.com


o5iiawah
The end result of the Tragedy of the commons, or the solution to the game if you will, is private property.

Bzzt

It should have been called "tragedy of the unmanaged commons".
2013-02-18 11:22:28 PM  
1 votes:

RanDomino: Government implies a bureaucracy. Many societies have had laws but no formal government.


No, the governing of complex modern societies with the intricate and large scope problems they face implies a bureacracy. Bureaucracies are not limited to governments. Any large and complex social system develops them. The only question is whether their authority is formalized in the government or not.

RanDomino: Democrats. Republicans. These are the options. Going to stand by that statement?


Yes, because even with a system that is as corrupted by money and power as yours currently is (Note, not an American myself) there are still political actors that attempt to do the right thing when they can. Change is possible. It will be slow and extremely difficult, and the wealthy and powerful will fight you the whole way, but no one ever promised change for the better was going to be easy or quick.

Social pressure for change in the face of inequality builds up over time. Remember that making it appear hopeless and that you shouldn't bother is what the wealthy powers that be want; that reaction favors them and lets them keep milking the system that much longer.

RanDomino: They are beholden to their paycheck, future employment by the corporations they're supposed to be regulating, and/or campaign donations from the corporations they're supposed to be keeping in check. Periodically an irate citizen complains and needs to be given the run-around for a while before they get exhausted and give up.


Which they are not supposed to be, and which is how the wealthy have co-opted your system. That's one of the things that must change if you want to take back your political system. As long as they are reliant on the wealthy for reelection, the wealthy will call the shots. Remove that limitation, and a great many things change.

RanDomino: Of course it was impossible to transform into politics. That was by design. The problem is not which politicians have power, but the fact that any politicians have power.


That is a counterproductive attitude. Every human society that advances beyond the tribal level has politics, pretending otherwise is just willful blindness. Those who enter politics become politicians by definition. What you advocate is anarchy, and contrary to what certain ideologies would have you believe, the wealthy love anarchy, because those are exactly the situations where they can leverage their wealth into power and control most easily.

Politics is going to happen. So it behooves you to choose the best people to engage in it, not make pointless ideological protests that there shouldn't be any politicians at all.

RanDomino: Sure, because a genuine pro-democracy movement that seeks to curb corporate power will ever get good press in the corporate media.
Remember the excuse the police used to raid the camps? That they were unsanitary. It was complete horsecrap. Inspections repeatedly showed that the camps were clean and safe. Kitchens were sanitary. Crime was actually lower in the vicinity of the camps. None of this mattered, because the media spewed lies about rapes and tuberculosis, and the cities used it as an excuse to send in the pigs.
When it's hard to slander, they'll just make shiat up.


Never said it was, but OWS made it just that much easier. No spokespeople ment that anyone is a spokesperson, and there's no way to disprove the more ridiculous and outlandish claims. This is the world we live in. You want to change it, I want to change it. But we still have to deal with it the way it is now in order to enact that change. Acting based on how you think the world should be instead of on how it currently is, is a predictable path to failure to achieve your goals.

RanDomino: Suppose this has already happened. Then what?


Then you take it back. Social organizations are not fixed in stone. They are always in flux, by their very nature. This is how things are now. That means there is work to be done to change things, not that nothing can be done.

RanDomino: That is not a rallying cry to save the government, but an indictment of our ability to organize.


No. Any organisation with a lot of social power will nonetheless operate by petitioning the government, or else it will have grown so large and have garnered so much support as to be the government. Because the government is literally no more and no less than the legitimate will of the nation which it serves. If you are now the ones enacting laws, you are the government, and you've either already supplanted the old one, or you're going to about to do so - possibly via a revolution in progress.

Essentially, those who make the laws accepted by the nation at large are the government, not the other way around. When the current regime loses that legitimacy, you either get an election or a revolution, depending on the context.

RanDomino: Nonsense. There is also economic action. We don't need the government to change its policies if we can simply take what we need. That's why the longest-lasting Occupy chapters are those that focused on actions like foreclosure resistance through direct action (i.e. 50 people show up and force the entire sheriff's department to drag them away).


Economic action requires economic power commensurate to the scope of the problems to be addressed. As the problem is specifically the enormously unequal distribution of wealth and income and the way it allows a small minority to call the shots for your nation, I am deeply skeptical of your claimed economic action. All of those examples you cite are ultimately going to result in only short-term localized victories that do not significantly change the larger situation, and will continue to remain so unless systemic change is enacted. That requires either the political action which you claim to eschew, revolution or else you becoming the wealthy and powerful calling the shots. Superficial victories do not impress me if you have not in any way substantially affected the underlying social systems that produced the problems in the first place.
2013-02-18 10:51:56 PM  
1 votes:

Mr. Eugenides: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.

Who you talking about?  Are you talking about the kid who was born to the hippie daughter of a wealthy Hawaiian woman who paid to send him to to the best private college prep school in the state?

Condoleezza Rice or Hermain Cain are much better examples of rags to riches than Obama.


I still can't figure out how Herman Cain became such a success in the business world. During the Republican primaries he was the stupidest of a truly stupid bunch.
2013-02-18 10:48:12 PM  
1 votes:

Xexi: Getting ahead in the world not only means going to your regular job to pay the bills, but it also entails working your ass off each night instead of coming home and watching television or Netflix.

Get off your ass America, it's your own fault.

/and while you're at it, get off my lawn!


Yes, that's the problem clearly. American's don't work hard enough. American's work plenty hard enough, some people work two jobs or maybe three just to keep their head above water. These people may or may not be able to afford health care, may or may not have sick days, in most cases not. You can work plenty hard and get nowhere. Working smarter is better than working harder. Myself, I think life is too short to toil away. I don't say that as a lazy person, I am not lazy. I have no problem working hard when it is necessary, but the idea that working hard by it self will get you anywhere towards a life of happiness is farking ridiculous.
2013-02-18 10:27:49 PM  
1 votes:

Zeb Hesselgresser: WhyteRaven74: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Won't you admit that you can over regulate something?

Germany has far more regulations than the US does and just looking at the numbers, things are better for people there than in the US.

well, they work harder, so they can have nice things


They don't work harder - they have shorter working weeks and longer annual vacations than US workers. And US per capita incomes are higher than those in Germany but the key difference is they are more unevenly distributed in the US.

And that distribution has little to do with how hard one works. Many of the poorest in society are those who work the hardest. Many (not all) of the wealthiest have never done a decent day's work in their lives, unless you consider telling other people what to do as working - Dammit Jeeves, put a bit more shine on those Bentleys you lazy, shiftless prole.
2013-02-18 09:59:40 PM  
1 votes:
o5iiawah:
Assuming you no longer have the courts on your side, thats why you have the 2nd amendment.  When the government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.

Yeah, good luck with that Jimmy. 2nd amendment might have worked that way when wars were fought by armies meeting in a field and lobbing a few volleys of musket fire at each other before charging in and hacking the survivors to little pieces. Not gonna be so helpful against the modern military might of the United States. A revolution won't be won by a asymmetric warfare against this hypothetical future fascist government of the United States. Asymmetric works great against a foreign occupying force, especially one that has to fight against public opinion not only back home but with trading partners around the world. Even in the 60s the United States had the military might to simply go in and kill every last person in Vietnam but that wouldn't have accomplished their goal of securing a friendly trading partner and would have had global consequences. History has shown that for the most part nations don't really care what governments do to their own people as long as they contain it inside their own borders. There may be embargoes and strongly worded letters, but a government that is facing its own extinction at the hands of a revolting populace will do everything in its power to preserve itself even if that means ultimately a scorched earth policy.

Besides, as I've stated many times before when Fascism 2.0 takes over the United States most of the population will love it, live comfortably under it, and not even recognize it. One of the ways Fascism 2.0 will keep itself hidden is by loosening gun restrictions not making them stronger. People continually spread the myth that Hitler "took away all the guns" when in fact he actually lifted most gun restrictions. Since Hitler is seen as the Fascist of all Fascists people will believe they can't possibly be living under fascism since they're allowed to buy the most expensive firearms that Guns Inc. has to sell them. They'll be lulled into complacency by the 2nd amendment.

They'll have far too many creature comforts to want to take up arms and revolt when Food Corp. monopolizes the food supply and makes competition impossible. They'll be to opiated to care that Energy Inc. now controls all the power. They'll just do whatever job the corporation that runs their city determines they're suitable for and be glad to be free. There will probably be no real hunger, or poverty, or want. You wont be able to go swimming in clean water but you'll be free to buy the most expensive bottled water you can afford. And that's what they'll think freedom is, being able to buy whatever you can afford. They'll be glad to be told where to live and what function to perform and those poor unfortunate souls who just don't fit into this system will be institutionalized in either Mental Corps fine hospitals or Prison Corps excellent prisons.

Fascism 2.0 won't be goose steps and jackboots. It will be rampant consumerism and reality TV shows. Less Mien Kamph and more my comfy chair. It'll be the fascism as seen in the original Rollerball movies. Gun nuts will love it.
2013-02-18 09:57:37 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Yes we have those in place. Won't you admit that you can over regulate something? Or are more regulations always the answer?


1. We don't have all of them in place since many were removed or weakened.

2. Yes, over regulation is possible but that is in no way the problem we face today.

3. You can't believe that "Regulations stifle business!" and also believe that "We must increase enforcement of current laws!".
Those two stances run counter to each other and you are forced to pick one.
It just happens that most of the time people like you are inclined to drop enforcement.

4. If the current regulations have been weakened or companies have learned to avoid them then enforcing them is a moot point.
2013-02-18 09:23:39 PM  
1 votes:

Snarfangel: Not that anyone cares, but I rather like Stiglitz. If he had a daily column in the Times and Krugman the occasional guest column, I wouldn't complain.


Stiglitz is incredibly smart, and unlike Krugman he's able to write a whole column without throwing in "and by the way, those who disagree with me are idiots and liars."
2013-02-18 09:16:35 PM  
1 votes:
rufus-t-firefly
i48.photobucket.com

he may have been a slave-owner but at least he wasn't a cannibal


KiltedBastich
Law is when the member of society agree together that a certain behaviour will be allowed or not, and variations on that idea with greater and greater complexity. The other word for it is government.

Government implies a bureaucracy. Many societies have had laws but no formal government.

it still remains that government is the only powerful social actor that is directly beholden to the people,

Democrats. Republicans. These are the options. Going to stand by that statement?

the people can always take back the government - IF they are informed

Tried it. Lost. Need a new plan.

governement actors to remember who they are actually supposed to be beholden to and take action

They are beholden to their paycheck, future employment by the corporations they're supposed to be regulating, and/or campaign donations from the corporations they're supposed to be keeping in check. Periodically an irate citizen complains and needs to be given the run-around for a while before they get exhausted and give up.

OWS faced the conundrum that the very disorganized nature that made it impossible to coopt also made it nearly impossible to transform into effective political action,

Of course it was impossible to transform into politics. That was by design. The problem is not which politicians have power, but the fact that any politicians have power.

and easy to slander and parody in the corporate press.

Sure, because a genuine pro-democracy movement that seeks to curb corporate power will ever get good press in the corporate media.
Remember the excuse the police used to raid the camps? That they were unsanitary. It was complete horsecrap. Inspections repeatedly showed that the camps were clean and safe. Kitchens were sanitary. Crime was actually lower in the vicinity of the camps. None of this mattered, because the media spewed lies about rapes and tuberculosis, and the cities used it as an excuse to send in the pigs.
When it's hard to slander, they'll just make shiat up.


kg2095
An African American being elected president of the USA just 4 decades after the end of segregation sets the US apart from other nations.

Yes, it is far more advanced in the art of Recuperation.


Evil High Priest
The class war we aren't supposed to talk about has been raging for more than thirty three hundred years

depending on when you want to start counting. the contemporary era of it probably started in the 1860s


o5iiawah
Wal-Mart cannot kick your door in at 4am. Wal-Mart will never judge your fate in court. Wal-Mart will never be able to send you to war. Only government can and so there's a reason we hold them extra accountable. I can choose not to shop at Wal-Mart. I can choose not to work for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has personally done nothing to me and never can unless I willingly on my own accord choose to enter their business and if an agent of Wal-Mart harms me in any way, we have government to settle the dispute.

Nobody can hurt you (without penalty) rich or poor unless the government allows it.


The government routinely does those things for the benefit of Wal-Mart.
Government is the means by which the capitalist class exerts force.


DrewCurtisJr
We have a surplus of college grads already, we have a surplus of workers in general. The problem is we need more good jobs, not who is getting the jobs.

Why do you work, for eight hours or more?
There'd be jobs for us both, if you'd only work four.
2013-02-18 08:40:47 PM  
1 votes:

ManRay: Someone should tell all of the people risking their lives to come here and work from other countries that this is not the land of opportunity. I am sure they will self deport themselves. I would hate for them to waste their time and effort.


uh, the mexicans are going back. like those cartoons where the boats catch on fire on the docks and all the smart rats climb down the ropes back to shore.
2013-02-18 08:36:19 PM  
1 votes:

cchris_39: We still offer a free high school education to those who care to avail themselves of it. We will even feed you breakfast and lunch so you can focus on your studies.


There are countries that provide free college. Of those that have tuition, it's a lot less than what Americans pay. And also many countries provide breakfast and lunch for all students, not just those who are poor. And sorry Carnegie building some libraries doesn't offset the harm he did to society at large with how he ran his company. Though it did eventually dawn on him he hadn't done things entirely right, he didn't exactly do anything to make up for it.
2013-02-18 07:57:09 PM  
1 votes:

ImpendingCynic: FDR passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? The trend towards regulation started in the late 19th century with the rise of Carnegie and Rockefeller.


I would say the regulation of industry started, oddly enough, with the growth of massive industry. It's not like we had massive, titanic industries existing for centuries and just randomly decided at one point to start regulating them. Rather, in the second half of the 19th century, some truly monstrously large industries become monopolized and we basically had no choice but to regulate them due to completely lack of competition.
2013-02-18 07:26:56 PM  
1 votes:

theknuckler_33: According to research from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category

I was actually surprised the number was that high... and I'm trying to figure out what being surprised by that says about me.


Moving into the second fifth means you're still poor. Mobility doesn't mean much if the curve is flat. One of the ways economists look at mobility is by analyzing the correlation in incomes between generations. Some studies have suggested that as much as 80% of a random person's income is explained by the income of his parents. That's an absurdly high number, but it leaves a lot of room for movement around the underclass. Just not so much room for movement out of the underclass, which is really the point of opportunity.
2013-02-18 07:25:11 PM  
1 votes:

DrewCurtisJr: FTA:Finally, it is unconscionable that a rich country like the United States has made access to higher education so difficult for those at the bottom and middle.

We have a surplus of college grads already, we have a surplus of workers in general. The problem is we need more good jobs, not who is getting the jobs.


That's not what he meant. University is now significantly more expensive than it was even ten years ago. This means kids leaving college at 22 years old are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt before they even get their lives started. University should be cheaper so our young people don't start off already in the hole.
2013-02-18 07:23:53 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.


q couple of things. his home was not unstable. his mother (PhD) and father were  college graduates. His father also went to Harvard. And while his father wasn't around he didn't come from illiterate ghetto crackheads or alcoholic hillbillies. he went to private prep schools. he traveled the world. he was tutored by his mother. He started college  in the pre-Reagan days. before the conservative movement gutted the middle class and made it harder for upward mobility.
2013-02-18 07:20:02 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Philip Francis Queeg: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Philip Francis Queeg: So it's ok, to deny same sex couples the equal protections of the law since those laws exist? Is that your point? We can ign
ore all other legal inequalities since we have addressed some?


That's getting fixed if you haven't noticed. I haven't seen the police dogs released lately.


Philip Francis Queeg: Better men than you.

ego much?! You're comparing yourself with a black soldier that kicked off his chains and picked up a rifle to defend the union?! You're comparing yourself to couple that watch their house burned because they had the guts to love someone of a different skin color. You're comparing yourself to someone who had their flesh ripped off their bodies by a water hose because they wanted to eat a lunch counter.

You're so full of yourself it is actually stunning. It's not often that I'm speechless but damn you've done it.

 
All better people than you.

So you're trying to prove my point now? White people beating on white people. Like I said before, progress. I've said, we are not there yet.

So you're standing by the idea you're the equal of the persons I listed?!


The equal of them? Probably not. Better than you? Most certainly. You don't deserve the benefits of their sacrifices if you are unwilling to lift a finger to conmtinue to fight injustice. Complacency is as much the enemy of priogress as oppression.
2013-02-18 07:11:15 PM  
1 votes:

o5iiawah: Nobody can hurt you (without penalty) rich or poor unless the government allows it.


Really just interested in discussion here (yea I know this is Fark but what the hey, give it a go neh?)

I have some thoughts on your ideas about Government having a monopoly on force, I have some thoughts and I'd like to see what you think.

There are multiple examples of private security throughout our history, Wackenhutt, The Pinkertons, The De Beers army/ navy, Blackwater, and many, many others. Often they have operated outside of the law acting as thugish agents for those that could pay.

Also,"The Ford Service" a private police force of 3,500 that would not only beat strikers but go to workers homes to make sure the workers were living a sober and American life with the wages they were paid.
 
While they do not go into your home at the present moment, it seems to me that none of these organizations had/have popular checks and balances (voting) placed upon them.  While it could be argued that these organizations, operate under the auspices of government, and violations of the law are punishable by the government, internally they are no different than any other business, yet they wield force.

If the government is corrupt (bought) enough to allow violations of the law by these organizations to abuse power unchecked, who is to blame? The one wielding the nightstick or the one who stands by and watches?  What of the unbridled rise in private security and the declines of the police force we've seen recently?  What if the government is bought enough that it will actually use force on behalf of those who bought it rather than the checks you mention.  What if the government busts down your door on behalf of Walmart at 4 A.M.?
2013-02-18 06:51:24 PM  
1 votes:
So, can we please go kill the rich now?
2013-02-18 06:33:44 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Philip Francis Queeg: So it's ok, to deny same sex couples the equal protections of the law since those laws exist? Is that your point? We can ign
ore all other legal inequalities since we have addressed some?


That's getting fixed if you haven't noticed. I haven't seen the police dogs released lately.


Philip Francis Queeg: Better men than you.

ego much?! You're comparing yourself with a black soldier that kicked off his chains and picked up a rifle to defend the union?! You're comparing yourself to couple that watch their house burned because they had the guts to love someone of a different skin color. You're comparing yourself to someone who had their flesh ripped off their bodies by a water hose because they wanted to eat a lunch counter.

You're so full of yourself it is actually stunning. It's not often that I'm speechless but damn you've done it.


static3.businessinsider.com i.i.com.com
All better people than you.
2013-02-18 06:30:38 PM  
1 votes:
I know a guy who buys medical centers, then rents them out to doctors/dentists etc...
He truly believes everyone has equal opportunity, if only people were just as bootstrapy and smart and hard working as he is.
The fact that his parents gave him millions, interest free, in order to buy medical centers, to then rent them out to practitioners and sit back and watch the cash flow in each month?
Irrelevant.
/he votes republican
2013-02-18 06:27:11 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Would forcing unnecessary rules and regulations improve anyone lives?


Yes, because history teaches us that it did improve the lives of many.
After the Depression of the 1930s we learned how important it was to protect society from the self-interest of capitalism.
Not only did we make rules we enforced them.
And our society flourished during a period of stringent rules/regulations.
2013-02-18 06:11:01 PM  
1 votes:

The_Sponge: Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: we just don't think that people should starve because they've made mistakes, had bad luck, or acted stupidly.


At what point does a person f*ck up enough where you say "enough is enough"?

Do you really want a consequence-free utopia?


No just starvation free.
2013-02-18 06:08:39 PM  
1 votes:

The_Sponge: Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: we just don't think that people should starve because they've made mistakes, had bad luck, or acted stupidly.


At what point does a person f*ck up enough where you say "enough is enough"?

Do you really want a consequence-free utopia?


When they begin reducing other people's arguments down to something they can manage to easily defeat by declaring them slippery slopes into hell. That's when I say enough is enough. Get in the box.
2013-02-18 05:57:12 PM  
1 votes:
Reading this right now:

2.bp.blogspot.com

Getting a kick, etc.
2013-02-18 05:55:29 PM  
1 votes:

Nadie_AZ: The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

I read this, and I am not sure I can believe it. If it were true, then the GOP would be a far more progressive party than it is. Same with the Dems.


...they would be, if 90% mattered more than 1%.
2013-02-18 05:55:07 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Look how far we have come in just two!


I think the two most recent generations of adults, having taken the recession on the chin, think we still have quite a ways to go. They're the ones being told to work harder, longer, and for less by the generations before who didn't have to.
2013-02-18 05:53:56 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: We have laws protecting everyone no matter their sex, race or sexual preferences.


No we don't. You might have heard of a Law called DOMA, for one example.

The Stealth Hippopotamus:
By admitting you don't have an endgame in mind you can not tell me that we have "a long long long" way to go. You have no idea how far we have to go. I say it's right around the corner! 3 to 4 generations at the most. Look how far we have come in just two!

I'm sorry that is just pathetically naive. But even if we accept that, do you think that sitting back and congratulating ourselves is going to bring about utopia in a few generations? Is your complacency doing anything to improve the lives of others? Is your hubris not an actual impediment to progress?
2013-02-18 05:50:02 PM  
1 votes:

slayer199: Of course, nobody wants to point the finger where it belongs...the massive growth of government from taxation, regulation, and redistribution of wealth...beginning with FDR.


St. Reagan voted for FDR all four times...which might explain why he increased spending way beyond anything FDR could have imagined.

http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1082
2013-02-18 05:46:44 PM  
1 votes:

KiltedBastich: They generally understand that government is the only social actor that can seriously challenge their acquisition of further wealth and power. And so they seek to co-opt the representatives of government and the mechanisms of government to their own use, which is what you are complaining about.


That is not what I am complaining about.  Re-read everything I have written.

The market can seriously challenge the acquisition of further wealth and power so they will use government, acting outside of its authority, to protect it.  The market though, is the aggregate of hundreds of millions of people acting in their own best interests.  They are a lot harder to placate than a few dozen people on a banking committee.

KiltedBastich: Because it still remains that government is the only powerful social actor that is directly beholden to the people, and which has the power to oppose the natural human tendency of the wealthy to seek power and privilege for them and theirs.


And again, we have a government which was established to protect individual rights, establish a system of uniform commerce among the states, protect property, mediate contracts and settle bankruptcies.  You and I arent arguing on this point but for the fact that government DOESN'T DO IT.

KiltedBastich: So when you say government is the problem


Again, I havent.  Just government overreaching or neglecting its enumerated authority.

KiltedBastich: It never fails to boggle my mind why so many conservatives would prefer to let corporations whose only goal is increasing the wealth of their shareholders run free to do as they please in the name of maximum possible profit rather than seeing them leashed and limited by the actions of a governement that in the end is supposed to be "by the people, for the people". Do they really think those corporations will be good corporate citizens just because?


The whole reason we have government to begin with is to protect what we have and ensure that a few bad actors dont ruin things for everyone.  We need rules for individuals, so we make local laws.  We hold those who administer those laws accountable.  We have state laws and elect people to execute those laws with means of holding them accountable.  We have federal laws and elect people to execute laws, placing limits on their authority and holding them accountable.  There's anaccountability mechanism in place for every element of government because government owns an exclusive monopoly on force.

Wal-Mart cannot kick your door in at 4am.  Wal-Mart will never judge your fate in court.  Wal-Mart will never be able to send you to war.  Only government can and so there's a reason we hold them extra accountable. I can choose not to shop at Wal-Mart. I can choose not to work for Wal-Mart.   Wal-Mart has personally done nothing to me and never can unless I willingly on my own accord choose to enter their business and if an agent of Wal-Mart harms me in any way, we have government to settle the dispute.

Nobody can hurt you (without penalty) rich or poor unless the government allows it.
2013-02-18 05:32:08 PM  
1 votes:

o5iiawah: Philip Francis Queeg: Translation: I got mine, Fark you!

Translation: " I started with nothing, and have some now why cant you do the same and get yours"


Translation: I need to blame my failures on Obama
2013-02-18 05:28:21 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Lionel Mandrake: Does she have "the same chance" as little Georgie Bush? F*CK NO.

does she have the same chance to become President as a Bush? No. You're right about that. But she does have an equal chance of success. There has never been nor will there ever be a society were everyone is completely likely to gain access to the halls of power. But one persons definition of success isn't the same as the other. Not everyone is working become the POTUS.

And if we do fill her head with dreams what's the worst case scenario? She only goes to a good college and not an Ivy League?! She only make the state congress and not the federal?!


How 'bout we fill her mind with ease using decent healthcare.

If people could just afford health and dental, that's 99% of worries off the table.
2013-02-18 05:23:27 PM  
1 votes:

Giltric: namatad: zedster: slayer199: zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age

And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.

Maybe, but you are skipping some data points here, let's skip the 1800s and move to post-WWII. The middle class grew during the 1950s and continued into the 70s, then it started to crash down a bit. Why?

[cdn.theatlantic.com image 615x447]
Source

this is all about the reagan royalty revolution. Until we undo that, we will continue to wallow.
bring back the death taxes. bring back cap gain taxes. bring back (implement) wealth taxes. reinstate glass-steagall.

these efforts would have little to zero impact on 99%

oh wait, the 1% decide what will happen.
nevermind

How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?


Seriously?

Do you not understand how governments work? Lower taxes on the people who can't pay, raise taxes on the people who can, and tada no more deficit.
2013-02-18 05:20:17 PM  
1 votes:

Saiga410: Philip Francis Queeg: o5iiawah: Philip Francis Queeg: Translation: I got mine, Fark you!

Translation: " I started with nothing, and have some now why cant you do the same and get yours"

I'm sure he did it all on his own, with no assistance from any government entity, right?

Oh I am sure he had some assistance from the govt but it is the same assistance that the govt gives to everyone.


Yep, the very same assistance he was biatching about.
2013-02-18 05:18:44 PM  
1 votes:

Philip Francis Queeg: I'm sure he did it all on his own, with no assistance from any government entity, right?


And I'll just bet you he out-competed third-world workers on the price for his valuable labor.
2013-02-18 05:18:27 PM  
1 votes:

Lionel Mandrake: People still believe that crap?

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.

Look!!  A single anecdote that proves anyone from anywhere has an equal chance of achieving anything as everyone else!!


Ostensibly Stealth could not properly read the article. This sort of statistical aberration was included by the author as inconsequential. Stealth's poor comprehension skill-set is likely the result of the institutionalized bias of our educational system. Unwittingly (of course) Stealth makes a better argument that the dream is indeed dead.
2013-02-18 05:16:09 PM  
1 votes:

o5iiawah: Philip Francis Queeg: Translation: I got mine, Fark you!

Translation: " I started with nothing, and have some now why cant you do the same and get yours"


I'm sure he did it all on his own, with no assistance from any government entity, right?
2013-02-18 05:14:21 PM  
1 votes:
"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."

This is the propaganda neoliberals spew to make us think capitalism works. Read that quote and ask yourself which side Obama is on.
2013-02-18 05:13:52 PM  
1 votes:

Philip Francis Queeg: Translation: I got mine, Fark you!


Translation: " I started with nothing, and have some now why cant you do the same and get yours"
2013-02-18 05:06:40 PM  
1 votes:
stevenrushing: Before someone says I must have had it good as a child, let me assure you that I grew up incredibly poor, and have worked my whole life to be where I am. fark you, I got mine.

FTFY
2013-02-18 05:06:21 PM  
1 votes:

Giltric: How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?



The top bracket makes their money not from hard work but from an unbalanced playing field based on laws that work to lock money in. One of the bigger problems we have is deflation, there is not enough money moving in the economy and it's locked in the upper echelons. They have no incentive to move it because of the laws. If you are making 50% of the income in the nation, shouldn't you be taxed accordingly? These people are wealthy because the system protects them and benefits them. Isn't it only fair they pay their fair share based on the utility of the system to them?
2013-02-18 04:52:50 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Yes I admit that not every single person in America has an equal chance of being the president. That was a strawman i built myself. Sometimes I build my own strawman by accident silly I know but I do that sometimes. But "that crap" as you so eloquently put it is true. Everyone has a chance to improve on their station. Everyone.


I never said otherwise.

I said people do not have "the same chance to succeed." 

And you agreed.
2013-02-18 04:30:57 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Lionel Mandrake: Does she have "the same chance" as little Georgie Bush? F*CK NO.

does she have the same chance to become President as a Bush? No. You're right about that. But she does have an equal chance of success. There has never been nor will there ever be a society were everyone is completely likely to gain access to the halls of power. But one persons definition of success isn't the same as the other. Not everyone is working become the POTUS.

And if we do fill her head with dreams what's the worst case scenario? She only goes to a good college and not an Ivy League?! She only make the state congress and not the federal?!


I'm glad you agree.

Apology accepted.
2013-02-18 04:17:13 PM  
1 votes:
According to the criteria set by the author, no president for the last century has remembered or followed their oath.  Yes, including the Republican ones.  Yes, including your beloved Regan.  Where's your anger for them?  Why suddenly have a narrow constitutional-libertarian view now?  What's different about today than the rest of your adult life?

Oh, that's right - you don't like this guy.  Crawl back in a hole, you disingenuous fark.
2013-02-18 04:16:30 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: 12349876: That's not the point. The point is the hope is a lot less than it used to be. One person can do it, one person has always been able to do it, but one person's experience has nothing to do with what's going on at the societal level.

That is exactly the point, that is the tip of the point. If we don't believe it it can never be. Have you ever heard of a self fulfilling proficiency?! Yeah I know we have someone on the biggest and loudest soap box in the country telling you you cant do it. I know that. But if there ever was an example of someone beating long odds it's him! (And yes I messed up, it was Harvard Law Review.). You can do it. Your kids can do it. Everyone can do it. You may or may not become the super wealthy but you can improve your station and push your family up the ladder. Maybe you are shooting for more of a change than is realistic? Going from emigrate to midclass is a huge jump but it can be done by one family push one kid into a good school. Now mid class to millionaire is a hard jump. But the sure way not to do it is to be negative and never try.


So we should ignore reality, pretend there are no problems and tell ourselves happy stories rather than trying to improve things?
2013-02-18 04:16:03 PM  
1 votes:

Lionel Mandrake: People still believe that crap?



Well ... everyone still wants to believe that crap.

When you give the Obama quote in tfa a more careful reading than subby apparently did -- ""We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own" -- the point he's making is that since upward mobility's so difficult these days, we're obviously not being true to our ideals and the challenge is to fix the problem. It's a more diplomatic turn of phrase than "WTF, you stupid Republicans, how can you claim that America's so farking great when your tax cutting and austerity, your cheapskate attitude to funding education from pre-kindergarten on up through post-graduate, are all turning this into a third world country??!?", which would be a satisfying thing to hear from him one of these days...
2013-02-18 04:10:57 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.


The outlier is not the rule.
2013-02-18 04:10:33 PM  
1 votes:
Just to be clear, this is what tenpoundsofcheese and The Stealth Hippopotamus are defending, and I am calling BS:

"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."~ Barack Obama

I just think it's hilarious that those guys are defending 0bama.

Now, I shall bold the parts I don't agree with:

"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."

Can
a little girl born into the bleakest poverty become enormously successful?  Hell yes!

Does she have "the same chance" as little Georgie Bush?  F*CK NO.
2013-02-18 04:08:14 PM  
1 votes:

Notabunny: 5th grade english is now "soaring"?


To our public, yes.

Sad, isn't it?
2013-02-18 04:07:10 PM  
1 votes:
fta President Obama's second Inaugural Address used soaring language to reaffirm America's commitment to the dream of equality of opportunity

5th grade english is now "soaring"?
2013-02-18 04:04:11 PM  
1 votes:

sheep snorter: Poor people earning over 180,000 bucks a year.
disclaimer: this graphic is from some douche who wants you to think that the black folk on it don't pay taxes.


[i.imgur.com image 614x408]


That graphic is a fascinating view into what Republicans think is a cross-section of modern America.
2013-02-18 04:02:21 PM  
1 votes:

tenpoundsofcheese: Lionel Mandrake: People still believe that crap?

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.

Look!!  A single anecdote that proves anyone from anywhere has an equal chance of achieving anything as everyone else!!

Yes, it demonstrates that it is possible to succeed. You are pathetic if you believe that that is the only success story. Herman Cain laughs at you.


I thought you had me on ignore.

Please put me back on.
2013-02-18 04:00:00 PM  
1 votes:
According to from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top.

So you're telling me that you studied people from 1947 to 2013 and found that 40% of the people born in poverty and ready to retire today experienced no income mobility whatsoever?  Nice way to lie with statistics.  SOMEONE has to make up that bottom quintile, regardless of where wages, quality of life, life expectancy and advancements in technology have increased dramatically.

How do we explain this? Some of it has to do with persistent discrimination. Latinos and African-Americans still get paid less than whites, and women still get paid less than men, even though they in the number of advanced degrees they obtain. Though gender disparities in the workplace are less than they once were, there is still a: women are sorely underrepresented in top corporate positions and constitute a minuscule fraction of C.E.O.'s.

Could it be that many latinos find themselves on the lower end of the wage scale because a large percentage are first-generation immigrant, are ESOL, or have not had generations of access to public school and higher education systems?  Could it also be that Blacks are one or two generations removed from Southern Democrats forbidding them to go to school?  Doesn't matter that since Brown Vs. Board, Income for blacks has doubled, adjusted for inflation.  The Irish, Italians, Jews, Chinese and Japanese were each at their own time the poorest immigrant groups in the country and among the lowest wage earners and were discriminated against just as much as blacks were.  You dont see any Opinion pieces on the plight of the Irish immigrant anymore.

Where men overtake women is around age 30-35 and on to executive level - the obvious answer being that women voluntarily leave the workforce for a time to raise children and then re-enter the workforce some time later on, usually with 3-10 years less experience than their male counterparts.   In the aggregate, it appears as though 'Men make more than women' but only due to executive-level salaries which tend to drag the curve towards men.  Comparing women and men 18-32 reveals that women are more educated than men and make more - as it seems as though it should be.
2013-02-18 03:55:49 PM  
1 votes:

MontanaDave: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.

Obama attended: Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He taught at the University of Chicago Law School. Yale was not part of his educational background.


Maybe he meant to list Governor instead of state and federal congress.
2013-02-18 03:49:14 PM  
1 votes:

Giltric: How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?


Remember those questions next time there is a thread about pensions for unionized public employees.
2013-02-18 03:42:51 PM  
1 votes:
Equality of opportunity and equality of results are two very different things.
2013-02-18 03:38:45 PM  
1 votes:

namatad: zedster: slayer199: zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age

And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.

Maybe, but you are skipping some data points here, let's skip the 1800s and move to post-WWII. The middle class grew during the 1950s and continued into the 70s, then it started to crash down a bit. Why?

[cdn.theatlantic.com image 615x447]
Source

this is all about the reagan royalty revolution. Until we undo that, we will continue to wallow.
bring back the death taxes. bring back cap gain taxes. bring back (implement) wealth taxes. reinstate glass-steagall.

these efforts would have little to zero impact on 99%

oh wait, the 1% decide what will happen.
nevermind


How will taking from them build you up?
Why bring someone else down to make you feel more equal?
2013-02-18 03:37:32 PM  
1 votes:

zedster: slayer199: zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age

And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.

Maybe, but you are skipping some data points here, let's skip the 1800s and move to post-WWII. The middle class grew during the 1950s and continued into the 70s, then it started to crash down a bit. Why?

[cdn.theatlantic.com image 615x447]
Source


Outsourcing labor to countries where you can pay someone the American equvlant of 2$ a day? Automation?
2013-02-18 02:49:52 PM  
1 votes:

slayer199: zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age

And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.


Maybe, but you are skipping some data points here, let's skip the 1800s and move to post-WWII. The middle class grew during the 1950s and continued into the 70s, then it started to crash down a bit. Why?

cdn.theatlantic.com
Source
2013-02-18 02:40:19 PM  
1 votes:

zedster: right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age


And forget that people had more upward mobility back then as opposed to now.
2013-02-18 02:33:43 PM  
1 votes:

slayer199: Of course, nobody wants to point the finger where it belongs...the massive growth of government from taxation, regulation, and redistribution of wealth...beginning with FDR.


right, let's forget the robber barons and gilded age
2013-02-18 02:30:32 PM  
1 votes:

Aar1012: What are the odds of it happening again? What are the odds that a poor black kid or any poor kid that was born within the past decade would be able to do the same?

The dream isn't dead, but it is on life support



It a really really long shot. It was a really really long shot to begin with. But it was and is possible. The dream doesn't come with a guarantee
2013-02-18 02:26:39 PM  
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Poor black kid from a unstable home grows up to graduate Yale get elected to state congress than federal and then becomes a two term President.

Yeah the dream is dead.


What are the odds of it happening again? What are the odds that a poor black kid or any poor kid that was born within the past decade would be able to do the same?

The dream isn't dead, but it is on life support
 
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