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The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

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  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 07:25pm

    #11
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Nice post X-Ray, thanks.

One important thing that I keep forgetting – wealth is not destroyed, it is simply transfered.

Larry

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 07:28pm

    #12
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Doug –

You don’t even know me, so don’t be too quick to rush to judge based on a post, the background of which you have no insight on whatsoever.  

Think what you want, I don’t care.

strabes and I have had this conversation (or variations on a theme) backchannel on numerous occasions and without putting words in his mouth I would suspect he would disagree with your assessment.

Your friends and peers likely aren’t in the group I was discussing – but they are also in the vast minority of Americans.  Unless they can’t pay someone to work on their car or house because they are living beyond their means and they need two or three jobs to sustain such a lifestyle that precludes them from obtaining and paying for such help.  Americans need to wake up and realize that they need to live to the standard of living they can afford, not the standard of living they can finance or want for free.

And as far as reading, there is no shortage of material out there for anyone to develop "fiscal acumen", so that is about as lame an excuse as has ever been offered up on this site.  It is not privileged information – it is out there, but one actually has to break a sweat and work at it.

What a concept.

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 07:53pm

    #13
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Strabes and Doug – —Strabes – you assume WAY too much in your analysis of my post – and take so much out of context that I questioned the value of any response.  For you to assume I know nothing of debt, politics, or energy conservation is arrogant and ignorant.  I pounded the table against laziness and made an argument that periods of abnormal innovation lead to wealth skew, and you respond with personal attacks.  I thought this site and its community was a bit better than that.  You say you used to be an "arrogant prick"…..perhaps you should re read my thread and yours and see if you can identify all assumptions and guesses you made and then you may want to look in the mirror again.  I thought this community would be a bit more open minded than most….

Here are some areas where you clearly didnt react to my post – rather your idea that I am some jerk:

1)  you said "  I love it how you say the periods right before the biggest collapses in history were wonderful, you actually use them as illustrations of dramatic economic success, apparently free-market nirvana in your eyes, yet the vicious collapses came and that doesn’t cause you to wonder about your views? "  Please quote exactly where I stated they were dramatic economic successes.

2)  you said  "your definition of standard of living is wrong (somebody has a couple electronic gizmos called TVs and you think they’re living the best lives in history…laughable).  your definition of wealth is wrong. "  I stated they were periods of dramatic increases in standards of living.  We can agree on one thing, that standard of living is clearly not about how many tvs you have.  During those periods, life expectency increased dramatically, literacy, access to information, medicine, energy efficiency (not conservation unfortunately), clean water access….and on and on all increased.  My point was that as it becomes easier to live….or let me rephrase – as it becomes easier to survive working less then more people will get lazy, and have, and this leads to wealth skew.  I use the word work….but I include that to mean working to make money, yourself better, education…etc.  To your point, people are attached to those tvs far too much and pay a dear price.   Please show me where in my post I gave a definition of wealth, because I sure dont see it.

3) you said  " you don’t understand credit inflation vs. real productive growth. you think "working hard" on wall st equals productive contribution to society (I did a short stint there…they are parasites, not producers).  you erroneously worship CEOs as the media and your chosen political orientation has programmed you to view them as great capitalist generals…"   I dont understand credit inflation vs real productivity growth????  where on earth do you get that from my post?  I think I am in the right in not only asking for where you get this from my post but for an apology should you be unable to find it.  Do I worship CEOs?  no, I never said that.  I did say they work hard.  As with all things, this is not a 100% pure truth, but I think its very safe to say the average CEO works many more hours than the average american…and I would guess that they not only work hard but work very smart and with lots of connections built from years of dinners and engagements that took them away from family and sacrificed whats really important.  That said, there are certainly those CEOs which are corrupt, but you cant say that about most of them.  I am not defending them, nor what they make, but just saying its not as easy as people think, and that further they are usually quite good people and quite impressive people.  There are bad apples certainly but to paint them in that light is the same as saying all pro athletes are cheaters because a few used steriods.  Again, like you did to me, you are assuming you know these people individually and painting them all the same.

4)  in response to your comments about freedom:  Good point – I get it.  Unfortunately I feel less free not as a result of the politicians and leaders I despise, but rather due to the fact the masses will not educate themselves.  Another way of saying this is that the masses are too lazy to read, to educate themselves and that is the root of the evil at the top….they prey on ignorance.  If this website was read and understood by all, we could rest easy that action would start soon.  But, it wont, because it takes 100’s of hours of thought and education to understand at a decent level….and most of america would rather not do it.  And, thats the point of my first post – – that when things get easy people get lazy.  When people get lazy they get blindsided by what they and the media call unexpected events.

I will close with what I think is a bit of irony to both your and Dougs responses.  This website is all about educating ourselves with accurate information so we can adapt and be prepared for the future.  The way politicians act and ceos act is all very predictable.  The crash in the markets was very predictable in my opinion.  This started with lowering regulation, but was continued by the masses buying way more than they could afford.  The masses provided the fuel to the ceos and to wall st…..the masses bought a 400k home with no money down….the masses didnt educate themselves.  In response – some of the masses sold mortgages like arms to the masses because it was legal and they could make a lot.  The masses are wall st….the masses are the cause.  Its the lack of education and desire to work and understanding anything difficult that led to this and will eventually bring down the house.

I hope this clarifies my stance…and I hope you dont assume to much that isnt written.

 

 

 

 

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 08:03pm

    #14
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

xraymike79 – that is a very good post.  Did you write it?

It’s an important issue because wealth disparities are highly correllated with social unrest during ‘transitionary’ periods.

 

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 08:27pm

    #15
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Another good thread down the hole….

Rickets,

The only way that we know you is by what you write. And while you made some good points, you did so with some arrogant overtones. Its human nature to judge someone by the manner in which they communicate, rather than what they communicate. That judgement process is even more skewed by this limited medium.

Bottomline: If you don’t want to be unfairly judged by this community, then find a more neutral method of delivering your thoughts. Its amazing how much bickering can be avoided by doing so.

Dogs,

Well, your just being Dogs. I have noticed a resurgence in the us-vs-them mindset in your posts lately, but I think that mindset has been rather ubiquitous lately. Don’t make me get the Anarkst after you!

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 08:36pm

    #16
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

I think there is a difference between working hard and making a fortune honestly when you have peoples/environments best interest in mind and working hard and making a fortune with just $$$ on your mind.  The incentives are there for people to make $$$ not do whats right.

Dogs and Rickets are looking at the micro which is fine in the right context, but you are forgetting about the macro which seems to be Strabes point.

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 08:56pm

    #17
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

[quote=JAG]

Don’t make me get the Anarkst after you!

[/quote]

Nah, the thread is alive and well, just like a roller coaster you gotta ride to the bottom before you can climb back to the top again.  We will self-police.

Look at bmaier’s very first post – distilled this whole mess down into the most accurate assessment.  Leave it to the new guy to bring a voice of calm and reason into the discussion.  Good job, bmaier, sincerely.  Welcome, and I hope to see you around more.

99% of this is because there is so much that can’t be captured in the written word, but as you addressed correctly, you can only be judged by what you do write and count on the old-timers to be familiar with one’s post history and blogosphere personalitiy.  That said I owe Doug a PM so off I go.

As far as us v. them, we only get two channels at work – Fox and CNN – and all I see is entitlement program after entitlement program paraded out of the halls of Congress, and I think that contributes far more to causing or fostering the problems than it does to solving them.  We the People need to push back on the entitlements and start spreading the work ethic instead of the wealth.

And I’m pretty sure anarkst got "Deleted" 

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 09:04pm

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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

[quote=bmaier]

I think there is a difference between working hard and making a fortune honestly when you have peoples/environments best interest in mind and working hard and making a fortune with just $$$ on your mind.  The incentives are there for people to make $$$ not do whats right.

Dogs and Rickets are looking at the micro which is fine in the right context, but you are forgetting about the macro which seems to be Strabes point.

[/quote]

bmaier –

Welcome to the site.

Nice first post wading in and settling things down.  I mean that.  Yours was probably the most accurate and dispassionate observation on this whole thread.  Hope you stick around – despite the fact that some of us old timers can get a little feisty and opinionated.

But don’t forget, strabes’ macro is made up of my micro. 

Seriously, welcome.

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 09:13pm

    #19
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Okay, I have to weigh in here.  While I agree that the Wealth Gap is a key factor in economic and social unrest I really have to question the assumption that deregulation was the cause.   I believe it is quite the opposite, that it is manipulated regulation and government interference in the markets that have resulted in unfair advantages for those politically connected.

For example, look at the whole mess we are currently in.  Easy money by the Fed, taxpayer guarantees for too big to fail companies, banks, GSEs, etc result in much larger risk taking than would be done if all this interference in the market had not taken place.  If your a giant bank and you know you will be bailed out by the government/taxpayers, why wouldn’t you take unreasonable risks.  Free markets (which we haven’t had for a very long time) will not allow this type of malinvestment to occur. 

Also, I find the chart showing regulatory legislation versus deregulatory legislation laughable.  Look at all the taxpayer funded wealth transfers listed in 2008.  These aren’t regulation, these are bailouts for the financial sector you are complaining about at taxpayer expense.

I also agree with Dogs and Rickets that we have become lazy.  Perhaps lazy isn’t the right word, perhaps complacent is more accurate.  How many of your friends and family are just too busy to research what is going on even now when they have been dramatically impacted.   It has been so easy to just cruise along on auto-pilot, not pay attention to what politicians were doing, not vote, not manage their personal finances, etc.  It’s only now people are beginning to realize that things are very wrong.  Sometimes it takes a good slap to wake us up!   I know because until a year ago I was just happily cruising along, but I have awoken, and I’m trying to get others to as well.  Thanks to the Crash Course it makes the task a bit easier.

Here are some links that discuss the "laissez faire" propaganda being pushed by many to justify even more government interference in markets and our personal lives:

The Myth of the Laissez Faire President

The Benefits of Free Markets

— Rob

 

  • Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - 09:34pm

    #20
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

rickets, indeed I owe you an apology because I now see you are not just repeating the free-market template cheered on by Kudlow, Cramer, Limbaugh, etc, etc nor are you on the other side just repeating the big-government template cheered by ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, etc, etc.  I apologize.  I’m impressed at the wisdom in your last post that admits we’re all in this together rather than blaming lazy people, or some other "those people."  I agree with you there…Wall St could not have done what it did without the participation of most people, me included.  I need to be careful that I don’t project all the blame "out there" on the system or Wall St just like I don’t think people should project it all onto "lazy masses."  I played a role in the system.  A few people tried to warn me.  But I was too defensively stuck in my ideology, so it took the collapse and the 2 parties stealing trillions to wake me up to reality.  I wish I had stumbled on Chris or others like him that were talking about this years before the collapse.  

Part of the reason I used such strong language (emotional, attacking) is because I did feel some of that in your post and it’s the only type that would’ve had a chance of cracking my ideology back in my Matrix days.  I figured if you were stuck in that, it might be helpful to come at you with a left hook. But that’s a violent type of dialogue and I prefer to leave my violent ways in my past.  Lakhota (a wise member I haven’t seen post in a while) sets a good example for that and I want to emulate those ways.  

I think JAG and bmaier make helpful points.  

I also think Chris implicitly makes a good point–let’s stick to the facts and the topic of this post.  Though I do think it can be helpful to move into the deeply human aspects of dialogue, psychology, emotions, feelings to explore what type of social dynamic created the situation we live in in the first place, it’s probably best on this site to stick to the facts of the topics posted, so I will do so unless people show an interest in taking this dialogue further.  

Happy to dialogue more about your points 1-4 but would suggest we do it in private so we don’t take this thread off-topic.  Thank you for being open to my point about freedom.  And thank you for honoring my post with a reasoned response.

 

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