Let me create a hypothetical, very starke, situation and see what reaction there is to it.
1. American economy has devolved down to 5 Oligarchs that control 80% of the market; other entrepreneurs split what's remaining.
2. The Oligarchs employ just a few classes of people, a) management, at salary A, b) union busters at salary B, c) workers at wage C
3. The Oligarchs collude amongst each other to pay the workers $5/hr, a subsistence wage.
4. Women and children are forced to work long hours to help make ends meet.
5. The Federal gov't is 100% laissez-faire and the Supreme Court strikes down any State measures to improve the lot of the workers.
The Discussion Question - Should this state of affairs be allowed to continue?
The question should be why won't Congress improve the lot of all its' citizens? The answer is that they don't work for all its' citizens. Bribery under the disguise of special interest has taken control of their vote. This is all our fault thinking we could rely upon the two party system to cleanse itself of the corruption. 90% of Congress was elected with an approval rating of around 6% to 9%. Who's fault is that?
You have a rather static view of economics, wealth, labor, populations, practices, law, politics, government and people. Things don't ever stay the same even in a totalitarian state.
There are a million people a year leaving California for states with lower taxes and friendlier attitudes toward business. Millions migrate from the North to the South for lower taxes and a nicer climate.
Hundreds of jobs move everyday from New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, California and New Jersey with their high taxes and liberal politics to places like:
North Dakota - where private oil production defies the liberal will;
Arizona - where the Arizona government was attacked in the courts by Obama;
Texas - which is self explanatory;
Florida,Georgia,South Carolina - part of the rising, Republican South
There is no central government without liberals destroying the 10th Amendment. We are a federal state filled with mobile individuals and businesses. The major interference with that mobility is always a liberal interference. Just look at the NLRB telling a private company that they cannot relocate within the boundaries of the country.
It isn't an inactive central government that needs to be feared, it is a Federal government that thinks of itself as superior to all state government in all matters. That is not federalism.
Again, an example of an argument based on extremes "...thinks of itself as superior to 'all' state government in 'all' matters..."; a hyperbolic, untrue statement which diminishes the veracity of anything said before it.
If you take even a cursory look at the reasons why the federal and state governments pass a great many of the laws and regulations beyond the basic ones is because either the state is no policing its own borders and the result is great harm to the citizens of the United States or the State sees abuses by business that harm the citizens of the state,
A good example is civil rights, something conservatives and State-rights opposed vehemently, where this is a clear case of the federal government telling states what they had to do. Eisenhower enforced it, in the case of school desegregation, in order to protect the citizens of the United States who had the misfortune of living in that state but the federal gov't, under the Constitution, still has a duty to protect even if the state refuses to, or worse, actually takes steps to harm, as was often the case in the conservative South.
Please rethink your logic about this cherry-picked statement "North Dakota - where private oil production defies the liberal will;" in reference to why jobs are moving. Jobs move to where the work is and you might want to read recent articles about who, besides the oil industry, is happy they are there ,,, given the way they are doing their job and destroying cities, towns, and the countryside. Those independent conservative locals are pretty pissed off.
Businesses move to where they have the least regulations and lowest taxes in order to make the most profit. While not the purpose for the move, what goes hand-in-hand with that is an increase in the abuse of employees. That was the rational (which I nevertheless disagreed with) for the FLRB trying to stop Boeing from moving jobs away from unionized workers in Washington and giving them to non-union workers in their new plant in South (North?) Carolina. In what I read, it seemed like Boeing, at least on the face of it, was taking very little away from the Seattle plant, but instead was adding new work in a plant using labor they could take advantage of in an employee unfriendly state.
Because businesses move to where its easier to abuse employees (again, not its goal, just a result), the people must follow if they want to work ... this isn't a free choice thing. While they may be moving to a nicer climate, assuming you like hot, humid weather, their standard of living is going to decrease in many cases as a result.
It is not an accident the standard of living is higher in Blue states than in Red states in about any measure you want to apply. Why is that?
Hi My Esoteric! It has been a while since we talked.
To answer your question " Should this state of affairs be allowed to continue?"
Though, in reality it seems as if we are slowly heading that way, I believe that we can turn this ship around with proper policy making.
We MUST generate an Economic BOOM!
That is why opening up all of our oil, natural gas and coal resources to its full capacity would correct many problems we face today as far a inequality. Creating hundreds of thousand good paying jobs could be generated through this.
That is the first start.
Secondly, we need a Comprehensive Tax Reform or better yet a "Fair Tax System".
Third, we need to reform entitlements........Social Security and Medicare is on track to explode, leaving the mess on the middle class to fix. TOO many entitlement programs that we cannot sustain. But, if we generate an economic boom, then many of these problems can be fixed.
Enough of the regulations that are crippling this Nation...lets restore common sense at the EPA level, and quit burdening many small business' from being successful.
This, of course it the 20,000 foot remedy, but this style of common sensical policy making is what needs to be done, in my very humble opinion.
How would you propose we generate that needed economic boom? I think our economy has evolved beyond the point where "stepping on the gas" can speed it up.
As for opening up all our natural energy resources - wouldn't that be just another short-term fix - as the pundits like to say, "just kicking the can down the road for our grandchildren to worry about?
What would you define "proper policy making" to be? Left? Right? Centrist? Obama has tried the liberal agenda, Bush tried the conservative agenda - and where are we?
You are right about needing entitlement reform, especially on SS and Medicare. But the reform needed is, in my opinion, in the area of need/income level determination. I know that opens me up to the "but I paid for this all my working life" criticism. Another but... you speak of common sense applications to our policy making - do you think Bill Gates needs SS or Medicare?
Just sayin' GA
I will work backwards on this,
Does Bill Gates need SS or Medicare? No, but he paid into it and it is his. Does Bill Gates need to be one of the largest philanthropists in the world?
I think opening up the Natural energy resources is just common sense. It is a cleaner and more efficient. Perhaps incentivizing (sp) our trucking industry to convert would create a boom all alone. Latest technologies say we have well over a 100 years of this on US land.
Is this kicking the can down the road for our children? I say, this gives our children the best opportunity to explore other alternatives by having a robust economy and record levels of revenue to R & D.
I say couple this in with closing our boarders, keeping our economy sound along with creating a more protective setting for our citizens. This would allow a form of LEGAL immigration to take root.
I also say, when we have a rock solid economy, our Healthcare becomes less of a problem. Employers will contribute more to a better Insurance and pay lager premiums much as they did during the 70's and 80's when the auto industry was booming.
An economic boom is essential to restoring this Nation as it once was. Allowing the best opportunities for EVERYONE to pursue the right to happiness.
"Does Bill Gates need SS or Medicare? No, but he paid into it and it is his. Does Bill Gates need to be one of the largest philanthropists in the world? "
I wasn't picking on Bill Gates. For all I know he may have refused his SS. I only used him as an example that would be recognized for the point I was making.
Yes, He did pay for it. And as a principle it is his, Right is right. But sometimes right isn't always the solution of reality.
Also, I was not intending to hang my hat on that as a reform solution. I offered it only as a talking point for the discussion of entitlement reform.
Yes, we do need a "rock solid economy," but this isn't the 1970s, and 1970s solutions are not going to get the job done this time.
I am confused by the logic of your healthcare statement. How do you see our healthcare becoming less of a problem? And where do you see the motivation for employers to pay higher premiums coming from?
While I agree with most of your points, I'm a little put off by the robust economy concept. While it is great and it is desperately needed, we can't buy our way there and it sounds like that's what you're proposing.
Or am I misunderstanding (not unusual )?
Good to hear from you again as well @CMerritt. I'm not sure which one of the threads to tag on to, so pick on the first one.
Since the last time we communicating I read a book by economist Thomas Piketty, all 600 pages. It changed my mind about taxing which is relevant to one of your comments.
But I will start here first. Just like when things go up, it comes down. Likewise, when there is an economic BOOM, history is clear, there will be an economic BUST; it's hardly ever failed in our 250 year history. Moral of the story, be careful of what you wish for.
History also shows (from Piketty) that long-term growth has been 1 to 1.5% in the past and is expected to be 2 to 2.5% in the long-term future. During the recovery from WW I, the Great Depression, and WW II, from the period 1950 - 1980, growth averaged between 3.5 and 5.5%, a little higher in Europe. We are currently averaging between 2 - 3%.since the Great Recession. Consequently, we are normal "for the economy has a whole."
But that is where it stops. Growth for the wealthiest has been 3 - 5%, while growth for the bottom and middle has been between 0 and 2% --- AND THAT dear friend, is the problem (which is one of the top reasons the Ds did so poorly in the 2014 election). Which ultimately circles back to the forum's question "What is the role of the Central Gov't?"
As to the "Fair Tax"; I use to like it, but now I don't. Why, because it ends up being one of the components of what I just finished discussing ... income disparity. Progressive income tax counters income disparity; in fact, it is one of the few tools available to narrow the gap. (Piketty made an extremely good case for this.)
[Also, consider this, the Constitution provides protection for property rights and the government spends enormous amounts of money enforcing those rights. Question, who benefits most from that expenditure? Who doesn't? Why should those that benefit most pay the same tax rate as those that don't benefit at all?]
The same tax rate? Because that rate will result in paying a hundred times as much tax for double the benefit.
Now, why should they pay a higher rate, resulting in paying five hundred times as much tax? Or should we simply leave it alone and remove the deductions?
First of all, though I have not read his book, from some reports I have read that Piketty fails to show any evidence that rising wealth or rising inequality will be the demise of democracies. I think too much emphasis is placed upon a few extremely wealthy.
To me, and I admit I am far, far, far from any remote expertise on economics……….it still comes down to common sense……..When everyone is doing better, inequalities matter less…..that is why a boom is needed. The natural gas and petroleum is the surest and simplest way to succeed in any sort of boom that could positively affect our economy in such a way.
A progressive income tax that would hit 80 percent on incomes above $500,000 or $1 million (That is what Piketty suggests)….would be devastating to REAL economic growth.
Those folks who make that kind of money are successful because they are highly productive entrepreneurs and workers. They would merely cut back on how much they work or make because putting in the extra hours they do to achieve this level would be fruitless….. to allow our government to confiscate almost everything extra they earn, would be counterproductive. If you figure in all those who are at that level that this high rate would apply it would significantly hurt our economy. It is just common sense in my humble opinion.
We need to stimulate and encourage these folks to once again invest into America…….by taxing them less IF they invest here in the USA. Open up the free market and encourage competition.
That is what I was talking about when I said the health care issues would be less crippling if we have a robust economy and encourage employees to provide excellent health care. It was fantastic in the 70’s because of the high level of our economic status.
The bottom line is, My Esoteric……..you know a great deal more than I do about economies…..and I admit I have a very simplistic approach that seems much easier in my little brain than it probably really is.
We are in the shape we are in for a multitude or reasons that can be pointed at both of our political parties………
But, I am the eternal optimist, and I believe with the right leadership we can see more glory days right here in this nation.
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