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Republicans at Work  RSS feed

 
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NEW YORK - WorldCom Inc. is near a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that might help it to avoid fines and criminal charges as regulators seek to help the nation's No. 2 long-distance telephone company to emerge from bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said Friday.


Source URL
I suspect that if one added up all the misery,
death, and loss suffered by the accounting scandals of the near recent past, the terrorist attacks by extemist muslims would be small in comparison.
There's not going to be a reorganization of government to deal with fraud by so many companies. If they have been caught so red handed in these accounting scandals, one simply has to believe these companies are criminals committing many other crimes that are harder to prove. It's like seeing one cockroach on the counter, there are more lurking in the shadows.
Yet the Bush adminstration is going to let WorldCom off the hook because it's good business.
Once again the GOP goes to bat for the big boys and the fat cats. I guess men with pointy beards don't grease GWB's palm well enough.
I think Bobby Fisher has not completely lost it. George Bush is a borderline retard.
 
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In Singapore, the stock exchange index is hovering around the 1400 level. It is a very low level. It has been at this level for about 10 months. I think I might be buying some stocks for keeping and wish I'd make plenty of money. But this's just plain talk, wonder when I really put myself into action.......... :roll:
 
Anonymous
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May I know just what does "Once again the GOP goes to bat for the big boys and the fat cats. I guess men with pointy beards don't grease GWB's palm well enough." mean? I just come across "There ain't such thing as a free lunch" from other efunda forum.
 
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Source URL
I suspect that if one added up all the misery,
death, and loss suffered by the accounting scandals of the near recent past, the terrorist attacks by extemist muslims would be small in comparison.


When you talk about 'adding up death', do you mean more 3,000 people died as a direct result of accounting scandels? Really, this is a truly disgusting cheap shot and trivializes the agonizing death of those people. Sure, some people lost some retirement funds, as I have (due to general declines in market), but to some extent everyone should knows you should diversify a retirement portfolio. Losing a retirement account by no means compares to being burned alive or losing a family member. I know people who have lost friends in that attack; you are disgusting to suggest that it compares to losing retirement funds.



There's not going to be a reorganization of government to deal with fraud by so many companies.


You want a reorganization of govt? Hmmm, what type of reorganization? We're all ears here to hear how you will reorganize to forever prevent accounting scandels.


If they have been caught so red handed in these accounting scandals, one simply has to believe these companies are criminals committing many other crimes that are harder to prove. It's like seeing one cockroach on the counter, there are more lurking in the shadows.
Yet the Bush adminstration is going to let WorldCom off the hook because it's good business.


Will doing what's bad for business help anyone?
I'm not sure what the correct solution is, but your arguments thus far show a lack of nuance for considering all the complexities involved. The company is already in bankruptcy and shedding thousands of workers. Kicking them some more while they are down will mean creditors won't get paid (as per a quote in your article). Those creditors and stockholders will then experience more of the 'death, misery, and loss' that you are so concerned about. If you can't pinpoint individuals to fine or imprison, I'm not sure of the net effect in this case of fining a bankrupt company.


Once again the GOP goes to bat for the big boys and the fat cats. I guess men with pointy beards don't grease GWB's palm well enough.


I seem to recall GOP not going to bat for some Enron and Anderson execs.


I think Bobby Fisher has not completely lost it. George Bush is a borderline retard.



Bobby Fischer is well known virulent anti-Semite who has "lost it". The attack on Bush is just symptomatic of your virulent hatred for him as you have not suggested anymore enlighted policies, just polemic based on accusations.
 
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Let's see... Creditors get paid, contracts get completed, workers keep jobs, further damage to economy prevented... Yeah, that just plain sucks. :roll:
I should add that your suggestion that personal financial misery somehow may equate to the misery caused by the murder of loved ones is pretty repugnant.
[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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What would be the point in spending thousands (maybe millions) of dollars in preparing a criminal case against them in order to file charges in order to levy fines against them that they cant pay anyway? I can't think of a better way to throw away the money. Oh wait sure I can, lets restructure the government to create a new department of accouting laws.
 
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Source URL
I suspect that if one added up all the misery,
death, and loss suffered by the accounting scandals of the near recent past, the terrorist attacks by extemist muslims would be small in comparison.
There's not going to be a reorganization of government to deal with fraud by so many companies. If they have been caught so red handed in these accounting scandals, one simply has to believe these companies are criminals committing many other crimes that are harder to prove. It's like seeing one cockroach on the counter, there are more lurking in the shadows.
Yet the Bush adminstration is going to let WorldCom off the hook because it's good business.
Once again the GOP goes to bat for the big boys and the fat cats. I guess men with pointy beards don't grease GWB's palm well enough.
I think Bobby Fisher has not completely lost it. George Bush is a borderline retard.


How does goign after the former managment of Worldcom rather than the whole company not benefit Justice and the US economy?
Would you rather have the company out of business and infed and the top managment resposnible for the mess at another company? That woudl send the conomy into a depression, is that what you want?
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Source URL

I think Bobby Fisher has not completely lost it. George Bush is a borderline retard.


So, you think Bobby Fischer may have a point when he praised and supported the attack on the Twin Towers ? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/12/02/wfisc02.xml
Although I was a Bobby Fischer fan in the 1970-80's, his bizarre, virulent anti-Semitism cannot be approved nor can his delusional conspiracy theories. If Bobby is the best person you can mention to support your case, then its really clear who is "borderline".
 
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Source URL

Document has been deleted.
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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Let's see... Creditors get paid, contracts get completed, workers keep jobs, further damage to economy prevented... Yeah, that just plain sucks.


Let's see Chapter 11 screws WorldCom's creditors, lets WorldCom out of or renegotiate contracts WorldCom made mistakes entering. From the smoke emerges a leaner meaner competitor that drives WorldCom's honest competitors into bankrupcy so they can compete on an even keel. Republicans lead charge to bail out the industry with more taxpayer's dollars. Sounds like the airlines, hey?

Really, this is a truly disgusting cheap shot and trivializes the agonizing death of those people.


Yeah, Yeah lost my job, lost my health insurance, lost my life saving, repossed my car, forclosed on my house. Fat cats want to hire new college grads and H1-B's. I did make a new friend, Johnny Walker Red. Without my Prozac, I'm contemplating suicide everyday.
You go ahead and trivialize letting greedy management types steal billions, sending the economy into a dive, and making the USA a less attractive for the world economy to do business.
After awhile the pain and the loss just seems like normal. The simpleminded like you never even notice.

Will doing what's bad for business help anyone?


Driving lawless companies out of business rewards the honest companies and makes room for new competitors. Displacing workers at companies that just do what they are told by corrupt management rewards whistle blowers and people who refuse to go along with illegality.

Oh wait sure I can, let's restructure the government to create a new department of accouting laws.


Oh sure I can let's create a big smoke and mirrors homeland security department. Is the GOP creating a bigger or a smaller government? Let's not give the workers the right to collective bargaining that's been so long a part of our heritage. Let's screw the workers, it's so much more profitable.
Let's cut funding on enforcement of the existing laws and for oversight by the SEC. That slap on the wrist has made big business feel the shame. They've given me ( GWB ) and the GOP their word of honour they won't cook the books ever again.
Let's not deal with greed and corruption at home, it offends too many fat cats. Let's embark on a course of military adventurism. When we blast some men with pointy beards, the president's popularity is sure to surge. Republicans can ride the gravy train from big business and the president's coat tails.
Republicans at work.
 
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I agree to some point with Rufus.
The end of the dot.com, nasdaq, new economy bubble is and was a crisis of our system.
The rules of the game should be changed to some extend. They were changed in other times, too. For example in the 80ties in lots of europe countries when trade unions had too much power.
Think that for many of the more simple minded CEOs became something like pop stars in the 90ties.
The rule of the law should prevail. What if when U.S enacted Anti Trust Laws in 1890s people would have said: Oh. That might be a fair law, but jobs will be lost in railroad industry?
I think this "more-jobs-will-be-lost" argument is very against adaption of the rule of the game to the circumstances. Other companies would get more market share and offer new employment.
[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
 
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Let's see who from WorldCom goes to prison and is barred from ever sitting as an executive stakeholder in a US-chartered corporation. If that doesn't actually happen, then I think we can call the Republican "big-business" machine for what it is.
But unless you believe that WorldCom itself is an inherently corrupt business, there's no benefit to trying to criminalize the excesses performed in its name. You send the guilty parties to jail, or you make their names known to the public as corrupt businesspeople -- then you try to restructure the business they screwed into the ground.
But thousands of people dead, billions of dollars of property wiped off the face of the earth as a result of corrupt executive management? Please. What makes this even more laughable is that after a company declares $10 billion in profits or undeclared costs that never were, someone still feels the need for hyperbole. Isn't lying about $10,000,000,000 to your stakeholders, your business colleagues, the SEC, your industry, your customers and suppliers, etc., bad enough all by itself?
[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Anonymous
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This is sort of funny. Reading the posts in this thread, you'd think most people on this site were against governmental controls placed on large corporations as it could mean a loss of jobs. Then you look at the Jobs Discussion forum and you see the same people whining about how the US government should crack down on H1-B violations, limit the program and place constraints on when companies can outsource their development.
So who's going to keep these evil CEOs in line, once your sweeping foreign labor policies go into place (that is, once the government makes up for your poor skills as a capitalist and guarantees you a job you don't have to compete for)? You don't want the gov to prosecute in this case because legal troubles might translate to layoffs. Will you want them to prosecute then?
"Trickle-down economics" was an April Fool's joke. Going easy on WorldCom accomplishes nothing more than proving again what's already common knowledge - US government is controlled by big business and the average person is nothing more than the sum of their taxes and stock portfolio. If you feel that needs proving again, how can you complain when big business ships your job overseas, treating you like the disposable American everyman you volunteered to be?
 
Jason Menard
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Sweaty Ogre,
You seem to misunderstand. Nobody is saying they don't want the government to prosecute. What people seem to be in agreement with is that trying to save the Worldcom corporate entity as a whole is probably the best move for all involved. Hopefully they will go after the individuals responsible for cooking the books. However in a time where the economy is not as strong as usual, the government must be prudent.

"Trickle-down economics" was an April Fool's joke.


Not that I am taking a stance one way or the other on this topic, but I would love to hear your dissertation on the subject, or is it just limited to catchy little one-liners? But I'll take a quick aside and play your game. The very basic premise of the theory is that by cutting taxes for businesses and the wealthy, the benefits will eventually be seen by the average American. Remember that for the most part the rich know what it takes to stay rich, and will do what is necessary to keep their profit margin at least on an even keel (although ideally rising). With that in mind, let's look at the opposite of trickle down, which would be to raise taxes on businesses and the rich, directly affecting their bottom line. What effect do you think that will have for the average American?

Going easy on WorldCom accomplishes nothing more than proving again what's already common knowledge - US government is controlled by big business and the average person is nothing more than the sum of their taxes and stock portfolio.


Or it more likely shows a strategy of risk management, where the demands of justice need to be balanced against the threat of further damaging a shaky economy.

If you feel that needs proving again, how can you complain when big business ships your job overseas, treating you like the disposable American everyman you volunteered to be?


Thanks for your concern, but it could be worse.... I could live somewhere else.
 
Axel Janssen
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Meaty,
maybe I prefer to volunteer to be "the disposable American (or in my case central european) everyman" than to know anything from the start.
And I don't feel as such.

... on the other hand this ...

Originally posted by Jason Menard:

The very basic premise of the theory is that by cutting taxes for businesses and the wealthy, the benefits will eventually be seen by the average American. Remember that for the most part the rich know what it takes to stay rich, and will do what is necessary to keep their profit margin at least on an even keel (although ideally rising).


... is too much for me, Mr. Menard. The communistic blood of my grandpa starts boiling in my venes.

[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
 
Michael Ernest
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Trickle-down is one of those mind-numbing cattle-prods from the 80's I can can't quite get conscious enough to express outrage over. "Let the rich get theirs first, then everyone else will get a little something -- or should, anyway" is my take on that piece of drivel. It's an easy, easy target.
The idea that any American should wait in line behind any other American for a taste of success exposes the naked will to greed that drives the big-business element of corporate political agenda. It's really sad, and again, easy to discredit.
But you know, we're seeing some executives walking to the courthouse in cuffs, being treated like the criminals that they are. The most you can ever do to damage someone who has no ethics and no end of greed (or spinelessness, for those claiming they were coerced into the conspiracy) is expose them, fine them, imprison them.
It does make you wonder how money really works at the top of large corporations, though. Ivan Boesky, Michael Millken, Charles Keating, the former money manager for Orange County, now these people at Enron, Tyco, WorldCom...just amazing.
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

I did make a new friend, Johnny Walker Red. Without my Prozac, I'm contemplating suicide everyday.



Rufus,
I understand now, your statements now make more sense in the context of complete intoxication and pychiatriatic problems.
However most people haven't become alcoholics or drug dependent as a result of accounting scandels. Also the misery cannot begin to compare to the 3,000 who died horribly, the burned survivors, and the mourning relatives of the 9/11 attack. If you had any shame left in your inebriated brain you would apologize.
I have not heard spokesmen for the GOP say all execs would be given blanket immunity from criminal prosecution nor did they prevent other execs from Enron and Anderson from going to jail.
No one is against criminal execs from being prosecuted; you're fighting a strawman here on that issue I think.
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
[QB]Trickle-down is one of those mind-numbing cattle-prods from the 80's I can can't quite get conscious enough to express outrage over. "Let the rich get theirs first, then everyone else will get a little something -- or should, anyway" is my take on that piece of drivel. It's an easy, easy target.
QB]


I think the purpose of trickle-down was to channel money in the direction where it would do the most good and be the most productive for all.
To use the categorizations of "rich" and "poor", as is popular here, imagine if all the money of the rich was given to the poor and then fast forward 5 years. You would find that most of the poor had squandered the money like those lottery winners we often hear about and would be little better than they were before. It is unlikely many of them would have established thriving businesses employing a significant number of people. However, by reducing the tax burden on existing successful businesses (the "rich"), you allow them to expand. Also remember that many Americans now own stocks through mutual funds. Tax breaks to the corps.("the rich") often benefited a large segment of Americans, not just the "rich". Also the reduction of capital gains taxes freed up billions of dollars to be put to more productive use for everyone's benefit. Class warfare is a dead end street, let's not go there.
The "rich" already pay a grossly disproportionate share of all personal income tax revenue recevied by the US. Something like the top 5% pay over 50% of the taxes. Furthermore, they are double taxed on corporate earnings as well as personal earnings.
In some cases the envy of the rich reaches fanatical levels and erupts into truly incomprehensible bitter hatred. Not that it would happen here of course of Javaranch, since we're cool headed bunch..
 
Thomas Paul
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Eat the rich!
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by <herb slocomb>:

The "rich" already pay a grossly disproportionate share of all personal income tax revenue recevied by the US. Something like the top 5% pay over 50% of the taxes. Furthermore, they are double taxed on corporate earnings as well as personal earnings.


Speaking as one of the double-taxed, I paid a ton last year. And you know what? There were two tons left out of the three I had to show Uncle Sam. Boo hoo for me? No.
The people in this country lucky enough to make more than they need and live in high style can afford the taxes they pay. And there are plenty of ways to put that money to use! What's not acceptable under US tax law is making millions and pulling it completely out of the economy. It's fair to reason that someone who makes $10 million a year should pay a percentage towards the services, infrastructure, and maintenance of government services -- that helped him or her make it.
Sure, I would love to pay less in taxes, for no reason than it would be less, and I would keep more. So I'm against waste of our tax money; I also vote for every school bond that comes up -- so long as there is a provision in the bill for responsible oversight.
The last statistic I heard on the wealthy and taxes is that 24% of us pay 28% of all tax revenue. 5% pay half of it? Please. That's a far sadder reflection on the distribution of wealth in this country than it is on the excesses of our tax system.
In any event, if that were the case, ask yourself why such people don't advocate a flat tax? Would I rather pay 20% flat than 33% on adjusted net after deductions? All day long.
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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Document has been deleted.


Sorry, sorry, so sorry, but the flood gates are open and the Republicans are on the corporate welfare binge again today.
Bush Ups Corporate Welfare
Bigger government or smaller?
Taxpayers dollars subsidizing wealthy investors?
More intrusion by government into the free market?
Herb, Herb, Herb ? :roll:
Trillions of dollars lost in US wealth. How much of it would have been spent on health care, charity, and research?
That guy who had a heart attack because he lost his job, that guy who committed suicide because he just could not face another day, those people who turned to drugs and alcohol to relieve their depression, the surge in the incidence of domestic violence, homicides are up, crimes against persons are up, and the list goes on.
My heart goes out to the 9/11 victims. It's hard to measure grief and sorrow. But the impact of the greedy at Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Aurther Anderson, Tyco and the rest has been huge and it been world wide. The loss suffered by the 9/11 victims just does not come close to balancing the scales.
Your cheapshot personal attacks only underscore your weak position.
BTW, George Bush wasn't Jewish the last time I checked.
[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Sorry, sorry, so sorry, but the flood gates are open and the Republicans are on the corporate welfare binge again today.
Bush Ups Corporate Welfare


The actual title of the article is "President Signs Terrorism Insurance Actt" not the misleading one you gave. If you read the article, I find it especially noteworthy the list of the unions (major ones like the AFL-CIO) who represent the working man who were there in person applauding the President. I wonder why they were doing that, hmmmmm, could it have something to do with jobs!?!? Wait, that can't be, the President would never do anything to benefit the working people would he (except silly tax refunds/cuts)???


Bigger government or smaller?
Taxpayers dollars subsidizing wealthy investors?
More intrusion by government into the free market?


Do these concerns mean you've become an enlightened free-market libertarian ?


Herb, Herb, Herb ? :roll:
Trillions of dollars lost in US wealth. How much of it would have been spent on health care, charity, and research?


Was the wealth "lost", did it ever exist, or was the vast majority of it only on paper as a result of accounting schnanigans? No doubt there was some distortion of market forces which we as free marketers know leads to inefficiency, and no one is saying fraud by individuals should not be prosecuted, but calculating the value of market inefficiencies is no simple matter. Is it also possible that companies who fixed the books to show a profit actually paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have if they showed a loss?


That guy who had a heart attack because he lost his job, that guy who committed suicide because he just could not face another day, those people who turned to drugs and alcohol to relieve their depression, the surge in the incidence of domestic violence, homicides are up, crimes against persons are up, and the list goes on.


Would a financially strong company have to resort to financial shenanigans? What I'm getting at is that Worldcom and many other telecoms have been in dire straits for a long time. The telecom industry is in shambles (another issue) and isn't it probable that they would be shedding workers anyway (see Nortel as another example) with or without financial shenanigans ? So the loss of of jobs may have been inevitable. Job loss and creation is a normal part of capitalism ("creative destruction" as Schumpter called it) that benefits society. Maybe the financial shenanigans bought some time for those people who eventually became drug addicts, wife beaters, drunkards, and heart attackees. Maybe it was a good thing??


My heart goes out to the 9/11 victims. It's hard to measure grief and sorrow. But the impact of the greedy at Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Aurther Anderson, Tyco and the rest has been huge and it been world wide. The loss suffered by the 9/11 victims just does not come close to balancing the scales.


I think you underestimate the impact and damage 9/11 had on New York alone, let alone the US economy (and by implication the rest of the world) as well as the intensity of suffering of the 3,000 who died burned alive and the tens of thousands of relatives still in mourning. Financial loss at Worldcom and job loss doesn't seem to measure well against that tradegy to me.


Your cheapshot personal attacks only underscore your weak position.
BTW, George Bush wasn't Jewish the last time I checked.
[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]



Gee, was I the one who personally attacked the President and then refered to a well known rabid anti-Semite who praised the Twin Towers attack, or was that you?
BTW, what does Bush's religion have to do with anything we're talking about?
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

...
The people in this country lucky enough to make more than they need and live in high style can afford the taxes they pay.


Are you saying people should not have a right to keep the money they earn if they can afford to give it away to the govt?
We come from such polar ends of the political spectrum its hard to know where to begin with that idea.




And there are plenty of ways to put that money to use!


Here's a novel idea, why not let the people who earned the money, who have a legitimate right to it, decide how to spend it!!!

What's not acceptable under US tax law is making millions and pulling it completely out of the economy.

What are you talking about, sending dollars to New Zealand to be buried in a sheep pasture?



It's fair to reason that someone who makes $10 million a year should pay a percentage towards the services, infrastructure, and maintenance of government services -- that helped him or her make it.


Most people don't think its its controversial that people should pay a share of taxes. But why don't people at least make the pretense of fairness by making everyone pay the same rate. The amounts would still be grossly disproportionate to the use of the services supported but it would be a step in the right direction. (For example, a corporate lawyer making millions would not use public facilities nearly as much as poor people using the bus, public health clinics, welfare, etc.)
So not only is a flat rate unfair in a sense, but the present system of higher rates for some people is of course even more unfair.


Sure, I would love to pay less in taxes, for no reason than it would be less, and I would keep more. So I'm against waste of our tax money; I also vote for every school bond that comes up -- so long as there is a provision in the bill for responsible oversight.


I work for the 5th largest School Board in the nation and "responsible oversight" has got to be the greatest joke of the century (although I'm sure most other govt entities can match them in jokiness).


The last statistic I heard on the wealthy and taxes is that 24% of us pay 28% of all tax revenue. 5% pay half of it? Please. That's a far sadder reflection on the distribution of wealth in this country than it is on the excesses of our tax system.


I got the 5% paying 50% of the taxes factoid from the IRS a few years ago but I doubt if its changed much. Again, wealth distribution should be based on those who earned it, not on those who manage to tax it(steal?) away from other people. I also worked for a State public assistace agency for 3 years giving out food stamps, medicaid, and SSI. The fraud and corruption is almost beyound human conception unless you have seen it....


In any event, if that were the case, ask yourself why such people don't advocate a flat tax? Would I rather pay 20% flat than 33% on adjusted net after deductions? All day long.


I guess you missed Forbes Jr's Presidential campaign, the basis of which was a platform for the flat tax.... The accountants and tax preparation groups (HR Block, etc) contributed and lobbied heartily to kill his campaign....
[ November 26, 2002: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
Michael Ernest
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HS: Are you saying people should not have a right to keep the money they earn if they can afford to give it away to the govt?
ME: No, you're saying that, you bloody Marxist. I'm saying the wealthiest among us probably do pay their fair share. If 5% of the people in this country draw 50% of the income, then contributing half the tax revenue probably makes sense, no?
Are Wal-Mart's heirs or Bill Gates et al suffering under undue taxation? No, they're not. They just want to keep more. They don't care how that happens, and that's the problem. It's ridiculous to assume -- unless of course you're a libertarian -- that individual wealthy citizens will always make decisions that have benefits beyond their own self-interest. That's not a democracy, in any event.
Your other reasoning and sarcasm above seems to suggest that wealth somehow raises the individual to some kind of political peerage with the government that provided the means for that wealth to accumulate. Thus the wealthy don't "need" the government any more, and so they shouldn't have to pay the same kinds of taxes.
That's a really stunted view. It sounds to me just like radical Republican fiscal philosophy that sees all government as a form of welfare for which wealth is the ultimate expression of separatism. Tell you what, Herb, in the course of making your own multiple billions, tell us how you did it without friends, partners, and political friends whose fortunes are founded on the system you seem to be calling an encumbrance.
Meanwhile, there are bills to pay to run the country, and I don't think it can survive on the rich and powerful dictating to the rest what seems reasonable for them to pay taxes on and what not. If Malcolm Forbes doesn't want to pay for public schooling because he's not going to use it, can I then refuse to pay for interstate road systems I know I will never drive on? Cafeteria-style taxation? What the hey.
Forbes and the flat tax: that was a good one I'd forgotten about. Funny odd, though, not funny ha-ha. The only presidential candidate I can remember whose platform seemed to be, "Help me lower my taxes!"
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

...
Are Wal-Mart's heirs or Bill Gates et al suffering under undue taxation? No, they're not.



The question I raised was not one of suffering, but one of right. Do you have the right to take someone's wealth via taxation merely because they will not suffer? Assuming Bill Gates paid millions in taxes, that seems somewhat excessive for a single individual if all other things are equal except income. I'm missing the moral principle that would justify taking more from people just because they have more. Perhaps you could spell it out and then we can dicuss how that inmpacts property and other human rights.


They just want to keep more. They don't care how that happens, and that's the problem.


Bill may actually be evil but he throws hundreds of millions of dollars all the time at numerous charities/foundations it seems. Many of the rich do the same. They prefer to be able to contribute to society in ways they see fit. I see nothing wrong with that, its their money after all and I don't feel entitled to their money. Besides we know how efficient the govt is doing good things with our taxes....


It's ridiculous to assume -- unless of course you're a libertarian -- that individual wealthy citizens will always make decisions that have benefits beyond their own self-interest. That's not a democracy, in any event.


No need for such assumptions for either the rich or for the poor. I'm just saying a sense of fairness means applying the same standards to everyone at the very least; i.e. the same tax rate for everyone. Isn't using the same standards for everyone almost like a good definition of fairness???


Your other reasoning and sarcasm above seems to suggest that wealth somehow raises the individual to some kind of political peerage with the government that provided the means for that wealth to accumulate.
Thus the wealthy don't "need" the government any more, and so they shouldn't have to pay the same kinds of taxes.

No, what I was simply (I thought)trying to show was that rich people pay amounts in taxes that are grossly out of proportion to any benefits they receive. This was to highlight the unjustness of using different standards against them in terms of taxation.


That's a really stunted view. It sounds to me just like radical Republican fiscal philosophy that sees all government as a form of welfare for which wealth is the ultimate expression of separatism. Tell you what, Herb, in the course of making your own multiple billions, tell us how you did it without friends, partners, and political friends whose fortunes are founded on the system you seem to be calling an encumbrance.
Meanwhile, there are bills to pay to run the country, and I don't think it can survive on the rich and powerful dictating to the rest what seems reasonable for them to pay taxes on and what not.


No one is advocating an ogilarchy; all I did was talk about fairness. I'm not rich (as I said I work a govt job) by any stretch or hallucination of the imagination, but I can step outside my class prejudices and see what is and what is not clearly unjust.


If Malcolm Forbes doesn't want to pay for public schooling because he's not going to use it, can I then refuse to pay for interstate road systems I know I will never drive on? Cafeteria-style taxation? What the hey.


You're again mis-stating my views on this thread. I'm just asking that the same standards be applied to Malcolm Forbes that are applied to Michael Ernest.
 
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The people in this country lucky enough to make more than they need and live in high style can afford the taxes they pay.


Michael, that comment should be as insulting to you as it is to me. I don't earn a dime of what I make because I am "lucky." I worked hard to get where I am at and I continue to work hard because I haven't reached my financial goals. I don't do this because I need more money, I do it because I want a better lifestyle for myself and my family.
If someone else doesn't want to work as hard to make a living, that's fine. I shouldn't have to shoulder their burden.
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:

Michael, that comment should be as insulting to you as it is to me. I don't earn a dime of what I make because I am "lucky." I worked hard to get where I am at and I continue to work hard because I haven't reached my financial goals. I don't do this because I need more money, I do it because I want a better lifestyle for myself and my family.


This is not the land of hard work; it's the land of opportunity. The only difference between you and me on the matter of hard work, Matthew Phillips, is I've been in some right places in some right times. I like to think I'm good at what I do and worked hard to be good at what I do. But the people I've come into contact with has as much, if not more, to do with my good fortune as my hard work. I find my own work ethic not the least bit insulted or slighted by that proposition.
Nothing I've said (at least in my own mind) has to do with the sense of self-worth one derives from hard work that is well done. I work hard; I am lucky that what I do for a living and where I do it puts a comfortable income in my pocket, and I work hard to preserve that good fortune. What would be insulting, I think, is if I suggested that because I make more money than the next guy (assuming I do), I must be working harder.
 
Michael Ernest
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Herb: you'll have to be more concrete than "fairness" for me to understand what you're driving at. A flat tax is proportionate, but proportionality and fairness are not the same thing. That's not an argument for our current system, either, but what it costs me to have my rather complex tax return figured correctly amounts to noise, so the accounting-industry-making-policy-for-the-rest-of-us argument is intriguing and I'm sure it's happening, but they're sure not telling the rest of us what to do. Unless, of course, you want to argue that given a choice between trusting the rich and trusting CPAs, we'll all take the latter. That's persuasive too: consider the integrity of Arthur Andersen et al.
When I was filing 1040-EZ's not so long ago, itemized deductions were the Holy Grail. Not that I have that, it's not so big a deal, and SEP-IRA's are the new way to save money from taxation. If I ever make millions, it'll be something else I'm looking to protect that income against.
But whatever tax protection I'm looking for, the fact is I always pay more taxes than I want to. And because I'm an American citizen and attribute my success in no small part to the system that makes my success possible, I look at the tax bill as money toward a common good.
Is there waste and corruption? Yes. Would it be different if I were personally making the decisions about how that money is spent? To me, yes. Would I be spending it any more wisely? To me, yes. Would I be spending it for the common good? Hard to say, because no one is voting on what the common good is; I'm just coming up with my own definitions at that point, and hang what the rest of you think, because it's my money.
That sounds like oligarchy, but what it really is is royalism. And we have a deep-rooted tradition in this country against having policy determined by people whose power stems from anything but the will of the people -- ALL the people, regardless of income. That, in short, is why Herb Slocumb deciding how to spend billions of dollars worries me far more than 100 of the best in-fighters and whiners and back-stabbers our nation can muster up.
[ November 27, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Matthew Phillips
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This is not the land of hard work; it's the land of opportunity.


I agree completely, but opportunity doesn't imply blind luck. It is a "a favorable juncture of circumstances." Everyone has control over some circumstances in their life.

The only difference between you and me on the matter of hard work, Matthew Phillips, is I've been in some right places in some right times. I like to think I'm good at what I do and worked hard to be good at what I do. But the people I've come into contact with has as much, if not more, to do with my good fortune as my hard work.


I have read many of your posts and it is clear that you are a very intelligent person. You have worked hard to get where you are. The skills that you chose to spend your time aquiring made those right places at the right times what they were.

I am lucky that what I do for a living and where I do it puts a comfortable income in my pocket, and I work hard to preserve that good fortune.


I don't call that luck. I call that good decision making. You chose to spend your aquiring skills that puts a comfortable income in your pocket. You chose to go out and meet people who could help you in your career instead of sitting at home watching TV. You choose to work hard to preserve the fruit of your decisions. How is that good fortune? It appears to me that your success is not a product of random chance.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
That, in short, is why Herb Slocumb deciding how to spend billions of dollars worries me far more than 100 of the best in-fighters and whiners and back-stabbers our nation can muster up.
[ November 27, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]


As much as possible, the people themselves should be free to decide how their own money they have earned should be spent. This means taking as little from them through taxation as is possible. The less tax money the corrupt, inept politicians have , the less that is wasted.
In this thread I have never made any points regarding how the money should be spent or who should decide it. The emphasis has been on tax fairness (using the same standards or tax rates for everyone).
 
Michael Ernest
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Matthew: I concede that some people are born great, some people are made great, and some people have greatness thrust upon them. But my larger point is simply that many "favorable circumstances" are things I had no control over, including whatever native intelligence I have.
Among those things, I count the good fortune of growing up in a country where a kid with no money, status, powerful family friends, or other material/social advantages, etc., can end up doing anything he wants. We live in a society that not only allows for that, but encourages it.
So here I am, a product of public schooling, the food and rent paid for when I was a child relied to some degree on food stamps, theater arts grants, public transportation, summer work programs, etc. Those things did well by me; now I'm in a position to make sure they're available to other, even though I don't "need them" myself. Unlike Herb, I don't believe I know the first thing about improving on the spending for public services.
Prop 13 in California was a big lesson for my generation. People's property taxes were too high; when Prop 13 reduced them, all sorts of things went away. A state that used to rank in the top 5 in public spending for education now consistently ranks somewhere near Mississippi. So while people are entitled to their money if they vote it back to themselves -- and that's all they need to do, Herb -- there's an impact on the public good. I for one am mindful of it.
So when I pay my tax bill, I say "ow, that seems high." Then I go investigate how it's being spent. I also put in enough time at Bank of America, Lockheed Martin, British Oxygen et al to know that most waste comes far more from ignorance and disorganization than corruption.
So if there's waste in government spending, it bothers me as a taxpayer, sure. And if there's waste in a corporation, it bothers me even more as a stakeholder, given how often corporations are held as examples that would make our governmental system more efficient (which is, in my own view, such a big line of crap that I wonder why no economist takes time to debunk it). I do not believe, despite those flaws and despite really flashy examples of corruption, that neither our tax system or the American enterprise system is fundamentally flawed. WorldCom is the aberration, not the epitome, of big business; if you believe they do represent the logical extreme of how business works in this country, then sure, a government bailout looks like a conspiracy, and not the least onerous action it can take.
Herb: I draw a more general point from you that abundance itself breeds corruption and waste. So, if the government has "too much money," they'll waste it, and people will flock to it. Explain to me how government must suffer from this condition but the very rich would not, if their obligations to help fund government were radically reduced.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

And if there's waste in a corporation, it bothers me even more as a stakeholder, given how often corporations are held as examples that would make our governmental system more efficient (which is, in my own view, such a big line of crap that I wonder why no economist takes time to debunk it).


Well, regarding the debunking, it just may be that there are no respectable economists that share your unusual opinions. It would seem to be a matter of common sense that in a competitive, free market environment, excessive waste would generally lead to a competitive disadvantage and threaten the survival of the more wastefull corporations. On the other hand, government entities usually compete with no one. They can have a much higher level of waste before their survival is threatened. Furthermore, they can often cover the effects of waste on their budgets by simply increasing taxes.


So, if the government has "too much money," they'll waste it, and people will flock to it. Explain to me how government must suffer from this condition but the very rich would not, if their obligations to help fund government were radically reduced.


As stated earlier, governments are inherently less effficient as a rule. We've all heard of the $200 toliet seats the Pentagon buys, but the fact is that nearly all of the 20,000 Federal departments and organizations are just as wasteful. We have federal tobacco subsidies going to farmers to grow tobbacco, then we have federal agencies studying how harmful it is, then the States spend millions upon millions suing the tobacco companies, then we have television and newspaper ad campaigns telling us not to smoke.
I could give a thousand other examples of similar waste on a grand scale by governments at all levels. Its all a big wastefull orgy of governmental stupidity and maybe if they have less money, there will be less to waste.

But these arguments about efficiency, while important, are secondary to the moral reasons. Applying different standards, through different tax rates, to people is the very definition of unfairness. The same standards and same tax rates should be applied to everyone equally. No one has ever given me the moral justification for taking more money through a higher tax rate from some people just because they have more money. If they could give such a reason it would be nice justification for all forms theft...
 
Michael Ernest
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It's nothing more than a graduated or sliding scale. From there, you can formulate any philosophy you want: for example, those who reap the greatest rewards from our economic system should contribute the most to maintain it. Simple observation shows that the tax scheme does nothing to detract from the accumulation of wealth, much less "steal" from it.
If businesses are so damned efficient, explain Dilbert. If government is inherently less efficient, explain the rise of the Internet.
I hear from time to time from bright talents like P. J. O'Rourke this gushing, pubescent love for free markets at work, saving money, saving time, and operating in human terms with the ruthless efficiency of predator-prey models, like the ones that get over-hyped in any Richard Attenborough-narrated nature shows you care to watch.
I don't see it. Herb, you talk about weakness in the marketplace and how competition feasts on that: so explain what happened when Microsoft openly eschewed the internet. Explain why gas prices rise and fall among competitors all at the same time. Explain how DeBeers works, and how competition keeps them in line. G'head.
A government simply doesn't use free-market competition as a driver, and that's hardly a kiss of death. Public accountability is the check against rampant waste. Since waste occurs in any organization until someone bothers to analyze it, a government becomes less efficient when it's not driven to look at such cases. The same is true for any "free enterprise" company. Any one of them. The spectre of competition is no direct avenue to organizational efficiency. It can be, but it's no guarantee.
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
[QB]
We've all heard of the $200 toliet seats the Pentagon buys, but the fact is that nearly all of the 20,000 Federal departments and organizations are just as wasteful. We have federal tobacco subsidies going to farmers to grow tobbacco, then we have federal agencies studying how harmful it is, then the States spend millions upon millions suing the tobacco companies, then we have television and newspaper ad campaigns telling us not to smoke.
[QB]


Everyone who harps on government waste likes to imagine that Pentagon procurement is at the mercy of some dizzy purchasing agent who insists on paying too much. But the fact is a toilet seat or a hammer or whatever is subject to far more concerns (and therefore analysis, testing, proving) for use on a nuclear sub than it is on a single-family dwelling. I'll leave it to equal imaginations to consider why. I'm sure you could find a pharmaceutical company that considers all the testing they're required to execute on new drugs a "waste of shareholder's money" but the fact is it is freaking necessary and it is expensive.
The example I've excerpted above doesn't demonstrate "waste" in any sense that matters. It's the cost of political process, in which the opposing, complementary, or perhaps skew motives of various politically-empowered factions all influence government to try and achieve their goals.
But it would hardly be necessary to spend quite so much of "our" money, using the case you've given, if tobacco producers didn't outright lie about the effects of their products on its users. A government has to be fair and just, and that means you sometimes have to deliberate over contentions that you know are crap. So you perform studies, you try to promote awareness, and yes, some faction tries to make sure their backers get money for not growing tobacco for the same kinds of reasons one bails out WorldCom: corrupt or not, the economy relies on the health of its parts, and tobacco, good or bad, is one of those parts.
You don't just shutdown multi-billion dollar industries as if they were never there on moral grounds, or pretend the jobs created by that industry will magically surface somewhere else. You influence it; try to change its direction for the greater public good. Given the powerful and politically-savvy resistance of those keen, efficient tobacco businesses, that all takes time and money. Meanwhile, people still die of emphysema, people still try to figure out how to make tobacco companies and smokers pay for their own medical nonsense, smokers sue companies, companies hides behind that nasty, wasteful, government for relief -- yeah, it's one big cycle. You're calling it waste, I'm calling it process.
In any event, any large and powerful concern in this country, be it Phillip Morris or Microsoft, knows that its possible to exhaust public interest in their abuses if it can exhaust the money and will they have to investigate them. When they're caught dead to rights, that's what they do. Do you think it's reasonable to pin the whole of that "waste" on government alone?
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
Simple observation shows that the tax scheme does nothing to detract from the accumulation of wealth, much less "steal" from it.


I thought it was quite obvious that taxation has a tremendous impact on wealth creation, or the lack thereof, since it heavily influences economic decision making. In many cases captial is forced into less productive activities (tax shelters) to avoid taxation. Or if it doesn't go into tax shelters the money often remains locked into less productive investments made years ago to avoid a captial gains tax. To the degree that taxation distorts the free market, society loses since the overall efficiency, and productivity of society is reduced from what it could have been.

Do you remember when we had a 70% tax rate?
I do, and I remember people saying all the time about how taking this job or making this investment would put them into a higher tax bracket, and then they decided it wasn't worth it. At a 70% tax bracket often the risk associated with a new investment doesn't seem equal to the reward, hence many investments that should have been made, that would have benefited everyone by creating new jobs, etc, were not done. At a 70% tax rate the damage to the economy was obvious, but the same principle applies across the board. Higher taxes distort the free market more, thus preventing the free market to operate more efficiently.
What does it mean to reduce the efficiency of the free market ? It could mean a lot of things, such as less funding for new ventures, less jobs,
less money for expanding existing business, higher costs for goods and services, also it often means less tax revenue to support schools and other govt. institutions, etc...
When Kennedy cut taxes in the 1960's, everyone benefited. Same thing with Reagan in the 1990's. Revenues from the "rich" actually increased as their tax rates were lowered!!! (The reasons are not so obscure if you followed my arguments thus far). For a very consise(only a few pages), yet informative overview, see the House of Reps Joint Economic Council report at :http://www.house.gov/jec/fiscal/tx-grwth/reagtxct/reagtxct.htm

Regarding "stealing"; if money if taken from someone without any legitimate moral basis for doing so, I call that stealing. Applying different standards through different tax rates to certain minorities seems discriminatory in an illegitimate way to me.


If businesses are so damned efficient, explain Dilbert.


You will base national policy on a cartoon!?!?


If government is inherently less efficient, explain the rise of the Internet.



The govt (or was that Al Gore?) created only the rudimentary beginnings of the internet as we know it today as a function of its defense responsibilities. Defense, police, and court systems are legitimate purposes of govt that private enterprise could probably not do. But most other functions of govt are debatable in their legitimacy (tobacco subsidies for example).
Most of the "rise" or growth of the internet has NOT come from the government. Without ethernet technology developed by Xerox, widepread use of PCs, etc , all NOT developed by the govt. , its hard to see how the internet would have benefited hardly anyone. The internet did NOT benefit the masses until Mosaic Communications (Netscape) popularized the Web. Prior to that, very few people were inclined to "gopher" or "archie" for what they needed. It was private business that popularized the internet, made it easy to use and available to everyone. How many people connect to the internet from a government ISP???
Yahoo, Amazon, Google, Javaranch, and the vast majority of all websites, the web hosting companies, AOL, etc, are NOT creations of govt.
Thus the "rise of the internet" was primarily the result of the free market.


I don't see it. Herb, you talk about weakness in the marketplace and how competition feasts on that: so explain what happened when Microsoft openly eschewed the internet.


Originally MS had no market share and had to spend an excessive amount of money in order to gain market share from their rivals. The browser wars were bloody, but each new version of browsers was an improvemnt over the others. Consumers benfited by getting a better product all the time. Not only that, but the browsers were FREE due to the intense competition.


Explain why gas prices rise and fall among competitors all at the same time. Explain how DeBeers works, and how competition keeps them in line. G'head.


Hmm, synchronous gas price flucuations could have something to do with gas being a global commodity. I'm not sure what you mean by "keeps them in line", you'll have to elaborate. But keep this in mind, when profits become high in any industry it attracts new competition which tends to lower prices and profits. All of this of course depends on how "free" the free market really is.


A government simply doesn't use free-market competition as a driver, and that's hardly a kiss of death. Public accountability is the check against rampant waste. Since waste occurs in any organization until someone bothers to analyze it, a government becomes less efficient when it's not driven to look at such cases. The same is true for any "free enterprise" company. Any one of them. The spectre of competition is no direct avenue to organizational efficiency. It can be, but it's no guarantee.



Yep , there's few guarantees in life EXCEPT the innate greed of people. That greed, when properly harnessed, becomes a powerful engine of prosperity of society. Greedy people will always be looking to make a profit - They will run their corporations efficiently, they will be always be looking for new investments, new businesses, etc. Businesses, and the jobs that accompany them, are created out of greed. Greed is GOOD!
On the other hand, people can't create new govts to compete with ineffiecient existing ones in order to make a profit. Where is the incentive for the painful process of making govt more efficient? Most govts (especially local ones around me) don't become more efficient, they simply raise taxes to deal with their inefficiencies. Meanwhile I read in the newspaper, week after week, of the tremendous waste and scandels of these local govts that would have bankrupted an ordinary business years ago...
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

I'm sure you could find a pharmaceutical company that considers all the testing they're required to execute on new drugs a "waste of shareholder's money" but the fact is it is freaking necessary and it is expensive.


Two sides to every coin. In the case of people with terminal diseases, the delay of new drugs due to testing costs them their lives. In fact the FDA itself finally realized this and allowed a shortened testing period for AIDS drugs. Other groups of people, cancer victims, people with severe heart disease, etc, who don't have the clout of the AIDS lobby don't get this benefit even though they may be terminal also. Also many drugs are never developed due to testing costs. How many lives does testing cost due to delay or preventing drugs from being developed? I don't know. Maybe on balance our FDA requirements (which are amongst the most stringent in the world) do more benefit than harm. Maybe not.
But shouldn't I have the freedom to choose an experimental drug if I'm dying? Why can't consumers decide to take or not take a drug based on an informed decision as to the degree of testing or non-testing a drug has gone through? I'm beginning to show my libertarian bias a bit here but I prefer the govt treat me as an adult capable of making decisions.


The example I've excerpted above doesn't demonstrate "waste" in any sense that matters. It's the cost of political process, in which the opposing, complementary, or perhaps skew motives of various politically-empowered factions all influence government to try and achieve their goals.


That's the problem with our govt and it has a name : "PORK" - Special projects that benefit special groups of people at everyone's else expense. The govt is distorting the market with its subsidies to various groups such as tobaaco farmers, and a million other groups who don't deserve handouts at public expense. If the trillions of dollars in subsidies had been allowed to remain in the private sector instead sent to special interests the money would have better invested and the "loser" special interest groups would have been allowed to fail allowing more efficient producers to take over.



You don't just shutdown multi-billion dollar industries as if they were never there on moral grounds, or pretend the jobs created by that industry will magically surface somewhere else.


Tobacco farmers, etc, should never have been subsidized in the first place. If you're so inept at doing something that you can't make a profit why should you be supported at everyone elese's expense? Find another line of work. By lowering taxes, by freeing up money that would have gone to the losers, you allow the winners to invest more money to create more jobs. That bit of magic is called "the invisible hand" (A. Smith) and its how capitalism has been working for the past several hundred years.


In any event, any large and powerful concern in this country, be it Phillip Morris or Microsoft, knows that its possible to exhaust public interest in their abuses if it can exhaust the money and will they have to investigate them. When they're caught dead to rights, that's what they do. Do you think it's reasonable to pin the whole of that "waste" on government alone?


You distort my statements again. Never have I said only govt is wasteful. What I have said is that as a rule govt is more wasteful than businesses simply for the common sense reason of the profit incentive.
[ November 30, 2002: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
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If you're so inept at doing something that you can't make a profit why should you be supported at everyone elese's expense?


I knew you would get around to agreeing with me about that insurance program above. Thanks, Herb.
Now why does the poor man go to jail for a long time and the rich man goes free. Is that part of the reason the rich man pays higher tax rate? Or is government immoral?
You might be wise enough to make your own choice about what medicines you take. Historically, statistically the average Joe isn't and should not be allowed to.
 
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It is more that many lawyers are immoral. Remember the juries are made up the the same idiots that award millions to people who spill coffee on themselves.
 
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
But my larger point is simply that many "favorable circumstances" are things I had no control over, including whatever native intelligence I have.


"It's not enough to have a luck to be born gifted, one needs a gift to be lucky."
H.Berlioz
 
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