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I Agree with Senator Sanders

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July 31, 2011 – Comments (39)

The Republicans have been absolutely determined to make certain that the rich and large corporations not contribute one penny for deficit reduction, and that all of the sacrifice comes from the middle class and working families in terms of cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, LIHEAP, community health centers, education, Head Start, nutrition, MILC, affordable housing and many other vitally important programs.

“I cannot support legislation like the Reid proposal which balances the budget on the backs of struggling Americans while not requiring one penny of sacrifice from the wealthiest people in our country. That is not only grotesquely immoral, it is bad economic policy.”

US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent, Vt.

39 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 31, 2011 at 10:01 PM, Frankydontfailme (27.20) wrote:

um. What cuts to medicare and social security? Balancing the budget on the back of... what balanced budget?

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#2) On July 31, 2011 at 10:13 PM, musk0020 (< 20) wrote:

-  US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent, Vt.

 or rather

-  US Senator Bernie Sanders, Socialist, Vt. 

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#3) On July 31, 2011 at 11:57 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

This is just absurd...the whole deficit problem is caused by these stupid programs you support.  So, democrats should be allowed to spend other countrys money on stuff they hand pick, ruining our economy, and then when it comes time to pay it back, they want to steal the money from the party that didn't want that money to be borrowed or spent in the first place?  Isn't that like me taking your money to buy a house and then when im upside down on the mortgage and cant meet the payments, I ask you to finish paying off that house I took against your will in the first place?

 

Honestly your viewpoint is absurd, and this is coming from a libertarian who has never been close to rich....not some rich wasp republican.

 

I hope your viewpoints on politics don't reflect the way you run personal life, otherwise you are a vagabond, thieving, lying, spin artist, fingerpointing sob story who can't be trusted and who is in massive debt and chooses not to pay it off and points the finger at all of the people who actually do something productive with their life.

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#4) On August 01, 2011 at 1:16 AM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Except that Devoish is right in this thread.  If you are earning under 100k and think the Republicans are working for your interests you are delusional.  I won't vote Republican anymore.  Why?  Because of the crap they pulled with the debt ceiling. They used it as a bargaining chip, and if anyone thinks otherwise they are delusional as well.  

Boehner's rants might work on dumb people but in the end he was saying the Democrats kept refusing to put anything on the table.  Except they did.  They said they would consider entitlement reductions IF tax reform was included.  It was the Republicans who absolutely refused to do so.  So in the end the average Joe gets screwed again.  We MUST make sure the millionaire/billionaires are protected.

I earn a decent living.  I don't mind paying more than some poor slob trying to scrape by day by day.  I don't mind because I am compassionate.  People who paid into SS for example to earn what?  Maybe 2k-2.5k a month come retirement?  Yeah let's nail those guys and let the Jamie Dimons keep their 30 million dollar bonus's untouched.

The Republicans win this round because they were willing to throw this country into further recession by holding the debt ceiling hostage.  Shame on them and shame on Boehner. But come 2012 the Democrats better damn well make this  a campaign issue.

*Note the time of this blog and consider the "scotch factor."

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#5) On August 01, 2011 at 9:31 AM, outoffocus (23.59) wrote:

I agree with Colonel Sanders...

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#6) On August 01, 2011 at 11:28 AM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

FWIW, SS ran surpluses for many years until gov't put SS into a general funds category.  After that, the SS surplus was used for non-SS activities, leaving it in it's current state.  How you like them apples now?

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#7) On August 01, 2011 at 11:59 AM, eldemonio (98.74) wrote:

The republicans didn't compromise in this deal - I'm betting it won't pass as is - any takers?

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#8) On August 01, 2011 at 1:02 PM, MichaelMolenaar (< 20) wrote:

If a state government decides to create social welfare programs, all the more power to them, but when the federal government creates those types of programs, I am completly opposed to it. Interest groups quickly form around the programs, and lawmakers are keenly aware of how much each program benefits certain groups of their constituents and they are very aware of how those programs will get them votes in the next election. You also have skewed federal distribution of wealth, for example, for every dollar Minnesota sends to the DC we only receive $0.72 back, yet in Tennessee they get $1.27 back. I should not have to pay for a child's subsidized healthcare in Tennessee, just like they should not have to pay for the subsidies that make a farmer's cornfield profitable in Minnesota. Theft is neither noble nor desirable. Wealth redistribution creates and causes greed as each interest group attempts to pull in more wealth. The focus then becomes on acquiring wealth rather than creating it.

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#9) On August 01, 2011 at 1:09 PM, GordonsGecko (70.33) wrote:

What's the matter, Colonel Sanders... chicken? 

 Just had to throw that in. 

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#10) On August 01, 2011 at 4:50 PM, blake303 (29.54) wrote:

This is just absurd...the whole deficit problem is caused by these stupid programs you support.

Yeah, the wars, Bush tax cuts and recession do not contribute to the deficit at all. If you are that delusional, you are in no position to label another's view point as absurd. 

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#11) On August 01, 2011 at 5:56 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Devoish, 

Do you have any aim here other than to make dramatic statements to irritate people, and then not bother to defend them? Or to sit on a high horse and lecture down to people? 

There's no program that harms the middle class and poor more than Social Security.  The average middle income earner making $40,000 per year loses $5,000 in income every year for a program that forcibly requires them to invest in US treasury bonds, earn a below-average return, and then not even be guaranteed that they will receive that below-average return when they retire.

Imagine what the average middle income earner could do with that extra $5,000 per year that you want to take from them every year?  

(1) Pay college tuition for their child

(2) Contribute to their retirement fund

(3) Save enough capital to start a small business

(4) Invest in a high-tech company

(5) Pay their rent

The list goes on and on. 

If there's any great crime in the debt deal, it's that Social Security wasn't completely gutted.  It's a regressive social program that prevents people from retiring with adequate funds; it is not some great savior of the poor. 

 

In any case, your vision of America has been tried:  it's called Detroit. Detroit is a workers' paradise, where the taxes are high, income is arbitrarily redistributed to 'help the poor', and everyone makes a fair wage.  It works very well, except for the dismally high unemployment, extraordinarily high crime rate, vast amounts of urban decay, constantly falling real estate prices, and the fact that hardly anyone in their right mind wants to invest there. 

 

Compare it with Dallas or Houston over the past half-century and you see two completely different worlds.  Dallas and Houston have low unemployment, affordable housing, and an environment vastly better for the poor. 

 

Yet, Dallas and Houston have enacted your so called pro-rich policies, whereas Detroit has followed your philosophy.

The biggest problem with the debt deal is that the entitlement programs that are bankrupting the country and destroying jobs were not even touched.  And the idea that we should raise taxes in order to further prop up these unsustainable programs is ludicrous.  

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#12) On August 01, 2011 at 6:22 PM, eldemonio (98.74) wrote:

blake,

Now, now...there's no room for sensibility here.  You and I both know that the democrats are demonic satan worshipers who spend, spend, spend.  The poor Republicans didn't have a choice when they added over 6 trillion dollars to the deficit.

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#13) On August 01, 2011 at 6:42 PM, OrionNebula (31.91) wrote:

Jakila,

While I am on the right-of-center side of the fence on many economic issues, I think you take things a bit too far.  A few points:

1)  Houston and Dallas, you examples, have benefited hugely from the exogenous factor of oil industry money, both oil exploration in Texas/Gulf itself, and in money brought home by all the companies that are based there.  And the companies are based there originally almost exclusively because that's where the first major oil boom was in the early twentieth century.  (And also in CA, which is why Chevron and Oxy are based there.)  So let's be honest and not appear to attribute the success of Texan cities entirely to Texan policies.  You can reply with lesser-regulatory-burden arguments, but the oil industry started there, and has stayed there.  I do not dispute that Detroit is a mess, and the unions have contributed hugely to the decline of Detroit.

2)  Your thesis on social security erroneously assumes that people would wisely invest that $5,000.  I think that is indisputably a bad assumption.  Social security exists to force saving.  I would love to see collected money put in a sovereign wealth fund and made untouchable by Congress for other means until it is paid out to individuals, but that is a different issue.

3)  The obvious response to #2 above is that if people fail to wisely save or invest on their own we should not bail them out.  That is true in theory.  But in reality, social security was itself created because not because FDR was a pinko, but because in the 1930's FDR was facing heavy pressure from guys like Huey Long on the Left, from people who wanted to cap incomes, people who were real socialists, and communists.  He was trying to relief that pressure without succumbing to it.  Closer to today in history one can look at lassez fair capitalist Cuba before the rise of Fidel, or even at Venezuela prior to Chavez, when it was very pro business and anti-poor.  Going backward from FDRs time, one can look at the Czar's casual disregard of his common people before Lenin came along, farther back than that you can look at the "let them eat cake" response of the state to starving Frenchmen, and to the subsequent French Revolution.   

My problem with libertarians and hard conservatives such as yourself is your naive assumption that such things could never happen here.  It almost did, in the 1930s!   That was when we faced our real Communist threat, not in the 1950's when McCarthy actually grew concerned about such a threat, by which time it had actually passed.  Do you think people here will just grin and take it if we go back to the pre-social security days and things get much worse?  Where do you think the breaking point is?  So far into the index of human misery that we don't need to worry about it yet? 

These programs such as social security appear inefficient on their face to those, like you, who have rational, mathematical minds.  And they are innefficient. They are giant money sucks.  But in the broader analysis they are likely necessary inefficiencies.  If you take away social security and medicare, deregulate, go to a non-progressive flat tax, whatever, you will live in a libertarian and capitalist utopia for about ten-twenty years!...and then you will be strung up and shot by all of the poor idiots who fail to invest and can't pay for their medical care or retirement.  Or we'll get a Chavez elected.  That's just how it works.  In short, I defy you to give me an example of a single unrestricted capitalist/laissez faire/no-social-safety-net state that did not end in either: 1) populist (typically leftist) disaster, or 2) faschist totolitarianism; or 3) the introduction of a reasonable social safety net, at the cost of some efficiency.

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#14) On August 01, 2011 at 8:12 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Eldemonio, 

I know, you know, most of us know.

OrionNebula,

Basically, yes.

Jakila,

I had a written a reply to everyone up to Blake, but lightning killed it. I thanked some, especially Valyoo for the name calling, I thanked Awallejr for expressing agreement. I pointed out to Franky the cuts in medicare payments to Doctors. I agreed with Blake303 pointing out what we all should know by now.

Now your turn.

I have family in Texas. Lets see when the oils gone, and Houston is as aged as Detroit is now. PS. In 2009 26% of Texans do not have health insurance. 13.8% in Michigan do not. Hold up the policys that do worse to meet the basic needs of its citizens a little higher for us all to see. Texas has already failed.

We all have been told that the reason a College education is ridiculously expensive is because the Gov subsidizes it. The idea goes that because the money is out there, College gets to keep raising tuition. Shut that spigot off and college tuition drops for everyone. Lets put that $5k from SSI each year out there. Capitalism requires that it get spent. First one guy decides he can pay a little more rent for that apartment, then another. Slowly rent is driven up until that $5k is all used up. Then all the people who are broke today, are broke tomorrow and not even an SSI check left. Right now the amount of money in the system supports todays prices. Add $5k more, if your boss actually puts that money into your paycheck and not his own,  and prices go up. In fact, I'd expect it to be gone in less than two years. As soon as BP and XOM know that cash is out there, gas will go to $6.00/gallon and that cost will trickle throughout the economy, into food prices, clothing prices, etc, until you are spending every penny again.

Two years to eat up $5k. Tops.

And your investments? You get a small boost, maybe 15% of that $5k adds to the S&P as more money is available to go in the first year. But then it falls back as higher fuel costs eat into profits. XOM finishes out that two years 20% higher, the S&P much less, 2/3rds of Americans are broke again, and they have no SSI.

Thats just the way capitalism works.

Offer a $5k mortgage tax deduction and the price of a house goes up $5k.

Thats just the way capitalism works.

Do you have any aim here other than to make dramatic statements to irritate people, and then not bother to defend them? Or to sit on a high horse and lecture down to people? 

Do I get a rec?

Best wishes,

Steven

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#15) On August 02, 2011 at 1:30 AM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Jakila to actually try to argue social policy and comparison to Houston/Dallas with Detroit is, well, truly asinine.  Detroit made the mistake of concentrating on automotive manufacturing while Houston/Dallas are energy based economies

As for the purpose of SS, it was intentional to make it a "forced" savings.  The average Joe would probably use that 5k a year to pay bills instead, afterall not everyone earns bonuses like Jamie Dimon or the other CEOs and executives (you know the people who earned 300 TIMES more income growth than the average worker the last ten years).  To think the average Joe would  be a shrewd investor is unrealistic, Jim Cramer to the contrary notwithstanding who would churn the the hell out of people anyway. 

My parents relied on SS when they retired.  They averaged $1800 a month until my father died and my mother received $1300 a month.  You think people in NYC could live on that?  The ONLY reason why they managed was because I supplemented their income.  Not my brothers or sister who couldn't afford to, but ME. So don't hit this thread with crap that people should fend for themselves, because most CAN'T.

Kudlow and crew and the tea party can stick it where the sun don't shine because the average Joe is getting screwed in the end.  I want class warfare. I want the majority to finally realize the scam that is being pulled by the wealthy few.  Who did we bail out?  Wasn't Joe Shmoe.  Was mister Wall Streeter who milked the system because they could..  The same people that put this country into the fix it is now facing.

 

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#16) On August 02, 2011 at 1:44 AM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Hmm, am I starting to sound like Alstry?

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#17) On August 02, 2011 at 5:28 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Jakila to actually try to argue social policy and comparison to Houston/Dallas with Detroit is, well, truly asinine.  Detroit made the mistake of concentrating on automotive manufacturing while Houston/Dallas are energy based economies

It's not "asinine" at all.  This is always the excuse that people use when they want to dodge the issue.  It's not a coincidence that regions with certain economic policies tend to do better than other regions with different economic policies.

 To think the average Joe would  be a shrewd investor is unrealistic, Jim Cramer to the contrary notwithstanding who would churn the the hell out of people anyway.

You don't have to be a "shrewd" investor.  You just have to put your money into virtually any index fund and you'd do 5x times better. Or get a private management firm. There's considerably evidence that employees who have been allowed to opt-out of social security for private investment have had considerably more money available for retirement.  

My parents relied on SS when they retired.  They averaged $1800 a month until my father died and my mother received $1300 a month.  You think people in NYC could live on that?  The ONLY reason why they managed was because I supplemented their income

You're making my case for me. 

Social Security doesn't work.  Had your parents been able to pour their money into a private retirement account, they would have likely had at least 2-3 times as much to retire on, and maybe 5-8 times as much, depending on the time frame. Social Security is not 'why your parents got by.'  It's why your parents struggled. 

 

Kudlow and crew and the tea party can stick it where the sun don't shine because the average Joe is getting screwed in the end. 

The average Joe is always getting screwed, but it's not by "the tea party."  It's by a system that rewards political corruption.  The system set up right now encourages political favoritism of the big banks.  The acceptance of these government programs merely create more opportunities for more political favoritism and more arbitrary re-distribution of wealth.

 

Don't believe me?  Take a look at the Soviet Union.  It wasn't a workers' paradise.  It was a oligarchy, where only certain interests were allowed to succeed.  That's what happens with centralized economic control.  There are very few exceptions to this rule.  

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#18) On August 02, 2011 at 5:40 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

While I am on the right-of-center side of the fence on many economic issues, I think you take things a bit too far.  

When an argument has to be prefaced with a statement about how the arguer is 'more moderate than you,' you know it's flawed.  I'm a left-of-center libertarian, but that doesn't really have anything to do with the reality of my arguments.  It's just a meaningless label. 

I care about reality and the reality is that Social Security deprives people of adequate retirement income and lowers long-term GDP by encouraging mal-investment.

 

Your thesis on social security erroneously assumes that people would wisely invest that $5,000. 

Nope.  Does not assume anything of the such.  I assume some people would invest the money poorly. 

What is flawed is your idea that if 10 people would be worser off and 1 person better off (since they would've thrown the money away), that we should punish the 10 people who would've done better and reward the 1 person who would've wasted the money. 

In other words, you would prefer to hold back most people, because one person would invest poorly.  I would not. 

 

These programs such as social security appear inefficient on their face to those, like you, who have rational, mathematical minds.  And they are innefficient. They are giant money sucks. 

Good.  I'm glad we got that out of the way.  The United States would be wealthier without Social Security.  

The idea that we're going to drift into Communism without it is truly ridiculous.  The reason the US never drifted into Communism is because we had a society where the majority of people held private ownership interests.  In other words, private ownership was in our culture.  It was not in the culture of Russia pre-1917. 

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#19) On August 02, 2011 at 5:56 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

I have family in Texas. Lets see when the oils gone, and Houston is as aged as Detroit is now. PS. In 2009 26% of Texans do not have health insurance. 13.8% in Michigan do not.

If 0% of Americans had health insurance, but everyone could afford to pay their medical bills out-of-pocket, that would be good, right?  Under your definition, that would be "terrible" and a third world nation where 20% of people were insured would be better off. All I'm saying devoish is that your statistics don't really tell the reality of the situation.  

Besides, under Obamacare, 0% of Americans will lack health insurance, as it requires everyone, regardless of income, to purchase private insurance.  So if I make $20,000 per year and can barely afford to make ends meet, and I consume about $100 in medical related services and products in an average year, I am now forced to pay $2500 per year to "insure myself" even though I can't afford to insure myself. 

Obamacare didn't make me any wealthier.  And I could've purchased that insurance before; but perhaps I decided that putting a roof over my head, paying the electric bill, or paying college tuition was a better use of my money.  You've decided, however, that I am wrong --- and your use of my money is better than my own.  And you point to that as a great achievement of 'wealth.'

 

We all have been told that the reason a College education is ridiculously expensive is because the Gov subsidizes it.

This is pretty irrelevant to the discussion as I've said nothing about college education.  It's true that tuitions have gone up because government subsidies, but the question for me is whether this creates a positive return on investment.  I think in most cases, it does. Social Security does not. 

This does not mean that the college education funding system should be kept as it is.  I think we ought to limit aid a bit more, so that schools aren't getting flooded by mediocre students, who aren't going to benefit much from college anyway.   But overall, the college education funding system is not my biggest worry. 

 

As soon as BP and XOM know that cash is out there, gas will go to $6.00/gallon and that cost will trickle throughout the economy, into food prices, clothing prices, etc, until you are spending every penny again.

This is one of the most completely illogical arguments I've ever encountered. Prices don't simply go up for no reason.  The reason gas does not cost $6 per gallon right now is because it costs considerably less than $6 per gallon to produce it. 

Fwiw, I would not mind gas prices going up to $6 per gallon.  In fact, I'd prefer to have higher taxes on gasoline and lower income taxes.  Raise the standard deduction.  Gasoline has externalitized costs that are not factored into market prices, so it should be taxed higher. 

 

In any case, your argument sort of meanders all over the place, without going anywhere.  You make a weird statement about "this is how capitalism works", but it seems to be a poor understanding of economics on your part. 

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#20) On August 02, 2011 at 10:09 AM, OrionNebula (31.91) wrote:

You have done nothing but restate the naive assumption that "nothing horrible could ever happen here."  You also failed to meet my challenge.

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#21) On August 02, 2011 at 10:37 AM, OrionNebula (31.91) wrote:

I have the history of the 1930's here on my side, as well as the history of a large number of states, in a variety of circumstances.  You have assumptions and an idea that America is "different."

The idea of a "left-of-center libertarian" is a semi-redundant statement.  You are a libertarian, and quite a purist.  You thus appear to hold extremely rightwing economic views as part of that.  But also as a libertarian, if you are consistent, you likely hold some so-called socially left views, likely on gay marriage (or on no-state-involvement at all in marriage), marijuana legalization, or whatnot.  That's all irrelevant to this discussion.  Economically, you are extreme.  The fact that I am moderate on the issue does not de facto make my argument worse; it is not a mere centrist calculation.  It is either intellectually weak or lazy to conflate moderation with centrist calculation and baby-splitting.  Sometimes the moderate position can simply be objectively correct.

 

 

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#22) On August 02, 2011 at 10:44 AM, eddietheinvestor (< 20) wrote:

Barack Obama has set up GE as the ideal corporate model.  GE CEO Immelt meets with and advises Obama on business all the time.  GE made 14.2 Billion dollars in profits last year but paid no taxes, yet Obama has championed this company-- acompany that has also sent countless hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas over the last two decades.  It is, therefore, very hypocritical of Obama to demand that businesses pay their fair share and to send government contracts GE's way.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/general-electric-paid-federal-taxes-2010/story?id=13224558

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#23) On August 02, 2011 at 11:05 AM, eldemonio (98.74) wrote:

eddie,

I agree that tax loop holes should be closed, and that tax reform is a high priority.

I wasn't aware that Obama awarded government contracts.

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#24) On August 02, 2011 at 11:22 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

You also failed to meet my challenge.

This is almost as devastating as getting rejected by a mentally retarded, cross-eyed, obese woman with three teeth.

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#25) On August 02, 2011 at 1:14 PM, OrionNebula (31.91) wrote:

How about getting rejected by a mentally retarded, cross-eyed, obese woman with three teeth..., but twice? -- because you failed again. 

Rather than that almost high-schoolish response (seriously, you're obviously smart, but you can't be more than a few years out of college, at most, right? -- go on, tell me I'm wrong; what are you, twenty-five?  twenty?) an intelligent reply to me would have been to point to continuously leftward slippage once any such programs are allowed.  Then I could point to the last twenty years and the end of federal welfare to partially rebut that, while acknowledging it has some truth.  Instead you have failed to grapple with history at all.

But, um, based on your last reply to me, really I guess my best reply to you at this point is, "nanny-nanny-boo-boo"?  Or maybe "liar-liar-pants-on-fire."  Or I could go with some 'yo mama' jokes.  How about that?  Seems to be about where you are at.

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#26) On August 02, 2011 at 2:37 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

"It's not "asinine" at all.  This is always the excuse that people use when they want to dodge the issue.  It's not a coincidence that regions with certain economic policies tend to do better than other regions with different economic policies.'

Why do you continue to compare apples to oranges?  Detroit's economic base was heavy auto manufacturing.  Dallas/Houston, as told to you twice have an economic base in energy.   It is no coincidence that cities concentrating on different economic sectors will perform differently.

I assume some people would invest the money poorly. 

I would assume most wouldn't even invest since they would be spending it just to live off of.  The better employed certainly have the option of opening up self directed IRAs or 401k plans but it is doubtful your average busboy, or small time garage mechanic, or the chashier at Stop N Shop is self directing a stock market portfolio.

"Had your parents been able to pour their money into a private retirement account, they would have likely had at least 2-3 times as much to retire on, and maybe 5-8 times as much, depending on the time frame. Social Security is not 'why your parents got by.'  It's why your parents struggled."

Except they didn't have online trading with $8 commisions per transaction 40 years ago.  And 40 years ago they earned enough to put food on the table, roof over the family's head and clothes on the family's back.  SS was all they had at the end for retirement income. And me.  Unfortunately there are many households that depend solely upon SS.  They never got corporate pensions or Government ones.

The average Joe is always getting screwed, but it's not by "the tea party." 

Yeah you are right, making sure Jamie Dimon and his ilk don't pay higher taxes and just cutting entitlements is good for the Average Joe.

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#27) On August 02, 2011 at 2:38 PM, CluckChicken (27.20) wrote:

"You also have skewed federal distribution of wealth, for example, for every dollar Minnesota sends to the DC we only receive $0.72 back, yet in Tennessee they get $1.27 back. I should not have to pay for a child's subsidized healthcare in Tennessee, just like they should not have to pay for the subsidies that make a farmer's cornfield profitable in Minnesota."

Why should your state taxes be spent on somebody that lives in a different county then you? Well because that is what a government does. Think about how many counties in MN get back from the state less than they put in. Now think about how many of those counties that don't that you travel through. Now remember the first thing that gets cut is money for roads.

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#28) On August 02, 2011 at 5:42 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Why do you continue to compare apples to oranges?  Detroit's economic base was heavy auto manufacturing.  Dallas/Houston, as told to you twice have an economic base in energy.   It is no coincidence that cities concentrating on different economic sectors will perform differently.

It's only "apples and oranges" under your flawed reasoning. 

You assume that Detroit's policies are not the reason why their economic base has not been broadened beyond auto manufacturing.  There's no reason that auto manufacturing has to be Detroit's only industry.

Moreover, it's a bit flawed to claim that the two industries (oil and automobiles) are not tied together.  If autos are doing well, oil is doing well, too.  If autos do poorly, oil does poorly.  What has happened, however, is that more auto manufacturing has moved to the Sunbelt because of more favorable policies.  So now Alabama and South Carolina are more attractive destinations to the auto industry than Detroit. 

Dallas's economic base is not "energy", as you claim.  They have a diversified economic base, similar to Atlanta.  Energy certainly has a larger presence in Texas than in Michigan, but once again, that's in no small part because of policy. 

You can try to spin it any way you like. 

Another interesting tidbit here is that Texas' development policies forced real estate prices to stay more reasonable to begin with.  This, in turn, means that their banks have not had nearly as big problems as those in other states.  

 

I would assume most wouldn't even invest since they would be spending it just to live off of.  The better employed certainly have the option of opening up self directed IRAs or 401k plans but it is doubtful your average busboy, or small time garage mechanic, or the chashier at Stop N Shop is self directing a stock market portfolio.

If you're working as a cashier at "Stop No Shop", you're not retiring comfortable on Social Security, either. You're working till you are 80 years old.

The difference between your philosophy and mine:  you've decided to punish those who use their money wisely, on the flawed premise that those who do not should be rewarded. 

Even this view is flawed, because they are not "rewarded", since Social Security shrinks the size of the economy and wages, so they might actually have less money to live on during their elderly years. 

Hell, consider the logic behind your premise to begin with.  You argue that some people 'won't spend prudently', therefore, Social Security will save them.  Yet, if they weren't spending prudently to begin with, it's unlikely that a Social Security check is going to magically change that.  In fact, by making them less accountable for their own wealth, they are more likely to squander what they are given. 

 

Except they didn't have online trading with $8 commisions per transaction 40 years ago.  And 40 years ago they earned enough to put food on the table, roof over the family's head and clothes on the family's back. 

Yeah, they lived in rustic cottages on the wilderness frontier and hunted for their own food, and their children walked 12 miles in the snow  every day for school.  Your argument relies on a lot of exaggeration. 

My great-grandparents were lower-middle income and owned GE stock.  Yes, believe it or not, average Americans did own stocks in the early 20th Century.  There were also things called mutual funds and newspapers. 

Just because the Internet did not exist does not mean everyone was living in a one-room cabin on the edge of the wilderness. 

 

 Yeah you are right, making sure Jamie Dimon and his ilk don't pay higher taxes and just cutting entitlements is good for the Average Joe.

Jamie Dimon and "his ilk" aren't paying higher taxes under the Democrats' proposals.  Middle income taxpayers who earn in the range of maybe $50K - $200K are paying higher taxes. 

The entire idea that raising income taxes means the "rich are paying more" is flawed.  "The rich" pay capital gains and dividend taxes and can afford to move into a more favorable tax jurisdiction. Middle income urban professionals can not.

Therefore, by raising income taxes, you are mostly taxing the middle class and upper-middle class more.  Not "the rich." 

 

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#29) On August 02, 2011 at 5:50 PM, wolfman225 (70.76) wrote:

Bernie Sanders is nothing more than a parasite.  He has never, to my knowledge, worked in a real job in the private sector.  He moved up to Vermont in the 60's to get away from NYC and almost immediately began a "career" in "public service".

He has yet to (ever) earn his own way, prefering instead to suckle at the collective teat of government.  If he was ever tossed into the real world, he'd be complete at a loss of what to do.  If he actually had to live under the programs and regulations he promotes, he'd be the first (and loudest) to squeal.

I live in Vermont.  Sanders has been an embarassment from day one.

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#30) On August 02, 2011 at 5:51 PM, Frankydontfailme (27.20) wrote:

Bravo Jakila

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#31) On August 02, 2011 at 8:14 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

JakilaTheHun

Well since the oil was basically all over Texas you would think that would be the states' core business.  So Dallas/Houston's concentration in energy was kind of inevitable.  Why Detroit concentrated in automotive manufacturing I really don't know. But that is why it is a hurting city now.

But that is really inapplicable because we were addressing this comment of yours:

Yet, Dallas and Houston have enacted your so called pro-rich policies, whereas Detroit has followed your philosophy.

And this comment is simply not true:  "If autos are doing well, oil is doing well, too.  If autos do poorly, oil does poorly."  Used cars probably use even more gasoline for one thing.  Plus home heating, or cargo ships have nothing to with auto sales.

As for this comment:  "You argue that some people 'won't spend prudently', therefore, Social Security will save them."

You made that up, not I.  I said I would assume most people wouldn't invest with that extra cash not being taken out of their paychecks, assuming they have one because they will spend it on silly things like food, rent, clothes, etc. 

SS really means more of a nuisance to financially secure people because they really don't need it.  But if you don't see the poverty out there and the hardship many are facing due to events oftentimes beyond their control (like losing their job) well go spend a day in a DMV branch in NYC. 

"Just because the Internet did not exist does not mean everyone was living in a one-room cabin on the edge of the wilderness."

Take a ride through the coal mine towns in the Appalachian Mountains.  No one said people can't work their way out of poverty and into prosperity. But for many, for a million reasons, couldn't and won't and ultimately rely on their SS check to survive. 

Unlike some I use the seven figure cut-off, because a line does have to be drawn somewhere.  Obama is at $250,000, I am at $1million.  Those are the tax brackets I want to increase.

There are plenty of links that address the obscene wage growth rate of excutives to the average Joe. Over the last 10 years alone executive pay grew 300 times that of the average worker.  And while Average worker's are lucky to get a 1 percent increase in wage, executives are bumping their bonu's at 39% comparative rate.

Yup I am sounding like Alstry now.

As a final note, I do have concerns over rising healthcare costs which really can bankrupt the system if not brought under control.

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#32) On August 02, 2011 at 8:16 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Jakila,

Yor reply is lengthy and flies in the face of reality, so let me address Wolfman225 first.

Wolfman225,

Thank you for your reply.

Jakila,

My comments about college education and mortgage deduction are relevant. It is not college vs. mortgage vs. ssi. It is money into the economy vs. money into the economy vs. money into the economy.

Money that has to be spent on college drives up college costs. Money that has to be spent on housing drives up housing. Money that can be spent on everything drives up everything.

Or if you say it doesn't, then I guess it doesn't.

The rest of my reply is correct also.

Best wishes,

Steven

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#33) On August 03, 2011 at 6:04 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Well since the oil was basically all over Texas you would think that would be the states' core business.  So Dallas/Houston's concentration in energy was kind of inevitable. 

California has a lot of oil, too.

Why Detroit concentrated in automotive manufacturing I really don't know. But that is why it is a hurting city now.

Why don't you read about it. 

Edward Glaesar looks at Detroit quite frequently in his work Triumph of the City.  It's almost a textbook case of poor economic policy.  At one time, during the late 19th Century, Detroit had an extremely diversified economic base. 

 

SS really means more of a nuisance to financially secure people because they really don't need it. 

No, actually, SS is less of a deal to financially secure people, because they don't have to pay taxes for it over a certain threshold.  SS taxes hit lower and middle income earners the hardest.  It also makes it more difficult for them to find jobs, since the government essentially mandates that they take a 12.5% haircut in wages. 

 

But if you don't see the poverty out there and the hardship many are facing due to events oftentimes beyond their control (like losing their job) well go spend a day in a DMV branch in NYC. 

You keep appealing to poverty.  I grew up poor.  I've never been wealthy. I can tell you that wealthy people have bizarre ideas about what is "good for the poor", such as requiring them to purchase private health insurance on a mandatory basis.  Or taxing them at 12.5% of their income, forcing them to put their money into government bonds, and then giving them a vague promise to return some of it when they retire (if they are lucky). 

Take a ride through the coal mine towns in the Appalachian Mountains.

I'm from the "coal mine towns of the Appalachian Mountains."  You do not speak on my behalf and it's arrogance and ignorance to claim that you do. 

It's never a surprise that the people who seem to "speak" for the poor people in the Appalachian Mountains are always well-off New Yorkers.  Paternalism at its worst. 

As a final note, I do have concerns over rising healthcare costs which really can bankrupt the system if not brought under control.

Yup.  But that's mostly due to arbitrarily and incoherent government intervention in the sector. The US healthcare system is one of the worst.  We've adopted a terrible middle-ground "compromise", that's halfway between universal health care and a free market system.  It's the worst of both worlds, in reality, as it ensures that the market is rigged, that certain parties make fat, outsized profits off of the government intervention, too much health care is consumed, and health care costs stay artificially high.

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#34) On August 03, 2011 at 1:25 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Well I am just going in circles now with you on the Detroit v Dallas/Houston issue.

If you invest 12-15% a year of your income into a retirment fund do you consider that a tax?  Probably not.  Your issue seems to be with the forced investment into bonds.  Could people do better investing elsewhere?  Sure.  They could also do worse.

It is there so many people have an income when they do retire.

And get off the soapbox about wealthy New Yorkers being paternalistic.  I told you my background was from parents who's sole income for retirement was from SS.  Now if you want to ignore the existence of real poverty so be it. Fortunately the only power you have is the right to use your one vote.

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#35) On August 09, 2011 at 7:41 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Compare it with Dallas or Houston over the past half-century and you see two completely different worlds.  Dallas and Houston have low unemployment, affordable housing, and an environment vastly better for the poor. 

Yet, Dallas and Houston have enacted your so called pro-rich policies, whereas Detroit has followed your philosophy. - Jakila

In 2009 26% of Texans do not have health insurance. 13.8% in Michigan do not. Hold up the policys that do worse to meet the basic needs of its citizens a little higher for us all to see. Texas has already failed. - Steven

In related news of August 9th.

A good seven miles from Gov. Rick Perry's much-anticipated prayer rally,(attendance 30,000) an even larger crowd of Houstonians (attendance 3x that amount at 100,000) gathered in preparation for another sacred event: the first day of school.

Some families camped out for hours to gain admittance into Houston's first-ever, citywide back-to-school event at George R. Brown Convention Center, where free backpacks, school supplies, uniforms, haircut vouchers, immunizations and fresh produce were provided...

...School Superintendent Terry Grier posted a Twitter message Saturday morning that security personnel had estimated the crowd at 100,000. At about 10 a.m., officials made the call to close the doors.

Although planners didn't know how many people would attend, they expected to serve at least 25,000 children, officials said.

Paid for with corporate funding from Shell Oil Co. and Motive Enterprises, dental and health checks were also available, as well as lunch and live entertainment.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7686252.html#ixzz1UZr0KQCB

Best wishes,

Steven

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#36) On August 09, 2011 at 10:26 PM, truthisntstupid (94.09) wrote:

Everyone wins, in my opinion.  I find much to agree with in every comment.  Yet you argue and talk past each other, and fail to acknowledge when one of you makes a valid point.

Are any of you running for office? .......just wondered....

Why can't you see it when one of you makes a point?  I can.

It's because you're too damn addicted to being "right"  to want to find any common ground. 

OrionNebula's point may be ugly...but it's real.  Read Dickens' Tale Of Two Cities."  You can deny some certain truths clear till it's your head being lopped off.

Me, I don't want to take anything from anyone.  Just get some things the hell out of my way.  Clean up the damned obstacle course.  I have nothing to say about social security.  If it's there, fine, I'll take it if I can get it.  If it isn't, oh well.  Nothing I can do about it.

Unions wrecked Detroit.  Just unions.  Nothing can ever convince me otherwise.  Not economic policies, or redistribution of wealth.  Just idiots who felt entitled to make big money right out of high school.

Our system is supposed to be based on Adam Smith's 'invisible hand'  of competition to bring the widest array of products to market at the best prices, with all participants acting in their own self-interest, which surprisingly results in the greatest good for the whole of society.

But if the value of everything is based on pure competition, the value of labor should be also governed by supply and demand.  For much of industrialized America, for the last half-dozen decades, a monkey wrench called "unionization"  was thrown into the gears of a machine that would have run much, much, better without it.

Witness the unions refusing to give another inch a few years ago while their companies almost (and should have) bit the dust.  Witness the bondholders getting screwed.  

The shareholders didn't get bailed out.  GM's shares were cancelled.  

The bondholders had to accept less than they were owed, from what I read - although I admit I wasn't much interested in the whole thing.  

No - the unions were the ones that got bailed out.  

Unions wrecked the area I'm from, too - a little area called the "quad-cities" that sits astride the Mississippi river straddling Iowa and Illinois.  We used to have a huge industrial base.  Caterpillar, John Deere, Inernational Harvestor,  JI Case, Alcoa...and hundreds of smaller shops that work was contracted out to from the bigger places because sometimes it was cheaper to pay other shops with non-union labor to manufacture some components than it was to pay their own union workers to do it.

 Around 1980 it all started drying up.  There were no jobs to be found.  I did what I hated most and had swore I'd never do again.  I went back in the service.  I had served 3 years in the army, from 1974-1977.  I had been out a little over 3 years, and now I had to go back in.  I hated the military, but you do what you have to do. I was married and had children.  

I went back in, but this time I joined the navy, because I had a little electronics training and I could go in at a higher rank and be guarateed two years of training. 

Fast forward - 9 years and a bad fall down a steep flight of steps on a helo carrier later.  I'm back home.  It's unrecognizable.  

JI Case's Bettendorf, Iowa plant has shut down and moved all operations to Burlington.  The city fathers all got sweet-talked somehow by some guy named Al Goldstein who somehow convinced them that letting Case go wasn't that bad - riverboat gambling would more than take up the slack.

Sure.  A couple thousand guys with big paychecks would be more than made up for by a few hundred people with little paychecks.  

John Deere Davenport Works and the Alcoa plant in Bettendorf were all that were left.  

I learned to hate the unions when Alcoa went on strike.

River Drive is a main artery going through Bettendorf to Davenport on the Iowa side of the river.  More than hundreds of people drive by that Alcoa plant every day.  It has to be thousands.

 The Quad-Cities area of the past is no more. Thousands of high-paying jobs are gone. There were thousands of displaced machinists, welders, skilled machine operators....all now scrambling to try to live on jobs that pay nothing compared to what they made just a few years earlier.

And thousands of them drove by that Alcoa plant and its damned picket line every stinkin' day.Where people that made upwards of $15 an hour with full medical and dental and a pension plan sat on their ass - on strike - for most of  3 or 4 months.

Huge numbers of people trying to live on $5 or $6 an hour...that had all the skills that those on strike had.  That would have leaped at the chance to take one of those strikers' jobs for half the money - even without the benefits.

Supply and demand. Is our economic model based on pure competition or not?  An organized gang shouldn't be given the blessing of our government in circumventing the proper operation of our way of life.

If prices, availability, and distribution of products services are to be governed by the invisible hand of competition...

What gives this group of people that only constituted 16% of the American workforce at the time I wrote my paper for an economics class (guess what it was about?) the right to place artificial barriers that are beneficial only to it at the expense of the other 84%?

You can't pick and choose.  If our economic model is to be based on competition, unions are bad news in a global economy.

Our jobs are gone.  You can't pay someone $30 an hour to do something and expect me to buy it when I can buy it 3 times cheaper at WalMart.  

I won't.  I can't afford to, and I wouldn't anyway. I make $9 an hour, and asking for my charity so you can make $30 an hour or more is absurdly retarded.

Another barrier to climbing out of poverty is that damned overtime law.  I'm sure unions got that one pushed through decades ago, too.  When I divorced, I had my child support set at $141 a week.  I cleared $190 at the time, and it forced me to drop out of college one semester short of my BA in accounting and work two full-time jobs.

I would have had to do that anyway, but it would have been easier for me if that damned overtime law wasn't there.  I had a job I loved, and they loved me, too...they would have given me all the hours I wanted if the law didn't require them to pay time-and-a-half for every hour beyond 40.  I'd have never gotten so far behind.  

What second job do any of you out there have that gives you time-and-a-half because you already worked 40 hours at your other job?   

I didn't think so....

I like to work.  I worked 68 hours last week.  This week I'll get over 60 hours.  After many, many, years of barely living, 7 years ago I found someone who would let me work.  Straight time is good enough for me. My summers are filled with weeks like this.  Beats having to find another job.

In passing this law to keep employers from exploiting workers, what thought was given to the fact that they were also taking away my right to exploit myself?  Who has the right to take that away?  Who thought they did?

I think unions had a lot to do with it.  Well, screw you guys, UAW and whoever else.  I'm making more money than I ever have and I'm doing far better than some of your buddies in Detroit have that don't have jobs any more.

And if they do, it's likely at some outfit that won't give them over 40 hours....that one came back and bit them right where it hurts, didn't it?

I agree with some of what every one on this page said.  And some things I have my own views on.  

Poor people could do a lot better if some of the stupid roadblocks were removed.  How many people are going to get as lucky as I did and find an employer who will let them work as much as mine lets me?  Not very many.

Make it easier for people to make more money, and remove some of the government interference that unions helped lobby to put in place.  I should at least be able to sign a waiver or something so that I can work enough hours for straight time to stand a chance of getting ahead without having to find a second job.

Taxes -  I may be a traitor to my own kind, but I happen to believe everybody that lives in this country should pay in something.  People you consider poor can, do, and will continue to manage to come up with their beer money every week and often every day!   Don'tthink they can't contribute soimething - especially if that damned overtime law is abolished.

Do we need unions?  Will we go back to people working dawn-to-dusk in unsafe working conditions, with violations of human rights swept under the rug?

Are you stupid?

We have OSHA now, we have minimum wage laws now, and we also now have in our history the fact that we once did need unions and so unions came into existence, and if need be they could grow in importance again.  

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#37) On August 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Do we need unions?  Will we go back to people working dawn-to-dusk in unsafe working conditions, with violations of human rights swept under the rug?

Yes. See somebodys complaint below.

I would have had to do that anyway, but it would have been easier for me if that damned overtime law wasn't there.  I had a job I loved, and they loved me, too...they would have given me all the hours I wanted if the law didn't require them to pay time-and-a-half for every hour beyond 40.  I'd have never gotten so far behind.

You had a job for ten bucks an hour, you found a second job for ten bucks an hour. What did you really lose? And you learned that you were not loved enough to be rewarded with fifiteen bucks an hour. Are you really complaining to us that your first job with a union paid you so well you could not find equal pay without your union, and then blaming the union for the financial problems you encountered earning lower wages in your non-union job?!

I like having rules that stop you from working long tiring hours at low pay in a dangerous job because then I do not have to take foolish risks as you do to be "competitive" and equally "exploited".

Those were good rules that used to protect the rest of us from matching your recklessness. I want those rules back for me and for my kids.

You asked a very good question when you asked; What gives this group of people that only constituted 16% of the American workforce at the time I wrote my paper for an economics class (guess what it was about?) the right to place artificial barriers that are beneficial only to it at the expense of the other 84%? I ask it differently. I ask what gives 10% of the American population the right to make rules to benefit their income streams at the expense of the other 90%?

Google "grumman sweet retirement pension" and read what gains were made from surrendering your pay and living standard along with your labor costs. But since you read my blog, you probably already know.

Best wishes,

Steven

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#38) On August 10, 2011 at 5:41 PM, truthisntstupid (94.09) wrote:

Steven,

The job that I was referring to was under corporate ownership.  Yes, they would have loved to give me the hours I needed, but had to answer to higher-ups.

We will never agree about unions, Steven, but I have enjoyed your debates with some others here, because I seem to agree with you on just about everything else. 

I don't see how it's fair to support union members' right to sit on their ass on a picket line in a community that has been economically devastatedwhile hundreds if not thousands of people drive by that are qualified to take their jobs and would gladly do so for much less than the union members are already making.

Our system is based on competition. The value of labor should be set by supply and demand also.  

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#39) On August 10, 2011 at 9:18 PM, truthisntstupid (94.09) wrote:

WHAT???

FOOLISH RISKS?  RECKLESSNESS? 

for  TRYING TO LIVE and stand a chance of climbing out of my lower-income status someday?

I've often thought you were so intelligent.

Apparently I mistook you for someone else. You are a jerk.

But that was my mistake.  You must believe we as a nation can keep paying ourselves the same high wages compared to the rest of the world that we once could when we once held a much more dominant economic status.  

We can't just make things to sell to ourselves while paying ourselves wages far above what others in this global economy make.  We can't isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.

Your union buddies that expect me, a $9 an hour cook in SW Missouri, to pay 5 times what I have to for a widget I can buy in WalMart much cheaper, so that they can continue to make five times more than I do are in for a rude awakening.

It may take time, but "sticky" wages will become unstuck.  Their employers will find themselves unable to compete.  More jobs will move to "right to work" states, or overseas.

Why should I pay more than I have to for all the products and services that I need and use every day...which means a lower standard of living for me and my family, so that someone else's kid can have a brand new car for his sixteenth birthday?

To expect such charity from all the non-union workers who make much less so that you can have so much more is absurd, impractical, and so "not going to happen."

 

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