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I do go on about Pensions....



November 23, 2008 – Comments (14)

I saw this quote ...

"Democracy is a form of government that cannot long survive, for as soon as the people learn that they have a voice in the fiscal policies of the government, they will move to vote for themselves all the money in the treasury, and bankrupt the nation." ~ Karl Marx

Democracy will be interesting moving forward, given that this is so true...  With the bailouts, pensions and social security, countries have essentially bankrupted themselves, even though not everyone believes it yet.

Time, it is just a matter of time...

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 23, 2008 at 3:28 PM, outoffocus (23.76) wrote:

Hey Dwot, Very true.  As to the reasons why, see my new blog post on the education of elected officials.  Its HILARIOUS!

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#2) On November 23, 2008 at 4:40 PM, abitare (30.15) wrote:

"the US will go bankrupt, it is only a matter of time. This I guarantee"

Marc Faber

13 Oct 08 

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#3) On November 23, 2008 at 4:45 PM, LouieJunior (26.68) wrote:

It was Ben Franklin who quipped "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

It almost lasted 233 years! Get ready for Omerika

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#4) On November 23, 2008 at 6:33 PM, jeffduby (22.45) wrote:

I don't know if this is true or not but the earliest citation I could find came from this quote:

Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of
Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some
2,000 years earlier:

'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
permanent form of government.'

'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.'

'From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who
promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that
every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is
always followed by a dictatorship.'

'The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of
history, has been about 200 years'

'During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the
following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage'

Although I doubt he was the first one to say it either. These are the type of common sense concepts that have been around since the athenian days themselves. This particular quote comes from the writings of Donnernv



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#5) On November 23, 2008 at 7:23 PM, johnw106 (< 20) wrote:

Yes but we are not a Democracy.
We are a democratic Republic. There is a difference. And a true Republic by its very nature is socialist in its principle objectives.

Government by the people (through representation) for the people (policy to maintain the general well being of the public).

We can not revert to an agrarian society based on family farms supporting small citys/villages. To ensure the well being and safety of the general public we have to provide housing and finacial security to the less  fortunate(Social Security and medicaid). To do other wise would result in millions of peasants living in abject poverty.

 But I do agree we should not punish the wealthy or those of the middle class. All should pay their fair share of taxes. If they have no job and are on the public dole they should be required to perform community service instead.

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#6) On November 24, 2008 at 9:39 AM, russiangambit (28.83) wrote:

John, there has been very strong push in the last 10 years to do away with anyting with a socialist falvor since it is considered to be a "welfare" and people cannot stand welfare.As far as I can tell in an average american thinking socilist= communist = nazist = very very bad.

I commend dwot for being brave enough to quote Karl Marx, the guy definitely had a lot of insight in workings of a society.  May be because she is Canadian. -)) In the UsU talking about Marx is the same as talking about Hitler and Main Kamp, a tabu.

Whatever left of social programs in the US is so distorted , they will simply have to die and be reborn. If there will be political will to have them reborn, otherwise they will simply die.

As for being the Republic vs. Democracy, the republic gave us Iraq war, which majority objected too. I am not sure republic is any better. 

I believe wealthy have the majority of benefits right now. They live in large from income on capital gains , and the tax is low. Middle class pays higher taxes on their ordinary income. I don't consider it to be balanced or fair. We do have socialism for the rich.

Corporations use all kinds of tax schemes to lower their income taxes. When I worked at HPQ, their effective income tax was 8%. Various payroll taxes for social programs are of much more concern to them, and to reduce them they cut US jobs and move them overseas, where social programs are sponsored through other means. But nobody talks about it. About our outsourcing being caused by payroll tax and government shifting the burden for social programs to corporations. Cutting income tax rate will do very little for corporations.

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#7) On November 24, 2008 at 10:50 AM, thismarketrox (99.19) wrote:

Comment would seem to be more about entitlements and tax credits than about pensions.


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#8) On November 24, 2008 at 12:44 PM, jgseattle (26.15) wrote:

If you look at GM and you look at the US government you will see a lot of similarities. 

I think if you look at a politico and think about his motivation you will see it is to be reelected.  Because of the politicos need for power he will do anything to stay in power.  So this makes it almost impossible for the politico to go to the people and say

"yes I voted to let C, AIG, MER, LEH, GM, F..... fail because we need to clear the system of failed companies so capital can find its way to well run and I are going to need to sacrafice for a few years while we retrain and retool our economy, it will be hard but we will be better off."

Now if policies that created hardship were put into place the party infliciting the hardship would be voted out the polices overturned after 2 or 4 years.

If you think I am way off the mark look at the highest office.  What is the goal of almost every 1 term president?  And when he is replaced look at how many of his policies are reversed. 

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#9) On November 24, 2008 at 12:52 PM, rocksnot (28.36) wrote:

Marx was brilliant, although so is Friedman.  It is possible for brilliant people to make brilliant arguments on completely different sides of a fence.

I feel that there are 3 Achilles heels in dwot's Marx quote.

1) We are not a true Democracy (I speak of America here); we simply elect a member of the governing class as a theoretical proxy to decide complicated things for us. Our "representatives" are not actually very representative of us.

2) We have a winner-take-all form of Democracy (as opposed to something more representative like Germany has), which is an even stronger reinforcer of the governing class.

3) And the strongest argument against Marx's view in this situation is that we've found a sort of trick here in the Modern World, where our "ownership" society means most folks are invested in the health of our economy through stocks.  In fact, our concern for our retirements is still much larger than our desire for handouts for everyone, which is why there has been such an outcry against the bailouts.  We've made corporations our Kings, and thus us their servants.

It may seem as though I sound negative about the above situation, but that isn't true, becuase I really don't know of a better system that is still practical.

The bailouts for the financial system have been sold on the premise that bailing out the banks is actually best for everyone, so it's OK to tax everyone to do it.  That belief made it politically feasible.  The backlash against the automakers seems to be forming much larger.  It will be interesting to see if they are able to convince everyone that it is in the country's best interest to bail them out again...  And it will also be interesting to see how far down this rabbit's hole we go...

And BTW, pensions generally should be illegal.  And social security's retirement age should float with our ability to pay it.  But those are arguments for another day.

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#10) On November 24, 2008 at 2:31 PM, GeneralDemon (26.71) wrote:

During the downside of a normal correction, when reactionary governmental response is routine and expected - for you to quote Marx reveals an unlovely aspect of your intellect.

Did I miss something - Didn't Marx's communism spark a epoch of massive human suffering? 

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#11) On November 24, 2008 at 3:35 PM, DemonDoug (31.22) wrote:


The US has incorporated all 10 planks from the Communist Manifesto in some way, shape, or form.  (Of course most of these were incorporated before Marx was even born.)

Communism is the most misunderstood political ideology out there IMO.

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#12) On November 24, 2008 at 4:19 PM, rocksnot (28.36) wrote:

GeneralDemon, your comment is difficult to understand.  Are you saying that you disagree or agree with the factual correctness of dwot's post?  Or are you simply making a character judgment based on her willingness to quote someone you don't like?

It seems that you are trying to say that you don't like Marx because some of his beliefs were incorporated by some governments that became too abusive of their people, and therefore you transfer that dislike to dwot? 

Friend, there is something to be learned even from the most despicable people that have ever lived, and even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  Although I disagree with Marx's quote above, it has some merit, I think it is quite absurd to insult dwot based on her view on a single quote of his. You are transferring the actions of Stalin all the way to dwot.  That's a big stretch.  Whether Marx's views were abused by powerful men is not relevant to whether dwot should be insulted.

And yes, you are missing something, because although some communism sparked massive human suffering, much of what Marx wrote has enormous value.

"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

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#13) On November 25, 2008 at 2:02 PM, ButtSauce (43.23) wrote:

The public did not vote themselves hordes of cash - an organization that should not even exist (Fed) is doling out money to poorly run banks and occasionally trying to sate the people's anxiety by dumping "stimulus packages" on them. In fact, many people object to the way the bail outs are being handled, including me. Also, entitlements were not created directly by the people either, and it should also be noted that they worked fine for years when population growth ensured there were enough people working to support retirees, so they need to be overhauled. Entitlements like social security will have to return to what they were in the beginning, which was a safety net that made sure the destitute did not starve to death. The idea that the public is creating our own downfall is pretty whack. The common people didn't create the massive, over-leveraged credit default swap market that dwarfs Wall Street and allows companies to take out insurance policies on other companies - this is at best sanctioned gambling. I didn't even know there was such a market until this year. Out implosion more to do with massive deregulation, corruption and mismanagement.

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#14) On November 26, 2008 at 1:04 PM, rookie02 (54.16) wrote:

the difference that we see in todays democratic republic or democracy or socialistic society (all or one depending on your oppinions) is that never before has the world been so innerdependant upon each others economies. for instance when rome fell there was no great nation that completely depended on rome's economy to aid in thier recovery. although aid from other countries is not something that many look for in america because we are so used to being the ones to aid, it will happen. if america goes bankrupt completely the ramifications on a global scale would casue more problems for other economic giants (china, japan) than could be gained by letting us drown. the governments problems are certainly in need of fixing, and i am not trying to say that our system of government will continue forever as it is today, but i will say that to even toy with any kind of seriousness that america will go bankrupt and democracy will end should quickly be followed by the purchase of a one way plane ticket by that individual to the country of thier choosing. these same quotes you are posting came from the same person who once said

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

-Ben Franklin Nov 13 1787-


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