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Valyooo (99.63)

The two best paragraph's I have read on my problem with socailaism

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February 22, 2013 – Comments (36)

From the abstract "Profit and Loss" By Ludwig van Mises.  Sorry about the weird formatting.

"However, in talking about equality and asking

vehemently for its realization, nobody advocates a curtailment of his own present income. The term equality

as employed in contemporary political language

always means upward leveling of one’s income, never

downward leveling. It means getting more, not sharing

one’s own affluence with people who have less.

If the American automobile worker, railroadman,

or compositor says equality, he means expropriating

the holders of shares and bonds for his own benefit.

He does not consider sharing with the unskilled workers who earn less. At best, he thinks of equality of all

American citizens. It never occurs to him that the peoples of Latin America, Asia, and Africa may interpret

the postulate of equality as world equality and not as

national equality." 

 

This sums up my feelings. It is very strange to me, because I have made this argument with people I know. I know people earning 25k-80k a year who complain that they struggle and wealth should be transferred from millionaires and billionaires to them since they are less well off.  Then I say, "there are people in China who made a hundred dollars a month.  In fact, if you earn 40k a year, you are earning more than most people in the world.  You have a mortgage and eat at restaurants and have a car, while there are many homeless in the world. Why not distribute your own wealth to people earning a dollar a day in sweat shops?".  They usually don't have a good reply, something along the lines of "well I would give money but I feel like I am not super wealthy and I want more."  to which I reply "Well millionaires want more too, and I bet the way a starving African views you is the same way you view Bill gates."  To which their response is usually  "It's just different".

 

To this day I have not heard a good argument to counter what I said.

 

Also strange to me, is that a man living in Nevada feels a much, much stronger connection to another man living in Florida who he never met since they are both Americans, while feeling no connection to a man he never met in China.  Why American equality?  Why not world equality? 

36 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 22, 2013 at 2:35 PM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill

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#2) On February 22, 2013 at 2:43 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

Awesome quote, never heard it before!

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#3) On February 22, 2013 at 3:19 PM, famiglia112 (< 20) wrote:

I've said for a while the only people who advocate for equality are the people who view themselves below what they view as fair.  This incentive structure was pretty successful during the civil rights movement, as there were only a few distinct groups of people and it was pretty clear who was and wasn't being treated fairly.  Financially, though, it turns out that most people think they'er being treated unfairly and, since wealth exists on a continuum, its always possible to point to someone else whose wealth should be distributed.

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#4) On February 22, 2013 at 5:20 PM, Mega (99.95) wrote:

If you don't know anyone who believes in economic equality and is generous, it really says a lot more about you than it does about society.  There are plenty of us out there.

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#5) On February 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM, EnigmaDude (98.06) wrote:

"It's not having what you want, its wanting what you've got."

Sheryl Crow

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#6) On February 22, 2013 at 6:39 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Have to go with mega on this one to a certain degree.  You might want to widen your circle of friends.  As for me I don't begrudge wealth, I begrudge obscene wealth mainly because I see it as a harm to society not a benefit.  I've argued enough about this elsewhere.

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#7) On February 22, 2013 at 7:43 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

I have no idea what you ar talking about.  Megashort is just being a snatch napkin because he doesn't understand real world trading and I call him out on it all the time.

 

I do plenty of volunteer work, and donate a little to charity, as does everybody in my family, most of my friends, my gilfriend is an active volunteer, and my hedge fund gives charitable contributions.

 

I am strongly, strongly in favor of charity.  I am just very much against welfare.  And my point still stands, that most people want wealth redistributed from people with more than they have....but for them to have their wealth redistributed to the starving children in other countries, oh heaven forbid that!

 

Awallejr, I can guarantee you that sweatshop workers abroad see you as having "obscene wealth".  But they must be wrong since their definition of obscene is inferior to yours right?  If you make 100k, somebody who makes 100x more than  you, which is 10 million a year, you would want that redistributed right?  Like 50% of their stuff maybe?  Or more?

What about the people making 1k a year?  Should you give half of your wealth to them, or more?  Or is it "just different"? 

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#8) On February 22, 2013 at 7:47 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

My mom gave birth to me when she was 18 and my grandma was 38.  I never met my father.  My mother never met her father.  I grew up in a terrible apartment in Brooklyn with rats and roaches, my mom slept on the couch for the first decade of my life.  Yet she never asked for a handout.  She went to college while working 50 hours a week, got a degree in accounting, and now earns a nice living.  She never complained that others made more than her.  I worked through college as well, I never had anything handed to me, and I did volunteer work at a Church for 6 years every single week.  Charity is good. Welfare based on grumblers complaining because they are not as productive as some others is terrible.  How do you define "obscene" without being incredibly subjective?

Take a walk through my old neighborhood, tell people how much money you make, and I guarantee you they will redistribute their wealth yourself.  Awallejr, I bet you make more than 90% of the people on this earth...get a clue 

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#9) On February 22, 2013 at 8:34 PM, Mega (99.95) wrote:

"Megashort is just being a snatch napkin because he doesn't understand real world trading and I call him out on it all the time."

Thanks for the laugh. 

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#10) On February 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Valyooo I have seen a heck of a lot more than you so stop with the nasty "get a clue" comments.  Either discuss as an adult or I won't waste time with your blogs anymore.

I have problems with all the wealth stolen from the people in pretty much every country.  All those Russian billionaires who just took the natural resources from their fellow Russians.  And Communist China which in theory is based on equality for all but instead is based on George Orwell's some people are more equal than others.  Or your African warlords who just form little armies and rob their fellow country men.  I can go on and on in pretty much every country including the United States.

This Country was pretty much formed stealing away the land of another race.  You might want to read a book on John Rockerfeller and comment on how he was really one peach of a guy.  And during the last decade, how much wealth was literally stolen and few ever got prosecuted instead just fines handed out which the taxpayer always winds up paying.  1.6 Billion dollars missing and Jon Corzine gets a pass.

The person that needs to get a clue is you.  1 out of 6 people in THIS country lives in poverty.  4 out of 10 literally live from paycheck to paycheck.

Of course I have it better than some starving Ethiopian so what's your point?  Not to still try to improve things at least in my country because other countries have it worse?

I am pretty much a selfmade man.  With very little student loans I worked my way through college and law school.  I came from a lower middle class family so my parents could only send me $10 a week.  After school I worked for a lawyer for about 2 years and then went on my own and have been self employed ever since.  I survived near bankruptcy as a result of getting involved in businesses trying to help family. I survived a brain hemmorhage one month after my health insurance lapsed. That was some hospital bill I received (although I did knock it down about half because man can they overcharge).  So there's a little of my life's story.

So if you whine about how the people YOU hang out with cry that they want wealth redistributed to them tell them to play the lottery and dream.

Here's some charts for your perusal:

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#

And here's another thread where a more detailed discussion occurred:

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/for-devoish-and-awallejr/786086

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#11) On February 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM, zzlangerhans (99.73) wrote:

I know many people who believe they believe in economic equality and are generous. However, if you point out to them that to achieve true worldwide economic equality they would have to lower their standard of living dramatically, they claim that they were born disadvantaged and earned everything they have through hard work and ingenuity. If you point out to them that their perceived disadvantages at birth were trivial compared to the birth disadvantages of 90% of the rest of the world they start to lose their temper. If you point out that the opportunities they took advantage of to improve their standard of living are predicated upon exploitation of 90% of people in the developing world they no longer wish to continue the conversation.

True equality and generosity are easy to believe in theoretically, but a US presidential candidate running on a platform of world equality and prosperitywouldn't get 1% of the vote.

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#12) On February 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"To this day I have not heard a good argument to counter what I said."

Well, if your mind is already made up, then nothing will convince you.

75% of Americans donate to charity. That pretty much refutes the Mises quote.

"However, in talking about equality and asking vehemently for its realization, nobody advocates a curtailment of his own present income."

Then why do all the rich "liberal elites", in states like Connecticut, keep voting for politicians who implement some of the highest tax rates in the country?

The fact is, the richest states in the country are the ones who consistantly vote for liberal policies regarding welfare, etc. Yet those states have the most to lose, and the least to gain, from those policies.

Mises is trying to portray "liberals" as being hypocrites - but this portrayal is completely baseless and untrue.

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#13) On February 24, 2013 at 10:22 AM, MoneyWorksforMe (< 20) wrote:

 awallejr makes some very good points.

I would also like to add this point: Take a man with a bacehlor's degree and 5 years of industry related experience making 50,000 year. Now take an executive at that same company with a bachelor's degree in the same field, with 15 years industry related experience making 2,000,000/yr excluding bonuses etc.

Is the executive 40 times more productive (beneficial to the economy) than the man making 50,000/yr!?

To put this another way: I'd have to take the middle income earner and replicate him 40 times to make them equivalent to the executive's economic productivity. That is insane. If I separated the one executive from the 40 middle income earners and said "build me a business" and asked you to make a bet on which group would be more successful, you'd have to be completely delusional to pick the executive.

In short, I'm not saying people shouldn't be able to make over $1mill/yr, but I feel in many cases, salaries at a certain level (250 to 500k) seriously start to lose any connection with economic reality. 

 

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#14) On February 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Not sure why.... but I feel the need to post this scene-

http://www.youtube.com/embed/7AEMiz6rcxc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

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#15) On February 24, 2013 at 1:05 PM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Let me try that again-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AEMiz6rcxc

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#16) On February 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Great movie btw Harry.

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#17) On February 24, 2013 at 9:05 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

75% of Americans donate to charity. That pretty much refutes the Mises quote.

Actually, the opposite.  Because are humans are naturally generous, there is no need whatsover to have a violent institution expropriate us in the hopes of making us "more generous." 

Some form of voluntary wealth redistribution is found in every human society, even among the most hardcore individualists.  Humans are simply generous people when they are allowed to freely interact.  

But for some, human generosity simply isn't enough.  And they feel that if we have a violent minority threaten us into giving more, that will make the world a better place.

Mises is referring specifically to that group.  The Etatists.  He is not referring to those who voluntarily take the time to donate and work for charity.  

David in Liberty

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#18) On February 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM, famiglia112 (< 20) wrote:

A different spin on what some people have already said here is that I think people really just hate being held accountable.  For instance, if there was no welfare, entitlements, etc, what would stop you from personally helping out your neighbor?  Helping them pay for an education?  Rebuilding after a hurricane?  Your parents' medical bills?  I don't think anything is stopping you.

If you don't wish to help these people and can more than cover your own life expenses then others could accurately portray you as greedy or selfish.  If you do choose to help them substantially, others could praise you as generous.  Either way it is YOU who would be responsible for your actions.

Now enter government intervention which takes any and apparently close to all accountability off of specific individuals.  Now to do your share to aid the disadvantaged, all you have to do is vote to spend someone else's money.  Wow, how generous of you!

What I'm getting at is people should "put up or shut up."  If helping people is important to you, you can work hard, make extra money, and donate it.  Don't have a high paying job?  You can volunteer your time to make a difference.  If those things sound too hard, then I guess it doesn't really mean that much to you, does it?  Don't just vote to spend other people's money and act like you're saving the world.  You haven't personally contributed anything.

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#19) On February 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM, JaysRage (90.49) wrote:

A few thoughts.   

I agree with several of the people who have accurately pointed out that there is very little poverty in the U.S., by world standards.   Most of the poor in the U.S. would be middle class or rich in developing countries.  I find it ironic that scoff at that wealth disparity when it comes mostly on the pure dumb luck of having been born in the richest county in the world.   90% of all charitable contributions go to assist the upper 20% of the world's wealthiest people.  Only 10% goes to those who are poor, by the world's standards...    Personally, I prefer a system where people are allowed to assist those who they feel have the greatest need.  I have a passion for helping those in extreme poverty.   I spend time and money on those causes because they are important to me and because I feel that they make a significant difference in the lives of those people.   They stretch every dollar to its maximum and waste very little.   I am also consistently put to shame by the genorosity of the people in those countries as I interact with them.  They give far more of what they make to help others. They have little, but they still give generously.   For the most part, Americans give of their surplus, myself included.

My biggest issue with entitlements such as welfare is when the benefits are so rich that it becomes a job choice.    

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/welfare-pays-better-than-work-study-finds-36000-a-year-in-hawaii/123

I also find government-run institutions to be particularly inefficient, when compared to charities that provide similar services.   

I also think there is an illusion that wealth is easy to create.  

Most of the wealthy people that I know have made sacrifices at some point in their lives in order to set themselves up for wealth later in life.....whether it be paying their own way through school, investing in an advanced degree, saving and investing instead of spending, starting a small business in their "free time" and then working long hours on that business to make it profitable, working extra hours to earn promotions or bonuses.....the list goes on and on.    

They have sacrificed to earn a higher standard of living.   Why does the "average Joe" who has not sacrificed entitled to a greater standard of living without sacrifice or, worse yet, with no effort at all?  

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#20) On February 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM, JaysRage (90.49) wrote:

To put this another way: I'd have to take the middle income earner and replicate him 40 times to make them equivalent to the executive's economic productivity. That is insane. If I separated the one executive from the 40 middle income earners and said "build me a business" and asked you to make a bet on which group would be more successful, you'd have to be completely delusional to pick the executive. 

--Call me delusional.   I would take one exceptional individual over 40 average ones to start a business in a heartbeat.  Sure, it's possible that the executive is an average person that lucked into his situation, but I'd say the odds are low.  If there was an entrepeneur in the group of 40 average-earners, I would think tha they would have done it already.  More likely is that with the executive, I'd be looking at a person who has an understanding of leadership, budgets and basic market economics.   Give me that guy to start a business every time.   

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#21) On February 27, 2013 at 2:41 PM, sheldonross (34.40) wrote:

Reminds me of this. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHGCz6xxiw

 Socialism has so many problems, it's hard to pick a few and comment on them. 

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#22) On February 27, 2013 at 2:51 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Oh please Ken Lewis did one hell of a job at BOA.  Fuld, Wagoner, McClendon, Buhlman, Corzine. The list can go on and on.  For one Gates and Jobs I can probably name 100s that are just ripping companies off with their incompetence and pay packages.  Ask Carl Icahn what he thinks of CEOs.

There is no justification for that kind of income growth disparity as the charts showed in #10.  There was and is outright thievery going on and all the prosecuting agencies want to do is just fine (the cost of which is only passed on to the average joe in the end).

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#23) On February 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM, NewAlchemist (50.12) wrote:

The original post is dead on and I've often wondered the same thing.  The reality is that socialism preys on envy.  Somebody else has more than you so give me power so I can take it from them and give to you!

Is the executive 40 times more productive (beneficial to the economy) than the man making 50,000/yr?

 Is the NBA super star 1,000 times more productive to the economy than the police officer?

 

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#24) On March 10, 2013 at 10:58 AM, dillbeans (44.53) wrote:

At risk of cutting the baby in half: We need inequality because that's what creates incentive. But too much inequality is bad for society and bad for the economy. And bad for our political system. We currently have too much inequality. The Bush tax cuts made that worse. I make less than 100k and my taxes are too low. I give to charity but not enough, because I am basically pretty selfish. So are you (not talking to anyone in particular here). Charity is great, and more efficient than government, but it can never take the place of government. Socialism is a straw man. There are hardly any actual Socialists in this country.

Well, that's quite a ramble! 

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#25) On March 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM, dillbeans (44.53) wrote:

"in talking about equality and asking

vehemently for its realization, nobody advocates a curtailment of his own present income."

Not true: Plenty of very rich people nowadays are saying their taxes should be raised-- see Buffett and Gates, for example, who both know a thing or two about wealth creation. 

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#26) On March 12, 2013 at 8:01 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

Buffett begs for this, yet he himself pays an extremely low tax rate.  

Also, some of these corporations asking for higher taxes 1) are friends with the politicians, so they support them in exchange for favors 2) Increased regulatory fees like sarbane-oxley pretty much make an extremely high barrier to entry for new comers.  If a new comer had to pay 5 million a year in regulatory fees, it would be easy for them to fail.  A big established company will gladly pay 5 million a year to squash would-be competitors. 

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#27) On March 12, 2013 at 8:24 PM, Treborn822 (87.89) wrote:

I think it is interesting that people try to equate a higher tax rate to socialism. It is not related. It is simply a tax rate. Sometimes taxes can be too high - Sometimes they can be too low. But those taxes are used to pay for government spending. Raising taxes to pay our debt is not socialism. It is simply paying our debts.

Taxes can favor the wealthy - Or the poor. It depends how they are implemented.

We do however have socialism active right now. Our police force, our fire departments, and elementary and high public school systems, transportation and our military.

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#28) On March 12, 2013 at 9:59 PM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

I think it is interesting that people try to equate a higher tax rate to socialism. It is not related. It is simply a tax rate. Sometimes taxes can be too high - Sometimes they can be too low. But those taxes are used to pay for government spending.

Agreed, why should anyone pay a higher or lower rate than anyone else regardless of income?

A flat tax would solve this problem.

It's not socialism if everyone is paying the same rates.

Of course the beancounter section of society would object to this as they might end up in the lower scale of taxpayers, even though the rate would be the same for all.

The disenfranchised would also be ticked as welfare would be taxed.

At least everyone would have equal skin in the game. Lets just start with %20 taxes on the rich with no loopholes.

%20 taxes on the middle class (same deal no loopholes)

%20 taxes on entitlements for the poor.

I think we would be booming in no time (might need to send all politicians on a Haitian vacation for this to work).

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#29) On March 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Harry I love ya but unless you are filthy rich (in which case I at least understand your viewpoint) you are probably arguing against your own self interest.  The problem with a flat tax is its IMPACT on the economic classes. 

A flat tax helps the wealthy far more than the poor since they don't have to literally spend everything they earn to survive.  In addition income tax is not the only source of revenue for the Government.  In fact it isn't even half.  Everytime I hear Kudlow and his ilk talk about INCOME tax and whine how so many don't pay any as an argument to lower rates on the rich I want to throw rotten vegetables at them.

Go look at your phone bill and cable bill next time.  Oh and that water bill.  Or check to see what payments you are making when you fill up your car with gas.  Or when you pay toll on the highways and tunnels and bridges.  Or your payroll tax that is for medicare and social security that the rich want to take back.  Or the sales tax paid when you buy things like clothes.

Everyone pays plenty except those living from paycheck to paycheck get it the hardest despite Romney's 47% comment.

As I argued in comment #10 with my other link.  I submit that higher tax caps on the rich is actually beneficial and low tax caps have been harmful.  And only I have history to point to which I did.  But until the masses get angry enough and start booting people out of Congress it isn't going to change.

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#30) On March 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

Maybe the right thing to do is argue for what is right instead of arguing for your own interest

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#31) On March 13, 2013 at 5:56 PM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

And what I am arguing for is what is right.  But that is my point of view.

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#32) On March 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Harry I love ya but unless you are filthy rich

Thanks man, and no I'm not filthy rich. That's why I made no mention of only income tax. My proposal was more a 20%  rate for all taxes paid. (seems to me the rich would actually be paying their fair share under this arrangement, Corporations included no more hiding the cash overseas) Right now I pay a much higher tax rate then millionares and billionares, with the influx of cash, my theory is we would be sitting pretty.

I understand this would be a logistical nightmare at the beginning as it would probably be quite confusing, and I'm sure government would muck it all up.

But I can dream, can't I ;)

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#33) On March 13, 2013 at 9:08 PM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Blast from the past-

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/a-glaring-sign-of-a-broken/748561

I guess my point is-

 Just blow up the tax code as it's obviously not working.

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#34) On March 14, 2013 at 1:17 AM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Unfortunately it won't happen, too many lobbyists.  Flat tax sounds nice but as I argued it hurts the poor over the rich.  And contrary to Val's insinuation, I actually benefit with a flat tax but still argue against it.

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#35) On March 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM, Valyooo (99.63) wrote:

I wasn't really insinuating anything, I was referring to you saying "you are probably arguing against your own self interest." to HCG

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#36) On March 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM, awallejr (82.72) wrote:

Well I would have preferred you to have discussed the content of that blog of mine.  My viewpoint on taxes is not popular I suspect, but time will tell when the masses start waking up to what has taken place so far this century, namely probably the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to a small percentage of people.

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