Damn these freeloading billionaires!

So Warren called billionaires freeloaders because they paid around 3.2% of their total worth as tax this year while the rest paid 7.2% of their wealth. I think it is f***king stupid that he used % of total worth to say that billionaires are "Freeloaders".

But I might be the one that is stupid. Let me know if I am.

Thanks.

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Comments (112)

Feb 1, 2019

I think the point is thats not how the system was designed to work.. The way marginal rates work is that the wealthier are supposed to pay a higher marginal rate on each incremental $ amount above a bracket.

Billionaires haven't made their wealth through income though, they have through equity, and capital gains are taxed less. That will probably change at some point, but I hope if it does it just affects the mega rich. Would have huge negative consequences on the markets as well as middle class retirement..

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Feb 5, 2019

Absolutely. Correct me if I'm wrong but is it fair to tax bezos for his gigantic stake in AMZN? Its not like the man can actively liquidate his equity and use it at this point.

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Feb 1, 2019

I agree, you absolutely cannot tax someone until they liquidate. Would be ridiculous if a CEO had to sell down to pay taxes on an equity position.

Feb 1, 2019
LeonTree:

I agree, you absolutely cannot tax someone until they liquidate. Would be ridiculous if a CEO had to sell down to pay taxes on an equity position.

That's not how K-1s work. Getting an equity stake, even an illiquid one, will cost you in taxes. I've heard of new partners needing to take out a loan to pay said taxes.

Feb 1, 2019

I wasn't referring to partnerships. I think the target of Warren's ire are the Billionaires and not brand new IB/B4/Consulting/PE partners. I would assume that after that initial tax on the equity position, the Parternship would be distributing dividends that would pay for those taxes with the income that was generated that incurred the tax..?

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Feb 1, 2019

That's correct.
I'm also eating crow for reading this thread too fast.

Feb 1, 2019

I mean, property taxes are based on the value of an asset that can't be easily liquidated, and that's far more punitive to the average person that to Jeff Bezos having to liquidate some of his stock.

Feb 4, 2019

Nah, that's exactly how the system was designed to work... If it was so bad/wrong a course correction would have taken place by now. The people who have the most juice seem to be satisfied with how it is...

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Most Helpful
Feb 1, 2019

The tax system is structured well, lower capital gains promotes investment, something that is important if the general human tendency is to procrastinate. The tax bracket system gives a little bit of the socialist aspect Warren yearns for. If it aint broke, dont fix it. Dont make policies based on the outliers.

Screw the government, its really easy for them to think the problem is low taxes. The problem is always exterior to oneself. The government sucks at anything it tries to do, the best thing we could do is work to privatize the government.

I guess the real problem is Warren is a politician and she says things that appeal to the people, the people are stupid and they like it when Warren says things like the billionaires are freeloading... most people dont have a business mind, they dont know how to generate wealth, they dont know that entrepreneurialism is the foundation of the comforts they enjoy, we should buy everyone a trip to Venezuala and let them see what happens when the entrepreneurial foundations are destroyed. That might be the best use of taxpayer money I have heard in a long time.

rant over

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Feb 1, 2019
REPESailor2020:

we should buy everyone a trip to Venezuala and let them see what happens when the entrepreneurial foundations are destroyed. That might be the best use of taxpayer money I have heard in a long time.

Wherever you are, can you hear me clapping?

Feb 1, 2019

bravo

Feb 1, 2019

.

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Feb 2, 2019

Elizabeth Warren, not Warren Buffett....

Feb 1, 2019

.

Feb 8, 2019

Eh they both basically say the same nonsense now, just for different reasons. One is because she is stupid and the other is because he is smart enough to realize that if you erect walls known as regulation and taxation you can prevent newcomers from coming to take what is yours.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Feb 1, 2019

Amen. Most people think anyone who's mastered wealth-generation is already a crook or cheating them in some way. They even rail against Howard Schultz, a man who was literally once quite poor, and think he's some robber baron snob. It's absolutely ridiculous.

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Feb 4, 2019
REPESailor2020:

Screw the government, its really easy for them to think the problem is low taxes. The problem is always exterior to oneself. The government sucks at anything it tries to do, the best thing we could do is work to privatize the government.

Wow. Really? Nevermind the merits of everything else you said, this one comment discredits your credibility. Let's just step back, turn our brains on for a minute, and contemplate "Does government do anything well?"

Let's see

  • When a hurricane/tornado/fire/flood rips through your community and destroys your home (that you commendably worked so hard for), does a private company write a check, irregardless of insurance exclusions or any other 'barrier' to claim?** The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)** provides support to disaster victims.
  • When you're traveling abroad, and you need assistance ASAP, Consulates provide the full weight and support of the US government.
  • That road you drove to work, went to the store, went to check on your grandmother, ETC, the government built that road.
  • Did you eat any fresh produce or meat lately? The USDA inspected that food, providing some certainty from a credible authority that you're not going to end up in a grave after some nasty foodborne illness.
  • Did you go to a public school growing up? The government does a great job educating and it's one of the reasons why this country is so powerful and leads in innovation.
  • Have you ever communicated with someone, by internet, cable, or radio? Guess what, the government is really good at promoting the development of communications technology through subsidies, research, and assets of the government. Let's not even get into other technologies (GPS, MRI) developed by way of the military or other government programs like NASA.
  • Public safety - let me not even waste the energy here. America the Free? Hello? It's not "Private Defense Contractor, LLC, America the Free (however, only if you paid your monthly membership fee to stay free and protected)"

Government isn't perfect, just like your waistline/your smile/your whatever isn't perfect (or mine), but I'm sick and tired of people ignorantly saying government does nothing or sucks at whatever it does.

It's easy to complain and spread opinions that don't reflect reality. Let's all try to do less of that.

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Feb 1, 2019

At what cost?

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Feb 4, 2019
REPESailor2020:

At what cost?

What do you even mean?

Feb 5, 2019

Just because you can eventually cut a steak with a spoon doesn't mean it's better than the knife...

He's saying "At what cost" by implying that the government is bad. And the areas that aren't bad (those you mentioned above) tend to be, on average, quite inefficient. Far more inefficient than say, if a private company were tasked to do the same.

I do understand you can't just hand governmental processes to a private company for a litany of reasons, but I believe this is what REPE was trying to get at.

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Feb 4, 2019
FinancelsWacc:

Just because you can eventually cut a steak with a spoon doesn't mean it's better than the knife...

He's saying "At what cost" by implying that the government is bad. And the areas that aren't bad (those you mentioned above) tend to be, on average, quite inefficient. Far more inefficient than say, if a private company were tasked to do the same.

I do understand you can't just hand governmental processes to a private company for a litany of reasons, but I believe this is what REPE was trying to get at.

He's asking a rhetorical question. It's impossible to answer "At what cost" because the same could be said about privatization causing negative consequences.

Obviously this is where the debate goes. Society is so large and complex that both government and private industry do different things with efficiency, some of which overlap and some of which don't. But the world is not black and white. Certainly there's lots of evidence showing privatization creates efficiencies but there's also evidence that privatization has been a disaster (examples being the private prison complex and private healthcare systems).

REPE simply stated that "government sucks at anything it tries to do". I disagree with that misinformation. Not trying to get into black-hole debate about "but at what cost".

Feb 5, 2019

Fair point in rebutting his "gov sucks at anything". I agree it's never black and white and the solution almost always lies somewhere in the middle of "privatize the gov" and "it's fine the way it is".

Feb 6, 2019
FinancelsWacc:

Just because you can eventually cut a steak with a spoon doesn't mean it's better than the knife...

He's saying "At what cost" by implying that the government is bad. And the areas that aren't bad (those you mentioned above) tend to be, on average, quite inefficient. Far more inefficient than say, if a private company were tasked to do the same.

I do understand you can't just hand governmental processes to a private company for a litany of reasons, but I believe this is what REPE was trying to get at.

Yeah but what he was trying to get at is a childish and puerile point which any intelligent observer can refute pretty easily.

As @The_RE_Dude says, there are plenty of functions which public entities perform much better at than private entities. And guess what? It tends to be in functions which are inherently more inefficient that the government steps in. Funding schools and infrastructure and other universal goods are not tasks which private enterprise can handle efficiently, either, which is why they don't. All of these things are given government subsidy or are subject to outright government control, because government is the only entity within society with the resources to effectively fund them, and if we can be as blunt as possible, with the monopoly on force with which to compel its citizens to contribute to that common good. If you privatize it, then you essentially transferring the "waste" and inefficiency of government into private pockets. Is it inherently better that a private concern make a 20% profit margin with the help of government extraction, than the government do it itself and "waste" that same 20%?

To say "at what cost" is to ignore the fact that private companies often provide less comprehensive service, and are anyways incentivized to continually cut corners on those services, in the name of higher profits. Or rather, that is what happens in practice, rather than theory. Moreover, as our Republican friends often forget (at least until the entitlement train pulls up at their door), our government and our fellow citizens and ourselves are bound by a social contract, which by it's very nature implies that we all sacrifice for the common good. There isn't a billionaire in this country that didn't get that way in enormous part by exploiting, for comparatively nothing, the public infrastructure, both social and physical, that the United States government has built.

Jeff Bezos would be homeless and on the streets if he couldn't have used public roads to deliver his goods. His company would be worth comparatively nothing if he was forced to pay a cartel of private toll road operators whatever they wished. Government breaks up cartels and pooled pricing. Government pays for the construction and upkeep of the highway system. While I don't think a wealth tax is the right solution, I do think it's preposterous to pretend like we live in the fantasy-land of Atlas Shrugged or Lord of the Rings, where individuals and individuals are capable of making profound social, political, or economic changes to society.

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Feb 7, 2019

Well, I for one didn't sign a social contract and am only compelled to contribute to our governmental bloat by force. It's econ 101 that government intervention results in dead-weight loss. To your point of public schools, we spend the most on education, but don't even sniff the top-10 in terms of performance- that's a pretty poor ROI if you ask me.

As another example, ignoring the fact that SSI will be insolvent in my lifetime, most Americans would easily beat SSI returns if the money was just given to them in the first place.

I could go on regarding medical care, agricultural subsidies, the MINC, etc. I'd be more than happy to discuss the nuances that @The_RE_Dude alluded to, but I'll be damned if FEMA and the USDA and other government minutiae should warrant 40% of my income.

Edit: Since it just hit me, we could also talk about how great of a job FEMA did during Katrina

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Feb 6, 2019
rothbard814:

Well, I for one didn't sign a social contract and am only compelled to contribute to our governmental bloat by force. It's econ 101 that government intervention results in dead-weight loss. To your point of public schools, we spend the most on education, but don't even sniff the top-10 in terms of performance- that's a pretty poor ROI if you ask me.

Of course you did. You live here, don't you? Every day you are renewing the social contract. Literally nothing stops you from going to Antarctica and ekeing out a free existence on unclaimed land. After all, it's not like you have any right to your property in the US if it was only obtained because of the government upholding and enforcing your property rights. Hell, go live in the jungle in Brazil, I'm sure no one will bother you there either.

And arguing that our current system of spending on education isn't working isn't the same as arguing that spending on education isn't worth it in general. If we had the best education system in the world, would you be complaining? If not, then maybe channel your energy and anger into bettering the system, not destroying it.

As another example, ignoring the fact that SSI will be insolvent in my lifetime, most Americans would easily beat SSI returns if the money was just given to them in the first place.

Again, an unusually rosy theory of human behavior from someone with libertarian leanings.

Look, whether or not SSI returns well or poorly, that isn't what it's designed for. Its a forced retirement savings program because people suck at saving money or planning for the future in general. Since as a society we've long since agreed that leaving our retired elders to rot, starve, and die in the streets isn't ethical, the obvious solution is forced savings. Otherwise it'll be government stepping in and picking up the bill directly. The argument that those dollars would be reinvested by whoever is earning them is utterly laughable. A fraction of it, maybe.

I could go on regarding medical care, agricultural subsidies, the MINC, etc. I'd be more than happy to discuss the nuances that @The_RE_Dude alluded to, but I'll be damned if FEMA and the USDA and other government minutiae should warrant 40% of my income.

Uh, okay? You haven't made a case for why those other things don't warrant government spending.

Edit: Since it just hit me, we could also talk about how great of a job FEMA did during Katrina

And how well has private enterprise done in hurricane relief? Not great either, I imagine? Oh wait, that doesn't actually happen. So, awfully. And lets talk about how much better of a job FEMA did after Katrina. You're expecting perfect and saying that when we don't get it, it invalidates the purpose of government in general. Disaster relief has vastly improved; what more can you ask for in any service provider except that they learn from mistakes?

Look, folks with your viewpoint are guilty of some of the most egregious cases of willful blindness of any political stripe. You have no inherent right to your property, to low taxes, to anything. Government protects those things for you. It is one of the reasons humans form societies and governments. If you want to get real blunt, you can say that you are paying for that protection by helping out the people it's protecting you from; those with less. Every libertarian (and while you may not be one, your views are essentially libertarian) assumes that all the things that they like about government are complete non-negotiables and can never be taken off the table, can't even conceive of it, while everything else is pick and choose. That isn't how it works. Unadulterated communism may not work very well, but nor does unadulterated capitalism, which is why every socio-economic system ever devised falls somewhere between those two.

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Feb 7, 2019
Ozymandia:
rothbard814:

Well, I for one didn't sign a social contract and am only compelled to contribute to our governmental bloat by force. It's econ 101 that government intervention results in dead-weight loss. To your point of public schools, we spend the most on education, but don't even sniff the top-10 in terms of performance- that's a pretty poor ROI if you ask me.

Of course you did. You live here, don't you? Every day you are renewing the social contract. Literally nothing stops you from going to Antarctica and ekeing out a free existence on unclaimed land. After all, it's not like you have any right to your property in the US if it was only obtained because of the government upholding and enforcing your property rights. Hell, go live in the jungle in Brazil, I'm sure no one will bother you there either.

For a contract to be valid, all parties need to consent. There's no other example of a contract that allows for unlimited unilateral addendums, if there is, please provide one. However, I'm not here to debate the semantics and nuances of a theory.

Ozymandia:

And arguing that our current system of spending on education isn't working isn't the same as arguing that spending on education isn't worth it in general. If we had the best education system in the world, would you be complaining? If not, then maybe channel your energy and anger into bettering the system, not destroying it.

So you acknowledge that the current system is dysfunctional? Also, suggesting that I 'channel my energy and anger' into improving the system is preposterous. After already paying taxes, would you like me to volunteer on the weekends? What about government's role in the student- debt crisis? Politicians pimping out taxpayers to push a talking piece about 'free college' doesn't exactly have citizens' best interest, but it sure does sound good to the constituency.

rothbard814:

As another example, ignoring the fact that SSI will be insolvent in my lifetime, most Americans would easily beat SSI returns if the money was just given to them in the first place.

Ozymandia:

Again, an unusually rosy theory of human behavior from someone with libertarian leanings.

Look, whether or not SSI returns well or poorly, that isn't what it's designed for. Its a forced retirement savings program because people suck at saving money or planning for the future in general. Since as a society we've long since agreed that leaving our retired elders to rot, starve, and die in the streets isn't ethical, the obvious solution is forced savings. Otherwise it'll be government stepping in and picking up the bill directly. The argument that those dollars would be reinvested by whoever is earning them is utterly laughable. A fraction of it, maybe.

SSI is already a failure and the government (taxpayer) is going to have to step in regardless because the system is insolvent. Do you remember the epidemic of people rotting in the streets before the implementation of SSI? Yeah, me neither. Companies used the extra funds for pension plans and children were of more help because their income wasn't being squandered by SSI.

rothbard814]
[quote:

I could go on regarding medical care, agricultural subsidies, the MINC, etc. I'd be more than happy to discuss the nuances that @The_RE_Dude alluded to, but I'll be damned if FEMA and the USDA and other government minutiae should warrant 40% of my income.

Ozymandia:

Uh, okay? You haven't made a case for why those other things don't warrant government spending.

Would you like me to? It's quite apparent that our mostly government-run medical system is awful, with no signs of improving. There is no logic behind agricultural subsidies, and they could be in the running for the most blatant waste of taxpayer funds. The MINC routinely burns through cash and pads the pockets of the defense contractors (see F-35 project). Have you ever wondered why the mainstream sentiment hasn't been anti-war since Vietnam? More war/ conflict = more money for the contractors. It's no wonder why they're always near the top in lobbying spend.

rothbard814]
[quote:

Edit: Since it just hit me, we could also talk about how great of a job FEMA did during Katrina

Ozymandia:

And how well has private enterprise done in hurricane relief? Not great either, I imagine? Oh wait, that doesn't actually happen. So, awfully. And lets talk about how much better of a job FEMA did after Katrina. You're expecting perfect and saying that when we don't get it, it invalidates the purpose of government in general. Disaster relief has vastly improved; what more can you ask for in any service provider except that they learn from mistakes?

Look, folks with your viewpoint are guilty of some of the most egregious cases of willful blindness of any political stripe. You have no inherent right to your property, to low taxes, to anything. Government protects those things for you. It is one of the reasons humans form societies and governments. If you want to get real blunt, you can say that you are paying for that protection by helping out the people it's protecting you from; those with less. Every libertarian (and while you may not be one, your views are essentially libertarian) assumes that all the things that they like about government are complete non-negotiables and can never be taken off the table, can't even conceive of it, while everything else is pick and choose. That isn't how it works. Unadulterated communism may not work very well, but nor does unadulterated capitalism, which is why every socio-economic system ever devised falls somewhere between those two.

Walmart actually did a fantastic job during Katrina, their supply chain delivered aid more efficiently than FEMA could've ever imagined. Private enterprise around the world aided in relief, civilians aided in relief, and for the most part, government flopped.

How did protecting citizens lead to Vietnam, Korea, and the current situation in the ME? 'Protection of citizens' is a catch all phrase used to justify any military action that the US takes. If our government really cared about protecting civilians, they wouldn't keep trying to take our firearms.

I'm not here to pick and choose what I like and don't like about government, I've identified multiple failures and am promoting changes to find a solution or fix an issue. You're attempting to make this an ideological argument rather than a discussion on solutions.

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Feb 6, 2019
rothbard814:

For a contract to be valid, all parties need to consent. There's no other example of a contract that allows for unlimited unilateral addendums, if there is, please provide one. However, I'm not here to debate the semantics and nuances of a theory.

You also didn't consent to be born, to be raised by your parents, or any of that. And yet, here we are. You live here of your own free will. Since life itself isn't a contract, and the "social contract" isn't meant to be taken literally (otherwise an illiterate would be incapable of living anywhere in a legal sense), we can dispense with your petty semantic distractions and get back to the point. You choose to live here. If you choose to live in this society, you are tacitly acknowledging that you will live by our laws.

So you acknowledge that the current system is dysfunctional? Also, suggesting that I 'channel my energy and anger' into improving the system is preposterous. After already paying taxes, would you like me to volunteer on the weekends? What about government's role in the student- debt crisis? Politicians pimping out taxpayers to push a talking piece about 'free college' doesn't exactly have citizens' best interest, but it sure does sound good to the constituency.

Another person with no reading comprehension. Where did I say that our educational system is dysfunctional? I didn't. You did. Now, I happen to agree its not an ideal system, but I object to you putting words in my mouth because it suits your purpose.

And why shouldn't you volunteer on weekends? You seem reluctant to participate in any of your civic duties or take advantage of those rights. Why even bother living here? If you believe modern human societies to be such a wasteful aberration that you are incapable of contributing to them willingly, then please take your hypocritical ass somewhere else. You don't seem too put out about roads built with government dollars or medicines developed with government grants. Your selfishness is of the worst kind; completely unwilling to recognize that everything you take for granted is coming from the same source as all the things your dislike.

rothbard814:

SSI is already a failure and the government (taxpayer) is going to have to step in regardless because the system is insolvent. Do you remember the epidemic of people rotting in the streets before the implementation of SSI? Yeah, me neither. Companies used the extra funds for pension plans and children were of more help because their income wasn't being squandered by SSI.

I wasn't alive before the social security system was designed. But guess what! Unlike you, I study history! So I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that people were rotting in the streets. It was called the Great Depression. And before that? Just as bad, if not worse! The poverty rate for those over the age of 65 was 35% in 1960 - by 1995, it was 10%. That is due in no small part to Social Security. People died often, young, and in grinding poverty during the "Gilded Age" and before, in large part because once your body gave out, you had no way to earn a living and there were no social security nets.

I don't mean to be rude, but you have no clue what you're talking about in this particular instance. Just because you don't have a working knowledge of what went on before you were born, doesn't mean you get to fill in the blanks with whatever supports your point.

Social Security is running out of money for a variety of reasons and from that specific perspective can be considered a failure. But it has still succeeded in providing financial security in old age to several generations of Americans, which was its purpose. In other words, the basic concept worked, it just needs tweaking to make it more self-sustaining.

rothbard814:

Would you like me to? It's quite apparent that our mostly government-run medical system is awful, with no signs of improving.

First off, our medical system is by no means "mostly government run". Its pretty much entirely run by the private sector, with a smattering of regulations imposed by the government, which is in fact why its such a disaster. You seem like an intelligent person, so no doubt I don't have to tell you why a privatized healthcase system is not workable, but I'll point out that many advanced and hghly populous nations have well-functioning, easily navigated, and fully funded healthcare systems. That the top 1% of people come to the US for treatment isn't an indictment of those systems, because access to modern medicine should be a right and not a privilege for the ultra wealthy.

There is no logic behind agricultural subsidies, and they could be in the running for the most blatant waste of taxpayer funds.

Could not agree more.

The MINC routinely burns through cash and pads the pockets of the defense contractors (see F-35 project). Have you ever wondered why the mainstream sentiment hasn't been anti-war since Vietnam? More war/ conflict = more money for the contractors. It's no wonder why they're always near the top in lobbying spend.

Completely agree with this as well. I was making the case that government spends its money wisely all the time. Merely that there are many functions such as common defense or communal infrastructure, at which it is the only real functional option to make those expenditures.

You'll also note that many of the places in which government is most egregiously wasteful is to support a particular private interest.

rothbard814:

Walmart actually did a fantastic job during Katrina, their supply chain delivered aid more efficiently than FEMA could've ever imagined. Private enterprise around the world aided in relief, civilians aided in relief, and for the most part, government flopped.

Hahahahahaha. Great. Walmart delivered somewhat south of $20mm in disaster relief. Yes, they did so more effectively than the Feds did at the time, and that is wonderful. At least $60b was spent in aid, and even if you assume 50% of that was wasted to no effect whatsoever, thats still $30b in aid. Try suggesting to Walmart, or Amazon, or Apple, or any other major corporate entity that they contribute $30b in cash out of their own pockets to assist with disaster relief. Total disaster relief spending in 2017 was over $130b, and that number will only rise as "extreme" weather becomes the norm due to climate change. Again, good luck finding a way to privatize that spending. Even if you didn't tax a company at all, they wouldn't be giving even a fraction of those savings to disaster relief, let alone all of it.

Yes, there are ways in which private enterprise is more efficient than government. Many ways. But when it comes to deploying large sums of money in places where there isn't, in your parlance, an immediate ROI, private enterprise will always drop the ball. Because profit making institutions aren't going to throw money away.

How did protecting citizens lead to Vietnam, Korea, and the current situation in the ME? 'Protection of citizens' is a catch all phrase used to justify any military action that the US takes. If our government really cared about protecting civilians, they wouldn't keep trying to take our firearms.

Well there are two separate issues here. The latter is unqestionably a false premise; crime is much higher in the US than in comparable societies, almost certainly because the prevalence of firearms is higher. The idea that we have a nation of gun owners vigilantly defending their homes is laughably false. Moreover, no one is trying "take our firearms". Gun control measures are overwhelmingly aimed at keeping guns out of irresponsible hands. This goes for both criminals and idiots.

I'm not here to pick and choose what I like and don't like about government, I've identified multiple failures and am promoting changes to find a solution or fix an issue. You're attempting to make this an ideological argument rather than a discussion on solutions.

Hah. Show me one solution you named. You've pointed out lots of things you don't like about government, or that government doesn't do well, and then moved on as if that proves a point. As if government responding inefficiently to Hurricane Katrina is, somehow, an argument for privatizing disaster relief. Or the idea that because our education system isn't top-10 in the world, that we shouldn't be spending as much on education. The concept that because SSI is going to go bankrupt, it was a failure. Etc etc.

Your "solution" to all of this was privatization, despite providing no evidence as to why privatizing any government function is superior (it occasionally is) or how to address the many known challenges of privatization, for example in healthcare.

Long story short, people aren't just a labor input. Cutting expenditure to it's mathematically most "efficient" point isn't a actual solution, because people will still want services that only the government can provide. It might make sense to reduce the number of firemen in this country by half, and accept that a few more homes will burn down, but that isn't going to be any consolation if it's your home. We've long since known that most of the Great Plains states are just federal colonies, subsisting off tax redistribution from the liberal coastal states and Texas; I'm sure your average Nebraskan wouldn't take kindly to the idea that they should either move to Houston or deal with not having roads, hospitals, electricity, or clean running water. At some point, you accept that your tax dollars will pay for things you don't want, because private enterprise won't ever raise the capital to provide you with some of the services that you do want

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Feb 7, 2019
Ozymandia:

You also didn't consent to be born, to be raised by your parents, or any of that. And yet, here we are. You live here of your own free will. Since life itself isn't a contract, and the "social contract" isn't meant to be taken literally (otherwise an illiterate would be incapable of living anywhere in a legal sense), we can dispense with your petty semantic distractions and get back to the point. You choose to live here. If you choose to live in this society, you are tacitly acknowledging that you will live by our laws.

Agree to disagree on the social contract.

Ozymandia:

Another person with no reading comprehension. Where did I say that our educational system is dysfunctional? I didn't. You did. Now, I happen to agree its not an ideal system, but I object to you putting words in my mouth because it suits your purpose.

And why shouldn't you volunteer on weekends? You seem reluctant to participate in any of your civic duties or take advantage of those rights. Why even bother living here? If you believe modern human societies to be such a wasteful aberration that you are incapable of contributing to them willingly, then please take your hypocritical ass somewhere else. You don't seem too put out about roads built with government dollars or medicines developed with government grants. Your selfishness is of the worst kind; completely unwilling to recognize that everything you take for granted is coming from the same source as all the things your dislike.

You suggesting that I volunteer to improve the educational system is an acknowledgement of its issues. Regardless, dysfunction is implied given our results compared to spending per pupil.

I don't believe human societies are wasteful, it's actually quite the contrary. Humanity is what drives innovation and increases in quality all of life. All government does is reallocate funds, and as I've stated many times, it does so quite inefficiently. People build roads, private enterprises develop medicines, government does not. I volunteer a decent amount and have a great time in doing so. The fact that government is shitty at reallocating funds has nothing to do with your grandstanding about civic duty.

Ozymandia:

I wasn't alive before the social security system was designed. But guess what! Unlike you, I study history! So I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that people were rotting in the streets. It was called the Great Depression. And before that? Just as bad, if not worse! The poverty rate for those over the age of 65 was 35% in 1960 - by 1995, it was 10%. That is due in no small part to Social Security. People died often, young, and in grinding poverty during the "Gilded Age" and before, in large part because once your body gave out, you had no way to earn a living and there were no social security nets.

I don't mean to be rude, but you have no clue what you're talking about in this particular instance. Just because you don't have a working knowledge of what went on before you were born, doesn't mean you get to fill in the blanks with whatever supports your point.

Social Security is running out of money for a variety of reasons and from that specific perspective can be considered a failure. But it has still succeeded in providing financial security in old age to several generations of Americans, which was its purpose. In other words, the basic concept worked, it just needs tweaking to make it more self-sustaining.

The Great Depression has nothing to do with SSI, they're two completely different things? You're attempting to credit social security with the progress of humanity, talk about a stretch. I'd argue that our progress has much more to do with the benefits of capitalism rather than a government program. Providing a few generations with SSI and then saddling younger generations with literally trillions of liabilities is not a success, it's a con job. By the way, tweaks aren't going to fix issues in a system with magnitudes in the trillions.

Ozymandia:

First off, our medical system is by no means "mostly government run". Its pretty much entirely run by the private sector, with a smattering of regulations imposed by the government, which is in fact why its such a disaster. You seem like an intelligent person, so no doubt I don't have to tell you why a privatized healthcase system is not workable, but I'll point out that many advanced and hghly populous nations have well-functioning, easily navigated, and fully funded healthcare systems. That the top 1% of people come to the US for treatment isn't an indictment of those systems, because access to modern medicine should be a right and not a privilege for the ultra wealthy.

The existence of Medicare and Medicaid can hardly be described as a 'smattering', plus all of the legislation in the industry. The issue with healthcare is the cost and the majority of this cost comes from administrative fees that are a result of government involvement.

Ozymandia:

Completely agree with this as well. I was making the case that government spends its money wisely all the time. Merely that there are many functions such as common defense or communal infrastructure, at which it is the only real functional option to make those expenditures.

You'll also note that many of the places in which government is most egregiously wasteful is to support a particular private interest.

Agree here, government has no business investing in private interests.

Ozymandia:

Hahahahahaha. Great. Walmart delivered somewhat south of $20mm in disaster relief. Yes, they did so more effectively than the Feds did at the time, and that is wonderful. At least $60b was spent in aid, and even if you assume 50% of that was wasted to no effect whatsoever, thats still $30b in aid. Try suggesting to Walmart, or Amazon, or Apple, or any other major corporate entity that they contribute $30b in cash out of their own pockets to assist with disaster relief. Total disaster relief spending in 2017 was over $130b, and that number will only rise as "extreme" weather becomes the norm due to climate change. Again, good luck finding a way to privatize that spending. Even if you didn't tax a company at all, they wouldn't be giving even a fraction of those savings to disaster relief, let alone all of it.

Yes, there are ways in which private enterprise is more efficient than government. Many ways. But when it comes to deploying large sums of money in places where there isn't, in your parlance, an immediate ROI, private enterprise will always drop the ball. Because profit making institutions aren't going to throw money away.

You're missing the point of FEMA's failures, Walmart should not have had to step in with supply chain plans. With the $14B they get annually, FEMA should have plans in place for every single metro area in the country. FEMA was inept in regards to their planning and execution, this is irrespective of the costs- i'm debating execution and preparedness here. Lets also not forget that they obstructed private relief efforts, and the levee that failed was inspected by the government.

Ozymandia:

Well there are two separate issues here. The latter is unqestionably a false premise; crime is much higher in the US than in comparable societies, almost certainly because the prevalence of firearms is higher. The idea that we have a nation of gun owners vigilantly defending their homes is laughably false. Moreover, no one is trying "take our firearms". Gun control measures are overwhelmingly aimed at keeping guns out of irresponsible hands. This goes for both criminals and idiots.

They're not two separate issues, the Feds will do anything to justify a foreign conflict 'for our safety', while simultaneously placing restrictions on self-defense - it's hypocritical. You're 100x more likely to face a domestic threat than a foreign one. Take a look at California, you'd be naive to think that they're not trying to take firearms from their citizens. If you don't think we have a nation of gun-owners defending their homes, go ahead and try to break into a house at night in the South and report back. The 2A is meant for defense from government tyranny, and as a self-proclaimed student of history, you'll know that it has merit. I'd prefer if we don't make this a gun control debate.

rothbard814:

I'm not here to pick and choose what I like and don't like about government, I've identified multiple failures and am promoting changes to find a solution or fix an issue. You're attempting to make this an ideological argument rather than a discussion on solutions.

Ozymandia:

Hah. Show me one solution you named.

Since you've made an attempt at insulting my reading comprehension, I'll take the opportunity to insult yours. I identified failures and encouraged change, not once pretending to present a solution aside from my charter/ private school suggestion.

Ozymandia:

You've pointed out lots of things you don't like about government, or that government doesn't do well, and then moved on as if that proves a point. As if government responding inefficiently to Hurricane Katrina is, somehow, an argument for privatizing disaster relief. Or the idea that because our education system isn't top-10 in the world, that we shouldn't be spending as much on education. The concept that because SSI is going to go bankrupt, it was a failure. Etc etc.

Your "solution" to all of this was privatization, despite providing no evidence as to why privatizing any government function is superior (it occasionally is) or how to address the many known challenges of privatization, for example in healthcare.

Long story short, people aren't just a labor input. Cutting expenditure to it's mathematically most "efficient" point isn't a actual solution, because people will still want services that only the government can provide. It might make sense to reduce the number of firemen in this country by half, and accept that a few more homes will burn down, but that isn't going to be any consolation if it's your home. We've long since known that most of the Great Plains states are just federal colonies, subsisting off tax redistribution from the liberal coastal states and Texas; I'm sure your average Nebraskan wouldn't take kindly to the idea that they should either move to Houston or deal with not having roads, hospitals, electricity, or clean running water. At some point, you accept that your tax dollars will pay for things you don't want, because private enterprise won't ever raise the capital to provide you with some of the services that you do want

I'm not calling for the abolition of government, I'm calling for a restructuring of government to remove/ reduce it from industries it has no business being in. It'll never happen however, because government is inherently self-serving. Have you ever wondered why Virginia has slowly gone blue over the years? It's because the federal government has grown, and no sane government employee would vote against their job security. You eventually end up with too many leeches on the private sector and society collapses. Fortunately we have the most robust private sector in history and are far off from collapse becoming reality, but don't be mistaken- we're certainly on our way.

Take a look at the economic freedom index- Link

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Feb 6, 2019
rothbard814:

Have you ever wondered why Virginia has slowly gone blue over the years? It's because the federal government has grown, and no sane government employee would vote against their job security. You eventually end up with too many leeches on the private sector and society collapses. Fortunately we have the most robust private sector in history and are far off from collapse becoming reality, but don't be mistaken- we're certainly on our way.

Since we're going in circles on the rest of it, I'll just point out a couple interesting notes in this last paragraph.

First off, why shouldn't government employees vote for their own job security? That is what is in their economic best interest. It's how they should vote. What's crazy is that most people don't vote a Democratic ticket, since it tends to be MUCH friendlier to the working class.

Second, you'll have to explain to me how we can be "on our way" to collapse despite having "the most robust private sector in history". This is a Trump-ian level of wanting to have your cake and eat it too. If the private sector is the most robust it's ever been (despite long periods of little to no regulation or social safety net), then clearly the "leeches" are having no impact, or a negligible one, and don't warrant your doom and gloom. If we're on the road to ruin, but also have an amazing private sector, then maybe this is a road to ruin we all want to be on?

You really don't get to cry wolf and say we're way over-regulated and over-taxed and then crow about how well we're doing.

Feb 7, 2019
Ozymandia:
rothbard814:

Have you ever wondered why Virginia has slowly gone blue over the years? It's because the federal government has grown, and no sane government employee would vote against their job security. You eventually end up with too many leeches on the private sector and society collapses. Fortunately we have the most robust private sector in history and are far off from collapse becoming reality, but don't be mistaken- we're certainly on our way.

Since we're going in circles on the rest of it, I'll just point out a couple interesting notes in this last paragraph.

First off, why shouldn't government employees vote for their own job security? That is what is in their economic best interest. It's how they should vote. What's crazy is that most people don't vote a Democratic ticket, since it tends to be MUCH friendlier to the working class.

Second, you'll have to explain to me how we can be "on our way" to collapse despite having "the most robust private sector in history". This is a Trump-ian level of wanting to have your cake and eat it too. If the private sector is the most robust it's ever been (despite long periods of little to no regulation or social safety net), then clearly the "leeches" are having no impact, or a negligible one, and don't warrant your doom and gloom. If we're on the road to ruin, but also have an amazing private sector, then maybe this is a road to ruin we all want to be on?

You really don't get to cry wolf and say we're way over-regulated and over-taxed and then crow about how well we're doing.

I never said that government employees shouldn't vote for their own job security, my comment on Virginia is an example of how governments perpetuate and grow.

"On our way to collapse" has nothing to do with the current administration and is more in relation to the US' trends over the last couple of decades. The "leeches" stand for the public sector, because the public sector does not create value- it reallocates. Take a look at federal spending in relation to GDP, those trend lines should be cause for concern, especially considering all of the failures surrounding said spending.

The private sector constantly moves forward, humans are always innovating and becoming more productive. I'm not saying there's going to be doom and gloom tomorrow, but if you look at the way we're heading, the cracks in the armor are becoming more and more apparent.

  1. Consistent growth in federal spending
  2. Constant war/ military intervention
  3. Legitimate calls for socialism/ socialist policies
  4. Wealth gap

This is irrespective of political parties, both the left and the GOP abandoned fiscal responsibility a long time ago, and that's what concerns me most.

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Feb 8, 2019

The superiority of private schools and even charter schools would clearly refute your idea that private entities can't do this better than the government.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Feb 6, 2019
heister:

The superiority of private schools and even charter schools would clearly refute your idea that private entities can't do this better than the government.

Remind me who funds charter schools?

As for private schools... well, lets dive in, shall we? 10% of the US K-12 population is in private school. About three quarters of those are in religiously affiliated schools. Which means about 2.5% of the country attends a secular, non-government funded school. Since I think we will agree that a foundational principle of this country is that your religious beliefs should be no bar to opportunity, we should discount the religious institutions.

Which basically means that rich parents are free to separate their kids and segregate them in schools with low student to teacher ratios, that pay their employees well and attract good teaching talent, and give those folks the tools they need to succeed. They can do this because they can charge high prices. If you had to allow everyone in, those advantages would disappear. If you privatized the whole thing, you'd either have most of the country going without a school system, or the same system where you enforce a general mediocrity. The fix to this is not to defund schools, its to work for a better system of enforcing quality on the existing systems. I'd argue the best way to do that is pay teachers more in return for breaking the power of the current seniority/tenure based union structure, but that's just one idea.

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Feb 5, 2019

I like to ask people what the safest form of transportation is, followed by what the most regulated form of transportation is.

Feb 6, 2019

The safest form of transportation is air travel.

The most regulated form of transportation is air travel.

Feb 5, 2019

so, government does not "suck at everything it tries to do"

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Feb 6, 2019
themightysanta:

The safest form of transportation is air travel.

The most regulated form of transportation is air travel.

Technically, elevators are the safest form of transportation.

Feb 7, 2019
TechBanking:
themightysanta:

The safest form of transportation is air travel.

The most regulated form of transportation is air travel.

Technically, elevators are the safest form of transportation.

Technically, airplanes are not the safest form of transportation. Airplanes are the safest "per mile", which is BS. Buses are, in fact, the safest.

Feb 7, 2019
Rahma:
TechBanking:
themightysanta:

The safest form of transportation is air travel.

The most regulated form of transportation is air travel.

Technically, elevators are the safest form of transportation.

Technically, airplanes are not the safest form of transportation. Airplanes are the safest "per mile", which is BS. Buses are, in fact, the safest.

Why is per mile BS? That seems at least somewhat reasonable to me. Are you saying per trip or something else is better? The stats I just googled had buses ~50% more deaths per mile (although still tiny and a very small fraction of car deaths per mile). Also, don't ride motorcycles is the key takeaway from the stats.

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Feb 7, 2019

It's my personal opinion, I meant in tongue-in-cheek. To determine the odds of you dying by form of transportation, it seems that the most appropriate metric is death per trip.

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Feb 7, 2019
Rahma:

It's my personal opinion, I meant in tongue-in-cheek. To determine the odds of you dying by form of transportation, it seems that the most appropriate metric is death per trip.

I know this is derailing the thread.....

If I'm deciding to drive or fly to Miami from New York, per mile seems better to me. Of course, I'd probably rather die than drive that trip in a bus.....

Feb 6, 2019
TechBanking:
themightysanta:

The safest form of transportation is air travel.

The most regulated form of transportation is air travel.

Technically, elevators are the safest form of transportation.

Elevators are also regulated by the government.

Feb 7, 2019

talk about a false equivalence

Feb 5, 2019

Reminds me of my favorite quote from the west wing

If link doesn't work look up "The West Wing, Sam Seaborn on Taxing the Rich"

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Feb 5, 2019
FinancelsWacc:

Reminds me of my favorite quote from the west wing

If link doesn't work look up "The West Wing, Sam Seaborn on Taxing the Rich"

It's too bad third way democrats are as far from the norm on the left as possible anymore

Feb 5, 2019

Yeah.

To be fair imagine what would happen if someone came out and said that the way Sam said it.

"Yeah I know I'm rich and I left that life to come work in public policy to help fix stuff, but, by the way, I pay over 20x the taxes you do and none of my healthcare / water / roads are any better than yours, so don't call me names while I pay 'my fair share'" would command an entire army worth of closed-minded low - income outcry.

Feb 7, 2019

The mathematical fact is that the percentage of taxes payed by the ultra wealthy has been more or less consistent since the 60s, not impacted by wild swings in the top marginal rate.

This strongly suggests that the issue is the complexity of tax codes and the way in which it favors those with the money to hire the best tax lawyers, NOT with the on-paper rate.

Feb 7, 2019
REPESailor2020:

The tax system is structured well, lower capital gains promotes investment, something that is important if the general human tendency is to procrastinate. The tax bracket system gives a little bit of the socialist aspect Warren yearns for. If it aint broke, dont fix it. Dont make policies based on the outliers.

Screw the government, its really easy for them to think the problem is low taxes. The problem is always exterior to oneself. The government sucks at anything it tries to do, the best thing we could do is work to privatize the government.

I guess the real problem is Warren is a politician and she says things that appeal to the people, the people are stupid and they like it when Warren says things like the billionaires are freeloading... most people dont have a business mind, they dont know how to generate wealth, they dont know that entrepreneurialism is the foundation of the comforts they enjoy, we should buy everyone a trip to Venezuala and let them see what happens when the entrepreneurial foundations are destroyed. That might be the best use of taxpayer money I have heard in a long time.

rant over

Spot on. The challenge is people want to blame others for everything except to look inwards which is a problem that is prevalent everywhere in the world. Indians will complain they can't find jobs and housing is expensive...well no shit Sherlock you have 1 Billion + people because in that society they are obsessed with having sons so they keeping busting kids out not realizing that raising kids is expensive. Combine this with backward practices and generally lunacy and you get the shit hole known as India (and before anyone says India is making strides blah blah blah if that's the case why are so many of them trying to come to the US, Canada, etc?)

Give free shit to people and they will act like they deserve it and earned it. We're getting to the point that France was during the revolution and continues to be today with there "We hate rich people!" attitude.

Fix yourself, your family, etc and then go bitch about shit. You have great examples of immigrants coming here and making something of them and you got people born in this fucking country who say they don't have a fair shot in life?

Give me a motherfucking break...

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Feb 8, 2019

Hmmm.... I generally agree with the essence of everything you said but drastically disagree with your view on India. I'm not sure if your view is biased, prejudiced, or just uninformed but hopefully I can change it.

The plain fact is that India is the way that it is because of massive amounts of corruption that pervades all levels of the society (from the lowest level of police officers happy to take $0.20 bribes to governors of states that are secret billionaires) and a bureaucratic system that feeds on that corruption in a vicious cycle. The highest levels of business essentially mimic a crony capitalist state where billionaires can default and go bankrupt with billions of loans owed to Indian banks (state-owned banks so defaults affect regular people) and yet retain their net worth (look up Vijay Mallya and Anil Ambani.)

Putting aside the fact that the housing industry in America is somewhat subsidized by quasi-governmental organizations, housing is expensive in India because purchasing a house entails bribes and kickbacks to multiple people on the lower-levels of the real estate industry and then faith that the "house" you are purchasing and that is being developed by someone with access to the cash is real and that the project will not be abandoned leaving you with no recourse. You can look up multiple examples of people whose life savings were stolen from them by those peddling falsified records of land ownership or developers who promise that they'll build you a house and just stop the project leaving you with no recourse. btw - that last example literally happened to Citadel and a host of other funds that invested 500mm in a RE development fund that had a complex scheme that filtered all the money into the pockets of the GP's. Those LP's are finding that they have no recourse. If the most powerful funds in the world can't fight back, the average Indian stands no chance.

That was all to provide context for what I largely disagree about your viewpoint. Even after all that, the average indian living in poverty doesn't really complain all that much. Families have a high emphasis on foregoing consumption for savings and prioritizing education for their kids. India does not provide free elementary or high school education to the populace and tuition costs a significant chunk of the average worker's take-home salary and there is no such thing as Social Security so they still need to save for retirement. The prevailing attitude toward wealthy people in India is aspirational and not focused on redistribution of wealth. Some Indians with little to no formal education, even little elementary or high school education, can (I don't really get this either) name about a dozen CEO's whereas the average American doesn't give a fuck. And again, keep in mind that the inequality in India is staggering. Go to Bombay and you will see Ferrari's on streets next shantytown, slums, and kids who don't have clothes. I've literally seen an impoverished 3 year old kid whose body is riddled with malnutrition on the side of the road eating SHIT.

Interestingly, this is exactly why I agree with the essence of what you are saying. Once you understand the institutionalized and structural impediments to socioeconomic mobility that exist in the majority of the world, it is incredibly hard to sympathize with radical progressives in the United States. There are kids in India born in villages and slums that will barely have access to basic resources like food and clean water never mind a decent education or access to a computer/the Internet. Annoyed that you are Lower middle class and Jeff Bezos/Howard Schult/random billionaire has money you can only dream of? Stop clamoring for their money, pay more attention in school/go to night classes/hustle harder to make a better life for yourself and your family. Want a billion dollars? This is America, who the fuck is stopping you?

Feb 8, 2019

The below is only tangentially related to the above topic but since knowledge about Indian history and its current role in world politics is quite rare in America and completely glossed over by the American news media (and honestly because I was low-key triggered by RedRage's post), I took the liberty of writing some additional information for anyone who's interested:

How did India get to this position? The British ran India in a very bureaucratic fashion that was consistent with how they ran their domestic government at the time and when they left, lots of practices were held over. At the same time, a decision was made by Indian politicians to focus on a Soviet-style planned economy/self-sufficient economy model as opposed to the US-style free market model. While this was obviously a terrible decision in hindsight, the USSR was a far more powerful agent in Asia and the theoretical benefits of a planned/self-sufficient economy had technically not been disproven at the time. As part of this system (informally known as the "license Raj"), entrepreneurial endeavours could only be entered into if you were granted permission by the government which of course involved connections and bribes. This didn't matter all that much until the license Raj started getting dismantled in the 90's and India started pivoting to the free market after the fall of the USSR and that capitalist upper-class had a huge headstart in solidifying their competitive advantage through further bribes and kickbacks. The only members of that capitalist upper-class in India that you can find that don't come from this background are the billionaires who made their fortunes in tech which obviously was not a big industry pre-90's. Also - no one pays taxes.

People generally tend to forget that "India" as a concept is incredibly young. The country was only created in 1947 which means that there are people alive today who were alive when "India" did not exist. The country of India is largely lines on a map that were created by a series of conquerors (Muslim empires and then the British). There are vast cultural differences between Northern and Southern states that include genealogy/lineage, language differences (we're not talking dialects but completely different languages), and historical culture. (Before the Muslim empires, there were various "Indian" empires that divided the continent whose powers waxed and waned throughout the centuries but that is so long ago and the history so poorly documented because there was no equivalent of the Renaissance that the influences of those empires are hard to identify.) Frankly, the most unifying thing you can find across India is Hinduism which is why the dominant flavor of nationalism in India is Hindu Nationalism. It is actually pretty incredible that the religion managed to survive hundreds of years of rule by conquerors of another religion but that is probably due to the fact that its origins on the subcontinent trace back hundreds of year before Christ.

Why are people trying to come to America from India? The air is cleaner, the healthcare is better, the education opportunities are better, etc. I bucket the people from India that you see in America into 3 categories:

  • 1) a "capitalist upper-class" (those whose social circles are the Vijay Mallya's and Anil Ambani's of the world) who have net worths far higher than even the 1% of Americans the press loves to talk about; these people are rare as a % of the Indian immigrants in America and you probably won't meet them (this capitalist upper-class was largely grandfathered into their position in society because their fathers and grandfathers happened to be running small (sometimes very large) businesses at the time the British were leaving as explained above),
  • 2) the guys from IIT or IIM who are just smart af and can run circles around 95% of American graduates and whose alumni go on to be partners at McK or GS or run Google and MSFT; because of the level of competition in India and the fact that their education system is purely focused on IQ and test scores this group is largely self-selected and is a small % of the Indian population but due to their skills are a disproportionate part of the % of the Indian population in America, and

3) everyone else who just hustled really hard and got a lucky break to get a chance to come LEGALLY (this is the vast majority of Indian immigrants that you see in America)

Feb 7, 2019

Great post, stuff like this always makes me think twice before complaining about petty shit.

Feb 7, 2019

@ElliotWaveSurfer I'm not sure why you were triggered but can only assume that you are Indian and are taking offense to me referring to India as a shit hole. In any case I'm not disagreeing with your posts and agree but you can't tell me that the explosion in population (probably caused by the obsessiveness of having male heirs, lack of education by poorer couples, societal pressures, etc.) isn't a huge albatross around the neck of India and one that is amplifying the poverty in the country.

In addition despite the strides made by the Supreme Court (High Court I believe is the correct term) and select politicians, India is still struggling with prejudice and backwardness due to religious zealots be they Hindu or Muslim.

Addressing the other part of your post, sure India has been in existence for 72 years but you can't keep blaming the British for its current state. The fact that Indians abroad have succeeded financially and in other aspects of life points to the issue you brought up regarding corruption, which yes is a major, major problem holding India back.

In addition their is a general lack of care or pride and I find most Indians too self-absorbed in themselves or their little fiefdom to care about the cleanliness in the country, etc.

None of this is really relevant so let me get to the positive. I'm with you that in India its truly a dog-eat-dog world and the hustle shown by some of the top students who get into say IIT Madras or IIM Ahmadabad probably puts them in the 1% of the world's youth population if you could objectively measure hustle and a general drive to succeed despite all odds.

Now if these students could stay in India and better their nation it would be extremely helpful however going to the West is seen as the ultimate prize so I doubt this attitude will change anytime soon.

In closing, once the old farts in the Lok Sabha die off and a new breed of politicians can come in I'm not hopeful for any meaningful change in the short-term however, eventually India will have to change and that change will definitely be led by the current 25 year-old who decides to stay in India and gets to a point where he or she decides to enter politics to force about meaningful change.

Rant is all over the place but hopefully it make sense. My intention wasn't to belittle India mainly wanted to present my thoughts. Also for the record the same can be said about Pakistan or Bangladesh :)

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Feb 8, 2019

Definitely not denying that India is a "shithole" (to use your language). Poor air, poor quality of life. Don't think that can really be argued. Not blaming the British either - I was simply providing context as to the historical events that led to current state of modern India and pointing to out that these decisions were not made that long ago and have only started slowly reversing very recently and in our lifetimes. I explicitly stated that many of these poor initial decisions were made by Indian politicians that took over after the British left.

You say that the average Indian is "too self-absorbed in themselves or their little fiefdom to care about cleanliness in the country, etc."... I don't actually disagree with that but as I tried to point out in my context - deep cultural divides (caste, religious, geographical segregation) and lack of socioeconomic mobility leads to such a mindset....if you don't view anyone outside of your state, caste, religion, or family as kin then why would you care about keeping the community clean? If it requires all of your focus to out-compete numerous other competitive and intelligent people to survive or get a better life for your family, then why would you be able to self-transcend and work on problems bigger than yourself? (India is not going to be producing an Elon Musk any time soon)

My whole point of offering the context was to allow a Western or American reader to get closer to understanding the mind of the average Indian. I don't really have any issues with a lot of what you are saying and it seems that you do have some knowledge of the political structure of modern India so I can surmise that you are probably a knowledgeable, well-read person.

But I do take issue with the few, throwaway descriptors you use to paintbrush 1bn ppl: "whiny", "complaining", "general lack of care or pride".... descriptors which are blatantly false and seemingly supplied without an understanding of historical context.... such descriptors without any historical context or framework to understand how we got to the current situation leads to stereotypes and bias against whole groups of people... and that is the core of all the problems that we are talking about in India.

This happens all the time in all parts of the world but tends to happen far more often in heterogeneous societies like America and India. It's the same thing that happened against the Irish and Italians in America 100 years ago. Lack of context and is a core part of the issues we are dealing with in modern America too. The radical left doesn't want to know or believe that Lloyd Blankfein, Jeff Bezos, and Howard Schultz grew up poor. They don't want the context of knowing that they grew up in shitty neighborhoods. They don't want to understand how society has benefited through capitalism and they don't want to understand how societies fell through planned economies and socialism. They prefer to look at the current state of the world and extrapolate to create their own unfounded assumptions. Lack of historical context and understanding leads to lack of nuanced, informed viewpoints which leads to extreme political positions and strife.

As I've spent more time in Asia through various professional and educational opportunities I've obtained far more respect for the "real" 99% (the middle class/poor in China, India, and Southeast Asia, etc.) and their constant perseverance. I think a lot of the characteristics they show are what allowed America to progress in its early stages and really provided the foundation to make this country what it is (values that I think are now in decline in the American population). I was "triggered" by what I felt was an unfair portrait of people who are dealing with a lot more shit than we or anyone on the radical US left will ever have to deal.

Feb 7, 2019

I think we're both on the same page but I will stand by the terse language I used to describe the average Indian. This is based on my interactions with various types of Indians both in the West and in India (i.e. Gujaratis, Maharhatis, South Indians, etc.)

In any case I appreciate your detailed post and wanting to share your thoughts with those that are not from the area or as familiar as you and I.

Feb 10, 2019
ElliotWaveSurfer:

Annoyed that you are Lower middle class and Jeff Bezos/Howard Schult/random billionaire has money you can only dream of? Stop clamoring for their money, pay more attention in school/go to night classes/hustle harder to make a better life for yourself and your family. Want a billion dollars? This is America, who the fuck is stopping you?

I think you're presenting a straw man here. People aren't asking to be billionaires, in fact many people do not want to be billionaires. People want to have basic needs taken care of in a society where there is enough wealth for that to happen.

If people follow your advice, all that will happen is that some other people will 'win' in society instead of those who 'win' now. What people actually want is for nobody in the US to have to live in squalor or poverty, because at the end of the day somebody has to do the dirty jobs like being a janitor or a garbage collector. Not everybody can be a billionaire but it should be possible for everybody to live a reasonably secure life.

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Feb 1, 2019

If Warren wasn't rich, he'd be a buffoon.

For whatever reason, because he's rich, we regard him as the Oracle of Omaha.

My theory is he says these things as a preemptive strike against the man (ie I'm not like the rest of these tax cheating richers). Then he openly states he pays as little tax as he legally can. Why not write an extra check or two to help our government out instead of pointing the finger at others who are doing the exact same thing you do.

It was like the time when that loser Kaine got after Pence during the VP debate saying how richers like him take advantage of all of these tax loopholes. Pence retorts back saying, "You mean you don't take advantage of all the tax deductions available to you!?"

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Feb 1, 2019
WolfofWSO:

If Warren wasn't rich, he'd be a buffoon.

For whatever reason, because he's rich, we regard him as the Oracle of Omaha.

My theory is he says these things as a preemptive strike against the man (ie I'm not like the rest of these tax cheating richers). Then he openly states he pays as little tax as he legally can. Why not write an extra check or two to help our government out instead of pointing the finger at others who are doing the exact same thing you do.

It was like the time when that loser Kaine got after Pence during the VP debate saying how richers like him take advantage of all of these tax loopholes. Pence retorts back saying, "You mean you don't take advantage of all the tax deductions available to you!?"

Lmao.. love the irony here.

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Feb 1, 2019
iBankedUp:
WolfofWSO:

If Warren wasn't rich, he'd be a buffoon.

For whatever reason, because he's rich, we regard him as the Oracle of Omaha.

My theory is he says these things as a preemptive strike against the man (ie I'm not like the rest of these tax cheating richers). Then he openly states he pays as little tax as he legally can. Why not write an extra check or two to help our government out instead of pointing the finger at others who are doing the exact same thing you do.

It was like the time when that loser Kaine got after Pence during the VP debate saying how richers like him take advantage of all of these tax loopholes. Pence retorts back saying, "You mean you don't take advantage of all the tax deductions available to you!?"

Lmao.. love the irony here.

He may come off as an 'aw-shucks' mouth breathing midwesterner, but he's no dummy when it comes to playing the political game.

https://money.cnn.com/2013/03/04/news/economy/buff...
If he's so up in arms about this this inequity, then why not be the bigger man and pay the same rate as your secretary and staff. Don't blame the tax system.

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Feb 1, 2019

OP is referring to Elizabeth Warren, not Warren Buffet.

Feb 1, 2019

Whoops, my bad.
I'm just use to the rinse and repeat out of that fool regarding how unfair taxes are due to the richers using loopholes.

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Feb 1, 2019

On the one hand, it shouldn't surprise me that this type of posturing gets more prominent in this part of the election cycle. Soak the rich is an easy card to play if you're trying to gain traction with the left in advance of primary season. Once certain Democrats move to the head of the primary pack, they'll have to moderate to stand a chance in the general election.

On the other hand, I struggle with why socialist messaging seems more popular than now than it has been in decades. Unemployment literally can't go much lower, and wages have actually started to reflect that. Just seems like an odd climate for this much discontent with capitalism.

Feb 1, 2019

It's more so that purchasing power has gone down. For instance, a construction worker back in 1960 could feed his entire family, buy a decent house, and send his kids to college (partially paying) without a problem. Today, he needs to make 2.5x of what he makes now to do all of those things.

Instead of excess taxation, we should do a couple of things. One, allocate money away from the military budget to provide free college/healthcare. We'd still be able to outspend the next 3 countries combined on military (so not compromising our safety in any way), and have a lot more mobility & safety net. Two, and this is more controversial, but gov. could control housing prices, and then later transportation (as autonomous vehicles hit the road and become more of a utility service). This way, yes, you're screwing housing a bit (transportation will almost certainly become a utility, and I could care less about Uber/Lyft's profits), but helping Americans afford these things. The three biggest expenses, are housing, transportation, and food. If you can control the first two, you're golden. Just my two cents

For the record, I'm hardcore capitalist. I just think these are some small compromises we can make to have a sustainable America over the next century.

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Feb 1, 2019

Fine point about purchasing power, income inequality, disappearing middle class, etc. Though I'm still a bit puzzled that these issues have moved to the forefront now when they've been true for quite some time.

And you won't get any argument from me on reduced military spending. Our military is a Federal jobs program about geopolitical influence, not safety. And that influence is a terrible return on a massive investment.

The rest of your proposed solutions, however, make me want to die just so I can roll over in my grave. College, healthcare and transportation are all disasters in this country because of existing government intervention, not because there's not enough. College tuition has soared because of government subsidy. Rent control has been shown over and over to exacerbate affordability issues, not mitigate them. Americans waste countless hours and billions in productivity every year because there's no means or incentive to innovate our transit systems.

hedgehog9:

For the record, I'm hardcore capitalist.

Narrator: "He isn't."

Feb 8, 2019

Catalyst was the Great Recession. Lots of people lost their jobs and their children experienced existential terror that their lifestyle would come to an end. Economic crises like those affect generations significantly. I have a theory that Warren Buffett was probably so driven to compound money because he grew up in the Great Depression but you don't have to go that far, most of the people of his generation have much higher savings rates than the average American. I'm sure the same thing happened post the Great Depression but the only difference was that after WWII advocating for Communist/Socialist policies took on the added dimension of being un-American and pro-USSR.

Plus - yeah the economy is getting better but inequality has been exacerbated due to the Central bank policies lifting asset prices over a decade-long period and the massive differential in how socioeconomic classes allocate their net worths. Higher socioeconomic classes have money in the market and lower ones have most of their net worth tied up in their house (an illiquid asset that many lost or saw significant haircuts on during the Great Recession). Lower socioeconomic classes have not caught onto the fact that redirecting savings into ETF's over the long-term allows you to more directly participate in that beautiful engine of wealth creation that we call the US economy and the level of financial literacy in the US is staggeringly low relative to the level of sophistication of the financial services industry.

Oh and social media makes it all worse because there are probably 10000000 articles in the last 2 weeks on how much money Bezos has

Feb 1, 2019

Fine points, especially about how communism was demonized because it was associated with our cold-war foe.

Feb 2, 2019
hedgehog9:

It's more so that purchasing power has gone down. For instance, a construction worker back in 1960 could feed his entire family, buy a decent house, and send his kids to college (partially paying) without a problem. Today, he needs to make 2.5x of what he makes now to do all of those things.

Instead of excess taxation, we should do a couple of things. One, allocate money away from the military budget to provide free college/healthcare. We'd still be able to outspend the next 3 countries combined on military (so not compromising our safety in any way), and have a lot more mobility & safety net. Two, and this is more controversial, but gov. could control housing prices, and then later transportation (as autonomous vehicles hit the road and become more of a utility service). This way, yes, you're screwing housing a bit (transportation will almost certainly become a utility, and I could care less about Uber/Lyft's profits), but helping Americans afford these things. The three biggest expenses, are housing, transportation, and food. If you can control the first two, you're golden. Just my two cents

For the record, I'm hardcore capitalist. I just think these are some small compromises we can make to have a sustainable America over the next century.

Believe it or not, this may be the most idiotic and economically illiterate post in the history of WSO. It's so stupid on so many levels that I can't even believe it...

My God...

Feb 2, 2019

My exact thoughts reading that post.. Whomst incoming summer analyst? I laughed out loud at "the government could control housing prices..." Are you proposing the government set up some sort of federal housing administration? Maybe they call it the FHA and offer mortgage insurance. Perhaps they could figure out a way to under perform private sector providers of the same service by underwriting portfolios with less favorable FICO scores. They could probably do this for mortgages with at least a 20% down payment. If their performance is bad enough and the rate environment changes, the gov could consider stepping into even riskier waters and trying their hand at underwriting private mortgage insurance (less than 20% down payment)... Woah I wish there was a database accessible to anyone with a computer or cell phone to read up on if this is a possiblity for the government... I wonder if this type of government subsidy could ever be a contributing factor to a major event like the GFC...

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Feb 1, 2019
real_Skankhunt42:
hedgehog9:

It's more so that purchasing power has gone down. For instance, a construction worker back in 1960 could feed his entire family, buy a decent house, and send his kids to college (partially paying) without a problem. Today, he needs to make 2.5x of what he makes now to do all of those things.

Instead of excess taxation, we should do a couple of things. One, allocate money away from the military budget to provide free college/healthcare. We'd still be able to outspend the next 3 countries combined on military (so not compromising our safety in any way), and have a lot more mobility & safety net. Two, and this is more controversial, but gov. could control housing prices, and then later transportation (as autonomous vehicles hit the road and become more of a utility service). This way, yes, you're screwing housing a bit (transportation will almost certainly become a utility, and I could care less about Uber/Lyft's profits), but helping Americans afford these things. The three biggest expenses, are housing, transportation, and food. If you can control the first two, you're golden. Just my two cents

For the record, I'm hardcore capitalist. I just think these are some small compromises we can make to have a sustainable America over the next century.

Believe it or not, this may be the most idiotic and economically illiterate post in the history of WSO. It's so stupid on so many levels that I can't even believe it...

My God...

Mathematically, that post is just one giant L, I agree

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Feb 8, 2019

"Hardcore"? More like milktoast. If you were hardcore you would be an anarco-capitalist.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Feb 1, 2019
HighlyClevered:

On the other hand, I struggle with why socialist messaging seems more popular than now than it has been in decades. Unemployment literally can't go much lower, and wages have actually started to reflect that. Just seems like an odd climate for this much discontent with capitalism.

It's not dollars and cents. It's the chase of a meaningful life. People believe that socialism is the natural order, ie social ownership of the nation's assets, taking power away from "the establishment" and "the rich". It's deeper than just simply "Trump is owning the dems and everybody else".

But, I feel like the long-term implications are missed on these people. In theory, social ownership makes sense. In practical terms, people love someone to take leadership and do the hardwork for them, as most love following someone. Inevitably, someone or some tiny minority will rise to control more power than what we see in the country right now. And depending on what that group looks like, the consequences could be far worse, as we're talking about centralizing an immense amount of power, wealth, and assets, which would give far reaching control to every aspect of our lives.

And there's no reason to believe that comfort with centralization over a period of a decade to a few, would allow us to realize when we need to stand on the right side of authority, vs allowing comfort with centralized power to become a dictator. I think it'll be a bad precdent.

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Feb 1, 2019

Why shouldn't the ultra rich pay the same share of their total wealth as everybody else does?

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

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Feb 5, 2019

I'm pretty sure this is theaccountingmajor's alt account.

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Feb 1, 2019

WB is a polygamist. Maybe he can add Elizabeth Warren to his portfolio.

Feb 1, 2019

My guy WB doesn't like crazy cunts.

Cash and cash equivalents: $7,286
Financial instruments and other inventory positions owned: $313,129

Feb 1, 2019
HighlyLeveredCat:

My guy WB doesn't like crazy cunts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Buffett

Feb 1, 2019

delete.

Feb 1, 2019

Bravo. We have to get spending under control as a country and set priorities.

Everyone should play this "balance the budget" game: "Debtfixer"

Feb 7, 2019

Capital goes to where it's treated best, as does labor. Striking the right balance between tax rates and citizen benefits is arguably one of the most important questions in optimization today (what is the right mix?). I don't think there's an easy fix, but tax rates on the wealthy can probably rise another 5-10% (total, combo of cap gains plus income tax) and on the corporate side, can rise another 2-4%. However, this wouldn't be enough to pay down the deficit or fund real investment.

I'm currently in Jamie Dimons camp when it comes to tax rates. I'd be willing to pay higher income taxes in exchange for lower corporate tax rates. At the same time, I really want competent leadership and a robust system. Partisanship and the current state of intellectual neglect is not making me confident in government. At the same time, I do get that long term growth is driven by factors that need to be targeted and not enough resources are being spent to advance those determinants of growth.

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Feb 1, 2019

Delete

Feb 7, 2019

Great essay, but missed the point. Social programs, such as payments to the poor, increase economic activity and provide a stabilizing mechanism during economic troughs. In addition, funding public schools (education spending) and healthcare increases productivity. Money spent is money earned--this spending feeds back into EPS and interest payments on debt.

I totally agree with you in that the programs need to be more effectively managed. This is where representation is key. I personally don't feel represented in congress-- most congresspeople come from a legal background and are fixated on a specific ideology.

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Feb 1, 2019

Delete.

Feb 7, 2019

So it's a narrative and messaging issue for you then. I can understand that, but even among the elite there's an understanding that the power imbalance has been stacked in our favor for too long, which has driven resentment and dissatisfaction. We keep pointing to things like unemployment, but that's not what the masses are thinking about. Like another commentator pointed out, purchasing power for the poor and middle has gone down--that's what really matters. I expect there to be a continuation of this populist backlash (on the right and left) until these people feel that they are getting a fair deal. This is not a moral issue for me, it's a power issue. If I want my class to retain its power and influence, then we need to be more strategic and conscious of how the other side is feeling--or we are going to wake up one day with riots in the streets and guillotines in every block.

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Feb 1, 2019

It's about what we spend money on. I regret even posting here again.

Feb 6, 2019

I don't know if I completely agree with the purchasing power aspect. Obviously that's true for a few items (healthcare and education come to mind) but whenever I hear the statistics about what the middle class could afford 20,30,40 years ago, I think many miss the large improvements in technology since then. We forget that most of the households in this category now spend a much larger portion of their paycheck on cell phones, tv and other entertainment than their predecessors. While none of these represent true necessities, I do agree that items like cell phones make life easier. That said, no you do not need a iphone 10 or unlimited data. No you don't need to be able to constantly watch snapchat or facebook throughout the day.

Feb 1, 2019

The reason why America is such a great country and thus benefits the world positively is because of the entrepreneurial spirit. If you start trying to tax capital as opposed to income, we're in big trouble and you'll see living standards across the world drop.

These idiots won't know what they're voting into office. I think most people don't actually realise how wealth is created and the fact that Jeff Bezos is a billionaire has all benefited us (through more jobs as well as better selection of product).

RIP LEHMAN
RIP MONACOMONKEY
RIP THEACCOUNTING MAJOR

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Feb 1, 2019

I'm all about smart money.

Taxing the billionaires more just means more money is allocated towards the government (stupid money).

Let the billionaires make the money dance in the system they know so well and the government will reap more in the long run.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Feb 4, 2019
Isaiah_53_5:

I'm all about smart money.

Taxing the billionaires more just means more money is allocated towards the government (stupid money).

Let the billionaires make the money dance in the system they know so well and the government will reap more in the long run.

70% of rich families lose their wealth in the 2nd generation.

90% of rich families lose their wealth by the 3rd generation.

Feb 1, 2019
The_RE_Dude:
Isaiah_53_5:

I'm all about smart money.

Taxing the billionaires more just means more money is allocated towards the government (stupid money).

Let the billionaires make the money dance in the system they know so well and the government will reap more in the long run.

70% of rich families lose their wealth in the 2nd generation.

90% of rich families lose their wealth by the 3rd generation.

I mentioned billionaires, you mentioned families and generations.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Feb 1, 2019

My point is to keep the smart money churning in the system.

I agree with your theory of rich money dissipating in families as it is an ancient Chinese expression.

But, the top .001% will always be the top .001%.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Feb 1, 2019

Keeping smart money in system = higher GDP, standard of living, per capita incomes, etc etc

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Feb 4, 2019

I actually said "rich" families, not just any family. Important distinction.

The facts from the wealth management industry conclude that most wealthy families squander away their wealth by the 3rd generation. We're fortunate the US government has actually become wealthier in every generation, rather than driving its wealth into oblivion like some other countries. I did not cite an ancient Chinese expression.

I would like to see if there's any data that suggests billionaire families stay billionaires. I bet that data is not available though.

But what's your evidence about "keeping money in the system => higher GDP, standard of living, etc"?

Feb 1, 2019
The_RE_Dude:

The facts from the wealth management industry conclude that most wealthy families squander away their wealth by the 3rd generation. We're fortunate the US government has actually become wealthier in every generation, rather than driving its wealth into oblivion like some other countries. I did not cite an ancient Chinese expression.

You just said the Chinese expression again.

Dude - I already agreed with you on squandering wealth by 3rd generation. The US has had financial planners for how long? Not that long. The expression came from China first. China has been dealing with rich families squandering money for a fuck long time and it is an ancient Chinese expression - stop saying that it is not.

This isn't even an argument. We don't disagree on this. You just keep stating the same thing and my point was centered around the wealthiest keeping the smart money going around. I did not state that it is always the same people in the top. But, the wealthy are always the wealthy.

In summary - this thread is about billionaires, I was talking about billionaires, and you keep bringing up families. I don't really care if they squander the wealth - then they aren't billionaires anymore and the smart money isn't in their hands anymore.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Feb 1, 2019
The_RE_Dude:

The facts from the wealth management industry conclude that most wealthy families squander away their wealth by the 3rd generation.

(fu bu guo san dai)

Literally: Wealth does not pass three generations

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Feb 7, 2019
The_RE_Dude:
Isaiah_53_5:

I'm all about smart money.

Taxing the billionaires more just means more money is allocated towards the government (stupid money).

Let the billionaires make the money dance in the system they know so well and the government will reap more in the long run.

70% of rich families lose their wealth in the 2nd generation.

90% of rich families lose their wealth by the 3rd generation.

So what? Its their money and they can choose to do whatever they want with it even if it means blowing it on hookers and cocaine.

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Feb 2, 2019

Warren is a retard. end of story.

thots and prayers

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Feb 2, 2019

I like how the left-wing of the Democrat party is now saying (or now more loudly saying) that the existence of billionaires is immoral, yet the crux of their financing mechanism is to tax the super wealthy. So, their entire scheme is premised upon the existence of the ultra-wealthy. Color me cynical, but this all leads me to believe that rhetorical hatred for billionaires is simply faux moral justification for their economic/fiscal scheme and not actual moral disagreement.

Feb 4, 2019
real_Skankhunt42:

I like how the left-wing of the Democrat party is now saying (or now more loudly saying) that the existence of billionaires is immoral, yet the crux of their financing mechanism is to tax the super wealthy. So, their entire scheme is premised upon the existence of the ultra-wealthy. Color me cynical, but this all leads me to believe that rhetorical hatred for billionaires is simply faux moral justification for their economic/fiscal scheme and not actual moral disagreement.

An economic scheme advocated by the likes of the 'social-justice-warrior', supreme commander of the allied forces during WW2, President Eisenhower, who intelligently realized that a balanced budget could be achieved by high marginal taxation rates, despite the deplorability of such tax rates.

Feb 10, 2019

So you think for them to be rhetorically consistent, what they actually should be doing is confiscating all wealth above $1 billion?

Feb 5, 2019

Socialism is our cultural Fyre Festival. Billionaires are the models getting sued now for "false advertising"

Feb 5, 2019

Most people are acting as if this conversation needs to be either/or. The wealthy need to get taxed at higher rates AND the government needs to spend tax revenue more efficiently. The current path we're taking will lead (is leading?) to the type of socialism that most of us here are against. I'm frightened of what will eventually (inevitably?) happen if we don't seriously evaluate the current state of our social programs.

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Feb 6, 2019

While Elizabeth Warren probably overstated the case when calling billionaires 'freeloaders', she's tapping into the same populist sentiments that brought Donald Trump to power. There is a clear feeling among the polity that the system is rigged against the interests of the common man. That zeitgeist has encompassed most of the Western liberal world order. Perhaps it stems from fear--fear of automation, fear of outsourcing, fear of increased competition, or scarcity of resources. Or perhaps it's a justifiable response to globalism.

The thing is--free trade and technological innovations have created more jobs than they have destroyed, but both did so unequally. They didn't replace the exact job that was lost in the exact place where it was lost immediately after it was lost. It turns out dislocations from disruptions (technological or otherwise) can last much longer than we might ideally like. I believe that the market would eventually smooth out these dislocations, but there are instances where such dislocations create enough turmoil to topple the system before it has a chance to reach equilibrium.

The system itself is under question at the moment. If the people with the most to lose don't proactively get in front of the change that's coming, they're unlikely to relish the reckoning. We have a system that allows massive wealth to accrue to a modicum of people. I'm a direct beneficiary of that system, but most people mostly only feel indirect benefits from that system. In my experience, it's hard to explain second-order effects to people. That's not what they see or understand. It's generally outside their ken.

What most people see is that they pay more per dollar earned in taxes than people much richer than them. That's why Warren's wealth tax proposal (taxing wealth above $50M at 2% per annum and wealth above $1B at 3% per annum) has a 78% approval rating across the electorate with a 55% approval rating among even Republican voters. If you don't think tax policy for the ultra-rich is going to change materially with numbers like that, you're nuts.

If I'm honest, I'd prefer that to a big increase in the upper tax rate on ordinary income. That's what prevents people from ever accruing real wealth. If you tax ordinary income at 70% or more, it's the professional classes (people like the ones reading this website) who get fucked. Our tax code is essentially designed to screw people like me with high incomes and weak tax shields. If I had inherited $50M, I'd legitimately work a great deal less and very easily keep a great deal more of every dollar earned than I currently do. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I think it makes little sense to the masses as well. The tax code is just so fucking boring that no one wants to talk about it for more than a minute or two. Democrats have never been able to articulate their economic message in soundbites small enough for the average person, but if they stick with the populist message Warren is espousing at the moment, I think they may find their stride. I mean--most people don't know anyone with $50M. What do they care if some people they don't know have to pay an extra tax on the second $50M they own?

I'd love to hear the argument that someone here thinks appeals to the masses to counteract this proposal? Calling it 'dumb' or 'un-American' doesn't seem sufficient to me when the polls favor it so clearly.

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Feb 6, 2019

On an unrelated point, I just saw a side-by-side of Stacey Abrams and Mitch McConnell. I think I may never get an erection again. How do people who look like that get on television?

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Feb 6, 2019

Mitch McConnell is 1000x uglier than Stancey Abrams. Paul Ryan probably ranks high-ish on attractive politicians, as do Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney. Come to think of it, the 2012 election probably featured the most attractive presidential tickets in history - all four of them are decent looking, with Paul Ryan being the ugliest and either Mitt or Barack being the best looking.

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Feb 5, 2019
brotherbear:

If I'm honest, I'd prefer that to a big increase in the upper tax rate on ordinary income. That's what prevents people from ever accruing real wealth. If you tax ordinary income at 70% or more, it's the professional classes (people like the ones reading this website) who get fucked. Our tax code is essentially designed to screw people like me with high incomes and weak tax shields. If I had inherited $50M, I'd legitimately work a great deal less and very easily keep a great deal more of every dollar earned than I currently do. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Couldn't have said it any better. A 70% marginal income tax rate just affects new money. Old money would be happy to have such a tax system. Let's increase the capital gains tax (with exceptions to people below certain income levels/ true retirement accounts/ pensions etc.) and revisit the estate tax (or at least the loopholes people can use to get around it) rather than AOC's ridiculous income tax.

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Feb 6, 2019

Carter and Raegen tried to do this didn't they?

Feb 5, 2019

+1

Also in typical WSO fashion I'm impressed how a well written, articulate, valid point of view got turned into "yeah but btw so and so is ugly af"

Feb 5, 2019

Uh.. he wrote both of those comments.

Feb 7, 2019
Feb 7, 2019
Feb 4, 2019
Feb 10, 2019
Feb 11, 2019

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

Feb 1, 2019