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« Michael Winship: Media Reformers, It's The Economy | Main | Michael Winship: Let Me Call You Sweetheart... Loans »

The American Dream In Reverse?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

Are we living in a second gilded age? Yes, according to historian Steven Fraser, one of Bill Moyers’ guests on the JOURNAL this week.

“Basically, we left the financial marketplace largely unregulated – a tendency which had begun under Reagan and continued at an accelerated pace all through the years since Reagan, including under the Clinton administration... When push comes to shove, businessmen and their financial enablers may talk the talk about the free market. But when times get tough, they turn to the government to bail them out... That is this close, almost incestuous relationship between business and government.”

Bill Moyers also spoke with columnist Holly Sklar about the difficulties many workers face in trying to earn a living wage. She said:

“We’ve been living the American dream in reverse... Adjusting for inflation, average wages are lower than they were in the 1970s. Our minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, is lower than it was in the 1950s. One of the things going on is that income and wealth inequality have gone back to the 1920s. We are back at levels that we saw right before the Great Depression.”

On the ground in Los Angeles, the JOURNAL introduced Jaron Quetel, a young union member struggling to make ends meet. He said:

“Working the best job I’ve ever had in my whole life, I’m still a breath away from drowning. I’m $20 away from being on the street. I am one car payment away from being re-poed. I’m barely surviving. I’m leading a substandard lifestyle because I make substandard wages... If I wasn’t trying, if I was a screw-up, if I was taking advantage of things, I couldn’t complain. But what more can I do at this point?”

  • Are you feeling pinched by today’s economy? Are people in your community?
  • What economic policies would you like to see put into place? Do you expect politicians to enact any of them?

    [Please note we have provided a list of sites related to clean elections and you can find sites and research related to economic disparity and the work of Holly Sklar.]


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    Comments

    I had an occasion recently to speak at length to a young man who campaigned for Obama. He was very interested in the environment among other things. As our conversation progressed I noticed that time and time again he mentioned how great it would be if "we" meaning the government could force people to do this thing or that thing. This kid was very bright and attending a prominent public school in my town. His parents are both involved in the Democratic Party. I was amazed in his assessement that the government has the right and duty to force things on ordinary American citizens. I finally admonished him that we are supposed to live in the land of the free and that it is patently wrong to force people to do things for the public good unless we are in some emergency situation where unquestioning cooperation becomes a matter of security. This idea of government nationalizing companies and forcing people to volunteer and pay taxes or fines on everything is really scary. The economist Keynes said that government leaders were no more virtuous than business leaders. Fellow citizens, remember your heritage. Don't give up your freedom to purchase security or order. Freedom is your most valuable possession.

    Most of the above punctuates the effective no-nonsense delivery of Bill Moyers and William Black. Thank you, gentlemen, for enlightening u.s.

    Incredible site!

    "One can be coerced by markets and power relations brought about by private property just as one can be coerced by the state. The coercion would actually be worse since there would be no protections offered as in a constitution. As capital and property made its way into fewer and fewer hands there would be a return to slave-like conditions. The only government being a police force to protect the existing power relations would work to make sure that the situation could not improve." NICK

    Isn't this the present condition generally worldwide?

    Intelligent social engineers "...recognize this fact and implement minimal protections to help people to live cooperatively and without exploitation. It is a mistake to assume that socialism is naturally associated with the state."
    NICK

    Certainly it is the immediate needs of global corporate capitalism that are associated with the present day US government. When Geithner tries to bail out failing mortgages he is delaying derivative and credit default swap payoffs long overdue.(listen to Partnoy on March 25th "Fresh Air") Why not just cancel the wagers, Tim, as in, "All bets are off?" I see, elite contract preempts and supercedes human need. That's our old pal capitalism all right.

    Great site. Good info

    It is the coolest site,keep so!

    Very nice site!

    ---------------NICK----------

    SAID: "Libertarian socialists recognize this fact and implement minimal protections to help people to live cooperatively and without exploitation."

    First off, the term "libertarian socialist" completely contradicts itself; libertarianism (individualism) and socialism (a brand of statism, like fascism) are mutually exclusive ideas and cannot coexist. If you're going to follow the tenets of statism, please refrain from calling yourself a "libertarian"--you'll just give the rest of us a bad name. Call yourself a "liberal", which in today's America describes someone who believes in unrestrained personal freedom while embracing non-freedom in the economic/financial realm.

    Secondly, please define "minimal protections" and "exploitation".

    Thirdly the very notion that govt exists to FORCE "cooperation" on us is yet another glaring contradiction hinted at in your post.

    ----------ANYONE BOTHERED LEARNING?????????????


    Or, are y'all scared to find out the truth about your savior and his corporate whoredom?

    Google:

    "al gore enron"
    "enron campaign contribution clinton gore"
    "enron supported kyoto treaty"
    "global warming hoax corporate media alarmism"
    "global warming fascism"

    ---------Nick----------


    You are utterly wrong!

    Example: I, as a private individual, come to your house and demand that you turn your child over to me so that I can inject him with unknown substances before indoctrinating him/her for 8 hours a day for 12 years. What would you do?

    Now, let's say it is the GOVT who does this (mandated innoculations/public school)...what do you do?

    You completely fail to realize just WHY govt is so dangerous: the legalized ability to steal (tax) and kill (enforce taxes).

    In fact, big business LOVES big govt...always has and always will. Its called fascism/mercantilism/corporatism...unfortunately folks like you actually think regulation of business by govt is intended to help US, instead of the corps! It has always been through GOVT that monopoly capitalists have looked to achieve greater control over us than they EVER could through free-market competition and a justice system enforcing our individual rights.

    Libertarians are the exact OPPOSITE of Statists, who love using the power of govt to impose their will on others.

    ---------MWAnderson----------

    In a "libertarian" world, feudalism would be impossible, because property rights would be enforced for EVERYONE. In fact, in today's socialistic/fascistic America, we already ARE little more than serfs. In YOUR world, the common man doesn't even own his own LABOR for crying out loud! How much more feudalistic can you get than THAT? Oh, here's how: the common man has been reduced to serfdom through taxes directed at his property, and through immoral/illegal and fraudulent lending practices brought about by "progressives" bestowing special (and unconstitutional) priveleges on banks: the power to create unlimited amounts of credit (per the Communist Manifesto). In other words, true ownership of land has been denied to the common man.

    You need to get your facts straight, because you (and others) come off sounding like complete ignoramuses.


    Imagine there's no Shane and get back on topic. Warning: Reposting tends to negate your points. Grady/Gadfly probably had to go back to work. He has stated his case.

    One can be coerced by markets and power relations brought about by private property just as one can be coerced by the state. The coercion would actually be worse since there would be no protections offered as in a constitution. As capital and property made its way into fewer and fewer hands there would be a return to slave-like conditions. The only government being a police force to protect the existing power relations would work to make sure that the situation could not improve. Of course this is a short and somewhat simplistic critique of libertarianism.

    Libertarian socialists recognize this fact and implement minimal protections to help people to live cooperatively and without exploitation. It is a mistake to assume that socialism is naturally associated with the state.

    The stark lack of humanitarian concern evident in the posts by "Libertarians" here is quite enlightening; it makes one wish that--just for the sake of social experimentation--we could isolate areas within the US for three primary ideologies:

    The current model [whatever you'd like to brand it as]

    A Libertarian model

    and

    A Social Democracy model

    My personal take is that the current model area, left unchecked, would eventually descend into class warfare revolution not unlike the one France experienced. The Libertarian model area would, IMO, digress into a dispicable Feudal-like system that secures riches for the few and despair for the rest.

    We have far too many good examples in Europe of stable social democracies where their citizens are better adjusted overall, more economically stable, and happier in general.

    So yes, lets do adopt a Libertarian approach to government; we're not failing fast enough as it is, so we need to excelerate the process.

    Long Live The Libertarian Fanatics: may we all adopt an agressive, dumb jock, Friedmanite, inhumane approach to governing ourselves, and eventually the world!

    I'VE NOTHING AGAINST PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LIVE IN A COMMUNAL FASHION...........................

    If you want to get together w/other like-minded socialists, pool your money, share-and-share-alike, and divvy up the loot according to each person's "need" rather than according to who earned it...go right ahead! Buy a plot of land, build huts or barracks, or whatever you please. Become "one" with nature and leave behind all the evils of our modern consumerist society. Weave baskets and/or grow organic food to sell to produce the income you'll need to cover living expenses; or, you could retain jobs back in the wicked capitalist world...whatever, it's up to you all. See how long your utopia lasts after 20% or 40% of y'all decide that working isn't so cool...I mean, people are ENTITLED to be clothed, fed, housed, and cared for even if they don't produce anything, right? Let's see some of that "progressive" attitude in action! I'm sure your community will grow to the MILLIONS, being there are so many "progressive liberals" around, right?

    Please, just leave the rest of us alone, OK?

    --------THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIBERTARIANS AND SOCIALISTS [STATISTS]:

    Libertarians believe in freedom from coercion and a society where things are accomplished through voluntary cooperation and mutual respect of each other's rights. The people are citizens and the govt is servant to them, existing only to enforce the people's rights and for collective defense. Goodwill, liberty, and economic prosperity follow.

    Socialists, communists, fascists, progressive liberals, neoconservatives, or whatever else one wants to call the Statists--on the other hand--believe the best way to "run" a society is to point a gun at people and order them around. Legalized theft is the name of the game, and the people are servile subjects of the govt to be used and disposed of according to the govt's whims. Wickedness, tryanny, and poverty follow.

    --------------------Gadfly-Leap Howard---------------


    Please don't tell me you've bought into the globull warming propaganda put out by the elitist Al Gore?

    Google:

    "al gore enron"
    "enron campaign contribution clinton gore"
    "enron supported kyoto treaty"
    "global warming hoax corporate media alarmism"
    "global warming fascism"


    --------------------Gadfly-Leap Howard---------------


    Please don't tell me you've bought into the globull warming propaganda put out by the elitist Al Gore?

    Google:

    "al gore enron"
    "enron campaign contribution clinton gore"
    "enron supported kyoto treaty"
    "global warming hoax corporate media alarmism"
    "global warming fascism"


    In the new Batman, Ron Paul is the Joker, Obama the Riddler, and McCain the Penguin. Elliot Spitzer is Batman.
    poor Shane, parodied one old song from a dead socialist (no originality) and reposts the same tired words repeatedly. I guess John Birch is paying him per post. What a baby! What a waste! Can't discuss... can't learn. He should move to Alaska and see how libertarianism works in the melting permafrost. Get drunk with the falling trees.

    ..........IMAGINE..................

    " Imagine there's no Statists
    It's easy if you try
    No economic and political tyranny upon us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in a free world

    Imagine there's no Globalist traitors destroying our country
    It isn't hard to do
    No needless killing and dying
    And no State [Gaian] religion too
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in libertarian peace

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again

    Imagine no socialists trying to steal your possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for government greed and caused hunger
    A brotherhood American
    Imagine all the Collectivist people
    Leaving the world alone

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again "

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"


    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?

    Bill Moyers: Please update your Archive page. August Wilson was a wonderful choice, but how about some fresh material for back channel discussion? (Moyeristas: The Archive contains hints about what Moyers and staff "really" think.)

    pbs watcher and Linda: I wish we and some other posters could watch Bill Moyers every Friday together in a comfortable lounge, have supper and a discussion afterward, get mobilized....
    just a dream. Feel free to email me at beretco.op@gmail.com (especially pbs watcher or Linda)

    This is one of the best shows that the journal has ever played.... I hope The Bill Moyers Journal will continue to hold these kind of level headed no nonsence discussians.


    Great job!!!!!

    Shane, Shane the Libertariane,
    Lived in a wye oak tree.
    And everybody looked for him,
    Toora-loora-lee.

    So look for Shane the Libertariane,
    And question what you're told.
    And toora-loora-loora,
    Ron Paul, John Birch, Ron Paul. (How come that don't rhyme, no matter how many times you sing it?)

    Cumulative disbelief, frustration and anger for the indiscriminate 'big business magnates/lobbyists' and those within multiple ranks of government, federal, state, local politicians; if I remember correctly, human history has a way of repeating itself; anyone remember the French Revolution-- is this envisioned as a class game: the masses vs. the aristocrats; ..ah..but without the bloody mess, we need to organize our facts with the help of PBS and without the bias, filtered rhetoric and partial truths or lies perpetuated by the general media;

    go out there and vote
    and if nothing changes within a reasonable time....off with their ?

    Let me thank Shawn and Nigel for their discussion on and off the blog. It has been a challenging educational experience for this 57 year old hobo. All I can suggest is that if you want a different government join me in Washington on Inauguration Day 2009.
    Thank you PBS and WNET and Moyers" Journal for this free blog where those of us without money or sponsorship can experience human expression. Thanks also to Sumatra Persimmon and the other moderators who save the self respect of rabid and the overly emotional posters every hour of every day. You are truly "catchers in the rye."

    If people just keep talking and kidding they'll agree on something, then become friends. Steven Fraser asked us to address "the incestuous relationship between (big) business and (the federal) government. Charles Beard [Economic Origins of the Constitution (1908),later, of Jeffersonian Democracy (1915)]explained our dilemma, how the wealthy corporate class has always steered this nation. Father George was a land speculator and bond trader as well as a slaveholder/breeder. Rather than attack the few human rights we retain under the Bill of Rights wouldn't it be more expedient to devolve corporate personhood and maximize corporate taxes and regulation. Nigel Best is correct that no human is worth 500+ times the work value of his fellows. Better to be a Dr. Paul or a lawyer Kucinich, never expecting to be more than 10 times richer than his working clients, than be a Warren Buffet ludicrously warning us about "class warfare."

    Let's not fixate on documents and "great men." Admire instead the women and men who provide our necessities daily, and be proud of your own part in society. I learned from having too many tools that possessions only add aggravation. The trust and cooperation of those around you are of greater value than any level of wealth. Work is meaningful and even fun when you know you're doing right. Predatory and sharp practices only perpetrate misery on honest and hardworking people. If we had community solidarity we could dispense with police, though we might need a few frugally living judges.
    The truth though is that we live in a world where business people use the threat of foreign nation states to deceive us and keep us in line. If we see the Chinese breaking their bonds we should make a move too. Other peoples would probably follow.
    People will always travel, and knowledge of the world and exotic goods can be a grand thing, but I think we need to focus on producing wholesome food, tools, shoes and clothing, renewable energy and the opportunity for practical and speculative learning right in our communities. Tariffs might be necessary to shut the doors and provide revenue for infrastructure.

    Don't let the false sacredness of immense wealth and exploitive contract fool you. Treat the weaker party as you would wish to be treated.

    And if you believe Bill Moyers is part of Bilderburg, or some other conspiracy, watch some other show. If anything is a conspiracy it is the elite cabal floating above our government and the fellow travelers groveling to protect their sacred wealth and hoping for a crumb. A good text to understand why people have not yet acted in their own interests is "Power: A Radical View" by Steven Lukes. Lets march on Washington DC Inauguration Day and tell them what we expect! beretco.op@gmail.com

    ..........IMAGINE..................

    " Imagine there's no Statists
    It's easy if you try
    No economic and political tyranny upon us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in a free world

    Imagine there's no Globalist traitors destroying our country
    It isn't hard to do
    No needless killing and dying
    And no State [Gaian] religion too
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in libertarian peace

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again

    Imagine no socialists trying to steal your possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for government greed and caused hunger
    A brotherhood American
    Imagine all the Collectivist people
    Leaving the world alone

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again "

    -----------JACK MARTIN----------

    Actually, after reviewing my "Constitution" post, I have to agree with you: why NOT just scrap the whole thing?

    Return to the Articles Of Confederation, possibly update them a little bit, and just abolish the central government--which has done nothing but trample the States' and Peoples' sovereignty.

    Screw the corporate-owned United Nations and their so-called "Declaration Of Human Rights", its just more pie-in-the-sky nonesense designed to get people to surrender their freedom to a centralized authority for the benefit of its corporate masters.

    Starting to see a pattern here, Jackie, me boy?

    Big Government and Big Business have always gone hand-in-hand...for the benefit of the Elites residing in both arenas. Without a big, strong, govt to act as an enforcer, big business is forced to compete in the FREE MARKET.

    Just like people like YOU, big business likes big govt.

    At a time when species go extinct everyday I can't understand how someone would envy the poor survivors in a zoo whose habitat has been destroyed and whose life-way is obliterated. Prison (jail) is the zoo for people. When a community loses all its means of making a living people turn to crime and wind up in prison. When a nation like ours loses all productive viability the entire landscape becomes like a death camp turned inside out. Warning libertarians, those wide open spaces and lucrative opportunities are only backdrops and projections. See you in the zoo.

    If you're going to take beaucoup posts to amend the Federal Constitution into the Dixie Constitution why not just scrap the whole paper? Cheney and Bush have already wiped ass with it anyway. Let's examine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights instead (covered with a curtain during Colin Powell's UN testimony). Helen Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt both recommended it.
    Since songs are being parodied here a la Woodie Guthrie I'll tackle Neil Young's "Old Spud Blues"

    Well I hate to live in an oligarchy,
    Where investment's the only thrill.
    If the Capitalist don't get his expected return,
    I have to pay the bill.

    Well I guess we need monetary policy,
    But it still leaves me confused.
    I never know which way to go
    To lose these old FED blues.


    (meter ain't perfect, but neither is Neil Young's)
    Hi, Nigel! Heil, Shane!

    ------------------THE ZOO------------------


    When I go to the zoo, I always think to myself, "Wow! Look at all of these lucky animals...they don't have to worry about finding their own food, they get free healthcare and shelter, and are protected from predators. They are free to do whatever they want--as long as they stay within the confines of their cages/enclosures. They get to have thousands of strangers come visit them, and watch their every action"

    Now, if only WE could live like that...wouldn't THAT be GREAT?!!

    Why do so many cling to the failed and violent notions of socialism?

    Have people really become so conditioned to submit to State rule?

    How is it that people love Big Brother so much?

    Where are all the Americans at?

    I've gotten zero answers to most of my questions on here. No suprise there, right? I would avoid answering questions, too, if I were the one promoting government violence to make people do what I want. Much easier to hide behind pretty-sounding words like "liberal", "progressive", "social justice", and all the other propaganda terms slavish worshippers of Big Govt use to fool the sheeple.

    -----------IMPROVING AMERICA--------

    Pt. 4

    --Incorporate these ideas from the Confederate Constitution:

    "...Congress shall appropriate no money from the Treasury except by
    a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays..."

    "...All bills appropriating money shall specify in Federal currency
    the exact amount of each appropriation and the purposes for which
    it is made; and Congress shall grant no extra compensation to any
    public contractor, officer, agent, or servant, after such contract
    shall have been made or such service rendered..."

    "...Every law, or resolution having the force of law, shall relate
    to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title..."

    "...The judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under this
    Constitution, the laws of the Confederate States, and treaties
    made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to all cases
    affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all
    cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to
    which the Confederate States shall be a party; to controversies
    between two or more States; between a State and citizens of another
    State, where the State is plaintiff; between citizens claiming
    lands under grants of different States; and between a State or the
    citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects; but no
    State shall be sued by a citizen or subject of any foreign
    state..."

    --------------IMPROVING AMERICA-----------

    Pt. 3


    --Amend the constitution to require all import taxes to be
    collected at a
    UNIFORM rate.

    --Amend the constitution to forbid membership in int'l orgs like
    the UN, IMF, etc., and in military alliances.

    --Amend the constitution to limit spending of federal tax dollars
    within the Union.

    --Amend the constitution to explicitly guarantee the right of all
    States to secede, per the individual State constitutions.

    --Amend the constitution to allow States to be expelled from the
    Union based on a 3/4 majority vote of the rest of the States.

    --Eliminate the "Supremacy" and "Necessary and Proper" clauses from
    the constitution.

    ------------IMPROVING AMERICA-----------

    Pt. 2


    --Strike from the constitution the "general welfare" wording (A.1,
    s.8) which has been used to justify all sorts of unconstitutional
    actions; repeal the federal govt's authorization to: impose excise
    taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce among the States (more
    wording that has been greatly abused), establish post roads (this
    could be used to justify vast federal expenditures on roadways,
    being that ALL roads conduct mail delivery), and to provide and
    maintain a navy (naval squadrons are aggressive tools of war, not
    defensive, and are no longer essential to our legitimate nat'l
    DEFENSE).

    --Since the 9th and 10th amendments haven't been clear enough for
    the sheeple, institute an amendment that clearly states the so-
    called "Bill Of Rights" was never meant to be applied to the
    States, and that federal courts can't use this rationale for
    imposing federal jurisdiction over State law.

    --Amend the constitution to instigate tort reform: in civil suits,
    the loser pays the winner's court expenses. This would eliminate
    the terrible abuse of the court system by money-hungry lawyers who
    are using it as a mechanism of legalized extortion.

    --Amend the executive branch to a create multi-person executive
    serving at Congress' pleasure instead of a single president elected
    by a general vote. Have one department head for each federal
    agency LEGITIMATELY and SPECIFICALLY authorized by the
    constitution. Example: a head of defense, a head of the treasury,
    a head of the post office, etc; in effect, eliminate the office of
    presidency (and all associated powers like granting reprieves and
    pardons, and veto power) and simply have the various department
    heads put under Congress' control. The single executive system has
    been disastrous for America, and needs to be changed.

    -----------IMPROVING AMERICA--------------

    Pt. 1


    We would need to get back to basic Constitutional rule first
    (actually abolishing the central govt would be best, but I guess we
    have to try to work w/i the current framework), and then majorly
    amend it. All of America's problems can be attributed to us
    straying from the principles of limited government, natural rights,
    and the common law. Americans have become very hostile to the idea
    of freedom (including free-markets) and have grown shockingly
    ignorant (govt schooling and the MSM have done their job!) of the
    true and dangerous nature of govt.

    --Right off the bat, eliminate ALL federal programs and agencies
    that aren't SPECIFICALLY authorized under the CURRENT constitution
    (per the 9th and 10th amendments), and strike ALL statutes from the
    books that aren't in line with it, as well. Things like the drug
    war, social security, medicare, federal involvement in education
    and local policing, national parks/land ownership, environmental
    and workplace regulations, international welfare spending, the
    federal reserve system, centralization of the State militia under
    federal control, executive orders, any and ALL statutes relating to
    free speech, religion, and gun ownership, to name a few big ones,
    would all end. Some can be eliminated immediatly, some would need
    to be transitioned out of.

    --Seriously consider the legitimacy of the post-War For Southern
    Independence (it was NOT a "civil war") amendments (13-15) which
    were imposed on the country at the point of a gun. The 14th, esp.,
    has been damaging due to its creation of dual citizenship w/i the
    Union, as well as being used to confer "citizenship" status on
    corporations. The people are supposed to be citizens of their
    individual STATES, not subjects of the national govt.

    --Abolish the 16th amendment. This [arguably misapplied] amendment
    has granted the federal govt virtually unlimited taxing power and
    control over our lives. It has reduced us to little more than
    federal slaves. Think it is a coincidence that America became
    involved in two major and disastrous world wars w/i 30 years of its
    alleged ratification (along w/the federal reserve act)? America
    became a very different and much more aggressively imperialistic
    nation after these two horrible acts. This would severely limit
    the federal govt's power and ability to control us through
    taxation.

    --Abolish the 17th amendment. The people already have a voice in
    Congress through their locally elected representatives. Senators
    should be elected by the state legislatures to represent the STATE
    govt's interests at the nat'l level. This would act, as originally
    intended, as a brake on federal actions that infringe on State
    sovereignty.

    ..........IMAGINE..................

    " Imagine there's no Statists
    It's easy if you try
    No economic and political tyranny upon us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in a free world

    Imagine there's no Globalist traitors destroying our country
    It isn't hard to do
    No needless killing and dying
    And no State [Gaian] religion too
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in libertarian peace

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again

    Imagine no socialists trying to steal your possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for government greed and caused hunger
    A brotherhood American
    Imagine all the Collectivist people
    Leaving the world alone

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again "

    Nigel: I wonder if Shane realizes that by parodying Lennon's "Imagine" he is advocating communism as regards "intellectual property." He mimics the old technique of socialist balladeer Woodie Guthrie. Pete Seeger would have a good chuckle at this irony.

    I have looked at Nigel Best's website. He is down in New Zealand and has a different sensibility from most Americans. If I recall correctly New Zealand has long had "socialized medicine" and maybe had a constitutional cap on wealth accumulation (very progressive tax structure?) at one time. It is a beautiful, temperate island nation with plenty of hydro power, lots of sheep and some mining. It would be far more self-sufficient than the U.S. in case of economic collapse. (Nigel's arguments can be a little simplistic though.)

    Mr. Moyers lives in urban New Jersey and commutes to NYC. We know how that is...

    I'm in a small southern town near the demented metropolis of Charlotte. (Look out for falling banks.)Most people in my town will not be able to afford heat this winter. They are charging commuting gas on their credit cards now. Lucky it is warmer here than before climate change kicked in.... (not).

    Where is Shane, or is he a real person? Maybe he is a minion of the Austrian faschist Mises Institute which doles out million dollar rewards to idiots like Hernando de Soto to defend the advantages of the billionaire class. Shane may actually be a student, or former student with loans hanging over his head (mistakenly succumbed to state socialism, I guess). Maybe if he preaches hard enough a handsome "Bigman" will recognize his talent and set him up like Karl Rove (Sir Turdblossom)with a posh flat and a Mercedes. (Ah... the fervent dreams of butt sniffing dogs...)

    You've got to admire his tenacity, Nigel, for he has held out longer than many other libertarian hounds. See how he pants, resorting to repost (or was he taught stalling tactics at the School of the Americas).

    Maybe that other guy enlisted in navel intelligence, already served his wealthy opium importing masters, already died like a puppy in Afghanistan.

    No matter how poor Shane gets lets hope he doesn't enlist too. He shows learning potential if we can only turn his eyes to a better prize. I wonder who his sorry teachers and mentors were, the wretches.

    I believe that a time is coming in America where only scoundrels will seek protection in our perverted Constitution. It is a model for sacralizing wealth around the world. I laughed when Shane submitted the idol "Bill Gates." Now here is a truly crooked and conniving bastard, born to a multi-millionaire lawyer father, defrauded software developers and IBM, perpetrated corrupt code on the world, and is now using a charitable foundation for strategic business manipulation; a true monster. But still the kiddies love him, just like Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. "Oh, why are you worried about Bill Gates' money, it ain't yours," parrots the little sycophant. I'll have you know Gates has stolen not only money, but a better internet alternative from us all, and is a perverted role model to millions of ill-informed children.

    Anyway Nigel, how about lets discuss the specifics of what Ms. Sklar and Mr. Frasier have said to Mr. Moyers for awhile, and ignore those annoying horseflies.


    Jack Martin beretco.op@gmail.com

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"


    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?

    Best Closing Ever; Bill that was so eloquent and right to the point. I have never heard a better summation...perfect.

    Oh, what is the story with Margie Shoedinger? Please investigate.

    This discussion is about extreme wealth and poverty. This extreme wealth and poverty has been brought about by libertarianism. Basically everyone has been a libertarian for 1000s of years. Libertarians believe in perfect freedom. They believe in the game of everyone on the starting line, unrestricted by rules, unhobbled by hobbles, so that the race is (apparently) fair. And then everyone runs and whatever you get is yours by right. That is all they see, all they understand. The complexities elude them, and they don’t want to know about them. They cannot see them, and they cannot hear them when they are explained, and they have no will to strive to hear. Just let me race, without hobbles, and what I get is mine, and let’s keep it as simple as my mind. As Jay Gould said: everything I can grab is mine, and if it isn’t nailed down, I can grab it. For instance, Americans got freedom after revolution, and they interpreted it in a libertarian way: Whoopee, now I am free to get as rich as I can, and no one interfering. And it was the same everywhere in the world. People never saw that it was more complicated than that, that that perfect simple freedom produces tyranny rapidly. A hundred years after the American revolution, pay per hour ranged by a factor of one million, from 1c to $10,000. The public rhetoric was still strong on prevention of wealth concentration, and would continue to be present, fading to nothing, for many decades, and yet democracy had been utterly overturned, without most people noticing. Money is power, so great inequality of pay per hour is great inequality of social power, which is tyranny-slavery.

    How did this happen? How does perfect simple freedom rapidly produce extreme inequality of wealth and power? It is because of the successful illegal thefts, and the legal thefts. Not just the legalised thefts, the thefts produced by government action, but the legal thefts that exist naturally, and continue to exist by government inaction. In general, the existence of legal thefts is unknown and unsuspected. The race of perfect freedom is more like a series of running races, in which the losers of each race get handicaps for the next race, so that inequality of wealth and power grows and accelerates. It is extraordinary that in general no one has seen what has happened and sought to discover the cause, and stop it. Even the Henry George movement faded away. It seems that people have said: Oh well, never mind, let’s just keep going. The bull-headed will of the wealthy and powerful, in control of government, has pushed its way over sanity and community, and everyone else has been dragged along behind, confused by rhetoric of freedom, unclear about what is going on. Of course, there was the pull-back of the New Deal, but this has been eroded. Ironically, this egalitarian move was exported to Japan, and it made Japan very strong, so strong that it was able to rise from the ashes of Hiroshima and 87 firebombed cities to top nation in 50 years. With safe streets. Every empire has been strong, though small, with equality, and every empire has been weak, and fallen, though large, with inequality. The state built on injustice cannot stand. For 1000s of years, people have not been clear enough to control galloping inequality. It is the issue of humanity. It is at the root of all our sufferings and disorder. It is at the root of war and crime. The wealthy warmonger and cannon-fodder the rest of us because they can and because profits are greatest where the work-products are quickly destroyed and often wasted (eg, Harry Truman’s discovery of $14 billion of military waste and budget padding; see Plain speaking).

    See a previous post for a list of a few of the many legal thefts. Freedom as a virtue, a cause of happiness, is limited to every freedom short of injuring others. The legal thefts are injustices, which are injuries. Injury produces violence, which gets to everyone, from richest to poorest. It is injury which drives the growth of weaponry. We have bombs capable of destroying the planet. Violence is localised at any one time, but global in that it can appear anywhere at any time. Understanding and countering the legal thefts are essential to survival and happiness. People think billionaires are great, doing us good, creating jobs! They don’t create jobs, demand creates jobs. A billion is far more than an individual can earn in a lifetime. It is overpay, caused by the many, wide-open legal thefts. The most an individual can earn (create wealth by his own work) is less than $10 million (proofs elsewhere). It ought to be obvious that people are working about equally hard. The average person works about 50 hours a week (housewives work an average of 92 hours a week) and no one can work more than 100 hours a week, so no one can justly have more than double the average. Provided you pay students for studying, there are no rationally sound reasons for higher-than-average pay per hour (proofs elsewhere). But common sense is uncommon. People think that justice is a sacrifice, a limitation of freedom, and they (99%) go on getting poorer, more underpaid, and more angry, till revolution, when the 1% overpaid get pulled down, and then they grow inequality and violence all over again. Like 100 children with 1000 sweets, and a game-rule: grab as much as you can and grab from each other as well, which results in mayhem, ever-growing violence. The fever of climbing the ladder, the competitive race, totally absorbs them, and they do not learn the lesson of history, that perfectly simple-minded freedom is hell, is anarchy, is war, crime, riot and revolution, is destruction for all. Community is limiting freedom short of injury to others. We never learn that injuring others is injuring ourselves. Yet whenever did you spit on someone and not get a broken nose? We always expect that others will take injury lying down, although no one has ever taken injury lying down. If we loved ourselves with intelligence, we would be very careful not to injure. We would be keen to understand the unconscious injury in the legal thefts. We would see that the understanding and countering of the legal thefts is the way out of war and crime, out of global annihilation coming to our house soon. We would see that overpay is hell for the overpaid, for everyone is climbing up on them, making overpay a constant wearing fight with all. Every heap of wealth, national or individual, is always weaker than the rest of the world. The Sicilian mafia are naturally attracted to America, and they conquer their way to the top, from where they have to fight everyone climbing the ladder. With the top level intensely engaged in maintaining their position against all comers, there is little time for governance, let alone good governance. The people at the top are the most vigorous, least imaginative, least aware people. They know only fighting, besting others by all means, like Jay Gould, and Hitler. They are the ones who most underestimate the power of the injured, the ones with least sense to get along with others, the ones who most ignore the virtue, the happiness-potential, of justice. But all people are weak in understanding the vast benefits of justice, of avoiding injury. And so weaponry has grown for 1000s of years. To 60 times PDC (planet death capability). And still we are not anxious to understand less simplistically. Still we are gung-ho for the old way, the simple freedom race of every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost. But the devil takes all, even before annihilation. Each working person, including housewives and students, earns and creates around $100,000 of wealth, of work-products, a year. Plenty and peace. Non-injury. Abundance of order and democracy. 100 times faster technology progress (see previous posts). And look around at what we have made, with our simple minds. Devastation, chaos, dis-information, confusion, anarchy, terrors, horrors, waste, destruction. Rulers have been falling from the heights for 1000s of years. The overpaid, over-powerful are few, and everyone has been climbing for 1000s of years. That ought to tell people that as many have fallen as risen. And we still have one-idea libertarians, able to ignore the legal thefts. And they are still in a majority, drowning out objective, dispassionate discussion. The libertarians are doers, energetic people who just want to get doing. But even the thinkers are not yet aware of the legal thefts that cause all the mayhem. Many of them have been bought. It is only with a gigantic, heroic, unprecedented, fiercely honest mental endeavour by many individuals that humanity will rescue itself. Or perhaps a cosmic wave of intelligence is about to break on this planet, and reality will become clear to all.

    Google peaceandplentyplan.blogspot.com for more material. We have severe mental handicaps. We don’t see the big picture (reality is in the big picture), we have pleasure principle (if it isn’t pleasant it doesn’t exist, head-in-the-sand), instead of reality principle, we think we can’t be wrong for 1000s of years, although we have been, in many things, computer living gives short attention spans. Having limited wits is not our fault, we didn’t make ourselves. Read for your life and greater happiness, and be slow to judge. To investigate others’ opinions deeply isn’t agreeing. It takes time to wear a new mental path. Re-reading is not weakness, but strength. We come closest to truth by hearing all opinions.

    ..........IMAGINE..................

    " Imagine there's no Statists
    It's easy if you try
    No economic and political tyranny upon us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in a free world

    Imagine there's no Globalist traitors destroying our country
    It isn't hard to do
    No needless killing and dying
    And no State [Gaian] religion too
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in libertarian peace

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again

    Imagine no socialists trying to steal your possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for government greed and caused hunger
    A brotherhood American
    Imagine all the Collectivist people
    Leaving the world alone

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again "

    Selleck time

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"


    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?

    ------------------JACK MARTIN-----------

    said: "I can agree that a reasonable level of property remain sacred because we all share basic needs, but I can't see why some should be allowed to possess unreasonable amounts and all the decision-making power."


    So, YOUR definition of what a "reasonable" or "unreasonable" amount of private property is the correct one?

    Aren't these subjective terms?

    What, exactly, is "reasonable"? "Unreasonable"? And, why?

    What does ownership of property have to do with decision-making power? Last I checked, Bill Gates (and any other private citizen) had no power over me, despite being a multi-billionaire.

    You erroneously boil down libertarianism to a craven wanting of material goods.

    You erroneously believe that welfare can only be provided by using a govt gun to shake your fellow citizens down.

    It is about F-R-E-E-D-O-M. A basic and essential part of being FREE is the right to property and its disposal and the right to not have YOUR rights violated.

    What specific form of collectivism do YOU ascribe to, JACK MARTIN? Fascism? Communism? National Socialism?

    Shane, good libertarian name. (Saw the movie.)
    If you want direct consultation email beretco.op@gmail.com

    I had a teacher in grad school named Maryann who was a champion of individualism and ego driven ethics. She was quite a loner. She explained that she observed that a minority of women with a like personality to hers often embraced Libertarianism while most women were naturally socialists or communists. She said the male personality spectrum in our society is a mirror image. Most men have great anxiety over commitment to community or other people. They (like Maryann) don't want to get tied down and negate their "possibilities." (Ill come back to this.)
    Anyway, said Maryann, most young men find their emotional release in financial pursuits and their emotional investment lies there with their colleagues and mentors. In bygone days this produced a business environment very much like classical Greek social structure. (Man-boy coupling for career building) Now times had changed as more women had entered business and muddied the waters. Still you could see how homosexual combinations could make for great success in real estate and other fields. It is inevitable though, she said, that business and politics must change drastically to accommodate the natural nurturing and cooperative mindsets of most women (now that they are legally equal). It was a good thing this happened she said because loners like her really couldn't contribute much to community (this from one of the top medical ethicists in academia). She said she pitied all the uncommitted divorced and single men because the previous camaraderie and constructive collusion were now being negated by social upheaval and that there was little left beyond extreme political posturing, sports (especially golf)fanaticism, outdoorsmanship and pornographic eroticism. (She was not into gaming and internet role-playing embellishments.)
    Maryann saw the finite nature of both the natural world and human over- reproduction. She allowed no space fantasy escapes or instant fusion power scenarios. So practical, she died with no property (all used up for fun and gifting) and only a burial policy.
    The idea about negating one's life chances by involvement with family, organizational and community commitments is an illusion. These things constitute human life. With prospects as dismal as they are presently for the majority of loners, success can be had only by predation. If the market worked a little in times of high prosperity it was because of plenty. Things really did trickle down then. One could recycle and invent out of the dump, and secondhand shops had some really interesting stuff cheap. But now the predators at the top are looting our dying empire. The only rational response is to organize in groups advocating equality and basic material rights. Why should the deprived be prevented from organizing when their oppressors are scheming together 24/7? We have to curtail both the religious and business endtimers. Regardless of personality inclinations community work (What Barack Obama pretends to do.) is the only way to save the infrastructure and population. All big organization (state level) is coercive and often ruthless and corrupt because face to face interaction and acquaintance with the grounded circumstances is remote. Those callus ones at the top (like Dwight Eisenhower or Bill Clinton or George Soros) feel no pain.
    I keep hearing little libertarians complain, "Keep your hands off my property!" Do you really have any property... I mean besides what you might inherit or the dream property you expect to accumulate if everything goes perfect or you win the lottery? Prospects are not property and the majority of Americans (despite the retirement ads) have very little net worth. All they have is a stake in a fixed game where they are extremely unlikely to win. That game (and the Constitution) makes large blocks of property and wealth sacred and tends to give all the power to those with advantage so they only accumulate more of what they can't really use or enjoy in a constructive way, while others work their damnedest and can't even get a dwelling or a paid off vehicle. This disparity makes for an inefficient system of production and distribution while making representative government a sham.
    I can agree that a reasonable level of property remain sacred because we all share basic needs, but I can't see why some should be allowed to possess unreasonable amounts and all the decision-making power. A polarized system like we have even affects sanity and distorts personality development. It produces the dynamic Maryann described.
    What I have begun to see are the possibilities outside our perverse system. There is the possibility that Maryann's limited perception of human character can be overcome.
    Humans may have been playing children's games so far and are just now waking up to our collective responsibility and our common connectedness.
    Am I talking like a mom, Shane? Is my vision any more viable than your aspiration to individual wealth and dominance where the "winners" are automatically assumed to be the "best."? Your game is destroying the world. I believe circumstances call for something nearer to my mindset than yours and that you may have been socialized into a lost past.(If not you are but a greedy child.) Cooperation is more stable than competition, and collusion and covert combination are a crime against humanity in a time of scarcity. You don't need people like me (yet), Shane, but we feel compelled to save people like you in order to make peace so humans on this planet can survive. I don't know you but I suggest you find a way to make solidarity and interdependence with the people around you before the crunch comes. This is not a word game, not economics class: This is your life.

    Note: I appreciate your crumbling intransigence in your last post as you realized discussion is more useful than talking point styled debate. This is my effort to reach out and listen. An old mentor Reverend Warren Carr continually asked me "What would you replace it with?" when I'd criticize institutions or practices. It took me a long time to realize he was only kidding a novice. An individual shouldn't ponder such questions, for there lies the prerogative of the groups affected. Warren was a patient teacher. As to smoking, I see tobacco freedom and marijuana legalization more as a libertarian issue.

    --------------------JACK MARTIN-------------


    WTF are you smoking? Individualism is most surely NOT inculcated in the populace...just the opposite.

    You leave out on VERY important aspect of a TRUE free-market: the protection of individual rights.

    ALL of America's problems can be attributed to statist/collectivist govt policies (a combo of fascism/socialist/corporatism).

    How did this thread get sidetracked into a discussion of American Libertarianism? We were originally discussing the plight of our nation of 300 million+ persons, wherein the majority are sinking below the poverty level due to inflation and job/wage stagnation. In the face of these and pressing environmental problems it is unrealistic to recommend individualism and self-reliance. So many young people have been brainwashed or panicked into the belief that the free market solves all woes. If run to its conclusion the market does sort things out but results in starvation, epidemics, a trashed environment and infrastructure, and a shortage of people in helping and healing professions. The market has always required periodic revolution or reform for its continuance. At this juncture neglect has allowed the chips in the wealth game to accrue to a tiny minority of less responsible individuals so that liquidity is being maintained by levies on the masses (Bear Stearns, Iraq).
    Libertarianism is an ideology, not a solution, and what is being presented as libertarianism by vested interests will result in repressive oligarchy or faschism.
    Faschism is the alliance of business interests and government against the general interest. To embrace this sort of faschism in the face of present circumstances one must become a megalomaniac, or at least a nihilist.
    If anyone has ever wished for less government, fewer police and busybodies, peace and personal responsibility, I have. But now we are living in a chickenhouse where no individual can long remain self-sufficient. If this country were to collapse there would result a socioeconomic black hole such as the world has never imagined. It would make Zimbabwe and Rwanda look like dodge ball.
    I even like the idea of devolution, going back to simpler sustainable ways, but that is no longer immediately feasible either. If the depression comes many will die needlessly and others will be ruined and stunted for life. It will be so much worse than the 1930s depression because people have fewer self-sufficiency skills today than back then and there are so many more of us. Our country has been hollowed out when it comes to vital basic production and most grandparents have long ago (several generations) left the refuge of the family farm. Land and property have been enclosed, fenced and guarded, so that there is nowhere for the masses to turn for basic survival stocks. When electricity, water and sewer are cut off our modern homes become deathtraps, and do you not think our irresponsible distribution of guns will result in robbery and slaughter, of the law abiding by the ruthless.

    There are limits on the implementation of ideology when it comes to public health and justice. Maybe our education and medicine and communications and travel are overblown, but they must be devolved with care.

    If you are a nihilist weighing your life chances, young and fit and smart, and you are itching for a near apocalypse in order to make your success the Moyers Blog is an inappropriate forum for you. You might enjoy violent video games or day trading instead, or even internet fraud or bankrobbing. We people here (Moyeristas) are trying to plot our survival, uncover a path to justice in a better world.
    The problem is that present rules prevent needed change and a few wealthy, powerful and influential parties are now gambling with the lives of the masses. When you eschew all government or cooperative structure you deprive the people of any peaceful recourse. Let's try separating business from its control of representative government, as with religion, and then maybe individualists might get a chance to be heard.

    It might be though that libertarian extremism is your threat, just like anarchism (without a king) has been.
    Those of you who mean to frighten our oppressors, I applaud your efforts, but know where to draw the line. This is not a game or debate:It is a life and death struggle. Both empire and suburbia are at an end. The frontier is closed and the muleskinners are a fleeting memory. I have trouble differentiating entertainment media themes from reality too, most people do, but we have to try.

    ..........IMAGINE..................

    " Imagine there's no Statists
    It's easy if you try
    No economic and political tyranny upon us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in a free world

    Imagine there's no Globalist traitors destroying our country
    It isn't hard to do
    No needless killing and dying
    And no State [Gaian] religion too
    Imagine all the American people
    Living in libertarian peace

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again

    Imagine no socialists trying to steal your possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for government greed and caused hunger
    A brotherhood American
    Imagine all the Collectivist people
    Leaving the world alone

    You may say I'm a freedom extremist
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And America will prosper again "

    -------------NIGEL WORST-----------------


    Are you capable of answering a straight-forward question?

    --------------------PAT------------

    Don't let the door hit ya!

    Thank you Moderator Sumatra Persimmon. You deftly avoided a traumatic injustice collision.
    My post supporting Nigel was meant as ironic free verse poetry, and I intend never to respond to thugs demanding I uncoil my meandering subconscious for their entertainment.
    Enjoy the textbook-worthy theses below as you examine your real beliefs conditioned by personal experience. Somewhere several economics and philosophy professors should be beaming at the rhetorical capabilities of their protogees.
    For your information the hy-brid of libertarianism with socialism results in cultural materialism. (Fly straight to wiki my hungry little birds, the seeds and crumbs await.)

    Daddy. Thanks for your response, your willingness to enter into dialogue, your non-assumption that what I say is definitely wrong, your openness to further exchange, your tolerance of my always-possibly-wrong opinions, your not letting your incredulity lead you to unpleasantness of mannner. Your attitudes are the root of all idea growth, which is the root of progress.

    I think some of your questions are answered in my earlier posts. If you are aware of the extremely bad situation we humans are in, and are therefore serious about answers, you will read those happily.

    Excuse me if I make some preliminary points. I make them because they are essential principles in really reading. I am not implying that you don’t know them already. Readers may know them, or they may appreciate the reminder, or they may not know them. Happiness depends entirely on reality, there is no happiness outside reality, so pursuit of reality is essential to pursuit of happiness. Some people are not really, seriously, fully aware that anything is wrong, and so have no drive to find truth. Instead of thinking: Hey, things are bad, we must be doing something wrong, let’s look; they have not really crystallised a clear consciousness that things can be better, that we always must be doing things wrong, that with our limited wits there is always more truth and happiness to find. For some people, discussion is just: someone puts up their opinion, you put up your opinion, and that’s it. Life is a game between reality hiding, and us seeking it because we are totally dependent on it for happiness. Get reality wrong and we suffer. It is a challenging, exciting, dangerous game. Some people are not playing it. For some people, it is just: I’m here, and stuff is here, and I have my opinions, and that is that. Discussion isn’t between two people, it is a tool in the game to hunt reality down, and thus more happiness. We come closest to truth when we hear all opinions. Others’ opinions are our whetstones, to sharpen our eyes and thus find more of life’s hidden treasures. Some people are not really fully awake to this. In order to really read, we have to be aware that the ideas we have are causing the problems. It is not enough to assume that widely or universally accepted ideas are not worth investigating for their realism. Test everything. We have to have working hypotheses, in order to function, but the best theory can be wrong. Test everything, and hold on to what seems good, and keep testing it, as the railway engineer regularly tests the wheels. Reality is very complex, a really good hider. And every statement, even of truth, is necessarily a summary, a shorthand, a partial statement, a finite expression of an infinite complexity. Some people want to pretend that truth is something they have, and they are therefore offended or disturbed by new opinions, but that attitude is fatal to pursuit of happiness (which is a duty to self as well as a right).

    The voluntary argument, which is a chestnut of economics. A contract or decision cannot be voluntary without full knowledge and choice. A choice to buy is always made with limited knowledge of the relevant facts. The buyer and the seller don’t know the exact amount of work that has gone into the product. The buyer doesn’t know the exact work-value of the product. No one does, no one can. The buyer doesn’t have the opportunity to buy at strictly fair price, ie, a price that pays for all work inputs, no more or less. A voluntary situation would exist only where the buyer had in front of him the product at the price as in society, and also, beside it, the product at the exact work-value price. Necessarily, unavoidably, prices are different from costs (which are the work-value in them, including full and fair pay for principals, owners, no more or less). And that is legal theft. Unavoidable legal theft. What is supposed to happen is that a working person’s wealth after a transaction is the same as it was before, just in different work-products. We invented job specialisation, which necessitated trade, and trade is to give out the specialised products we produce, and get the products we want. Trade shouldn’t leave us better off or worse off in work-value. The amount of work in the products we buy should be equal to the amount of work we do. Anything else is theft, that is, unilateral shift of wealth. Even if people are perfectly honest and friendly with each other, with no desire to take advantage, to get advantage (to steal), they cannot avoid inequality between the work content of the two things exchanged. And that causes legal theft. Over many transactions, that has to cause a bell curve of net gains and losses from large gain to large loss. Just as tossing heads and tails has to result in strings of heads, and strings of tails, with longer strings rarer, but inevitable. So, ever-growing inequality (theft) is built in to transaction itself. The bell curve widens with every transaction. And of course most people have lesser or greater will to take advantage of the ignorance of the exact work value of products to edge prices and costs in their favour. The only device we have had to minimise the inequality (theft) is caveat emptor, buyer beware. That is, beware of the will to take advantage, to try to steal, by puffing appearance of value, and increasing price above costs (including fair pay for the work of principals, owners). (Costs are ultimately all work costs. Only work produces wealth. Money only represents work-products, money only represents wealth creation by work. Work products are substantial wealth, money is symbolic wealth. No work means no work-products, means the money is worthless. To halve the workers is to halve the wealth. Double the amount of money with same work-products and every dollar buys half as much. All the money equals all the work equals all the work-products.)

    As far as I know, no one has to-date seen this inequality built in to trade. And part of the reason is that people don’t want to see it. We find it easy to believe what we want to believe, and we want to believe in the equality of trade because we believe in the goodness of all levels of wealth. The universal idea is that more money is always better. But wealth contribution by work is limited, so unlimited fortune has to be theft. And theft is injury, and injury produces violence, ever-increasing violence, and violence gets to everyone, from richest to poorest, so more money is not always better. Self-earned money is perfectly good, other-earned money is always bad. One injury produces an endless, ever-increasing vendetta back-and-forth of injury. Eg. Israel. Justice is a virtue, the virtues are the behaviours that produce happiness, justice produces happiness because it avoids violence. People are (unconsciously, self-deceivingly) stealing, that is, producing violence, which gets to everyone, but no one is making the connection. Instead of loving justice, because it produces happiness, people are believing that ‘making’ money is always good, and is perfectly harmless. The connection between 1. striving to maximise money without limit, instead of aiming to get out as much as you put in, and 2. violence, is hidden from them, by life’s terrific complexity, and by the ease of believing what we (mistakenly) want to believe. Instead of seeking out the connections between things, we see only the good of a thing and avoid investigating the bad of that thing. Realism, practicality, self-love, self-interest, objectively investigates the truth of matters. The only way to make money is by making work-products (goods and services). What people call making money is often raking money through the (many, wide-open) legal thefts. Everyone supports the legal thefts, the underpaid because they hope to repair their underpay by them, and the overpaid because of their self-defense costs, and everyone because they believe money is always good. We humans have conned ourselves out of 99% of natural, birthright human happiness by this idea. (See my proof in previous posts here that we can be 100 times happier with pay justice.) We have super-super-super-super-extreme inequality (overpay-underpay), and proportional violence, producing proportional misery, (for everyone form riches to poorest) and we are not even looking for the explanation. As soon as we see our error, as soon as we see that we are hurting ourselves super-super-super-super-extremely, we will be super-super-super-super-extremely happier. Just as, as soon as animals understand traffic, the roadkill will stop.

    A progressive tax and welfare programs are unjust only if the state of wealth is just, if there are no things in society shifting wealth from earners to non-earners. The progressive tax is based on a recognition that there are legal thefts in society, that a few (ever-changing) individuals get more and more per unit of work they do, and most get less and less. It ought to be obvious to everyone that this is so, just from seeing that income per year’s work ranges by a factor of one billion, from 10,000th of average to 100,000 times average. But such is the power of believing what we want to believe, the deceptive power of the conviction that more money is always good for us, that our minds mentally erase this conclusion, without our even knowing the erasure has been made. More money would be good for the underpaid, because they have substantial desires to satisfy, and because more money would not go into overpay, which brings misery. Pay injustice is super-extreme, so most are underpaid, and most are very underpaid, so most people are very powerfully driven to more money. Honey attracts bears, and the more honey they don’t have, the more driven they are, the greater the attacks on overpay are, and the more precarious, laborious, dangerous and unhappy overpay is. Everyone loses with pay injustice. We are all super-super-super-super-extreme losers. We can all be, relatively, super-super-super-super-extreme winners, but the cost is realism, reality principle, looking very very hard at reality with perfectly steady eye, with perfect scientific detachment. We are also severely mentally handicapped (through no fault of our own, we didn’t make ourselves) by taking parts of the puzzle for the full picture. Out of the trillions of pieces, we can always find pieces that support our hypothesis. We are also severely handicapped by the pleasure principle, by putting out of thought all unpleasant things, writing them off in our minds, so we severely underestimate our unhappiness. We can’t solve problems we don’t face. We should contemplate problems in all their apparent insolubility till they are solved. We are technological giants and reality infants. We are sorcerer’s apprentices without a sorcerer returning. We are sorcerer’s apprentices who aren’t even alarmed by the disaster we have started. We are infants with cigarette lighters about to be burned to death. Only super-super-super-super-extreme heroic mental honesty and growing up can save us.

    There is no contemplation of force in this plan. The use of force almost certainly means that theft is the aim. If the Russian leaders had really thought their plan was good for everyone, they would have pitied the ones who left, and let them go with only sadness. If a plan is good for everyone, it can be taught, explained, till people see it. If they cannot see it, that is the end of it. Force produces no good result. Culture is ideas, and only change of ideas changes culture. Revolutions (including the French, Russian and American) have failed every time, because the mindset is not new, the accepted view of reality is not new. Pay injustice grows back up. The pay injustice factor (ratio of highest to lowest pay per unit of work) was one million in America in the 1880s (see Greed and good, Sam Pizzigati).

    Bureaucracy is proportional to pay injustice. Every empire has suffocated to death on its bureaucracy. Pay justice produces not only peace, safety, order, survival, etc, but also small government, low taxes, cheap money, low interest rates, high capital formation.

    The purpose of government is justice, James Madison. This is because injustice is injury, which produces violence, which is ever-growing, and gets to everyone. So the purpose (mission, aim, duty) of every person is justice. The state [and globe] built on injustice cannot stand, Roman proverb. So patriotism does not exist without pursuit of justice. And pay justice is the most important form of justice, because money is the joker good, good for most things, including necessities, including social power.

    It is surely, simply clear (to objective mind) that if one person has the property of 1000, he also is unhappier, with merely 1000 times more than he can use, and 1000 enemies instead of 1000 friends. Pay injustice is lose-lose, justice is win-win. That is all we have to grasp. All history teaches the misery of the overpaid. All logic supports it. Past wisdom supports it, in fragments. The bear with all the honey spends his life fighting off hungry bears instead of being happy. The messengers are not the enemy. Reality is. The fight is not with the messengers. Defeating the messengers is not victory. When the messengers have gone away, reality remains with you. It is just between you and reality. Reality bites everyone who is wrong. Reality is perfectly heartless. The coffee table doesn’t move if you walk into it in the dark. I hope you win.


    Rarely do I ever venture into the world of blogs, but each time I have, it has been the same. Unenlightening usually, filled with putdowns, harangues, and dominated by a few who quite obviously discount anything anyone else might say. I hear a lot of passion here but the way you present yourselves makes me stop listening.

    You can count on me not visiting this place again.
    Save yourselves time and money, PBS, this forum will never produce the kind of discussion you were hoping for.

    And by the way, just the fact that one now has to input spam-preventing words at every web site shows you the limits of an online "community". The ones with the capacity to shout and drown out everyone else will do so and everyone else will be unheard. Too bad.

    ------------NIGEL BEST-------------("To all libertarians" comment)

    No offense, but I don't think you understand the most basic principles of libertarianism (another word for freedom), nor basic economics.

    Your idea of "legalized theft" is off as well. I'm sorry, but two parties voluntarily agreeing to a contract is NOT legalized theft. Legalized theft, by definition, can only occur with the government's sanction. You think only YOUR idea of what is "just" has merit.

    Our system of fiat credit creation (GOVT-sanctioned banking cartel & fractional reserve banking) is a the most egregious case of legalized theft in the world today. It is a wealth-transferral system based on a national credit system controlled by private banks in the manner by which the federal government is saddled w/an impossible-to-pay-back debt (our "money" supply). We the people's labor and property have been pledged to pay back this "loan". Being that it is impossible to pay back, however, we are perpetual debt slaves to the perpetual debt system. It is no suprise that the "progressive" income tax amendment (a plank of the Communist Manifesto) followed close on the heals of the Federal Reserve Act which established a centralized system of credit (also a plank of the CM). Our income (i.e., LABOR) was pledged as collateral to the FRS.

    GOVT welfare/spending programs (i.e., TAXES) which transfer wealth from one group/person to another are forms of legalized theft (especially when it isn't for a collective, general benefit).

    Taxing different people at different RATES is also an example of unjust and legalized theft.

    "Libertarianism", at its core, is a philosophy of non-agression. We don't advocate using force (yes, that includes GOVT force) to solve problems. We don't believe in slavery (involuntary servitude to another--including GOVT). We see our fellow man as sovereign individuals...not expendable cogs in the machinery of the State. We believe in free-will and the general goodness of individuals.

    NIGEL: Go try to start a business and see how many bullsh*t regulations, taxes, legal liability (due to bad govt policy and lack of true justice), and red tape you have to deal with. After you give up, ask yourself: who, ultimately, do these measures prevent from entrepreneurship? Is it the little guy with a good idea and goal of improving his community (through responsible business ownership and job/revenue creation) that is disenfranchised from this endeavor, or the big nat'l/multi-nat'l corporation (which can hire lawyers, managers, etc. to deal w/all the b.s.)?

    ---------------NIGEL BEST--------------


    You keep extolling the benefits of your "just" pay scale, and I will admit that it sounds nice. What worker wouldn't want a gazillion % raise for no extra work/productivity?

    However, I cannot dicern by what MECHANISM you wish to implement this system.

    Are you talking about a world where corporate governing boards or private employers VOLUNTARILY agree to "share the wealth" (I guess they somehow become "enlightened"...?)?

    A situation where workers--through near total (voluntary or mandatory?) union membership--are able to squeeze this concession out of employers?

    Or, are you talking about using government COERCION to force this "just" solution down everyone's throats?

    Futility,I'm about as rational as one gets.  I have spent years of my life airborne.   I am necessarily an expert on the machinery of movement, the physics of metal flowing through air. I know the viscosity of clouds.Nothing could be more rational or scientific or true than powered flight through air, but mostly I do it because I like the view.We are all creatures of the age of reason and the industrial revolution.  It is the source our greatness and our continuing distruction.  We can produce and grow things on a level unimaginable to our ancestors, and we can commit mechanized murder on a scale that continues to frighten.  There are limits to pure reason that are well known philosophically.   There is knowledge in art and religion that much of the world understands and appreciates, but which are not reducible to the tools of reason.  One limitation of reason is that all rational arguments ultimately come down to premises that are tautologies (there are many others).  Don't take my word on this; I think that with a little research you will find that what I am saying is true.  To not recognize the limitations of pure reason is ultimately kind of irrationality.  It is to make a dogma of the most undogmatic of epistomolgies.    I am not pushing religion on anyone.  I am not the one to do so. I am just saying that it makes sense to keep an open mind to the obvious -- we all know things, truths, that are not rationally based, whether it is in music or art or the in the sublime beauty of nature.  Much of the conflict in the world today is a result of our rationalistic schema verses our innate knowledge that rationalism alone is limited and unsatifying.  Much of the fundamentalism and literalism that is tearing the world apart is a rebelion against rationalist modernity run amok.  You are right.  This is not the forum for this discussion, but I have enjoyed the discussion and the substantial intellect that you bring to bare to present your point of view.  The rest of the manifestos here have made me weary.  I fear that life is much too complicated and mysterious for such simplistic solutions and hapless diatribes as I read here.Thankyou for your thoughtful commentary.  tony     

    To all libertarians:

    Freedom is a good until it is unjust (injury). The philosophical defence of freedom is until it is injury. Unlimited fortunes are necessarily unjust, because individual contribution by work is limited. The individual earnings are limited to what an individual would produce in nature, plus an equal share of the benefits of division of labour. (An equal share, because division of labour is a community project.)

    See the list of legal thefts in my earlier posts for how overpay occurs.

    What if the society is unable to make something illegal because all are deceived as to the good of unlimited fortune, because all believe more money is always better?

    The social pool of wealth is limited, because individual contributions to the pool by their work are limited. (The pool of wealth is potentially infinite, because it can grow without limit, but it is at every stage finite, not infinite.)

    Many people believe that whatever money a person pulls is rightly theirs, because they do not know the legal thefts, and because of conviction that more money is always better. When people become rich, they defend the money they have, ignore any arguments that the money includes overpay, and use every argument to defend the money (including libertarianism). The underpaid do not have the lack of objectivity of the overpaid. The underpaid can see it is unjust, the overpaid cannot. So there is war. (And truth is the first casualty of war. Hence the flood of dis-information. Eg, manmade global warming, WMD in Iraq.)

    Libertarianism is, at best, freedom without justice. Libertarianism is: If I pull the money, it is justly all mine, and no government or person has the right to take it from me. This is believed in ignorance of the legal thefts, or in closed-minded refusal to admit the legal thefts, on the untrue assumption that unlimited wealth is good for the person who has it. Unfortunately, but understandably, the underpaid permit and support the legal thefts, because they hope to repair their underpay by them, although the legal thefts don’t, they take more from the underpaid than they give.

    The legal thefts create overpay-underpay, which is also overpower-underpower, which is unfreedom, tyranny-slavery. Why did the founding fathers try to prevent wealth concentration? Because money is power (the second greatest power), and inequality of power is undemocracy, unfreedom. They tempered their libertarianism with justice. Pay justice is the most important justice, because money buys virtually everything, including social power.

    People interpreted freedom as freedom to get unlimitedly rich, which re-grew tyranny. It should have been obvious that no one can work more than twice as hard as the average person, and that fortunes could therefore be limited to twice the average. But no one was interested in making that argument, because everyone had the mistaken notion that unlimited fortune was glorious and good.

    If people have open grabs on limited wealth, all-grab-all, you get ever-growing inequality, violence, disorder and unhappiness. Like 100 children, 1000 sweets, with a game rule to grab from each other too. Perpetual escalating fighting, hostility, suspicion, enmity, instead of eating fairshares and playing happily perpetually. $40 an hour for every working person including housewives and students, $100,000 per working person including h and s, $200,000 per family. America (and every other empire) has not confined its all-grab-all within borders, but exported it everywhere, and so its danger, labour, fighting, fatigue, are all the larger.

    Justice is a virtue. Virtues are causes of happiness. Injustice is injury. Each injury causes an endless escalating vendetta back-and-forth of injury. It is in everyone’s interests to pursue and capture justice, especially pay justice, if you want to play perpetually in amity together rather than fight to exhaustion and extinction. (Pay injustice produces all the other forms of injustice, like corruption of officials.)

    What has freedom to pursue unlimited fortunes given humanity? Freedom for everyone, from richest to poorest, to be embroiled in super-extreme escalating violence, rising to nuclear extinction soon, freedom for 99% to be underpaid, freedom for 90% to be paid less than 100th of average pay per unit of work, freedom for 1% to perpetually try to fight off the 99%, and the others in the 1%. Freedom for everyone to be extremely poor in enjoyment, peace, safety, leisure, relaxation, company, community, health, sanity, order, maturity, education, trust, generosity, kindness, beauty. To be extremely rich in danger, labour, war, crime, fatigue, insanity, mis and dis and un education, corruption, horror, terror. Nuclear fear fatigue will not stop nuclear extinction coming. Global extinction bombs and super-extreme (giga-astronomical) pay injustice, increasing fast, means a boiler, relief valve stuck, pressure gauge in the red and rising. It must blow soon. The third world has 51% of world wealth now, and is rising 10% every 30 years, or faster. Which is why ‘they’ are desperate to try to stop the third world having the bombs. The third world is coming for the loot stolen over 500 years of colonialism military and economic. (Not having the bombs won’t stop them. And the first world having the bombs won’t save them. Bombs are focused, people are scattered.) The defense costs are exhausting the first world, as they exhausted every empire and plutocracy in history. We can no longer afford a war. A 60th of the bombs will create enough fires to put up enough smoke to drop the temperature 25 C, three times colder than a natural ice-age.

    It is no time for closed-mindedness, immaturity or delay. It is time to get real like we never got before. Bite the bullet of the adamantine golden rule: don’t hit people, they hit back. Pay justice or misery and extinction. Pay justice is not a hardship, is not a loss. It is social, economic and psychological riches. 100-fold happiness. Would anyone (outside a madhouse, or even in a madhouse) suggest taking 90% of wealth off 90% of people and giving it to 1%? No, not in a million years. So take to deepest heart the fact that we have pay injustice, and misery, over a million times worse. Take to heart the fact that we can be super-extremely happier, like children who stop all-grab-all with the sweets and eat 10 sweets each ($200,000 per family) and then play together.

    I am not talking about giving money to people regardless of whether they deserve it. I am talking about giving money back to people who have earned it. Learn to hate the false justifications for pay for no work as you hate misery and extinction, because that is what they are. Exorcising the false justifications for pay for no work will lift you and everyone up into maximal freedom, unimaginable happiness, incredible productivity and progress, extreme reduction of war and crime. (Don’t imagine that religion and race are also causes of war. The places with religious or race differences without ‘economic disparity’ along r. or race lines have no violence along r. or race lines, the places without religious or race differences with economic disparity have violence.)

    Will humans act with wise self-interest? Will we re-activate our pursuit of happiness with realism? Will we after all these years dive into the ocean of gifts that pay justice has for us? Will we jump out mental grooves? Imagine if we did institute equal shares of a 1%-a-month money supply increase. The well of humanity would start to fill. I think there would be rejoicing. I think we would begin to feel proud of ourselves. I think our spirits would lift. I think we would recognise with relief that we has at last conquered that disease of pursuit of unhappiness.



    Well, the discussion is equality (pay justice). I put up an argument that everyone, from richest to poorest, can be literally, conservatively, incredibly, 100 times happier. (If it sounds too incredible to even consider, think of how unhappy a community would be with one person having everything, and remember we are close to that, with 1% having 98%. And think of the situation of a person having the property of 1000 people. Can he be happy constantly fighting off 1000 people? And what can money add to full satisfaction of desires?) Is anyone going to discuss that? The argument is either true or false. If it is true, it is of the greatest interest to you, whoever you are, isn’t it? If you don’t check it out carefully, with honesty with yourself, you should check your pulse, shouldn’t you? Is anyone capable of deeply, fully coming to grips with the argument? It is an interesting argument, isn’t it? It is a new thought in the mix of thought on equality, isn’t it? It could lead the way out of the tunnel of human confusion and danger, couldn’t it?

    And what about my description of several wide-open legal thefts in the economic system? That is highly relevant to any debate on equality, isn’t it?

    Can people hop out of their various mental grooves to engage objectively with a novel reading of reality? Does the global emergency, the social anarchy, not ring your bell hard enough yet? If you delay responding as long as there is still time to respond, you will delay until it is too late to respond.

    I suggest a no-force, consensus, capitalist, simple, low-bureaucracy, economically gentle but fully effective way to get back to pay justice, which I claim, with logical argument, will give literal 100-fold happiness (life enjoyment) to every person, from richest to poorest. If you still think it is too incredible, consider that we could have lost happiness imperceptibly slowly over a long time, and, since we lack a way to measure happiness levels, and have no records of happiness levels going back through a long time, we have no way of knowing that we haven’t been losing happiness for a long time. We may have been losing happiness for a long time, getting used to each new lower level and assuming it is the natural level of happiness.

    Have I failed to explain it fully? Does anyone want clarification or amplification? Are people’s brains too soggy with TV these days to engage in discussion? We might find out one day that TV is far more damaging to the mind than we realise now.

    If you were the governor of a new planetary colony, would the first thing you thought of to do be to institute a range of pay per year from $10 billion to $10, from 10,000th of average to 100,000 times average, with 90% below 100th of average and 99% below average, as we have in the world today, after 1000s of years of creeping inequality? Was the American dream based on prevention of wealth concentration or not? (It was.) Was this wise or not? Is it still a good idea? Do conquerors have a fun time of it or not? Is conquering the end or the beginning of troubles? Does the ladder of success sink faster than it extends? Is our happiness today in where we are, or is it all in the hope that it will be better higher up? And is this hope true or false?

    Is happiness the purpose of life, or is chaos and craziness closer to our hearts? I don’t know. Do we love sadomasochism or are we just simple creatures overwhelmed and infuriated by large developments? Are we animals who can’t think past our doorposts who should never have left the forest? Can we run societies or only be victims of them? Why is my solution invisible to people? Why is it that it generates zero interest, excitement, hope, discussion?


    The Moyers Blog:


    The Moyers Blog staff has flagged several comments over the past few weeks, and have taken some down in accordance with the Blog rules.

    Xavier wrote:

    ... Now Jack Martina's post has been altered and my perfectly honest and pertinent questions to him have also been deleted.

    I can attest to that. There was NOTHING in Xavier's comment to Jack that violated the holy blog rules. He just asked for some clarifications from Jack regarding his last post. No profanity, no harassment, etc. Why this comment of Xavier was deleted by the almighty staff is beyond me. It is an aberration to an otherwise quite decent PBS series.
    A post of mine was also deleted a while back in which I commented on the non-existent reading capabilities and dishonest style of another commenter, in, admittedly, less polite form (no profanity just a plain 'naming things like there are' style). This person keeps posting the same nonsense repeatedly, which should be considered an offense according the the holy blog rules. But apparently not a single comment of this person was deleted. Go figure!

    Xavier, don't take it too seriously. It appears that the staff here is not acting maliciously but is just incompetent (since there seems to be some confusion on how to interpret their 'strict rules'). This can serve as a lesson that the Bush administration should not have the spying capabilities (FISA and retroactive immunity for telecon companies) that are about to be authorized through the Senate (the bill passed the House already) with the help of, apparently, completely insane Democrats.

    I saw a clip from george carlin this last week talking about the american dream being just that and the only people who still believe in it are asleep.

    bill please have Naomi Klein on your show to talk about her view of the use of capitalism in this world to dis empower people through upsetting means. Her talk to the group, historians against the war in atlanta this last april was very thought provoking.


    COMMENTERS, PLEASE NOTE.


    The Moyers Blog staff has flagged several comments over the past few weeks, and have taken some down in accordance with the Blog rules.


    Please do not take this as discouragement to engage in vigorous debate on our site, but do review these guidelines and be aware that we have strict rules with which we must comply.

    Thank you.

    This is priceless! Now Jack Martina's post has been altered and my perfectly honest and pertinent questions to him have also been deleted.

    Of course, this post will be pulled, too, but at least I now know the ugly, bitter truth about Bill Moyers.

    Congratulations, oh powerful moderator. You should rely on the fact that I will make it my business to spread news far and wide of what is going on here!

    Xavier


    I did answer you, shane, but my posts are being pulled. I do not know why I am being censored, but that is the case.

    I had a similar experience. My comments were pulled once as well. Incidentally, I also answered to a 'reply' of Shane. Coincidence? You might want to inquire with whoever runs this site why your reply was pulled. Also, check out my exchange with Shane further down. I have serious doubts that you will have a meaningful discussion with this person.
    And this captcha phrase is creepy.

    I'm wondering now what Congressman/Obstetrician Ron Paul's relationship with the John Birch Society might be. Some of you guys should watch Dr. Strangelove if you are concerned about your precious bodily fluids.
    It's strange how twisted politics can become. Robert Novak confessed this week that Tim Russert was long one of his primary informants, even when a congressional staffer. (blatant liberal bias? Donkey-elephant miscegenation?) What a charade when he grilled Novak about Valerie Plame's outing on "Meet the Press" (Press the Meat? Eat the Flesh?)Va-da-bing!
    Some poor dumb butt-sniffing mutts think you can get rich if big daddy whorebucks notices you in an Horatio Alger manner. Then there is the truth of America that the only meaningful attribute is the applicant's wealth or wealth-power connection. All newscasts are double-entendre' just like PeeWee's Playhouse. Tim was Barney the Dinosaur for overhung adults, not much more. Supermarket- Screw the World!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Note: Nigel, I know for a fact the twerp's threat about "nextbombingsuspect" is pure pansienazibullfeces.

    I did answer you, shane, but my posts are being pulled. I do not know why I am being censored, but that is the case.

    And it is also the case that the captcha I must type in to (try) to post this reads EXACTLY "Nigel NEWBOMBSUSPECT"

    You tell me what games are being played here, and we'll both know.

    -----------XAVIER ONASSIS-------------

    Just so I'm 100% sure of what your position is regarding wages please answer:

    Are you saying that wages should NOT be set by a VOLUNTARY contract between two free parties (employer-employee), but subject to a formula backed up by the threat of government force (ultimately, LETHAL)?

    --------------------TED MICHAEL MORGAN-----------------

    A "Libertarian-Socialist"??????

    WTF are you smoking?!!

    Libertarianism is a philosophy of peace and freedom from coercion (esp. govt). Free-markets, freedom-of-conscience, freedom-of-association.

    Socialism is the philosophy of using govt coercion in order to mold society. Controlled markets, and regulated subjects (not citizens).

    How can you claim to be both of these things?

    --------------CHRIS-----------:They are cited under, “WE THE PEOPLE .... in order....to ESTABLISH JUSTICE,

    Insure... TRANQUILITY, PROMOTE GENERAL WELFARE, and SECURE the

    Blessing of LIBERTY to OURSELF and our POSTERITY....” and in ARTICLE I,

    Section 8, Note 18, “ To MAKE ALL LAWS WHICH SHALL BE NECESSARY...!”
    _________________________________________________________________________________


    Wow! Are you SERIOUS??!! I note that you were unable to cite even one specific clause to back up your post up. No suprise being that there ARE NO CLAUSES that give the federal govt the authority to set wages, offer retirement or medical welfare, or create environmental regulations.

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"


    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?

    Nigel Best: Unions are limited in their honest duration only because of the corruption and collusion endemic to the commercial world they counteract. They are born reactionary in a distorted dialectic.
    If the separation of church and state has proven to facilitate fairness, I don't see why the separation of business and state would not be even better. Worker ownership and community production in enterprise makes this leap possible. Our "Bigman Constitution" has to go. (Fascists play monte' with us demanding sworn allegiance alternatively to a flag-rag, a paper constitution and "Er-way-o-life" [consumer capitalism] without consideration of the general welfare.) Freed people are toying with post capitalist models in South America already as the U.S. is eclipsed. We are being held back by state terroristic fear. This is a big challenge addressed even by Aristotle and Plato, but now the boil has come to a head. Lance the wealth pimple now!

    Tony,


    "This view of Mt. Rainer is beautiful." ...

    Religion can be discussed rationally. The question 'Does God exist?' is not outside the realm of rationality. One can weigh the available evidence for and against it in exactly the same way how one can weigh the evidence in a criminal trial. Even though one cannot rigorously prove that the defendant is indeed the perpetrator (since nobody in the jury was present during the crime), it is unreasonable to claim that the jury cannot arrive at a judgment. As a starting point: Have you ever wondered why God _never_ heals amputees even though some claim He healed their, say, cancer after their prayer? God appears to have a strange 100% bias against people who are missing a limb. (There's an interesting web page on this very topic. Google is your friend).

    Your Mt. Rainer comparison is not quite fitting. One can rationally discuss the beauty of something. By doing so, people will find commonalities between their 'irrational' feelings, etc. By contrast, the knowledge of religion is entirely based on (unverifiable) 'evidence' like revelations, mystic experiences, scripture, etc. A more fitting analogy would thus be a group of blind people discussing the beauty of Mt. Rainer even though they never saw it with their own eyes.

    Reason ... is a very useful, but limited tool like a hammer. ... everything in the world starts to look pretty much like a nail.

    This is a common misconception found under the religiously minded, namely that only their way of viewing the world is the true way to a fulfilled life. The beauty of the world is in no way diminished by our (naturalistic) knowledge about it, to the contrary. A sunset is even more beautiful since I know what are the physical mechanisms behind its orange/reddish appearance.

    Since this is not the right forum to discuss questions like this, let's just say: we agree to disagree on this question.

    Kind regards,
    Futility

    The worldwide history of unions is an example of what we are saying. The unions have been effective in raising incomes for the underpaid, and unions have become rich, powerful and corrupt. The underpaid have formed unions to try to wrest more from the overpaid. The overpaid have been attacked by the underpaid by means of unions. The overpaid have had to toil, by legal and illegal means, to meet this attack. The overpaid have to toil as long as they are overpaid. The overpaid have no fun of it. They have to hire private armies, activate public armies, to beat up, kill, intimidate. The underpaid have lost many battles, but they have never lost the war. Every plutocracy, every empire has fallen. The overpaid are constantly under siege, in 1000s of ways. History is unanimous on this, and so is logic. Honey attracts bears. Bigger banks have stronger vaults because they need them. Overpay is no fun. It is necessarily extreme labour. One person with the property of 1000 has 1000 enemies instead of 1000 friends. Has fear, danger, toil and final failure, isolation, suspicion, fall. Conquering is the beginning of troubles. The conquered don’t stay down. They keep popping up, like the ANC in South Africa. All the torture, terrorism, massacre and murder don’t work. The underpaid keep coming at you. Injury energises. The sense of injustice never dies. Everyone is a loser. The only way to win the overpay-underpay war is to not fight it. Pay justice is your friend, it will make you (rich or poor) far happier. People are rising in wealth, the number of the overpaid is not getting bigger, so an equal number are falling. Caesar, Ceausescu, Marie Antoinette, Richard III, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    This is the lesson of history and logic which, as soon as we learn it, we will be 100 times happier. (See proof in previous posts here that we will be literally and conservatively 100 times happier.) Just as, as soon as animals understand traffic, roadkill will cease immediately. Try to see. The climax of super-extreme violence, out of super-extreme overpay-underpay, in global extinction, is close and getting closer. Fight the fog of our limited wits.

    How can we be blind when we see so much? A jigsaw puzzle piece, many jigsaw puzzle pieces, even all the jigsaw puzzles pieces, are nothing like the completed picture.

    We are suggesting a scheme that puts about $2000 a month in your account, gives you world peace, freedom, real democracy, stops warmongering and cannon-foddering, and stops nuclear extinction coming. And no one is checking it out. Fight the fog.

    in case anyone thinks (like shane) that what we (nigel and xavier) propose is force and not freedom: what we propose is a voluntary system based on people realising the enormous benefits (survival and literal 100fold happiness) to every person on earth, from richest to poorest - people have never doubted that wealth is good, and so have trouble realising that we are saying that wealth is bad, as bad as bad gets, for the person who has it - people might be tempted to assume that the idea that wealth is bad is nonsense, not worth checking out - but it would pay to look at the evidence of history and of logic - overpay is necessarily, unavoidably bad - history is unanimous - logic is unanimous - try to read my posts - not skim and write off - it is not agreeing to read carefully, to ponder deeply - your happiness and survival depend on it - if you think we (humanity) cannot be hugely wrong for a long time, think of the many examples where we have been just that - no shame in being wrong - we didnt make ourselves

    Happiness is in reality, we are in unreality.

    There are legal thefts. (There are also the successful illegal thefts.) See examples below. It is vital to the welfare (happiness, quality of life) and to the very survival of each and every person to know that legal thefts exist. The legal thefts have a devastating effect on quality of life. They diminish quality of life enormously. Legal thefts have destroyed 99% of human natural birthright happiness. We can be enormously happier by understanding legal theft, and taking appropriate action. Legal theft threatens the very existence of the human race.

    What is a legal theft? What are the implications of legal theft? Why are the legal thefts so important?

    Legal theft is theft, theft is injury, injury produces violence. Theft is money for no work, money for others’ work, overpay, pay injustice, financial inequality, taking out from the social pool of wealth more than the person has put in by his work. Only work creates work-products, which are substantial wealth. All the money represents all the work-products. Money is a license to take substantial wealth out of the social pool of work-products. The amount of money one gets is supposed to equal the work-value of the work-products one produces, and to equal the work-value of the work-products one takes out. We have division of labour, job specialisation, so one works mostly in production for others, so we put our work-products in the social pool for others to buy, and one is supposed to be compensated correctly so that the money one gets enables one to take out of the social pool of wealth (shops) a quantity of the work-products (goods and services) one needs and desires equal in work-input to the work one did. A person spends all day making shoes for others, and should get out the amount of money that enables the person to buy an amount of things that have a work-input content equal to the person’s work. Theft is when this doesn’t happen. And we have legal forms of this theft.

    What are the implications of the presence of legal theft in societies?

    One, legal theft means that the amount of money a person has is not a correct indicator of the amount of work the person has done. It means the amount of money a person has is not a measure of the amount of wealth production a person has done.

    Two, it means that pay injustice will ever-grow in society, and produce ever-increasing violence. Theft, legal and illegal, gradually and continuously separates work and money. Some (now 99%) have more and more work and less and less money, and others have more and more money and less and less work. Pay per unit of work endlessly declines for some and endlessly increases for some. Since money is the license to take work-products out of the social pool of wealth, and work-products include all necessities and desired things that cost, loss of money is extremely significant for people. Money is virtually everything. Money is the joker good, good for millions of things, most things, including necessities and social power. Theft of money is theft of virtually everything, including necessities for life. Ever-growing pay injustice means ever-growing anger, resentment, violence. James Madison: The purpose of government is justice. So in democracy it is the prime purpose of the people to achieve and maintain justice. And pay justice is the most important justice. The state built on injustice cannot stand. The state, and the globe, built on injustice is torn apart by the violence (war and crime) it causes. Every state has been built on injustice and has fallen. Violence gets to everyone. Violence is localised at any one time, but can pop up anywhere anytime. It gets to the most overpaid and the most underpaid and to everyone in between, in hundreds of ways. Pay justice is fundamental to everything, to freedom, to democracy, to peace, to survival, to safety, to enjoyment, to happiness, to order, to sanity, to meaningfulness, to fulfilment, to existence. Unless there is action to minimise pay injustice, there is ever-increasing danger, grief, worry, suffering, pain, destruction, disorder, shock, crisis, corruption, dis-information, lying, disaster, war, crime, riot, revolution, chaos, terror, horror, weaponry, injury, damage, brutality, evil, confusion, warmongering, cannon-foddering, spying, fraud, embezzlement, lynching, ‘necklacing’, people-burning, crucifixion, hijacking, massacre, murder, mugging, drug-running, strikes, demonstrations, assassination.

    We have all those things, not in small quantity, but in great quantity. We have 1% with 98% of the money and 99% with 99.9% of the work. We have torture, genocide, massacre, riot, revolution, war, crime, corruption, weaponry capable of killing every person, warmongering, cannon-foddering of millions. If democracy and freedom are 1 with pay justice (equal pay for equal work, a ratio of highest to lowest pay per unit of work of 1), we have freedom and democracy of 0.000000001, because we have a ratio of highest to lowest pay per unit of work of one billion. Pay injustice, legal theft, has been growing for 1000s of years, and so has violence (war, crime and weaponry). Money is power, so 1% have 98% of social power, and 99% have 2% of social power.

    Is the situation hopeless? There are some reasons to believe it is not. In the first place, violence gets to everyone. It ruins everyone’s quality of life. Money is only the second greatest power. Every plutocracy has fallen, and every plutocracy has been extremely arduous and dangerous. Every heap of wealth, individual and national, is weaker than the rest of the world. The costs of self-defense inevitably exhaust the greatest wealth. One person with the property of 1000 has 1000 enemies. Everyone is climbing the ladder of ‘success’ (more money) and yet the overpaid are few and ever-fewer, so more are falling than rising. Like a Las Vegas needle fountain, every bit that goes up comes down. We all face nuclear extinction. Therefore it is in everyone’s interests to stop it. Where there is a universal will, there is a way. To create this will, we only need to learn the reality, by reading with honesty with ourselves. Happiness is wholly within reality, so realism is always in our self-interest.

    Secondly, it is easy to reduce pay injustice. It requires only electronic transmission to every person of an equal share of a 1%-a-month increase in the money supply. This gently lowers overpay and lifts underpay. Inflation is not bad when the underpaid are over-compensated for it by the equal share. The equal share is paid to both overpaid and underpaid only to save the enormous bureaucratic cost of distinguishing the two. This requires only a tiny bureaucracy, a computer can do it. It disturbs the overpaid hardly at all. The overpaid maintain their relative position to each other, so there is no power disturbance. The underpaid lose their righteous drive to be climbing up to the overpaid, as the equal share lifts them up towards pay justice, towards getting out as much as they put in by their work. This eases the stress and danger of the overpaid, lifts their quality of life.

    Legal thefts, examples:

    1. Conquering, plundering, enslaving, economic plunder. This is still legal because we don’t have a world government. If Bill Gates gave his entire fortune tomorrow, it would be back in the first world in 3 months. Interest payments exceed ‘aid’ by $200 billion a year. (Read Lords of poverty, Confessions of an economic hitman.)
    2. Legal theft is built in to transaction itself. The work in the two things transacted cannot be exactly equal. The work in the two things has to be x and x+y. Every transaction has to be a fair-trade-no-robbery, the x’s, plus a robbery, the y. Just statistically, this will result in a bell curve of net gains and losses from extreme gain to extreme loss. Every transaction widens this curve, and of course there are trillions of transactions every day. Add in everyone trying to maximise y, shave costs and puff price. Add in the fact that money is power to rake money, to oppress. Further, a company is a centre of transactions, with many customers and relatively few owners, so that the y’s accumulate wealth endlessly. Everyone loves profits and the interest that arises from profits, but 100% of people make 99% (soon 100%) happiness losses from the super-extreme violence generated by the super-extreme pay injustice generated by 1000s of years of accumulated legal theft, and 99% make net financial losses from having profits and interest, through the goods they buy at prices that include the little, undetectable but real, and ever-accumulating y. It would be impossible to stop profits legal theft at the micro level, because no one knows exactly how much work is in each product, and it would take a bureaucracy larger than the world, but we can compensate at the macro level, with a minute bureaucracy, by the equal shares of a 1%-a-month money supply increase.
    3. Person buys land, others build cities around, person gets added value from others’ work. Henry George saw this. Landowners get the value of everyone’s work, and very unequally, according to size of holdings. The rich are simply buying up wherever growth is fastest (eg. Dubai) and reaping billions for others’ work. Pay injustice grows, violence grows, bombs grow, kaboom. We have pay/income from 100,000 times to 10,000th of average of $40 an hour, and bombs to make a triple ice-age. It is like humanity is in a burning building with an escape route still there, but, by the time humanity gets a grasp of the reality, the escape route will be gone. People are giving free hugs in Germany, others are busy investing, going after ‘good deals’, ‘easy money’, others are singing in competitions. Global annihilation bombs and super-extreme violence.
    4. Increase in money supply going to banks to lend at interest. Lord Keynes and Sir Josiah Stamp, President of Bank of England, saw this.
    5. Land oligopoly. Ambrose Bierce, Adam Smith, J S Mill and R H Tawney saw this. Everyone has equal birthright share in nature’s bounty, like the other animals, but private property gives this only to landowners, and unequally according to their holdings. Private property is otherwise good, but it has this disastrous, pan-fatal pay injustice effect.
    6. Private inheritance. In nature, and in justice, every person loses all rights in property on death. In nature and in justice, there is automatic public inheritance. But we have private inheritance, a clear case of money for no work, that is, work-products for no work by self, for work by others.
    7. Scarcity profits. Eg, new technology, which has high demand, low supply, as the industry gears up production. Eg, paintings by ‘great’ artists. Eg, rare stamps. Eg, big-farming, which is 16 times less productive than small farms. Russia moved to big-farming and had to start importing grain. The Sudan and China have 30 times the agricultural efficiency (production per acre) of USA (see World book of rankings). Big-farming produces bigger profits and shrinks production. Eg, not allowing import of grain in lean times (Eg, England, early 1800s.) Eg, subsidies (at public expense) to farmers to not produce.

    Futility,

    "This view of Mt. Rainer is beautiful."

    This information is knowledge. It is true. It is also knowledge that practically everyone who sees the sight will agree upon. Yet it is not rationally provable throught logic or science or mathematics. Indeed, one could say that an appreciation of the sublime beauty of a stark, cold, uninhabitable, mountain top is irrational. You can't plant a crop there, or stay there long, or do anything rationally useful with the place or the information that it has beauty.

    Much of the knowledge that we all agree upon is not rationally based (which is not to say that it is irrational), and the religious knowledge, religious truth, found in the Bible and other sacred texts is also a form of knowledge that most of the world is inspired by. I cannot explain it to you rationally because the tool of rationalality has no purchase in this area of truth and knowledge.

    Reason (logic, scientific theory, mathematics, etc.) is a very useful, but limited tool like a hammer. Unfortunately, if the only tool for knowledge that you want to recognize as valid is a hammer, then everything in the world starts to look pretty much like a nail.

    tony


    Unions allow selected groups to benefit at the expense of the greater population.

    Gregory,

    Tony is exactly right about this. Unions as a whole had several beneficial effects on society. Even though the first part of your statement is narrowly true, the second part is definitely wrong. A main reason for the growth of the American middle class during the New Deal and after WWII is the influence of the unions. True, union workers received the biggest benefit from this. However, non-unionized workers also profited since a lot of employers offered their employees higher wages and better benefits comparable to what unionized workers were able to get in order to avoid unionization of their own workforce. As a result the wages of the population as a whole increased. Also, unions acted as a corrective for over-greedy managers/CEOs. Paying a CEO too much could have alienated the union workers and resulted in worsened relationships. A main reason for the current inequality in this society is the demise of unions in the last 30 or so years. The government driven by Republicans stopped protecting unions, even allowing union workers to be fired illegally. Without unions workers have no lever against employers and as a result wages hardly kept up with inflation even though company profits and CEO salaries soared.


    Tony:

    True, it is a rather esoteric discussion. Therefore I'll keep it short.


    I am not saying that only those who believe in any particular God, or God in general, are necessarily more moral than those who don‘t.

    Thanks for clearing that up, because one could get that impression.


    The two systems of knowledge are epistemologically separate.

    I hear this a lot but was never provided any evidence that religion provides indeed an epistemologically valid method to arrive at knowledge that could not be reached with any other method. I so far did not come across any religious statement to which the word 'knowledge' could be meaningfully applied. Take the bible for example, some people have 'revelations' reading it justifying some behavior, others pick some other part and see it justify the exact opposite.


    Your question comes down to whether or not one can “rationally” ... prove any system of morals.

    I don't agree that moral beliefs are per se out of the realm of rationality. Starting with the (admittedly) unprovable premise that all the other human beings are just as capable of desires, happiness, sorrows, etc. as yourself combined with empathy, 'rules' like 'you shall not kill', etc are readily apparent. Questions like 'Is stem cell research derived from human embryos ethical?' should also be answerable. That we don't appear to have the tools to do so in the moment doesn't mean that it is not possible.
    It appears rational to desire that all humans should live in a democracy. For us who have the privilege to live in one, the benefits are obvious. But it appears unreasonable to think that no other system could be better than democracy. Restricting ourselves in our thinking could mean we will never find it.

    ... morality is not a solvable rational problem, but ... is instead a “practical” problem.

    I don't see the difference. In my experience practical problems are solved using rational thinking.

    ...let’s constantly retool our laws and institutions so that they provide the greatest moral benefit (based upon compassion and individual liberty) to the most people. Markets need to be surgically regulated and controlled if they are to succeed in this endeavor and governmental institutions and policies must constantly evolve in order to keep up with the fast pace of Modernity. I think we can both agree on this.

    Yes, we do. I wholeheartedly agree. (Though the post got a little longer than intended.)

    Gregory,

    As a union member, I must beg to differ, and I believe that you are misinformed.

    I'm an airline pilot. Airline pilots unions, like many other unions, were not originally started just to raise wages and benefits for their members. Instead, many unions were started to fight against unsafe working conditions. The early airline and cargor pilots in particular were being forced to fly ill equiped aircraft in marginal weather thus producing unnecessary crashes, injuries and loss of life. Later, after the safety situation was improved by bargaining, came collective bargaining for the sake of better wages, benefits and working conditions.

    Perhaps not all jobs could benefit from unionization, but for me it is hard to imagine any other method of employment negotiation for airline pilots other than collective bargain. When I was a practicing attorney, my professional merits either justified my wages or they did not. If I didn't like my current employer then I could market my skills elsewhere.

    Airline pilots (as in many other skilled working trades) have no practical way of measuring their skill level so as individually compete in the market place. Every safe takeoff must be equaled by a safe landing, and a 100 percent success rate in this is the lowest allowable criteria.

    Also, I believe that unions, by raising the bar for themselves, also have raised the bar for all workers. With a little research, I think that you would find that if you have a safe working environment today, if you have a 40 hour work week, if you have any decent benefits or work rules, you can probably thank your union brothers and sisters that came before you.

    Don't get me wrong. I don't think that unions are the perfect institutions nor do I think that they necessarily work for every trade or industry. No institution created by man is perfect. All are subject to corruption, fraud and waste. This is why all institutions must constantly be held accountable and improved. However, I also think that if you knew more about the history of unions, you would have a greater appreciation for how historically they have contributed to better working conditions, wages and benefits for all Americans.

    If you are more interested in learning about how the Airline Pilots Association helped improve aviation safety in this country, then I recommend that you read "Flying the Line" by Gearge E. Hopkins. It is a scholarly work and lessons can be drawn from it about the importance of all unions in changing the plight of working men and women in this country.

    While reducing wage inequality is both a reasonable and correct objective, Bill's comments regarding the benefit's of unions are misguided. Unions allow selected groups to benefit at the expense of the greater population. Bill showed this himself with the example of his father who longed for a union job - what about all of those who were unlucky enough to get one. Unions are no more a friend of the general welfare than big business.

    What is needed is inexpensive healthcare not tied to employment, expanded access to disability and unemployment insurance, and low cost grants for college. These things make us competitive and bring out the creative energy of our population.

    PS Did I mention a more open immigration policy.

    Futility,

    This is a rather esoteric discussion that would seem to have little to do with the topic at hand. But perhaps we have to start with the basis of morality before we can have any real discussion about anything.

    First let me clear up some confusion. I am not saying that only those who believe in any particular God, or God in general, are necessarily more moral than those who don‘t. Perhaps one of the great problems with religion in modernity is that some folks irrationally think that religion or the existence of God can be rationally proven. This has lead to all sorts of literalism in religious belief that continues to do damage to both religion and rationalism.

    I am also not saying that the natural world explained through Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is immoral. I have no idea whether creatures other than humans show what most humans would judge morally “altruistic” behavior, but I will take your word on it. However, this idea that the basis of all morality is somehow rationalism is just as incongruent as trying to make religious belief rational because this fallacy attempts instead to make a new religion our of rationalism. The two systems of knowledge are epistemologically separate.

    Religion involves divine inspiration, grace, faith, allegory and mysticism. Rationalism involves the testing of given hypothesize to see if those hypothesize can be falsified logically. Although the two systems of truth finding should not conflict, I would argue that each system necessarily has no purchase in the realm of the other. I can no more tell you why a religious belief is rationally true than I can rationally explain to you why Mount Rainer on a sunny day is beautiful, but despite not being able to rationally prove its truth, most of us witnessing such a sight would agree with the truth of the statement.

    Your question comes down to whether or not one can “rationally” (or one could substitute “scientifically”, “mathematically”, or “logically”) prove any system of morals. Many have tried from Plato to Descartes to Kant to Sartre, and you no doubt could add many others. I would argue that each one failed because morality is not a solvable rational problem, but instead as British Philosopher Bryan Magee once wrote it is instead a “practical” problem.

    My point below is that, practically speaking, we all need to stand somewhere in order to have a similar perspective for judging whether a given systemic social change (either institutionally or in the law) has the desired effect that we all can agreed upon as morally good. How you come to that fundamental moral perspective, whether through religion or because you believe such principles rationally work better when practically implemented, is less important than the fact that we all can agree to practically and pragmatically judge the system and its results by the same standard. I think that compassion and individual liberty would work for most of us as a place to get to, no matter where most of us started.

    So my argument is let’s constantly retool our laws and institutions so that they provide the greatest moral benefit (based upon compassion and individual liberty) to the most people. Markets need to be surgically regulated and controlled if they are to succeed in this endeavor and governmental institutions and policies must constantly evolve in order to keep up with the fast pace of Modernity. I think we can both agree on this.


    Corporations are creations of law, meaning that we create them and "we the people" have the right to change them so that they provide the greatest benefit to society as a whole rather than grossly empowering the few at the expense of employees, consumers and stock holders.

    Well said, Tony! Some people here argue as if corporations are entities that miraculously came into existence and we have no way to change anything about them.

    However, some things in your other post are not accurate.


    I disagree that rationalism can ever be the fundamental core ideology for a moral belief system. ...

    Actually, on what else do you want to base a moral system than rationality (paired with empathy and compassion)?
    You might say that morality comes from a higher authority (say, God, i.e. the bible). However, there are several reasons why this is definitely not true, too many to list them all now. But you can prove to yourself that this is so by looking through the bible and asking yourself if you follow all the rules and if not, why not.
    You will realize that your moral judgment actually comes logically BEFORE the Bible. You decide yourself what rules to follow and which ones to ignore (for example, I don't think that you ever contemplated of letting your son (if you have one) be stoned to death in front of the city's gate because he was disobedient which according to the Bible would be entirely permissible - Deuteronomy 21:21. There are many more examples like this.) People just use the Bible to justify what they choose post factum and conveniently ignore rules they don't agree with. The fact that we don't have a generally accepted rational explanation for morality in the moment does not mean that there is none.


    The basic flaw of rationalism is that, as a system, it always breaks down when it is used to answer fundamental questions. ... one must simply accept the premise as true and test the truth of the premise by how rationally the system that it is based upon works.

    And there is nothing wrong about that. It is actually rational to accept certain truths without further proof since some truths are so fundamental that no proof can possibly be provided (except that the system based on those truths works). For example, you have to accept that the other moving objects around you that you are accustomed to call humans also have a consciousness like yourself even if you cannot rigorously prove it. Without this assumption, no rational discourse is even POSSIBLE.


    the most rational system is Darwinian self interest where the strong control the weak. ...

    'Social Darwinism' has been thoroughly discredited and Darwin had very little to do with this caricature of his theory. The term Darwinism is hardly used by scientists actually working in the field of evolution. It is mainly used by opponents like creationists to discredit the theory of evolution (by implicating a proximity with 'Social Darwinism', a term that was created much later during the 20th century.) The theory of evolution progressed a long way since Darwin's original publication and there is mounting evidence that morality could also be the result of evolutionary processes. Animal groups (for example primates) show behaviors like altruism that are usually just associated with humans. It is also known from Game Theory that aggressive strategies are not the most successful ones but cooperative strategies fare much better.

    The questions you have to ask yourself are:

    Would it be advantageous to you to have something of the order of $2000 popping into your bank account every month; to have 100 times faster technological progress; to have a far more stable, vigorous marketplace; to have low borrowing rates, high capital formation; to have everyone in the world well-fed, well-educated, with good health care, happy, contented, friendly, kind, generous; to have no one very fanatical, fearful, worried, desperate, angry; to have zero chance of nuclear war and nuclear winter (extinction); to have 1000th of the war and crime; to have good, small government (lower taxes) perfectly responsive to people’s needs and wishes; to have no warmongering and cannon-foddering; to have no genocide, tyranny, brutality, torture, concentrations camps, terrorism, state terrorism, corruption, disinformation, political lying, assassination, kidnapping, hostile takeovers, invasions, major crises, horrors, shocks, fears, pollutions, hijacking, bombs, bullets, and so on?

    And: Would this be advantageous to every individual?

    And: If every person, with explanation and reflection, can be brought to seeing that this would be advantageous to them, what would stop us getting it?

    World-average income is around $40 an hour (2007) per working person, including housewives and students. (That is $200,000 a year per two-working-people family.) There are two groups, the 1% above these income figures, and the 99% below these figures. It is clear that this is good for the 99%. We only need to see that it is also good for the 1%, to lead us to having a universal will to have it.

    Is there a downside for the 1%? Is the downside bigger than the upside? How big is the upside? There is a certain amount of support of above-average incomes by the below-average incomes. Wealth is the Eldorado, the shining beacon, the fantasy and hope of the poor. Look, it’s possible. Fabulous wealth exists, therefore I can get it. The underpaid have unsatisfied needs and desires, and wealth will satisfy those unsatisfied desires. The worse the underpay is, the better wealth looks. Everyone is climbing towards wealth. The more extreme the overpay and underpay, the more intensely everyone is climbing. There are few overpaid, and many underpaid. The higher the overpay, the fewer there are. Yet everyone is climbing. So at least an equal number of overpaid are falling. So overpay is, necessarily, (in proportion to the size of the overpay) arduous, dangerous and fragile. The Sicilian (and every other) Mafia is naturally attracted to the greatest wealth, and climbs up. Like Joe Kennedy coming up on the Boston plutocracy. Every poverty and every lower-down are constantly sending up the most vigorous climbers and challenging the overpaid and higher-up. So every overpay is beleaguered, under constant siege, and is therefore tense, fearful, uneasy, cautious, suspicious, unhappy, busy, endangered, poor in peace. The greatest wealth is weaker than the rest of the world, and so is necessarily doomed. Every plutocracy has fallen. Conquering is the beginning of troubles for the conquerors. Like the whites in South Africa, the Israelis in Israel, Stalin and Hitler. Like rivals to CEO position, and every other position in business. The overpaid are forced to seek ever more wealth to give them ever-more power to resist the attacks coming from both overpaid and underpaid, from those many below and from those above and from those on the same level. Uneasy rests the head that wears the crown. The overpaid are isolated, in fearful, not fear-free relation with everyone, ever-needing more power for self-defense, they are necessarily ever-seeking more wealth, with greater desperation, leading to greater and greater, rougher and rougher, inroads on the underpaid and overpaid, increasing the danger to themselves, and weakening the supportive productivity of the underpaid. It is ever-increasingly necessary to weaken the poor, to make the overpaid safer from them, but this makes the underpaid less productive and more antagonistic. The higher-up strengthens and weakens himself if he strengthens those below or if he weakens them. It is a hopeless double bind, from which there is no escape, leading to stress. The American South weakened its slaves by ill-education, ill-health, etc, and then succumbs to the greater productivity, wealth and strength of the freer North. Stalin, Ceausescu (and every other high-up) purges subordinates and thereby becomes stronger and weaker, more isolated, more rightly fearful. On the other hand, if the ‘king’ enlarges the ‘barons’, he weakens himself. And this is necessarily true in every mafia, business or nation.

    What about the upside? World-average pay (which is close to fairpay, as can be explained) satisfies all desires. A half of world-average pay provides ample housing, cars, boats, holidays, entertainment, education, healthcare, and frills, all the way down to 20 toys for the pet. All food is useless to the full stomach. All other chairs are useless to the comfortably seated. The overpaid can consume no more sex, drugs and rock and roll than the fairpaid. There is a logarithmic decline in added satisfaction per dollar, which added satisfaction disappears in comparison to freedom from the arduous, dangerous, doomed labour of self-defense, to amity, protection and social trust with the human tribe, to being surrounded by well-educated, healthy, happy fellow human beings, to safe streets, clean cities, good environment, to absence of ever-growing violence and weaponry, to absence of remorseless approach of nuclear war and nuclear extinction, to love and kindness. In short, a person who takes or has the property of 1000 people has merely 1000 more pots than he can cook in and 1000 enemies instead of 1000 friends. Richard III.

    With 90% of people on less than 100th of world-average pay, and therefore the brains among them too poor to become educated, and with 90% of the remaining 10% educated brains tied up in the consequences of the super-extreme inequality, in the military-industrial complex, business, universities, hospitals, government, legal system, the overpaid suffer, as much as the rest of humanity, the consequences of technological progress at 100th the natural rate.

    The bear with all the honey has no honey. He becomes a machine of self-defense. His opportunities and capacities for friendship and trust disappear. He is imprisoned, under constant siege, his strength fading. And that is true for both individuals and nations.

    Is history unanimous in confirming this pattern? Wolsey works his way up from butcher’s son to being alter rex, spends his time pulling down on those above, and pushing down on all those below, and then gets dumped. Caesar becomes the most powerful man in Rome and is assassinated for that reason. Ceausescu has the secret police of a nation defending him and is shot. Stalin spends his life in isolation, toiling at self-defense. Presidents of the United States (‘the most powerful man in the world’) are assassinated, impeached, embroiled in legal cases. America conquers the world, and weakens under the ever-rising costs of self-defense and offence. America has to pay for Japan and Germany’s defense, in order to protect itself against Russia, and so loses competitive advantage, and so is in debt to Japan and Germany. The costs of being richer are always greater than the ‘richerness’. More and more lives are tied up in ever-trickier, more desperate measures to try to maintain survival (Oliver North).

    Is this the lesson of history we have not learned? This is a strong case against pursuing limitless wealth and power, with no regard for taking out no more wealth (work-products) than you put in to the social pool of wealth by your work making work-products (good and services). Only the stupidest aim for it. How stupid was Hitler to imagine that plundering Europe was a happiness strategy? Nazism exploded over Europe in plunder, and Europe imploded back on Hitler. You spit on someone, they break your nose. Is the golden rule self-interest, practical good sense, an adamantine law of life, unbreakable, unshiftable, best bowed to? Do people take injury lying down? Does honey attract bears? We have been fighting the golden rule for 1000s of years. Have we won? Have we been hitting a mountain with our fists for 1000s of years? Money is good up to full satisfaction of desires. Money is good up to the point where it gets into being more than you put in by your work, beyond which point it gets into being injury, which is returned with interest. One injury produces an endless, ever-growing back-and-forth of injury, as in Israel, as everywhere. Are people too dangerous to annoy? Do they make good doormats? Is justice a sweet lady with oceans of gifts for us? Have we got an atom of sense that can sit down and have a long talk with our disastrous conviction that more money is always better? Can we muster our self-love, our self-interest, our pursuit of our own happiness into a tight enough ball to objectively entertain, consider, weigh and ponder these arguments with all self-loving care? It isn’t agreeing to objectively look. Can we imagine better than poor John Lennon could? Can we see enough sides of money to see the truth? Can we pierce the powerful veil of the illusion with our minds?

    It may seem that it would be good to be just somewhat overpaid, but this opens up the gates to others getting limitlessly richer. You can’t have just a little overpay. Inequality grows, endlessly. Money rakes money. While you may turn $1000 into $1,000,000 in 72 years at 10%, getting $999,000 for others’ work, someone else is turning $1,000,000 into a billion, getting $999,000,000 for others’ work, at your expense, and controlling the nation (till it collapses). And thus 99% of people make net financial loses from freedom of overpay, and everyone suffers ever-growing violence pollution. (Now in the presence of global annihilation bombs.)

    The powers that be, the oligarchy that controls and owns the world, could institute this system of equal shares of 1%-a-month money supply increase in some country, and study the effects; the rising stability, economic vigour, falling crime rate, friendliness, expanding enjoyment of life for the overpaid, technological progress, general sanity, disappearance of myriad intractable offshoot problems, labours, hassles, expenses.

    Two children, two lunchboxes: you can have one child with two lunches, one lunch more than he can really use, and an endless, escalating, ever-nastier and more dangerous fight; or you can have one lunch each, and endless satisfaction, play and enjoyment.


    The system still permits the game of competition, ambition and trying to best the other person; indeed, it allows the game to go on indefinitely, by taking out the accumulating catastrophic effects.

    Proof that we can be literally at least 100 times happier. Tell me if you locate a fallacy in the argument. If a government, say, took 90% of income off (a randomly chosen) 90% of the population, and gave it to 1% of the population, there would be the 81% loss of national happiness in the financial loss to the 90%, plus the extreme violence for everyone, plus the great loss of productivity in the violence and the destruction of property and people, raising the national unhappiness from 81% to something around 99%. Therefore the nation would be something like 100 times happier with an end to the mad policy. The pay injustice factor (ratio of highest to lowest income) in this super-extreme example is 820. We humans have a pay injustice factor of around a billion, over one million times greater. Therefore we can be at least 100 times happier. (The pay injustice factor was over a million in America in the 1880s.) We have super-giga-astronomical pay injustice, so we can be super-giga-astronomically happier. Impossible to imagine, isn’t it. It is a little easier to imagine if you think that we may have declined in happiness imperceptibly slowly at something like 1% every 30 years for 3000 years, with rising inequality and violence. The Cretan empire had 3000 years of peace, and multi-room housing and plumbing for everyone, according to Flinders Petrie, the archaeologist of Crete.

    No government in the world, no people anywhere, would in a million years consider such a policy as a happiness strategy. So you have to ask yourself what we are doing with a policy over a million times more extreme.


    Above is asked: What economic policies would you like to see put into place? Do you expect politicians to enact any of them?

    When I went to law school about 15 years ago, I took a required four hour course on Corporate Law. One of the things that I took away from that course was that stock holders and other corporate stake holders once could more readily sue corporations when they committed unconscionable acts or corporate officers and boards breached their fiduciary duties. Perhaps these as a response to the increased cost of defending these often frivolous stock holder derivitave suits, states (starting usually with Deleware) began enacting laws that made it more difficult or impossible to bring such suits. As corporations raced to incorporate in these states with more liberal corporate laws, a race to the bottom began with regard to corporate governance law in this country.

    Just listening to the experts interviewed by Bill Moyers, it is obvious that the pay levels of corporate officers far exceed the value that they bring to the company to the point where it should be seen as an illegal and an unconscionable breach of duty by those officers and by their cronies on the corporate boards of directors that allow such thefts of the company.

    Furthermore, the way that corporate officers are compensated in stock and stock options, as well as their exorbitant golden parachute retirement packages, leads to short sighted corporate leadership that sacrifices the long term growth of the company for quick stock returns.

    This situation is not good for the stock holders, the employees or society in general. We need to return to some legal avenue where corporate stake holders can hold managers responsible. This means enacting federal laws that make gross and unjustifiable compensation packages for publicly held corporations illegal and actionable at law.

    Corporations are creations of law, meaning that we create them and "we the people" have the right to change them so that they provide the greatest benefit to society as a whole rather than grossly empowering the few at the expense of employees, consumers and stock holders.

    When I started here in 1993 I made $12,000 a year. I struggled to pay my rent. Fifteen years later I make #34,000 and I struggle to pay my rent. I know the company's finances. They can afford to help us out. They won't. Welcome to America.

    Nigel,

    Enjoyed your very existentialist philosophical post. And while I agree that rationalism is a basis for formulating social change and testing results, I disagree that rationalism can ever be the fundamental core ideology for a moral belief system.

    The basic flaw of rationalism is that, as a system, it always breaks down when it is used to answer fundamental questions. One reason is that rationalism is concerned with defining effects on the basis of causes, and when one gets to a fundamental cause (a causeless cause), that fundamental becomes undefinable rationally -- one must simply accept the premise as true and test the truth of the premise by how rationally the system that it is based upon works. (The alternative, of course, would be to assume that there is no causeless cause, but instead that causes go on infinitely, which in itself is not a rational theory).

    Finally, the biggest problem with basing a moral system upon rationality is that the most rational system is Darwinian self interest where the strong control the weak. Perhaps in some cosmic reality, the strong would decide that they did not want to live in such a "dog eat dog" world, but in the real world, the strong, the rich, the cunning and well connected seak power unless prevented by strong social institution designed to protect individuals from such excess and domination.

    Ultimately, this is kind of silly argument, however, because it sounds like you and I want to get to the same place even if we don't agree on where we start from. It doesn't matter though. If we can all agree that the basic test of any system or process is to protect individual liberty and allow for greater prosperity, then we can agree on how to judge the results of any systemic changes to the institutions that control those results.

    Although many of us may disagree on the philosophical basises for our morality, most of us here can probably agree that we want liberty and properity for society, and this may be just one philosophical conscensus that we can use to test the means and ends of any proposed changes.

    I believe that our our government, our culture, our society is a continuing work in progress that must constantly be reengineered and retooled in order to keep up with the increasing changes and pressures of modernity in a globalizing society. If we cease to keep up with these changes and adapt our institutions to meet them so that we get the moral result that most of us can agree on, then we will fall back into perhaps the most rational, natural system of all, the system that we have had for most of our history -- domination of the many by the powerful few.

    Good post Nigel--
    Not only is it an accurate description of the problem; it is also a fitting solution.
    By the way; Nigel house is the name of my ancestral home in Cornwall England.
    Do you happen to know the history behind your first name?
    Best wishes communicating your thoughtful and meaningful ideas.
    David

    You know you are deepest doodoo when a presidential candidate has a preacher who vomits up the demon of handwriting analysis (see The great derangement) and when people see the funny side of this and not the very serious side of this.

    Since we are in such a pickle, why not institute every adult getting equal shares of a 1%-a-month increase in the money supply? The equal share will over-compensate the 99% underpaid for the inflation effect, and the 1% overpaid will come down gently from their isolation and danger. The economy strangulation effect of 1% having 98% will continuously ease, and the market will swell greatly. The one fault of capitalism has always been the strangulation of consumption. The inflation strategy will not alter the relative position of anyone in society more than the present situation does; instead, far less. Speculation bubbles will get smaller and smaller until they are just the fizz in the social soda-pop. Violence (war and crime) will decrease, and the costs of violence will decrease, and safety and relaxation from danger tension will increase. Both overpay and underpay are stimuli to violence (war and crime, riot and revolution). Instead of the 1% going up and down at dizzying speeds between fairpay and 100,000 times fairpay, there will be a far gentler bobbing up and down. The overpaid will rediscover the delights of freedom of socialisation. The pleasure of a $4000 plate of truffles in a mansion is far less than a good meatball with lots of friends and easy laughs. The danger and paranoia deriving from all that super-overpay in that great sea of underpay, that drives the super-overpaid to warmongering and cannon-foddering, and drives them to squeezing people for more money to finance the warmongering and cannon-foddering, will decrease and fade away. Education levels will rise and people will become more interesting and fruitful. Concentration of wealth and power is concentration of responsibility, of decision-labour, which gives ulcers, and reduces the quantity of responsible behaviour in others. (See Maverick, by Richard Semler.) When people are cut off from social power, and therefore from decision-making, they become irresponsible, and hence less productive and more destructive. (Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the oppressed.) Freedom and democracy will replace suspicion and misfortune. With this method, all the capitalist elements, including the pays for no work, can be left alone. All the band-aid methods of reducing the wealth-concentrating effects of capitalism, like social welfare, can be left in place, but they will become more and more unnecessary, and the bureaucracy can shrink, and the money can go back into productivity. (See A time for truth.) Government can shrink. Everything will happen gently, without making waves or causing problems. There will be plenty of time to adjust. Thomas Jefferson can stop spinning in his grave, and we will avoid the labour, waste, fear and griefs of a bloody revolution. Instead of house prices ever-rising, out of reach of more and more, because of the inflation run to feed the war machine, house prices will sink to within reach of more and more, which will enhance productivity. Instead of 99% sinking relentlessly into ever-greater distress, anger and poverty, and the overpaid rising into ever-more danger and isolation, everyone’s quality of life will rise. Instead of creating zombie generations, because of lack of parental care and presence in infancy and childhood, because parents are both out funding the mortgage, there will be generations with rich secure emotional lives. (See Oliver James’s Affluenza.) Unemployment will pass away, as the reason to cow the workforce by threat of unemployment passes away. The adjustment to there being far less work, because of IT, automation and robots, will be made gracefully. (See The end of work.) Where there is no drive to cow the workforce into lower wages by threat of unemployment, what work there is left after IT has reduced work will be far more readily spread around. The hyper-inflation which is coming, to suck all savings, to feed the war machine, driven by the fears of the super-overpaid (as happened in Germany between the wars), will be forestalled. The state will become ever-more stable and long-lasting. The state will become an example to the world, and save it.

    There is a feeling that we mustn’t give money to the poor, lest they plump down on their backsides and never work more. The impulse to work is natural. A healthy animal likes to work. There will still be the natural, and evenly spread, motivation of no work, no pay.

    The equal shares of a 1%-a-month money supply increase will compensate for the gross injustices in the economic system, without a micro, bureaucratic, vastly expensive interference in the free market. The pays for no work will still make the wealth concentrate unjustly, but the equal shares will continuously re-spread the wealth justly. Everyone will still be free to pursue unlimited fortunes for what is necessarily limited individual contribution by their own work, without that pursuit causing ever-increasing wealth concentration, destroying freedom, democracy, order, peace, safety, right government, community, social trust, the state - everything. Society will move close to, and then never stray far from, the average pay, which is $40 an hour for every working person including housewives and students, which is $100,000 a year per working person including housewives and students, $200,000 a year per two-adult family. (These figures are based on Sprout and Weaver, Kyklos, 1992, with inflation updating.)

    Everyone just going for more-for-me, climbing the bitch-goddess ladder of ‘success’, with no regard for aiming at taking out as much as you put in by your work, no more and no less, results in ever-growing misery for both overpaid and underpaid. If one bear has all the honey, the other bears have a hell of a time of it, and the one bear has a hell of a time of it, with the other bears bothering it to death. It makes simple solid sense, and all history confirms it. What wealth-power giant ever had a fun time of it? The saying, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, obscures the fact that the rich are in rapid turnover. The whole world is climbing up on the rich. The rich are fighting the whole world. And they are cut off from the pleasure of the human tribe, which is such a great part of pleasure for a herd animal like us. And the rich can get no more satisfaction than the fair-paid, because of the limits of desires. All food is useless to a full stomach. The overpaid have nothing to lose except their danger labours, and they gain a world of increasingly educated, healthy, friendly, happy, productive people.

    The administration of the equal shares is very simple, just electronic distribution. It can be set up very quickly. It will have positive effects immediately, and they will be for everyone, and observable by everyone. The positive effects will keep on coming for a long time. We have super-extreme inequality, so we can be super-extremely happier. Love of overpay is the root of all evils, so rooting out overpay destroys virtually all evils. Almost all problems, social and psychological, have their roots in overpay-underpay. Strike at the root and the whole tree of evils dies. Don't, and it kills you.

    derek--
    Oh no! I disapointed you!
    I am going to run out in the garden dig up some worms; eat worms and die.
    Yes, it is disapointing to think that you do not understand economic models and human modus operendi. Monopoly is the perfect model for the very real cause and effect of a free market. Chess is a model of survival of the fittest as players elemenate each others pieces until a king is defeated. One player wins and the other player loses.
    If "A" is preemptive war and it caused "B" dead innocent people. "A" caused "B". If it is the conservative people who supported the preemptive war; then it follows that they are responsible for the dead innocent people. It is the conservatives who supported the preemptive war therefore; they are responsible for the results.
    A free market is based on laisse fair which is anything but fair; it condemns people to poverty which is caused by the wealthy organizations that do not want to share their wealth with those who make their wealth possible. Without equity, society becomes unstable and everyone pays the price. The price of gas proves that statement.
    The conservatives can hardly wait until gas is ten dollars a gallon so that they can brag about how much they sacrific to the gas gods. They are so proud that they are willing to pay the price. After all; economics is just a game and the losers do not deserve a descent life. Conservatives are tightwads whose only reason to exist is make life miseable for as many people as is possible. They know the price of everything but place no value on anyone.

    How poorly we understand what ails us! It's not that we are liberals and conservatives. Rather, it's that our government has a constitutional responsibility to promote the general welfare, and we are governed by a ruling class who do not so believe, the wealthy corporations and their elites.

    Our problem is that we have government that is unrepresentative of the governed, and it and governs without our informed consent. Not only is the means of consent (the two major parties) ineffective, but the means of informing (the "press") is no longer free and independent of the ruling class.

    The political system is rigid in that it discourages the formation of new parties to provide for consent, and the two existing parties represent the constituency that pays for their election-competitions, the ruling class.

    The political system functions under our basic law, the Constitution. The framers wrote it to place the governance in the hands of the wealthy. They succeeded! Today's wealthy are the major corporations and their elites. Corporations are "persons" and have all the protections of the Constituion, and they outlive us all - if they don't destroy themselves and/or us in time.

    Our country is threatened by terrorists, but its morbidity comes from the rigidity of our long unrevised Constitution. Under it, the "factions" feared by the framers have taken the political system captive for the present ruling class. What the system does not do is what the Constitution was intended to do: promote the general welfare. The welfare our rulers promote is their own.


    Oh David, you disappoint me…

    If you’re going to claim that A causes B you should talk about that causality and not just say: A is true and B is true.

    I concede that there was a preemptive war and that innocent people are dying. But how exactly did the uncontrolled markets cause that? Because somewhere in between A and B Haliburton exists?

    Further, you seem to think that I believe we have a totally free market. I don’t. I think we have volumes of regulations and laws governing the markets – some better than others.

    David: “we have had eight years of an uncontrolled market place….” While the market may (although I wouldn’t go this far) have gone out of control, it is undisputable that there are plenty of ‘controls.’ I’d like you to explain how it is the ‘free’ part of the market that is at fault for the economic problems in our country (and every other problem you listed, if you’ve got the time) and not the ‘controlled’ elements of the market that are driving the problems.

    As for the bailouts and crony-ism that sometimes benefits rich people – I’m with you, that’s not free markets, and they should be examined closely and skeptically. (see my hastily prepared post below responding to Vince).

    My, and many of us greedy, evil, fat economic conservatives don’t argue that we have a totally free market system that couldn’t be improved. What we do argue is a different ideology for shaping economic policy –

    If I’m going to get a dollars worth of value from you, Bill Gates, or anyone else (who hasn’t taken my money without my consent) then it should be because I also gave you some value, and not because I got the government to coerce the dollar out of you.

    As for Monopoly… I think we’d all agree, monopoly isn’t reality.

    Derek,
    Lordy, Lordy, give me strength!
    There is nothing free about the free market.
    People become slaves to the free market. It is "buyers beware" mentality and survival of the fittest financially.
    "May you always have love to share, health to spare and friends who care."
    Anyone that has played Monopoly knows there is only one winner and everyone else loses.
    We have had eight years of an uncontrolled market place and it has produced a preemptive war against innocent people, death and destruction, financial ruin and trillions of dollars of debt. Without necessary control of the market place; there is social chaos. Our infrastructure and our quality of life is fastly going down the drain.
    To start with, the free market you are talking about is only a selective free market that always selects the rich and influential. They are the ones who get the bailouts.
    It is true that we need to work together to get the right solutions to the problems and deal with reality realistically.

    All well and good. For Now. The industrial age is nearly over and the shrunken world now includes seven billion folks with a voice. Whether it will continue to be true that just being born in the USA is an advantage remains to be seen. The institutions of higher education in concert with corporations appear to attract the world's brightest minds which may temper the diminished assets of a growing population of underachieving humans.

    For me, there are numerous bright spots of hope. The ISS, international space station, is just one of many which will lead us into the new age.

    Quibble all you like, the problems are varied and many. Most may not even be looking in the right direction. Live life and love it. If you are mad, i should like to balance you out by being glad.

    And thank you Bill Moyers, there are plenty of Melon-heads to play devil's advocate. Melonheads or dittoheads, samediff.

    Now, I have waded through most of the posts made so far. And in reading it - you see a complete microcosm of why America is in trouble. So first we shall eliminate the obvious flaming/blaming posts:

    Side 1: It's all liberal BS who want Americans to become (pick the ogre of the day) a. communists b. fascists c. ad infinatum.

    Side 2: It's the conservatives fault. Usually comes with an extremely long post of quotes from former a. poets b. historians c. ad infinatum. Sorry guys/gals - I read a book, I pick a hardcover.

    Side 3: You should have voted for my candidate. SOP - usually links to why their candidate was ignored/is the best, etc.

    Side 4: If you're poor you're lazy, if you're rich you're hardworking - ignoring the many who inherited dad/moms business and money (ala Rockefeller). Usually comes with the standard 'back in the day". Also usually comes with a lot of other stereotypes that aren't worth mentioning.

    BUT........buried in all this is the pain, the dismay, the facts of real lives, the frustration and the agony of struggling to find the American dream - only to discover it no longer exists.

    To these people - lies the hope of any future our country has. To people like those - I only hope America gets over it's bickering, flaming and blaming in time to stand united and bring it back from the edge of destruction. And only the American people - so long ignored can do it. So, maybe we should start realizing we're all in the same boat instead of arguing about who has the better seat on the Titanic?


    Now - feel free to continue with 1,2,3 and 4.

    Oh yeah - feel free to flame me, doesn't bother me at all as you don't make my choices for me. FYI - 20 yr old car, no tv (can't afford it), 40 years working my tail off to discover a little thing called cancer can wipe you out financially pretty quick. But don't worry - I won't be a drain on the system. I can't afford the doctors or the drugs so won't be around much longer - but looking around today, maybe I am truly one of the lucky ones.

    Ooops - too long a post. My apologies. ^_~

    Bill Moyers asked what can be done to free ourselves from the entrapments of the 2nd gilded age?

    How disappointing that he professes not to know! Bill Moyers is a sincere and honorable man.

    Then why has he not supported publicly the one man who offers this country the way out? Ralph Nader.

    Why does he not share Mr Nader's effort to free us from the tyranny of the Republican and Democratic Parties, the two headed monster that copulates with big business and the ruling class of wealth and privilege.

    Like so many others less sincere and honorable, more egotistical, more vain than Bill Moyers, he allows Ralph Nader's voice to be submerged by the media claque, even the PBS claque.

    Shame, Bill Moyers!
    Shame Katrina vanden Huevel!
    Shame Victor Navarsky!
    Shame The American Left!

    Shane habitually distorts replies, invents stuff out of thin air,(e.g. she claimed that I am for "mandatory drugging of public school children". I never said nor implied such nonsense, as anybody can confirm himself by reading my posts, an ability that Shane apparently has not yet developed.) and tries to create the impression that one said the exact opposite of what one really said. Shane did not once attempt to honestly engage in a meaningful discussion. And the meaning of 'oligarchy' and 'fascism' don't seem to be entirely clear to Shane either.

    Vince,

    Good points in favor of the free marketers on your little Q&A. When the government steps in, they usually redistribute wealth in unfair ways and further enable bad (inefficient) decision making. Bear Sterns is a great example -- its fall was perpetuated by its knowledge that big brother government will come bail it out so it didn't have to make the most societally efficient choices. Not too different from other segments of society that don't make the best choices because they know they ultimately don't have to.

    Ted,
    Please do explain how you would be a libertarian and a socialist.

    --one of Vince's "fools" that might need a little straightening out.

    Jake Hamburg (Alaska?), Vince, and Connie Morrison,

    You guys give me hope. Thank you. I wish I could elect you folks to public office.

    Great piece in The New York Times this morning by David Broosk. Read it.

    Bill Moyers is truly the insigtful journalist on television. I was particularly stuck by what he said about "why don't we take to the streets?" in regards to the top heaviness of wealth. My theory about the average person is that most of us are too busy just trying to make ends meet and I really think that's part of the strategy of the ultra wealthy--keep 'em too busy to notice, too downtrodden to rise up. Also, it's a paradox that so many people support and vote against their own best interests. I think there must be some sort of collective desire to relate to ultra wealthy people (think: the obsession with celebrity)even though most people will never get past paycheck to paycheck. The dumbing down of America has been very well documented so I won't belabor that point here but suffice to say that Americans are generally ignorant regarding government and how it operates as well as its responsibilities. In addition, we've had 8 years of a corrupt administration which has catered to cronyism to an extreme degree. Top that off with a dose of fears of terrorism drilled into us night and day and you have a populace that simply can't think for itself.

    Greetings Xavier, Nigel et al,

    Thanks for straightening the fools out on this post.

    To those of you who still believe in the "free market" and only the "fm":

    Question:
    Who GAVE the airline industry Billions of dollars to stay afloat after September 11th?

    Answer: U.S Taxpayers and Airline worker concessions, not airline CEOs!

    Question:
    Who bailed out the banks after the savings and loan scandals?

    Answer:
    U.S. Taxpayers who earned their money, not S&L CEOs!

    Question:
    Who bailed out Bear Stearns from the mortgage fiasco?

    Answer:
    Again, working taxpayers, not Wall Street CEOs!

    CEOs walk out with millions in compensation while leaving the U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill. That's exactly what the airline industry did with their pension funds. This left the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, ie the U.S. taxpayers, to foot the bill.

    If those of you who feel we have free market capitalism in the U.S. really beleive in it, then you won't mind if we let corrupt CEOs and corporations fail due to their malfeasance.

    Afterward, people can start to get paid real living wages without having to support corporate welfare.

    Libertarians seem to confuse freedom and liberty. It makes sense to combine liberatrian notions with socialist notions. I am a libertarian-socialist.

    “Question for "liberals"!
    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:
    1. Federal minimum wage statutes
    2. Social security
    3. Medicare
    4.Environmental regulations?”
    They are cited under, “WE THE PEOPLE .... in order....to ESTABLISH JUSTICE,

    Insure... TRANQUILITY, PROMOTE GENERAL WELFARE, and SECURE the

    Blessing of LIBERTY to OURSELF and our POSTERITY....” and in ARTICLE I,

    Section 8, Note 18, “ To MAKE ALL LAWS WHICH SHALL BE NECESSARY...!”

    These are the Laws that were NECESSARY!

    ---------ALL THE PRETTY SOUNDING SCHEMES PROPOSED BY "LIBERAL PROGRESSIVES"...................................................are ultimately backed up by the barrel of a government agent's gun...it is THEIR way, or NO WAY.


    Proponents of FREEDOM (libertarianism), on the other hand, have enough faith and trust that enough of their fellow men will do the RIGHT thing that we see no need to threaten them with violence. In a FREE society, mistakes will happen...that is the price of FREEDOM...so are differing opinions.

    sorry for the double post - the system here told me the first had been lost.

    i have never said any such thing, shane. go back and read the two steps i propose to do, and note the part about how and why it's an indirect fix for all injustices in our economic systems so it does nothing to interfere in anything except to correct for the automatic transfer of wealth away from earners to nonearners.

    -----------XAVIER ONASSIS-------------

    Just so I'm 100% sure of what your position is regarding wages please answer:

    Are you saying that wages should NOT be set by a VOLUNTARY contract between two free parties (employer-employee), but subject to a formula backed up by the threat of government force (ultimately, LETHAL)?

    -----------XAVIER ONASSIS-------------


    My little dictator, what you do not understand is that the Law is SUPPOSED to exist to enforce people's natural rights to life, liberty, and property. It exists to prevent others from violating these rights. NOBODY has a "right" to anything but these.

    What if EVERYONE decided they didn't have to work, since (under modern "liberalism") housing, food, and healthcare (to name the big 3 essentials) are human rights enforceable by government force? These are RIGHTS, aren't they? We're ALL entitled to them whether we produce or not, right? I'll tell you what would happen: government would have to create a SLAVE class to provide for those who don't provide for themselves. This is the logical conclusion of the system, and we are fast approaching that point--an elite living on the labor of a serf-class. You, and too many others, thought that WE would be the elite ruling class and bought the LIE of socialism that govt can provide "free" EVERYTHING.

    Shane is attempting to cause other readers to think I have said the polar opposite of what I have actually said, and I will thank Shane to never do so again. Our message is the polar opposite of what Shane would like to paint it.

    Nigel and I are the ones who are saying to STOP feeling and guessing about pay justice, about poverty, about inequality. We’re the only ones to finally, finally give UP guessing and “feeling” what fairpay is…give UP guessing we’ll just default to mere tradition rather than bother to make a few calculations. We are the very ones who are telling you this species can and must use actual math calculations to determine where pay justice lies.

    Right now, fairpay, world average hourly pay, including paying students and homemakers, is around US $200,000 for every working family on this planet.

    Is anybody ever gonna go look at that Lcurve thang? It’s all right there before your eyes that there really is this much wealth in the world – we are really producing this much wealth – and if spread according to principles of pay justice, just by working average hard and saving, this could be a planet of people ALL rich in material wealth and ALL rich in quality of life!

    -----------XAVIER ONASSIS-------------

    Just so I'm 100% sure of what your position is regarding wages please answer:

    Are you saying that wages should NOT be set by a VOLUNTARY contract between two free parties, but subject to a formula backed up by the threat of government force (ultimately, LETHAL)?

    Shane is attempting to cause readers to think I said the polar opposite of what I actually said, and I will thank Shane to never do so again. If Shane wants to refer to what I have said, let Shane QUOTE ME, and speak to that.

    This is nothing to do with what I "feel" is pay justice, Shane!

    NIGEL AND I ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO ARE FINALLY, FINALLY USING, MATH CALCULATIONS TO ESTABLISH WHERE PAY JUSTICE IS.

    AND HOW CAN YOU HAVE MISSED THAT WE ARE URGENTLY URGING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME?

    Why do so many of you people hate freedom?

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"


    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?

    Far and away the saddest, worst, most inhumane, most disgusting poverty of all is the poverty of our horizons.

    Of course, the basic problem is that corporations own our government.

    I call this system "Corporate Socialism".

    After workers are taxed and the money counted in Washington, the riches are doled out to corporations who promise the most favors to individual congress people.

    This system has nothing to do with benefitting the people of the United States.

    Any relationship to what we think of as capitalism is purely coincidental.

    Tony Salmon wrote: Don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of having some kind of ideology. We all have to start from some basic premises even though those premises can't be proven one way or the other. Beliefs such as compassion, charity, the Golden Rule (or it’s [its] partner ‘Don't do onto [unto] others as you would not have them do onto [unto] you’), a belief in equality of opportunity, etc. can't be rationally proven, but most moral people start from someplace like this. Besides, if we didn't start from some basic premise, how could we judge whether what we are advocating achieves the desired results. End quote.
    Delicious. Let’s have some irrational basis and judge the results by this irrational basis. We’ll know if the results are those desired on the basis of some kind of ideology that can’t be rationally proven.
    No wonder we are in a mess. (I’m not putting Tony on the spot, I’m talking about the culture, the very decadent culture, the moribund, decaying, dead culture. Eric Fromm: The 19th C problem was that god was dead, the 20th C problem is that man is dead.) People adopt moralities because it confers a bit of class, or because it gets people off your back. A morality is either rationally based or it is irrational. If it is irrationally based, or adopted without awareness of the rational basis under it, it is insane, and all the actions based on it are insane (self-destructive). We need the basic reminder: We need rationality (sense, sanity). Irrationality is not as good as rationality. The culture has turned asking why into rudeness. Pushed out rationality! Driven the culture insane, put it on an irrational basis. Don’t ask why, just do it. That is, be a robot, a cipher, a complete waste of life. Don’t exist, don’t be genuine, don’t require rationality in your life, don’t be a nuisance, don’t think, don’t get a rational foundation, just join others in irrational activity. Cicero: To think is to live. Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. Bible: Seek, Test everything. The culture that needs to be reminded to think, to function with rationality, is far gone. ‘In favour of having some kind of ideology’. That sounds like: Just grab an ideology off the shelf – any one, it doesn’t matter which, none of them is rational - as you skateboard past. Teachers of moralities don’t bother with rationality. They don’t have the rationality at their fingertips and it is an effort to think, so don’t ask. And, over time, the rationality stopped being anywhere even close to people’s minds. Everyone is functioning without rationality, so, hey, get in the flow, join the crowd. People just hear of moralities, know that they are around, and file them away in the morality pigeonhole in the brain. Oh yeah, morality, yeah, I have one of those. Golden rule, yeah, I know, that sort of thing. What sort of thing? Well, it isn’t rational or anything, but you have it anyway. Why?
    Guess what. The golden rule, and justice, are rationally based. They are practical, realistic, very simple good sense. Don’t hit people, because they hit back. Don’t injure people, because they injure back. People get so much information, they lose their common sense. We never have enough time to get back from all the information dumped on us, back to common sense, the fundamentals, the very, very simple point. Be still and experience reality. We are never still enough to get to reality. Justice is non-injury. The Israelis (and everyone else doing the same sort of thing) don’t realise that they are injuring themselves by firing rockets. If there was a rubber wall instead of Palestinians sending back rockets, the Israelis would grasp the fact they are injuring themselves. The effect is the same, rockets coming at the Israelis. The Israelis see the ‘justice’ of sending back a rocket, whenever the Palestinians send a rocket. Take that, you Palestinians. Forget the Palestinians for a moment. Think just of yourself for a change. What is the effect of your actions on you? Injury. Suffering. Horrors. Unsafety. Endless, expensive, escalating violence. Endlessly escalating misery. Endless expense. In money, time, labour and misery. The Palestinians have 20th of the average Israeli income. It would be far, far, far cheaper to give them pay justice. It would be practical, realistic, good sense. It would be self-interest. It would be rational pursuit of your own happiness. Charlie Chaplin hits the boxing machine, it hits back with equal force. Charlie Chaplin gets mad at the boxing machine for hitting him, and he hits it harder. How smart was Hitler, thinking that plundering Europe was a happiness strategy? Europe plundered right back. Hitler, bunker, bullet. Well, duh, big fat duh.
    We have been taught to not be selfish. What is wrong with selfishness is not the self-interest, the pursuit of your own happiness, it is the ignorance of, or the forgetting of, the simple fact that people are too dangerous to annoy. People are totally unreliable as doormats. Give up the impractical, unrealistic dream of people being doormats. Accept that they never have been and never will be. (And there is no reason why they should be.) Money is power, but every plutocracy has been brought down. Money is the second greatest power. The largest fortune is weaker than the rest of the world. Injustice doesn’t work. It is a vice, that is, it is an absolutely certain cause of unhappiness. Even if you die a natural death, like Stalin, your life is completely ruined by the immense labour of self-defense, and by the isolation from the trust with, and belonging to, the human tribe, which is such a great part of happiness. Pay injustice is the greatest injustice, because it is theft of money, which is the joker good, good for most things, including essentials for life, and social power. People are never going to take that lying down.
    The person who is totally selfish, in the right way, who is pursuing his self-interest, his maximal happiness, accepts, immediately, fully and freely, that people resent and retaliate injury, and much of his ‘selfish’, self-interest energies are happily engaged in avoiding injury to others. Kindness is the real realpolitik, is the hardest-nosed practicality. Other people are a near-perfect rubber wall. What you give is what you get back.
    Decadent morality, which we have had for millennia, has made the virtues stink. All people think of the virtues are that they are a useless chore. Morality has been made odious to people, by ignorance or ignoring of the rationality in it, and by use of force or social pressure to enforce it. When force is used, you are implying that there is no other reason for doing it, you are teaching that morality is a useless chore. Morality long ago got into the hands of those who believe in injury, theft, overpay, and they have used morality as a stick and a prod. They couldn’t give the rationality, because their ‘reasons’ were irrational; they didn’t know the real reasons. For those who believe in god: If god is rational and loving, he has loving, rational reasons for his advice to obey the golden rule (which is ‘all the law and all the prophets’, which is the gist of morality). The rule makes sense, and is good for you, it saves you from suffering. It is a kindly good true wise sensible sane loving rule. It increases your happiness. Those who have been most vigorous in irrationality, in the wrong selfishness, in the Hitlerian, conqueror stupidity, in the cretinous underestimation of retaliation, have enforced the golden rule on others, without reasons, to facilitate their plundering. They took god hostage. They emasculated the message that was coming through wise people till it served their mistaken ideas of their self-interest. They made themselves miserable and all others miserable. For thousands of years. No one was teaching the sanity, the rational, realistic, practical foundation of the golden rule and justice: people are no good at being doormats. Spit in his eye, get your nose broken. Aristotle says it is the obvious which is hard to see. The simple truths have so few moving parts, they are hard to see.
    By putting morality on a force, threat of punishment, authoritarian, obedience, state terrorist basis, those ignorant, self-destructive, irrational, conquering-minded people have undermined rationality and love. Giordano Bruno: Once love was used in the church, now force. But the truth is still there, half-hidden, in the words: love others as yourself. That is, love yourself perfectly and love others as much as you (rightly and properly) love yourself. What is more simple sense than that you are supposed to love yourself, that you are supposed to pursue your self-interest, your happiness? Every snail does it; every bird knows this loving right. That is your right and your duty, your responsibility. Every snail accepts this responsibility and loving right. Without that, you lack the basis for the rationality of not injuring others. The reason for not injuring others is because it will mean bad stuff for you. If the injury doesn’t come back directly to you, it will certainly ricochet around in your environment of other people and get back to you some time, some way. It will pollute your environment with violence, ill-feeling, hatred, resentment, bad stuff. We have failed to learn the golden rule, because the basis for it, intelligent, observant, realistic self-interest, has been stolen from us. It is only the rationality of self-interest that drives the boat of the golden rule. If we don’t care about ourselves, if we have been made ashamed of the right and duty to pursue our happiness, what basis is there for caring about anyone else?
    The argument to authority (it is true because X said it is true) is false. It is false because the wisest get things wrong. And even if they never got things wrong, there is no way we can see the reasons just from someone’s word that it is true. Even the argument to the authority of god (it is true because (someone said) god said it) is false. The only true argument is a good reason that people can see. Don’t injure others because they will injure back. Simple as. But we have been cut off from this simple sense for thousands of years. When did you ever see the golden rule explained?
    Government has been in the hands of the stupidest, the ones with least instinctive sense of the rationality and simple sense of the golden rule, and they have destroyed rationality, love, morality, golden rule, everything. They have thrown us into the mental and moral morass that Tony speaks out of. Have you heard of one dictator, one super-overpaid, who had a good old happy relaxed free easy time of it? They are swimming like superman to stay afloat, being pulled down by the whole world. (Don’t be fooled by Dubya’s golf.) The super-overpaid are not getting more numerous, so there is as many coming down as going up. Like a Las Vegas needle fountain, every bit that goes up comes down. Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Mark Anthony, Cleopatra, Ceausescu, Marie Antoinette, Charles I, Richard III, an endless stream. Like the king of the grove that Frazer writes about, who gets the role by killing the last king, and who has to meet every challenger.
    Hence justice, non-injury is certainly a cause of happiness. And we have super-extreme pay injustice. So we can be super-extremely happier. And we will be, as soon as we get our thinking caps on, as soon as we get our house back on the foundation of rationality.




    ----------------FUTILITY------------

    We can see that the Oligarchy mouthpiece even promotes the fascist relationship between the govt and the pharmaceutical industry!

    If vaccinations are SO beneficial and desirable...wouldn't parents make sure their kids get them?

    You see, but this isn't good enough for totalitarian fascist like FUTILITY...government must steal money from the citizenry and give it to the pharmaceutical industry and make sure a market exists for their product (mandatory drugging of public school children--including harmful psychotropic drugs like Ritalin)...free choice is just a novel notion of freedom-minded folks like me!

    As long as taxpayer dollars are flowing into the coffers of big business--w/individual choice being forbidden--puppets like FUTILITY are happy!

    Such is the state of modern-day "liberalism"...up with mandated government policies that benefit the bottom line of corporations...down with individual freedom!

    ---------------------ED SANTORO------------------

    I've got a suggestion for you new "Life" game:

    Issue little plastic guns to each player, so that they can enforce their "rights" to "free" helthcare, a paycheck, housing, food, education, etc!

    I wish y'all would just be honest about your intent to rob SOME people in order to provide OTHERS with all kinds of "free" goodies...it is a SURE-FIRE way to win votes!

    How long do "democracies" last, once the sheep realize they can vote themselves "free" goodies gained by govt coercion? Who wins in a contest involving money and influence...the "poor", or the "rich"? IDIOTS, you've been had! Socialism is a con game of the ELITE, whereby they convince the commoners that surrendering their rights--in favor of govt supremacy--is in their best interests!

    I wonder how many shills are employed, online, to attempt to keep the sheep in line?

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"


    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?

    I see I've upset the sheep on here!

    STILL no answer to my queries about just WHERE the federal govt is authorized under the AMERICAN constitution to set minimum wages, enact national welfare programs like the failed social security and medicare pogroms, gun laws, etc...no suprise there, since modern-day "liberals" are little different than the neocons they think they oppose!

    To understand those who oppose Ron Paul, first one must understand what RP stand for: Constitutional governance, an end to American imperialism, freedom, respect for human life, and sound economics (esp. honest money). His opponents, legion that they are, wish to continue down the road to serfdom...some knowingly, some just ignorant syncophants. GWB is a "liberal", just as ALL establishment politicians are "liberals"...those that work to deny all of us the fruits of our labor and liberty.

    It is no suprise that so-called "liberals" oppose honest money...what is our modern-day system of fiat credit creation but the "liberals" dream of creating "wealth" without honest labor? It is THEY who have propagated the LIE that wealth can be created by govt fiat! However, as predicted by Austrian economists (the TRUE inheritors of the liberal heritage!), the house of cards set up by the Keynesians is about to topple, revealing the utter LIE of socialism.

    ----------------FUTILITY------------

    ...seems to be the biggest defender of the Oligarchy on this board, with a little help from several cheerleaders.

    SHAME on you ALL!

    You're dealing w/someone who has her eyes OPEN, here, don't forget it!

    Shame on Shane,
    He seems to think that money grows on trees and all the government has to do is go out and harvest it to provide social infrastructure, law enforcement, military defense systems and social services. He does not care if people die without social systems to see them through economic downturns. My parents wrapped their garbage and placed it on top of the garbage can because they knew that there were neighbors that did not have food to eat and were eating our garbage. Would you like to eat garbage?
    Without social systems There would be chaos and survival of the luckiest. Who losses their job in a depression is a random affair. Not only that, it was the rich people who lost fortunes that jumped out of windows to their death. Do you really want that kind of society?


    Shane,

    at least I know what 'oligarchy' means, namely 'the rule by the few'. That's all, but you somehow manage to connect everything with the EVIL GOVERNMENT. Even vaccinations. Do you know why children don't die nowadays from poliomyelitis anymore? One reason alone. Vaccinations. Same with other diseases. But you wish your freedom back to let your children die of (nowadays) entirely preventable diseases. You are seriously confused. Did you forget to take your meds? You project everything that you consider evil onto the government which in your confused mind becomes this evil power that controls everything. You left the realm of rational discussion.


    You, just like the NeoCons, can't defeat Ron Paul's message of prosperity, freedom, and peace through honest and logical debate so...slander is the tool of choice.

    Are you talking about yourself? I only hear rants and complaints from you. Nothing of substance, nothing resembling an 'honest and logical debate'. You really start to bore me.


    It seems that YOU don't understand what fascism is! Or, should I say "national SOCIALISM"?

    Fascism/national socialism has NOTHING to do with socialism/communism! You really don't know what you are talking about. In fact, anti-communism is considered to be one defining quality of fascism.


    Jim R, that's exactly right.

    "A progressive tax code and reasonable regulation that protects "We The People" from rapacious capitalism are the only tools a government has to prevent the powerful from devouring the weak. Tools I might add that Republicans have been working furiously and inexorably to dismantle to all of our detriment since the New Deal."

    And the Republicans did this by dividing us with their wedge issues--things that don't really matter.

    This isn't complicated, but it is hard due to entrenched rich interests; it is truly about the money.

    A progressive tax code and reasonable regulation that protects "We The People" from rapacious capitalism are the only tools a government has to prevent the powerful from devouring the weak. Tools I might add that Republicans have been working furiously and inexorably to dismantle to all of our detriment since the New Deal.

    We have the right and the duty to implement a system of government regulation and progressive taxation that allows the middle class to prosper.

    We can always find real capitalists willing to work within the law and contribute to America and their communities while earning a decent profit.

    The howls and wails we hear at the mere suggestion of liberal ideals practiced successfully around the world (largely unreported or misreported on Fox News), are either by those getting insanely rich or wanting to at the expense of all the rest, or supply side ideologues unwilling to accept what an abject failure conservatism and trickle down economics has proved to be for some 90% of America.

    Oh, and one more thing, no progress on anything will ever be achieved without overturning the disastrous 1976 Buckley V Valeo Supreme Court decision that allowed money to dictate speech.

    We must either legislate it or pass a constitutional amendment, without it we are owned and we are doomed as a Democratic Republic.

    I don't think that you can ever get through to anyone whose viewpoint is blind ideological extremism.

    Don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of having some kind of ideology. We all have to start from some basic premises even though those premises can't be proven one way other the other. Beliefs such as compassion, charity, the Golden Rule (or it's partner "Don't do onto others as you would not have them do onto you."), a belief in equality of opportunity, etc. can't be rationally proven, but most moral people start from someplace like this. Besides, if we didn't start from some basic premise, how could we judge whether what we are advocating achieves the desired results.

    Since the late 19th Century, our country has come full circle from an age of corruption, inequality and collapse to increased regulation and the welfare state and now back to corruption and inequality on a global scale. Pragmatism would tell us that it is time to simply adjust the machinery of capitalism and democracy to achieve more balanced flight. But it's the screaming from ideologues on the left and right that try to drown out the proponents of rational balance and compromise.

    I've often heard free market fundamentalists argue that all governmental regulation interferes with natural market forces, as if the "dismal science" of determining market forces was as immutable as the laws of physics or something and if left to their natural tendencies they will automatically produce freedom and prosperity for all. However, if the natural history of mankind (and all species for that matter) is any example, then democracy and capitalism are just fortuitous aberrations that must be nurtured and guarded or they will naturally go extinct. The most natural state of man throughout most of our history is a pecking order where the strong control the weak. It is only our current strong cultural institutions (including governmental institutions) that actually keep us from constantly sliding back into the tyranny and barbarism that have dominated most of our history.

    We, the people, need to constantly improve our institutions, especially those institutions that regulate markets, otherwise what we will end up with is not a "free market" where everyone can compete, but instead ownership of everything by the few.

    Judge Posner once wrote that the job of sociologists should mainly be to figure out all the unintended consequences of social change. It's time to create new international institutions to regulate the world economy in a way the spreads the prosperity to everyone without in turn destroying the planet. Just as Keynes and Roosevelt pragmatically created new regulations and institutions to resolve the crisises of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we need world institutions to resolve the global problems of the 21st century.

    I don't think that you can ever get through to anyone whose viewpoint is blind ideological extremism.

    Don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of having some kind of ideology. We all have to start from some basic premises even though those premises can't be proven one way other the other. Beliefs such as compassion, charity, the Golden Rule (or it's partner "Don't do onto others as you would not have them do onto you."), a belief in equality of opportunity, etc. can't be rationally proven, but most moral people start from someplace like this. Besides, if we didn't start from some basic premise, how could we judge whether what we are advocating achieves the desired results.

    Since the late 19th Century, our country has come full circle from an age of corruption, inequality and collapse to increased regulation and the welfare state and now back to corruption and inequality on a global scale. Pragmatism would tell us that it is time to simply adjust the machinery of capitalism and democracy to achieve more balanced flight. But it's the screaming from ideologues on the left and right that try to drown out the proponents of rational balance and compromise.

    I've often heard free market fundamentalists argue that all governmental regulation interferes with natural market forces, as if the "dismal science" of determining market forces was as immutable as the laws of physics or something and if left to their natural tendencies they will automatically produce freedom and prosperity for all. However, if the natural history of mankind (and all species for that matter) is any example, then democracy and capitalism are just fortuitous aberrations that must be nurtured and guarded or they will naturally go extinct. The most natural state of man throughout most of our history is a pecking order where the strong control the weak. It is only our current strong cultural institutions (including governmental institutions) that actually keep us from constantly sliding back into the tyranny and barbarism that have dominated most of our history.

    We, the people, need to constantly improve our institutions, especially those institutions that regulate markets, otherwise what we will end up with is not a "free market" where everyone can compete, but instead ownership of everything by the few.

    Judge Posner once wrote that the job of sociologists should mainly be to figure out all the unintended consequences of social change. It's time to create new international institutions to regulate the world economy in a way the spreads the prosperity to everyone without in turn destroying the planet. Just as Keynes and Roosevelt pragmatically created new regulations and institutions to resolve the crisises of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we need world institutions to resolve the global problems of the 21st century.

    I don't think that you can ever get through to anyone whose viewpoint is blind ideological extremism.

    Don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of having some kind of ideology. We all have to start from some basic premises even though those premises can't be proven one way other the other. Beliefs such as compassion, charity, the Golden Rule (or it's partner "Don't do onto others as you would not have them do onto you."), a belief in equality of opportunity, etc. can't be rationally proven, but most moral people start from someplace like this. Besides, if we didn't start from some basic premise, how could we judge whether what we are advocating achieves the desired results.

    Since the late 19th Century, our country has come full circle from an age of corruption, inequality and collapse to increased regulation and the welfare state and now back to corruption and inequality on a global scale. Pragmatism would tell us that it is time to simply adjust the machinery of capitalism and democracy to achieve more balanced flight. But it's the screaming from ideologues on the left and right that try to drown out the proponents of rational balance and compromise.

    I've often heard free market fundamentalists argue that all governmental regulation interferes with natural market forces, as if the "dismal science" of determining market forces was as immutable as the laws of physics or something and if left to their natural tendencies they will automatically produce freedom and prosperity for all. However, if the natural history of mankind (and all species for that matter) is any example, then democracy and capitalism are just fortuitous aberrations that must be nurtured and guarded or they will naturally go extinct. The most natural state of man throughout most of our history is a pecking order where the strong control the weak. It is only our current strong cultural institutions (including governmental institutions) that actually keep us from constantly sliding back into the tyranny and barbarism that have dominated most of our history.

    We, the people, need to constantly improve our institutions, especially those institutions that regulate markets, otherwise what we will end up with is not a "free market" where everyone can compete, but instead ownership of everything by the few.

    Judge Posner once wrote that the job of sociologists should mainly be to figure out all the unintended consequences of social change. It's time to create new international institutions to regulate the world economy in a way the spreads the prosperity to everyone without in turn destroying the planet. Just as Keynes and Roosevelt pragmatically created new regulations and institutions to resolve the crisises of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we need world institutions to resolve the global problems of the 21st century.

    I don't think that you can ever get through to anyone whose viewpoint is blind ideological extremism.

    Don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of having some kind of ideology. We all have to start from some basic premises even though those premises can't be proven one way other the other. Beliefs such as compassion, charity, the Golden Rule (or it's partner "Don't do onto others as you would not have them do onto you."), a belief in equality of opportunity, etc. can't be rationally proven, but most moral people start from someplace like this. Besides, if we didn't start from some basic premise, how could we judge whether what we are advocating achieves the desired results.

    Since the late 19th Century, our country has come full circle from an age of corruption, inequality and collapse to increased regulation and the welfare state and now back to corruption and inequality on a global scale. Pragmatism would tell us that it is time to simply adjust the machinery of capitalism and democracy to achieve more balanced flight. But it's the screaming from ideologues on the left and right that try to drown out the proponents of rational balance and compromise.

    I've often heard free market fundamentalists argue that all governmental regulation interferes with natural market forces, as if the "dismal science" of determining market forces was as immutable as the laws of physics or something and if left to their natural tendencies they will automatically produce freedom and prosperity for all. However, if the natural history of mankind (and all species for that matter) is any example, then democracy and capitalism are just fortuitous aberrations that must be nurtured and guarded or they will naturally go extinct. The most natural state of man throughout most of our history is a pecking order where the strong control the weak. It is only our current strong cultural institutions (including governmental institutions) that actually keep us from constantly sliding back into the tyranny and barbarism that have dominated most of our history.

    We, the people, need to constantly improve our institutions, especially those institutions that regulate markets, otherwise what we will end up with is not a "free market" where everyone can compete, but instead ownership of everything by the few.

    Judge Posner once wrote that the job of sociologists should mainly be to figure out all the unintended consequences of social change. It's time to create new international institutions to regulate the world economy in a way the spreads the prosperity to everyone without in turn destroying the planet. Just as Keynes and Roosevelt pragmatically created new regulations and institutions to resolve the crisises of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we need world institutions to resolve the global problems of the 21st century.

    Nigel, that was beautiful, and your posts in this thread reveal you to be one of those rarest of all birds, the man with actual original thought - desperately needed original thought - coming from his superbly-honed ability to reason with crystal clarity.

    Shane, when we proceed from false, incorrect, or only partially-informed first premises, the conclusions we will draw will fall into the category of intelligence that is as useful to us as stupidity is. You, Shane, have adopted and are operating under a barking mess/mass of misconceptions about economics and government that you call a worldview because your conclusions have proceeded from false first premises.

    It is you, Shane, who is unaware that you are unaware that it ISN”T who’s money you think it is in the first place, otherwise you wouldn’t be howling in agony at the idea of giving the wealth out fairly, BY LAW, to the REAL earners of it who produced all the wealth.

    And the question you have to ask yourself, Shane, is whether you care more about being criticized than you care about having all the happiness and safety you can have in your life by finding out what the reality really is, even when it stings your ego to discover how wrong you’ve been getting it.

    You don’t want a government to have the power to outlaw overpayunderpay, but you, like was the case with Derek, though you can easily produce a plethora of reasonable-sounding rationalizations to try to defend not outlawing overpay, you cannot justify underpaying in order to overpay, which means you are making a complete mockery of the whole notion of justice for all.

    You have swallowed the neocon con, Shane. Shrink government so small it can be drowned in the bathtub so it cannot be used to stand in the way of those unbridled freemarket forces which I have already shown work not to anyone’s advantage but to everyone’s detriment because – write this down so I don’t have to keep repeating it, please – they, market forces, work, in fact, to shift work one direction and the wealth the work produces in the opposite direction.

    For heavensake, Shane, we KNOW this happens, that wealth concentrates automatically and violently, so any sane species is going to introduce a counter to this automatic shift of wealth from earners to nonearners, is going to determine where pay justice lies and head toward it, and they’re going to do it by passing laws using that awful thing known as their government.

    Look, I liked Aaron Russo and his movie, too, but what that whole Ron Paul anti- fed reserve bandwagon has missed is this: even if you take away the power to print money (aka issue debt) from private hands (the fed is quasi-private, yes), you still have done nothing to prevent the money the public would then hold the right to print, from STILL ending up in those same hands as are printing it now anyway because you have NOT outlawed unlimited personal fortunes. Money rakes money in MYRIAD WAYS, Shane: there are MYRIAD legal thefts besides that one. I agree the power to print money/issue debt should be back under full public control, Shane, but what does – to take one case - putting the fed back under full public control do to cancel out the world’s very largest monopoly – the one that is the very BACKBONE of the long, hoary rule of the rich? Shane, do you even know what THAT monopoly IS? If you don’t know, Shane, then what are you doing in a discussion of economics at all??

    Here. I’ll give you a great lucky clue: go google “BEarthright spiritual economics”, and lay your eyes upon one of the most important web pages in existence.

    While you’re there (aint that a pretty front page?!) be sure not to miss where you can click on a super-enlightening page called Our Crowded Planet NOT.

    Anyway, it is the power, the wealthpower, to issue forth a neverending stream of new legal thefts that you must eliminate, Shane, not fiat currency. Fiat currency can as easily be used for good as for bad.

    Listen, go see that youtube Lcurve thing, too, and between those two really important look-sees you can get an idea of just how extreme the power you are up against actually is. The power of the very wealthpowerful to conceal their deeds and even their identities is ALWAYS going to exceed your power to discover and disclose their identities and deeds, Shane. For as long as you allow unlimited personal fortunes you will always have people able to game the system to get their hands on overpay.

    It’s just mind boggling how the RP camp have missed that the super wealthy have the ability to manipulate the price of gold tucked up their sleeves anyway, and how you have missed that the size of the economy means the gold standard is UNhelpful as it isn’t even workable any more!

    This is not 1776 – and somebody needs to catch Ron Paul up to speed with the fact that you can’t simply wind the clock back and pretend the economy of 2008 can function on the gold standard, any more than you can wind the clock back and run this country as if 1777 through 2007 had not happened!

    Shane, let me ask you this: If a drunken driver runs a car off the road and into a ditch, do we blame the car, or do we blame the drunken driver at the wheel of the car?

    The government is in the hands of people who have made it their business to run the government so badly that you’ll buy into the ruse that government itself is bad. I am telling you, these wealthpowerful people do not sleep nights, they stay up brainstorming the next ways to make their wealthpower make advantage and take advantage every way it can. Of COURSE democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others. Of COURSE all governments are pirates if the people are not vigilant. Of COURSE we should watch our government like a hawk.

    But, honest to beans, if we look up sophistication in the thesaurus, I expect to find ‘libertarian’ listed as it’s antonym, and I would be utterly unsurprised to find ‘gullible’ listed as libertarian’s first synonym!

    And now to other posters: the modernday cheap-labor predators are not lazy nor stupid in their tactics and strategy, and they got together half a century ago to begin building a juggernaut that was aided and abetted effectively by savvy use of terminology. Like the way they turned estate tax into death tax in so many heads. Does anyone think it a good idea for us all to start using the terms ‘unlimited personal fortunes capitalism’ (or just ‘unlimited fortunes capitalism’) and ‘justice capitalism’, so we can show people there is a most important distinction that is being left unmade that needs to become known?? And should we begin also making the distinction between self-earned wealth and other-earned wealth, by using those terms? And should we also all start referring to the overpaid and the underpaid, always pointing out that overpay has nowhere to come from but from underpay??

    Anybody else in here studied any strategy and tactics?

    There are memes that need to die, and memes that need to bloom. One that needs to die is this whole bogus idea that it is possible for human beings to sacrifice their time and energies to working at rates that vary by millions or billions of degrees, which makes it SEEM as though people are able to selfearn unlimited fortunes. That meme needs to die because it’s a bunch of total baloney, yet, because people (absurdly) believe it, it’s about the most perfect tool there is for tricking the world’s people into sheepishly giving up their earnings, and the wealthpowerful know it, boy do they know it.

    Slavery continues, here in Santa Maria, Ca. picking strawberry's workers due not receive a minimum wage. If they are a guest worker, their social security benifits are denied, regardsless of taxes paid. THey are only allowed to live outside the city, usually in very substandard housing. A worker can live here a lifetime, working in the fields, come retirement time, the own nothing but perhaps a car and the clothes on there backs, they recieve no SS retirement income. THis is slavery 2008 style.

    It’s happening. People are waking up and finding that the incredible spell of love of overpay has been broken. People are seeing history for what it is: a record of the miseries of overpay. The golden age is growing, like a sapling now. The unbelievable delusion is breaking up. Bill Moyers, Oliver James’s Affluenza, Sam Pizzigati’s Greed and good, Ray Carey’s Democratic capitalism, Rob George’s Socio-economic democracy, to name a few signs. Consciousness is returning. Truth is getting its boots on. People are looking and finding it incredible that we could have believed for so long that overpay could make us happy, that we could think that people would take overpay lying down, that we could for so long fail to see the failure of overpay, when history is unanimous in describing the fall of every plutocracy. People are stunned to see the graph of super-overpay and super-underpay and to think that we could have been perfectly blind for so long to its obvious implications. 98% of world wealth up in a thin, thinning needle going up 100,000 times world average pay! The economy strangled nigh to death, with 90% of people on less than 100th of average pay per hour. The waste of production! The vast waste in the super-extreme violence! People are waking and finding it very hard to believe that we could have been that blind to the most glaring error, when history was shouting its lesson on every page. It is happening. The signs are there, here and everywhere, like crocuses in spring. The bitch goddess of ‘success’ is packing her bags. She can’t stand the looks of pity, the suppressed smirks of sympathetic derision. She realises that people can now see her rags. Did the drill of the simple truth finally break through the adamantine human skull? Or did the gods finally take pity on us, or tire of their fun with us, and remove the blindfold? No matter which, it has happened. What is now early dawn will quickly be full morning. People will not spend much time asking themselves how even religions could be drawn into the great error, or how the overpaid could fail to notice that money could add nothing to them once all desires were satisfied, or how the overpaid could for so long fail to see that overpay just made their days super-busy with self-defense against the relentless attacks from both underpaid and overpaid. People will spend their time picking crocuses, picking up the many happinesses we have abandoned for so long.


    -----------------ED SANTORO------------

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"


    And see just how "successful" government has been in providing "free" healthcare to "poor" Americans!

    You still have the car and the little plastic people to put in the car.

    Depending upon which economic and or governmental system is in place, things will cost a certain amount, education, health care, etc.

    each player will have to adopt or begin to construct a particular system at the beginning of the game. We can look around the world to see what types of systems various countries have in place.

    You still have the car and the little plastic people to put in the car.

    Depending upon which economic and or governmental system is in place, things will cost a certain amount, education, health care, etc.

    each player will have to adopt or begin to construct a particular system at the beginning of the game. We can look around the world to see what types of systems various countries have in place.

    Here's a board game scenario:

    In this game, if someone suffers a serious health issue and has not set up universal health care, and does not have the resources to fund private health care,he or she will have to pay out of pocket.

    Now I see it all in my head: A revised game of Life for the 21st century.

    We need to fight fire with fire.

    Here is what I propose. There are already Friendly Dictator Trading Cards. Let's get a bunch of volunteers to put together U.S. Government-Capitalism Trading cards. We can think of a better name later.

    100 cards for the U.S. Senate

    435 or 438 cards for The House of Representatives

    44 cards for all presidents, living and dead

    However many cards necessary for the leaders and shapers in the business world.

    Each card will list pros, cons, and whatever another important information about the individual.

    We can actually think up a series of board games that use these cards later.

    For the U.S. government cards, we can get a few volunteers from each state to research their elected leaders in congress.

    Does anyone know if something like this has already been done?

    The cards and the games to be developed later could be a unique way to generate buzz and get people thinking more about all the issues we've been discussing in this thread.

    aaah, One game just came to me, a game where people play to see which form of economy people prefer, or what each form of economy can do to an individual. To one extreme can be pure communism, to the other pure, unfettered capitalism.

    Even if the cards and games never come to fruition,the effort in discussing all the players could be interesting.

    Maybe The Journal can host a forum for the very creation of all this,or we just do it all in a Yahoo newsgroup or something.

    Reading some of these posts reveals the decline of politcal philosophy in our communal discourse. Voicing cliches--dead metaphors of the marketplace--will not solve our problems. Certainly, there is a place in our lives for government, just as there are roles for private enterprise and free competition in our commno life.

    No one lives by himself. No one earns his bread without the help of the community. No one is free from obligations to others.

    There are roles for government to play. There are roles for privated enterprise to play. There is a place for free competition. Applying cliches some of you are posting as fundamental truth won't solve our problems.

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"

    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?


    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one).

    Google:

    "America’s Socialized Health Care The Future Of Freedom Foundation"

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    "Tough Questions for Defenders of the New Deal by Jim Powell"

    There exists in America an entrenched belief that an interventionist government can improve our lives and an unreasonable entitlement mentality--chalk it up to DECADES of forced indictrination in govt schools and people believe the idiot box. Just like it took a very long time for people to change their minds about slavery...it will probably take a very long time for people to change their minds about getting off of the government's plantation.

    Question for "liberals":

    Can any of you cite the specific constitutional authority for:

    1. Federal minimum wage statutes

    2. Social security

    3. Medicare

    4. Environmental regulations?


    "We all live in a yellow submarine!"
    We are submerged in our physical and social environment. We have to understand the reality of our situation in order to deal with it realistically. Reality is a dynamic phenomenon that is in constant flux. We are able to change some things and some things we cannot change. There are both physical laws and social laws that limit our ability to create change. Fortunately, reality is consistent with our needs and desires. We depend on each other to do those things which make life a worthwhile experience.
    That said, we arrive at methods of managing reality. Humanism is a method of placing people and their life experience as a top priority.
    "May you always have love to share, health to spare and people that care."
    Socialism is a method of providing the organization to make civilization viable and in people's best interests. Capitalism is the method of providing the means of exchange of goods and services. Production is the method of producing goods and services. Education is the method of teaching people to have social skills and work skills.
    People need the skills and the organization necessary to make things happen.
    This is not a perfect world and we are not perfect people but it is necessary to do what is necessary to make life a worthwhile experience. Our yellow submarine is a fragile piece of equipment and our lives are tenuous. It takes all of our skills to keep our yellow submarine on course and keep the blue meanness in check.

    Why do so many folks think Washington, D.C. can run our lives better than we can?

    Why do y'all think politicians are morally superior to us?

    It is so easy to advocate taking someone ELSE'S earnings, isn't it?

    "Liberals" are incredibly generous people............................................................................with OTHER people's money!

    Why do so many folks think Washington, D.C. can run our lives better than we can?

    Why are so many people so quick to use [govt] force to impose their views on others?

    ---------FUTILITY-----------"The uncontrolled market will eventually degenerate into an oligarchy of the rich who rule over the poor serfs..."

    You mention the word "oligarchy"...this means you understand that the wealthy elite, through GOVERNMENT, end up controlling the populace. Without an overbearing centralized GOVERNMENT an oligarchy CANNOT exist. What is a "serf", anyways? It is someone who is but a step above slavery...someone who--in effect--isn't allowed to own private property. Hmmmm...we don't own our own land (we are forced to pay permanent rent/tax to the GOVT), labor (the GOVT claims ownership of it, and allows us to keep a portion IT considers adequate), bodies (GOVT claims the right to regulate who we marry, what we consume, and what we are allowed to do), conscience (forced support of welfare programs and "hate/thought" crimes legislation), even our children have been reduced to State wards (mandatory public schooling/indoctrination, forced vaccinations, very broad definitions of "child abuse")...but I'm sure you see nothing wrong w/us being serfs of GOVT!

    Unfortunately, tools like you refuse to admit this. No big, bad, evil corporation can impose their will on you...but when GOVERNMENT grows excessively large and powerful, the corps can us IT to achieve ends they could NEVER achieve on their own.

    You, as so many other clueless citizens, completely FAIL to see how concentrating power (which is your all's solution to EVERYTHING) is a very dangerous proposition. "Liberals" promised us that the wealth transferral system they erected would flow from top-to-bottom, but it hasn't worked that way, has it?

    You, just like the NeoCons, can't defeat Ron Paul's message of prosperity, freedom, and peace through honest and logical debate so...slander is the tool of choice. Ron Paul (like all freedom advocates) can take comfort in the fact that he has been proven right on every point he's made about the impending failures of the welfare/warfare State. It isn't easy being a contrarian voice in a world dumbed-down and dominated by MSM propaganda. The failing policies are 100% the product of statist/collectivist reasoning. I was also very proud that Ron Paul refused to do the "white man crawl"...he admitted a measure of responsibility and moved on. Funny how the racists advocating for people to be employed SOLEY based on their "color" (affirmative action based on "civil rights" legislation) have somehow been made the judges of who is to be considered racist! I'm thoroughly disgusted at "liberal's" obsession with race.

    It seems that YOU don't understand what fascism is! Or, should I say "national SOCIALISM"? You fail to understand that socialism, communism, fascism are all related forms of STATISM/COLLECTIVISM...systems where individuals are nothing but part of the state infrastructure to be used/disposed of by their owners (the State) in furtherance of the oligarchy's desires.

    Google: "America’s Socialized Health Care" from The Future Of Freedom Foundation

    ---------FUTILITY-----------"The uncontrolled market will eventually degenerate into an oligarchy of the rich who rule over the poor serfs..."

    You mention the word "oligarchy"...this means you understand that the wealthy elite, through GOVERNMENT, end up controlling the populace. Without an overbearing centralized GOVERNMENT an oligarchy CANNOT exist. What is a "serf", anyways? It is someone who is but a step above slavery...someone who--in effect--isn't allowed to own private property. Hmmmm...we don't own our own land (we are forced to pay permanent rent/tax to the GOVT), labor (the GOVT claims ownership of it, and allows us to keep a portion IT considers adequate), bodies (GOVT claims the right to regulate who we marry, what we consume, and what we are allowed to do), conscience (forced support of welfare programs and "hate/thought" crimes legislation), even our children have been reduced to State wards (mandatory public schooling/indoctrination, forced vaccinations, very broad definitions of "child abuse")...but I'm sure you see nothing wrong w/us being serfs of GOVT!

    Unfortunately, tools like you refuse to admit this. No big, bad, evil corporation can impose their will on you...but when GOVERNMENT grows excessively large and powerful, the corps can us IT to achieve ends they could NEVER achieve on their own.

    You, as so many other clueless citizens, completely FAIL to see how concentrating power (which is your all's solution to EVERYTHING) is a very dangerous proposition. "Liberals" promised us that the wealth transferral system they erected would flow from top-to-bottom, but it hasn't worked that way, has it?

    You, just like the NeoCons, can't defeat Ron Paul's message of prosperity, freedom, and peace through honest and logical debate so...slander is the tool of choice. Ron Paul (like all freedom advocates) can take comfort in the fact that he has been proven right on every point he's made about the impending failures of the welfare/warfare State. It isn't easy being a contrarian voice in a world dumbed-down and dominated by MSM propaganda. The failing policies are 100% the product of statist/collectivist reasoning. I was also very proud that Ron Paul refused to do the "white man crawl"...he admitted a measure of responsibility and moved on. Funny how the racists advocating for people to be employed SOLEY based on their "color" (affirmative action based on "civil rights" legislation) have somehow been made the judges of who is to be considered racist! I'm thoroughly disgusted at "liberal's" obsession with race.

    It seems that YOU don't understand what fascism is! Or, should I say "national SOCIALISM"? You fail to understand that socialism, communism, fascism are all related forms of STATISM/COLLECTIVISM...systems where individuals are nothing but part of the state infrastructure to be used/disposed of by their owners (the State) in furtherance of the oligarchy's desires.

    Google: "America’s Socialized Health Care" from The Future Of Freedom Foundation

    Political power goes where the money is, so we'll continue to have a de facto oligarchy masquerading as a democracy until wealth is shared equitably. I believe this could be accomplished through combining true campaign reform with changes in tax rates on individual income, tariffs on imports, & a minimum wage which is a living wage.
    (1) CAMPAIGN REFORM would entail:
    (a)Setting one date for all states' primaries, & limiting campaigning to the 8 weeks preceding any national election. (This would reduce media's enormous ability to influence voters.)
    (b)Prohibiting all political advertising, mandating instead that the major networks provide all viable candidates with free TV time for presentations, debates & town meetings. (This allows candidates of ordinary means to achieve office without being beholden to any special interests.)
    (2) PUT TARIFFS ON IMPORTS so that their cost is the same as comparable American-made products. (This would make domestic products competitive with those which are foreign-made, so there'd be less incentive to send manufacturing jobs abroad.)
    (3) MAKE THE MINIMUM WAGE A LIVING WAGE. (This would reduce societal resentment, increase optimism, & expand the middle class.)
    (4) TAX INDIVIDUAL INCOME IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE MINIMUM WAGE by setting a small, mildly graduated tax on that portion of earnings which is less than twice the minimum wage, a more steeply graduated tax on the portion between two & three times the minimum wage, an even more steeply graduated tax on the portion between 3x & 4x the minimum wage,& a still steeper tax rate on the portion above 4x the minimum wage, with any annual earnings above 5x taxed at a 95% rate. (This would put all citizens within financial shouting distance of one another, creating more equality & a true democracy by restoring power to the people. It would also make it hardly worthwhile to take advantage of employees or consumers, since doing so could never lead to outlandish personal wealth anyway.)
    The justness of an equitable distribution of wealth would create a big & powerful middle class, it would go a long way towards reducing crime by increasing fairness, & it would lead to greater contentment, respect, goodwill & civility in our society.

    Everyone, understandably, but mistakenly, as it turns out – it isn’t in their interests after all - wants maximal pay for minimal work.

    So everyone supports the specious arguments for pay for no work, like the ones that Derek gives: risk, delaying gratification, responsibility, stress, willingness to work crazy hours, creativity, vision, being on call, mental effort, mental focus. (See below for explanation that they are in fact pay for no work.) People focus on the good of pay for no work, and overlook the bad of it. People want the apparent good of overpay so much, that an automatic mental delete function makes it very difficult to see the enormous downside, even when it is explained. People simply cannot pay enough attention to the reasoning, because it is, they mistakenly think, not in their interest. This is how we have conned ourselves, richest to poorest, out of 99% of natural birthright levels of happiness. This is why we are today drowning in history. (Happy people have no history.) This is the root of ‘all evils’, of 99% of problems of all types.

    The underpaid want more, to reduce their underpay. This means they are perpetually scrabbling and scratching at the overpaid. And this means that overpay is brief, arduous and dangerous. The overpaid are under siege from the whole of the rest of the world. Perpetual siege. Which must in time exhaust the funds and power of the overpaid. Because of gravity, no one can go higher without someone going lower. Everyone is scrabbling to get higher, and the overpaid are very few, so clearly many have fallen. (History is biased to telling the stories of ‘winners’ (overpaid), because everyone mistakenly thinks overpay is good, so we don’t hear much about the equal number of fallers from overpay, so we overestimate how safe it is, high up.)

    If we come to see as fact that overpay (wealth, over-wealth, overpay) is miserable, necessarily miserable, then we will be free to see the rationality of the demonstrations of the pays for no work.

    Overpay and underpay cause violence, which escalates perpetually, destroying quality of life of everyone. All the work equals all the pay equals all the work-products. So overpay causes underpay (theft, theft of money, the joker good, good for most things, good for essentials and social power too), which causes righteous anger, which causes violence, which escalates perpetually. One injury causes an endless escalating vendetta back-and-forth of injuries (Example Israel. Israeli average income 20 times Palestinian).

    Explanations:

    Risk is pay for no work, because risk is not work. Only work produces wealth (work-products), so only work deserves wealth. There is no measurement of risk, and no way of determining pay per unit of risk, if we could measure risk, so no one is, and no one can be, paid for risk. What there is, is people being paid, and people taking risk, but no pay for risk. The overpaid put forward every argument in defense of their wealth as part of their self-defense. Words are cheaper than swords. Even false arguments are valuable, because they fool so many. And these arguments acquire the force of custom: people begin to feel it can’t be wrong, because everyone has thought it for so long. There is nothing special about business risk, it does not deserve special treatment. If there was measurement of risk, we would find that there is no correlation between risk and pay. Worker risk is far greater. The risker is risking for his own benefit. Do we pay the fisherman for risking his bait in trying to catch a fish for himself? People rake money by various means, and the risk argument is one of the ways they try to reduce the opposition to it. And most people cannot see the answer to the risk argument, so it wins by default, and then it acquires the force of custom. If it were true that we could pay for risk, and true that we should pay for risk, we would have to run around assessing every risk, and paying for it. And how would we justify people having to pay for this payment for risk? The absurdity is very hard for us to see, because we are blinded by custom and by the ‘over-confidence’ of the person giving the risk argument.

    Pay for delaying gratification, by going to school. In justice, students are paid for studying (work), and, in justice, they are paid by society, which benefits. We, the perpetual nutty screw-ups, who will do anything in an illogical way if at all possible, get parents, scholarships or the students to pay the students for studying (theft from parents, scholarships, students), and then give a market-variable (unjust, overpay or underpay) premium for having studied. There is no work in having studied. The ‘smart’ ones give this argument in defense of pay for having studied, and the rest cannot see through it. Pay for delaying gratification! Oh, I see, the students are superior, fine, disciplined people who, unlike some they could think of, are fine enough to delay gratification. Students don’t live on air. And they don’t delay gratification. It sounds so plausible, doesn’t it. The uneducated are running around gratifying themselves without stint, but students are delaying gratification. The human characteristic of attributing virtues to oneself is well known. And the rest of the people swallow this falsehood and the insult it contains.

    Every overpay that escapes detection contributes to the pay injustice (injury, theft) and every pay injustice produces its quota of violence, which gets to everyone, from richest to poorest. People flee to wealth for security, but has wealth been secure? Does one observe in history that the richer a person has been, the less they have been attacked? No, because, while wealth is power to defend oneself, it is also stimulus to be attacked. Caesar, Ceausescu, Marie Antoinette, Hitler, etc, etc, etc. The person with the goods of 1000 people has 1000 enemies. Honey attracts bears. Bigger banks have stronger vaults because they need them. Every empire and plutocracy has fallen.

    Both the overpaid and the underpaid are miserable. Overpay is proportional to attack and isolation. And the overpaid cannot get more satisfaction, because of the limits of desires. Satisfaction waits on desire. The poor man searches for food, the rich man searches for appetite. But everyone is still convinced that wealth is good, so the wealthy are mindlessly convinced they are happy. And everyone is subject to violence, which is proportional to overpay-underpay. And overpay-underpay is from 10,000th of world average to 100,000 times the world-average pay, of $40 for every working person, paying housewives and students too, $100,000 a year for every working person in the world, including housewives and students, or $200,000 a year per family.

    Pay for responsibility or stress is pay for no work. It sounds so plausible to us: He has more responsibility, so he should be paid more. There is no work in responsibility. The person high-up in an organisational hierarchy is just doing a job with the abilities he has. Responsibility isn’t harder work. It is just the same hardness of work higher up. People lower down are not working irresponsibly. There is everywhere this conviction that higher up is better, superior. There is deference to this attitude. There is no measuring of ‘responsibility’, no way of determining the just pay per unit of ‘responsibility’, if we could measure it. It is just the old underlying excuse, I deserve more than others, and people deferring to that. It just drives the pernicious ladder of ‘success’, on which everyone, from top to bottom, is extremely unhappy. (Being ‘happy’ by ignoring all the unpleasant realities of present human life doesn’t count.)

    Willingness to work crazy hours. Oh, he’s so good! He, unlike lesser folk, is willing to suffer crazy hours. What a guy! Noble! Fine! Throw money at him! Justice pays for hours of work. Working twice as many hours doesn’t justify being paid any amount; it justifies being paid twice as much. Put twice as much in to the social pool of wealth by twice as much work, take twice as much out, no injury to others, no anger, no injury, no violence, no weapon growth, no nuclear extinction.

    Pay for creativity, vision, mental effort, focus, is pay for no work. Ideas come without effort. Justice pays for work before and after ideas, work implementing ideas, but not ideas, which are not work. They come in a moment. They are gifts from nowhere. It is impossible to work harder per unit of time. Slackers get noticed or fired. Everyone works about the same, per unit of time. It takes more energy to try to get away with slacking than it does to just work.

    In all these excuses for limitless overpay, there is the underlying attitude: I want to be paid more, I am better than other people, If I have got more money, it is because I am divinely superior in my work. And we think: If I get paid more, I will be able to attribute my higher pay to these fine reasons, too.

    But everyone loses. Everyone is stressed climbing, everyone is rising and falling, security, safety, peace is minimal. Everyone is being pressed down on from above, everyone is being attacked from above and below. And everyone could stand on the ground of equal pay for equal work, no pay for no work, no work for no pay! Fraternity, equality, justice, peace, non-injury, everyone mates, friends, no attack, a golden age. Work, create work-products, get fairpay for work, no problem. The more overpaid you get, the more underpay you create, and the more you get attacked. Happiness is horizontal. Vertical society is hell from top to bottom. Pay justice pays the highest dividends, and we utterly neglect to collect these dividends. We are all losers. Pay justice is win-win. We are in a super-extreme lose-lose system. Thinking that somehow, somewhere, sometime, we will be winners. With bombs going off louder and louder in our ears. We ignore the noise, and carry on. If limited intelligence was gold, we’d all be rich. We are all extremely poor.

    Why do we love pay injustice so much? Let pay justice flourish and let all other inequalities flourish. The person who wants to prove he is superior is a person who feels inferior.

    It would be impractical to try to root out all these and the other overpays. We can compensate for them by making everyone in the world equal heirs of large deceased estates, and giving everyone in the world equal shares of a 1%-a-month increase in the money supply. All the overpays make money pile up with few, we spread it out again among all. Everyone is happy. Anger goes, violence goes. It benefits everyone, so we only need to study and ponder until we see it. We don’t need to force it on anyone.

    Obviously, everyone is unhappier if one person has all. We are close to that, with 1% of people with 98% of world income and wealth. Our systems have been like 100 children with 1000 sweets, all grabbing from each other. No fun at all. ‘Stealing’ from Nature is harmless, because nature is happy for us to steal from her. Stealing from people is dangerous. There isn’t a shortage. There is super-abundance. Inequality (pay injustice) drives inequality. The underpaid are, naturally, trying to get more; the overpaid are trying to get more, because they are under attack from the underpaid (99% of people) trying to get more. Accept that people have never taken and will never take theft lying down, and aim for pay justice. Individual contribution to wealth (work-products) by work is limited. Getting more than your fair share is hell, getting less than your fair share is hell. Pay justice is heaven.

    One great advantage of pay justice is that freedom to search for the work that gives maximal intrinsic satisfaction is maximal. The corruption of the personal search for the work of maximal intrinsic satisfaction by ‘better’ pay in other work is minimal. And thus job satisfaction and personal fulfilment is maximal. Everyone is happy.

    Love of overpay (theft) is the root of all evils. Virtually all evils will disappear with pay justice. Cut that and the whole tree of problems will fall and die.

    Shane,

    you seem to be impervious to evidence. If something doesn't fit your ideology, it is simply ignored. You did not present any coherent argument just rants.


    "I guess you like Ron Paul, even though his racism is well documented." OMFG! I can't believe people are still repeating this slander! One thing Ron Paul has never proposed is hiring people based soley on race...like modern-day "liberals" do.

    Have you actually read what appeared in Ron Paul's newsletter? Of course, you can say, he didn't know and did not approve of its publication. Well, this just means that he so incompetent that he is unable to manage a little newsletter with a circulation of a few thousands. If he did know, he obviously approved it. Thus, he is a racist. In either case, he definitely is not President material. But, luckily, he already went down the garbage dump of history anyway.


    As far as you blathering on about the "unfettered" free market being to blame for the housing bubble (I guess the lenders/borrowers just can't be held accountable for HORRIBLE judgement/ignorance), you are dead wrong--AGAIN.

    Of course, when it didn't work it's the fault of the lenders/borrowers. Sure, quite a few borrowers were naive (of course, the lender waived all income requirements and told'em it would be no problem), and a lot of lenders used criminal methods. But here's the thing: The people in the upper echelon of the mortgage industry thought they struck gold by repackaging mortgages and sell them to investors and encouraged their employees to stretch the rules. All these MBA's didn't understand anymore what they were doing. And there were no regulations in place to protect the borrowers since the Bush government got rid of anything that looks like government interventionism. Isn't this exactly what you want? No regulations whatsoever? Just bidders and customers, doing business together in the marketplace. And they screwed up big time, but, of course, this has nothing to do with the 'unfettered' market. Do you still believe in Homo economicus?

    (And I don't hear a lot of complaints about 'government intervention' from the mortgage industries that get billions in tax money now so that they don't go bankrupt. Capitalists love government intervention when it comes as subsidies.)


    America (and most of the world) operate under a monetary system of fiat credit ... This type of system BREEDS inflation and financial speculation!

    Hmm, other parts of the world also have fiat money and don't have these problems. Strange, isn't it? (One side-effect of globalization was to open the gate for financial speculation by removing barriers to the free flow of money from country to country.)


    You talk about gold having no intrinsic value...like the electronic numbers, paper money, and tokens the govt issues DOES!!!???

    Again, you are setting up a straw man. Where did I say that paper money, etc. have an intrinsic value? You are putting words in my mouth! The value of money is just a CONVENTION of the market. Something has value only insofar one can use it for something. If I can buy something with a piece of paper it has value, the same way a gold coin does. If I cannot buy something with a gold coin because the seller would rather have a sack of rice, my gold coin has no value.


    Gold is limited in abundance, and the supply of it can't be increased dramatically...therefore it will hold its value. It is an EXCELLENT form of money that has stood the test of CENTURIES. In the 1800's, in America, prices were VERY stable and money held its value. ...

    Hmm, fiat money was introduced 1971 by Nixon. How come the Great Depression was possible under the gold standard?


    I guess we just have a fundamental difference in views. ME: believe in equality under the common law, freedom from government coercion, honest money, voluntary associations/contracts, in short FREEDOM. YOU: believe, basically, in fascism.

    Wow, we are not a little self-righteous here, aren't we? You, the incarnation of virtue, me, an evil creature from the hell of communism/fascism (There doesn't seem to be a difference between them in your world anyway). Isn't it great to live in a world where everything is so neatly arranged, just black and white?

    Since you actually seem to refuse to read or are unable to comprehend what I wrote, there is no point in further discussion. I clearly said that I am not saying that the government should run everything. One needs both, the market and regulations. The uncontrolled market will eventually degenerate into an oligarchy of the rich who rule over the poor serfs which seems to be just fine with you (even though I get the feeling you would end up as a serf as well).

    But uttering skepticism towards the free market already is enough for you to label me a 'fascist'. It appears you don't quite know what the word means. From your responses it seems obvious that you are beyond reasoning. Fine, continue to live in your fantasy world where the magic hand of the market turns everything into gold.

    Whenever powerful people exclude pivotal survival elements from the lives of the people and
    environments that their power effects, crises ensue. I'm particularly interested in the
    causes of these exclusions. Explanations that identify greed, power lust, egomania, etc.
    as causes, are not rigorous enough, because those traits are effects, not causes.
    They may be traits that are common components of human behavior, but the profound fears,
    and the brittle, impenetrable, and inappropriate compensatory mechanisms that those fears
    generate, go widely unseen and unacknowledged. The role that personality rigidity plays in
    human misery is vast, and is an epidemic, and the unidentified, invisible, and omnipresent
    gorilla in the room. And it continues to go unaddressed in our world.
    Personality disorders rule.
    Whenever powerful people exclude pivotal survival elements from the lives of the people and
    environments that their power effects, crises ensue. I'm particularly interested in the
    causes of these exclusions. Explanations that identify greed, power lust, egomania, etc.
    as causes, are not rigorous enough, because those traits are effects, not causes.
    They may be traits that are common components of human behavior, but the profound fears,
    and the brittle, impenetrable, and inappropriate compensatory mechanisms that those fears
    generate, go widely unseen and unacknowledged. The role that personality rigidity plays in
    human misery is vast, and is an epidemic, and the unidentified, invisible, and omnipresent
    gorilla in the room. And it continues to go unaddressed in our world.

    Personality disorder is the way I choose to characterize it, and I believe that if it was commonly
    identified as it shows itself in the behavior of the powerful, we'd be closer to knowing the
    real causes of misery. It's not rocket science to make the case for who has personality disorder. Their fear-driven rigidity,
    wracked with neurotic claims and neurotic solutions that calm their own irrational fears, which are so damaging
    to so many, needs to be openly identified for what it is. The hell with proving it- when people hear it,
    the truth will be intuitively felt by many. We all know when someone is a mess. I'd rather know how
    penetrable a person is than read their resume.

    he guys who founded this country did a brilliant thing: they separated power from money. Now a
    person could establish an existence limited only by their abilities. The king used to have control
    over money- now the subjects do. This was and is the preeminant manifestation of freedom for
    the common man. American democracy is inextricably linked to economics right from the start.
    But the people who founded the country with this link must have had in their 18th century hearts
    a vision and faith, with their own sacrifices not even begun to heal as yet, that the wealth that
    would accrue to their people, would NOT find its way back to the government, to reconsolidate
    the link between money and power- reestablishing the very same construction that we fought
    a revolution to terminate. We now have a Corpocracy (my term for it), and have become the
    country we threw out.
    Great work on the Show, Mr. Moyers.
    Steve Fraser has it all!
    How can I email him/
    Peter Stetler

    This president babbles about his Christian faith but I have not heard him talk about anything I expect to concern a Christian. He does not talk about social justice, minimum wage, living wage, unions, monoply power. No wonder his administration fails and fails, and fails.

    “ Nobody forced the masses to make Wal-Mart the giant it is”!
    Nobody force the BEARN STERNS and other institutions to
    create the sub-mortgage loans that lead to bankruptcy!
    The Federal Reserved Board provided $250 billion dollars grant
    to bail them out. Did you get some of this?
    “If I pass the bar...I will be a lawyer”! You have fail to
    provide fair JUSTIFICATION in your analysis!
    “The truth as always it hurts”! “The person you see on the
    other side of the mirror is you”!

    I don't like the labels.

    I'm a pilot for a major airline which makes me a believer in talent, ambition and hard work to try to get somewhere, but I am also a union member so I believe in labor issues such as collective bargaining. I am a licensed attorney so I believe in education and professionalism, but it also gives me a basic appreciation the rule of law and of due process. I am a retired Navy Commander so I must believe in honor, loyalty and patriotism, but I also believe that we can get so caught up in protecting ourselves that we forget what we were fighting for in the first place.

    You keep the liberal/conservative labels. I prefer Judge Posner's non-ideological working position of "everyday pragmatism." I'm more interested in fixing the process to find what really works without all the unintended consequences than in the sophostry of fundamentalist ideologues from either side.

    Capitalism is the product of government. Without governemnt there is no capitalism, That is a foundational statement whether one is either liberal or conservative.

    Everyone wants to see this issue in black and white terms - government is always bad; free markets are always good. It seems to me, however, that one can't really exist without the other.

    Baseball is my favorite analogy on this. Baseball is fun to play and watch because it allows tallented players to freely use those god given tallents (along with a good bit of hard work) in order to win in a fair competition. Now imagine baseball without rules, without a regulation playing field, without umpires and without governing officials to adapt the rules to the changes in society and technology (such as steroids). Without any sort of governance, baseball would just be dodgeball with a very hard round missile coming at you.

    It seems to me that a market system without real regulation, courts, governance, etc. is not a free market system but eventually must just degrade into the chaos of the lords and surfs.

    tony

    People are focusing on the amount of wages, instead of the more important aspect of purchasing power.”

    Shane,

    I don’t see the distinction. I shopped at J. C. Penney until I worked there. When I worked at their slave wage level, I could not really afford to shop there, though I did sometimes buy merchandise. This is why the notion of a living wage is important.

    For too many corporations, salaries of most workers are expenses that the corporations must lower, but executive pay is in the realm of incentives, which must not only be maintained but increased whenever possible. That is, of course, double-talk.

    I would prefer earning a living wage of around $15.00 an hour and ride an excellent public transist system.

    People are focusing on the amount of wages, instead of the more important aspect of purchasing power.

    I'd much rather earn $10/hour and pay 50 cents for a gallon of gas than earn $100/hour and pay $10/gal.

    For any interested in getting a TRULY non-establishment point of view, google:

    "antiwar"

    "lewrockwell"

    "mises"

    "ron paul library"

    "the future of freedom foundation"

    "freedom force international"

    --------------FUTILITY--------------

    "I guess you like Ron Paul, even though his racism is well documented."


    OMFG! I can't believe people are still repeating this slander!

    One thing Ron Paul has never proposed is hiring people based soley on race...like modern-day "liberals" do.


    As far as you blathering on about the "unfettered" free market being to blame for the housing bubble (I guess the lenders/borrowers just can't be held accountable for HORRIBLE judgement/ignorance), you are dead wrong--AGAIN.

    America (and most of the world) operate under a monetary system of fiat credit creation manipulated by central banks who operate under a government protected cartel structure. This type of system BREEDS inflation and financial speculation! A system of hard money would SIGNIFICANTLY reduce these types of abuses!

    You talk about gold having no intrinsic value...like the electronic numbers, paper money, and tokens the govt issues DOES!!!???

    Gold is limited in abundance, and the supply of it can't be increased dramatically...therefore it will hold its value. It is an EXCELLENT form of money that has stood the test of CENTURIES.

    In the 1800's, in America, prices were VERY stable and money held its value. A person could plan for retirement much easier because the purchasing power of their money remained constant. Taxes were extremely low. They didn't have to worry about inflation destroying their savings and govt confiscating it.

    I guess we just have a fundamental difference in views.

    ME: believe in equality under the common law, freedom from government coercion, honest money, voluntary associations/contracts, in short FREEDOM.

    YOU: believe, basically, in fascism.


    There seems to be confusion out there w/regards to what a "capitalist" economy is.

    EVERY economy uses "capital" (machinery, tools, land, natural resources, etc.) to produce goods, therefore EVERY economy is a "capitalist" one. What we need to recognize is OWNERSHIP.

    In a free-market economy under a system of law that protects liberty, private citizens own the capital and are FREE to dispose of it as they wish, as long as they aren't damaging other people or their property.

    In a socialist economy the govt owns the capital.

    In a fascist economy ownership is nominally titled to private owners, but is CONTROLLED by govt (through regulation).

    Socialist and fascist economies tend to exist under tyrannical government.

    Free-markets tend to exist under a system of free government.

    Seems like most on here prefer fascism and tyrannical government.

    Amen, Republicans used irrational notions to rob our society and our people. The have divided us and distorted the nature of our problems.

    Ted, those Scandinavian countries clearly reveal that we don't have to reinvent the wheel to have a vibrant economy: the most-egalitarian countries are where capital formation is HIGHEST.

    If you capture and keep the water at the top of a fountain and don't let it drop back into the pool to recirculate, the fountain dries up.

    It works like that with money, too.

    Put the money at the bottom and it refreshes every level of the economy.

    Money does NOT trickle down: money percolates UP.

    (Someone should have informed Maggie Thatcher and Ronnie Raygun!!)

    I haven't the time to say more just now about this whole subject of pay justice, but I'll certainly be back - and I am reading every post with interest and hope this thread does not die soon

    ...because there is no more important issue that any of us can try to sort than the gigakiller injustice of pay injustice.

    What alternative would you choose to capitalism?

    I tell you what alternative I would propose. It would be this: A government that guarantees universal health coverage for all its citizens!
    A government that regulates the free market and does not allow for Enrons and other corporate malfeasance. A tax code that is indeed, progressive! Unlike the BS system that we have in place today! A system of democratic government that is entirely funded by taxpayer money ONLY! A system of corporate governance where the public interest or public good is placed FIRST and FOREMOST above ALL other interests!
    A capitalist economy that is guided by ETHICS and believes first and FOREMOST that if the public good/interest is not being served than whatever policies that are promoting the opposite MUST END. A system where the ENVIRONMENT is considered first and foremost next to the public good/interest. A
    system that ALWAYS decentralizes wealth and does the most it can to diffuse wealth throughout society. A system that ALWAYS aims to balance the interests of the self with the needs of the community. A system, in the end, that takes Ayan Rand's philosophy and flushes it down the TOILET. That is what I want!

    There are criminals at the bottom who break laws and criminals at the top who make laws so their thieving is legal. Its the people in the middle who keep the sense of fairness we're all born with, the ones who understand there are things in life more important than scoring, who have to be the ones to lead. After reading these comments, it seems that one of our tasks, if we had power, would be to balance between those of us who imagine we're independent of society, winner take all types, and those who wish everything were shared equally. All of us are against the current wealthy-take-all system.
    A study by the center for public integrity (I think) graded different countries on their degree of democracy, and the U.S. came off pretty well in terms of citizen's rights to information, and their right to challenge laws and question elected officials. One fatal flaw I haven't heard mentioned lately is the two party system that guarantees that most people won't feel accurately represented, and won't be excited about voting. Number two, mentioned more often, is campaign finance. The third power we need is the power of honest and unbounded information. I think the least we need is nutrition-type labelling on news shows. A rotating panel of citizens could evaluate a show's content and force them to broadcast the results so we would have a sense of how much real nutrition versus sugar or fake sugar we're being fed.

    And to Derek,
    I am duly impressed with your use of big words. Your spelling of those words however is almost as bad as mine. As far as corruption of words is concerned; the repulsivcans have capitalized on that method of deception.
    People are free to make their value judgment as they wish as long as it does not cause other people to starve to death because of that judgment. When wealthy people use their wealth to undermine the quality of other people’s lives, fight illegal wars and torture people; I tend to get a little emotional. It is the sociopathic republicans that are guilty of no concern for human life. They are outside of the law as well as outside of the intent of the law.
    I am being very careful to lay blame where the blame originates. The Democrats are responsible for complicity and the sin of omission as well as responsible for undermining the family unit. There is plenty of blame to go around.
    The people of this country depend on their government to protect them from being taken advantage of by the rich and greedy. The rent or your daughter will be back in vogue the way things are going. When government and business are in bed together; the citizens are helpless. We elect people to work for us not for big business.
    What I am trying to do is bring some kind of rational kindness out of the madness of the last eight years. We are not only destroying the lives of innocent people; we are also doing self-destruct.

    I am a 56 year old registered nurse. A few weeks ago I was tending to the needs of two of my patients who shared a room in our local hospital. I was the youngest of the three of us and the oldest was in his mid 80's. As so often does when care is provided around suppertime and the evening news is on our conversation turned to politics. All of us had differing backgrounds, I am a nurse one patient was a retired woodsman, and the other retired from private business.

    I left that conversation actually fearful for the future of my nieces and nephews. We talked about the lack of trust in and the responsiveness of our elected officials. We talked about the belief that honest people cannot become leaders without indebting themselves to unscrupulous powers. We talked about the lack of hopefulness among our friends and cohorts. We talked about the shrinking middle class. We talked about the increasing pace of illegal and immoral acts of our leaders. We talked about the lack of interest in the political process among the young in our population. Then the man who was farthest to the right in his political views said. "You know what we are talking about don't you?" "It is going to take a revolution to get the attention of our elected officials and redistribute wealth and power in the United States and the powerful are already taking position to protect themselves." Brain washing the masses by the rich and powerful is in full swing attempting to mix capitalism and religion.

    How this country got to the idea that there was no role for it to protect the populous from the greed of corporations and the unbridled power of those of real wealth is very odd to me. I remember in high school learning that there was no inherent right to inherit wealth. Why one should be born and expect to grab the wealth built on the backs of the oppressed by their parents is beyond me. No person becomes wealthy without the work and investment of the poor around them. Inheritance laws are a modern way to create Kingdoms. Where Kings and Queens are persons of wealth and surfs are paid employees but mostly at slave wages.

    The part that made me fearful was the age of the group using such harsh terms as revolution or union dissolution. If we were university students it would be a healthy conversation showing passion of the moment. But considering our ages, these thought were thought over and over again too fearful to say out loud what haunted our hearts. We all agreed that there was a remote possibly that the electorate is grasping the idea of how unhappy we rank and file Americans are. Neither of the two men I was caring for felt any change would come. I still have hope. Good luck to us all. Steve


    Xavier Onassis,

    I don't see anything wrong with regulation of markets and others aspects of our economic life. I don't think regulation is socialism. I don't see anything wrong with requiring employers to pay living wages.

    There is a guy in my men's Bible class who think that a minimum wage is practically a crime against humanity. Yet his guy was the CEO of a regional company centered in Baton Rouge that went bankrupt. When it did, the government had to bail out his company's underfunded pension plan.

    It seems to me that Norway, Sweden, and Finland are capitalist countries with a good dose of reasoned management from government.

    I've read lots of opinions and it seems lots of folks like to site organizations but misrepresent the actual findings. The other thing is that the CBO and other so called independent agencies are directed by political appointees. enough said about that.
    As for Clinton there is a major difference between him and Bush, Clinton acted as a blunt against a totally corrupt congress run by Republicans. Start with Ney of Ohio and Butch Cunningham and then got Mr. Maccacca and Mr. Craig, every bit of deviant behavior like Mr. Vitter or Mr. Foley if you remember and of course Mr. Jefferson got caught in it too but few democrats and a wave of republicans have turn washington in to the whore House of the Nation where enough money gets you anything.

    One thing i have noticed is there is no shame among republicans at any level. Voters a plague to them and rules seem to not apply. They block good bills just to have something to whine to voters about.

    Why is it so hard to reregulate everything, congress is owned by 1% of the people who are getting rich from it.

    Unfettered markets have been warned against seen there were markets because when restraint is lifted Wealth shifts and economies crumble. If McCain wins and if congress is not soundly won by the democrats Americans will have no choice but to realize we are no not a ssuper power but a super debter and owned by China and Mexico.

    In the second run of Clinton he warned the OTM status was counter productive, this was a Rebulican idea, (other Than Mexicans) and having been invovled in the studies linked to this comment he was right. Deporting other than mexican nationals but not mexican national is like asking the mexicans to overrun the country and slam a lid on wages and finally drive them down and that is exactly what the Bush administration has accomplish.

    The only thing Bush has done well is collapse our economy and sink us in another Viet Nam. It puzzles me why every commandment can be be broken by this Aministration and the Christain right still hangs on. Christ practiced Universal Healthcare, free clinics, welfare by feeding the starving and giving to the poor, and he didn't ask a penny for it. Now we have preachers taking a dump in 24000 dollar toilets. It looks like greed works with greed and once again Christ is anything but a savior to these people.

    It is time people take the blinders off and start being a pain the the collective asses of their representatives and not let up until the greed pricks either work for us or get thrown out. It will take republicans admiting they were wrong and remember they are americans not chinese. It will take democrats growing a backbone and electing Obama and people like him until every segment of society is represented.

    Every one of the conservative mouth peices say lobbyist are in the constitution but it was not for the right of redress just for money brokers but for every individual ofcourse republicans now a days don't believe the bill of rights or constitution mean anything.

    Grow up folks. Take responsibilty and let's turn this mess around so we benefit for once!

    For DuckSoup. you said ---..Including Bush ..who routinely authorized torture down to specific techniques.

    If I were a Republican, I'd be irate at this. And a good number of them are. If you are a Republican, where is your outrage?---

    You might remember that officially (and this is all that the press has specifically and actually charged.. only 3 captured suspected terrorists were "water-boarded." Surely there are more suspected charges out there, and surely many of them are true - but we're talking official sanctioned acts here. One would assume that many local sheriff’s and state pen's routinely abuse prisoners, as well.

    Secondly, you might recall, that the US policy of Extraordinary Rendition - that policy of rounding up terrorists and shipping them off to Egypt so that we could let them get information out of them (As Al Gore said to Pres. Clinton in 1995 while showing his support for setting up the program, "Of course it's covert - go grab their ass."). The US performed about as many of these renditions prior to 9/11 (Clinton years) as after (Bush years), roughly 50 each). With Gitmo up and running, the need for the renditions disappeared. As Charlie Rose opined suggested during an interview with CIA director Hagen on a recent show, and I paraphrase, "perhaps it is better that we are responsible for the treatment and gathering of information from these folks at our own facilities, rather than shipping them off to those who actually do the real torture."

    Derek is making himself a prime example of how easy it is for people to come up with all manner of reasonable-sounding rationalizations to overpay some people (meaning to let them take out of the pool of wealth more than they put in by the sacrifice of their own time and effort), but what is impossible for Derek to do is to articulate for us the justification for underpaying someone else (giving them less out than they sacrificed to put in) in order to do so - in order to overpay the other guy who sacrificed equally to create the wealth.

    Derek is never going to be able to articulate the justification for underpay, because no justification for underpay exists.

    Which means no rational person can conclude otherwise than that overpay is injustice.

    Are we ready to see the obvious for what it is yet, and acknowlege that overpay is legal theft?

    Are we ready to acknowlege yet that theft is injury and humans retaliate injury therefore theft (overpay) causes violence?

    Also, Derek said "My question is what would that change look like? What would we be changing towards? ... I was simply trying to move the conversation from ambiguous cries for change to a more focused consideration of what that change should look like."

    Now, excuse me while I find that disingenuous and misleading, but I have offered 2 specific steps that, alone, will, without shocks to the economy and without creating bureaucracy, replace our "funnel dystem" of economics with a siphon system, thereby providing an effective counter to the automatic violent concentration of wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands...

    ...but Derek utterly ignores these solutions, and instead brings up the wornout rationalisations I have already debunked, instead of even examining the big picture economic reality that has been clearly illustrated for all to see by Nigel and myself.

    We are supposed to be the adults. In light of what is happening to us all around us, we are compelled to build some mental muscle, prioritize correctly, focus on pay injustice because it is the issue that all other issues hinge on, overcome our inertia and start to learn and teach principles of pay justice We do not have time nor right to continue to wallow in the far-too-manyness, seeking agreement on answers to all the wrong questions.

    Can we please talk about the only thing that is not subversive of government, democracy, liberty, fraternity, peace, happiness, security and survival?

    The reason the American Dream is in reverse on steroids is because no one will go near, no one will even consider, nor talk about, changing from a system of everybody going for as much as they can get out of the pool of wealth - never mind who actually earned it, to a system of everyone going for what they contributed to the pool of wealth, no less and no more.


    During my quarter century career in public service, I earned only a bit more than a living wage, but I intrinsically enjoyed the work. During my recent time with J. C, Penney, I enjoyed the work, but the salary offended me. I worked to exhaustion sometimes and got little in return.

    The company knows that it is a rip off outfit. Costco exists as a counterpoint to how to serve customers, reward workers, and still be competitive in our society.

    Ruecroft,

    Your premise seems to be that people should be paid as a function solely of how much work they do; and, that work is essentially just the time spent on the job.

    What about the other things people do that deserve compensation --
    1. taking risks,
    2. delaying gratification, like while going to school,
    3. taking the responsibility and associated stress that others don't take or couldn't handle can't take --like doctors(or those CEOs, who for better or worse take on more responsibility than I would ever be willing to take -- except of course when the gov't bails them out),
    4. willingness to work crazy hours--hours that dwarf sometimes even the hours of someone working two full time jobs
    5. creativity (e.g. the google duo)
    6. vision
    7. Being on call
    8. the enormous mental effort of focus needed for a lot of jobs -- If I pass the bar in a month I'll be a lawyer soon. I've worked on a Ranch, cleaned toilets, and a bunch of other jobs, but the effort of that work is play compared to the focus law school and I suspect practice require.

    Its hard to put a value on these kinds of inputs. Do you think you can do it better than the markets? I don't think I could.

    And after all, nobody is making the masses buy from these rich producers (some monopolies, like lawyers, maybe excluded) -- nobody forced the masses to make Walmart the giant it is. If you want to stop the ultra rich from being so ultra rich, why not use your effort from those that enable the rich -- the consumers.

    - Derek
    My words may have been rash but i was hoping that they would inspire ideas of action. Unionizing of workers and the idea of "living wages" are ideas that I could get behind 100%.
    Of course the independently wealthy are not all corrupt but few of them have done a dollars work for a dollars pay. Sure the service provided by google is worth every dollar that was made but did its creators work for every penny as most Americans do? Of corse not.
    The cause of the financial crisis is that so much money on the bottom is channeled into so few points at the top. Low paying jobs must be filled with mass amounts of workers and those who are extremely specialized have a momopoly over their market. For example, the world doesn't need another google. That need has been filled and it means one less opportunity for the rest of us.
    There is no way that we could all find a specialized position such as this and there is no way that a man who makes sandwiches will ever get more than a dollor for a dollars worth of work. However, he who invests in the sandwich maker profits from all of his work without lifting a finger. This is how our economy is returning to feudalism.
    If employers are expected to provide a minimum wage to their employees, then there should be a maximum wage that can be collected by the CEO's. After all, all of their profit comes from the labor of those on the bottom. If CEO's could only make say 500% of what a worker makes, then the even distrebution of wealth would provide quality of life to all, and nobody would get more out than the work they put in.
    As for specialized momopolys, however, I guess we should all become just a little more clever.
    -Robin Hood

    Futility –

    I’m duly rebuked – floundering economies of Europe was incorrect. However I still stand by the rest of what I said about the European countries – which I think are particularly pertinent to the original point of this discussion that in a capitalistic society like the one in America, the rich are particularly corrupt – corruption which manifests itself by the rich willfully holding down the poor. As for the strength of the economies in Europe… they are doing better than the US but quite possibly for reasons that support arguments in favor of greater capitalism: 1. the EU is benefiting from free-er trade and borders, 2. the EU is benefiting from political movements towards the right as seen particularly in the election of several presidents from the right in recent years, and 3. the EU is benefiting because the US has temporarily become a risky place to do business and the EU is the next best alternative because it is the next most major pro-capitalism power in the world.

    All this brings me to my next point…

    Ted,

    My points in bring up communism are two fold:
    1. A lot of people here are clamouring for systemic change here in the US. My question is what would that change look like? What would we be changing towards? Other political/economic models exist in the world, and we could try to move towards them. I was simply trying to move the conversation from ambiguous cries for change to a more focused consideration of what that change should look like. I think looking around the world (even if a few countries have a better infant mortality rate than us) we would not be well served by moving towards political/economic systems used elsewhere in the world.
    2. This is not to say that we are perfect here – there is corruption here and often it is found in the rich and in the politicians. However, corruption exists in every society and under every type of government – and in most, it exists to a greater degree than in ours. Why keep talking like corruption is the product of this system in particular? Maybe it is a characteristic of all systems, and rather than trying to tear down the system, we should just be focusing on corruption.

    And to David Eddy,

    Was your post actually an attempt to contribute to the world? To this discussion? It sounds like you are hungry to hear yourself rant? Hungry enough for it that you are willing to make ludicrously broad ad hominin attacks, non sequitor statements, and refrain from connecting any of your thoughts into an argument. It sounds like your conclusion was that I have my head in the sand – I wonder how any of what you said proved that?

    Your statement would be the equivalent of my espousing the opinion that:

    ALL democrats are fat, lazy moochers that have slowly corroded our system of government to a paternalistism that makes our value judgments for us – both in terms of moral issues and day to day getting by issues. They have all sold out to the poverty pimps. We are now a nation where we have accepted that giant bureaucratic big brother that the populists can wield to get what they want from their fellow citizens without giving things back. The Democrats are a threat to our republic and the liberals have become inconsistent with the teachings of the founding fathers who believed that people where inherently free to make their own value judgments….

    But, David, I wouldn’t espouse such an stereotyping, overbroad, condemnatory opinion because I’m not ignorant enough to impute the corruption of some on all the rest -- even if sometimes it looks like those corrupt ones are winning.

    Europeans actually get something in return for the taxes they pay: to name two, universal health care and university tuition -- if one qualifies on the requisite exams.

    It seems that Americans get very little in return. I don't know what's worse, not having health insurance at all, or paying a $1000 monthly premium and realizing you're still not adequately covered.

    It is time for the suckers to stop thinking their standard of living matches what they see on television and force change to happen.

    Bill- The labor march to the San Pedro docks was a good story and very poignant. I work for the airlines and agree with your guests and those workers interviewed, that we, the dwindling middle class, need help desperately. Class warfare, yeah; I couldn't agree more on the semblance of the present gilded age redux, wreaking havoc on working people and their families. Lets take care of our own before dictating to others how they should live and govern themselves. Thanks for your coverage. God Bless America and her unions.


    So, its not that govt taking 50-60% of my hard earned money ...

    This is just plain nonsense. By the way, I am a German living in the US now and I can tell you that taxes there are MUCH higher than here and even there people don't spend 50-60% of their salary on taxes. I am amused how everybody complains about 4 dollar a gallon. In Germany a gallon costs around 8 dollars now! And most of it are taxes. Don't tell me something about high taxes. It appears that you don't want to pay taxes at all. Fine, but don't be surprised when roads, mail, etc don't work anymore. (Oh, you do want that, but not pay, right?!)


    Clinton's "surplus" was and is a fiction, like just about everything most ignorant Americans believe about his admin. Total outstanding federal debt INCREASED over his 8 years in office... stupid.

    You might want to read this.You will notice that the Congressional Budget Office made the statement of a surplus, which is an independent government agency. But, this is actually not decisive, but this: if you compare Bush's debt record with Clinton's, it is undeniable who presided over soaring debts. And my point was not to say that Clinton was so much better (there's is a lot to criticize with his administration as well!). My point was that criticizing the government per se is nonsense. It depends on who runs it. If idiots run it, you get what you asked for, crap in ,crap out. And I don't appreciate your insults, I don't remember having called you names.


    Also, have you ever heard just how many innocent Iraqi men, women, children, sick, and elderly died becuase of Slick Willy's enforcement of UN resolutions against that broken country?

    I am well aware of this. (as I read non-American press, you should try it.) I vividly remember Albright replying to a question on this very topic with: 'It is a prize that we are willing to pay." WE! It is such a burden to watch an Iraqi child die on television. Disgusting. But, this aside, you are setting up a straw man. This has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. Stay on topic.


    He presided over a stock market bubble ... just like GW has presided over a housing bubble.

    Interesting that you blame Clinton and Bush for the bubbles, since here you have it, the free unfettered market does its magic! Bush tried hard to abolish as much regulation as possible so that the invisible hand of the market can do its job. Well done! The housing bubble is clear evidence what happens if one relies naively on a totally uncontrolled market. But instead of acknowledging this evidence you just blame Bush, even though he has done exactly what you promote. More regulation regarding mortgages might have helped to curb the housing bubble. (I don't know if something could have prevented the internet bubble.) These bubbles are prime examples why more government intervention is sometimes necessary. And you seem to have the wrong picture of me, I am not saying government should run everything. I am saying that the belief that the free market will solve every problem is simply naive. You need a combination of both, and since it's run by humans there will always be mistakes. But so what!? Just correct them in that case.


    Again, our monetary SYSTEM is more to blame than any one man or Party.

    I guess you like Ron Paul, even though his racism is well documented.
    But this aside: No relevant economy in this world still relies on the Gold standard! How come they don't have a problem? There wouldn't even be enough gold available to actually cover all the money in circulation. And gold has no intrinsic value anyway. It's just a metal, that's all. Nothing special about it at all.


    I'm not gonna get into the global warming thing...if you want the truth, its at your fingertips. If you think the political opportunist and elitist Al Gore is trustworthy...then you're beyond reasoning with.

    Where did I mention Al Gore? Again you are setting up a straw man. I really don't care about what he has to say about this topic. But I do care what THOUSANDS of scientist who are actually qualified to say something about it have to say. And the consensus in the scientific community is that global warming is real and most likely man-made. I find your unwarranted arrogance disturbing. Are you qualified to actually have something useful to say about this? (By the way, you say that republican/democrat/liberal are meaningless categories, but you keep using right-wing vocabulary like 'elitist'. Does the republican elite live in mobile-homes? If you truly believe what you say, then stop using their propaganda.)


    So, parents shouldn't be allowed to teach their own children because they MIGHT teach them religiously? What business is that of yours? What if I don't think you should be able to impart YOUR values to YOUR children?

    Parents can teach their kids whatever sky-fairytale they want to. I really don't care. (But, the kids would most likely be better off without it). I just don't think that a lot of parents are actually qualified to decide what children should know. (Creationism is an example for this, since a lot of parents seem to think it is science, but it is not, and, yes, I am actually qualified to have a meaningful opinion on this! And how many parents can actually solve a differential equation or solve an integral let alone teach it? You might say it is not necessary to know something like that, and you are right if the children should just know how to sew clothes in a sweatshop (another marvelous invention of the free market, regulation protecting workers is just unnecessary baggage which hinders the market from doing its MAGIC!)) You complain a lot about Americans being dumbed down (of course, by government schools), but if you want to teach kids only what their parents approve, America will for sure go down the drains.


    What we are dealing w/is government POWER and JURISDICTION. You think that govt can be used as a weapon against those you don't like while--at the same time--forgetting that SAME weapon can be taken out of your hands and used against you.

    I have no idea what you are babbling about. I don't want to use government as a weapon against anybody. In fact, I would really like it, when the government would stop violating the right of privacy (spying on telecommunications), respect the freedom of speech, obey its own laws (stop torture), etc.


    The federal govt is 10 TRILLION$ in debt, and you fools are asking for MORE from this corrupt and bankrupt institution?

    Again, it is not the institution per se which is corrupt and bankrupt but who happens to run it in this moment.


    And Derek:
    Maybe the socialism of Europe?

    You seem to have no clue what the word actually means. And what 'floundering economies'? The economy in Europe is running better than here. How does this square with the alleged 'socialism'?

    Derek,
    Your many republican friends are a greedy lot who are basically sociopathic. Their greed has brought us a government that cares less about its citizens, moral standards and/or obscene debt.
    They have sold out to the oil companies and corrupt ceo's. We are now a nation to be feared with the advent of a careless preemptive war. Our system of freedom, justice and equity is all but dismantled. We need change now! The republicans are a threat to our republic and the conservatives have become inconsistent with the teachings of Christ and are fiscally irresponsible.
    We need change NOW!
    If you get your head out of the sand; you might see what is really happening.

    I don’t see how alternatives to our failed economic system reduce to models from Cuba or the old Soviet Union. That makes no sense. I think that some folks have made "market forces" god. I don't get that way of thinking.

    Bryon,

    What alternative would you choose to capitalism:

    The Soviet Communism where everyone was poor? At least we've got some wealth, even if it is too concentrated. The kind of system where people died in hour long bread lines? Where basic freedoms were denied? Where the only way to get 'ahead' was to learn to work the system?

    Or maybe the Chinese and Cuban variety of communism where the poor are so poor they'll regularly risk their lives to escape or work in at fractions of what our poor make on minimum wage. Where disparities between rich and poor dwarf ours -- disparities not just in money, but in knowledge and freedom.

    Or maybe you'd prefer the anarchy of Africa? The oppression of so much of the middle east?

    Maybe the socialism of Europe? where they are realizing that they took government economic paternalism way to far and our now facing welfare bills they can't keep up and electing right-winged leaders to repair their floundering economies. Add to that that class lines are much more clearly drawn in Europe than here (speaking from having lived there), mobility is much more restricted, and where they suffer every bit as much (and benefit as well) from the competition of the far east and India.

    What exactly do you propose?

    Whenever I ponder about the united states of america and its democratic experiment I always come to the same conclusion. That the democratic experiment will always remain "an experiment."
    As to actually achieving democracy as a nation, the united states will never accomplish given the horrible inadequacies of its own government. Now when I think about the united states and its espousal of capitalism, surely there is no experiment to be conducted. For capitalism in the united states has proven itself to
    exploit and diminish the earning capacities of its people while enriching the top 1% to obscene levels of wealth. American capitalism generates concentrations of wealth at the expense of the masses, unable to fight back given their impoverished status. What a joke. The United States of America. No, more like the United Rich of America. When the USA is long gone and if there is any humanity left to still study what remains of its history, the records about the United States will surely indicate a gross disparity in human created wealth. And those studying that bit of history will hopefully be living in a much better place, one far removed from America's Dickensian conditions of the latter 20th century/early 21st century.

    Whenever I ponder about the united states of america and its democratic experiment I always come to the same conclusion. That the democratic experiment will always remain "an experiment."
    As to actually achieving democracy as a nation, the united states will never accomplish given the horrible inadequacies of its own government. Now when I think about the united states and its espousal of capitalism, surely there is no experiment to be conducted. For capitalism in the united states has proven itself to
    exploit and diminish the earning capacities of its people while enriching the top 1% to obscene levels of wealth. American capitalism generates concentrations of wealth at the expense of the masses, unable to fight back given their impoverished status. What a joke. The United States of America. No, more like the United Rich of America. When the USA is long gone and if there is any humanity left to still study what remains of its history, the records about the United States will surely indicate a gross disparity in human created wealth. And those studying that bit of history will hopefully be living in a much better place, one far removed from America's Dickensian conditions of the latter 20th century/early 21st century.

    One more thought… there have been complaints about the lack of stats used here—especially by the critics of the Moyers show. Well here are some brought to us by CBS and the New York times in a recent poll:

    More than 70 percent said their financial situation was fairly good or very good, a number that has dropped only modestly since 2006.

    Only 21 percent of respondents said the overall economy was in good condition,

    78% said the country is worse off than five years ago.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/us/04poll.html

    And yet,

    Unemployment is 5.5%, low by historical standards

    income is rising slightly ahead of inflation

    housing prices are down, but the typical house is still worth a third more than in 2000

    94% of Americans do not have threatened mortgages, and of those who do, most will keep their home

    living standards are the highest they have ever been, including living standards for the middle class and for the poor.

    Since 1992, the percentage of Americans who tell pollsters of the Pew Research Center they "can afford what they want" has risen steadily – from 39% in 1992 to 52% today, the highest ever.

    http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2008/0613_perception_easterbrook.aspx


    There’s still a lot of people suffering, and neither I nor any of my many republican friends think we should just ignore that, but the alternatives to a capitalistic society are a whole lot worse.

    Under communism a whole lot of people die. There aren’t civil rights. And people risk their lives by the droves to escape. (How many American’s have died trying to emigrate to Cuba?)

    The socialized democracies of Europe might have done better on civil rights. They managed for a while to subsidize the poor at higher levels than us, but they’re learning that it isn’t sustainable. Don’t believe me? Why have Italy, France, and Germany all elected right wingers? If I had time I’d look at the states for the Scandinavian countries, but they can’t keep going either – but alas, I’ve obviously spent way too much time hear, and work is calling.

    Vincent (and I think this responds to some of Xavier’s quoted friends) –

    Thanks for your reply in return. I’m glad you acknowledge that capitalism isn’t the end all be all of our problems here.

    Also, I’m sorry that you’ve found yourself in one of the industries, the auto industry, that’s been particularly hard hit in recent years.

    As for your comments on our system here…

    Your first paragraph: you said: “But who markets to that need? Who produces the cheap goods to meet that need?” and “But greed fuels the desire to spend and waste. The media is full of commercials aimed at selling us anything. It costs a lot of money to advertise.”

    We agree that consumerism—the insatiable need for stuff—is at the heart of a lot of our problems. Your statements imply that it is those who fulfill the demand of the masses that is at fault. Why in the world would you blame the producers for the poor tastes of the consumers that drive the cycle? It sounds like you and others here would say that it is the producing rich that drive it – by advertising and by setting bad examples. It sounds like you must think of everyone else as sheep.

    It is more incriminating of the masses that we are so easily swayed by advertising than it is of those who encourage it. If we were too stupid to be able exercise our judgment then I would agree that we should blame the people who encourage our bad judgments and decisions. But, we do have the choice of what we value and what we value enough to pay for – that is part of the freedom of being an American.

    The argument that its the fault of the rich that Americans feel like the need so much stuff is premised tacitly on the position that we are too foolish to make our own value calls. If that is the case, and only if that is the case, I can see why so many on this page are shouting for the government to do something about our current situation – we need the government to force our values (in terms of economics) on us because we are too stupid to do it ourselves? I’m sorry I just think more highly of people.

    I agree that greed fuels the desire to spend and overspend. I think that the ostentation and excess of a lot of rich people deserve criticism, but not regulation. They might be greedy, but so are the masses of Americans. It put the onus on the judgment of the masses for a great deal of our problems before putting it on the people who ultimately say: okay, if you want stuff so bad to go into debt for it, I’ll give it to you, and I’ll get rich doing.

    As for history, what you said about peoples investments/consumption post WWI sounds right enough to me. From my little history knowledge, there are other characteristics of our society leading up to the depression: people clamoured for and got new highs of government intervention and regulation.

    Governments generally do things poorly – what makes you think that our government is effective enough to secure everyone’s financial situation and keep us competing with the rest of the world to? For all the criticisms of Regan and other right-wingers – the standard of living for the average Americans have doubled since the pre-Regan days.

    I think what you cited about the UAW is also insightful – when employment is really regulated (whether by the gov’t or unions that get too strong) more and more bad apples get entrenched that should have and would have been driven out by competition. There’s a lot of examples of this in the teaching world.

    As for you and the people who have been hit hard by globalization – I feel for you all, and I think there are things we as Americans could do both with and without gov’t to help. But growth has always done and will always hurt some people, at least in the short run. But would you really rather not have it with all its derivative benefits of higher standards of living, lower mortality rates, improved access to knowledge, and improvements to civil rights?

    “If there were but one person in the world, it is manifest that he could have no more wealth than he was able to make and save. THIS is the natural order.” - Henry George.
    This is the sanity, the common sense, the whole-picture reality that the richest have driven us all far from. These quotes below are offered for getting us back to our common sense, for moving us along toward pay justice and peace.

    "Trade is a social act. Whoever undertakes to sell any description of any goods to the public, does what affects the interest of other persons, and of society in general; and thus his conduct, in principal, comes within the jurisdiction of society."
    -John Stuart Mill 1806 - 1873

    "They (tyrants) use their power against the people in three manners. The first is, that they strive that those under their mastery be ever ignorant and timorous, because, when they be such, they may not be bold to rise against them, nor to resist their wills; and the second is, that their victims be not kindly and united among themselves, in such wise that they trust not one another. ...; and the third way is, that they strive to make them poor, and to put them upon great undertakings, which they can never finish, whereby they may have so much harm that it may never come into their hearts to devise anything against their ruler."
    -Alfonso X 1226 - 1284

    "Man defends himself as much as he can against truth, as a child does against a medicine, as the man of the platonic cave does against the light. He does not willingly follow his path, he has to be dragged along backward. This natural liking for the false has several causes; the inheritance of prejudices, which produces an unconscious habit, a slavery; the predominance of the imagination over the reason, which affects the understanding; the predominance of the passions over the conscience, which depraves the heart; the predominance of the will over the intelligence, which vitiates the character. A lively, disinterested, persistent liking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism and doubt."

    "Emancipation from error is the condition of real knowledge.”
    -Henri Amiel 1821 – 1881

    “If, while there is yet time, we turn to Justice and obey her, if we trust Liberty and follow her, the dangers that now threaten must disappear, the forces that now menace will turn to agencies of elevation. Think of the powers now wasted; of the infinite fields of knowledge yet to be explored; of the possibilities of which the wondrous inventions of this century give us but a hint. With want destroyed, with greed changed to noble passions, with the fraternity that is born of equality taking the place of the jealousy and fear that now array men against each other, with mental power loosened by conditions which give to the humblest comfort and leisure; who shall measure the heights to which our civilisation may soar?

    "The rise of wages, the opening of opportunities for all to make an easy and comfortable living, would at once lessen and would soon eliminate from society the thieves, swindlers, and other classes of criminals who spring from the unequal distribution of wealth...

    "Industrial changes imply social changes and necessitate political changes.

    "Progressive societies outgrow institutions as children outgrow clothes.

    "For every social wrong there must be a remedy. But the remedy can be nothing less than the abolition of the wrong.”
    -Henry George 1839 - 1897

    "Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. ...justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated."
    -Manu 1200 bc

    "I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there no cause for severity? I will be harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.

    "I am in earnest. I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat an inch - AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

    "The party or sect that will suffer by the triumph of justice cannot exist with safety to mankind. The state that cannot tolerate universal freedom must be despotic; and no valid reason can be given why despotism should not at once be hurled to the dust.

    "The apologist for oppression becomes himself the oppressor. To palliate crime is to be guilty of its perpetration. To ask for a postponement of the case, till a more convenient season, is to call for a suspension of the moral law, and to assume that it is right to do wrong under present circumstances.

    "Nothing can take precedence of the question of liberty. No interest is so momentous as that which involves "the life of the soul"; no object so glorious as the restoration of a man to himself.

    "Has not the experience of two centuries shown that gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice? Is there an instance, in the history of the world, where slaves have been educated for freedom by their taskmasters?

    "With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost."
    -William Lloyd Garrison 1805 - 1879

    "Darwin's theory of the struggle for existence and the selectivity connected with it has by many people been cited as authorization of the encouragement of the spirit of competition. Some people also in such a way have tried to prove pseudo-scientifically the necessity of the destructive economic struggle of competition between individuals. But this is wrong, because man owes his strength in the struggle for existence to the fact that he is a socially living animal. As little as a battle between single ants of an ant hill is essential for survival, just so little is this the case with the individual members of a human community.

    "Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem - in my opinion - to characterize our age.

    "If we desire sincerely and passionately the safety, the welfare, and the free development of the talents of all men, we shall not be in want of the means to approach such a state. Even if only a small part of mankind strives for such goals, their superiority will prove itself in the long run."
    -Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955

    "How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right?”
    -St. Ambrose 340? - 397

    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
    -Samuel Adams 1776


    Ruth Benedict, pioneering anthropologist, mentor of Margaret Mead, speaking of primitive economic orders, which “fall into two main types”:

    The first of these I shall call the funnel system. All that the community produces you are to imagine going into the large end of a funnel, which collects everything and channels it toward the richest persons. The collective wealth has only one prime destination, the person who already has valuable possessions. This system depends upon certain men’s claims to the labor of others, or upon ownership and the right of favored persons to corner certain articles of wealth. It reaches its highest development where there is interest and where wealth can be used to obtain forced labor.
    The second great pattern of economic orders is one I shall call the syphon system. This is the economy where wealth is constantly channeled away from the point of greatest concentration – from any point of concentration - and spread throughout the community. The syphon system ensures great fluidity of wealth.
    Since everyone is provided for, poverty is not a word to fear, and anxiety, which develops so luxuriantly in funnel societies, is absent to a degree that seems to us incredible. These are preeminently the societies of good will, where murder and suicide are rare or actually unknown. If such societies have periods of great scarcity, all members of the community cooperate to get through these periods as best they can.
    When one is studying aggression in different cultures, therefore, one of the things one looks for is the degree to which economic distribution is set up according to the syphon method or the funnel method.


    Edward Bellamy, from “EQUALITY” – 1897:

    “Let not anyone falsely suppose that I am dreaming of a happiness without toil, of abundance without labor. Labor is the necessary condition, not only of abundance but of existence upon earth. I ask only that none labor beyond measure that others may be idle, that there be no more masters and no more slaves among men. Is this too much? Does any fearful soul exclaim: ‘Impossible – that this hope has been the dream of men in all ages, a shadowy and Utopian reverie of a divine fruition which the earth can never bear? That the few must revel and the many toil; the few waste, the many want; the few be masters, the many serve; the toilers of the earth be the poor and the idlers the rich, and that this must go on forever?’

    “Ah, no; has the world then dreamed in vain? Have the ardent longings of the lovers of men been toward the unattainable felicity? Are the aspirations after liberty, equality, and happiness implanted in the very core of our hearts for nothing?”

    “The procession of political, social, and religious systems, the royal, imperial, priestly, democratic epochs, and all other great phases of human affairs, had been as passing cloud shadows, mere fashions of a day, compared with the hoary antiquity of the rule of the rich. Consider how profound and how widely ramified a root in human prejudices such a system must have had, how overwhelming the presumption must have been with the mass of minds against the possibility of making an end of an order that had never been known to have a beginning! What need for excuses or defenders had a system so deeply based in usage and antiquity as this? It is not too much to say that to the mass of mankind in my day the division of the race into rich and poor, and the subjection of the latter to the former, seemed almost as much a law of Nature as the succession of the seasons – something that might not be agreeable, but was certainly unchangeable. And just here, I can well understand, must have come the hardest as well as, necessarily, the first task of the revolutionary leaders – that is, of overcoming the enormous dead weight of immemorial inherited prejudice against the possibility of getting rid of abuses which had lasted so long, and opening people’s eyes to the fact that the system of wealth distribution was merely a human institution like others, and that if there is any truth in human progress, the longer an institution had endured unchanged, the more completely it was likely to have become out of joint with the world’s progress, and the more radical the change must be which should bring it into correspondence with other lines of social evolution.

    (now paraphrasing):

    The principle of private inheritance – the backbone of rule by the rich – has been proven to have no ethical nor rational defense - none. It is mere convention established by manmade law. The merely traditional institution called private inheritance, and the dominion of the money power based upon it, are rightfully to be disestablished as having neither rational nor moral basis.

    And lastly,

    "The person who stands up and says, "This is stupid", either is asked to behave, or worse, is greeted with a cheerful "Yes, we know! Isn't it terrific!"

    “If our children knew what we’re really doing to them, they would rise up and murder us in our sleep.”
    -Frank Zappa

    --------------MARK EYSTAD-------------

    How right you are. It seems that the socialists on this board think wealth can be created by government fiat instead of hard work. They think that stealing from one person and giving it to another is morally acceptable.

    It seems that a God-awful lot of people just PINE to be slaves, doesn't it?

    --------FUTILITY-----------

    So, its not that govt taking 50-60% of my hard earned money (through direct/indirect taxes and cost of regulation/taxes builty into EVERYTHING I purchase) is wrong...its just that I don't earn enough?

    You are too caught up in meaningless terms (Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal) which describe nothing.

    Clinton's "surplus" was and is a fiction, like just about everything most ignorant Americans believe about his admin. Total outstanding federal debt INCREASED over his 8 years in office...how did that happen if a "surplus" occured? It was the borrowing from social security, stupid. Also, have you ever heard just how many innocent Iraqi men, women, children, sick, and elderly died becuase of Slick Willy's enforcement of UN resolutions against that broken country? He was nothing but a continuation of GHWB. He presided over a stock market bubble (the economy didn't grow any faster under his admin) just like GW has presided over a housing bubble. Again, our monetary SYSTEM is more to blame than any one man or Party.

    I'm not gonna get into the global warming thing...if you want the truth, its at your fingertips. If you think the political opportunist and elitist Al Gore is trustworthy...then you're beyond reasoning with.

    So, parents shouldn't be allowed to teach their own children because they MIGHT teach them religiously? What business is that of yours? What if I don't think you should be able to impart YOUR values to YOUR children?

    What we are dealing w/is government POWER and JURISDICTION. You think that govt can be used as a weapon against those you don't like while--at the same time--forgetting that SAME weapon can be taken out of your hands and used against you.

    To modern-day "liberals" (what a HUGE misnomer!) there exist no such things as rights, only govt-granted priveleges.

    Americans are just so totally brainwashed and dumbed down (govt schools!)...that I despair for the future of this country.

    For all who are bashing the [non-existent] free market: How clueless are y'all? Do any of you even know what a free-market is? Any concept of the right to contract?

    The federal govt is 10 TRILLION$ in debt, and you fools are asking for MORE from this corrupt and bankrupt institution?

    WOW!

    Derek,

    Thank you for your repsonses.

    I will first start out by saying that you are correct in stating that some, not all though, of our problems that stem from our society's instatiable need for stuff. But who markets to that need? Who produces the cheap goods to meet that need?

    I will also state here and now that I do not believe that capitalism is the end all be all of evil and the problems facing our country, more specifically as has been addressed by Bill's most recent program.

    But here are some problems I have with it as it exists today.

    1.Wall Street rewards multi-national corporations for seeking greater profits through the outsourcing of jobs in the name of reducing operating costs by employing developing country labor markets, most notably China. So who benefits from the profitability? Share holders and board members of course. All the while, consumers here purchase these evermore expendable goods at even more frequent rate. Thus consumers buy the same cheap goods over and over and over again. High turnover means frequent profit. This fuels consumerism. I do not know about you, but I would rather pay 2 to 3 times as much for a product if I know that it will be of high quality and will last for more than a few months.

    2. What did any CEO of any corporation do to justify hundreds of millions of dollars a year? cure cancer. Did one of the CEOs fossilize millions of years worth of dead creatures to generate the natural resource wealth they now exploit? We as a people inherited these resources. Unfortunately, as you have pointed out, through our obsession with consumption, we are squandering these resources at a very rapid pace.

    3. Who are the major contributors to political campaigns? Corporations. Who do corporations serve? A very small constituency of incestuously connected individuals and board members. They buy influence and access to our government. This in turn guides, or even dictates legislation that is usually not in the best interests of the American public at large. Supposed "Free Trade" agreements are but one example. Unchecked Military - Industrial spending is another. These "agreements" allow already rich investors to transport whole industries overseas. As a result, environmental degredation occurs in places such as China and Mexico, where corruption is a key component in government policies for both countries. Now the air we breathe is being fouled at a much greater rate. The waters are being polluted by even higher amounts of mercury being emitted from an ever increasing number of coal-fired power plants being put on line in China, so that we can buy those cheap goods at Wal-Mart over and over again. All the while, whole local economies here in the U.S. are being destroyed.

    I will tell you that I am not a teacher. I am a truck mechanic by trade, and I have been for over 20 years. I am fortunately still working full time while I attend college part time to move on into computer science. I live in Michigan, where the effects of "free trade" have been devastating.

    The metro Detroit area has its share of infrastructual problems. But there are other factors at play. The once might UAW squandered its socio-economic capital with unreasonable work rule demands with the once Big 3. This left automakers with some less than desirable workers that tainted the otherwise dedicated and loyal workforce of autoworkers. The same autoworkers who helped foster the rise of the middle class through fair bargainning agreements not so long ago. But they got in bed with the Big 3 when SUVs were the rage and government was crying for higher fuel economy standards. Little would the UAW know that they were voting against their own interests. Greed, not capitalism, destroyed their credibility.

    But I ask you and others to remember this. Quality goods and services are not created in a vacuum. However, cheap labor and perishable employment get sucked into the same trap, Debt Slavery. People constantly having to work at substandard wages can send no one to school, nor can they afford the basic necessities in life. That is why they have no choice but shop at places like Wal-Mart. They are constantly borrowing money just to make it. They dare not make any trouble lest they lose their job(s) and ultimately become homeless.

    I will agree that there are many people with bad spending habits. But I would argue that our government and corporate leaders provide bad examples of what it means to be fiscally responsible.

    Derek, we do have an almost pathologic tendency as a society to consume. But greed fuels the desire to spend and waste. The media is full of commercials aimed at selling us anything. It costs a lot of money to advertise.

    If memory serves me correctly, as fewer people filled the employment ranks of an ever more efficient economy of the post WWI era, marketers were pressed to convince a smaller number of consumers to purchase an never ending supply of goods. Meanwhile, people leveraged everything they had on speculative investments in the stock market. Because everyone could achieve the American Dream, right? People stopped spending for fear that they would lose their jobs, backers starting calling in their loans for fear of a lack of capital. We all know what happened shortly afterwards. In the end, only the super rich retained their fortunes.

    I should hope that history does not repeat itself.

    Best to you Derek, and all the others who positively contributed to this discussion. May the discussions continue until we all come up with the positive solutions.

    Vince

    It is incredible that we humans do not have the concept of overpay. It is because we have swallowed the idea that the market is, by definition, fair pay. This is snake-oil. We buy into it because we haven’t thought of any other way to determine pay justice, and because we have lost our common sense, and we can’t re-connect. Gertrude Stein: People these days get so much information, they lose their common sense. How very much truer that is today than in Gertrude’s time!

    We are so far from pay justice, it is utterly out of sight for us. In addition, we are all looking to the pay injustices to make things better. The underpaid, understandably but myopically, hope to reduce their underpay by them, and the overpaid makes mega-heaps out of them, and the overpaid need unlimited amounts to self-defend and to plunder. So everyone thinks they have reason to edit out any thought of justice. Are we too far away from sense to get back to it? Quite possibly, but one must try.

    Pay justice is pay for work, no pay for no work, equal pay for equal work. Pay only for work, because only work creates wealth (work-products, goods and services). A dollar will never even make you a cup of tea. We pay for many things that are not work. These customs have become second nature to us, and we think that something that has been done ‘forever’ has to be right. We think that we can’t have been lacking in sense for ‘forever’. Hah. How long were we positive that the only thing to do with fire was to run like heck? How long was it before we figured out that the planets were going round and round? We figured that out just a few hundred years ago. And what a comedy of unintelligence, of resistance, surrounded our getting that the earth is going round and round! About the same time, we figured out that the blood was going round and round. We had fisheye lenses for ‘forever’ without ‘getting’ the microscope. Plato didn’t ‘get’ the microscope. Our technological brilliance makes it very hard for us to grasp and accept our ethical ‘infancy’. And it is only the very brightest among us who actually got these things. The beginning of wisdom is not endless self-congratulation for our brilliance. It’s the other thing. ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time’. And we took this as a compliment. ‘It is said that man is a rational animal. I have been looking for evidence of this all my life’ ‘Only the universe and [limited wits] are infinite, and I’m not sure about the universe’. ‘Even the gods are stumped by [limited wits]’. But it’s okay. It’s not our shame or fault. No need to take limited wits personally. We have a perfect excuse. We didn’t make ourselves. Phew. But that didn’t stop us falling for feeling bad about being what we are. ‘[Life] makes us and then has the cheek to blame us for us’. And we fell for that, for millennia.

    Seek. Test everything. Investigate. Doubt every hypothesis. The railway engineer checks the wheels regularly. It is a good thing to do. We have limited wits. We can always be wrong. All progress hangs on going beyond our certainties towards reality.

    We have pay up to 100,000 times the average! We have pay down to 10,000th of average! And we don’t yet have the suspicion that there is overpay and underpay. If pay was a swimming pool, one metre deep at rest, 90% of the pool is less than 1cm deep and 98% is up in a thin, thinning needle going up 100 kilometres. And we don’t yet have the suspicion that something in wrong with this picture. If the pay was the oceans, 90% of the oceans would be less than 4 metres deep, and the crests (leaping and crashing with far greater than ‘perfect storm’ force) would be literally wetting the moon (400,000 kilometres). Bill Gates gets $18 billion for one year’s work. Translated into work-products, that is 18,000 $1 million homes. Puts in one year’s work, and takes out 180,000 year’s work. And we are so smart, we can justify this. We can even defend this passionately.

    Some magician has cast over our wits a tremendous spell. We recognise the sayings, Can’t see the forest for the trees, Strain at gnats and swallow camels, Small things are easier for people, Only those who see the big picture are awake, There are 1000 [1,000,000,000] hacking [ineffectively] at the branches for every one who is striking [effectively] at the root of the tree of problems, but we don’t realise that these sayings are true. ‘If they knew they were blind, they wouldn’t be blind’.

    The greatest dignity is ability to grant that we have limited wits.

    We pay for natural gifts, brains, beauty, brawn. You want logic? There is no work by the person in natural gifts. Nature, who doesn’t require to be paid, thank goodness, has done the work. We take our natural gifts personally. We want to be paid for them. Others have to pay for them. We don’t notice that it is we who have to pay for them. Tell me the logic in making the ungifted pay for the natural gifts of others. Bet you can’t. Work done with the gifts is, in justice, in sense, paid for. Not the gifts. But we pay Paul McCartney, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, half a billion. And love it. We know Bill Gates is a genius, because he ‘made’ so much money. Why does he deserve so much money? Because he is a genius. How do we know he is a genius? Because he made so much money. Circular argument (false). Has anyone measured his genius? No. Has anyone worked out how much is in justice to be paid per unit of genius? No. We are so perfectly crazy, and so happy with it, that it is crazy to talk to it. Bill Gates ‘made’ ‘his’ money by the scarcity built in to new technology. New technology is high demand, low supply, until the industry gears up to demand, which it is still doing. Naturally, he sells the relatively few PCs he has to the highest bidders, just by setting the price high. If costs were as high as price, there would have been no IT billionaires. He only needed a 36% p.a. personal return to turn ‘his’ $5 million start-up money into $50 billion in 30-odd years. (1.36 to the power 30 is around 10,000.)

    Overpay-underpay is built in to trade itself. The two things traded cannot be exactly equal in work-input value. One person has to walk away with something less, the other with something more. (Transaction can’t be voluntary when you don’t know the facts.) Over trillions of transactions, this has to produce an ever-widening bell curve of net gains and losses. There is nothing in our systems to prevent prices being above costs (which include fairpay for work by principals, owners). Everyone gets paid in a non-profit company without volunteers, so what are profits? Companies are wealth concentrators. There are many customers, few principals. 10% profit, in a company which pays fairpay or overpay salaries to principals, has to belong to overcharged customers and underpaid workers. Has to. By definition. By logic. A million customers, paying $11 dollars for $10 of work in the product, is $1 million for the few principals. They pay the bills, take their salaries, there is money left over, hey, I’ll have that. And, as far as I have seen (correct me if I’m wrong), no one has seen this phenomenon before. (I suspect very few can see it even after it is explained. There is a dark force blinding people in these things. There is an automatic delete virus in our heads regarding these things.)

    No one wants to see pay justice, because they are convinced it is bad for them. Pay justice is good for overpaid and underpaid. Extremely good. Unimaginably good. Golden age good. But we think the virtues, like justice, are bores, are sacrifices. I think the wealth-power giants over the ages convinced us of this, so we would let go our earnings. They were convinced overpay was good for them, so they convinced everyone that the virtues, which are the causes of happiness, were bores, were sacrifice, were bad. Pursuit of pay justice is historically rare. All revolutions were immediately followed by wealth concentration. Everyone thinks that more money is always better: Money is good, so more money has to be better. But more money gets into overpay, causing underpay, which grows endlessly, causing violence (war and crime), which grows endlessly. And overpay: Honey attracts bears. And the bigger the overpay, the hungrier the bears are. And that is history. Or, rather, that is history since wealth became non-perishable and storable, since wealth stopped being mostly food and perishable. And since division of labour necessitated trade, with its in-built pay injustice, its invisible iota of inequality of work-input value, its drop that became our far-greater-than-perfect-storm ocean of gigantic, unnecessary suffering. Which we can’t see the cause of. Which makes us flee to money-making to protect us. Which drives the pay injustice. Which drives the violence.

    And we could all have $40 an hour including housewives and students. $100,000 per working person including housewives and students. $200,000 per family. That is the world average. Plenty. Super-abundance. And smooth sailing on a flat or gently wavy sea. No super-overpaid perpetually falling like water from a needle fountain (Caesar, Ceausescu, Hitler, Richard III, Marie Antoinette, people jumping out of skyscraper windows in Crashes and 9/11s, the fierce poverty of wealth, affluenza).

    You’d think that America would from the beginning have had very good statistics of wealth concentration. You’d think that people would have known that wealth concentration was tyranny. You’d think they would have been very vigilant, fierce and proud in defence of pay justice, of prevention of wealth concentration, of ending the long human history of tyranny. You’d think the stats would have been on the front page of every newspaper, the universally acknowledged key to happiness, the sine qua non, the without-which-nothing, the without-which, total failure. ‘The state built on injustice cannot stand.’ That is, no pursuit of justice means no patriotism.

    Instead, people thought: I couldn’t get rich under tyranny, now I can get rich under freedom. Look at those rich guys, woohee, that’s how good it can get for me.

    The gods are very cruel. They gave us very limited wits, so they could laugh at us and feel superior. And, so that we didn’t work to learn, they made us fierce about admitting our wits were limited, they made us feel abashed to admit our limitations and seek and test everything, perpetual students, learning, looking, checking, correcting, finding, growing. So that we are not even as smart as a snail, feeling its way with its horns. The gods didn’t want us growing and making them look less superior. (No, I don’t believe in gods, it’s just a way of expressing. For gods, substitute the word life, or nature, or existence. But, for some reason, it’s more fun saying gods. I guess we are a bit lonely, stuck here on this planet by ourselves.)

    It is terribly true that when you push a person down you have to stay down with them. The richest person in the world is as poor in quality of life as the poorest. We are all living in this near perfect hell of nuclear extinction looming, of concentration camps, genocide, bombs, bullets, isolation, crises, danger, disorder, lack of social trust, hope-fatigue, fear, paucity of admirables. We are all huddled in ourselves, like moles in burrows, trembling hard. Watching the news daily, hourly, checking the distance of terrors and horrors, trials and troubles.

    But the dawn is breaking this long night.


    Vince, I thought your last post had some good thoughts. There are glaring problems with our society -- the ones you mentioned are some of the screaming ones.

    What's been frusterating about so many of these posts (I think some of yours included) is that so many are jumping to the conclusion that the "corruption" of a tacit mafia of the rich is at the heart of all the problems. I just don't see the causal connection.

    Obviously, some big money players in the capitalism of today are also key players in things like resource depletion, but does that mean that people making money while others aren't (part of the theme of the Moyers show that was the impetus for this whole page) is the cause of all our other problems.

    Couldn't our problems stem from other faults in our society -- like the insatiable need we have for stuff? or the desire all of us have to some degree get as much as possible with the least effort? or our willingness to let other people deal with the negative externalities (as exemplified by something as petty as litering)?

    When rich people manifest these qualities we call it (often rightly so) corruption -- but what about when the consuming masses manifest these qualities? The consuming masses (comprised mostly of the not rich, since there aren't that many super rich) are the feul for the companies that everyone complains about.

    Isn't it possible that the roots of our problems might be more sociological and psychological, and not economical? And isn't it possible that these roots are just as strong in the poor as in the rich?

    Ruecroft and a lot of others…

    How exactly did Bill open your eyes to the corruption of the rich? By showing that there are ridiculously rich people and really poor people. Corruption suggests that the rich got rich by cheating the system – that they rich didn’t get there by honestly. Of course there are rich people that are rich because they cheated (like the Enron crew) and there are rich people who certainly didn’t earn what they got (like Paris Hilton – although somehow she seems to have been smart enough to capitalize on her stupidity and apparently earn some money).

    It’s been a while since I had a stats class, but I’m pretty sure that correlation doesn’t equal causation; just because two facts exist doesn’t mean that one caused the other. Just because there are super rich doesn’t mean that they made people be poor, just as it doesn’t prove that all those rich are corrupt.

    I wonder, were the two guys that created google corrupt? Did they make the poor people poor? They are, after all, phenomenally rich. To the contrary they probably made a lot of people a little richer by making it that much easier to get information.

    How about the creators of eBay who have made it so much easier for Ed Shilling’s (post below) resourceful Americans to enter the stream of commerce? Are they corrupt because they got really rich? Did they make poor people be poor? Did they close the doors of opportunity to the world?

    And even Walmart. It’s made some bad calls, and it’s paying for them constantly in public relations. But was it corrupt for them to figure out a way to get food and basic goods to poor people at a price they could afford? Maybe a lot of you haven’t spent much time w/o much money, but having been living off of a teacher’s salary for the last 3 years, it’s been really nice for my wife and I be able to get cheep clothes, food, and even furniture. Is it proof that the Walton’s were corrupt that they got rich because cashiers at their stores don’t make a lot of money? Isn’t it possible that Walmart does a good job at employing people for whom a Walmart wage is an improvement, even if they aren’t very good at employing people who demand more, even though there is no place in Walmart for them to do work worth more than their getting?

    Is it corrupt for Walmart to hire the hundreds of 80 year old grandmas and grandpas to hand you a cart when you walk in? Is that an example of the rich people barring the masses from their shot at life?

    And even though the Walmart bosses are filthy rich, did they get it by forcing people to hand over their money for nothing? Did they save money by forcing single mothers who need more money to work for them?

    Hhow many times did they get a dollar without giving at least a dollar’s worth of value? Every dollar I gave to Walmart was for some food or something that was worth at least that much to me. Where’s the corruption in that.

    Yeah, this is a shoot out to capitalism – what is so corrupt about getting a dollar of value for providing a dollar of benefit? That seems pretty fair to me. It seems a lot better than the alternative of forcing someone (even a rich person) to turn over money they worked for or took risk for by threatening violence or by learning how to work the politicians (again, Ruecroft the would be Robin Hood)? I’d love to give money to the poorer than me, if they’d respect me enough to offer to return the favor by offering something in return.

    Look, OF COURSE THERE IS CORRUPTION – but just because you can point to examples of corrupt people who find a place in capitalism doesn’t mean capitalism is some feudalism of corruption (Vince). A lot of corrupt people are clever, and they’ll learn how to work the system whatever the system may be.

    You all are lamenting Capitalism for the corruption that exists in this capitalistic society – but consider the alternatives. Some of you all have praised the opposite, communism. Are you kidding? Our corruption is nirvana compared to the reported corruption that exists in every single communist state.

    Fight corruption – we all should. But stop building arguments (and more often conclusory statements) on the premise that success reliably the product of corruption, and that lack of success is reliably the product on being the victims of corruption.

    Wow. That was longer than I meant it to be.

    A friend who is a theologian teaches a course of work and ethics. She wrote me that the only thing that she resents “”about the minimum wage is that it isn't a living wage. One of the things I have learned from my students is that there is a living wage movement active in large urban areas and especially in California and in Chicago. It's is heavily populated by Catholics (Latino/a laity and Catholic clergy--how wonderfully not surprising). I taught a Chicano kid whose father, highly educated in his country of origin, works as a janitor in his home town. The kid did his major project on the living wage movement. I had no idea. I learn so much from my students, and it is very humbling. Anyway, I now won't shop at Wal-Mart and, if there were a Costco nearby, I would shop there. Cusco’s owner provides decent benefits and pays a living wage (now calculated at around $15 an hour. Idea! Is there any kind of movement activity going on in Baton Rouge? Is there a Costco within access to you? Check your local Catholic churches for the former and your yellow pages for the latter.”


    Xavier,

    Thank you for the kind remarks and the reminder of the LCurve link.

    I feel your cry out to the toddler. Although I am no historian, I am somewhat familiar with a small awareness of Mayan history.

    Historians agree that one of the major factors contributing to the extinction of the Mayan Empire was the utter depletion of obtainable natural resources. Forestry and agriculture could not keep up with the demands of the voracious appetite of the once prosperous Mayans.

    They were once great astronmers and mathematicians. Their calendar systems and architectual knowledge were extraordinary. They had even claimed to have been able to measure time in eras and epochs.

    Unfortunately we will never really know everything that transpired back in those times.

    I remember the scenes from the science fiction movie "Logan's Run" when "runners" finally escaped their bubble city. Once totally oblivious to the outside world, they had to face the realities of a decimating past. One that was the result of overpopulation, overconsumption, and finally, ecological disaster.

    Hopefully enough of us will sound the alarm and slow down the "Ship of Fools" before we hit the "iceberg".

    Vince

    Actually a delightful typo, Vince. Made this old maid smile, and that's always appreciated.

    Because I swear, talking to people perfectly honestly and earnestly and truthfully about why pay justice must become our united focus and purpose, feels like being chained to a tree in a leg iron, watching a child toddle to the river. No matter what I call out, and Nigel, too, the child is too intent on going to the river…

    Vince, we cannot forever proceed on this self-imposed march to extinction we're on, without winding up where we're headed.

    But people seem to think that the terrible can't really happen...as if terrible things would be too ashamed of themselves and just slink away.

    Our epitaph may well read: Here lies Humanity, who thought to the end they could choose which parts of reality to face.

    And before I forget it again, a deep bow of respect to whoever it was posted the Lcurve dot org earlier. google it, people! Lcurve! find it and watch it on you-tube! it's 4 minutes of the information you most need and don't have!

    This program really opened my eyes to the corruption of the rich in America. I understand now that the war in the middle east will never end as long as the rich are profiting from the waste of taxpayer money and resorces of corporate contractors. This problem is lagely exasserbated by the support of greedy politicians.
    I agree that there has not been neerly enough outrage among the American people. Several friends of mine have been forced into the military by a lack of financial options. While they are dodging bullets, the children of the rich are attending universities on daddy's dime.
    There should be outrage! I say steal from the rich and give to the poor (in tax terms most likely), and give grief to anyone arrogant enough to crap gold (as in the report on the Colbert report). Start the outrage and i'll protest right along with you.

    4:00 in the morning after 6 hours of sleep trying to read something that is clearly meant to be artful.

    If I determine I misread it after I get some sleep you can expect an apology. If I determine I did not you won't.

    Xaviar and Nigel,

    What Jan doesn't realize in your logic is that no one deserves a salary package such as those rewarded to the CEOs of multi-national oil companies like Exxon-Mobil.
    Robert Raymond retired from that corporation with a $400 MILLION compensation package. As though he had pumped and refined all of the oil and gasoline himself.

    I wonder if anyone would pay $5 for a gallon of milk if they knew that dairy farmers made (had to correct the spelling :-)) 10s of Millions of dollars a year?

    Our choice in the coming years is to take the blue pill or the red pill. Will we choose to wake up and realize that things need to REALLY change, or we will continue on this path of capitalistic feudalism?

    Vince

    Xaviar and Nigel,

    What Jan doesn't realize in your logic is that no one deserves a salary package such as those rewarded to the CEOs of multi-national oil companies like Exxon-Mobil.
    Robert Raymond retired from that corporation with a $400 MILLION compensation package. As though he had pumped and refined all of the oil and gasoline himself.

    I wonder if anyone would pay $5 for a gallon of milk if they knew that dairy farmers maid 10s of Millions of dollars a year?

    Our choice in the coming years is to take the blue pill or the red pill. Will we choose to wake up and realize that things need to REALLY change, or we will continue on this path of capitalistic feudalism?

    Vince

    Jan's comment to Nigel is shocking. It reveals an appalling and immense intellectual laziness and goes beyond the pale of disgraceful and infantile behavior. He/she should not be allowed to get by with casting his/her hollow, derogatory, ridiculous, ugly aspersions upon Nigel's character sans vocalized protest from rational, thoughtful persons.

    If Jan truly finds no logic in Nigel's post, then Jan would have to be finding illogic there, but Jan does not bother to point to even a shred of illogic, let alone a single place where the reasoning applied is less than stellar.

    Jan should be required to articulate plainly where the illogic is in his/her opinion, and if unable to do so should be required to retract that reprehensible, disingenuous post and apologize immediately.

    The Other America

    One should not overlook the resourcefulness of a growing majority of Americans increasingly marginalized by poverty and lack of opportunity. If it wasn’t for garage sales, thrift stores, a veggie garden, do-it-yourself home carpentry, oil changes, plumbing, and hair-cuts—how could tens of millions of the American poor survive? That’s how it's done--and then we go to work for wages.

    --Ed

    Looking for the logic, Nigel and finding none. I don't know anyone who "underworks" and is "overpaid" and I doubt any sincerity was a motivating factor in your post.

    We humans haven’t yet realised that there is overpay (taking out more than you put in, pay for no work, pay injustice, theft). Individual contribution to the social pool of wealth is limited, not unlimited. So there is a line somewhere, which, when crossed, moves into overpay.

    We haven’t yet realised that overpay is overpower (tyranny), even though money is obviously power, even though the founding fathers of America knew it, and took steps (prohibiting entail and primogeniture, fixing clergy salaries, warning against corporations) to try to prevent wealth concentration, in order to establish democracy and freedom permanently. They must have had a feeling that the steps they took to establish democracy and freedom permanently were inadequate, because they talked of having a revolution every 20 years in order to prevent wealth concentration (overpay-underpay, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer perpetually).

    We haven’t yet realised that overpay implies underpay (work for no pay). Individual contribution to the social pool of wealth is limited, so the social pool of wealth (the sum of the individual contributions) is finite. (People who think that the social pool of wealth is infinite are confusing potential and actual. The social pool of wealth may be able to grow forever, and, if so, it is therefore true that the social pool of wealth is potentially infinite, but it is, at every stage of its rapid or slow growth, finite.) Since the pool is finite, overpay necessarily implies underpay. The poor get poorer (less per unit of work) because the rich get richer (more per unit of work).

    We haven’t yet realised that, as well as the successful illegal thefts, there are legal thefts – many legal thefts – wide-open legal thefts (pay for no work by the person) - which cause the endlessly escalating overpay-underpay. Money at 10% multiplies by 1000 every 72 years. Nothing rakes nothing. (Half the people in the first world have negative net wealth.) $1000 rakes $999,000. $1,000,000 rakes $999,000,000. It is a giant sucking machine. 1% are getting 98%, $290 trillion a year.

    We haven’t yet realised that overpay-underpay (overpower-underpower) causes the violence (war and crime). A person with a billion can hire a million soldiers for 1000 days at $1 a day, a person with a billion can hire 100,000 soldiers for 1000 days at $10 a day, and they are. The super-overpaid warmonger and cannon-fodder at will, far above the law. Both overpay and underpay are stimuli to violence.

    We haven’t yet realised that overpay is necessarily miserable. With everyone believing that limitless overpay is good, with everyone wanting overpay, the overpaid are under attack from everyone. Plundering is just the beginning of troubles (for example, the whites in South Africa).

    We haven’t yet realised that violence is egalitarian, that violence gets to everyone, from richest to poorest, and decimates – centimates (reduces 100-fold) – the happiness of everyone. Violence pollution kills millions times more people than other pollutions.

    We have even lost touch with the ardent, intense, shameless pursuit of our own happiness. We can read the previous paragraph without noticing that it suggests something which should be very exciting to us, namely that pay justice, reversal of wealth concentration, will multiply the happiness (social order, peace, trust, quietness, safety, stability, sustainability, pleasure, enjoyment, freedom, democracy, education, health, progress, kindness, friendliness) of everyone, from richest to poorest, 100-fold.

    We have super-extreme pay injustice, and justice causes happiness, so we – from richest to poorest - can be super-extremely happier. We have the greatest opportunity for increase of happiness in the history of the world because we have the greatest pay injustice (injury, theft) in the history of the world, therefore the greatest violence in the history of the world, therefore the greatest misery in the history of the world, therefore the greatest happiness-increase potential.

    Obviously a community in which everyone works and produces plenty (we do) can be made extremely unhappy just by extreme distribution, by, for example, one getting everything, or by 1% getting 98%, as in communism, or by 1% getting 98%, as in present, unlimited-fortunes capitalism. The inequality factor (ratio of highest to lowest pay per hour) was one million in America in the 1880s. Today, globally, it is one billion.

    Money is the joker good, good for almost all things, and good for essential things, so theft of money (underpay) is the joker injury. Each and every injury causes an endless, escalating, vendetta back-and-forth of injury. Violence causes misery. Violence gets to everyone, from richest to poorest. While violence is concentrated in spots at any one time, it is global in its freedom to turn up anywhere any time. We have pay per year’s work from $10 to $10 billion, so every person, from richest to poorest, can be super-extremely happier.

    Overpay is necessarily very insecure, as history unanimously shows, because every underpay and every other overpay is after it. The rich rob the poor and the poor rob each other. And the poor rob the rich (every plutocracy and empire has fallen) and the rich rob the rich (‘kings’ against ‘kings’). For every up there is a down. Everyone is climbing the ladder, so everyone must be falling. Time spent at the top is necessarily brief, dangerous and arduous. If one person has the property of 1000, he has merely 1000 more pots than he can cook in, and he has 1000 enemies instead of 1000 friends. A very negative benefit. And history unanimously confirms this logically necessary conclusion. (History doesn’t record the falls with the same vigour it records the rises, so we never learn the lesson of history.) So both overpaid and underpaid win from pay justice. And because we have super-extreme pay injustice, both overpaid and underpaid win super-extremely. This is very hard for us to realise.

    People who have talked, and are talking, about equality (pay justice) are not talking about pay justice. They don’t want the super-overpaid to be brought down to pay justice (and far greater happiness), because they still want the freedom to be wealthy. And they don’t want the super-underpaid to be brought up to pay justice and far greater happiness, because their gaze is tight on the illusion of happy wealth. They just want more for themselves, because some others have more.

    People know that money (self-earned money, fair pay, taking out as much as you put in, non-theft) is good, so they, understandably but myopically, believe that more money (other-earned money, overpay, taking out more than you put in, pay without work, theft, injury, violence, which is ever-escalating) is also good. So everyone is climbing. So everyone is falling. It is not love of money that is the root of all evils. It is love of overpay that is the ‘root of all evils’. We keep pursuing money, and we keep getting violence misery escalation, and a billion offshoot problems. Not just war and crime, but corporate infighting, hostile takeovers, backstabbing, putdowns, etc. Affluenza. Extreme insecurity. Extreme unhappiness. Everyone should go see Scandinavian psychological, social and financial security, peace, ease, democracy, freedom, equality, fraternity, humanity, safety, the nearest thing on earth to the American dream. Or the safety of Japanese streets, thanks to the post-war New Deal egalitarianism the Americans installed. Before the global bombs climax the root error.

    There is no shame or humiliation in being wrong. We didn’t make ourselves.

    We have come to think of the virtues (and the greatest of these is pay justice) as sacrifice. They are not. They are happiness, practicality, rationality, realism, maturity, clear-seeing, self-interest.

    With 90% of brains too poor (on less than 100th of world-average pay) to become educated, and 90% of the educated brains we have tied up in the effects of the super-extreme pay injustice, in the military-industrial complex, universities, hospitals, government, legal system and business, we would, with pay justice, have technological progress at 100 times the present rate.

    Under the skirts of pay justice is a golden age, and she is perfectly happy for us to take it.

    Using figures from Sprout and Weaver, International distribution of income, 1960-1987, Kyklos, 1992, inflation-adjusted, the world-average pay (2007) is $40 an hour for every working person in the world including housewives and students, which is $100,000 per working person including housewives and students, which is $200,000 per two-adult family. Plenty and peace, democracy and freedom, order and sanity, progress and fraternity, education and health, security and kindness.

    We have climbed the ladder of the bitch goddess ‘success’, and found all evils. We can lay it flat (twice as much for twice as much work, half as much for half as much work), and feast. Forever. Happiness is horizontal, not vertical.

    The weakness of unlimited-fortunes capitalism has always been the concentration of wealth, the strangling of consumers-producers. When the legs and arms don’t get blood, the head falls too. We can leave all the elements of capitalism, for their benefits, like the ‘invisible hand’, competition and ambition, and just introduce a counter to the endless concentration of wealth by making everyone in the world equal heirs of large deceased estates, and by giving everyone equal shares of a 1%-a-month increase in the money supply. The private heir has done nothing to earn that money and everyone has done everything to earn that money. That method requires only settling up the estate, and electronic distribution. The inflation effect of the second method lowers over-fortunes, and the equal share lifts under-fortunes. These methods require only small bureaucracy, which means high productivity. The cost to poor countries of giving everyone bank accounts is covered by the inflow of money, and by the reduced costs of violence. When the wind piles the sand against the sea-wall, you spread it over the beach again. None enjoy unless all enjoy. We have had none-enjoy for so very long. We deserve a break. If you think the change is too much work, compare it with the much greater work of not changing. And the work of change is divided among 3 billion adults. And the change is just the administration of two new laws.

    To be rich is not glorious. To aim for unlimited fortunes out of limited work is shameful, ridiculous, wicked, foolish, self-harming. Justice is glorious.

    Interfaith is changing your life. It takes us down the road to unselected choices.It takes us right underneath the Sun, where i can put on any Religious gear I want to, and attend their Services. Thats how I get along with everybody without any disputes. Interfaith, keeps us together through all times, with nothing in the way. Cause I'm not in a Religious Group. I am Interfaith. I'm all Religions.
    The best variety of all things at one time. And you can't tell me its not, cause it is. With the troubled rain over in the corner, saying, "how I should listen to the triumps of Independent Groups that defy other groups. Helps listen to the heartbreak that takes our breath away.
    I can put on a kufi and go to the Muslim Services. I can be a Hebrew, etc. I can attend the Jewish Synagogue. I can put on a
    suit and go to Christian Service, or Jehovah's Witness. I can attend any one of the number of them.
    Thats the key word. That takes us to the new day. While sitting underneath the gazebo, as the birds roll with the wind.

    "We have met the enemy and they are us"
    Pogo or WhoEver.
    Now that i am blurry eyed and it is the middle of the night after reading many prolific posts; I will struggle to convince you that we need to take an honest look at where we are at and where we are going. We have been around long enough to be able to gather from our experience what works and what does not work.
    The Chinese symbol "Ye" represents the best solution for the problem.
    When all is said and done; all is done and said. It is time to do what is necessary to fix the problems. It is obvious from the results of what we have been doing for the last eight years that it has been a disaster. The eight years before that we had fiscal responsibility, a successful middle class and no war. The Republicans have been a total failure and it is time to give it back to the Democrats. We are at the edge of the abyss and need to reverse direction.
    We need to end the Iraq occupation, raise the minimum wage above the cost of living and provide universal health care. We need to tax excessive profits and stabilize prices. Economics cannot be a random system if we are going to have an efficient system of supply and demand. People's lives depend on a stable economy. That is the bottom line. More of the same is no solution. Insanity is never a solution to a problem.


    A scary, maybe perinoid thought: That the president wants paramilitary units like "Blackwater", so the rich might be protected from an uprising. I know crazy....

    RICHARD

    What was so easily undone?

    Steve Fraser's comment about consumerism dividing us and weakening our Democracy was spot on. This was first apparent in the 1970s when the Me Generation first appeared, replete with all the trappings that easily accessible consumer credit could provide. The collective conscience of our country became fragmented by the rampant self-interest brought about by the Madison Avenue created illusion of independence. When Reagan was elected president in 1980, former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine delivered the Democrat response to the election results with a simple statement that has become prophetic, "Here Comes Class !". Using the character flaws of greed and self-importance, it was all so easy to undo !

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein

    If we keep voting for the same two parties, then we are going to get the same results. They got us this far. Are any of us happy with it?

    I sure am not.

    No one wants big government.

    No one wants big corporations.

    No one wants Big Brother.

    But the last one is what you get when the first two work together.

    Money + Politics = Corrupt Power.

    It should worry us all when a conservatives and liberals agree on one thing: Our Democracy is a Fraud.

    If we keep believing that someone else outside the two party duopoly can't win, then that will always be the case.

    Communism doesn't need money to be evil, it has guns.

    Capitalism doesn't need guns to be evil, it has money.

    To those who think that the "Invisible Hand" is the answer, think again. The invisible hand that we have right now is picking our pockets in the ways of inflation, unbalanced taxation, and very unbalanced wages.

    Work in and of itself is not an ends, it is only a means. But a means to what? Unbridled consumption that will destroy the environment.

    We are all better than that. We have survived far too many other disasters to succumb to our own greed and apathetic tendencies.

    We must start coming up with solutions. Alternative candidates, alternative energies, and alternative solutions await us.

    Vince

    I believe mark eystad made a very eye opening statement with Sir Alexander Fraser Tyler's quote. With dependence on our government comes power to that government. Afterall, power, recognition, and money (after they serve in office, Like Bill Clinton has become wealthy since leaving office) is usually what most politicians are looking for. Therefore, it is almost impossible to stop the cycle mark eystad metioned once this cycle is so far along as it is.

    Very good interview with Steve Fraser. His insight was well done. I would have liked to hear what he thought of Ralph Nader. Change will need to come but not sure how. I enjoy the Journal. Thanks.

    If you entered the Primaries, in the 70's, you remained that status, until the General Election was over. Then you could change in the next term. Now they got it where they can go into the Primaries as a Democrat. Vote all the people out of the race, that they don't like. Then when the General Election comes around. Then they switch up and vote Republican. You call that fair. Thats cheating. That how they got all the White People voted out of the Democratic Primary. With one left, and thats Obama. That they are more for sure that they can beat. Now you see why Hillary is so optimistic, in staying in this race, by running for V.P. She's a top priority, she knows how to beat them Republicans. I'm telling you, with these Republicans you have to be very careful. You can't just put anybody in there. Cause if they catch you off guard. And you fall, you're going to find yourself helpless. And we don't want that to happen. If you want "Change" vote Democratic. Or would you rather pay $20 for a gallon of gas. And even rich people facing foreclosures. Making poor people look like they are doing better than them. Especially somebody with an home that is already paid for. Know what I'm saying? We're not trying to go through any changes. We want change, thats all.

    Thank you for remaining throughout your many years on PBS a vigilant guard of democracy. Our press and media have not always lived up to the task,but you have never flagged in that mission. We need that more than ever and the American public owed you a debt of gratitude.

    Barrack Obama is talking about Unifying and bringing everybody together.This would draw us in real good. So basically speaking, Barrack is an Socialist. Hillary is about Government Reform, and helping the Needy and the Indigent.And stopping all these foreclosures. And bringing down the cost of gas, by getting this War out of the way.
    This is the only way we are going to get some relief. Know what I mean?
    Republicans don't help nobody. they don't even help themselves, for real. They don't help people in the free market. They don't help money investments. All they do is help about 400 Billionaires, who became that off the Iraq War.What are they going to do, take all that money to the next life with them. A Captain Kangaroo type m--!! that they is. Excuse the epithet. And Hillary is going to help us end this spell, that is threatening to go on for decades. If we don't stop them now,in 2008. Not 2012 of 2016; But in 2008. That is why Obama must hurry and concede to include Hillary. Who is already on his shortlist. You know what I mean?
    She is very intelligent. And even as a Backrunner, she can still maintain the same standards, that she would've performed, if she were the Frontrunner. YOu know what I mean?
    She is very worthy. And the fact that she is what we want, to help us win this Election. It is very important that we do this, this year. Otherwise, this Circus may never come to an end.

    Okay, let's get the little comments overwith 1st. I'm with MG & Vince, and Karen, I live in OK, too & I know just what you mean.

    Curt: The 4 billion people who would love to make our minimum wage do not have our cost of living.

    Jo IS an idiot.

    I would vote for None of the Above IF it was on the ballot, Warren J. (that's probably why it isn't).

    And rob mccolley, there isn't anyone else posting who would like to assess that guy's spending habits because I just got here:

    Now while I think the points on this program were spot on, & I know it's expensive to live in LA (I couldn't do it anymore - I used to - I have friends who still do), BUT anyone with a $400 car payment & a $100-plus phone bill gets no sympathy from me. Oh, I just can't get by - well, NO WONDER! Sell the car & buy a used one. Dump the cell phone & pay around $30 for basic phone service like some of us have to - or get a low cost cell plan & stick to it - they exist) No tears here for him! Sorry.

    The main & maybe most saddening thing I see here is that many of us are asking "What can we do?" We feel helpless.

    Doesn't it make you mad to see how the Republicans are trying to tie knots in this General Election, by taking advantage of a Blackman. They were determined to run against him, cause they thought that it would be easier. That is why them rich Whites, a pumpkin puss that they is, faking like they are Democrats in the Democrats in the Democratic Primary, so that they can get all of the Whites eliminated. So they won't have to worry about them beating the Republicans in the General Election. They've already lost the House and The Senate. And they know they are going to loose the Whitehouse, and it makes me mad to see how they are trying to take a Blackman for granted. To reach their desired ends.
    So I admire all of Reverend wrights remarks, but only against the Republicans. And let us use the good Whites I.E. Hillary Clinton to help us in this General Election, as a Backrunner, to Barrack Obama, and not let them Republicans play us again, like they've been doing all of these years. We can't deal with this s--!! for another term, know what I mean? We will defeat these Republicans in 2008. And we are going to have three for the price of one. Thats what I'm talking about. Lets be good to each other.

    This is White on White Racism. They voted all of the Whites out of the Democratic Primaries Cause they thought that it would be easier for the Republicans to win re-election against a Blackman.
    And they definetely don't want to run against a Whiteman. They made sure,of that, when John Edwards was kicked out first thing smoking.Then they voted Hillary out. With the help of their rich Republican supporters. Then when the General Election comes around, then they vote Republican, and vote their Original Candidate in. Thats cheating. They never allowed anything like that in the 70's; But of course, they do anything today. The things that use to be applicable. Are no longer applicable.
    That use to be forgery. And Secret Service would arrest you for it. But today, they let people get away with anything. Just like Bush, they let him get away with anything. Ya'll better shape up. And get awift of these people's tricks. Ole White on White Racist that they is

    This discussion sounds wonderful, but it does not seem to have much to do with the banal messages I hear in the campaign. No one in either campaign is talking about our becoming socialist. No one really talks much about any of the issues and factors explored here.

    The program was extraordinary. Thank you, Bill Moyers. You should receive a Nobel Peace Prize.

    The information you've provided, the inspiration of Tim Russert's belief in this country, the prospect of real change and real leadership in this country--surely the betrayal will no longer be accepted. The American people will awake and bring this nightmare to a screeching halt.

    Hello again, Mr. Moyers.

    One of the questions you ask us is: "What economic policies would you like to see put into place?"

    Mr. Moyers, as a mature, rational, responsible (response-able) adult, well-taught, well-capable, and well-inclined to fearless, critical thinking and correct prioritization, and in the very sane, sound, focused and eager pursuit of my own best happiness and safety (which dispassionate observation of whole-picture reality tells me I can only have by working for (learning and teaching) equal justice for all the humans, including especially pay justice for all), I propose:

    1. A 1% increase per month in the global money supply, going equally, directly, freely, electronically to every living human being, children included, one account per person. The inflation effect will reduce overpays, the money effect will reduce underpays, and it does so without the cost of assessing fortunes. This method is not perfectly efficient in reducing overpay, but it is very easy and quick to reduce underpay. A 1% per month inflation will make a 1% imbalance, which will adjust, as the underpaid spend more, generating more supply. It is gentle enough to avoid any economic social shocks, and works because the inflation effect reduces overfortunes MORE than the equal share increases them, while it reduces underfortunes LESS than the equal share increases them. The weakness in this is that the overpaid can inflation-proof their fortunes to some extent, especially if the idea is implemented nationally not globally. This approach is easy and quick to set up, it immediately relieves underpay stress and pressures and violence at the bottom. It is the lowest possible, most indirect interference with the overpaid. A regular inflation is very much less inconvenient than an irregular one. The fact is, governments and banks are ALREADY increasing the money supply - only at present they are giving the money increase to the banks to suck more money off people through loans. Inflation devalues everyone's money. It is a sneaky tax, forcing people to borrow, and in effect making them pay interest to buy back their own money.

    2. Making inheritance public instead of private. This will make the overpay shower gently down on humanity over three generations. It takes no self-earnings from living persons, and it reverses the perpetual concentration of wealth and political power in fewer and fewer hands. It counters effectively the natural tendency of money to concentrate unjustly, violently. Yes, making inheritance public instead of private means (almost) a 100% inheritance tax. We are preventing inequality of fortunes from growing to infinity by shovelling overfortunes into underfortunes. We know money automatically, unjustly concentrates endlessly, so any sensible species will introduce a counter to that. The simplest way is having every human being have one account (which governments will be happy to open since it means money coming into the country) into which the estates of deceased persons over US$1 million are distributed equally, electronically, directly, immediately, automatically. Private heirs can share the first US$1 million, (if we choose not to completely eradicate free gratis money). Parents would have trusteeship of children's accounts till some suitable age, say 10. (This will give parents good reason to teach economic sense before the date children take over responsibility for their own funds!) This method is low-impact, yet totally effective. It doesn't take away overfortunes from living persons, yet it will move humanity from extreme injustice and violence to near perfect pay justice and non-violence in just three generations - the time it takes for all the overfortunes to die.

    I assert that there is an uncommon amount of unflawed logic and utterly sound reasoning (aka perfect sense) that has been tested and re-tested behind this, and I confidently submit that this is the world's only no-downside plan for survival future security peace happiness.

    Doable? Yes, as doable as 99 people in agreement to do so making 1 person stop misbehaving.

    This plan does not propose interfering with any of the thefts in human economic systems at present, except by preventing these thefts from accumulating endlessly. Again, in brief, it does this by either 1. Distributing a 1% increase of money supply per month equally to every human, or 2. Distributing deceased estates over US$1 million equally among every human, or 3. both. (Or, by any other system/method that has greater advantages in low bureaucracy, low social upheaval factor, etc, than these.)

    These 2 steps correct for all injustices in our economic systems, but do so indirectly. Why the indirect route/method? Because, for one thing, attempting to prohibit each legal theft would be futile. It would be futile partly because the primary, omnipresent legal theft is found in the very nature of transaction itself and occurs with or WITHOUT human agency (the two things exchanged are not of equal workvalue, so every transaction contains a fair exchange plus a big or small drop of automatic, unavoidable transfer of wealth from earner to non-earner) …and partly because there exist hundreds more legal thefts than I listed, and partly because more/new legal thefts will endlessly be hatched to game the system until the reason for doing so and the capability to do so are eliminated. Also, legal theft is not the entire picture, and this indirect method is the only efficient corrective mechanism that counters for ALL economic systems’ errors/flaws/injustices that I am aware of after careful and comprehensive searching.

    What will cause people to support these 2 things without fail?

    Chopping down the economic trees that are blocking their view of the economic forest, giving them economic clarity.

    One of the bigger secrets is this: It takes no intellectual rigor at all to come up with reasonable-sounding "reasons" to overpay some people, but no justification can be given, because none exists, for underpaying another person in order to do so.

    Mr. Moyers, you also asked us "Do you expect politicians to enact any of them?" (to enact the policies we want)

    My response to that is: Governments cannot save us as they are now - they have been devoured by superwealth. Only a grassroots growth in awareness, realism, sobriety, simple good sense, maturity, practicality in the people can drive events to safety and peace. Politicians will certainly act when the numbers tell them they must, but not before. Leadership will change when, and only when, the people change their ideas. The global economy is 100% totally rigged, but what is driving everything that is going on is not politicians and is not the rich: it's what's in people's heads (that diabolically stupid, geno-sadistic, ultimately fatal, patently unjust idea to allow the withdrawal from the finite pool of wealth, of unlimited personal fortunes - when overpay has nowhere to come from but from underpay), that is driving all we see. And those who do not cowardly avoid the bits of reality they do not like, see a world of strangled possibilities and murdered opportunities, writhing in the violent hell of overpay-underpay entirely unnecessarily.

    Politicians will act when a majority have gained enough economic clarity to demand economic justice for all, for the sake of their own happiness and safety...just like the British in India acted only when and because Ghandi demonstrated clearly that he could muster millions of visible feet to the streets with his words. It's the number of us united in our demand for pay justice that wins the day. I don't propose to approach congress until more people finally realize the survival connection we have to pay justice, because until we have the numbers we are not coming from a position of any power and therefore can only make requests, not demands.

    Right now, we are still full of self-contradictions. We, billions of us, daily despise and deride the fraction few wealthpower giants for their lack of a single scruple, while at the same time we keep dangling the carrot of unlimited personal fortunes in front of them and expecting these whom we judge to lack all scruples to somehow have the scruples to resist this most overwhelming of all temptations!

    Seriously, how crazy do we want to act before we sober up?

    It's time for a really big "D’oh!" moment, people. Who is always going to be going the hardest after unlimited personal fortunes? Why, the least scrupulous amongst us, that's who, of course. (I swear Homer Simpson is smarter than most people. Homer is at least capable of having "D’oh!" moments - when he suddenly realizes how wrong he has been getting it.)

    Until we are a majority become fully aware and awake that material inequality is sure poison we serve up to ourselves via our support for rampant pay injustice and the violence pollution it reliably engenders - and have brought to the forefront of our consciousness that this is the issue that cuts across ALL other issues, nothing of meaningful consequence can change. Don't fix overpay-underpay, and you fix nothing. Don't chop out the root, and the tree of troubles grows more leaves faster than you can pull them, and that leads only to hope-fatigue.

    Yet the minute the majority general consciousness embraces pay justice, our politicians will have no choice but to follow our lead or be discarded to the dustbin of history. This is why my screen name is pronounced save your own – uh – 'keesters'. Yes, we are the ones we have been waiting for, and what we have been waiting for us to do is to replace unlimited personal fortunes capitalism with justice capitalism.

    So, how do we do that? Do we cut everybody who is contributing to the pool of wealth an equal paycheck, starting tomorrow? Do we attempt to dismantle the myriad legal thefts piecemeal? Do we abandon the system of private property and profit? Do we need to learn new -isms and -ologies and go socialist or communist?

    No. We just learn and teach the principles and utter sanity of pay justice, then take the 2 simple steps I proposed above.

    To make a difference, you have to go back to the root: the extreme range of wealthpower. You need justice for happiness peace safety. You need freedom from individuals having superpower compared to others. Were the founding fathers wrong when they thought that wealth concentration would mean the end of democracy and freedom? "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer" means that the rich are literally getting more and more per unit of work and the poor are getting less and less per unit of work. Do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? - ie, does money [power] ceaselessly, automatically drift from earners to nonearners or not? Are there very rich and very poor? Is the amount of work people do proportional to their wealth or poverty? Obviously not - so we know there is injustice, inequality in money and power. As long as a few have most money they are going to have most power, and history is going to be what they decide will happen, and the people will be pawns and cannonfodder in that game.

    No one does more than twice as much work per hour as the least-hard working person [assuming real slackers get noticed and fired] - and yet pay per hour ranges from 1 to 1,000,000,000 - someone gets paid a billion times as much per hour as the least paid.

    Our purpose is to stop people getting killed...is to maximize human happiness - and that means to maximize human freedom - and that requires as little as possible overpay and underpay - ie, as little as possible theft of earnings, which confers overpower on the thief [power to control and manipulate others] whoever he is, and confers underpower on the robbed. There is theft, there is legal theft, there is hyper-extreme overpay and underpay. Market forces do not distribute money and power in proportion to work - market forces do the opposite: work drifts one way and money drifts the other. We can retain all the advantages of market forces, of private property, of free market AND correct for the ceaseless automatic unjust thieving drift of money and power. We leave all the capitalist mechanisms alone and we merely establish a figure for the most one person can deserve to be paid by warrant of their contribution to society by their own work - and spread the overfortune among the underpaid...like taking water that has pooled and re-spraying it over the crop...and thus provide a counterbalance to the ceaseless automatic drift of wealth and power away from the people to a tiny few. If we DON'T do this, there will always be a very few somebody's who are going to continue to make happen what they want to happen, which involves the sacrifice of any and all who stand in the way of their monomania for money and power.

    Why is it that people have never said: "Hey, I work as hard as you, in fact I work harder than you - you can't have any more than me." Why has overwealth never been universally condemned by all? Why has no one ever worked out that; transaction shifts money from earners to non-earners? Why is no one even *interested* in the fact that transaction automatically steals earnings from earners and gives them to non-earners?

    We have the will, the wish, the want. We just have to add the whatever is lacking to bring us to act according to our own universal will, and do the obvious: realize the perfect good sense of those unheard very few wise and awake who always wish to counter the automatic ceaseless drift from justice, freedom, and peace - to injustice, tyranny, and war...by re-a-justicing wealth.

    Shane, sorry for my late reply. I was cooking and did not pay attention to this thread anymore.

    1. Portion of my check taken for federal, state, social security, and medicare taxes: 22.5%

    2. Add to this: sales tax (over 7% in my county), mandatory car insurance, drivers license/registration fees, tickets arising from stupid nanny state-type legislation, ...

    Ok, I get it, you are pissed that you have to pay so much taxes, fees, etc. The reason that it hurts you so much is, that your wage is low. Exactly how it was pointed out in Moyer's program. Wages are going down since years but company profits soar. There you have it, the free market in all its glory. (As a union member you should actually understand how things work!) People will always complain about taxes even when they earn more, but, it will NOT hurt them so much anymore. As I already said, there are only two sure things in life: taxes and death. I, for example, work as a physicist for a high-tech company in Minnesota, have a PhD and earn pretty good. I also hate to pay taxes and car insurance, etc. But I like the security of not having to pay all by myself when somebody else causes an accident and ruins my car or when I need an expensive operation. Of course, I could just pay it myself in the unlikely event that something like this happens to me. I would have enough money and not paying car insurance, etc. would leave me more money in my pocket.
    However, the question is in what kind of society do you want to live? A society in which everybody only cares for himself or a society where there is a sense of solidarity with others who are not that fortunate. I prefer the latter.


    4. Healthcare and education costs are rising mainly due to govt interference in these markets. Anyone who thinks MORE govt involvement in these areas will do any good is clueless.

    Where is the evidence for this claim? The US have one of the most expensive health care systems in the world. Other countries where you have considerably more government interference (a lot of European countries, Taiwan, etc) do a much better job in providing good quality health care for a higher percentage of the population at a lower cost (for details watch the recent Frontline documentary on this very topic)
    Your claim is simply not supported by evidence. It's a right-wing talking point, nothing else.


    5. The hidden tax of inflation (currently running at a real rate over 10%/annum) is also passed over here. This is the most largely ignored phenomenon by the corporate media (suprise, suprise), but one that is a huge factor in the diminishing living standard in America. The govt has promised all kinds of goodies to different special interest groups, but can't raise taxes enough to pay all of these groups, so they go and borrow "money" from the Federal Reserve ...

    First, it is interesting that you blame the government for all this and not the party that is actually responsible for these kind of policies, i.e. the Republicans, i.e. the ones that always proclaim that big government is bad and more fiscal responsibility is missing, bla bla. The GOP now showed clearly that they cannot be trusted with running a government because they are simply INCOMPETENT THUGS! (And a lot of Democrats also didn't vote against war spending, etc. Shame on them as well!) One can use the powers of government to do something good or one can use it to redistribute wealth from the bottom (or the future by putting the burden of repayment on the shoulders of YOUR children and grand-children!) to the top. That's exactly what this war accomplished (huge profits for defense contractors, Blackwater, Halliburton, etc.) Don't think that their employees participated that much in this!
    Second, you blame the 'corporate media' which is inconsistent with your position that the free market is always right. I agree with you that American media is most likely the worst in the 1st world. But the reason is, they only do things for profit! In other countries where a free press is actually used to check on the government and not just to sell ads, the tragedy that is the Iraq-war was apparent long ago (even before it started!).


    All of these factors combined w/horrible trade policies ... and unsustainable foreign policy of military and economic intervention-- ...is the REAL reason why things are so bad. ... All Moyers, and these two clowns give us, however, is the same old line of: "We need more government" and, of course, we need to "stop global warming"--yeah, combating a non-existent problem w/unnecessary "solutions" will really help things! ...

    Again you blame the government per se for something that is the responsibility of individuals and parties. If you put incompetent idiots in charge of the richest country in the world, one shouldn't be surprised that things go down the drain. Clinton left office with a huge surplus, Bush managed to run up the biggest debt in US history in just 8 years. It's not government per se is bad, it's who runs it!

    What is it with 'global warming'? Are you saying you are qualified to actually determine that it is an non-existent problem, contrary to what the consensus in the scientific community is (i.e. thousands of scientists who spent ten of thousands of hours on this problem)? I find the arrogance of this statement by somebody who (self-proclaimed) does not have the expertise to arrive at such a conclusion breath-taking. Do you have a hidden degree in climate science?
    Even if climate change does not turn out to be such a big problem (which currently does not seem to be the case), oil for example is a finite commodity which eventually will deplete. There is no question about that. It might be over in 10 years or maybe in 100 years. Still, you seem to be saying, fuc.. the future and the future of my children or grand-children, because I don't want to restrain myself a little. Very responsible point of view!


    EDUCATION: Parents should be responsible for their children's education, and have the right to educate them in whatever manner they choose--period. Eliminate the property tax ...

    Parents should be responsible for their children's education? Are you kidding? Yes, let's allow parents to teach their kids BS like creationism! That will really prepare them for this world!
    I agree with you that property taxes are the wrong way to fund public education because it entirely depends on where you live. I, for example, live in an area with very good public schools. Lots of nice expensive houses around. But I am sure that a few miles away from here the situation is completely different and it should not depend on where a child lives if it gets a good education or not. But leaving it up to the free market will again only help the rich.

    Well, enough for now. I wanna enjoy the nice sun outside now (so, it might take a while before I check this thread again). I hope I didn't offend you with some of my replies, but some things you say are simply out of touch with reality and just right-wing talking points to convince people to vote against their best interests. I am afraid that if everything will be left to the unfettered free market you will soon discover that the free market will screw you over pretty hard.

    I heard that the Bill Moyers Show had a blatant Marxist slant, but I thought to myself, “Surely it cannot be as openly biased as everyone says.” Then I caught the end of the interview this week with Holly Sklar & Steven Fraser. Wow. I now have a much better appreciation for all these comments. His guests are all gloom and doom, people aren’t making money anymore, it’s time for a “collective nation” (Steven Fraser’s words). Steven sounded eerily like Karl Marx, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

    It all reminds me of the quote: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.” - Sir Alexander Fraser Tyler (1742-1813), Scottish jurist and historian. He was widely known in his time and was professor of universal history at Edinburgh University in the late 18th century. This quotation is from the 1801 collection of his lectures (this one on the “Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic”).

    From all I I ever hear on the MSM, I would attest we are somewhere between, “…from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.” So where does that leave us?

    --------ED SANTORO---------

    You hit on a key point in your response: the principle that there is no "free ride"...we can either pay the govt for a service, or pay the private sector for it.

    The thing w/govt services is that it is very difficult to know just how much they cost, since many of the services we receive we don't directly pay for. Is this something that promotes cost-effectiveness? I don't think so. It is one of the reasons medical costs have risen so much: 3rd and 4th parties have been inserted in between the client (patient) and the provider (doctor) to the extent that the pricing structure has been retarded/manipulated.

    The subprime fiasco is a direct result of our monetary system and cannot be addressed w/o addressing our unit of exchange. Not to mention there already EXISTS fairly heavy govt regulation of the mortgage industry. Actually, many STATE govts DID try to do something about those crazy loans but got overridden by the federal govt (BIG GOVT). Anyways, shouldn't this "problem" be confined to the lenders and borrowers who made bad decisions?

    Enron--the energy industry is HEAVILY regulated, and Enron had contacts in the Clinton and Bush admins...in fact, many big corporations WANT govt involved in markets so they can reap subsidies. There EXISTED regulatory agencies that were SUPPOSED to protect investors/employees from the kinds of things Enron did. Once again, govt failed.

    How can you say you trust the same govts that routinely violate your rights and squander your money and children's future earnings (and can FORCE you to pay for THEIR mistakes) more than a private entity that has no power over you, and can only take your money in exchange for providing something of value to you?

    Why is the idea of defending one's self "Wild West-ish"? Isn't it a right?

    Taxation is legalized theft, that's why its called "TAXES" instead of "donations". I, and every other civilized person should want to keep the level of theft to a minimum. Some taxes are needed to fund some govt--it just shouldn't be very much.

    Our effective tax rate probably approaches something like 50-60%...is this level really necessary? 100+ years ago America prospered fine w/tax rates near 5%...why not today?

    Are we any freer or more prosperous for all of the debt, welfare programs, etc. that govt has erected over the last 70-100 years?

    Shane: Your post stated that you don't want to pay government taxes, and that if you didn't have to pay those taxes you would be much better off financially. I took this as an implication that for you government is of no use.

    In your follow up post, you state that you prefer to have the various government -provided services taken over by private enterprises. These companies will not work free and you still must pay them to do the work of building roads, operating schools (not all parents will choose or be able to home school their children). It is merely taxation by other means.

    The current subprime lending crisis is one example of private business operating with little government regulation. If government is limited along the lines you prefer, what will exist to ensure that private enterprises do not operate in corrupt ways? Enron is an example of private enterprise regulating itself.

    Your idea of self-defense sounds too much like the Old West to me and I'm not sure many people are up to the task of using their own force to go up against intruders or anyone intent to do them harm. You can pay for a private security firm, but you still can't guarantee that they will perform any better than government funded organizations.

    Another thing, I don't think government responsibility means more government or more taxation, just fair and equitable taxation. And there needs to be responsible oversight at all levels of government, just as there needs to be responsible oversight in the public sector. I happen to think we are better off trusting government to be responsible than private enterprise to be responsible.

    >>>>>>>>>

    What are "wages"?

    It is the cost of "labor".

    What is "labor"?

    It is--in effect--someone exchanging their time to do work for someone else.

    A "laborer" and an "employer" are two parties that enter into a CONTRACT--the laborer receives compensation/wages and the employer receives labor/services. It is a free exchange between individuals or groups...this USED to be a RIGHT. If the wages aren't high enough, a laborer is entitled to seek employment elsewhere...if the labor isn't satisfactory to the employer he can look elsewhere. Why do so many people think they are entitled to insert themselves into what SHOULD be a private contract?

    Want wages to rise?

    Create added demand for labor.

    How?

    Create an economic environment that produces steady economic expansion.

    How?

    Lower ALL tax rates (eliminate ALL income taxes--corporate and individual) to an absolute minimum and eliminate govt controls over the economy (govt regulation is really just a form of fascism).

    Want wage-earners to be better off?

    Stop taxing their labor and the goods and services they consume, and stop devaluing their money; stop regulating their personal behavior.

    Want to protect people and the environment?

    Enforce private property and personal rights. Stop subsidizing and sheltering big business from competition.

    First for 'Toucan' re 'windfall tax'; when the energy co.'s do not use the leases granted them for production(and 80 % of the awarded lease are sitting idle), when refiners of gas (Valero for example) shut down their refineries so they can play 'catch up' with the price of oil, there are the reasons for a 'windfall tax'.
    I didn't notice any comments regarding what Holly Sklar pointed out regarding where the U.S. stands in terms of 'industrialized nations' and the media's failing to point such out to U.S. citizen's.
    My critique of the show was the emphasis on the pay disparity affecting those unionized. As a 30 year IT professional I can assure everyone that such exists across all levels of workers whether organized or not. An example of how business gets it's way on the backs of the workers can be seen here:
    http://www.gotovertime.com/

    And, personal experience again, the CA Labor Relations Board will NOT pursue cases against 'hi tech' employers or enforce existing law so one is left to go to court (which I am) over wages not paid.

    And NOBODY negatively critiquing this program addressed the demonstrable gap regarding the minimum wage. Nor did they address the corruptness of our political system. For instance ""Interesting how lack of prosecution of illegal activities can be "on" the table at one place(FISA legislation), and prosecution of illegal activities (impeachment) can be "off" the table at another place."

    The federal govt is fast approaching a 10 TRILLION$ deficit w/many 10's of TRILLION$ more in future unfunded liabilities...how anyone can think we need to give this entity MORE control over our lives and the economy is beyond me.

    Ever heard of the Constitution? Ever read it? Do you want freedom?

    Americans are in for a very rude awakening in the near future. Unfortunately, most will probably look to the same, old, failed solutions that've been offered for so long: more govt intervention.

    Nevermind, the govt can solve all of our problems--all we have to do is give it more of our money and freedom!

    ED SANTORO--

    Where did I say I wanted "no government"? I am not an anarchist, but think government should be severly restricted to protecting private property and life (and the federal govt abiding by the constitution). It comes down to a matter of jurisdiction, and govt should have none of it over our personal lives and the economy.


    You talk about "trite cliches"...then go and offer up the "trite cliches" that so many proponents of statism offer: roads, education, self-defense, and emergency services wouldn't exist w/o govt.

    ROADS: I actually agree that LOCAL govts should maintain public roads (a collective right to travel is important) w/a user tax aimed at gasoline consumption. However, who says roads wouldn't exist w/o govt? The private sector produces all of the things that make our lives better...why so little faith in your fellow man?

    EDUCATION: Parents should be responsible for their children's education, and have the right to educate them in whatever manner they choose--period. Eliminate the property tax (which supposedly goes to "education"), take education out of the public realm and put it into the private realm. Public Ed is one of the most pure forms of socialism in America, and its succeeded as well as anyone should've expected.

    SELF-DEFENSE: What would work better if you were being attacked (or your home invaded): calling 911 and waiting 10-15 minutes for "help", or having the means to repel attacks/invaders? Again, I DO believe govt has an obligation to punish infringements on your rights, but it cannot protect us from everything.

    EMERGENCY SERVICES: Again, why do you think useful services like fire-protection wouldn't exist w/o govt? I--again--am not entirely against this notion as long as it is locally funded, but think a superior and more-effective service could be offered privately.

    Social security, medicare, inflation, education...all of the things govt involves itself in are in a perpetual state of "crisis"...the govt is always trying to "fix" these "problems", but never can seem to get it right. The solution? More govt meddling of course! Why do people never think to take the govt's power over these areas away from it?


    I am an 85 year old canadian woman.We in Canada have a chance to vote for a Socialist government which I do.I don't blame the Politicians,I blame the people that vote them into power.in Ireland and Scadinavian Countries they have wiped out poverty by not giving tax breaks to the wealthy but instead use the funds to susidize salaries.Also higher wages give the working poor money to spend,this helps local businesses.Breeds healthier children,which increases their capacity to learn.Everyone gains.I wish we had a Bill moyers on our PBS station.He should be mandatory listening in aLL our government offices.Kudos to you Bill.

    Thank you, Thank you Mr. Moyers for;
    “The American Dream In Reverse?”

    At the risk of sounding like a whining victim, I understand and empathize with the UCLA Staff member that you introduced us to on your show. I work (14 years) for the UC System also. I have had to supplement the $35,000.00 a year I earn. I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. My salary is $8,000 a year below the poverty level in my neighborhood.

    My American Dream died 2.5 years ago when I downsized for the third time in as many years just to keep afloat. What really chaps my hide is not being broke & a paycheck away from having absolutely nothing; it is the arrogance of the Regents and Administration (Robber Barons) of the University.

    I will not snivel I will let others tell the tale and allow the numbers to speak for themselves.

    The San Francisco Chronicle has been running a series of articles written by Tanya Schevitz, and Todd Wallack on the salary and benefits given to the chosen few. You may recall a few years back when the Regents (Robber Barons) needed to raise tuition while pocketing millions of dollars, well this is a considerably more in depth look at University of California spending habits.

    See http://www.sfgate.com > for the series.

    UC piling extra cash on top of pay

    8,500 top staffers pulling down at least $20,000 each in bonuses, compensation

    (Just a sample here)

    TOP UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
    EMPLOYEE SALARIES

    Amounts based on total compensation for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, rounded to the nearest dollar. In addition to salaries, total pay includes overtime, bonuses, housing allowances, relocation allowances, administrative stipends, revenue sharing and more than a dozen other types of cash compensation. It does not include health or retirement benefits.
    Source: UC payroll data
    Name/Title Adam Greenspan / N/A
    Campus UC Davis
    Salary $70,538
    Total Pay $561,155

    Name/Title David Jablons /
    Professor in Residence
    Campus UC San Francisco
    Salary $70,538
    Total Pay $561,155

    Name/Title Chris E. Freise /
    Associate Professor in Residence
    Campus UC San Francisco
    Salary $69,825
    Total Pay $638,826

    Name/Title Jeff Tedford / Head Coach
    - Intercollegiate Athletics
    Campus UC Berkeley
    Salary $152,590
    Total Pay $1,562,453


    SOLUTION??

    I cooked up a wheeze for dealing with growing wealth inequality that one could almost imagine is politically feasible because it co-opts a favorite argument that the rich like to use to justify gross inequality. Much to my delight the Financial Times actually printed the idea in a letter on 28 December 2006. (See url at the end of this post.) Not that anyone important would have noticed or cared, of course.

    The letter is deferential and circumspect. In plain English, the idea is to let the tax rate max out at 100% (gasp!!) but the catch is that this does not happen at some fixed number of dollars of income. Instead the tax/welfare system is modified to ensure some minimum possible income, and the maximum possible income is set to some multiple of this; for example max possible income might be 10,000X min possible income. So when the rich say their high incomes are justified because that helps the economy and helps everyone, we can say "why of course! That's why you will like this system! Whenever you help the economy enough to raise the minimum income by $1, you raise the cap on your own income by $10,000!".

    One can argue over how to fill in the mathematical details, but there are plenty of ways to do it. And one can argue about how big to make the max/min multiple and other parameters, how to deal with income vs. capital, etc., but these are details that can be adjusted in many ways that still accommodate the basic principle.

    My FT letter is here:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/72cc0518-9617-11db-9976-0000779e2340.html

    FrankR: Great link. Let's get twenty more similar background checks on various institutions, organize them all in one place, and go from there.

    Go to YouTube and key in "Overview Of America 1 of 3" (obviously, there are 2 other parts you can watch after this one) for an EXCELLENT and brief (each part is about 10 minutes) description of what form of govt/economy America was SUPPOSED to have, and how we've gone astray from the principle of liberty and justice.

    Stop being a "good Democrats/liberals"...stop being a "good Republican/conservative"...start being a good AMERICAN who believes in civil and economic freedom.

    Trite cliches are bandied about on both sides. It's not about more or less government; it's about RESPONSIBLE government. I actually do have hope that when a majority of Americans feel pushed too far, change will happen. We may even be in the middle of that change currently. No country is perfect and it does take a bit of time to make the necessary corrections.

    Shane: You don't offer an opening for any real alternative. You merely say that the U.S. is a quasi-everything state. You seem to want no regulation and absolutely no government, an anarchy that will not last long at all. Who will pay for the roads? Who will pay for education? Who will pay to keep anyone from taking anything they want from you? Who will pay to put out fires. Taxes are a necessity, but fair and transparent taxation is even more of a necessity.

    The various hidden taxation of the middle and working classes is correct, but I don't see how the absence of government would help the matter. Richard Clark has recently come out with a book explaining how the lack of responsibility in current government is deliberate and arrogant, and that good people in government have their hands tied.

    I would like to see an honest breakdown of how corporations are taxed, so we can see just what the real percentages are. I know as a small business owner that corporations have many advantages. There is a documentary of the rise of the corporation, which is very interesting, and which I'll have to watch again. The main gist of the documentary, however, seemed to be that corporations were created to obscure liability and responsibility. Only government can change this.

    I'll try to research one corporation and try to see just how much in subsidies it gets, how much in taxes it pays, how much in political contributions it makes, how many employees it hires and fires, how much of the workload is outsourced abroad, how responsibly and ethically it behaves.

    I believe there is already a book (and more than one, I'm sure) and a Journal program devoted to this very issue.

    As I said, I'm in a union and think they CAN serve a useful purpose: collectively negotiating for better compensation. However, when they go BEYOND this and start advocating for special treatment from govt, they devolve into nothing more than a lobbying/special interest group which has no place in the halls of govt (just like the lobbying efforts of corporations don't); or, worse, when they commit acts of aggression against others.

    Hope my latest post "enlightened" you Futility!

    I'm a lower-middle class union wage earner (I'd be upper-middle class if I didn't live in "liberal" California), and I think Sklar and Fraser are both full of sh*t. Want to know why living standards are falling? Lets take a glance at my situation:

    1. Portion of my check taken for federal, state, social security, and medicare taxes: 22.5%

    2. Add to this: sales tax (over 7% in my county), mandatory car insurance, drivers license/registration fees, tickets arising from stupid nanny state-type legislation, cost of complying w/all sorts of unnecessary regulations, property tax (1.25% of assesed value in the high-cost SoCal property market)

    3. Consider the cost of taxation/regulation built into EVERYTHING we purchase (environmental, safety, cost of complying w/"civil rights" legislation, lawsuit-cost arising from arbitrary legislation, mandated minumum wage, excise taxes, business licensing/taxes, etc...you get the point); a SIGNIFICANT portion (30-50%) of the price of EVERYTHING is directly caused by govt.

    4. Healthcare and education costs are rising mainly due to govt interference in these markets. Anyone who thinks MORE govt involvement in these areas will do any good is clueless.

    5. The hidden tax of inflation (currently running at a real rate over 10%/annum) is also passed over here. This is the most largely ignored phenomenon by the corporate media (suprise, suprise), but one that is a huge factor in the diminishing living standard in America. The govt has promised all kinds of goodies to different special interest groups, but can't raise taxes enough to pay all of these groups, so they go and borrow "money" from the Federal Reserve (which creates the "money" out of thin air)--this dilutes the value of the money currently in circulation, causing it to become worth less. The result is a loss of purchasing power, i.e., in effect a decrease in real wages.


    All of these factors combined w/horrible trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, SPP, and an unsustainable foreign policy of military and economic intervention--enacted by the government controlled by BOTH Democrats and Republicans--is the REAL reason why things are so bad.

    All Moyers, and these two clowns give us, however, is the same old line of: "We need more government" and, of course, we need to "stop global warming"--yeah, combating a non-existent problem w/unnecessary "solutions" will really help things! The problem is that virtually NO ONE in the corporate media is advocating the ONLY solutions that would actually help the middle and lower classes: free-markets, private property rights, limited/constitutional govt, a respect for natural rights, and sound money (gold, silver, copper coinage). The United States has become a quasi-fascist, quasi-socialist, quasi-communist (all of these are forms of collectivism/state-ism, i.e., tyranny) nation, and until the people force a reversal nothing will get better for the average citizen.

    A couple of links that might aid in the reversal of the destruction of the middle class. Congress desperately needs fixing so:http://change-congress.org/ Next would be health care. We allow insurance companies and hospitals to make health care a profit making enterprise.We allow the "conservatives" to frighten us with visions of faceless bureaucrats in charge of our health care Now we have Insurance companies denying claims to fatten the profits of the company. There are a lot of first world countries who disagree. Where some of the money goes is addressed by the second URL. Do you know that NonProfit Hospitals make huge profits and this is allowed by congress?
    http://www.wherethemoneygoes.com/
    It's a start.The destruction of the middle class is well advanced and our elected representatives with our involvement can save this country from becoming another banana republic. Yes we can with leadership that understands that the middle class is the backbone of a first world country.


    Both of these guests offer the same old, tired, solution for "our" problems: more govt.

    Oh! How thought-provoking! You have a better answer? Please enlighten us! Share your wisdom with us!

    Simply one of your best shows. Your guests were very thought provoking and intelligent. Mr. Moyers, thank you for having people on your show who are willing to talk about the dark side of our economy. We have the right to enjoy our system, however, it is far from perfect. We are all created equal, but not all treated equal. Believing that the "market" will fix everything is very narrow minded.

    Both of these guests offer the same old, tired, solution for "our" problems: more govt.

    When Marie Antoinette said let them eat cake, she must have been referring to the "scholarly" middle classes - you, at least, can have your cake and eat it too.

    You quote with approval the commentator that mentions "shipping jobs to China and Mexico".

    But most service jobs can't be shipped abroad, so - hmm - what do we do now? Well we in essence bring China and Mexico here, of course. Oops, can't say anything about that, can we - since to oppose immigration (even illegal immigration) is "racist".

    Unions by themselves can't solve anything if the demand and supply within the labor market allows the unionizing/unionized workers to be easily replaced.

    Then there's the unspoken role of violence or the threat of violence. PBS has a long history of (deliberately or inadvertently) supporting the police state over ordinary Americans (gun control issues, for example) while weakening the state relative to America's (i.e. our) enemies (for example, opposition to policies throughout the Middle East - even while bemoaning the high price of oil and gas).

    Why are the rich (Democrats as well as Republicans) ripping us off and destroying America?

    Hell, they'll boldly *tell* you why: Because they can.

    And why is America sinking? Because of the gross inadequacy of the middle classes, whose pretty words only function to fill in the gap left by the courage Americans once had.

    Steve Fraser had it exactly right when he *talked* about "the great silence" and the "often bloody" uprisings. But then you asked the wrong question - "Where is the outrage today?"

    There's plenty of outrage, and if you genuinely don't know that, it only shows how well you've insulated yourself from it.

    What you should have asked is "Where is the courage today?" Or maybe you should have asked "Where is the power today" - referring to the relative power of the people uprising relative to the power of the state. But you can't really ask those questions, since you've worked so hard to build that imbalance of power and your commentator Fraser continued to do that. I'm sure Fraser himself would have gone apopleptic if anyone had suggesting repeating those "bloody uprisings" today.

    And in the end, Fraser wants the solution to come from the state and from the legal and illegal immigrant communities. In short, in the end, like all middle class talkers, the fix will be "done for" us by someone else. He hasn't the ...adequacy to talk about how he might *do it* himself - or how we might do it for ourselves.

    I have some ideas on that score, but not that I would share with you, since you are determined to be the enemy, despite yourself.

    P.S. Corporations *are* government interference. Including all media corporations.

    What would be the overall effect if corporations were encouraged to move their operations, all of it, to another country, perhaps another country where their business operations would not be as protected but taxes would be low? Wouldn't another company, perhaps a better company, move in to take its place? Would the economy shift in other directions to fill the gap? I bet corporations would hate to be put into that situation to find out.

    By the way, if Microsoft, for example, has operations in another country, do those operations in any way benefit from U.S. taxes?

    Equality, be it economics or any other, has a terrible history of opposition, and so too the present. Oneday the future will be truly or equally, unopposed, just and free!

    =
    MJA

    Unes:


    It seems here the guests did grossly exaggerate the statistics for worse. It seems we have been hat!

    There is no contradiction here. And the standard of living increased (!, until a few years ago) at the same time, the wages effectively decreased. Though nobody is citing misleading statistics. The contradiction disappears if one looks at the median income of households. The median household income increased over the past 30 or so years while the wages went down in the same time. Reason: More WOMEN started working to keep (or increase) the family's standard of living. In other words: The salary of the man was not sufficient anymore. Therefore, the women were forced to find a job as well (with all that this entails, children, alone at home when they return from school, etc). (Also, a lot of things people came to view as normal, TVs, VCRs, stereo, computer, video games, etc got cheaper considerably over the years since their production was transferred to cheap labor countries and advances in technology.)

    Ian Mcgregor:


    We seem to be stuck in this never-ending battle between those that believe in Capitalism and those who don't...

    That is a false dichotomy. It's not that people opposing the current trends do not believe in capitalism (well, maybe some). The problem is that the true believers force capitalism as the panacea on every problem they encounter. Take for example health care. If the objective is to create an industry that makes lots of profits, the current system is a success. But when the objective is to provide good health care to as many people as possible, the current system is an abysmal failure as lots of statistics show. Society has to decide which objective it really wants. Both objectives are not compatible with each other, you simply cannot have it both ways. If one wants objective 2 but implements the solution to objective 1, what you get is a system where 'health care' providers pay a higher bonus the more requests are denied (since this does increase profits). One simply needs regulations to reach objective 2 in a capitalist system.

    jan:


    A lot of people have swallowed the line that unions are evil and unnecessary and they have literally become loyal to a company ...

    That's exactly right. Companies demand that their employees are loyal to it, but the CEOs have no qualms whatsoever to fire the same employees when they see fit. Companies do not deserve the loyalty of their employees. The destruction of the unions has severely disadvantaged the 'little guy'. It's not a level playing field anymore.

    myself:


    I initially thought,...

    Correction: It should have said : 'I thought ...', this 'initially' messes up the meaning of whole sentence.

    Interesting that “David” can’t see the difference in a decent take home pay and good benefits coexisting as opposed to a mindset that thinks a decent take home pay is something to trade off for good benefits. Is it because he’s too young to remember when they did coexist?

    Workers have been taking it on the chin for a long time now. We once thought of ourselves as the brightest and best educated on the planet. I don’t know whether the libertarian party came first or the corporate world decided why pay for employees here when with some training they could get employees elsewhere cheaper but together they have taken quite a toll.

    Example: We had a lot of college students looking forward to bright futures in IT jobs here when the employers decided due to the internet that they could ship these jobs overseas cheaper. Next thing you know, we began hearing on the evening news that our IT workers were inferior, not as educated, not as smart, not as industrious. After we hemorrhaged IT jobs to India for a while, laid off large numbers of IT workers which was on the evening news frequently and anyone with half a brain going into college started looking into other less easily transferred overseas jobs, we were told by no less than Bill Gates that we weren’t training enough IT workers. (I believe this was when he announced starting schools and IT training programs in India if I remember correctly?)

    Anyway, bottom line they created the situation, blamed us the little guy for the situation, and did what they wanted to do anyway. This is a pattern which has been used a lot.
    Same thing with unions. A lot of people have swallowed the line that unions are evil and unnecessary and they have literally become loyal to a company with the right who can and sometimes does fire them at the drop of a hat and will maintain that loyalty to the detriment of their own and their family’s health and welfare. I also find it interesting that things have manipulated things to the point that the “little guy” who is hoping for a 2 story home and yard and a two car garage (in other words, the American dream) is considered outrageous and nothing less than greed incorporated while the wealthy can have more money than they or their children can ever hope to spend.

    I don't pretend to know what the answer is. I just know this can't continue or the corporations are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. I guess that's why they call it gilded?

    I loved 2/3 of the recent program. Great subject matter, that not enough have the courage to address.

    But Rick Carr's piece tonight was embarrassing. While I find myself in agreement with its central argument (ie, wage inequality in this country is out of control), its reporting of 'selective' facts is the same type of horribly irresponsible reporting that we liberals have railed against the Bush admin./Fox News for, devalues the piece and makes it easily subject to attack.

    1) Yes, UC (UCLA specifically) wages are lower than many other companies' wages. But UC benefits make up for that -- our (yes, I am a UC employee) insurance and PENSION (yes, we have a generous one) and other benefits are exceptionally generous. To report on lower UC wages but not discuss the other benefits is misleading and disingenuous. I am disgusted by this omission.
    2) The "higher wages will spread the wealth and create more jobs" argument is exactly the same "voodoo economics" that we liberals have been railing against since 1980. The piece shows NO proof of more jobs being created as a result of higher union wages, just posits such as a fact with no backup statistics. 'More $ in hand = more jobs' is the precisely the definition of trickle-down Reaganism. Why is it now applicable here, when it has been railed against by the left for 28 years?

    I am ashamed, and even disgusted, that Moyers's program -- which I used to hold in much higher esteem and to a much higher standard than most -- would stoop to such shoddy, specious and misleading information. The selective use of and omission of data and the "lies, damned lies and statistics" cliche totally applies here.

    Ms. Sklar's and Mr. Fraser's interviews were excellent. Mr. Carr's piece was pathetic.

    HOLLY SKLAR: "Our wages now adjusting for inflation, average wages are lower than they were in the 1970s. Our minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, is lower than it was in the 1950s, and why is it? One of the things going on is that income and wealth inequality have gone back to the 1920s. We are back at levels that we saw right before the Great Depression."

    Even though for the past 30 years the standard of living in America for the middle class families has been going down, but the situation is not as dire as it was in 1920s. Then, the working class were destitute. It seems here the guests did grossly exaggerate the statistics for worse. It seems we have been hat!

    Derek--
    I am sorry, but I have a very difficult time feeling sorry for the poor rich people. They do not have the electricity turned off when they can not pay the electric bill in the winter time when there is a sick child in the house and the source of heat is electric. They do not have to feed their children popcorn to keep their hungry stomachs from growling all night. They do not lose thier house when the taxes and the interest rates exceed their income. They do not lose their job and their respect when their job goes out of the country.
    The rich can afford gas prices if they went to fifty dollars a gallon. They do not have to choose between feeding their family or putting gas in their car to get to work. There are rich people who own several houses that they seldom use. There are workaholics that work long hours because of greed not need.
    There is no one who is worth a several million times more than anyone else.
    We need incentive and a capitalist system to manage our system of supply and demand but we do not need people who make more money than the US mint. Temperance is a critical cardinal virtue.
    Equity is a necessary attribute of economic efficiency. It is also necessary to have a surplus work force to allow flexible industry.
    People who work deserve a fair share of the fruits of their labor. Otherwise, inequity undermines the quality of the society and quality of the lives of the society's people.
    There is no excuse for greedy people denying people the means to support their family.
    If we can afford to spend trillions of dollars to kill people we can afford to pay our workers a cost of living wage.

    Mr. Moyers, it would enormously strengthen your position in this debate (and many others) to define pay justice.

    We must define pay justice. How can we know how much people should have and should pay unless we have sound, fundamental ideas of pay justice? James Madison said "The purpose of government is justice". The state built on injustice cannot stand - so to be democratic, for the people to do their job of ruling, to save the state, to be patriotic, to love your country, to love yourself, to pursue happiness (of which pay justice is a very important part), you need to be able to locate pay justice. At the moment, many are saying: these people should have less, these others have more. But how much should they have? What are the principles of pay justice? Happiness [everyone's everything], survival of the state, peace, order, satisfaction – all depend on justice. Those are 'pretty important' things, yet we look in vain for thoughtful study of where pay justice is. It should have been the focus of all education, from young age right through. People should have been very sophisticated about pay justice, able to pinpoint it by good principles. Instead, all the debate we hear boils down to: they should have less, no, they shouldn't have less, they should have more, no they shouldn't have more.

    Pay justice is the great wallflower, waiting to give us the world average pay per hour, which is approximately US $40 per hour including paying housewives and students. Pay justice waits to give us peace and plenty - and give us our future back.

    Pay ranges widely while no one asks how widely it should range. How are people going to be able to say: "This far and no further. This is the line between right and wrong, between fairpay and robbery, between fairpay and overpay-underpay."? Children should all grow up knowing that overpay-underpay is the cause of the shaking of societies to pieces. People should worry about their society being shaken to pieces. People should know that every empire so far has been shaken to pieces by pay injustice. There is no subject closer to civic responsibility and pursuit of happiness - no subject more worth our care and mental labour - and it is utterly neglected. Vigilance is the price of liberty – but vigilance about what? Very few can answer that question.

    Proper pay is what a person's work would win them in a state of nature, plus an equal share of the benefits of division of labour. An equal share, since division of labour is a community effort, with equal contribution, so everyone should reap the benefits equally.
    Pay justice is no-pay for no-work, pay only for work [= sacrifice], equal pay for equal work. Pay justice is taking out of the social pool of work as much as you put in, as your work puts in. [We pool the workproducts because of division of labour, and trade is ideally the exchange of items of equal workvalue, in order to remix goods separated by division of labour, job specialisation, to get the mix of goods everyone wants and needs.] The variety of goods we take out is ideally of equal workvalue to the workproducts we produced in our job. Anything more or less than this is overpay or underpay, and overpay-underpay is unjust, causing tensions which escalate endlessly as people try to get justice and people tug to and fro, causing violence, war, crime, weaponry growth - which has grown for 3000 years - and brought us to superextreme pay injustice and danger, and corruption, tyranny, slavery, wageslavery, disorder, undemocracy, falling states - all our gigantic problems.

    What things are there, that justify unequal pay per unit of work, unequal pay/hr, unequal pay/yr? Are there any? Provided society pays students for studying, there are NO reasons for unequal pay per hour. Close scrutiny of the reasons given for unequal pay do not, as far as I can see, stand up to rational examination. (I’m open to rational discussion.) One common, universally accepted reason given for payment is personal gifts – he's really smart, she's especially talented, but reason says that these gifts are work done by mother nature. It doesn't take any work, any sacrifice, by anyone, to have these gifts, and using them doesn't mean the gifted person is sacrificing any more than a lesser gifted person does who uses the gifts he got. No one got to choose greater or lesser gifts. No one who has lower intellect or more fragile health or lesser innate abilities chose that for themselves, so it is no part of justice to force the lesser-gifted to give up equal pay in order to give overpay to those who won greater gifts. Rationally, [as distinct from the irrational invalid fallacious argument to the authority of irrational but accepted ideas, in which people put such great reliance] pay for natural gifts is as irrational as payment for receiving Christmas gifts, which has not received the fallacious support of custom.

    Personal sacrifice of time and effort spent developing one's gifts is different. Pay for developing gifts [of commercial value] is just, because developing gifts is work. There is no *reason* anyone can give for payment for natural gifts, and no reason anyone can give for others having to fund this payment, and because the pool of wealth is finite, it is the underpaid who must take less for their sacrifice in order for there to be more to give the better-gifted. Everyone loves being paid for gifts, because they hope to benefit by them, but it hasn't worked out like that and it never will work out like that. 99% are paid less than the world average pay per hour. The downside of funding this payment is, for 99% of people, much greater than the benefit, but few are aware of this - of how they rob themselves by supporting this payment, of how they con themselves out of money by this, of how they open the floodgates of limitless overpay-underpay [and consequent violence and misery] by this support.

    Again, and similarly, people support pay for experience - but cold, hard sense says that experience is gained at no extra sacrifice of time and effort beyond that made in doing the paid work that provided the experience. Again, people support it, defend it, although for 99%, the costs of funding this exceed the financial benefit to them. They con themselves out of their full rightful pay by mis-thinking that pay for experience gives them more money, and they thus open the floodgates to unlimited uncontrollable growth of overpay-underpay [and consequent unlimited uncontrollable violence, war, crime, weaponry ever-growing]. People don't want to look at justice because they fear it will mean less money - they never suspect that justice will mean more money and the destruction of violence.

    How could stopping myself from getting pay for things like gifts and experience give me *more* money? It doesn't make sense to people - it doesn't make sense to people because they are looking at a tiny part of the picture – themselves only. Not being paid yourself for non-work things gives you more money because it stops others being paid for these things at your expense. Overpay, pay for nonwork, is funded by work for no pay, underpay, by others. The overpay buys things other people have worked to make. Your participation in this injustice prevents you stopping others benefiting from this leak - the line is crossed, erased, and there are no principles of justice left to limit pay, to prevent unlimited pay/hr, hence we have pay per hour, after 3000 years' growth of inequality, from $10,000,000 to 1cent - an inequality violence misery war crime weaponry tyranny slavery undemocracy unliberty unfraternity corruption brutality torture state-terrorism private-terrorism warmongering cannonfoddering disinformation rights-trampling factor of one billion, and rising - to extinction soon, thanks to e=mc2. Happy people have no history. We have heaps of history - and history is now accelerating exponentially.

    Get the idea of pay justice, and we get a history-free golden age. Keep faith with pay injustice, and we get oblivion. The bombs are global. Global means every house. Culture is based on ideas. Our idea for 3000 years has been wrong - it has produced underpay misery for 99%, overpay misery for 1%, and violence for everyone.

    Overpay is necessarily always happiness-negative, because 1. satisfaction waits on desire, overpay is just 3000 pairs of shoes for two feet, 1000 rooms for one body, etc., and 2. erosion of overpay [individual, national and imperial] [by both underpaid and overpaid] is myriad and relentless, so the labour of keeping it is constant and danger-fraught: the sense of justice is indestructible.

    The same “logic whoopsie” governs the universal support for private inheritance. The heir has done nothing to deserve that money, done nothing to earn/create that wealth. People see themselves getting money from private inheritance, they don't see themselves funding this gift, impoverishing themselves, and they don't see they are thereby starting the evergrowth of inequality violence misery.

    The same logical error governs the universal support of profits above fairpay for work. By definition, the owners have done nothing to earn profits above fairpay for work - others fund that gift. For various reasons, it is not good to interfere directly with this injustice. It can be controlled at the macro-macro level by making everyone equal heirs of large deceased estates. Everyone has done the work that the overfortunes represent and buy, so overfortunes belong to everyone.

    And the same logical error [seeing only part of the picture, imagining themselves gaining, not seeing themselves losing by funding the bigger gains for others, not seeing themselves opening the gates to ever-growing inequality violence misery, which gets to everyone, overpaid and underpaid] governs the support of capital gains. People do the work that builds cities or other infrastructure, but only landowners get the added value - and get it in proportion to their fortunes - for no work, for no sacrifice of personal time and effort to working.

    We only have to see the reality, we only have to see the real enormous badness of pay injustice, and the real enormous goodness of pay justice, and human culture is changed forever, violence dies forever - [war is not human nature - human nature is unchanging and violence has grown for 3000 years - no correlation, therefore no causality. And so-called religious and racial wars are pay-injustice wars along religious or racial lines; where there are religious or racial differences without pay injustice, there are no wars - again, no correlation, so no causality.] Culture is ideas. A change of ideas is change of culture. And the ideas are not hard to see.

    No force is needed, just education, just epiphany - no evergrowing bureaucracy, but a massive reduction of bureaucracy [lower taxes, more money and freedom for productivity] - no group, just individual realization and tell your friends - no economic upheaval, just a little law with gigantic benefit - no restriction of ambition, just efficient prevention of evergrowth of pay injustice. Pay injustice is the vital justice, because money is the joker good, good for most things, including social power.

    Justice causes happiness. We can secure far, far greater happiness for this whole planet, but not by pretending to believe in justice but by knowing the reality: pay injustice is theft, theft is injury, injury ricochets untiringly as atoms. As doormats, people are totally unreliable - every plutocracy has fallen. Where is Spanish Inca gold? Honey attracts bears. The Golden Rule is ironclad: hurt people and they hurt back. Other-injury is self-injury - ask Hitler, Marie Antoinette, Ceausescu, Nero, Richard III.

    Justice is not a cost, it is happiness out of the vast quagmire, at the cost of objective, patient examination of a new expression of an ancient idea, at the cost of ditching idols that have hurt us enormously, that are set to kill us - is the price too high?

    "Wall Street"

    May be you are old enough, or maybe you are too young. But try to watch my 1987 hit movie: "Wall Street" again or anew (click my name for intro).

    Greed is good! Greed rules!

    A quarter of century later, America has lost big time!! The world has lost big time!!!

    The moaning and whining here is so pathetic to see and hear...

    So what can you do about it, hah?

    I'm torn with the conclusions being drawn by this show. No disrespect intended but while I'm sympathetic to their sentiment, they seem rather impractical, quaint and archaic to a certain degree.
    On the one hand, I'm a strong believer that a nation without a large middle class (in the classic sense) is not worth living in. How one sustains such a thing in today's global economy where wealth invariably concentrates is, perhaps, beyond me.
    On the other hand, I'm kind of partial to the concept of the invisible hand and a free market.
    Might I suggest that we begin to come to terms with the notion that, while the free market only works where the incentive to operate exists, there are probably limits as to what most in society would consider an acceptable amount of personal wealth accumulation. We seem to be stuck in this never-ending battle between those that believe in Capitalism and those who don't -- as if such a system could ever practically be implemented in its purest form anyway. Why waste one's time on reinventing the wheel? Why not simply define an upper limit on acceptable personal wealth concentration AS WELL AS a cap on the assets that can be inherited and be done with it? Force wealth accumulation beyond such limits to be redirected, not by the state but, by the accumulator, tax-free, to the beneficiaries of their choice -- charitable foundations, community organizations, etc... I would also suggest that limits should be placed on ownership in terms of market share in any given industry or the percentage of total shares owned by one person in any single publicly traded company.
    What we really want is to keep the money flowing NOT to stifle life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Just a few, admittedly, imperfect thoughts.


    What's your point? We're slightly below a few countries which have much smaller and less diverse populations. Get real.

    The point is that you claim the whole program is biased but fail to provide any supporting evidence for your claim. Europe has more inhabitants than the US, by the way, which is also very diverse, and has a higher life expectancy than the US. Diversity in itself is no reason. And 'slightly below' is the understatement of the year. Tell this the >100.000 people who die entirely preventable deaths in the US each year because of insufficient access to adequate health care. (Yes, that's right! More than one hundred thousand preventable deaths each year! So who is out of touch with reality here?)


    Shoveling mushy, misleading figures isn't going to change anyone's mind who cares to think for themselves. Keep your populist rhetoric.

    Again, you fail to provide any supporting evidence. Why are my figures misleading? You are just talk. You claim you like to think for yourself but in actuality just parrot the usual right-wing talking points. Why do you simply ignore evidence that doesn't fit into your world view? And more importantly why do you defend policies that hurt normal people and try to stall change from which you yourself could benefit?
    I initially thought, that not all is lost in your case, but it appears my initial assessment of your state of mind was unfortunately correct.

    Philip,
    It sound you are very intelligent and fair minded person. The chances of any third party candidates to win US presidency is very remote, unrealistic, and one can say it is a very bad joke! I would suggest if any of these Third Party Candidates wanted to be considered seriously, then they should pull out all their resources into one senate race in one of the states which they think is favorable for them. Through a single senate seat they could influence the US policies more than one could imagine. Now, that I would consider a serious reform candidate.

    How can we have globalization without destroying the working class of America? We are headed down hill fast. This administration has done more to harm us in seven years than any of us could have imagined. I don't look for help from anyone. I don't know how the economy can be turned around.

    Bill,

    Thanks for another excellent program. This was an excellent companion to an earlier interview you conducted with Barbara Ehrenreich about her book "Nickled and Dimed" and the documentary, "The American Ruling Class"; I'd recommend them to everybody.

    One think that perplexes me, however, is that whenever corporate greed and excess is exposed, you, and actually the entire mainstream media, do not mention the candidacy of Ralph Nader who actually does have a policy and track record when it comes to the corporate control of our government.

    Now I know that there will be many of our concerned and progressive friends who will cry out with the "spoiler" label regarding Mr. Nader; but who is the real spoiler? How will things be any different under Obama or McCain? They simply promote different levels of corporate control.

    For those who cry out that Mr. Nader cannot be elected I ask why? That's not the starry-eyed view of this person but why would anybody want to box me in to voting for a candidate simply because they are not as "bad" as the other choice? Perhaps the majority of people here disagree with me, that's fine, but why do you think it's o.k. to limit my choices or pressure Mr. Nader not to run. If any candidate; Obama, McCain, Barr, etc. truly believes in the messages that they send to the electorate why don't they think they are strong enough to persuade people to vote for them.

    Let Ralph run and participate in the debates and let's see who is for corporate control and who is not.

    Philip

    Does anybody see these drastic changes in corporate practices related at some level to race, the rationale being that after the Civil Rights movement, corporate America started on a road of Capital White Flight?

    I don't think there are many people in power that would even be aware enough to admit this underlying impetus, as if it has all been more of a subconscious racism. The sad truth is that if such trends were not affecting a wide swath of Americans of all backgrounds we probably wouldn't be paying as much attention. Because these trends, to my understanding, are largely subconscious, corporate America doesn't quite realize what it is doing and runs the risk of hurting itself, while bringing the country down.

    Bill, you neglected to mention another way the social safety net has been shredded. While the CEOs are now getting posthumous payouts in the millions for their heirs, many American workers have seen their company-provided life insurance coverage go from a year's salary to only a standard $10,000, which is substantially reduced again upon retirement. All of the money that used to go for providing benefits to workers -- health ins, pensions, life insurance, even in some cases sick time and vacation -- is now going to executive comp. and even executive-heir comp.

    There was a wonderful article in The Atlantic Monthly over ten years ago, "If the GDP IS UP, Why Is America Down." It looked at the dynamic U.S. economy and its GDP, but suggested that the GDP is high because social frustration and disappointment are also high and that this disappointment fuels spending: divorce requires attorney fees, home sales, apartment rentals; abuse of any kind usually leads to damages that must be paid for, natural disasters are also a boon, etc.

    Whatever gets people to spend their money is good for the U.S. economy, though not necessarily good for U.S. society. And this reminds me of something I think I heard on Moyers a week ago. Someone had written something to the effect of "The U.S. is not a nation; it is a market." This really put a lot into perspective for me. It made think about U.S. history and the founding of America, and that America has always been the pursuit of corporations. Occasionally, when things have gotten out of hand, America has acted like a nation of people, for a brief time anyway.

    I find it a great relief to see that others perceive what seems so obvious to me but, in practice, appears opaque to others.

    Capitalism does not work on the honor system: it is based on greed. Greed is part of human nature. Most people rise above this, but when too much money or pressure come into play even good people can succumb.
    Business has no innate responsibility to work for the good of society. The Constitution assigns that responsibility to government - "to promote the general Welfare". It is one of the six fundamental justifications for government, and cannot be ignored or delegated to the private sector.

    Unlike most people, I believe that the economy is driven by sales, not jobs. Companies employ only the people they need to meet projected sales and, to varying degrees, product development. Government incentives will not create jobs if there is no prospect of new business.

    The economy is most fueled by those who benefit least from it. Too much of the wealth going to the top is not going back into the economy. Trickle-down prosperity is not only failing those who only get the trickle, but the economy as a whole, and the country.
    Like massive deficit spending, huge trade deficits, negative savings rates, and irresponsible credit lending, this wealth disparity is ultimately unsustainable.

    The more that the top 1% take, the more they undermine the very source of their wealth.

    The way to compete with third-world countries is not to become one.
    And let's keep "Corporate America" a figure of speech.

    Zera

    Oh, and Bob:
    I think the word you were looking for is "socialism", not "fascism". But thanks for playing.

    I worked for a company that audited homes for insurance companies. I reviewed reports of high-value homes, homes over $500,000. One I looked at was a $1 to $2 million log home in northern Wisconsin. In the description, the caretaker of the home had bragged there were 2 miles of white pine logs in this 5500 sq. ft. home with three car builtin garage. And the real kicker was that the home was a summer home for the guy who lived in Chicago. This is more than Gilded. This is greed.

    How is citing statistics like: US has lower life-expectancy...

    What's your point? We're slightly below a few countries which have much smaller and less diverse populations. Get real.

    Shoveling mushy, misleading figures isn't going to change anyone's mind who cares to think for themselves. Keep your populist rhetoric.

    It has no bearing on the story anyways.

    Why do I waste my time? Enjoy your fantasy.


    Futility: I stand by my point that the show was totally biased to one flawed viewpoint and promotes a victim mentality.

    How is citing statistics like: US has lower life-expectancy, has higher infant mortality than other 1st world countries, that wages are much lower now than 30 years ago (due to the decline of unions) "totally biased"? Are you saying that only the mega-rich are really hard working and the majority of not so well-off people are actually lazy bums who only make wrong decisions and fail to take responsibility for it? You might not know this, but the median income of males DECREASED in the last 30 years. The only reason that the median household income increased during the same time was, that more and more women are working now to keep the family's standard of living. During the same time period the profit of corporations soared. If everything is so perfect in the capitalist system, shouldn't workers have a greater share in the wealth that they (and not the CEOs!) created?! GM just announced that they will close down some fabs because, well, SUVs are not hot anymore. Anybody in his right might could have anticipated that and planned ahead accordingly, but not GM's CEOs. They just continue to get millions in compensation, even though they could hardly organize a flea meeting on a dog. The only people who suffer from this are the workers without a job now. But, well, it was their choice to start working for GM, I guess.


    I may have used emotionally charged words, but I focused on the ideas not any one person. Your ad hominem attack though served no purpose other than to sooth your own bruised ego.

    It is interesting that somebody who starts off a discussion by calling everything not to his liking 'liberal BS' gets indignant when called on it. Isn't here some hypocrisy at play?


    Your other responses provide no basis in facts, only your own misguided opinions. You may be well read and probably have a better education than I, but you seem to have a poor grasp of reality.

    What exactly has no basis in fact? The statistics I cited, the well known effect of unions on the general level of wages? Please provide specifics. I don't find your assertion that I have a poor grasp of reality very convincing.


    Oh, and I am not a Republican.

    Sorry about that, I didn't want to insult you. You just sounded like one.

    I found the show excellent and true in many dimensions. My only comment is that the debate missed an important dimension of falling wages - globalization. I think that this reality (relative wages falling in the US and rising in many places throughout the world that have achieved many gains from globalization) is a critical component of why US real wages are falling. The question then becomes why corporate America and the US Government is not doing more to protect workers from reduced living standards that most Americans are experiencing. The answer is, as the show accurately states, that the power base has benefited from globalization and thinks things are great. Due to ties between corporation and politicians the voices of average or vulnerable Americans are not heard - this is the bottom line that your show highlighted so well. Thanks for a wonderful show - breaks my heart that we live is such a country.

    Public campaign financing is one solution that Bill Moyers promotes. You can watch his excellent, inspiring video about the success of "Clean Elections" in Arizona and Maine:

    http://www.publicampaign.org/video

    We need to work for Clean Elections at the local, state, and federal level in order to eliminate the pernicious influence of wealthy corporate interests. Public financing of election campaigns costs a tiny fraction of the money that will be saved by taking away "corporate welfare."

    This was one of Bill Moyer's finest, but something nobody ever speaks about except in anger, is health care.
    First, those that scream how Universal Healthcare will bankrupt the country..
    just what do you think Medicare is ? Try taking it away. Other countries don't seem to be going bankrupt.
    As an uninsured American, I lost my health insurance
    because I could not continue paying nearing $1000 a month. As a cancer survivor, I couldn't go out
    and pick up other coverage.
    I know this because I am an insurance agent. No, we
    don't get coverage from the very companies we sell for..
    I resent paying for everyone from the President down to illegal immigrants to get healthcare with my tax dollars while I go without.
    Those without jobs and health insurance, ran up credit cards paying for healthcare. Credit card companies are akin to legalized maffia. They testified before Congress and got away with it.
    When people couldn't pay for increased card payments and doubled interest, they couldn't make house payments and faced foreclosure. The cycle continues.
    For those that say the poor
    can't manage money, I say any one of you are a heartbeat away. You lose your job, you lose your insurance, you lose a family member, maybe you have a breakdown or terminal illness; a tornado, a hurricane, a fire; things happen that you have no control over.
    Where is the compassion amongst US ? Where did human kindness go ? You seem to hate each other and
    have become selfish and greedy. Is giving to someone or something so far away that you don't have to look in their eyes better than taking groceries to your neighbor ?
    Why do we lack compassion today ?
    I loved the movie Network
    where the guy opens the window and yells out "I am mad as hell and I'm not taking it anymore"

    the front page of today's chicago tribune has a story on biking to work, and its surging popularity.

    the weather in los angeles is even better for biking. and it just might help with that brown air problem they have.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/green/chi-bike-surge_bdjun15,0,7500291.story

    I've never seen anyone make the connection between the failure of the educational system and the 1965 Immigration Act. The immigration act opened U.S. borders to people who were cut off from immigrating since the 1920s. The act was created because the booming service sector needed low-wage service employees.

    America was never interested in providing quality education for the changing ethnic face of America. So is the failure of American education a failure of the institution on its own accord, or is it a manufactured failure that ultimately serves to justify lower wages? If too many people receive a quality education, they will demand more, and they will not be as easy to fool.

    "I'm leading a substandard lifestyle because I make substandard wages."

    is there anyone else posting here who'd like to assess this guy's spending habits?

    Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

    After reading the comments
    it's plain to see what
    Dr Phil calls "Right Fighting" Where is the humility in this country ?
    Where is the anger and passion this country was
    founded upon ? Don't be angry at each other, be mad as hell our education system is failing and we are losing ground fast. Be angry that our elected officials are clueless and egotistical.
    We fought for 'equality' and it is no more.

    D. Peterka is hitting close to home.

    This is the new corporate fascism. A "high value" worker will be what the corporations deem valuable. In this light, for professionals of all stripes to be able to earn a sufficient living, they will have to tow the corporate line. They will no longer be professionals but trained shills, or is that seals. This is already the reality in many sectors, and it scares me to imagine the prospects for the next twenty years.

    There are many posts here that are grounded in facts and historical precedents. These posts also happen to be in favor of the program.

    No viewpoint is without criticism, but every single post criticizing the program is merely opinion and devoid of anything resembling a fact.

    Under NAFTA, from the US perspective, any job that can be exported for less pay will be exported. Any product that can be imported at less cost, will be imported. NAFTA is all about elimination of costs that impede the flow of exporting and importing both jobs and products.

    The logical conclusion for the US is that our high labor costs will re quire all of us to become "high value" workers and the number of those jobs should grow. Those who can't transition to high value worker status due to lack of ability, lack of access, or bad luck are disposable.

    Are those high value jobs growing here? Doubtful. So what are we doing about it? We are gutting higher education, making it even harder to become a high value worker. We are outsourcing our non-exportable jobs to illegal immigrants who will work for the ever declining wages offered to them.

    We have a minimum wage in this country, but we also need a defined living wage. Our service and construction sectors are being driven down to minimum wage as corporations drive down expenses.

    Since the service and construction sectors (both public and private) can't be exported, it will require government action to declare these areas as being of strategic value to our economy and think about ways to mandate that corporations and government provide a living wage for a majority of their workers. That will increase the cost of services, but it will do so fairly and across the board.

    As for manufacturing and production, look to high energy prices as your salvation. Once it costs more to transport those imports than to be building them here, we won't be seeing these jobs come back.

    Futility: I stand by my point that the show was totally biased to one flawed viewpoint and promotes a victim mentality.

    I may have used emotionally charged words, but I focused on the ideas not any one person. Your ad hominem attack though served no purpose other than to sooth your own bruised ego.

    Your other responses provide no basis in facts, only your own misguided opinions. You may be well read and probably have a better education than I, but you seem to have a poor grasp of reality.

    Oh, and I am not a Republican.

    The problem started long before Ronald Regan took office. Much of American Industry was destroyed by foreign governments dumping manufactured goods on the American Market below cost. Between 1960 and the present, products manufactured by American Industry were replaced by products manufactured by Foreign Manufactures. Much urban blight was caused as American Companies moved production off shore. Quality Blue Collar jobs began to disappear. The value of property in those areas declined rapidly. Between 1960 and the present the production of most consumer goods were moved off shore. A significant portion of American Companies do not view employees as an asset but a necessary evil to be replaced by automation or off shore production where possible. Unless the government provides incentives to move production back to the United States it will be impossible to create quality blue collar jobs.

    Another problem with our Government is the unwillingness to index tax tables for inflation. I remember during the period from 1970 to 1980 wages slowly increased moving employees into higher tax brackets. The tax tables were never adjusted for inflation. A perfect example is the Alternate Minmum Tax. It was never indexed and is now impacting taxpayers it was never intended to impact. As wages increased due to inflation more and more taxpayers were subject to the A.M.T. By failing to index more and more middle class taxpayers are subject to taxes intended to be paid by the wealthy.

    How can one effect change. We are now living in a Police State with the Government monitoring our every conversation looking for those opposing their Facist policies? The government silences the opposition through relentless monitoring. Look at how Democrat Elliott Spitzer was taken down by rentless monitoring and snooping.


    Futility: Well at least I don't have to resort to name calling. Fortunately, I also don't need to rely on anyone else's opinion. I can rely on experience and common sense.

    The word found its way from old French into middle English and originally means: uneducated or ignorant person.

    You come here, denigrate everybody by calling the discussion and Moyer's show a 'one-sided pile of liberal BS' and come crying like a baby when somebody calls you by your proper name.

    Good for you that you made it out from your poor past. But it is a non sequitur that if others fail to do the same they were just to lazy to pull it together. The statistics show unequivocally that it is a structural problem and a designed one (by the ruling class, and you can decry my usage of 'socialist' language. It doesn't change the fact that this is exactly was it going on.).


    No one is entitled to happiness, you have to pursue it.

    Says who? You can have this opinion but to base a society on this premise is bound to have disastrous results as can be vividly seen in the US of today.


    And think about it, four billion people on this planet would love to be making our minimum wage doing those menial jobs.

    That's typical republican thinking. There's always somebody else who is off worse so they can still delude themselves in feeling superior regardless of facts.

    So it is not right that we should not impose a windfall tax on oil companies, right?

    But if one works overtime to make ends meat then one's earnings get kicked up into a higher tax bracket, then that is ok?

    Oil companies pay leases on Federal land and coastal waters to drill for oil. Yes, that is right, Our land. They drill it, pay a very small lease fee, then they refine it, and they sell it to us at a "market" rate. Federal resources turned into Private profits. Talk about Corporate Welfare.

    I live in Michigan. This state has already been in recession for years. Some areas of Michigan have been in recession for decades. Soon, some areas will slip into depression.

    While it is true that some American auto workers were part of the problem, not all of them were. But the real issues concerning Michigan and other manufacturing centers are not being talked about.

    1. Americans can not compete against slave labor wages of Communist China or Drug Mafia Mexico.

    2. Unionized Labor should quit backing down to Corporations and start organizing huge walk outs, nationwide if necessary. Just think what it would be like if Hoffa Sr. ran the Teamsters right now. I can tell you that diesel fuel would Not be $5.00 a gallon.

    3. Quit shopping at Wal-Mart. Stop supporting this Facist entity. Low prices, low wages, and high profits. Government subsidized health care for corporate employed workers not socialism, it is Corporate Welfare.

    4. Quit listening to Corporate Media, also known as programming. That's right, programming. They are programming people to practice consumerism while they worship the Corporatocracy.

    5. Quit sniveling about liberal media. It is not liberal, it is Corporate. If it were liberal media, then we would been told about the dismal shape of our country a Long time ago. The message is: Work, Shop, Eat, and Charge It.

    To those who rail about Communism: Give us a Break! You are the kind of people who walk around praying to the god of Globalization. The same god who trades off national soveriegnty for transnational competition. The same people who believed that NAFTA was going to create jobs. NAFTA really means this to those of us in Michigan and Ontario: North American F*** in The A**. You can haul cheaply made products across from Mexico into the U.S. and Canada all day long. But you can't buy prescription drugs from Canada duty free. Free Trade for whom?

    We are not going to get change from Washington D.C. That is like asking the King to reform the Monarchy. We need to organize Million Bus Marches, not Million Man/Woman marches. Imagine if 10's of Millions of people descended upon Washington D.C. right to the Capital Building and White House exercising our First Amendment Rights. Better yet, how about a 10 Million Person Citizen's Arrest of our corrupt Government?

    Quoting one of my favorite movies: "Why would anyone spend 10 Million Dollars to get a job that pays 50 thousand dollars a year? Unless he intended to steal it all back with interest!"

    Montgomery Brewster "Brewster's Millions".

    Vote for an Independent, Vote Third Party, or Vote for None of the Above.

    Vince

    One thing not mentioned in this marvelous program was the impediments faced by the working class in seeking to address (and seeking redress for) the glaring inequities. It doesn't take much imagination to understand how the current economy has increased stress and complexity in the lives of the working poor. If you are working two or three jobs, you really doesn't have the time or energy to worry about the social structure responsible for your plight.

    Further, even if one had the energy, how impossible would it be to understand machinations within machinations surrounded by fraud and then all cloaked in obfuscation, just for good measure. There are journalists whose job it is to study and report on these issues full-time who do not understand them.

    Another non-mention: there is a game making the rounds of college campuses similar to Monopoly. It clearly demonstrates that where you start drastically affects how you finish. Today, it is almost impossible to lift one's self out of poverty, the way it might have been twenty or thirty years ago.

    Futility: Well at least I don't have to resort to name calling.

    Fortunately, I also don't need to rely on anyone else's opinion. I can rely on experience and common sense.

    I grew up poor and worked my way through night school. I have always lived within my means and stayed out of debt.

    Everyone has the choice to grow and improve themselves a little each and every day. Some do, some don't.

    No one is entitled to happiness, you have to pursue it.

    What Mr. Moyer conveniently fails to mention about the great gains in worker productivity is that it almost never applies to menial jobs. Most of it came from the automation of factories or from the tech sector where you need at least some extra training.

    And think about it, four billion people on this planet would love to be making our minimum wage doing those menial jobs.

    To my Republican friends:

    Are you tired of spending your hard earned money on torture?

    Yes, you are spending your money to torture people. Your tax dollars, and mine, go to fund the shenanigans in Gitmo and elsewhere.

    How does that make you feel? Is it easier to just deny the whole thing, like Bush himself did for so long? Or are you brave enough to face the widespread moral atrocities we are committing that are not even making us safer? To the contrary, our torture has seriously damaged our reputation and prestige, and it has been used as a helpful recruiting tool by the very terrorists it is designed to hurt.

    Immoral. Dumb. That about sums up how our government is spending our money on torture.

    PS Torture is not even a necessary or effective means to get information out of people. Just look at our disgusting Republican friend Jack Abramoff who readily is squealing like a pig to investigators about his Republican cohorts in crime. Nope, Jack did not require any torturing, just a good healthy well-deserved prison sentence: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/06/jack_abramoff_sentencing_set_f.php

    Our government wisely determined as early as the Civil War and then WWII that it is not wise to torture your enemies. Seems like this is a lesson ignored by our brilliant Republicans today, including Bush and his roundtable of top officials who routinely authorized torture down to specific techniques.

    If I were a Republican, I'd be irate at this. And a good number of them are. If you are a Republican, where is your outrage? Or is all this just fine, ya know, just "liberal" (ooooohh) blathering. Stupid liberals. Saying that makes some people feel very good about themselves while the rest of us suffer from the real stupidity.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, but when reality is harsh it's better to face it than wimp out.

    Good point made in Moyers piece Friday was that one needs to be careful because nowadays some jobs lead a person into property. An example would be the once proud real estate appraisal profession which, in last 10 years, has gradually been taken over by "appraisal management" corporations who have turned the professional appraiser into a wage slave who is likely to receive $200 of the $400 appraisal fee; $50 of the $150 reinspection fee and willing to misrepresent values to get the work. corporations have descimated this once honest and proud profession.

    What I think is interesting is the statistics posted by one of the first posters.

    "The wealthiest 1% also pay 35% of all income tax. The wealthiest 10% pay 65% of the whole tax burden while the poorest 50% pay 4% of all taxes."

    Twain's observations on statistical methodology not withstanding, The wealthiest 5% have something like 58% of all wealth in the country.

    The fact is that essentially the upper 1% really does have 35-40% of all the wealth, in the country, which then begs the question, why.

    http://www.lcurve.org/WealthDistribution-1998.htm

    Nice post, Derek.

    I certainly agree, but I don't think posters are equating money with evil, but rather they are upset about a system that doesn't work as fairly as it once did. I keep using the example of doctors and hospitals because I have some familiarity with them and know that even doctors feel pressed by systemic shuffling of the deck.

    According to my sources, most doctors would not recommend the practice to others, largely due to the influence, power, and control the insurance industry wields (I would add but with less conviction the pharmaceutical industry). These doctors feel that they are not allowed to practice medicine they way they had envisioned while in medical school. I would venture that this is the case for all but about 20 percent of doctors. I could be wrong. And if I am, we will soon read about it.

    I admire folks who take pride in their work and are obsessed with doing the best they can. They deserve success in all its forms. I just think these folks are the exception rather than the rule. The more I pay attention to the situation for businesses with 500 employees or less, the more it seems that these pressures are affecting a greater swath of Americans, not merely those making $40k or less a year.

    It appears I forgot to include somebody else in my last post:

    Curt you are an idiot, too!

    That the minimum wage is now lower than it was about 40 years ago, has nothing whatsoever to do with people's freedom of choice. Nobody opted for earning less. Yeah, I wanna earn less and not have enough money to pay for college for my children! Curt, you seem to belong to the same group of unimaginative people who only realize what nonsense they promote when the consequences of these policies hits themselves. The rise of the middle class in America was a direct consequence of the New Deal and strong unions since it increased the median wage, also of non-union workers. You should learn some more history.

    David--
    We DO tax the 'greedy' and not the needy. We DO have a 'positive' income tax that makes it so the poor net a profit not a loss from taxes/gov't support. (See my post a long way below -- top 10% pay 65% of all taxes which pay for welfare, infrastructure, etc. that the poor benefit from. The bottom 50% pay 4% of all taxes -- and collect a whole lot more from the gov't). I'm not saying the wealthy shouldn't be paying more per capita, but stop talking like they don't!

    Of course we should want the poor who are working 40 hours a week to not be the poor -- but every single rich lazy person I know has spent a great deal of their life working a great deal more than 40 hours a week.


    A lot of you all seem to be writing with an underlying premise that rich = evil and that its evil to get try to get money unless you're poor -- and then it's virtuous.

    Clearly there are people who get a lot of money in our country through inheritences or through working the system (like possibly Bear Sterns or Haliburton).

    But come on, not everyone that has money or participates in corporate America is lazy, "rich, fat and greedy." A hella a lot of people that have money worked really hard for it. And a hella a lot of people got make a lot of money by providing something that benefits a whole lot of other people.

    Lots of those 'lazy' rich Doctors, Lawyers, and Wall Street-ers are working 80 to 100 hours per week (equivalent to two full time jobs).

    Lots of those ultra rich corporate leaders made or saved a lot of people a lot of money -- Walmart might have some problems, but I'm sure glad I've been able to have somewhere why I could by cheap clothes and cheap food when I didn't have more money. And I'm sure glad when I see some elderly person on hard times or some African refugee working at Walmart for less than $10 an hour when it's pretty likely that they desperately need that $10 and don't yet have the skills to earn it elsewhere. Ebay might not be completely altruistic, but a whole lot of sellers have made a whole lot of money and a whole lot of buyers have saved a whole lot of buyers. Sure, some people get rich by milking the system. But a lot get rich by making dollar after dollar because they gave someone else a dollar's worth of value (and that someone was probably pretty glad they got it when they did).

    There are enough problems in our society that we don't need to waste our resources by painting with an enormously overbroad brush. Be pissed off at corruption, fraud, etc., but don't keep arguing on the unsustainable presumption that making money is evil and lazy when making more money is exactly what all of you want to do.

    It is time to tax the greedy not the needy.
    We need a positive income tax that brings family income up to the cost of living for those who work fourty hour weeks.

    Curt: Great idea. Let's honestly examine the choices that individuals make and why.

    Here are some questions I would like everyone of the political spectrum to answer:

    1. Level of education.
    2. How was that level of education funded.
    3. What type of employment funded that education?
    4. Current occupation and what that work entails.

    The point in these questions is that there are many people in America doing well financially. But I would like to know the actual processes of the mechanisms that allow their income levels. Are doctors and hospitals adopting best practices or are they merely "bottom line" watchers? Do corporations behave responsibly or they interested only in the financial wellbeing of the ten percent at the top of the corporate ladder.

    Thirty or so years ago, there was much less disparity between those at the top of the income scale and those at the bottom. I imagine that according to your reasoning, those at the top are paid more today because they are better and harder working than their counterparts of thirty years ago. I certainly don't think it's as simple as this, and the reasons why can be found in the archives of Moyers Journal.

    Not everyone, thankfully, is driven by the insane free market ideology of the "smartest guys" in Enron or the folks responsible for the subprime lending crises, folks who I'm sure are very hardworking.


    Derek wrote:


    The wealthiest 1% also pay 35% of all income tax. The wealthiest 10% pay 65% of the whole tax burden while the poorest 50% pay 4% of all taxes.

    This is no valid argument. You are just stating the obvious. That the rich pay most in absolute terms, is a simple corollary of progressive taxation and the extremely uneven distribution of wealth. It must necessarily be so. Be assured that the lower 50% would happily contribute more in taxation if they just were given the chance to earn higher wages (Of course, like everybody they would complain about tax, but there are only 2 sure things in life: taxes and death!)

    Thanks to Bill for this great show. Without PBS, NPR and Mother Jones, the American media would simply be unbearable.
    As a German living in the US, I am almost amazed how a huge percentage of American voters consistently vote against their own interests. What Bill and guests described in the show are not new developments. I read 'Nickel and Dimed' by Barbara Ehrenreich a few years ago. At that time, these trends were already clearly to be seen. But still, when I discussed this with Americans, I would always get the free-market ideology, no-government interference, no socialism nonsense (of course, big corporations have no problem accepting government interference when it comes as a subsidy!). And there are still people out there (Al, Bob come to mind who posted here), who post the same asinine nonsense about universal health-care being socialism. They still swallow the dirt that is fed to them by the right even if the facts are right in front of their eyes. Believe me, Germany is no socialist state just because there exists a universal health-care system. There is a reason that child-mortality is lower in Europe than in the US and life expectancy higher. Some people only get it when it finally hits them and they are personally affected by the very policies they promote.
    What also surprises me is the lack of opposition in this country. Where is the outrage? As I was recently in Washington, only a few people demonstrated in front of the White House against the war. Imagine, a president who swore to uphold the constitution and serve the American people LIED his people into an unnecessary and criminal war. (And, yes, this fact is now firmly established. And again, this was clear long ago, and most people outside of the US got it pretty much right from the start.) But where is the outcry, where are the calls for impeachment? A blow-job in the white house got everybody worked up under Clinton but an unjust war and torture, not so much. Policies that threaten the very fabric of American culture since they consistently undermine the
    middle-class and bury the American dream; all you see is people who seem to have given up and, instead, indulge in consumerism as Steve Fraser rightly pointed out. But, hopefully, as even this anesthetic seems to wear off now as more and more people cannot sustain a decent standard of living, the American people will finally wake up and demand change!

    PS: and, jo, you are an idiot!

    It isn't remarkable to me that there is such great disparity between the have & the have nots, what is remarkable is that so many of us working class people seem to embrace it. In America our consumer driven society seems more focused on the possibility of "getting there's" than on the consequences (long term & short term) for embracing greed, growth without limit, conspicuous consumption & disposable commodities. This culture which we rally around and brag about is a paper tiger supported by borrowing against our children's futures while the extremely wealthy who control the means of production and communication sell us rhetorical aphorisms. This is a class war and we are being defeated with extreme prejudice!

    Jo: You haven't said anything in our post. You have merely spouted a vague opinion. You call Moyers lazy, but he does research his arguments and provide significant references and contectualization. I agree, the young man working as a clerk for UCLA wasn't the best of choices to help make the point.

    You call Moyers a liar and a propagandist. How? Why? What actual researched information do you have to refute the points of the program? Is the middle class in America actually growing? Are people today not working twice as hard for 1965 wages? Please show us the light and direct us to a solid argument that refutes the points of The Journal program in question.

    For further support of the program's arguments and historical contextualization, please read R.E. Mant's wonderful post. Also please read any of Juliet Schor's books.

    I have the feeling that your only response to any of this is that America is number one, the envy of the world, Americans just need to work harder. That is not an argument. That is ideology, a naive,unchecked one at that. And that, Jo, is lazy.


    Thank you Bill Moyers!

    Now I understand what I'm up against as an eBay seller.

    This huge multi-million dollar corporation grew from one person's idea to sell his used widget on the internet. They are one of the few that survived the dot com bust of 2000.

    As it has grown, it has become a greedy corporate beast. I believe it is a unique example relevant to this topic of how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer because it has a unique interface with it's users, both buyers and sellers. The impact of corporate greed has an immediate and negative impact on it's users.

    One might argue that it's users are not it's workers, and sellers would bristle at the very thought of it. But the fact is, corporate eBay has become rich, fat and greedy directly on the backs of it's users and instead of feeding the wealth back into the community, they hoard more for themselves.

    Early in 2008, a new CEO took the reins and started to systematically gut the 10 + year platform that had enjoyed much financial success by simply providing the bandwidth on which sellers could sell and buyers could buy worldwide. Sellers pay all the fees. There are fees for pictures, fees to list, fees for making your item more available, fees for the privilage of selling internationally, and finally commission fees - a whopping 8.75% . And other fees as well! eBay never touches the merchandise, they take no risks, there is no warehouse to heat or cool, there is only the expense of the technology - and the executives salaries. If ever an issue arises with a transaction, they cry, "We're just a venue". And it is only sellers supporting them in the core business. Customer service is non-existent but for a few who sell in huge volume and most of these reps are outsourced. The entire company rakes in millions and has only 15,000 employees world wide, including all the subsidiaries.

    They raised these fees without providing any improvement to the site and then instituted policies they said were to make a "better buying experience" but in effect made it harder for a seller to sell. One central policy change, based on a complicated system not unlike a pyramid scam, essentially leads to forced acceptance of their own online payment system, PayPal, who also takes a cut of a seller's profits, an addition 3% in most cases.

    Their goal being, apparently, to make the site more "retail" and less "fleamarket", but no one in eBay is talking openly about goals for the company. They keep saying it's all good for the marketplace. But it's clear it's mostly just good for their own pockets. They say there's no monopoly, sellers can just go somewhere else to sell online, but the fact is eBay is the best known of it's kind. There are other sites like it, but none can compare to the traffic and universally known name of eBay, and they know it. And that's how they can raise fees and impliment one-sided policies and restrict online payment options with impunity and total disregard for it's customers - the sellers.

    Recently they have also attempted to force PayPal only on it's eBay Australia site making it mandatory for each seller to accept their payment system and NO other. Australia's watch dog, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is set to rule on this in the near future. eBay members around the world are outraged.

    Of course, the word for this is M O N O P O L Y, and it's abundantly clear to most anyone, but in the greedy corporate atmosphere, and in light of our corporate-owned government, it's not clear that if eBay tried it here, that it would not be soundly defeated. There was a time when it would have been a no-brainer. When it would have been so impossible that a company wouldn't even have tried it.

    Is it still a no-brainer in 2008? It's already okay for eBay to restrict what online payments it allows - Google Check Out is one of those banned. They say it's not as safe, but it's really of course, restricting trade, making it easier for PayPal to continue to offer a mediocre service on an unsecure website, that is routinely used by scammers from around the world, especially Nigeria.


    Thank you Mr. Moyers.

    I remember the firing of the striking air controllers by president Reagan in 1981, it was also the time that I felt the loneliness of this country, and the lack of support from European unions at a time when many European countries had liberal governments.

    I also remember the ‘’ shame ‘’ for not being up there financially, while I felt no shame for buying on credit with an interest rate similar to a loan shark’s illegal operations.

    We, the ‘’ educated'' children of the working class were happy to get rid of tools no longer representative for our
    ‘’ life style’’.

    Tools like public education, community hospitals, union memberships, pride for what we are doing in our place of work.

    We, the ‘’ educated ’’ children of the working class, surrounded to dealers in suits, when they descended in our parent’s living rooms to steal their savings, their property, their strength, their lives by peddling and pushing home equity loans, boiling room stock, life insurance, we did not throw them out, instead we showed them the door politely, and they the dealers in suits went next door to our neighbor, and we kept our doors closed to the black family that wanted to rent or buy the house our neighbor lost from the dealers in suits.

    We, the fat ‘’ educated ‘’ children of the working class, did not resist Bush at any level, a $ 20.00 barrel of oil, stolen from the Iraqis, why should the Iraqis have it, they have a tyrant as a leader, was our God given right.

    We the very fat ‘’ educated ‘’ children of the working class are very proud of our kids driving a Hummer, we talked about death penalty, over martinis or eating kobe beef, and as for climate change it is not our fault, is the fault of the Chinese or the Indians who imitate our life style.

    My Beautiful Laundrette Script - Dialogue Transcript 1985

    ‘’ The working class is such a great disappointment to me.’’

    Me too
    Celine Mavromihalis

    Back in the mid-1970s, an economics professor named Arthur Becker, teaching at the University of Wisconsin, wrote a little-known paper titled "Full Employment Without Inflation." In this rather brief paper I found the basic components of reform to our public policies that would bring about a far more equitable distribution of wealth and income. Becker's proposals were not new, he conceded, but they were effectively resisted by the vested interests who essentially control public discourse in this nation.

    Arthur Becker's paper can be found in the online library of the School of Cooperative Individualism.

    What a one-sided pile of liberal BS! How about showing how choices people made got them into these situations. Or how the lifestyles they choose to continue each and every day keeps them there. No, everybody's a freaking victim.

    http://www.dailyom.com

    Remember The Light Side
    In Praise Of Fun

    Often when we talk about fun, or doing things just for fun, we talk about it in a dismissive way as if fun isn’t important. We tend to value hard work and seriousness, and we forget to pay our respects to the equally important, light side of silliness and laughter. This is ironic because we all know the feeling of euphoria that follows a good burst of laughter, and how it leaves us less stressed, more openhearted, and more ready to reach out to people. We are far more likely to walk down the street smiling and open after we’ve had a good laugh, and this tends to catch on, inspiring smiles from the people we pass who then positively influence everyone they encounter. Witnessing this kind of chain reaction makes you think that having fun might be one of our most powerful tools for changing the world.

    Laughter is good medicine, and we all have this medicine available to us whenever we recall a funny story or act in a silly way. We magnify the effects of this medicine when we share it with the people in our lives. If we are lucky, they will have something funny to share with us as well, and the life-loving sound of laughter will continue to roll out of our mouths and into the world.

    Of course, it is also important to allow ourselves to be serious and to honor that side of ourselves so that we stay balanced. After a great deal of merriment, it can actually be a pleasure to settle down and focus on work, or take some time for introspection until our next round of fun begins.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for lifting the curtain on the inequality of wealth in this country. Perhaps if networks like CBS, NBC, CNN, et al could produce programs that tell this story, more people would know that reality is not just a reality show.

    I also wish that Obama could make this inequality issue one of the cornerstones of his campaign.

    The discussion on "The Gilded Ages" last night was so outstanding. Went farther in discussing the problems facing our nation and society than anything I have seen. Too bad the presidential candidates and mor of our elected officials don't face up to the problems all this concentration of wealth in a few is handling. Especially in wiping out the hopes of so many ever being able to get ahead and the dream of owning their own homes.

    communities activate! plant a veggie garden, build a solar oven, aquire chickens and a goat or two and become an active part of your community. network with your neighbors, become a producer of products (home canned food, knitting, etc.) and learn self-reliance in as many areas as possible. it's the old-fashioned American way.

    good god... the hate being spouted out by some of you people. the very first post... so sad. i will say this and this only: until we have publically funded elections, this will only get worse. much much worse.

    EUGENE V. DEBS: WE SURE NEED YOU!!!

    "Class warfare" = BUZZWORD for the LAZY, stupid left.

    Moyers.. classic lazy stupid.

    This blog is like a parallel universe. So far left it's unrecognizable.

    Mr moyers is a propagandist and a liar. You're all sheep.

    Last night (6/13) Bill and historian Steve Fraser lamented that both Obama and McCain are linked and indebted to lobbiests and corporate interests.

    Might they have then mentioned candidate Ralph Nader who has sounded the alarm about corporate power over our government longer and more consistently than anyone? Nope. Nary a word.

    I expect to hear the names and ideas of 3rd party candidates on the Moyers Journal. I know I won't hear about them anywhere else, except wonderful C-Span.

    Please, Mr, Moyers, give some visibility to the candidates and ideas of the third parties. That is where, thanks to the Progressives, much of the good legislation that upended the Gilded Age came from.

    Amazing to watch on TV a program that actually highlights what Americans are experiencing now. The destruction of the middle class!

    However, I was disapointed that the invasion of illegal aliens was not mentioned. There are probably 30,000,000 illegals in America. Forget about the 12 million that has been quoted for many years. Some estimates are as much as 38 million, and that doesn't include the American citizen children of illegals, the anchor babies. There are 350,000-400,000 of those births each year paid for by American taxpayers.

    The illegals take jobs from Americans and drive down the wages overall. And not just the "jobs that Americans won't do". That is a lie, Americans will do those jobs and always have. Just look at the millions of construction workers that have been displaced by illegals working for half of what used to be a living wage. Or teenagers that used to find summer jobs and can't now because they don't speak Spanish.

    It's basic supply and demand. The out of control immigration, legal and especially illegal, has depressed the wages of Americans. To see our possible future go to NumbersUSA.com.

    Its hard to see the glimmer of hope listening to these bleak and dismal stories. Unless something positve and major happens, Im afraid were heading towards revolution. Perhaps, that is why we have a 'Northern Command'. Though I imagine its going to get a whole lot uglier before we reach that point.

    we are forced to vote for the candidates brought before us..or not vote at all..i wonder how many people would vote for...>> none of the above...if that were on the ballot......

    Unfortunately, because of globalization, there is no way to police big business to force them to be fair to the hard working employee whose work, as Holly Sklar so aptly put it, subsidizes the companies profits and the CEOs big salaries. Putting restrictions on these businesses will simply push them out of the country, where they will seek out more inviting countries with less restrictions and a work force willing to accept even lower wages. As we’ve all seen over these past several years, there are plenty of countries willing to roll out the red carpet for them. Seems the average worker in this country is in a lose-lose situation with big business holding all the chips.

    Maybe all the workers in the US should unite, and like the people in Ann Rand’s book, “Atlas Shrugged’, go on strike and shut the country down for a day or two, to wake up both business and government to the fact that American workers are crucial to the very society that exploits them. Not a union strike, but a strike of the ordinary worker who feels he’s being exploited. Sadly, too many Americans might not be able to even afford to take off the few days necessary to achieve this. Another solution is to no longer elect officials for our legislative branches of government but to hold a lottery where every American whose number comes up (the last digits of their social security number would work) would be required to serve 2 years in either the congress, senate, or house of representatives and work much like the requirements of jury duty or the national guard where the citizen would return to his/her job after his service. This would do so much good for the country. Namely, it would eliminate much of the corruption already taking place in government by limiting the time it takes to make corrupting connections; eliminate the bloated private pension plans our representatives currently enjoy; and eliminate the luxury health care plan they also enjoy. In its place we can give an excellent salary that would be enough to allow the citizen to contribute to their own retirement system and health care plan. In all probability, we might also gain legislators with more common sense than what is presently representing us. While some might consider these changes to be drastic, I believe we need to make drastic changes in order to preserve our democracy.

    BRAVO...Instead of the constant politicing & fighting between the Right & Left & those in the middle...start solving the problems. We now know the problems and we are not happy about it.

    Couple of thoughts: quit playing the democracy game; the other, if I remember right didn´t Pres Bush say last Feb when he was in Africa, "The war is good for the economy!" For "who" is it good for...only those private companies and investors in this war.

    On tonight's show you said there were ways we the people could do something about the control of corporations over politicians. I can't find it. Could you please tell me where to find this list of suggestions?


    [Please note we have provided a list of sites related to clean elections and you can find sites and research related to economic disparity and the work of Holly Skar.

    We are dying out here, people...

    If this gets posted (very unlikely) I'd like people to know that I am disabled, and i spent about 2 hours "researching" my facts , before I attempted to [post an issue about "class warfare"! (pssst...we already lost)I coulod not read the "Spam stoppers" nor afford a pc with good speakers. I understand the nedd to stop spam--but, its just another feeling that I AM NOT HEARD AND I DO NOT MATTER! I comes from both parties! I hope i can get out of the uS and get the health care i need to get bac to work--i have an MS. US is a failure--FIGHT class warfare! (If you have the guts and aren';t too complacent!) I'd glady die to make the uS fulfil its dream. eVERYONE is too interestee in their iPhone, laptiop--nobody gives a damn anymore. And Obama doesnt either. Well, i'm wasting my time...

    Thank you Mr. bill Moyers for the great guests.

    Since Ronald Reagan Presidency the big rhetoric of the Republicans have been; cut the US government regulations, cut the taxes and reduce the size of the Government, and take the government off the back of the businesses, and let the businesses be free to grow. Of course the informed people could see the falsehood of these deceptive arguments. But in the political arena the opposition has been so tongue tight to express the falsehood of this phony argument in a clear manner. Through some simple statistics your guests very clearly and very effectively trashed that Regan’s grand rhetoric. I wonder why is the opposition, even today, holding back from exposing the falsehood of the Reagan’s rhetoric? What is it that makes them so intimidated?


    sprint - $132/month
    car insurance - $160/month
    car payment - $400/month
    gas - $45 to $63/week

    take the bus.

    stop texting.


    why did no one introduce these ideas on tonight's journal?

    Your show tonight stated so clearly what I have thought for a long time. Deregulation is where a lot of this started. Someone has to watch the big business in this country. We have tried allowing them to police themselves and they have shown us time after time that they can't be trusted. Now it seems that our government just doesn't want to do its job which is to make this country the land of opportunity for everyone, not just those with money or influence, but for anyone who is willing to work. This used to be a country where people cared about each other, and their communities. No one lives in a bubble, everyone, from the President on down, needs to start thinking about how what they do affects everyone else. Only then will we be able to make this country the place our Founding Fathers envisioned.

    Great show! I always further my education after watching Mr. Moyers program.

    There are serious problems on many levels. One level is the profound lack of accountability in both the private and public sectors and the scary boundary crossings between them. The current Administration has violated the constitution, yet our congessional leaders and not attempting to hold them responsible. This is simply bad for the future of the county.

    We have CEO's receiving 93 million for a year signing bonus. We have people who are very sick and dying because they can't access health care. That’s a disgrace.

    We need to advocate that our government enforce regulations, demand accountability of unethical/criminal government leaders, pass legislation that will change all health care institution to non-profit - stop conflict of interest of corporate profits vs. health and lives. We should avoid, when possible, companies guilty of excessive top executive bonuses and let them know it.

    I think we have to start writing to everyone we can, our elected official, private corporations and search for grassroots movements to show that collectively we can have an impact.

    A very good discussion to which I would like to add only a few observations:

    The Founding Fathers, including Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, believed that taxes should be levied in proportion to the ability to pay and the benefit to be derived from their object. So also Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations: "It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." The American Revolution was argued by them against taxation without representation, not against taxation itself. The dislike of paying taxes arose from those who wanted no government, just as they do today, and have no sense of community obligation as Tocqueville noted in Democracy in America Vol 2, Chap XX: That Aristocracy May Be Engendered By Manufactures: "In proportion as the principle of the division of labor is more extensively applied, the workman becomes more weak, more narrow-minded, and more dependent. The art advances, the artisan recedes. On the other hand, in proportion as it becomes more manifest that the productions of manufactures are by so much the cheaper and better as the manufacture is larger and the amount of capital employed more considerable, wealthy and educated men come forward to embark in manufactures which were heretofore abandoned to poor or ignorant handicraftsmen. The magnitude of the efforts required, and the importance of the results to be obtained, attract them. Thus at the very time at which the science of manufactures lowers the class of workmen, it raises the class of masters...What is this but aristocracy?...The territorial aristocracy of former ages was either bound by law, or thought itself bound by usage, to come to the relief of its serving-men, and to succor their distresses. But the manufacturing aristocracy of our age first impoverishes and debases the men who serve it, and then abandons them to be supported by the charity of the public...Between the workmen and the master there are frequent relations, but no real partnership. I am of opinion, upon the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest which ever existed in the world;...the friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction; for if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrate into the world, it may be predicted that this is the channel by which they will enter." Or as Michael Harrington noted in The Accidental Century more than 40 years ago: "One of the wryest spectacles of the age is that of businessmen lamenting a 'socialistic' drift of the system that has made them richer year by year...Indeed in more than one sense the most efficient anti-capitalists inside the Western world are the businessmen." And of course a great deal less damage would be done if inflationary money and credit creation were ended. (The reference made to Bryan's Cross of Gold speech was incorrectly applied, btw, as it was directed towards more money not less capitalism, and in accusing the capitalists of being gold bugs, Bryan was apparently unaware that the problem had been created by the increase in gold in the first place.)

    "If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves."

    Lane Kirkland

    It is about time that those who do the work get the benefits of their labor and those who can afford to support good government and quality infrastructure pay the taxes to support their privilages.

    Tonight on this very important program about the financial state of our nation, Bill said that we can find out how to help the situation, on this site, and being somewhat computer illiterate, I do not see the Solution anywhere and I deeply want to find it. I really hope someone can tell me how to identify the place; as this has happened to me before, and it surely must be on the site somewhere!!
    With Gratitude,
    Sally Nave


    [Please note we have provided a list of sites related to clean elections and you can find sites and research related to economic disparity and the work of Holly Sklar.

    Are you feeling pinched by today’s economy? Yes
    Are people in your community? Yes
    “ If Eugene Isenberg dies while still heading up Nabors Industries, his
    estate would get an additional $288 million dollars - that's more than
    the company's first-quarter earnings”.
    This has been going on, even in agency created by Local Governments!

    What economic policies would you like to see put into place?
    To place All laws and regulation that have been in effect before 1980 for the markets!
    To eliminate printing press economy! Abolish The Federal Reserve Board!
    Back to gold standard.
    Empower the people to express “THEIR WILL on ALL ISSUES”!

    Do you expect politicians to enact any of them?
    No! “Money is the golden rule of politics; those who have it, rule”.
    The LAWS are in their favor, POWER for enrichment!
    To enact any of the economic policies is to amend the Constitution!
    Non of the candidate made an offer to amend the Constitution - to
    empower the people to Express their will on ALL ISSUES.
    A Change to what....? More of the same...!

    I live in Louisiana, which has a reputation for undermining unions and for being the domain of low paying jobs. I recall working for the City of New Orleans as a probation officer from 1980 until 1987. The job paid a low wage after 1984. The court claimed my department was not part of the court system but belonged to the city. The City claimed we belonged to the court.

    One of the judges paid more for a piece of furniture in his chambers than any of our probation staff earned. One of the clerks for one judge killed himself just before his retirement because he could not live on his retirement.

    Later we found that the assistant clerk of court lost driving while intoxicated case for a fee.

    The city cut the salaries of city employees to pay for a lawsuit it lost for the racist and incompetent behavior of its police force. The day that the city council voted to steal from its employees to pay for its incompetence, the members of the council took five minutes to vote; then they took over an hour to celebrate the birthday of a local musician.

    The attitude that workers exist to be exploited applies to people in government as much as it applies to the business men that run Wal-Mart, Target, or J. C. Penney.

    This was a decent piece right up until near the end when Ms. Sklar proposed her socialist solutions. We don't need universal health care, social security, or any other socialistic programs of that nature. What America needs is a stable currency, a solid manufacturing base, and a responsible citizenry. The root of America's problems lies with the Federal Reserve system and the creation of money out of thin air. Google the documentary produced by the late Aaron Russo titled, America: Freedom to Fascism.

    The Free Market mongers, as pointed out by Steven Fraser, are dependent on government handouts, tax loopholes, and more than occasional tax subsidies, but this is only another means of increasing profit margins. Suppressing, depressing, or off-shoring jobs is another way. The profit so gained, goes first to the leadership that directed it, then to shareholders. Never to workers - they are nothing more than an expense to be trimmed.

    Capitalism has repeatedly demonstrated a fatal flaw that only government can address. Given the right climate, the free market is capable completely depleting itself. The timber industry can find it profitable to log down to the last tree. The mortgage industry can find it profitable to lend itself into its own foreclosure. Oil companies can see fit to pump to the last drop. When CEOs live by quarterly earnings, what concern is it to them to be still be in business 10, 20, or 30 years down the road? So long as they've made themselves, and a few of their shareholders very rich, they can go out in comfort and style. Only the government can provide the braking mechanism, mainly through protection of resources and regulation, that forces business to slow down to some level of sustainability.

    But, Business has also taken inordinate control of government through its wealth, as pointed out in the program. When business buys in, it is only the few at the top that are speaking, and these voices are amplified beyond the level of their own wealth. They have crafted an image of themselves as self-reliant, risk-taking, heroic beacons of moral strength and deftly co-opted many in their organizations to follow or get traded away. These people want desperately want to believe in the message and end up voting against their own best interests by further supporting more takeover of government by business. The reality check is that these individuals are only slightly less expendable than those at the bottom of the corporation.

    To Kevin:

    The wealthiest 1% also pay 35% of all income tax. The wealthiest 10% pay 65% of the whole tax burden while the poorest 50% pay 4% of all taxes. Of course about 6% of all those taxes goes to the unpopular war, but the lion's share of all of the benefits the poor and middle class (of which I am currently one with a combined family income of a whooping 30k teacher salary) is paid for by those increasingly unpopular rich people. How much of every dollar a person makes should they owe to others via taxation?

    I think the show had some good points, but the stats go both ways. It would have been nice and more honesty, jounalistically, if Moyers had acknowledged that.

    America was smart enough to limit the number of terms a president may serve, it's time to do the same with senators and congressmen. Two terms and out! How can any politician earning over $100,000 a year relate to the Wal Mart clerk or a teacher in a high school? When it comes to campaign financing, I believe if we don't switch to strictly public financing.. we'll always have big business controlling our government. The joke about " we have the best politicians money can buy" is what's wrong with our government.

    In 2005, the wealthiest 1% earned 21.2% of all income, while the bottom 50% earned 12.8%.
    Greg Ip, Wall Street Journal, 12 October 2007.

    What to do? I suggest applying FICA taxes to all income above $97,000 rather than to all income below that level.

    The reason there is so little outrage about the economic gap in the U.S. is very, very simple.

    We're spoiled to conditioning.

    Most of the poor in this country are still far more wealthy than the poor of the world.

    Drive around a trailer park and tell me how many satellite-dishes you see on trailers. Trust me, you'll see a lot.

    We're all guilty of greed and the abuse/misuse of global resources in this country.

    The poor, we won't rise up against the wealthy. We don't want to disrupt our current means of living. We might be slightly displeased, maybe even angry - but we are content.

    To reference a very appropriate mid-eighties mantra: We want our MTV.

    We're satiated.

    I've been saying this a lot lately, but it's quite important: Marx might not have been right about communism, but his critique of capitalism was spot-on.

    Capitalism enforces the greed instinct rather than attempting to quell it.

    It's not about supply and demand - it's about growth. Competition. Winning and losing. Having and having-nothing.

    Clearly not the path to an equal, unified society.

    In the seventh image of the slide-show you provided we see a cartoon from The Gilded Age drawing an analogy between the robber barons of the late 19th century and those of the Middle Ages.
    Now, we are witnessing first-hand, an analogy being drawn between the robber barons of today, and those of the 19th century.

    This is a vicious, cyclonic analogy that we are doomed to continue until we, collectively, recognize that we are doing it wrong.

    Depression 2.0 is almost upon us. We are probably incapable of avoiding it. And, unfortunately, it is possibly necessary.

    Maybe it's going to take a global punch-in-the-face for us to recognize we are all guilty of the sins of excess.

    With that said, please understand that I do have faith. Not in the gods of old, or even the gods anew - I have faith in our species. We can overcome this. At times I feel it's very unlikely... but the possibility still exists. And if the possibility still exists, even if only as a tiny, little, crumble of a percentage - we can do it.

    One plausible escape is to have a GLOBAL 2020-esque Summit. The best, brightest, and most innovative of this generation could gather to think aloud, beyond the Capitalism and Communism boxes we've placed ourselves in. We can reach out for ideas that have yet to be reached.

    To think that we've thought-up, and practiced, every social structure obtainable is ridiculous.

    We need to turn ourselves into an idea-machine and simply come up with something new.

    New ideas aren't free. They might cost us the conveniences and luxuries we have forgotten are conveniences and luxuries. But it's owed. We owe it to our children's children and our parent's parents.

    [Twain might point out that owed and ode rhyme.]

    Like it or not, something huge is happening right now. We can either attempt to control it, or we can just let it happen.

    That latter option seems fatalistic and sad... yet, somehow, it still feels very, very much like us.

    Was nobody bothered by the utter lack of any discussion of any idea that didn't correspond with Mr. Moyers' take on this whole issue? Whether Mr. Moyers is right or not in his views, wouldn't the discussion on the show have been a lot more insightful if they had at least let someone who disagreed make an argument?

    Do not just get mad; get even!

    Start by share the Moyer's show with as many as possible, globally...

    Ten Days That Changed Capitalism:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120657397294066915.html

    http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/10-days-changed-capitalism

    Excellent show. Nice to hear the numbers. Btw, when I was a radio reporter in DC, my union scale pay was 21K in 1982. I lived in a great apartment, had a car, paid my bills AND managed to put money away. I covered Reagan’s PATCO firing. I remember standing in the newsroom and saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, the sound you just heard was the crack of the breaking back of organized labor. We are in for a bumpy ride.” The last job I applied for paid $10 per hour to workers who had to have bachelor degrees. I’m in Florida. They fire you if whisper the “u” word.

    I do want to comment on this remark by Al.

    “The fact is inequality exists because we are not all equal, some are better than others. I for one do not want to be part of any ‘collective’, I am an individual and who makes his own decisions and lives with them good or bad.”

    Well, Al, I certainly hope you are never hit with a major catastrophe over which you had made “no decision” at all. I certainly hope you, as an individual, can live with bad decisions made by others for you like a really bad court decision allowing insurance companies in Mississippi to not pay out for water damage caused by the storm surge from hurricane Katrina. Which came first, the hurricane or the flood? As a person who makes decisions, you decide.

    I certainly hope you, as an individual can live with a decision made for you by a health insurance company that says a bout of bronchitis 10 years ago qualifies as a “pre-existing condition” and therefore now you should not be treated for asthma. Will you happily decide to pay full price for treatment and drugs while still paying your health insurance policy premiums that were meant to cover you?

    Or perhaps it’s your employer’s decision to shut your company down so it can make a better return on investment by moving overseas? You decide. Move to Batam or Singapore or stay here and try to find a job. What will you decide when they say, "We’ll pay you 10K less per year?" It’s called ROI for a reason. ROI in French means “king.” And right now, ROI truly rules. I’m sure you will live with your decision.

    I am an individual, just like you, but guess what? Like it or not you and I are a part of a “collective.” It’s called the “human collective.” Maybe you have just lost sight of that. Don’t feel badly. Others have too. Henry Goddard refuted his own theory of eugenics in 1920 only after years of work determining that thousands of immigrants were “lesser” which then led to their deportation. And we all know about the German quest to lose those whole segments of the population in WWII.

    “Some are better than others?” Some may have more. Some may have less. Some may be slower. Some may be smarter. Some may be kinder. Some may need glasses. Some may not. But some are better? I think not.

    I want to thank you for raising awareness to a very real problem that is facing so many. I am only 24 years old and I live very frugally. I live without running water, drive a beat up pick up truck, pick up heating fuel 5 gallons at a time, and have worked at least two jobs since I was 17. I have tried to manage going to college for 6 years, including become my university's student body president, but I am getting very discouraged. I am just one minor catastrophe from losing everything. And so are my peers and co-workers. I'm tired of hardworking people choosing between going to the doctor and missing work or to just go to work very ill because they can't afford the time off. I am tired of friends unable to pay their car insurance because they have to buy heating fuel. I am tired of friends unable to have a day off for months and getting burnt out.

    I'm doing what I can and am very involved politically. But change is a daunting task. I would appreciate knowing if there are examples of others that have successfully reshaped the rhetoric that has existed from the 1980s that has encouraged people to vote against their own economic interests.

    Excellent broadcast! Your guests articulated elegantly what so many of us are feeling but do not always know how to express.

    I feel that the majority of our citizenry feels so powerless to change the status-quo, that many of us have lapsed into a debilitating apathy. Many do not even realize that they are being exploited. The examples of corporate greed and unethical, even illegal actions predominant in corporate America and our own government administration have a subtle influence on all of society. One does not have to be a religious person to see the wisdom in the advice of two great spiritual figures from the past. Jesus Christ - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Mahatma Ghandi - "Be the change you want to see in the world."

    We should use this blog as a meeting place to stay in touch. And, start by gathering all the information we can about our plight. We request meetings with our local US Senators when they return home. Establish a group of concerned citizens in every state to stand as one before our Presidential Inauguration, and meet in Washington DC. as Patriots.

    I know many people struggling and suffering yet they identify with those who exploit them. I can easily see them winding up homeless and still raging on about how nothing is wrong and how great their lives are. I wonder how far things will degenerate to before the masses accept reality. I've often said that here will never be progressive change in this country until the masses can no longer fill up their car's gas tanks, go to the shopping mall and buy a bunch of useless crap they don't even want but think will impress others. Perhaps even then, they will still defend this system.

    Excellent broadcast! Your guests articulated elegantly what so many of us are feeling but do not always know how to express.

    I feel that the majority of our citizenry feels so powerless to change the status-quo, that many of us have lapsed into a debilitating apathy. Many do not even realize that they are being exploited. The examples of corporate greed and unethical, even illegal actions predominant in corporate America and our own government administration have a subtle influence on all of society. One does not have to be a religious person to see the wisdom in the advice of two great spiritual figures from the past. Jesus Christ - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Mahatma Ghandi - "Be the change you want to see in the world."

    I think short of a revolution or depression the only way things will change in this country is if some wealthy group of people create a new political party that will use only their own money to fund a campaign and that they will guarantee to change the laws that the current Republican and Democratic parties have passed over the years to benefit the rich instead of the middle and lower class citizens in this country. The country is currently run by the rich for the rich but that will only end in disaster. Some rich folks had better figure that out because if we the middle class go down, the rich will go down with us.

    This article has helped crystallize what I have been feeling for some time now.

    I used to believe that if you lived an honest life and worked hard you could get ahead. Right now I am just grateful that I can keep my head above water. Although I have done so at a price.

    I am 31 year old male. I served 5 years in the U.S. Military. Between then and now I have worked multiple jobs and gone to college. So far I have only been able to complete two Associate Degrees. One in Business Management and the other for completing my transfer requirements.

    At this time I cannot afford to attend a 4 year school. I do live frugally. I live in a small apartment, I drive an 18 year old Toyota, and I have zero debt.

    My family has never been much help because they have been in the same boat as me for much longer than I have. I try to help them when I can but I never ask them for anything.

    Recently I was hired for a decent job (for me) after searching for more than 6 months. It pays 34,000 a year, has benefits, and is an at will position.

    Having health insurance will be nice. I have not had any since I was in the military. I recently broke my finger and did not go to the doctor. Knowing I did not have insurance I do not want to be a burden on anyone. I simply went to the pharmacy and bought a splint. It healed up, just a little crooked at the knuckle.

    At this point in my life I have made the decision that I will not be having children. I do not want to see them go through the hardship that I have had to go through.

    Perhaps hardship is to strong of a word to use. I know that there are people who have it a lot worse than I do. I do not complain.

    I just did not foresee my life turning out to be so mediocre.

    I don't see anything changing for American society. I think that the younger generation has seen the greed of the older generation and they are now out to get theirs as well. By whatever means necessary.

    There is nothing left to hold this country together. Everyone is looking out for themselves now.

    What a wonderful show, Bill! You both defined the problem and provided an answer. The first Gilded Age had its muckrakers, journalists who took it upon themselves to expose injustice. With few exceptions, our journalists today would rather get the interview with those who perpetuate injustice than risk their careers by exposing them. If knowledge is power, you are certainly the most powerful reporter on television. Please keep telling us what we need to know.

    I like Richards idea: guerrilla tax tactics.

    Sign me up. I'm all for it.

    Geoff,

    I think your answer to the corruption as being public finance is the first step that has been taken in the right direction for a long time. Actually, we could remove all money from the electoral process. 99% of all Americans have televisions and therefore, the candidates have direct access to the people. We have candidates from all parties (not just the top two) debate, orate, townhall, or any type of format agreed upon, and televise it live on PBS channels paid by taxpayers dollars. Thatway, when one of the candidates are selected as president, they don't have to payback all of the campaign contributions back in the form of ruinous policies. This plan may have a couple holes in it, like campaigning in person in the communities, but I feel it could be an excellent manner in which to remove the corruption.

    What can we do. Like the movie may years ago,"I am mad as hell!", but I don't know what to do about it.

    My question is for jan. She states that she was really disappointed, actually "appalled" that the GOP killed the windfall tax on the oil companies profits. I would like to know why this bothers her or anyone else on this blog that this may bother. Windfall taxes were unfair back when the british crown placed this type of tax on own trees in our own (american) yards. Why should the oil companies have a higher price place on their profits for running a productive company. Shouldn't we look at the amount of money (profits) the government makes from us taxpayers in relationship to oil, gas, & all other petroleum products in high taxes. Is it possible the problem is the government and not the corporate big wigs running the oil companies???? Or are they in cahoots together and determine eachothers' futures through either profits or campaign finance and the capitol hill charade was nothing more than making an appearance?????

    We, as Americans have to stand up and stare tyranny in the face wherever it rears it head. Now its here in our own front yards as for sale sign, or an unemployment check in the mail box.

    The framers of the United States constitution did not intend for it's citizens to become subjects of the rich, and went to great lengths to protect us with intellect and blood.

    I can no longer stand on the side lines and watch this great experiment fail...so I take up the cause for all of us to fight back the rich and the elite with a really cry to all those who will hear. United we stand, divided we fall. I am a movement for the people and we be a voice if not for this cause then for myself and the already fallen before we fall into the trap that is set before us. Tyranny

    Thank God someone is speaking out on this matter because I see this as the one major element for the decline of the America we grew up believing in. One point I
    did wish you raised with your guests was the role of the press. I recall the history of the Gilded Age was ripe with fearless journalists who raled against the injustice and inequality of their time. Where is the outrage? Where is the press? It's
    owned by the same super rich who only care about increasing their wealth.

    Yes, I have watched my retirement income disappear, my part-time income is less than what I was paid in 1962 at the local A&P store. That was a union job. The most recent job at J. C. Penney paid next to nothing. Awful. Yes, I feel robbed.

    The answer must be public financing of political campaigns, but how?

    Nothing really new here. Oh sure, the story is told to us in a way that tugs at your heart strings, but the story has been the same since the dawn of civilization.
    Here's the deal: If you are uneducated, without unique skills, working in a job where you are interchangeable, your life is going to suck. It's always been that way...and always will be.
    I know a man who started flipping burgers at McDonalds in high school for minimum wage, today, 35 years later, he owns 26 McDonalds restaurants. I've seen Mexican immigrants move in within the last 10 years and start businesses from scratch...today those immigrants are moving up the ladder.
    There is plenty of opportunity in America.
    The problem for too many "working class" people is that they set their sights much to low. The young man profiled in Mr. Moyers piece is a classic example. He was a bright, intelligent, good looking young man...and he was working as a clerk at UCLA, trying to get his welding certificate. He doesn't know he could be great...he could be a leader of men.
    I just refuse to think the problem is "out there" in the hands of politicians and union bosses. I know I've pulled myself up from nothing and I'm not especially smart or skilled.
    Maybe I'm being too judgemental...I just happen to think there is a complete lack of personal inititive, among many people, in America today.

    In my church, the economic thugs run the show. In fifteen years in my church, I have heard one sermon only that might be the least little bit prophetic. And my church is supposed to be one of the great liberal mainline denominations--the Disciples of Christ. The program tonight reminded me how hollow what I see and hear in my congregation is.

    You stopped preaching and went to meddling. Please keep meddling. On target again and again.

    To answer the blog questions, yes, I'm being pinched by today's economy. The only people I know personally who aren't are oil professionals around me here in Oklahoma.

    Regarding what economic policies I would like to see put into place, I want no money to go out to businesses that are not regulated adequately. I wish I could define "adequately" in this case, but I can't with my current level of economic and political education. I suppose it would be adequately enough that banks can't charge like loan sharks, for example. And Haliburton can't make money from the Iraq war because of its deep association with the US Vice President. Where speculators on the oil market are concerned, I have no idea what that would mean except that any of those speculators who are getting richer by insider trading should be sent to prison and worse. If Martha Stewart had to, so should they. Not that it would hurt them financially, any more than it did Martha. But at least it would help us to identify them.

    I want many more policies changed, but I'll save that for later.

    Do I expect politicians to enact or enforce any policies like these? I would like to say, "Hell, yes. They'd better." But life isn't that way. However, it is a crying shame that we can't expect any better than that from them.

    I heard on television that Forbes recently said Oklahoma City is the most recession-proof city in the nation. But in this week's local news is a story that says the rates of poor children in Oklahoma have risen in the past few years. Well, they did say the "city" is recession proof. They didn't claim the children are. I guess their parents are the ones not working in the oil industry during its current boom. What goes around comes around, folks. The next bust will come.

    The rich like to draw attention to themselves by "giving back." If big business would pay fair wages in the first place, they wouldn't have to. And maybe this country would not have a chronic need for "charitable" organizations. Giving back, indeed. I say it should be called "paying back"--if corporate stockholders and leaders don't pay people what they're really worth to the bottom line, they are stealing from them. Yes, the workers agree to the wages since nothing else is available, but it is still theft through coercion. People who support that type of business should be ashamed of themselves instead of pounding their chests with pride.

    Great information. In spite of my normal incoherence, you and your guests really coalesced some of the things I've been thinking. I've had some conversations where the conclusion by others was basically "forget recession, we're already in a depression." Meanwhile the mainstream media concentrates on news segments like "what did you spend your rebate on" with the underlying message that we need to immediately trot out and pay for skydiving lessons or something else frivolous to stimulate the economy and manages to avoid anyone whose answer would be "pay bills" or "buy groceries".

    I was really appalled this week when the republicans killed a bill to tax the oil company's excessive profits. I suspect I'm not alone in that feeling but I'm not sure I have much hope that we'll be able to turn things around. On the other hand, I don't think many people are going to want to buy into American "freedom" or "capitalism" after watching what they've done to the country and to the middle class and poor.

    What a wonderful program! I am 60 year-old retired public school speech pathologist woman, the first in my family to go to college, which I paid for myself - with the help of government loans and grants. It took me ten of my 30 working years to pay off my educational loan.

    Now I am more concerned about my ten nieces and nephews. They are facing the very thing discussed in this program - willing to work without an advanced education which they cannot afford but not able to make an AMERICAN living wage.

    My only complaint about the program was an issue that we don't want to address - American greed. When I moved to the Warren, Ohio area after college (1971) I faced steel workers and GM workers who because of unions made big bucks - far greater than educators. 90% of them were hard workers but 10% abused the system - fake illnesses, etc. The starting wage for steel and auto workers was twice that of teachers. I had students tell me their parents said I was stupid for being in education - they made far more without a high school degree. Those jobs are now gone, partially because of greed and partially because of what was discussed on tonight's program.

    I support unions but I feel part of the problem might be that union leaders also became greedy.

    But that's the past. What can we do now to return the USA to the level we had earlier - the best country in the world? Universal health care is the single greatest need I can see.

    A truly great show and moment for journalism.

    Corporate welfare is feudalism.

    Political duoploly equals feudalism. Lack of diversity in systems results in vulnerability to collapse.

    The "Gilded Age" is/was a nice way of packaging "social feudalism" and so is "free-market deregulation."

    True free market capitalism means no public handouts when business fails.

    When do we as a society acknowledge "the emperor has no clothes on?"

    Why isn't Holly Sklar running for President. She seems to be the only person I have ever heard who knows what the hell is going on in this country and can voice a solution for what ails us as a country. She is smart and articulate. I am so tired of all the politicians in this country. To me they are all Un-American or anti-American. I am so ashamed to see how this country is run and try to talk to my friends in the UK about it. I feel like America is disappearing.

    I was suspended this past February because I was fighting for worker rights of school bus drivers during contract negotiations. The school has a new concept. Take away benefits and pay for time worked. All this while the upper administrators have had increase in wages/pay/benefits during the past 5 years of over 50 percent. This is the upper taking from the lower and the service to the community is diminished. And so goes the country.

    The "income gap" in America is completely absurd. It is almost completely explained by the fact that Young People are "poor" while older people are wealthy.

    It isn't sexy...but that's just a fact.

    No wonder some in congress want to stop funding PBS. Bill Moyers is one pursuasive dude. PBS is our only access to the truth we have left. Murdoch and Viacom own what's left of the media.

    I found this episode fascinating. Soap box time...I am a 27 year old male, recently married, and realizing that the economy of my grandparents is long gone. In America as long as we have our credit cards and our other forms of consumer debt we have no reason to develop a class consciousness. Simply put, the wealthy have class consciousness. They do not care about race or gender if you are in their class. They know the power they have and they recognize and form bonds with members in their wealthy class circles to keep it. Middle, working, and lower classes concentrate more on differences between individuals than similarities. If we can worry about the minority, the man, or the woman next to us we won't worry about how our wages are stagnant and our grip on the middle class is or is going to be lost soon. I really believe we are at a tipping point. If you think you are middle class, sit down and figure out what you own minus what you owe on the various possesions in your life; you may not even be in middle class after getting the answer. Do you have any wealth? Most probably make less this year than last year with rising gas prices, taxes, health care costs, and stagnant wages. I hope more people begin to take notice and I would like to invite anyone who knows of any organizations that are out there to help the middle class stay middle to send me information.

    Al: Kudos to you. Bravo. The point is, if Corporate America functioned according to your principles, we would all be better off. It doesn't, and we are not.

    Wealth does not necessarily correlate with ability, but a willingness to participate in particular business strategies and practices that feed and maintain a status quo of not just inequality but a breach of ethics. A doctor, for example, who functions more as a shill for the pharmaceutical companies than an independent health care practitioner is more of strategic businessperson than a skilled, talented, healthcare provider. The last time I checked, people in business don't take a Hippocratic oath. Medical doctors may not be required to take such an oath, but they should be.

    And another thing, most of the private interest groups in Washington are more interested in preserving wealth and influence than excellence, skill, and talent in whatever service or product their financiers provide.


    No one is advocating handouts to anyone, which goes equally for corporations, who have shown increased lack of interest in maintaining the American infrastructure. Why should they get tax cuts, breaks, and credits for that? And if those corporations provide shoddy services or provide crappy or faulty products, they should be allowed to fade away or to make the necessary reparations or improvements. And they should do all this on their own dime, fairly and honestly, as I'm sure you and your high standards would.

    If you want to talk about welfare handouts, look first at corporate welfare. It's disgusting.


    Kudos for this and many of Bill Moyers' shows. I wish PBS were as popular as corporate TV.

    I live an work in Columbus, OH. We have the highest foreclosure rate in the country most months out of the year. I think we bounce back and forth with Michigan. I am a loss mitigation analyst. That means I work at a bank and try to help people avoid foreclosure. I can say that we are in a recession, no matter what our corporate controlled media and government tells us. I deal with people every day just like those in this show. Worse yet, I am one car repair, or storm damage repair, or health issue away from being one of my own customers. I pray to God every day that nothing happens to jeopordize my employment, regardless if they've reduced my pay by over 30% in the last year and increased by workload by 40%; No matter that I have between 150 and 230 people in various stages of losing their homes on my phone, crying about the cost of the cancer medicines and watching their spouses or parents die while they are pleading with me not to kick them out on the street, because, by God, I could be in the same boat by missing one or two paychecks.
    America needs to wake up. I know we're tired and depressed and would rather just sink into a chair and watch reality TV. Problem is - reality is sneaking up behind us, quietly, on italian leather driving mocassins and will run us into the ground if we let it.

    RIP Tim Russert 1950-2008

    The antidote for the first Gilded Age was the social gospel movement by white liberal Christians who used their clout to make things better for the poor.

    Perhaps Christians today need to speak more loudly for universal health care (an idea proposed by Teddy Roosevelt), raising of minimum wage, better school funding and medicaid. If Christians spoke would anyone pay attention?

    Thanks, Bill, for your excellent reporting. I hope Steven Fraser is right about seeing some shift in American attitudes that might propel an uprising against such economic injustice—finally saying, "Enough is enough."
    Personally, I've fallen into a kind of despair over the last few years. I've learned that writing my Red State legislators is futile and that many of the very people who suffer the ravages of this second Gilded Age, fall prey to 'hot button' issues while their pockets are being picked.
    I would like to see some discussion about what we can do. I'm tired of feeling helpless while my nation sinks.
    Georgia

    I believe that current "gilded age" middle and lower classes are mostly silent about their plight because they lack enough historical, civic, economic,and political knowledge to even understand the desperation of their own situation. Without a context for comparison, which is why historical knowledge is vital, decisions about how government should or should not regulate the distribution of wealth are being made in a vacuum of ignorance. The "haves" have deliberately kept the "have nots" from becoming aware of their own plight while keeping money and power under corporate and therefore governmental control. It is no accident that this has happened; every step has been planned.

    Kudos to the broadcast.

    i wish Steven Fraser would've went into depth about the specific companies who have employees that switch from political positions to high ranking positions within "other" companies. (companies that are supposedly here for the benefit of the whole--America)

    The "goons" that frequent back and forth from government positions to major companies such as Monsanto make me very uneasy. When the government employees show interest in controlling, modifying and patenting our food supply we should all wake up. (how can you patent something mother nature created??!!!???)

    "They" will then have control of all of the wealth...and all of the food too.

    "Someone help us all before its too late" is my prayer.

    When the people lead the leaders will follow.
    For the love of god please take your country back. I can't do it myself!

    I have two comments. First off, as one of the few who can still (barely) make ends meet on my meager salary, I know how hard it can be, even if you are living frugally and cutting back as much as possible on your purchases. I think the major reason that there is not more outrage about this situation is that those who are most affected, the working poor, have no time to even think about it. They are too busy working 2 or 3 jobs to try and make ends meet. After that, they are just too tired to think.

    My second comment is that the solution to this problem is twofold. The first is that the government officials need to be cut from the teat of corporate America. Author David Cay Johnston has proposed providing senators and other government officials with expense accounts that cover their needs as long as they post their expenses and do not take corporate money, gifts, etc. The second part of the solution is to cap the profits at the top. This means capping executive compensation, which is siphoning money off the top. The total profits of corporations also need to be capped, with the exception of funds explicitly earmarked for investment in the next few months (this would not apply to stock purchases). The third element is capping dividend payments to a small portion of the value of the stock itself or a portion of the gross corporate income. If the remaining income is taxed at 100%, then the corporations will either pass the money down in terms of higher wages for their other employees, or pay exorbitant taxes, which will then reduce the tax burden of the middle and lower classes.

    Just a thought...

    There seems no end to the rule of money. Platitudes from the left and right are useless. One question is: "who are you going to believe?" That's the real problem, we can't really believe any politician because, as you demonstrated in your program, politicians and plutocrats are in bed together and will not let loose of us. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. So, what can I do?

    I'm nearly brought to tears with several recent Moyers Journals. I'm definitely choked up.

    With each week, Bill scratches deeper and deeper beneath the facade of how American society has been operating the past thirty years. And with that scratching, he is articulating the focal points that a majority of Americans will no longer be able to ignore. Bill is providing them with a context and understanding of why they feel the way they do, why we feel the way we do, no matter the momentary pleasures felt by the myriad distractions out there.

    Sans hyperbole, Bill Moyers, The Journal, and all the other work Bill has done and does, are the only things left that make me feel good about being an American. This is not the America I grew up in, and certainly not the America I ever expected.

    Thank you, Bill, for providing a forum that allows viewers and readers not to feel that they are losing their sanity if their interpretations and analyses of society, its policies and practices, stand in stark contrast to the status quo.

    You keep us fighting in all the little ways possible, and you bolster our convictions. And for that, you never need to tell Charlie Rose or anyone that you wish you could have done more. On the contrary, Charlie needs to grow a pair


    I really do think the middle class is suffering. 4 years ago, I lost my IT job to outsourcing to India. Many co-workers ended out taking jobs (doing the same work they did before) at half the wages they made one year before. I worry about my children just starting out. I am so tired of seeing the wealthy get richer. Men like Bill Gates appear to be humanitarian by giving large sums to philanthropy, but still continue to support corporate and personal greed.

    So, what can I do about the new plutocrats controlling America and Americans? It seems impossible to even entertain a notion of some kind of peaceful, democratic, and egalitgarian revolution. I am depressed about it.

    Not once during your program did you ask your guests how this "change" might be accomplished to address the wealth difference that exists today. Your guests were simply pointing out that inequality exists and that some "change" needs to take place to address this inequality. How might this "change" be accomplished? Since no mention of how you are going to accomplish this "change", I’m going to assume that you folks are suggesting some form of redistribution of the wealth. Sounds like you plan on tells the poor "if we make the wealthy poor too, will you be happier?".

    The fact is inequality exists because we are not all equal, some are better than others. I for one do not want to be part of any "collective", I am an individual and who makes his own decisions and lives with them good or bad. And when they’re bad, I accept responsibility for that decision and live and learn from it and move on. I don’t ask for financial help and I don’t expect to give it. My tax burden is more than I want it to be and I have other plans for my money and they don’t include you or your "collective". I am not one of the wealth, but I do OK for myself, I plan for the future and I save.

    What your guests are proposing is a form of communism, it has no place in this nation. This nation was founded by folks fleeing excessive taxes and look at the changes you suggest, shame on you.

    We are in big trouble in this country, thanks in no small part to the policies of our government. Even people in professional jobs earning close to $100,000 have to choose between owning a home, or paying for childcare or health insurance, never mind planning for retirement or saving for college. I don't know how people survive on even double the minimum wage.Gas and food go up and up while real wages decline precipitously. The American dream is becoming just that for the vast majority of hard working Americans.

    My name is Richard Wright

    I have been waiting for some group, organization or person to stand up and take a radical stand to change the way our taxes are taken through the IRS. That person, group or organization has not materialized, so that is why I am writing this letter. The PC way to change things in America is for a group of like minded people to come together and present their ideas and changes to enough congressmen and hopefully they will do the right thing and make the appropriate changes. The American people have wanted to overhaul the IRS since the 1980’s and only minor changes have been passed and most of those changes have not been for the good of the majority of the people in this country.

    It is time for the people of this country to strike, boycott or at the least delay the withholding of their taxes. By doing this it will hit the government where it hurts, in the pocket there main source of revenue. This plan is simple and can easily accomplish the goals of many Americans who believe the IRS tax laws are long overdue for an overhaul.

    We the people, in order to reform the IRS, will do the following:
    1. Every American will change their W4 form to have 30 allowances starting January 01, 2009. 30 is the number of allowances I need so that no taxes are taken out of my paycheck. To find the number of allowances you need to do the same go to web site
    http://www.finance.cch.com/sohoApplets/Payroll.asp.
    2. Deposit the money that would have gone to your 2009 tax withholding into a special and separate account at your bank or credit union.
    3. July 1, 2009 demand that the IRS tax laws are changed to a fairer tax structure that benefits all Americans.
    4. On December 15, 2009, write a check to the IRS to pay your taxes for 2008 with the funds that you have placed in your separate account.
    5. When a good Tax law has been passed, the American people will change their W4 form allowances back to their normal number and the government will get their revenues each time an American gets paid otherwise continue this tax withholding delay for 2009.

    If millions of Americans follow the first 2 steps, we will be in the right position to demand that the government change the IRS, something they should have done decades ago. The IRS has thought that someone might do this so they have created a process called Lock-In to insure that they get our money on a timely basis. The Lock-In process say the IRS can dictate an allowance number for any American’s W4 based on past history. If a person’s tax withholding is less than $200.00 or the amount taken for tax withholding is extremely lower than the amount taken in the person’s past history they can send a Lock-In letter to a person’s employer. The IRS would send a letter to your employer telling them what your tax allowance will be and the employer must create a W4 with that tax allowance or they will be pay a penalty. Oh by the way shouldn’t the wealthy, those persons making over $500,000 a year have an automatic Lock-In, like the little people, just a thought.

    Our Tax Withholding is not voluntary.

    For those of you who are afraid that the government will come after you or send a Lock-In letter to your employer, I need only remind you that the government is currently saying they cannot and are unable deport 12 million illegal aliens because of the cost and logistics of doing so, then how can they come after 200 million American citizens for a tax withholding charge? It also makes our government look bad.

    I believe that a tax overhaul will only make the country stronger and more economically valuable for all Americans now and our children and grandchildren to come. I have 6 lovely grand daughters and 3 grandsons, who deserve that we fight for them now,

    The problem about people not fighting back and being outraged is not that they have been beaten up, but they may have given up.
    Part of this is the facts that big money has seized all of the reigns of power. Big media, lobbyists etc., have almost completely taken over this country. Add to the fact that the traditional ways for working people to exert power, Unions, big city political machines, have been weakened. Perhaps change is coming, but unless people feel they can both win and survive, I am not optimistic.

    Lou Agre
    Philadelphia, PA

    The problem about people not fighting back and being outraged is not that they have been beaten up, but they may have given up.
    Part of this is the facts that big money has seized all of the reigns of power. Big media, lobbyists etc., have almost completely taken over this country. Add to the fact that the traditional ways for working people to exert power, Unions, big city political machines, have been weakened. Perhaps change is coming, but unless people feel they can both win and survive, I am not optimistic.

    Lou Agre
    IUOE Local 542

    I am an engineer who taught high school for one year. In this country, the most important jobs, including teaching, are "worth" less than jobs like engineering where products proliferate like locusts.

    As long as this cultural problem exists, there will be a poor distribution of wealth (especially when the military-industrial complex rules the world; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_corporatism ).

    As a result, I'm not hurting, but I know many teachers who are.

    We need to get the Dem's and Rep's from taking money from the complex for their campaigns. This will probably not happen since money gets elected.

    What we also need is a multi-party system since Dem=Rep (except for abortion in Obama's case: http://www.blackgenocide.org/obama.html ).

    Thank you yet again for calling attention to the greatest injustices in our culture.
    R. Reagan's union busting, in the late 1980's, was even then a clear attack on the American dream of the dignity of work.
    The existence of the "working poor" is a blot on our history, our national integrity and is the direct result of state sanctioned greed.

    Bill Moyer,
    Your show Friday 13 June Holly Kafer was a prime example of Obama fascism that I have seen.
    She is so far divorced from the real world she will never find her way back. She wants another big increase in the minimum wage even though the last increase put thousands out of work. She wants universal health care that will break the bank and put politicians’ in Washington in charge of my health care. The union workers you featured are of the now generation. The black man wanted a two story house with a two car garage to put his two cars in.
    The one that sorted their bills had a Sprint over $100 and a big house payment.


    If you take away all the money from the rich and give to the poor within a few years it will come home.

    Bob

    If the government wouldn't tax the middle class to death, they would have more money to spend. It's not capitalism thats gone crazy, its the government that redistributes our hard earned dollars for their own interests, not to the taxpayer. When I earned minimum wage of 87 cents, I kept all of it. Not so today. The government is the problem, not capitalism.

    It is very easy for the people of the United States to take back their country. Could you send me Steve Fraser email address?

    Don, Your definition for inherited wealth is a gem: affirmative action for the rich. Excellent choice of words!

    This was one of Moyer's greatest shows.

    With that as a preface, let me point out one glaring hole in the story.

    Nobody talks about the role of Communism in forcing the Capitalism of the first gilded age to accept some limitations on what it could do.

    Nobody talked about the defeat of Communism in the Cold War as one of the forces that has allowed us to try a replay of the gilded age.

    It would be interesting to hear a discussion of whether or not Capitalism can be saved without the rise of something like Communism.

    Maybe if the uber-rich were finally awakened to this possibility, they might be willing to see that putting some humanity back in the system is utlimately in their own self-interest.

    Little did Ayn Rand suspect that the adoption of her philosophy would be instrumental in bringing back the system she hated so much.

    McCain was quoted saying that he thought Americans were doing very well right now.
    When Bush was informed of the 4.00 gasoline, he kind of tilted his head in disbelief and said 'really?'
    No wonder the rich are getting it all while the rest of us suffer. Our own elected officials can't even look past their mansion walls to see the suffering all around them.
    It's just pathetic.

    Congrats Bill Moyer......This type of reporting is exactly what the American people need and they need it in spades! We have swolled the lie that big busines and de-regulation will save us and save us it has, right into the poor house. Wages are down as well as opportunities. The cost of goods and services continues to rise all in harmony with billion dollar executive saleries and an executive branch which hasn't a clue about how bad things are getting.

    Thanks again Bill from a bitter, gun owning Pennsylvanian.

    I would be curious to know what the American Dream is to the 30 and younger somethings. I believe it is to not have to work hard or get an education, but be a rock star or be on a program and win $1,000,000. You can be angry with the politicians,but there are plenty of social and world economic changes that also have created this situation.

    Economic populism is important but unless it is equally distributed to the other sectors of our lives, spirituality and culture, than what's all the hard work worth? The rally against the K Street project must be fused with one of the soul...an uprising against canned art. I propose sanctions against MTV and it's consumer culture that requires you to buy a t-shirt before you rock the vote.

    Unless that redistribution of wealth that has been prevalent for the last twenty-some years is reversed, we can kiss the freedoms that Americans take for granted goodbye. National security isn't just about bombing some foreign country.

    This broadcast should be on all channels - perhaps instead of the State of the Union address. Our local newspaper listed the salaries of the hometown university's basketball and football coaches. Each of these coaches, individually, made more than the collective salaries of the entire 30 person staff of the university's lab school. We know it is happening, but the working people do not have the capacity to change it - it is too systemic and we are too busy working to make ends meet.

    YES! This broadcast needs to get to more eyes and ears. It is so true. I am a school teacher and make a decent salary. We live modestly but are having a difficult time making ends meet. This should not be! Change needs to take place in order to maitain SOME sort of the "American Dream." So few still have one.

    Our elected leaders of both parties allowed this. Both Democrats and Republicans need to be booted out of office after 6 years. Capitol Hill is corrupt. Unfortunately, we voted for these rascals, we need to get new decent and honest blood in there. Forget experience, we need honesty, integrity and folks with a moral compass.

    "Class warfare" was waged,and won...they sure kicked MY butt.

    Bill's comment about "class warfare" is spot on. For decades the rich have been siphoning money out of the Treasury and using it to fund political campaigns and pass legislation enabling them to siphon even more.

    It's criminal that through capital gains breaks and FICA taxes, we pay more taxes on the money we earn through work than on passive investment income.

    It's about time we started to label inherited wealth for what it is -- affirmative action for the rich.

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