|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics, Religion & other Controversies » The Language of Looting (how the word free market became twisted)

Default The Language of Looting (how the word free market became twisted)

March 6th, 2009, 17:52
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Do you deny that nationalized healthcare or significantly taxing the 'rich' more than the rest is not a tenant of socialism?
Nationalisation of anything is a relatively socialist move I'll give you that, but under socialism there wouldn't really be the "rich" as the capital and means of production would be owned by the state or by the workers themselves.

Taxing the rich more is progressive taxation within a capitalist framework.

Anyway, my issue is more with the way that socialism is used. It's used far more often than is really appropriate and targetted at people who don't really understand socialism beyond knowing it's a bad word that they should fear.
Benedict is offline

Benedict

SasqWatch

#21

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: London
Posts: 2,348

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 18:22
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/cha…s_wealthy.html
Aims at division

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/…a/campaign.php
Speaking to a sympathetic crowd in Springfield, Obama blamed the Bush administration and a "reckless few" on Wall Street for producing an economy that he said favored the wealthy at the expense of most Americans.
Calling out "the wealthy"

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php…show_article=1
"The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store," Obama said in a statement. "Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression."
Gotta have 2 sides if he's gonna be on "ours"

http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Bara…Tax_Reform.htm
These steps are all paid for, and designed to restore balance and fairness to the American economy after years of Bush Administration policies that tilted the playing field in favor of the wealthy and the well-connected.
Not much question of the target there
Q: You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, ďI certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.Ē Itís now 15%. Thatís almost a doubling if you went to 28%. Bill Clinton dropped the capital gains tax to 20%, then George Bush has taken it down to 15%. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down.
A: What Iíve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. The top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year—$29 billion for 50 individuals. Those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. Thatís not fair.
So he's legislating his vision of "fair" by specifically targetting the CEOs for the benefit of the secretaries. That's class warfare.
Q: If either one of you become president, and let the Bush tax cuts lapse, there will be effectively tax increases on millions of Americans.
OBAMA: On wealthy Americans.

CLINTON: Thatís right.

OBAMA: Iím not bashful about it.
Crap, PJ, what more could you want than that one to show his intent?

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpu…calls-hig.html
He continued: "I want to give a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans, but in order to pay for that, I'm going to take the tax rates back to what they were in the 1990s for people who are making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year.
Irrefutable proof of the direct linkage between a penalty for one class of Americans to give to another class Americans. If that doesn't define "class warfare", I don't know what does.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
Dallas Cowboys: Still afraid to hope / / Detroit Red Wings: Another rollercoaster season?
dteowner is offline

dteowner

dteowner's Avatar
Shoegazer

#22

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 11,341

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 18:28
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Nationalisation of anything is a relatively socialist move I'll give you that, but under socialism there wouldn't really be the "rich" as the capital and means of production would be owned by the state or by the workers themselves.

Taxing the rich more is progressive taxation within a capitalist framework.

Anyway, my issue is more with the way that socialism is used. It's used far more often than is really appropriate and targetted at people who don't really understand socialism beyond knowing it's a bad word that they should fear.
Interesting definition of socialism. I would say though at least that taxing the rich more is moving towards socialism, if not outright socialism.

It's definitely a buzz word that is used, but then it's only one of about a million that politicians on both sides of the divide use to incite their masses.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#23

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 18:32
Q: You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.” It’s now 15%. That’s almost a doubling if you went to 28%. Bill Clinton dropped the capital gains tax to 20%, then George Bush has taken it down to 15%. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down.
A: What I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. The top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year—$29 billion for 50 individuals. Those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That’s not fair.
He makes a big deal about $29B for 50 people. While that is a certainly shocking number, assuming that they earned that (and I believe that number is pre-tax), what's the problem? Why even bring it up? If he wants to talk tax rates, talk tax rates, but don't call out specific people because they made too much.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#24

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:06
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Interesting definition of socialism. I would say though at least that taxing the rich more is moving towards socialism, if not outright socialism.
But it's not.

Socialism has a very simple definition that's universally accepted, and used, in political science.

"Socialism is a political-economic system where the means of production are nationalized."

Taxation has nothing to do with it. In fact, as Benedict pointed out, under "pure" socialism there wouldn't even be any taxation, since everybody effectively works for the state — the state pays their salaries and provides public goods with the surpluses. This is, in fact, more or less how things worked in countries with "really existing socialism," except that of course the entire system proved unworkable in the long run.

The conflation of socialism with progressive taxation in popular discourse is something that was deliberately done for political purposes by the American right — the Republican party leading up to, and especially since, Ronald Reagan. It was done with the express intent to discredit the progressive taxation and other "social" policies introduced by and since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, nor any president who maintained the system he set up, i.e., everyone up to Reagan, which included more than a few Republicans, were *not* socialists. They were adamantly opposed to socialism. They believed American capitalism was the best political-economic system in human history, *and* they believed that in order to work, the government had to perform a balancing role between labor (the unions) and industry (the big industrial corporations), in order to ensure a degree of equity — that everyone got their fair share of growth.

This is why this "progressive taxation is socialism" meme gets to me so badly: it's an intentional lie that has become ensconced in popular discourse so much that lots of people, like you here, accept it without question. It just ain't so: progressive taxation for the express purpose of redistributing wealth in order to counter the imbalances created by the market is a feature of advanced capitalist economies, not socialism.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#25

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:16
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
But it's not.

Socialism has a very simple definition that's universally accepted, and used, in political science.

"Socialism is a political-economic system where the means of production are nationalized."
Academically you are correct, but just like the term 'capitalism' as defined academically is not the same as it is used in the real world, the term 'socialism' in the real world is not the same as it's academic definition. Many countries in Europe are referred to as socialist, while none have the means of production fully nationalized. The US is referred to as capitalistic, but we know that it is not purely capitalistic either.

Taxation has nothing to do with it. In fact, as Benedict pointed out, under "pure" socialism there wouldn't even be any taxation, since everybody effectively works for the state — the state pays their salaries and provides public goods with the surpluses. This is, in fact, more or less how things worked in countries with "really existing socialism," except that of course the entire system proved unworkable in the long run.
Increased taxation will lead us to the more socialist leaning states you find in Europe. That is what I meant and if you want to split hairs, then so be it.


The conflation of socialism with progressive taxation in popular discourse is something that was deliberately done for political purposes by the American right — the Republican party leading up to, and especially since, Ronald Reagan. It was done with the express intent to discredit the progressive taxation and other "social" policies introduced by and since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, nor any president who maintained the system he set up, i.e., everyone up to Reagan, which included more than a few Republicans, were *not* socialists. They were adamantly opposed to socialism. They believed American capitalism was the best political-economic system in human history, *and* they believed that in order to work, the government had to perform a balancing role between labor (the unions) and industry (the big industrial corporations), in order to ensure a degree of equity — that everyone got their fair share of growth.
Actually, the evidence is that Roosevelt was a closet socialist, but he knew that our country would never accept it. I do agree in the balancing purpose of the government. Of course we're never fully balanced, and I think Obama is trying to tip it too far in the other direction.

This is why this "progressive taxation is socialism" meme gets to me so badly: it's an intentional lie that has become ensconced in popular discourse so much that lots of people, like you here, accept it without question.
I go with the jargon that gets the point across. As you say, the term social has been accepted to mean something that is not pure, academic socialism, and hence I refer to that. In essence, I don't want to be Europe.

It just ain't so: progressive taxation for the express purpose of redistributing wealth in order to counter the imbalances created by the market is a feature of advanced capitalist economies, not socialism.
It's not pure capitalism either, in the academic sense. In the academic sense, in a pure capitalistic economy, the government does little more than to make sure that the free market is not abused. Socialism is really just the extreme of wealth redistribution as when the state owns all means of production, the wealth has effectively been distributed equally among all.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#26

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:16
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Irrefutable proof of the direct linkage between a penalty for one class of Americans to give to another class Americans. If that doesn't define "class warfare", I don't know what does.
Indeed, dte, you don't.

If you ever come to Finland, I'll introduce you to a few genuine class warriors. It'll give you a bit of perspective.

From where I'm at, Obama's justifications for his tax increases were all technical: under Bush, the system got skewed in a way that unfairly favors the rich, so he's going to adjust it to correct this. You may disagree about his premise, but the argument is still fundamentally technical.

As to CEO's of Wall Street, are you seriously claiming that what Obama is saying is anything but God's own truth?

I also find it highly amusing that you're all a-lather about this kind of "class war," while entirely ignoring the completely genuine class and race baiting that has been a central plank of the Republican party ever since Reagan trotted out his welfare queens and young bucks.

So, essentially, what you're saying is that *any* progressive move by the government ("progressive" here in the distributive sense — something that effectively distributes wealth from the top down) is "class war" and therefore anathema. Since it's empirically bloody obvious that Bush's policies were extremely regressive (the evidence being the enormous gap in income distribution that opened up during his watch), you're saying that any attempt to roll that back is "class warfare" — whereas Bush's regressive policies were, apparently, nothing of the kind since he did them on the sly, without telling anyone — for the simple reason that "I'm gonna slash public goods mostly enjoyed by the poor and the middle class so the rich can keep more of their money" isn't exactly a vote-winner.

That's just silly, dte. Not to mention childish.

Since you're clearly beyond reasoning on this point, though, I'm going to let the matter rest; if you want to have the last word, by all means do so.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#27

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:28
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
It's not pure capitalism either, in the academic sense. In the academic sense, in a pure capitalistic economy, the government does little more than to make sure that the free market is not abused.
Sorry, bn, but here you're talking out of your hat. I respect your expertise in finance enormously, but here you're out of your depth.

The term you're looking for is "laissez-faire capitalism," not "pure capitalism." It's also not used all that much, since it doesn't describe anything that's really existed since the 19th century or thereabouts. Instead, the term "advanced capitalist economies" is often used to describe countries like the USA, Japan, Western Europe, and what not — as opposed to, for example, "post-socialist economies" or "emerging countries."

There isn't a really universally accepted term for what you mean by "socialism" — if you have in mind the Western European countries with more progressive taxation and broader social policies than the US. Sometimes "social democracy" is used. There's a simple reason for this: it's because the Western European economies are *fundamentally similar* to the American one — they're all advanced capitalist economies. The difference is in degree: exactly what are considered "public goods," how much tax progression is considered acceptable, and what not.

And that, bn, is my main problem with the way you're using 'socialism' again — it implies that there's a fundamental qualitative difference between America and the rest of the world, when in reality the difference is only in degree — and nowhere near as big there as you might think.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#28

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:35
From where I'm at, Obama's justifications for his tax increases were all technical: under Bush, the system got skewed in a way that unfairly favors the rich,
I keep hearing this, yet I have yet to see proof of it:

Bush lowered taxes for all Americans, yet kept a progressive tax system where the 'rich' pay more in both marginal tax rates and total dollars on earned income
Clinton lowered the capital gains tax from 28% to 20%, while Bush lowered it to 15%, and 10% for lower income earners.
Bush did not create the laws that allowed hedge fund managers to report most of their income as capital gains, not earned income. (Neither did Clinton)

How exactly does that unfairly favor the rich (more than it did in the past)? How is it Bush's fault?

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#29

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:40
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Sorry, bn, but here you're talking out of your hat. I respect your expertise in finance enormously, but here you're out of your depth.
I'll disagree on that one, I may not have used the terms you have, but you're splitting hairs because you don't like the term socialism. Concepts can be socialist, without an entire economy being socialist.

The term you're looking for is "laissez-faire capitalism," not "pure capitalism." It's also not used all that much, since it doesn't describe anything that's really existed since the 19th century or thereabouts. Instead, the term "advanced capitalist economies" is often used to describe countries like the USA, Japan, Western Europe, and what not — as opposed to, for example, "post-socialist economies" or "emerging countries."
Advanced capitalism is blinding element of socialism with a majority of capitalism and a proactive government., hence why I say it is not pure capitalism. It's a new beast. Better than pure or 'laissez-faire' capitalism for sure, but the problem with it as a term is that it has a very wide range of implementation, from the more pure capitalistic leaning economy of the US to the more socialist leaning economies of Europe. There are decided differences in our economies, yet they can both be classified as Advanced Capitalism.

There isn't a really universally accepted term for what you mean by "socialism" — if you have in mind the Western European countries with more progressive taxation and broader social policies than the US. Sometimes "social democracy" is used. There's a simple reason for this: it's because the Western European economies are *fundamentally similar* to the American one — they're all advanced capitalist economies. The difference is in degree: exactly what are considered "public goods," how much tax progression is considered acceptable, and what not.
Exaclty, one leans more towards laissez-faire capitalism, the other leans more towards socialism.


Like I said, I don't want the US to become Europe. We're not as far apart as the US and the Soviets were, but we're pretty far apart. As has been pointed out on here as of late, the US treats it's 'rich' better than just about any western national in the world. There are some pretty huge differences between the US and Europe, and I'd like to keep it that way.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#30

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:51
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
How exactly does that unfairly favor the rich (more than it did in the past)? How is it Bush's fault?
You know, I don't know.

But I do know that:

(1) Economic policy affects income distribution.
(2) Income distribution diverged very quickly under presidents Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2, but stayed more or less constant between the end of WW2 and president Reagan, and during the Clinton interlude.

Therefore, it follows that Reagan's and Bush's economic policies caused, or permitted, this to happen. I don't need to know exactly what policy had exactly which effect. Very likely the changes in tax rates only made a little difference compared to changes in enforcement or changes in what public goods were being provided. Or perhaps it was something entirely extrinsic, and President Bush simply failed to do anything to counteract it.

I don't know, and I don't even care all that much.

But I do know what happened to the income distribution, and since I believe that the economy does respond to policy, I hold any two-term president responsible for what happens to income distribution under his watch.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#31

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 19:51
Yeesh, this is a sticky topic—very inflammatory. I can see why it's being used to push everybody's buttons, though, because it works.

Thanks, blatantninja for answering me in detail. I know that you know more about the market than I will if I live to be a hundred, but I have a query about this sentence you just posted (over and beyond what you & Prime J are discussing cuz I 'm not equipped for that one):

It's not pure capitalism either, in the academic sense. In the academic sense, in a pure capitalistic economy, the government does little more than to make sure that the free market is not abused.
Are you not getting the sense that the government has indeed failed in just this way lately, though? That by not keeping a sensible framework of balanced regulations in place, the sharks and piranhas present in every level of society have been given free rein, with the end result that everybody is being penalized in one way or another? Don't you think it would be better to turn our ire towards the flaws and unfairnesses in the system than toward each other as classes?


Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
That's debateable, especially since the labor of the 95% isn't being taxed more, and in most cases taxed less.
I don't see how losing your job or your home to a recession is less damaging than having your taxes raised, or that having a tax burden for umpteen years for this bailout isn't going to fall on everybody, big and small, in the long run.

Since when? The Founding Fathers obviously believed in class and capitalism itself will always produce classes. The only thing is that our class is based, at least theoretically, on what you can achieve yourself, not on direct hereditary entitlement (obviously some people do get inheritances though)
Since that "All men are created equal " remark. The Founders strongly opposed not only feudalism, but oligarchy and theocracy through bitter experience. As people of their time, of course they were molded by the idea of classes, but they seem to me to have indicated a preference for a society where those classes were fluid and bendable, not polarized into us and them.

I think hate is a bit of a strong word. It's more like both sides think the other isn't pulling their fair weight. The 'rich' think there are too many people getting handouts, not paying income tax at all, or paying significantly lower rates than them, while the not-'rich' think that since the 'rich' make/have more, they should pay significantly a larger percentage of their income/wealth.
I agree totally with everything you said here. I think there's room for error on both sides of these views.

I agree, which is why I think if we are going to raise taxes which I am not against, we should ALL be paying more, not just one group.
I think we need serious tax reform, and I don't want to see anyone punished for initiative and hard work. I don't agree with the idea that people should get a handout, but I think the well-off need an underclass of workers to sustain their wealth, and that those people are entitled to a decent life and the opportunity to improve themselves. It should be a symbiotic relationship, and both sides have responsibilities. I think you share this belief, just wanted you to know most of my 'class' feels the same way you do.

That is very debatable
.
Having been poor—working poor—believe me, we all would like to be Bill Gates. I realize that if I had more talent, more brains or were willing to take bigger risks in life, I could have been more successful financially. I admire those who do so, not resent them.

Maybe not you, but the sense of entitlement in this country at all levels is extremely high.
True—at all levels, and a lot is just human nature. It's gotten a lot worse in the last twenty or so years, also.
It's also a reliable flashpoint argument to rally people whose interests should be common to perhaps not "hate' but to dismiss and underestimate each other.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; March 6th, 2009 at 20:03.
magerette is offline

magerette

magerette's Avatar
Hedgewitch

#32

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,929

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:02
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
(1) Economic policy affects income distribution.
(2) Income distribution diverged very quickly under presidents Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2, but stayed more or less constant between the end of WW2 and president Reagan, and during the Clinton interlude.
I thought that they had continued to expand, though perhaps to a lesser degree during Clinton. I remember in the late 90's discussion going on about the 'shrinking middle class', though certainly not with the fervor of today.

Therefore, it follows that Reagan's and Bush's economic policies caused, or permitted, this to happen. I don't need to know exactly what policy had exactly which effect. Very likely the changes in tax rates only made a little difference compared to changes in enforcement or changes in what public goods were being provided. Or perhaps it was something entirely extrinsic, and President Bush simply failed to do anything to counteract it.
I would propose that the reason incomes diverged so much over the past 25 years is because of the lack of true recessions. The highest income earners have typically seen their income increase the most during expansionary periods, but also seen them contract the most during contraction periods. Since we haven't had a true recession since 82-83 until the one we are in now, that natural check never occurred.

Of course this goes back to the whole expansion of credit policy that has pervaded the past four administrations.

I don't know, and I don't even care all that much.

But I do know what happened to the income distribution, and since I believe that the economy does respond to policy, I hold any two-term president responsible for what happens to income distribution under his watch.
I find that very surprising, because I would expect you to be the first person to stand up against reactionary measures being taken without truly thinking about their consequences.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#33

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:07
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I'll disagree on that one, I may not have used the terms you have, but you're splitting hairs because you don't like the term socialism. Concepts can be socialist, without an entire economy being socialist.
I do like the term "socialism." It's a useful term, with a precise and well-understood meaning. You're not using it with that meaning, though: instead, you're using it to brand a policy you don't like with the negative connotations of socialism — you know, state repression, secret police, lack of personal freedom, poor standards of living, general inefficiency, what have you.

Since you insist on using it, though, I'll go with you for the purpose of this discussion: "Socialist" and "socialist-leaning" will be used to describe the progressive-taxation and public-goods-oriented policies in many European countries. However, I'm going to do my own little rhetorical switch for symmetry: I'll use "Nazi" whenever I mean the kind of policies you do like. If/when you decide to drop your use of the word "socialism" to describe European-style advanced capitalist economies, I'll stop calling your policies Nazi. Clear?

Advanced capitalism is blinding element of socialism with a majority of capitalism and a proactive government., hence why I say it is not pure capitalism. It's a new beast. Better than pure or 'laissez-faire' capitalism for sure, but the problem with it as a term is that it has a very wide range of implementation, from the more pure capitalistic leaning economy of the US to the more socialist leaning economies of Europe. There are decided differences in our economies, yet they can both be classified as Advanced Capitalism.
That's my point, really — both American and European economies are advanced capitalist; therefore, calling one socialist-leaning and the other Nazi-leaning doesn't advance understanding much; instead, it just creates an artificial qualitative difference where there is none.

Exaclty, one leans more towards laissez-faire capitalism, the other leans more towards socialism.
Right, the American economy is Nazi-leaning, whereas the Euro one is socialist-leaning. Glad we got our terms agreed.

Like I said, I don't want the US to become Europe. We're not as far apart as the US and the Soviets were, but we're pretty far apart. As has been pointed out on here as of late, the US treats it's 'rich' better than just about any western national in the world. There are some pretty huge differences between the US and Europe, and I'd like to keep it that way.
And I don't want Europe to switch to a Nazi-leaning economy either. I think that the current financial crisis which, if I may remind you, originated and is centered on the US, is pretty good evidence that the Nazi system doesn't work very well. We see the same pattern in Europe: the countries that were most eager to embrace Nazi economic policies — Iceland, the Baltics, the Eastern European "tigers," Ireland — are now in the deepest trouble, whereas countries like Germany and France, who did most to retain their socialist systems, are doing a lot better — despite huge handicaps like Germany's extremely export-oriented economy, and France's propensity to go on strike at the drop of a hat.

I agree that the world needs different kinds of economies; there's certainly room both for Nazi economies and socialist ones. It would be kinda sad if everyone went the same way.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#34

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:15
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Are you not getting the sense that the government has indeed failed in just this way lately, though? That by not keeping a sensible framework of balanced regulations in place, the sharks and piranhas present in every level of society have been given free rein, with the end result that everybody is being penalized in one way or another? Don't you think it would be better to turn our ire towards the flaws and unfairnesses in the system than toward each other as classes?
Ohh certainly we failed. No doubt there. And reforms need to be made, I'm just not sure we are pursuing the RIGHT reforms. The last thing I want to see is another SarBox episode.

I don't see how losing your job or your home to a recession is less damaging than having your taxes raised, or that having a tax burden for umpteen years for this bailout isn't going to fall on everybody, big and small, in the long run.
95% of the population isn't losing their home or jobs. If you don't work, you won't be paying taxes! I do agree that the burden of the bailout will fall on everyone (well to be fair, I think we are going to inflate ourselves out of it in 5 to 10 years, so really it will be falling on the debt holders of the US!), but how is giving a tax break, which Obama has proposed, to 95% of the population going to help fix this?

Since that "All men are created equal " remark. The Founders strongly opposed not only feudalism, but oligarchy and theocracy through bitter experience. As people of their time, of course they were molded by the idea of classes, but they seem to me to have indicated a preference for a society where those classes were fluid and bendable, not polarized into us and them.
They certainly opposed feudalism, but they didn't oppose sexism, racism or landism (ok I think I made that word up, but since only white, land-holding males could vote, it sounds about right).

And anyway, classes of today are fluid. People move from poor to middle class (and unfortunately back the other direction as well), about as much as can be expected. The 'rich' is a reasonably fluid class as well. New crops of millionaires are made every generation. Even the super rich are reasonably fluid.

When we refer to class warfare, we are not talking about heriditary classes, we are simply talking about current socio-economic status.

I'd love to see a society that is not polarized into us and them. Unfortunately, we don't have that because everyone wants something and nobody wants to pay.

I've long taken that stance that it is in all of our best interests for the federal government to reduce the national debt and eliminate most annual deficits (and I mean REALLY eliminate, not Clinton eliminate). Yet I don't see many people standing up for that. I see people voting for reps that will give them the biggest tax cut or increase spending in their area.




those people are entitled to a decent life and the opportunity to improve themselves.
Absolutely, but the question always comes back to how to do you really quantify decent? But yes, people should always have the opportunity to improve themselves, and I think our country has done a better job at that than just about any other.

Having been poor—working poor—believe me, we all would like to be Bill Gates. I realize that if I had more talent, more brains or were willing to take bigger risks in life, I could have been more successful financially. I admire those who do so, not resent them.
Based on voting patterns, I think you are in the minority unfortunately.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#35

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:23
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I do like the term "socialism." It's a useful term, with a precise and well-understood meaning. You're not using it with that meaning, though: instead, you're using it to brand a policy you don't like with the negative connotations of socialism — you know, state repression, secret police, lack of personal freedom, poor standards of living, general inefficiency, what have you.
Well that's certainly not my full intent (at least the state repression, secret police, lack of personal freedom), I do believe that ultimately excessive taxation will lead to lower standards of living and greater economic inefficiency. I use it mostly to convey the idea of the fruits of my labor being used to provide various things to other people via the government in which I believe the government has no business providing.

I'll use "Nazi" whenever I mean the kind of policies you do like. If/when you decide to drop your use of the word "socialism" to describe European-style advanced capitalist economies, I'll stop calling your policies Nazi. Clear?
Well that's just a plain misnomer as the Nazi's were decidely uncapitalistic in many regards and embodied the state repression, secret police, lack of personal freedom, etc. that you think of when you think of socialism!


That's my point, really — both American and European economies are advanced capitalist; therefore, calling one socialist-leaning and the other Nazi-leaning doesn't advance understanding much; instead, it just creates an artificial qualitative difference where there is none.
There are large enough differences between them though that they should not be classified as the same thing.

And given that a large portion of the tax increase is supposed to be used for a nationalized healthcare system, it would seem that that in effect is socialist. Since in a nationalize healthcare system, the government is effectively controlling the means of production.

And I don't want Europe to switch to a Nazi-leaning economy either. I think that the current financial crisis which, if I may remind you, originated and is centered on the US, is pretty good evidence that the Nazi system doesn't work very well. We see the same pattern in Europe: the countries that were most eager to embrace Nazi economic policies — Iceland, the Baltics, the Eastern European "tigers," Ireland — are now in the deepest trouble, whereas countries like Germany and France, who did most to retain their socialist systems, are doing a lot better — despite huge handicaps like Germany's extremely export-oriented economy, and France's propensity to go on strike at the drop of a hat.
Europe extended a lot of bad loans too, as well pursuing the same credit expansion policy that created this mess. So I don't think you can really blame it completely on either system. We're all too tied together to make an effective break.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#36

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:23
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I would propose that the reason incomes diverged so much over the past 25 years is because of the lack of true recessions. The highest income earners have typically seen their income increase the most during expansionary periods, but also seen them contract the most during contraction periods. Since we haven't had a true recession since 82-83 until the one we are in now, that natural check never occurred.
There weren't all that many recessions, "true" or otherwise (whatever that may mean) between the end of WW2 and the oil crisis, yet income distribution in the US stayed constant. There wasn't a pattern of divergence and compression; everything stayed more or less the same.

Therefore, I would propose that you have the cart before the horse. I believe that divergent incomes are a (but certainly not the sole) *cause* of recessions, and the reason that there weren't any serious recessions between WW2 and the oil crisis, or between 1982 and now, is *because* there was a solid middle class with relatively evenly distributed growth. The period between 1945 and 1973 built an enormous middle class. That made a huge stability buffer for the economy. The middle class was so huge that it took 25 years of Nazi policies to erode it; now the cushion is gone, and you have a recession.

I propose that if the middle class had *not* been allowed to erode, and if Nazi policies had *not* been pursued, we would not *have* a recession now.

Recessions aren't "natural" or "inevitable." That idea hasn't been seriously entertained by serious economists since Keynes — *including* Friedman and the monetarists. The concept is coming back into vogue now among supporters of Nazi economics, though — no big surprise there, of course; it's a natural way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance.

Of course this goes back to the whole expansion of credit policy that has pervaded the past four administrations.
Absolutely; ever since Reagan, that's been a central feature of Nazi economics. Clinton didn't do much to slow that down, which only shows how completely the Nazi discourse had penetrated by then — the central Nazi assumptions were so universally accepted that it never even occurred to him to question them, and even if it had, it would have been completely impossible politically to do anything about it. This is because any competing discourse had been successfully branded as "socialist."

I find that very surprising, because I would expect you to be the first person to stand up against reactionary measures being taken without truly thinking about their consequences.
Why thank you, that's very kind of you.

Unfortunately I'm out of my depth when assessing individual policies like this; it's also rather pointless to look at them in isolation. I do have an opinion about the direction of overall policy: I strongly believe that Nazi economic policies don't work, and the divergence of income differentials is one highly visible and fundamentally unsustainable result. Therefore, I believe it's incumbent on Obama to roll back the Nazi policies instituted since Reagan — including, but certainly not limited to, mere marginal tax rates.

And that has nothing to do with class war. It's simply about putting the economy on a sound and sustainable footing.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#37

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:29
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Well that's certainly not my full intent (at least the state repression, secret police, lack of personal freedom), I do believe that ultimately excessive taxation will lead to lower standards of living and greater economic inefficiency. I use it mostly to convey the idea of the fruits of my labor being used to provide various things to other people via the government in which I believe the government has no business providing.
Yes, I understand.

Well that's just a plain misnomer as the Nazi's were decidely uncapitalistic in many regards and embodied the state repression, secret police, lack of personal freedom, etc. that you think of when you think of socialism!
Absolutely. It's a total misnomer — just like your use of "socialism" for what Europe does. And, just like "socialism," it carries a lot of negative connotations. That's why I picked it.

There are large enough differences between them though that they should not be classified as the same thing.
Here's where I disagree — and I believe that your belief to the contrary is an artifact of your use of the word "socialist" to describe them.

And given that a large portion of the tax increase is supposed to be used for a nationalized healthcare system, it would seem that that in effect is socialist. Since in a nationalize healthcare system, the government is effectively controlling the means of production.
Come on, bn — health care is only the means of production of health care services; it's not the basis of any national economy. It is, or can be, a public good just like roads or bridges.

Europe extended a lot of bad loans too, as well pursuing the same credit expansion policy that created this mess. So I don't think you can really blame it completely on either system. We're all too tied together to make an effective break.
Precisely — and we're so tied together *because we're so similar.* We produce, buy, and sell the same goods; our financial institutions are deeply intertwined; are trade policies are intentionally harmonized; our corporations are cross-owned and traded on each other's stock exchanges. There is no qualitative difference big enough to merit different qualitative descriptors for them — which is why no such descriptors are used in political science!
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#38

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:34
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
There weren't all that many recessions, "true" or otherwise (whatever that may mean) between the end of WW2 and the oil crisis, yet income distribution in the US stayed constant. There wasn't a pattern of divergence and compression; everything stayed more or less the same.
The definition of a recession (at least for the US) was changed during Bush I's term to 2 quarters of GDP decline from three. The '91 recession would not have been a recession under the previous description.

Prior to the oil crisis, you'd see typically expansion for about 3 years followed by 3-4 quarters of contraction, though some times mild contraction. Often these flowed from one year to the next, so looking at a specific year isn't always useful.

Therefore, I would propose that you have the cart before the horse. I believe that divergent incomes are a (but certainly not the sole) *cause* of recessions,
Any evidence of that. That's the first I've ever heard of anything like that. I could see if you had a situation like in Russia before the revolution that a recession or worse could be caused since no one had any money, but that's not ever been the case in the US.

and the reason that there weren't any serious recessions between WW2 and the oil crisis, or between 1982 and now, is *because* there was a solid middle class with relatively evenly distributed growth. The period between 1945 and 1973 built an enormous middle class. That made a huge stability buffer for the economy. The middle class was so huge that it took 25 years of Nazi policies to erode it; now the cushion is gone, and you have a recession.
There were recessions in:

1953-1954
1957
1960-61

I propose that if the middle class had *not* been allowed to erode, and if Nazi policies had *not* been pursued, we would not *have* a recession now.
Maybe not right now, and at least certainly not as bad as now, but we would have had more recessions in the period since 1983. Continuous economic expansion is simply not a natural phenomenon.

Recessions aren't "natural" or "inevitable." That idea hasn't been seriously entertained by serious economists since Keynes — *including* Friedman and the monetarists. The concept is coming back into vogue now among supporters of Nazi economics, though — no big surprise there, of course; it's a natural way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance.
In theory they are not natural or inevitable perhaps, but in reality they are. Human nature will always create bubbles of some nature that will pop and create recessions.


This is because any competing discourse had been successfully branded as "socialist."
Or perhaps it is merely the preferred method.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#39

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122

Default 

March 6th, 2009, 20:40
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Come on, bn — health care is only the means of production of health care services; it's not the basis of any national economy. It is, or can be, a public good just like roads or bridges.
I didn't say that it's the basis of a national economy. I asked if it, by itself, would qualify as a socialist program.


Precisely — and we're so tied together *because we're so similar.*
We've been pretty tied to China for a long time, and it's not because they have the same system we do (though they have been moving that direction).

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#40

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,122
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics, Religion & other Controversies » The Language of Looting (how the word free market became twisted)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 21:16.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch