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Author Topic: Who earns what?
Pete at Home
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http://www.businessinsider.com/the-war-against-wal-mart-2013-11

quote:
If any company can afford to give its employees a raise, Wal-Mart can. While the average wage of Wal-Mart associates is the subject of some dispute (OUR Walmart claims that most make less than $9 per hour, an estimate based on data from IBISWorld and Glassdoor.com, while Wal-Mart pegs the figure at $11.83), there’s little doubt that many of the store’s workers are stuck below the poverty line, currently $23,550 for a family of four.

By contrast, the Waltons are doing quite well. Forbes estimates that the net worth of just six of their family members tops $144 billion, a figure greater than New Zealand’s entire economy. The family’s 50.9% stake in the company, valued at $131 billion, paid out a hefty $2.5 billion in dividends last year (enough, as OUR Walmart points out, to give every one of the retailer’s 1.3 million U.S. employees nearly $2,000 in cash).

The Waltons have mostly kept their multi-billion-dollar lifestyles out of the public view, and for good reason. Images of private jets, vintage racing cars and sprawling properties don’t mesh well with those stories about Wal-Mart workers being unable to afford Thanksgiving dinner.

They are "modern day Pharaohs right out of the book of Exodus," Rev. Holly Beaumont, who is helping to organize Wal-Mart protests in New Mexico, said of the Waltons. "They are accumulating wealth at obscene proportions without [any concern for] their workers, forcing them to depend on the charity of their community."

A study by congressional Democrats suggested that low wages at a single Wal-Mart could be costing taxpayers as much as $900,000 per year, due to employees using programs like food stamps and Medicaid. "When low wages leave Walmart workers unable to afford the necessities of life, taxpayers pick up the tab," the report said. Even those government payments wind up boosting Wal-Mart’s bottom line. The company itself estimates that about 18% of the nation’s food stamps are spent in its stores.

In this light, I respectfully disagree with Red's statement that it's always wrong to tax someone more than 50% of their income. I do agree that what's been done specifically to Red sounds unfair and out of proportion. But I think the Waltons could use a few more taxes.

What exactly are they doing to earn all that money?

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Seneca
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Running a company that succeeds in a relatively free market...
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Wayward Son
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Running in which way? Jogging? Sprinting?

Certainly not marathoning... [Smile]

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D.W.
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You could (to a point in our other discussion) raise the minimum wage. From all indications the "exploitation" of their workers is within legal, even if less than socially acceptable, ranges.

That said the characterization seems to be spot on. I have a relative who supports his wife and two children off a Walmart salary. Fix the tax laws to be more “fair” would be a non-starter in the political arena. A large scale push for improving overall minimum standards of compensation should be easier for voters to motivate their representatives to support. Should be…

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Running a company that succeeds in a relatively free market...

How do you reckon the Waltons are "running" jack-****, Seneca? They don't have positions. They own stock, and they invest in charity front enterprises whose main purpose and function is to gather tax-free money to fund their jets and lifestyle.

quote:
"Sam [Walton, founder of Walmart) has a quote where he says, 'I hope my descendants never become part of the idle rich,'" Sellers said. "Well that's exactly what they’ve done. This is his legacy that they are destroying and they just continue to ignore us. They would rather race their cars and build their art galleries than take care of their associates."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-war-against-wal-mart-2013-11#ixzz2o325Lj00


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Seneca
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Is inheritance bad? Should it be banned?
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D.W.
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As someone who will likely inherit debt, if anything at all... yes? [Razz]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Is inheritance bad? Should it be banned?

No. Does not banning inheritance mean we have to pretend a bunch of spoiled playboys are "running" Wal-Mart?

This is a point I usually have to make to lefties here on the same sex marriage issue: when you have to misrepresent the facts in order to make your argument, you might consider that you're arguing for the wrong side. Just a thought.

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Seneca
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While there may be some evils from our system, attempting to fix them through government regulations will make them worse.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Is inheritance bad? Should it be banned?

Is poverty good? Should employers pay their employees so little for full time work that they have to supplement their incomes with state or federal assistance? Don't forget that your taxes are where that assistance comes from. I would expect you, as an anti-tax fanatic, to be pissed off at the companies that force you to support people they won't pay a living wage.
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D.W.
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This is where I diverge from Seneca. I just think you are focused on the wrong regulations Pete. [Wink]

What AI points out is what pisses me off. Not that someone invested wisely, within the rules, and made out like a bandit.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
While there may be some evils from our system, attempting to fix them through government regulations will make them worse.
What are the alternatives?

Specifically, how could we get Walmart to increase wages of their workers without government regulations (assuming we wanted to)? And how would it be more effective/less harmful than government regulations?

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Seneca: While there may be some evils from our system, attempting to fix them through government regulations will make them worse.
Do you intend for us to read your post as it's written? I.e. that there is never ever a time where a new regulation would help the market, ever?
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Seneca
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Propose a regulation.
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JoshuaD
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That's not a response to my question. I may propose a regulation that's good or I may propose one that's bad. My ability to propose a good regulation is independent from the question of whether there are good regulations that can be proposed.

You said "While there may be some evils from our system, attempting to fix them through government regulations will make them worse."

I'm asking if you meant exactly what you said. Did you?

[ December 20, 2013, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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JoshuaD
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FWIW: Something that brings sanity to copyrights and software design would probably be a good idea. Not terribly interested in debating that point here, though. (If you'd like to, start another thread and I might participate).
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Propose a regulation.

Where a public corporations has multiple tiers where the higher-tiered stock is limited only to family members, the percentage of the corporations' employees and/or contractors who are on food stamps, is added to the capital gains tax, and all exemptions are prohibited with respect to gains off the family tier stock.

Inheritance is cool. Inheriting off a system that gouges the welfare system, not so much.

Agreed?

[ December 20, 2013, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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JoshuaD
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Another good idea might be to normalize the tax regulations to create a level playing field that doesn't require experts to understand, avoids using the tax system as an incetivization machine, and isn't so susceptible to gamification.

Another might be to address the issue we have with Walmart, where individuals don't prefer to work there but don't have a viable alternative because Walmart has driven them out of business.

I'm a small federal government guy, so you'll find many of my proposals will take the shape of "remove this bad law and replace it with something more direct and more simple."

That doesn't mean I think all regulations (or any new regulation) is definitely categorically beyond the realm of inquiry absolutely positively bad. I tend to think we have a lot of bad regulations on the books, and there are a lot of good regulations which could get passed.

It seems to me that you said that every new regulation is definitely 100% bad. If you didn't, great. Clarify what you said (and realize that it then doesn't constitute a viable counter argument to the proposal of some regulation).

[ December 20, 2013, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Specifically, how could we get Walmart to increase wages of their workers without government regulations (assuming we wanted to)? And how would it be more effective/less harmful than government regulations?
The problem of allowing companies to pay too little is that they will then pay as little as possible. That's "The American Way", and it will leave people unable to provide for their needs or the needs of their families.

The response to that is likely that they get what they deserve, as in they are willing to demand so little for their labor that they don't deserve more.

That ignores that the economy is predicated entirely on commerce that relies on a population willing and able to spend money to buy things. Who exactly is going to buy the things on Walmart shelves if even their own workers can't afford to shop there?

The very, very simple truth is that if someone has no money and no credit they won't buy anything. Bye-bye Walmart, Sears, KMart, Best Buy, Target and a host of other companies. Hello deflation and the collapse of the economy.

But, since the government can't force companies to pay a living wage, we're all damn lucky the government is there to help those people make ends meet. And by "make ends meet" I mean make sure they have enough money to buy those basics and maybe a few extras. Hello Walmart, Sears, KMart, Best Buy, Target and the host of other companies who will get those shekels. Goodbye deflation and the economy doesn't collapse.

I wonder at people who are so angry at the stimulus and government subsidies for people in poverty who don't realize that their tax $$ are saving the country, and oh-by-the-way helping people in serious need. It is the holiday season, scrooges, so smile when you put your pennies out there.

It was a stupid idea to cut food stamps and child food assistance. Only a dumb-ass Republican who doesn't understand how the economy works would do such a thing, and there's a lot of them.

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JoshuaD
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Finally, I tend to believe that things are much better than they are often characterized. We should try to address the problem, but realize that when you live in a society as high and as great as ours, the risk of change is often higher, so I tend to err on the side of small adjustments slowly, rather than large sweeping changes that will invariably have unintended consequences (one of my many reasons for opposing Obamacare).

This is what it used to mean to be conservative. I'm not sure where your [Seneca] positions came from: that all new regulations are always bad, that 20 years to life in jail for small infractions is an acceptable way to treat other human beings, or the idea that there is nothing redeeming about the policies you oppose, but I think all three ideas are very destructive.

[ December 20, 2013, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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KidTokyo
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Again, the "conservatives" on the forum have this completely backwards. Wal-mart's success depends on the suppression of free-market principles. And their hugeness would be impossible without extensive federal regulation.

Elaborating on the first point -- Wal-Mart can literally force overseas vendors and manufacturers to use cheaper materials and poorer labor practices to drive costs down. These threats have true coercive value because if a vendor loses Wal-Mart's business, they can go under. Furthermore, The labor is cheap in places like China because the rights of workers to unionize and/or vote is suppressed. Fewer rights means cheaper labor -- there is a direct and quantifiable correlation. The products are "cheaper" because American laborers have been forced to compete on an un-level playing field with laborers without comparable rights.

Elaborating on the second point, Wal-Mart benefits from many complex and expensive anti-fraud measures and structural provisions that increase the efficiency of stock trades, and from state and local planners who supply infrastructure benefiting a big retailer.

In an actual, fully privatized free market Wal-Mart would never grow beyond a regional collection of a few dozen stores.

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JoshuaD
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Kid: I'm certainly one of the conservatives on this board, and I don't see that you addressed my beliefs or characterized them correctly. You might want to use a less strident category for your criticisms.

[ December 20, 2013, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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KidTokyo
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JoshD,

Apologies. I spoke too broadly when I referenced "conservatives" in general. Sleep dep is haunting me today. I will try to tone down the stridency.

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JoshuaD
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<3
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KidTokyo
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My solution is to tax corporations for lack of human rights compliance. In law school, I wrote a 25-page policy paper on this. Labor compliance auditing is now a widely available and sophisticated service. Tax corporations that fail to provide third-party labor compliance reports, driving up the cost of exploitation. This would likely accelerate a return to the use of domestic labor, and at the very least impact Wal-mart's ability to undercut local retailers. The effect on the domestic workforce is indirect, but would be felt. Really it's about restoring a proper power dynamic.
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JoshuaD
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To be fair, I think the criticism is justified for a large group of people who call themselves Republicans and/or Conservatives. There is a real failing on "my side" of debate in that regard. The way corporations can distort and abuse a healthy free market isn't understood well enough, I believe.
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Seneca
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And Democrats share no blame? Are you serious? Shaping up to be another useless partisan name calling fest.
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KidTokyo
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The misapprehension is found on both sides. But the main difference is that you don't usually hear Democrats talking about the virtues of a free-market. This however does not exonerate them, insofar as their disagreement proceeds from the same flawed premise.

One side may point and say "yay, free-markets," and the other may say "boo free markets." But they both share the common mistake of thinking that the subject of their discussion actually *is* the product of a free market.

[ December 20, 2013, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
And Democrats share no blame? Are you serious? Shaping up to be another useless partisan name calling fest.
I didn't say that. Where do you see that I've said that?

If I say the sky is blue, then I didn't make any claim whatsoever about the color of my shoes.

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Seneca
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I wasn't addressing you. I was responding to the statement that "only a #÷÷%-##÷ Republican would do/think X"

Someone seems to have forgotten who "ended welfare as we know it."

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Propose a regulation.

Where a public corporations has multiple tiers where the higher-tiered stock is limited only to family members, the percentage of the corporations' employees and/or contractors who are on food stamps, is added to the capital gains tax, and all exemptions are prohibited with respect to gains off the family tier stock.

Inheritance is cool. Inheriting off a system that gouges the welfare system, not so much

Agreed?

Have spotted a problem in my proposal... will fine tune and rewrite later.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
I wasn't addressing you. I was responding to the statement that "only a #÷÷%-##÷ Republican would do/think X"

Someone seems to have forgotten who "ended welfare as we know it."

Bill Gingritch and Newt Clinton, wasn't they? The team of heartless and gutless?

Yes, lots of family splitting loveliness there. Get more welfare by kicking out your hubby and getting more baby daddies. When the parties agree on something, it often bodes poorly.

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Wayward Son
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Let's not get distracted by the "blame game." There are plenty of actual, meaty questions above that are calling for answers.
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Seneca
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I'll address them a bit later when I've had some time to think them over and I'm not on a tablet.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
There are plenty of actual, meaty questions above that are calling for answers.

You have to admit that for someone who TomD characterizes as a "stodgy conservative who's afraid of change," that I start some pretty fearless threads about economic inequity. [Smile]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Propose a regulation.

Where a public corporations has multiple tiers where the higher-tiered stock is limited only to family members, the percentage of the corporations' employees and/or contractors who are on food stamps, is added to the capital gains tax, and all exemptions are prohibited with respect to gains off the family tier stock.

Inheritance is cool. Inheriting off a system that gouges the welfare system, not so much

Agreed?

Have spotted a problem in my proposal... will fine tune and rewrite later.
The problem with my original proposal as written is that it encourages discrimination against workers with families, etc.

So to rephrase:

Where a public corporations has multiple tiers where the higher-tiered stock is limited only to family members, the percentage of the corporations' employees and/or contractors whose regularly scheduled pay would qualify them for on food stamps, is added to the capital gains tax, and all exemptions are prohibited with respect to gains off the family tier stock.

So it's not whether they are on food stamps, but whether the PPC

(PPC=Pharonic Public Corporation meaning a nominally publically held corporation with a stock type set up for a specific family/dynastic line) pays workers a scheduled salary so low that it would qualify, say, a single parent with one kid for food stamps.

I hope you agree Seneca that MultiBillionaire playboy heirs should not frolic in dollars mooched off of our welfare system.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
I wasn't addressing you. I was responding to the statement that "only a #÷÷%-##÷ Republican would do/think X"

Someone seems to have forgotten who "ended welfare as we know it."

In resisting and resenting a partisan comment you make one equally as partisan. Think about it, where is the impetus in government coming from to deregulate and favor industry over individuals. Which party cut food stamps but didn't hike taxes on corporations? That's one of dozens of examples where Republicans have removed subsidies for individuals and increased or left intact policy that favored the corporations that sell to those people (and you).

You really don't know when you're getting screwed by your own politics. And, yes, you are a conservative if you agree with those policies.

As for the "end of welfare", what do you think happened to all those people, eh? You think they suddenly got jobs? A very great many of them - millions - went on permanent federal disability, so you're paying even more for them now than when they were on welfare.

I think you hold some mutually exclusive notions about how to solve problems. I mentioned one above, where ending welfare (limiting it, actually) has cost you money. In another thread you raise your mighty sword and call for 20 year sentences for employers who hire illegal immigrants, even though maintaining those people in jail will cost you far more than if you found a way to tolerate those workers in a non-illegal framework. Not to mention that if you got rid of all of the illegals you would be paying legal immigrants and US citizens more to pick your food in the fields and orchards, so you would pay more for your food.

I think you imagine that by eradicating a problem you save money when you only create bigger problems with your crude solutions. Think harder.

[ December 20, 2013, 10:00 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Seneca
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So many holes in that logic I don't know where to begin.

Capitalism is about comparative advantage. Nations compete in fields they are best suited too.

Why would food prices go up in the US? We aren't even suited to produce food and we can cheaply import it from elsewhere.

It's one thing to say "put money in the hands of consumers" but another to keep doing it if they do nothing to justify getting that money and cause massive inflation and CPI increases by having the government print off money to give to them while the rest of the populace actually works for their share. I know that disability is rampantly abused. We need to get rid of quite a few of these socialist programs before balance can be restored.

As for paying for more jail space, that's absurd. As DW points out, after the first few got caught and publicly tried, it would impose a chilling effect and you'd see the behavior largely stop.

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KidTokyo
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quote:
Why would food prices go up in the US? We aren't even suited to produce food and we can cheaply import it from elsewhere.
America is ideal for growing food, and we do a tremendous amount of it. What an utterly bizarre thing to assert! Especially given that what we do is subsidize giant agro-businesses which then export to other countries, where they can undersell local farmers (due to our govt. subsidy).

quote:
It's one thing to say "put money in the hands of consumers" but another to keep doing it if they do nothing to justify getting that money and cause massive inflation and CPI increases by having the government print off money to give to them while the rest of the populace actually works for their share.
Most of the money the government "prints" goes right into corporate ledgers. It's not "given to consumers" at all.

quote:
I know that disability is rampantly abused.
I believe we already covered this on another thread, but the yearly cost of disability fraud is about $20 billion.

Corporate fraud is well into the hundreds of billions per year.

quote:
We need to get rid of quite a few of these socialist programs before balance can be restored.
Those are not socialist programs. Centralized redistribution or "social safety net" policies are generally enacted to prevent the rise of socialism, as was done in FDR's admin.

Socialism requires direct self-government.

[ December 20, 2013, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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D.W.
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I'm curious about the claim we aren't a good food producer. Even with a chunk of desert and mountains we got to have more plains ideal for farming with a climate suitable for such most of the year compared to most other areas.

Even granting we have paved over some ideal farm land I don't think we've reverse teraformed our way out of food product-ability.

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