Who Actually Earns $400,000 Per Year?

by Emily Guy Birken · 6,834 comments

Surgeons

After the unending media coverage of the fiscal cliff throughout December 2012, it was a relief to everyone when a last-minute compromise was reached. In particular, the most reported-on compromise had to do with the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. Those cuts will remain in place permanently for any individual making less than $400,000 per year, and for couples earning less than $450,000. Those fortunate few who make more than that amount will see their rates rise from 35% to 39.6%.

The news about this particular tax rate increase got me wondering: what professions can expect to earn that kind of money? Since I don’t personally know anyone bringing home $400,000 per year, I decided to find out what kind of jobs command such high salaries:

1. The President

Perhaps the most famous $400,000 per year job is the leader of the free world. The office of president not only pays a $400,000 annual salary, but also provides the president with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment account.

There are some obvious downsides to this particular career, however. Besides being very difficult to get, the job is highly stressful, and advancement post-office can be considered somewhat iffy. And, of course, you can’t expect regular raises: the last salary increase for the commander-in-chief (from $200,000 to the current rate) was in 2001. Prior to that, the previous raise (from $100,000) occurred in 1969.

2. Surgeons and specialists

Even a local general practitioner can expect to pull in over $100,000 per year, but the real money in medicine is reserved for those who specialize. Anesthesiologists, heart surgeons, and brain surgeons can all expect to make up to $400,000 per year at the height of their career. Plastic surgeons can make up to twice that amount.

3. CEOs

The median salary of a Chief Executive Officer is over $700,000. These directors are in charge of both short- and long-term profitability for their companies. CEOs generally have to know the industry backwards and forwards (although there are certainly plenty of counter-examples), and need to have worked their way up over many years.

4. Wall Street Bankers and Lawyers

If you work in either finance or finance law, the place to go for fat paychecks is Wall Street. According to an October 2012 report, “the average salary of financial industry employees in New York City rose to $362,950 in 2011.” While that still falls short of the mark required for the higher tax bracket, it’s important to remember that this figure represents the average (meaning some people are making more) and that there have almost certainly been raises in the past year and a half.

The Top Percent of the Top Percent

These high-income earners are really rare. Consider the fact that most articles listing the highest paying jobs in America don’t even include any professions with median salaries of $400,000. Those individuals making $400,000 per year are in the top one percent of the top one percent — and often, they’re also public figures.

Thankfully, even though individuals in this bracket are few and far between, the government estimates that raising the tax rate on this small group will raise about $600 billion in new revenues over the next decade.

Not bad for a group that small.

What other professions that earn annual incomes of $400,000? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Peter says:

    Great example of our dangerous and completely ridiculous, biased media….. We all know about Fox and MSNBC and other places that paint all stories into a narrative, but the subtle reporting things are what bother me more.
    —-
    I was reading an article (linked below) about gambling in tennis causing the players to get death threats or flamed on social media. Multiple players report this abuse. It was this passage that struck me:

    “Three days after the election of Donald Trump in November, 128th-ranked American player Grace Min posted a screen shot of hateful comments aimed at her race, gender and body posted on her Instagram account while she played an ITF event in Waco, Texas.”

    Even if you hate Trump and are among the wildest conspiracy theorists alive, I think you would likely have a hard time connecting Trump’s election with the 128th ranked tennis player getting flamed on Twitter. This is the only mention of Trump and just a way to slowly and subversively associate him with all things negative – particularly hate related. We can certainly hold Trump accountable for his actions and statements, but connecting dots like this where they don’t need to be connected is something that happens all the time – right under our noses – and forms our opinions of people and issues in ways we don’t even truly appreciate.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/18/tennis/australian-open-tennis-trolls-social-media-hate-epidemic/index.html

    • Stevendad says:

      It is clear no one ever demeaned, slandered, made racist comments or had hateful thoughts “BT” before Trump. Yeah, that’s it. Still seeing more hate, intolerance, sexism and bigotry in the every day discourse on TV from the Left than the right. Of course there are and were and always will be idiot trolls on the net from both sides. At least they try to be anonymous and hide and aren’t so calloused as to lay out their hateful rhetoric on national TV.

      • Peter says:

        Yeah they weren’t trying to blame this on Trump to be fair….but it’s a very subliminal way to make an association.

        Maybe they should have said “Just two weeks after the Chicago Cubs won their first world series in 100 years…..”

  • Big Data says:

    The thing that I find so frustrating about these discussions is that every single argument and point that Peter, stevendad, and others make with regard to the economy makes sense in isolation. Hard workin entrepreneurs do create wealth. They do deserve an expanded piece of the economic pie for their contributions. Economic conditions have changed in ways that hurt the poor and favor the rich, and which are largely not due to greed of the rich but as a consequence of globalization, automation, and a failure at many levels to keep the skills of the workforce matched to the needs of industry. The rich pay a higher share of taxes than in the past and rich wage earners pay more than rich investors. There exist unmotivated and lazy people who take unfair advantage of social programs and government handouts. Government programs are often inefficient and laden with cortuption and waste. Solutions include better education and more efficient government programs. All true. I don’t deny any of it.

    But all of these arguments and facts distract from, and fail to refute the eleohant in the room: 10 to 15% of income share has been shifted from the lower 90% to the upper 1%, and that shift is bad for the economy. It doesnt matter why it happened. It doesnt matter who deserves or does not deserve it. It doesnt matter if there is mobility between quintiles or in or out of the upper 1%. Ehat matters is that an economic shift has happened and it is bad for the economy, and the economy would be better if the shift was reversed. By any means necessary.

    • Big Data says:

      All that matters … not ehat matters …

      And yes, Peter, this is my usual rant, stated one more time in a slightly different set of sentences. I know you will be unconvinced, but it makes me feel better to shout my vision of truth occasionally … feel free to ignore it as always.

      • Peter says:

        No …. I found the last post to be refreshing and an accurate representation of both of our motivations and thoughts. And while you concede that you agree with all of the first paragraph (which I do also agree with)….I should also concede that I absolutely regret that the income situation is what it is for many people. I agree we should not fix it (we cant) but do what we can to reverse the trend and improve the lot of life for millions of people who deserve better. I do however think it important to understand how we got this way to better know how to help change things. Nonetheless I feel and respect your frustration – the emotional side of your posts.

        • Peter says:

          “10 to 15% of income share has been shifted from the lower 90% to the upper 1%, and that shift is bad for the economy. It doesnt matter why it happened. It doesnt matter who deserves or does not deserve it. It doesnt matter if there is mobility between quintiles or in or out of the upper 1%. Ehat matters is that an economic shift has happened and it is bad for the economy, and the economy would be better if the shift was reversed. ”

          This statement is the best thing you have posted so far. It expresses the genuine frustration and emotion that I actually agree with you on. (With the exception of the mobility comment – I think that matters A TON) But much like when post-9/11 emotions were running high and led us to poor solutions and emotional decision making (the Iraq War in particular), we can’t let this happen here either. We have to be careful not to attack the 1% and make them the enemy, because the overwhelming majority are not. We have to be careful to not attack the poor that don’t deserve it as well. I don’t think we disagree much about the core of this topic, which is why I’m still hanging around. What I disagree with is your approach (attacking the rich, making excuses for the poor) and your very partisan angle (defending Dems at every turn, blaming GOP repeatedly). Attacking individual groups or blaming political parties – when both have had an enormous hand in all of our problems – shuts down the conversation and keeps us further away from a solution. But the sentiment is still the same and I completely see your point of view and feel your frustration.

          • Big Data says:

            Wow. Never expected that would be the post that would break through to mutual understanding. Thanks for the feedback and reading my post with some empathy.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter, this is a minor issue so i dont want to spend a lot of time on it, but i feel compelled to point out that you are way too sensitive to criticism, to the point that you see attack and insult where none exists. You say I keep accusing you of blaming and shaming the poor. It is not true. I checked. On this page, which is more than 2 months of extensive conversation, the words shame or shaming were spoken 9 times, none by me. The words blame otr blaming were spoken 24 times, about 8 times by me, twice in my response saying i wasnt blaming you, other times referencing blaming politicians, parties or Trump, or quoting Franklin, and only twice referencing blaming the poor or blaming societal classes. Blaming the poor was mentioned in a response to stevendad, not you, and was a generalized “we”, and not a personal accusation in any case. The “blaming societal classes is insufficient” was a poke at myself, not you.

    Quit taking things so personally. I’m not trying to be rude, but it is really not all about you. Dont assume that it is.

    • Big Data says:

      I will point out that there is a fine almost indistinguishable line between claiming that people can always lift themselves up and blaming them if they don’t.

    • Big Data says:

      Obvious my 24 count of blame or blaming was before these last 3 posts.

      • Peter says:

        Well fair enough but there are only 3-4 of us in here. So yeah I do assume it is about me in the context you put it in.

      • Big Data says:

        Ok, but i do try to avoid prrsonal attack, at least since my moniker change. When I say WE should not kick down ladders or blame the poor, I am making that asserion as general philosophy and in no way implying that YOU personally are the guilty party. As always, if the shoe fits, wear it, but if not, let it slide. Ok?

        • Stevendad says:

          BD: I am not blaming the poor if you feel I am. You bemoan their poorness, I think they often make rational choices that lead to poorness. Remember my “yea dope” coworker? He was poor and chose to be because he wanted just enough money to eat, have shelter and smoke dope. And yet he was one of the most fulfilled and happy people I’ve ever met. I feel YOU are judging his decision to not try to climb up the income scale. I do not feel I am wise enough to do so.I agree there should be opportunies and paths to self improvement. In my opinion they exist. I think you massively discount that many of the poor choose not to pursue the path with some investment, work, temperance and planning. We had a hospital expansion and needed people would be paid $10 an hour to tie wire on the rebar (0 skill requirements). That pay of $10 an hour is equivalent to $20+ an hour in New York. No American born people were willing to do it. I hear over and over again for the roofers, remodelers, yardwork services, etc. that they can’t find anybody that was born in the United States to do these kind of work even when offering more than the equivalent of your “magic” $15 an hour wage. So, in your perfect scenario, should they be forced to take these jobs? Or would it be OK with you if they choose rationally or by behaviors to remain poor, live in their mother’s basement, play video games, smoke pot and do whatever other drugs, just hang out, sleep a lot, etc. I believe this is called freedom. It is a two edged sword that rewards those who pursue wealth and economically punish those who do not. Perhaps you will recall my friend from France who could not become a baker there because the government would not allow him to do so. I know that’s a perfect example of a socialist Nirvana to you. However this also removesthe other side of the “sword” allowing for personal choice and success. Like “dope man”, many of the poor may be perfectly happy where they are. A close relative of mine says “jobs are for little people” and lives off the state and family in monetary poverty and free time wealth. I choose to live in the opposite situation. I know to you these are victims of an economy that is designed to cheat them. A few are, but most make choices and sometimes mistakes. Seldom one, or a few, but many that are compounded over and over again. I feel nearly all “these horses have been led to water, but some choose not to drink”. YOU judge them, not me. The “ladders” exist for all but a very few. They are not AND NEVER WILL BE EQUAL in height and steepness. (Unless you feel that the state should remove all children from their families and put them in the domiciliaries where each gets the same education, feeding, nurturing etc.) I cannot think of another way to reach ultimate “fairness”.
          BTW, just crickets from you on NY, DC, CA and other Dem paradises on increasing their local taxes to level out earning. They CAN fix this in their own communities, why don’t they? Is they believe in politics over real core beliefs? I believe that’s the case in my opinion. Do you have the courage to answer this question?
          Once again, you completely ignore the fact that it is quite possible that these folks have doubled their income without paying a shred of taxes and at the same time getting benefits they would otherwise not deserve based on what they earn in the underground economy.do you think this is “fair” to the rest of us?. As a Liberal, I know that you have a keen eye for and a great judgment of “fairness”.
          I must say once again, I grew up with many of these people and still are around them frequently. How many of these have you met and talked to lately? And just out of curiosity, did you grow up poor? You seem to be able to pass off a lot of judgment on my comments without knowing any of these people for hours and hours a day like I did . Typical of a Liberal, you seem to know a lot about everything based on some deduction from global truisms in your mind. Examples of such truisms would be “white people are racist, rich people hate and want to abusethe poor or poor only because society has suppressed them.” You present a good deal of data about the situation of people, but also infer a huge amount of motivation where they may or may not exist amongst the poor, the rich, everyone. I guess is because you have the superior wisdom of Liberalism.

          • Peter says:

            Nice – and well said. Think about this….we certainly accept the fact that black people are treated with racism in their lives, regardless of status. Whether it be police or shopkeepers, they feel it all the time. We know this because practically any black person you know personally will tell you this has indeed been the case. The same thing goes for women – most any woman can report a story of being objectified or having some man say something offensive or stare at their chest.

            Where am I going with this? Almost any small business owner who is in need of unskilled labor (you mentioned a few of them in your post) will tell you that they can’t find Americans to take these jobs. And these jobs are already at pay scales above minimum wage. Why is it that when we hear these stories OVER and OVER again, people who think like BD can’t accept that the problem might at least in part lie with the workers and not with an unfair system?

            Stevendad also makes a great point that I hit on too a while back – not everyone cares to move up the income scale. And they should not be shamed. If you want to lay around, smoke weed and play Call of Duty all day – you won’t move up the ladder. But you might end up happy! To each their own and the beautiful thing about this country is that you have a choice. Nobody is making you mow grass or become a baker. You can do whatever you want – but you live with the consequences.

            It’s kind of like I say about someone who is 400 lbs. – at least they can eat cheesecake whenever they want. I know I sure can’t. Life is about choices and people shouldn’t be judged on the ones they make. But they have to accept the consequences.

  • Peter says:

    Another example of the disastrous political climate re: Obama/Obamacare. Just today he held a meeting with Democrats telling them not to help Republicans pass replacement measures for the ACA. Meanwhile, Pence met with Republicans to plot their strategy to repeal it and then replace it with something else. This is HORRIBLE. It will cost us a fortune (seen estimates of $300b) to repeal and replace. Even BD and I agree that revising, improving and fixing the flaws of the ACA is a great idea. Why can’t our politicians do this?

    Forget about all the other crap that we are arguing about – this partisan circus is going to ruin our nation. No wonder our debt is so out of control. It’s like two divorced parents who overspend and try and impress their kids with lavish gifts neither can afford. So mom gives the kids a bunch of fancy new clothes and the dad says “we can’t afford this and you don’t need it – get rid of it” and they sell it for 50 cents on the dollar. Then dad buys them something ridiculous and mom says the same thing. And round and round we go….. The kids don’t get to keep anything and the parents just keep wasting money.

    • Big Data says:

      Agreed. This is a consequence of fake news and propaganda. Repubs and their news sources have propagandized for years that Obamacare was unpopular (including those who wanted single payer as opponents of OC), and portrayed it as expensive and a disaster. It turns out that repealing OC is actually more unpopular, more expensive, and potentially more disastrous than keeping it. Do the GOP actually believe their own propaganda? Apparently. The closed news echo chamber of fear and disinformation from conservatives has no real counterpart on the liberal side (though liberals have different flaws) and if they act on these false needs and unpopular actions to dismantle OC, privatize Medicare and SS, remove reproductive rights, and raise debt by cutting taxes on rich, they will find the country will be most unhappy with them.

      • Peter says:

        LOL – don’t quite view in the partisan pro-Dem way you spun it. Honestly I don’t think it is propaganda that Obamacare is unpopular. Even the president himself has said that the system has major flaws and needs revision. Regardless of media, propaganda or the public – the system has some merit but is largely a poorly thought-out behemoth that needs major revisions. Most importantly we need a health care plan that doesn’t cater to big $$$ insurers the way this one does. That will bring the cost down.

        Check out obamacarefacts.com for all sorts of poll information. 37% want it repealed. Another 18% ‘dislike the plan’. 40% like it.

        You and I definitely share a different level of confidence in our government (blue or red) to run things efficiently. And it is even more likely to be a mess with no dialogue across the aisle from either side.

        • Big Data says:

          The site you linked is independent and has a lot of good info. Thanks.
          ===
          I could not find the poll info, but its a big site; I must have just missed it. The poll I did find elsewhere was the Nov 2016 Kaiser poll:

          Americans are divided on what they want to see lawmakers do to the ACA with one-fourth of Americans (26 percent) wanting to see President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress repeal the entire law while an additional 17 percent want them to scale back what the law does. This is compared to 30 percent of the public who want to see the law expanded and 19 percent who want to see lawmakers move forward with implementing the law as it is. Among Trump voters, 50 percent want to see the law repealed and 29 percent want to see it scaled back.

          • Big Data says:

            Thanks. Both sets of stats are similar. From your link, just under 48% want it repealed, scaled back and/or replaced with private insurance system. Just over 48% approve or want it replaced with public insurance system.
            ===
            From Kaiser, 43% want OC repealed or scaled back, while 49% want it retained or expanded. In either case, it is not true that there is strong support for full repeal, especially when replacement is not ready. And in both cases there is slightly more support to keep or expand the law than repeal it, so it is hard to fairly describe it as very unpopular.

          • Big Data says:

            For anyone else searching Peter’s link, the data in question is at poll question number 8.

        • Stevendad says:

          One of my overwhelming gripes and consistent threads in all of my posts is that politics usurps all common sense and rationality in everything we’ve talked about. Obamacare is ultimate political football. It’s repeal will be a reward for those who supported not just Trump but the vast majority of Republicans in office now. It’s repeal will punish the liberals and Democrats who you forced it through. Trying to give arguments about whether this is a good idea or not is moot. In reality it all relates to politics just like everything else. It is fascinating to see the 180° turn around on “obstructionism” by both parties. This is just one of many, many examples of believing in political ideology not “truth” or principles.

          • Stevendad says:

            By the way, the coverage issues are far and away not the biggest problem with the ACA and the Obama administration’s dealing with healthcare my perspective where the rubber hits the road. There have been dozens of mandates from on high that are pointless and add huge amounts of cost and misery for those of us in the industry. Ironically, they worsen healthcare by lessening the physician patient interaction and removing nurses from the bedside in hospitals. This has been shown over and over and over again and studies. This only cheapens and worsens the product and leads to poor satisfaction. Of course, those few people in a room of 15 or so are so wise in their decision-making that they can tell us all what to do in the millions of interactions between patients and physicians and nurses every day. Of course, BD I’m sure you’re an expert on this like you arein everything else from your Liberal wisdom. For this reason alone, I would find it wonderful if whole thing was repealed. I am getting a little catty here, but I occasionally have to ask myself just who the heck do you think you are to judge everyone?

          • Peter says:

            Same thing with the politicians that try to do “what’s best” in the financial industries. They don’t know what they are talking about – and more importantly, don’t care. It’s too much about public perception, not actually helping people. Just like you are saying…. people find out what the political ideology is and then search out supporting truth – rather than thinking about prudent solutions to problems.

  • Big Data says:

    So we talk about the unskilled lower quintile. Lets set them aside and discuss the next two quintiles. Who are they, what do they earn, and how have they fared for the last 30 years? And why have they not fared better? And what should be done by them or by society to improve their lot (besides just having them strive to move to upper quintiles)?

    • Peter says:

      The last sentence is what happens though….you do realize that? Mobility. But some in the 2nd to last quintile probably still could benefit from the system changes I have proposed.

      • Henry says:

        I personally came from a very depressed economic area and saw people rise up over and over again. Like Steven Dad said – if you practice SWEAR….. most in those areas don’t – partially because of poor family situations and horrible role models.

    • Big Data says:

      Again mobility is not possible for all. Its great to escape the shallow pool. Its even nicer if everybody’s pool gets a little deeper, rather than all the fresh new water going to only the deepest pool.

  • Peter says:

    BD – not sure why I keep getting accused of blaming or “shaming” the poor. It is not offensive or wrong to say that the bottom quintile of any population will likely be made up of a lot of “losers” – people that make poor decisions in life and fail. Why is that unkind or wrong? Put 100 people in a room to do a timed puzzle and I bet you that at a certain number of them wouldn’t even try it – or half-a** it – or not have the mental capacity to do it. This is not blaming or shaming. It’s the truth. There will also be a handful that blow through the puzzle in record time – the more talented, motivated, aggressively competitive types. They shouldn’t be shamed either.

    Not sure why you can’t accept that a great deal of people lack motivation, competitive drive, talents or skills. And this is OK! I don’t mean in any way to imply that these people should be shamed, deported or put in cages to rot. But you also can’t just hand these people money either.

    We have been over multiple, productive reasons (with possible solutions) as to why the bottom 20% has seen their income rise slower. I can relist them all if you want. But the conversation won’t end there with you. You must see Democrats in power and the GOP stopped from “ruining everything” – and you must see taxes go up and money move from the wealthy to the poor. WHY? If we solve the problem with any number of the 15-20 odd solutions we have addressed, isn’t that OK?

    But please quit with the rhetoric that I am blaming or shaming the poor. Even though you have made some offensive comments about people in the 1% – I don’t truly believe you are blaming or shaming them either.

    • Big Data says:

      I’m not blaming you personally Peter. What I am saying is that it is inappropriate for society to take advantage of (or allow the unscrupulous to take advantage of) the mentally, or physically, or economically disadvantaged and just blame any resulting added hardship imposed, on personal responsibility of the victims.
      ===
      Of course there are less capable people in society. I am just saying that we do not need to keep pushing them lower and lower in lifestyle even as society and Gdp per capita advance overall.
      ===
      We all make stupid decisions at points in our lives and it is appropriate to suffer a consequence. But the consequence should be recoverable, and that is the critical difference. A pregnancy too early in life, a lack of attention to education in grade school, a teenage drug habit, are all poor decisions which will impact a persons life but should not doom an individual to a poverty forever. (I think that removing possibilities of scholarships from former drug offenders is a bad idea, for example. Where is the path to redemption?)
      ===
      I believe the overriding difference in your perspective and mine is that you see the misfortunes and situations of the poor as fully recoverable by their own efforts alone under current systems and policy, whereas I believe they need more help. An exception to the above may be that you and I agree that society should provide better education for current technical jobs and possibly more abundant domestic jobs. I think we also differ in how we believe pay for current jobs should be applied; I believe that higher minimum wage should be applied and that better wage and labor protections should be enacted while you might favor market competition alone and object to such govt ‘interference’ in the market. I think tax policy should be used to influence and reduce income disparity while you would object to such an approach on both principle and feasibility.
      ===
      The biggest difference between you and I is that I see our economy on a macro scale as an income distribution system. The economy will only grow a small amount each year and the total income of that year is distributed among the population by a curve which has changed over time. You keep calling this idea a zero sum game, a title I reject as it is technically inaccurate. But let me employ its use here in a limited sense. Given the predictably small range of expected variation of Gdp for 2017, the distribution of income for this year is so.ething akin to a zero sum game. Every business is like a small monarchy run either by a kingly ceo, a board of directors or a ruling voice of investors. These monarchies control the distribution of incomes within their kingdoms by setting pay policies and wage increase percentages. Markets and competition apply, but since all companies are wanting to keep wages low and since labor is generally plentiful, wage increases for low wage and unskilled labor stay low. Thus: the prime characteristic of a zero sum game is present – that the wage constraints and losses at the low end of the scale benefit the incomes of the management and investors at the high end of the scale.
      ===
      The nation is an income distribution system, and not just a wealth creation system, because it is best described as an amalgamation of little wealth creation systems (companies) that are also income distribution systems which each restrict low wage growth and accelerate high wage growth.
      ===
      You believe individuals at the low end can circumvent and overcome the inequities of this system. At least for the current economy, I disagree.

      • Big Data says:

        To clarify. Of course I believe a few individuals can climb out of the lower quintile. But the quintile as a group is stagnating or declining, even as the country advances.

        • Peter says:

          I think more than a few can climb out. The mobility stats show this to be the case. And the bottom quintile is stagnating/declining for all the reasons I stated several times in the last few posts. Not because of greedy billionaires or an unattentive government.

          • Big Data says:

            I imagine that if world economic conditions shifted while unions were strong and labor pay was high and companies were struggling to grow in the changing economy for those high labor costs, then business managers would demand that income curve should be shifted to restore a balanced economic system. But when worker pay is diminished and resulting shift slows the economy by reducing middle class purchasing power, but it benefits the wealthy managers and business leaders, businessmen such as yourself recommend prescriptions for the workers (SWEAR), and more education, and throw up your hands saying there is no point in changing worker pay. Its just economic conditions and nothing can be done but work people harder smarter and longer. It completely baffles me how you can ignore the way that income shifting from middle to rich is damaging the economy and harming workers. You incessantly complain if i duggezt taxes go up 5% or 10% of income for millionaires. But you are content that we underpay median icomes by 25%. Its crazy.

          • Big Data says:

            Typos … suggest not dugggezt … incomes not icomes …

      • Peter says:

        We are now back in the abyss of your incorrect perspective that the economy works as an “income distribution system”. Unfortunately I think all our debates will die here. A few other things from the last post….

        You are indeed accusing me of “blaming and shaming” the poor. Or at least that is in most replies to my posts.

        I fail to see how we are actively pushing the poor lower as a government. We increased the number of people on food stamps at a historic pace for instance – and have record numbers on unemployment, welfare and other government benefits. The changing economy, technology, immigration, etc. are pushing the unskilled non-SWEAR practicing people lower – not policy.

        And yes, I do see all the problems you mentioned as “recoverable”. Just about anything that happens in your teenage years is correctable – we even have laws to protect people against that. Beyond that, I just fail to EVER think that a problem or mistake someone makes should be supported, solved, or absolved by the government. I just don’t think like that and I don’t think it is healthy for a society to rely on government for these sorts of things. Just about any minor mistake you make in our society is recoverable though.

        • Big Data says:

          Of course, your company, the us economy, and the world economy is an income distribution system. Its as plain as the clear blue sky on a sunny summer day.

        • Big Data says:

          Perhaps i misunderstand what you perceive an income distrintion system to be. Explain how your company and the economy are NOT income distribution systems as you would define that term.

          • Big Data says:

            Sorry abou typos. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

          • Peter says:

            Let me try a simple example. In the traditional sense of manufacturing, you are correct. There is a set amount of profit and the company divides it up. Unions are important here.

            But that is not all there is to an economy. Some business create things where there was previously nothing. Technology is a great example of this. Someone develops some software with limited manufacturing requirements and sells it on a mass scale for instance. The creator of that software and the developers of future versions are going to make far more than anyone else. There is no union for the mail room or tech support, which makes far, far less. As they should.

            There is not a finite amount of income in an economy, distributed by a few. That is much like the “dividend” on a stock. You also make money on appreciation and creation. I might make a million dollars a year and my employee $100k, but my company is appreciating in value – creating wealth SOLELY for me. And it might manifest itself as income with stock options. Your view of economics does not account for wealth creation or appreciation – which VERY often doesn’t get distributed evenly. Nor should it.

            In a manufacturing economy your point of view does hold some merit.

  • Big Data says:

    For the occasional reader of this forum, if there are any, perhaps stevendad could remind us what SWEAR acronym stands for. Honestly, Ive forgotten the full expansion.

    • Stevendad says:

      Save 10% always.
      Work 40 to 50 hours a week.
      Educate to your maximum ability (includes trades).
      Avoid excessive alcohol and drugs.
      Reproduce responsibly. Have kids when your financial and work life are in order (seldom <25)

      All doable, all voluntary.

      • Peter says:

        I do know a few people that have done these things and just had bad luck, health or other misfortune slow them down. I must say that I don’t know ANY that can say yes to all of these components who haven’t eventually persevered. I completely reject that 40% of our population does these things and still can’t survive. Wish something like this would go viral – great advice.

        When I was making $20k/year for my first 4-5 years of work I must admit I made mistakes. I didn’t do #1 at all. Couldn’t afford to. But I worked 60-70 hours a week, went nuts with education – taking advantage of any free training I could get. (One cool thing is to work for a temp agency – they will hire ANYONE and give you free access to computer training like Excel, Word, etc. I did about 10-12 of these modules and put them on my resume). I also did not drink but occasionally and did no drugs for that period of time, including marijuana. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment and took no vacations for those years. Once my income started to rise, I had children.

        I do remember at times it would be difficult. A car repair or something unforseen would set us back big time. It was disheartening and frustrating. But we didn’t go get drunk to “seek more pleasure from our meager incomes”. We kept at it – knowing that hard work and training would pay off. I never felt “punished” for making no money. Just don’t understand that…. But with that said….. (continued next)

      • Peter says:

        …. I am an intelligent person with a good lower-middle-class upbringing. I have an advantage on that front in that I knew through training, education, hard work and sheer time I would be a success. I have talents and skills. The problem isn’t with most of society who shares in having some skills and talents – they are all fine regardless of this perceived rigged system. The problem is also not with the unmotivated non-SWEAR practicing group. They will always struggle and complain and be left behind. Even BD probably isn’t even talking about those people. We are talking about a group of people who try and do the right things (practice SWEAR) but have no skills, talents, or intellectual assets to capitalize on. The size of this portion of our population is debatable, but it isn’t 1% and it isn’t 40%. These are the people BD perceives getting screwed by the system, while I move that they are simply the victims of changing times, an antiquated education system, poorly designed social welfare programs, neglect of our poor neighborhoods and schools, technology, immigration, corrupt big-money politics and a whole host of other things. This is where the debate lies. In this part of our population that for the last century worked in factories or in agriculture/labor jobs. Many of these jobs have been replaced by robots or immigrants (or simply by more productive work) – and as supply outweighs demand – the wages have been depressed. Simple economics really.

        • Big Data says:

          A pretty good assessment, Peter, with some balance. Nicely done.
          ===
          But along with the unfortunates you identify in the lower quintile who have motivation but are short on abilities or skills, I am also concerned with people in the next 2 quintiles who have motivation, and moderate skills and education, but who are also getting left behind as the country advances. Many are making living wage, but are still struggling. I am talking about these people also. The shift of incomes, for whatever economic causes, also deprive these people of the quality of life and the advancement they expect from their hard work. If they already practice SWEAR and are just getting by, what are they supposed to do?
          Accept that they have to live cheaper than their parents while working as hard or harder, even as their bosses incomes have doubled, and wealthier people complain that it is THEY who should pay more taxes? Or should they demand that schools be improved, and labor policy be modified, and trade policy be balanced, and government programs should be more fully funded by those wealthier bosses? Isnt that a reasonable approach? Isnt that the protest that just happened in 2016?

          • Peter says:

            This is hard enough …don’t make it worse by arguing with someone other than me. I have never in a million years said that the poor should pay more taxes. And I would leave the judgment calls out of it as well such as “working hard or harder”. That may not be the case.

            This all comes back to the way you and I see the business world. Who is the people in the middle quintiles – making $50k or so let’s say- that can’t survive and meet their needs, has not seen their income increase in 20 years, where their bosses have seen giant increases, keeping all the money for themselves. Give me a few examples here.

          • Stevendad says:

            BD: A rehash from the Summer:One thing I keep pointing out and you ignore is that the 1% makes less from income 50% at $500k to $1M (compared with > 75% in upper half) and more from investment more so as you progress up and the upper 0.1% makes only 10% in salary. The bull market in stocks and bonds accounts for a huge proportion of “income inequality”. It also includes stock options as pay, a relatively new phenomenon that benefits the executives only if the company performs well. This effect is also the largest in Liberal enclaves like Chicago, CA and NY NY. So these places are trying to assuage their guilt by taxing the rest of America. My solution: double or triple local and state taxes to redistribute to their local populations if they wish, leave the rest of us alone.
            Furthermore, there is significant leveling with almost $1250 per month per PERSON in government benefits in lowest quintile, some means based (about $600) and some not. This significantly increase spending by household and does not include charitable giving or government mandates to private companies like cell phones and free internet. And of course ignores all underground income that is around $2.25 T overall and likely concentrated more in this quintile of “official” income. For perspective, “official” income in bottom 40% is $1.89T, approximately DOUBLING the income in these two quintiles. So to focus on income vs spending ignores the true measurement of poverty, the inability to buy what you need.

          • Stevendad says:

            Don’t forget the top 20% of earners already pay 84% of Fed income tax. How much is enough?

          • Stevendad says:

            I would also submit that those who consistently SWEAR are unlikely over time to NOT succeed. The data is overwhelming for education, work hours, drug use, alcohol use and reproductive responsibility as well as saving for emergencies which, I’m sure you would agree, helps avoid interest, overdraft fees, etc. The ONLY irreversible SWEAR choice is having a child, but this is often significantly offset by increased govt benefits that you will get.
            I would say don’t increase anyone’s income taxes on the Federal level. See above re: state and local. Try to slow the growth of bureaucracy and become more efficient and accountable by incentivizing the same in the way managers in Fed government are bonus. Try to capture lower long term bond rates to avoid spikes in interest payments in the future. Avoid stupid wars and entanglements and quit supporting wealthy nations militarily. And, again, add some highly targeted taxes that eliminate inherent unfairness like taxing financial instruments and business values yearly rather than just at sale, recouping govt benefits that indirectly profit employers, eliminate carried interest, etc as I have mentioned before.

          • Peter says:

            Agree on all fronts. Seems reasonable to me – and it would surprise me if BD didn’t agree with you on all of this, even in spite of the way he views the economy. Stock options, interest, deferred comp bonuses, etc. are a major part of income at the higher levels. The greeter at WalMart doesn’t have this as part of his/her income – nor should they.

  • Big Data says:

    There is,a troublesome medical insurance practice you should know about. Its called balance billing. You go to an in network hospital and then get bills from out of network physicians and anesthesiologists you never interviewed or hired.

    Read here, http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/20-things-to-know-about-balance-billing.html

    Far from wanting to prevent this egregious and bankrupting billing practice, Trumps nominee for HHS, Tom Price, is an advocate FOR
    balance billing, as well as for replacing Medicare with vouchers. That seems like a poor start as,far as helping the middle class and reducing medical costs.

    • Big Data says:

      I would be very interested in stevendads medical opinion on this issue.

      • Stevendad says:

        It comes up when there are page of the teams of doctors out of network. Even a fairly simple hospitalization may have 2 dozen doctors involved with consultants, coverage doctors, pathology, ER, radiology, anesthesia. It is neither immoral or illegal. No one should expect call coverages be constructed around insurance networks. Complexity would be off the charts. Accountable care organization’s and bundled payments will probably solve this as much is anything. If the insurance companies were reasonable in reimbursement and hassle free, everybody would be in network for everything, but they are not.

        • Stevendad says:

          Part not page

        • Big Data says:

          I think doctors shoul be paid fairly, but also that patients should not be shaken down for charges they have no ability to control or negotiate. If I go to a hospital that is in my insurance network, every doctor and professional providing my care should be charging as if in network. Period. Anything else is fraud.

          • Big Data says:

            My anger is not directed at you, stevendad. Thanks for your informational post.

          • Peter says:

            It would be nice if a politician would ignore the insurance lobby and come up with reasonable solutions to this, instead of the giant confusing maze that it is. Medicare is a great example. Easily one of the most confusing pieces of legislation ever created. Good luck figuring that out. I’ll let Stevendad reply to the giant logistical problems with your reply.

  • Big Data says:

    Regarding Peters linked CNN article on “9 last-minute Obama moves to stymie Trump’s agenda”.

    I want to distinguish between the moves listed in the article and North Carolina’s attempts to actually limit the next Governor’s power.

    The items listed in the article are:
    Russia sanctions.
    Arctic drilling ban.
    Middle East policy.
    Obamacare enrollment push.
    New national monuments.
    Closing national registry.
    Gitmo transfers.
    Pardons and commutations.
    Farewell address.

    Despite the article title, most of the items, while in conflict with Trump’s anticipated policy approach, are not really targeted to stymie Trump. 5 of the above items are simply typical actions at end of an administration (pardons, monuments), or continuations and extensions of current administration policy (drilling ban, Obamacare enrollment, Gitmo transfers).

    And the farewell address has not happened yet and its content is speculative.

    The Russia sanctions are a natural and necessary bipartisan response to Russian hacking. Even one of Trumps advisors thinks we should have done even more.

    All of the above might have occurred irrespective of the election results.

    The Middle East peace policy UN vote abstention on condemning settlements was unusual but not unprecedented. Kerry’s announcements are unusual and highlight the differences between the two administrations. But they hardly impact or stymie anything Trump wants to do.

    So only one item in the article is actually targeted to impact and slow down Trump policy, and that is shutting down and dismantling the inactive NSEERS program that might have been (and still could be) used as a basis for Trump’s Muslim Registry. This shutdown is a principled action that defends
    Constitutional principle and is not fairly characterized as juvenile, spiteful, or as an illegal limitation on the next President.

    None of Obama’s actions compare to the  violation of separation of powers attempted by the NC government which is trying to alter powers of the next governor simply based on party. You may disagree with Obama’s approach but his actions fall within norms of Presidential behavior. NC house/senate are operating way outside of norms and possibly outside of law.

    • Stevendad says:

      I disagree. It’s a lot like tearing up the house you are being evicted from for at least some of this.

      • Big Data says:

        To me, it seems more like strengthening the foundation before the hurricane hits. That is a matter of perspective. NC behavior is unprecedented by any perspective.

        • Stevendad says:

          It’s Obama refusing to recognize “elections have consequences” IMO

        • Big Data says:

          Elections have consequences. But Presidential powers also extend to last day of the term. Pardons, monuments, and policy continuations are pretty standard for all Presidents so I just dont see the issue.

          • Peter says:

            My problem is that it is such blatant disrespect for Trump. Remember when Trump wouldn’t say that he would accept the election results? The media went crazy (rightfully so) as the “peaceful transfer of power” is fundamental to our freedom and liberty as a nation. Now, we have a whole army of people – including the media and our President – who are openly being disrespectful to the new leader – acting like we are about to be led by either a crazed lunatic or an evil dictator. Just a quick scan of the media will give you that flavor….look out everyone! We don’t know what this crazy guy will do! Be afraid!!!! This is a slippery slope and I have never seen anything like it. And I don’t care if Kanye West or Jesse Ventura was elected president – we HAVE to respect the office!

  • Big Data says:

    Stevendad, I should add that I agree with the thrust of one of your recent posts. The country is very divided and part of it does arise from the lack of shared experiences, shared trusted figures and newscasters (We miss you Walter Cronkite), and shared heroes. The hyper-partisan rhetoric in Washington only helps increase that divide, and can list more quantity and extremity of examples on the GOP side, I do see offenses on the Dem side as well.

    I should mention that income inequality is also divisive, as are some of the authoritarian policies of policing and justice (or injustice) that oppress poorer communities (civil forfeiture, debtor prison, stop and frisk) and the corporate oppression of struggling workers (wage theft, high pressure sales policies bordering on illegal [Wells fargo, but they aren’t the only ones], excessive “free” overtime for underpaid “managers”) .

    I want to point out that one major turning point in society revolves around police actions. Until the prevalence of cameras revealed to all of us the extreme abuses within police departments, most of us (yours truly included) would not have believed the stories. When the suspect was roughed up, we would tend to believe the police report that the officer was first assaulted or was in fear for his life. And certainly those cases exist and far outnumber the cases of police misconduct. But camera evidence has revealed that police abuse, misconduct, and overzealous use of deadly force is more common and more egregious than we would have otherwise believed. When we did not see, we did not know. Lacking knowledge, we believed our imaginations. When we see, we understand.

    Other situations are less easily described in a few moments on film. I have tried to advocate for poor and working class here and have been ridiculed for my suggestions that it is not always possible for a family to work an extra 8 or 10 hours a week, take classes, or seek a better job. There are situations where people work really hard to support themselves and their families but circumstance intervenes and their finances and situations spiral out of control. And this is not a one in a million rarity but an all too common occurrence for many people in the lower 2 quintiles. I have no camera footage to capture the hardship of years, the difficulties of circumstance, the disappointments of unrealized dreams. But I have read and seen and empathized enough to realize that those of us in more fortunate circumstance do not fully know and cannot fully comprehend the extent of very real hardship and difficulty experienced by the workers left behind by globalization, wealth redistribution to the top, and high income disparity. many are working those extra hours, or attempting to. Many are facing heart-rending choices of food vs medicine, work vs sleep. Others make a few bad choices or stumbles, and circumstance and consequence slides them to depths from which they cannot recover, whereas a more well-placed citizen would hardly break his stride from such a stumble, because he has resource to bounce back.

    I want to suggest to you that the answer to tough times is not always work harder and longer and smarter and better. Those are good actions but they are not always enough. Sometimes, many times, people need help to rise up and be productive. Your glimpses into the worst examples of laziness and sloth do not describe all of the working poor. Yet all of the working poor have been abandoned and left behind. For many, many, many of these, we do not need to fill their heads and waste their time with lectures on personal responsibility and work ethic. They already know it. They already have it. They need ladders, not chutes. They need a raise, not an extra 10 hours of work. They don’t need talk and derision. They need help, and a fighting chance.

    • Stevendad says:

      Once again, I was one of those poor. I sacrificed a lot of sleep for work and save for the future. Again if people would SWEAR the rest would fall into place for all but a very few.

      • Stevendad says:

        And those are all things that one can control. You cannot control the government or the economy by yourself .So perhaps you should start with things you can control.

      • Big Data says:

        Only if you consider 40% of the population a very few. With all due respect, it seems that the answer you offer regarding your own personal experience is irrelevant to the statistical conundrum of most of the population. Make no mistake; your story and any story of struggle of rising from poverty to success is inspirational. But it proves nothing on larger statistical scales. As I have said before, many people CAN rise to upper incomes, but not everyone can. And anyone can improve their situation with hard work. But the limits of that improvement, for those whose innate abilities keep them in lower 2 quintiles, are set by the policies that structure how capitalism rewards upper vs lower income. Your suceess does not alter that economic reality.

        • Peter says:

          Completely ludicrous that 40% of the population is practicing SWEAR – doing everything right – and unable to make a living wage. Please….

        • Big Data says:

          Don’t straw man me Peter. Its ludicrous to expect people to do everything right only to get a barely living wage in return. The point is that many many in the lower 2 or 3 quintiles are doing as much as they can and still getting left behind. They achieve nominal living wage but are challenged by medical, child care, and education costs. They cant fully achieve SWEAR because they don’t have sufficient time or money to do so. And they dont have resources to pull in, so every financial hardship makes them more prone to financial potholes like credit card debt and payday lenders.

          My point above is that in your imagination, SWEAR is a magic bullet to success that everyone can achieve. The reality is that, despite the talks and workshops you may hold, and the successes you may help people with (all very worthy), you have no idea of the level of hardships that many many people encounter that prevent their success. And you will apparently never admit to the limits on success that our current unbalanced income distribution system places on 90% of Americans.

          • Peter says:

            No I have said a million times that there is a problem with unskilled untalented laborers in our society. There aren’t enough jobs for them for the reasons I stated over and over. But it isn’t 40% of the population. Most people can practice SWEAR and be just fine.

          • Big Data says:

            And i have said many many times that lack of suitable jobs and lack of education for available jobs are not the only problems. We also squeeze the medium skilled workers and prevent them from advancing at rates of the upper incomes. And just to forestall the usual criticisms, i am not saying plumbers and bank presidents should make the same salary or take home the same dollar raise. But 90% of Americans should not go 30 years with almost no raise IN THEIR INCOME CLASS, while financial elites absorb all of the nations annual profits.

          • Peter says:

            They aren’t the only problems but the are the primary ones. And the ones we can do something about.

          • Stevendad says:

            I have to point out, once again, that I was one of and grew up with these poor folks. Very few of them were just victims of bad luck. They nearly always made bad decisions (and usually many of them )involving spending money they didn’t have, having children they we’re not ready for, drug abuse, poor work ethic, blowing off education etc, etc.

            At what point, when are people responsible for their own actions? I have said over and over again that there should be a safety net. However, at some point you have to draw a line. Once again, I think where we are is reasonable. I do not think it should be expanded further. Once again many of the people I knew were working”off the books” and made lots of money that never was taxed.

            Since you’re so interested in fairness, BD, is that fair to those who do pay taxes? I feel like the only answer that you have is to just tax the rich more and redistribute it to those who make less money or don’t work at all. In your mind, everything would fall in line. Everyone would behave correctly. Everyone would have lots of money and no needs for anything.

            Nirvana does not exist. Most of the people I knew would take the extra money and blow it in the same ways they have had in the past. The effect of this might be to amplify their non-productive behaviors rather than improve their lot in life. For example, they may buy more things they can’t afford with even more leverage, drink more alcohol, do more drugs, party more, etc etc. Of course this is only for my personal experience.

            I should point out, that I’m a libertarian and if this is a choice they want to make I have no problem with it. However, don’t whine and expect me to pay for their bad behaviors.

            To me, NOTHING is more cruel than dependency.

          • Peter says:

            Fair doesn’t apply to high income earners. In his mind we all make too much money anyway (evidenced by the increases in income over past several decades) that nothing you do to us can be deemed unfair. Like reparations…..

            In all seriousness though, great last post.

          • Big Data says:

            Thanks for your post, stevendad. Helpful. Not so much for yours peter. Very petty and spiteful.

          • Big Data says:

            Stevendad, you hypothesize that more money might ampify bad behaviors. But what does less money and loss of hope offer? What happens when people are assaulted and punished, yes punished, for poverty? We as a society do not offer ladders, good educational opportunities, decent jobs with living wage, positive feedback to reward good behavior and discourage bad. Instead we populate poor neighborhood schools with police who jail children and give them criminal recotds for minor behavior issues. We exploit them with payday lenders and easy access to liquor. We rease them with promise of career opporunities at scam trade schools with high tuitions and expensive loans. The jobs that are available are dead end, underpaid, and offer few hours to bypass medical benefits. And then we lambast the poor for their bad choices. No wonder they drink and seek what pleasure they can from their neager incomes. We have removed their hope and motivation.

          • Big Data says:

            Also, when you and i were teenagers, stevendad, real minimum wage was higher than now, state school tuitions were affordable, more decent jobs were available, and cities invested more in local schools. Not to mention that income distributions were more balanced. My whole point is that we cannot expect the country to thrive if we keep kicking down the ladders for the lower quintiles and blame the people at the bottom.

          • Peter says:

            The country is so different than it was then both demographically and economically. Supply and demand…….

    • Big Data says:

      You are clearly in the upper half of the IQ curve, healthy, and presumably white. As such you have advantages that allow you to pull ahead of the pack.

      You clarified the argument well when you said, in an earlier post, that the real point is to get out of the working class. The point I make is that there will always be a working class, and they too deserve a decent life. The answer to societies ills is not just to have everyone struggle for the upper half or 10% or 1% and then pity the foolsw at the bottom the ladder. We need to recognize that there is always a bottom half and they do not need to be punished for their disadvantages in genetics, health, innate capabilities, or race.

      • Peter says:

        The biggest problem the working class has is automation and technology, immigration and an education system that doesn’t prepare them for modern employment. I don’t think the goal for everyone should be to “escape the working class”, nor is anyone on here suggesting “punishing” them. We are always going to have unskilled labor. We just need to find education/training/jobs for these people. To blame it on the government, the 1%, CEO pay, etc. is missing the point and avoiding any sort of permanent change to help those who need it most.

        • Big Data says:

          Agreed we need to establish a better education system to prepare our citizens for jobs, and better trade policy to keep jobs here four our own. Recognizing that automation and globalization are causes is not enough. Establishing blame on societal classes is also insufficient. Along with personal responsibility there also must be societal responsibility in establishing policirs, programs, training, and jobs. And we must also balance our income distribution policies. For government policy ultimately controls how capitalism distributes income, though I know you disagree on this point.

          • Peter says:

            Not blaming any class for this situation. It is neither the fault of the wealthy for hurting the working class nor the fault of the poorer people for being lazy. Those things may be anecdotally true on an individual basis. And I like that our country has the freedom to do both – and live with the results.

      • Stevendad says:

        Since when is being a white male in and of itself an advantage? When I graduated from college, the only engineers that got jobs were female. The rest were all unable to get jobs. This was solely because they were female not because of their abilities. When I was in medical school, nearly all of those who flunked out were white males. Meanwhile, there was a Native American female who took five years to finish the first two years of medical school because she flunked so many courses. Your white scan and make sex only gave you no opportunity at all to make any mistakes.

        My sons, a few years ago, went to college at the local university here, there were 78 non-need-based scholarship programs. The only ones for white males were two PFLAG scholarships for gays. I’m not sure where this idea of advantage totally based on race comes from.

        You should look more into your own data. Asians do much better than any race in nearly every educational and income measure. Is this all because they go to the country club and network to get their jobs and admission to college? In fact, there is high-level discrimination across the Ivy League against Asians They have to score over 500 points higher on the SAT in order to qualify! Look at recent data about this. Perhaps more it’s that they SWEAR better than anyone else does. The “data” that you love so much backs this up 100%. Give me an honest answer to that question. Please use data!

        • Stevendad says:

          Since when is being a white male in and of itself an advantage? When I graduated from college, the only engineers that got jobs were female. The rest were all unable to get jobs. This was solely because they were female not because of their abilities. When I was in medical school, nearly all of those who flunked out were white males. Meanwhile, there was a Native American female who took five years to finish the first two years of medical school because she flunked so many courses. Your white skin and male sex only gave you no opportunity at all to make any mistakes.

          My sons, a few years ago, went to college at the local university here, there were 78 non-need-based scholarship programs. The only ones for white males were two PFLAG scholarships for gays. I’m not sure where this idea of advantage totally based on race comes from.

          You should look more into your own data. Asians do much better than any race in nearly every educational and income measure. Is this all because they go to the country club and network to get their jobs and admission to college? In fact, there is high-level discrimination across the Ivy League against Asians They have to score over 500 points higher on the SAT in order to qualify! Look at recent data about this. Perhaps more it’s that they SWEAR better than anyone else does. The “data” that you love so much backs this up 100%. Give me an honest answer to that question. Please use data!

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. Being white isn’t the huge advantage you are making it out to be. My daughter just applied early decision to a prestigious school and got rejected. They accepted 500 people and 225 of them were minorities. A black kid from a neighboring school got in with a severely worse track record. I’m not saying we should change all of this – just like I’m not saying you should lower my taxes – but you want to tilt the scales even further. Enough.

        • Big Data says:

          I am white. I dont get pulled over by police because of my race. I dont get stopped and frisked or have extra security watch me in stores because of my race. I will never have uber drivers or Air BnB or mortgage companies deny me service for my race. I have never had to worry about companies not hiring me because of my ethnic name or appearance. All of these biases still happen today and happen a lot. If you are white you have advantages. If you dont recognize those advantages, you are blind.

          • Peter says:

            All of that is very true.

          • Big Data says:

            Glad we agree on that. To be clear, i am not pushing for more and ways to tilt scholarships etc to positively bias minorities. I do want to do whatever possible to remove systemic negative biases, and providing a few diversity helpers like scholarships, as is being done today, is okay too.

          • Peter says:

            On a side note, have you ever taken the Implicit Association Test this article references? Try it…. not exactly the most insightful tool to use for racial bias.

  • Big Data says:

    Stevendad, your last two posts were a bit garbled and posted out of order, so i will reply here.

    Your top 3 concerns are
    1. $20T debt
    2. Radical Islam.
    3. N Korean nukes

    Dors Trump have solutions for any of these?

    On the first, he is likely to cut taxes, and increase spending on military and infrastructure, all of which increases debt. On the next two, he has zero sense on diplomacy and will likely nake things worse. On one of your lower priorities, probabilities are high that dismantling Obamacare will drive more Americans off of insurance and increase costs for sick and working poor.

    Here are my predictions for Trump administration. Rich will do Ok, and most Americans will suffer, war will be more likely, crony capitalism and income disparity will increase, and the economy will ultimately slow or decline for 75% of Americans. Almost nothing on your list will improve.

    • Big Data says:

      Another possibility. Trump pushes through tax cuts and big spending, a la Reagan, and economy seems to improve for all at cost to driving up debt/gdp. This is a false success, just as it was for Reagan, and will be paid for by future generations, just as we are still paying dearly for Reagan/Bush tax cuts.

    • Big Data says:

      And regarding bathroom issues. NC Bathroom Bill was the ill-advised conceit of GOP. And it was more than bathrooms. It was about centralized control, attempting to prevent local government control of issues from minimum wage to workplace discrimination to policing bathrooms. All quite arrogant and unnecessary. And now NC GOP has the gall to pass restrictions on the next governor just because he is an opposing party. This is unprecedented and the height of authoritarian arrogance and conceit. No surprise that NC government has recently been rated no higher than Cuba regarding functionality as a democracy. People are worried about Sharia law. They should be worried about authoritarian law a la NC.

    • Big Data says:

      Also, I have to mention that a concern about ~$2oT debt is possibly misplaced. The concern IMHO should be that Debt/GDP ought to be reduced. Dollar Debt will no doubt continue to increase as it has almost infallibly with inflation, economy growth and population growth since WW2. But if we can avoid irresponsible tax cuts where they are not needed, and thus replicate the decline in Debt/GDP that occurred from 1950 to 1982, we will do fine, irrespective of growth in Dollar Debt.

      • Stevendad says:

        To reprise, here’s my list: Here’s my PROBLEM rating most to least, which I expect BD won’t agree at all on: $20T debt, radical Islam, N Korean nukes, bloated and inefficient government, anemic growth at ZERO interest rates, uncontrolled immigration and its economic & security issues, healthcare finance mess , ascendency of Iran, income inequality and rise of “two Americas”……..skip many,many things……..bath. Peter and BD can you do a top ten, just curious…

        • Peter says:

          1. Changing political fundraising/campaigning rules. While the rest of the list isn’t ranked – this would be my #1 for sure. Nothing else matters in government until we do this.

          2. Reduction of government spending.
          3. Allowing artificial low rates to rise without burying our economy. Then possibly either auditing or eliminating/restructuring the Fed.
          4. Adapting our education system to a modern age to better train unskilled workers.
          5. Analyzing “vice” prohibition and taxing and regulating properly. Audit and tax religious organizations as charities.
          6. Reducing the suffocating, politically motivated over-regulation of industry. (Financial and medical above all)
          7. Completely revamping our inefficient and underfunded social welfare programs – SS, Medicare and ACA.
          8. Take a more isolationist approach to the Middle East. Expect Israel to defend itself. Stop getting involved in regime change overseas.

          Just off the top of my head…. these are my primary concerns.

        • Big Data says:

          Top eleven, imperfectly ranked. Might have missed something …

          1) Campaign Finance Reform/ Legislative or Judicial reversal of Peoples United Decision
          2) Education Reform (Three parts: improved grade school teaching policies with less emphasis on standards testing; availability of lower tuition higher education at state schools and community colleges; incorporate planning and cooperation with business to allow better career planning and training for students and to better support existing and future industries.)
          3) Infrastructure/ Jobs program to rebuild roads, schools, plumbing, and to boost employment.
          4) Tax policy reform to (a) bring in more revenue to bring down deficits and pay down debt/gdp, (b) shift tax burden more heavily to large investment incomes
          5) Business tax reform to shift tax burden to big corporations and less on small businesses
          6) Financial regulation reform to reinstate Glass-Steagall, enforce sufficient capital requirements on banks, remove most identifiable forms of moral hazard, retain independent consumer financial protection agency, and apply financial tax on high volume short term stock and investment transactions, to make stock market less volatile and risk-prone.
          7) Improve healthcare system. In short term, remove the stupid 30 hour/wk step function for benefits and make it a sliding scale. Move toward universal care but without the relentless downward pressure on primary care physician incomes. Restrict/regulate balance billing. The rise of efficient clinics (Prima-Care, CareNow), and physician assistants is a good thing. I always go to these in evenings and on weekends and it saves a lot of time otherwise pulled from work. Our medical school training for doctors seems overly expensive and drawn-out over too many years. Not sure how to fix that. We need to discourage the relentless repackaging of drugs and drug delivery systems just to make them more expensive and profitable. Big pharma needs to be regulated. Life-saving drugs that are inexpensive to produce should not be priced high for outrageous profit and ransomed out to the fortunate few who can afford it. Accept that cutting medical costs means a slower pace of research and some restrictions on surgery-on-demand. TAANSTAFL
          8) Improve VA system and fully fund it. We need to stop short-changing our veterans. This also means we need to reinstate medical and psych care benefits for those who have been kicked out due to mental traumas caused by battle. That’s the social cost of war. Soldiers pay too heavily with lives and health. We need to pony up the money for their care.
          9) Improve/Reform/Fund Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Don’t privatize. Profiteering on people’s health and retirement sets up too many moral conflicts.
          10) Fix policing and justice policies to eliminate civil forfeiture, eliminate policies that are effectively debtor’s prison, stop-and-frisk based on economic and racial profiling, prevent community budgets funded by excessive and punitive fees, fines, and tickets that encourage policing for profit rather than for justice.
          11) Figure out how to streamline business start-ups, including simplifying regulations for small business (under 50, 100, or 200 employees, with some complexity and burden added with growth). Franchises are not the same as a small business unless wage and price and employee policy control is truly independent from the larger organization. Make startups competitive with large companies by allowing the small companies to be more flexible adaptive and nimble.

      • Stevendad says:

        Sorry, you are just wrong about this IMHO. The debt is a ticking time bomb.

        • Big Data says:

          Debt/GDP is a ticking time bomb. Rising dollar debt is meaningless if Debt/GDP is falling. Trying too hard to reduce dollar debt will actually damage the economy, because money for investment will be overly restricted.

          • Peter says:

            Rising dollar debt is hardly meaningless even as it relates to GDP. Unless printing money and devaluing the dollar even further is on the table.

    • Stevendad says:

      I’m not sure we have any idea what Trump will do. Hopefully as I’ve said before we will not Cut taxes at the expense of the debt. My hope is Paul Ryan who is a debt realist will not let this go through.

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: just wondered if you saw this: Again, as a former Democrat,The party is likely heading into the abyss if they don’t realized that the plans and strategies they have created are not winners. The party is in complete disarray due to the Left and they are wanting to go more Left yet! I think it needs to be pointed out that once the immigration mess is figured out, Latinos are more likely to be conservative as their background is both capitalistic and Catholic by and large. Counting on them to vote Democratic forever is a pipe dream. I think even the African-American community is starting to wake up to how they have been taken for granted by Democrats.

    • Big Data says:

      It looks like you intended to include a link?

    • Big Data says:

      Oh, i see. You were just reposting entry from further down. I did miss it. Here is a reply.

      How long will it be before blacks and white working class figure out Trump will break his campaign promises to them? If Trump is as tough as he promised on immigration, Latinos will be severely impacted and will be very unhappy with him. If he breaks that promise, his new white working class voters will be unhappy with him. If he supports blacks with infrastructure spending, he will offend the small gov GOP, but if he doesnt, his credibility with everyone suffers.

      • Stevendad says:

        We ALL must compromise to move forward in the best way, as an adult knows. If only our politicians were adults…

        • Big Data says:

          They are adults, but power-hungry and obstinate. I don’t know the solution to return our government to a culture of compromise and to legislation for national rather than party interests. The Hastert rule is a particularly nasty philosophy and I wish the GOP would abandon it. On the Dem side, i disagree with the idea that they should take up the mantle as the party of NO. They should support positive ideas like infrastructure spending while rejecting harmful policies like tax cuts that make it impossible to pay for that needed spending. They should support any idea that will advance the country and be willing to make honest compromises to balance the interests of the two parties. Unfortunately, the GOP has been most unwilling to participate in such compromise as the minority, and will be even less likely as the majority. That is not partisan rhetoric, but a stark and honest statement of fact. The GOP has been the party of NO and are now moving to “My way or the highway”. The only good news is that the fragmentation within the GOP makes it harder for them to figure out which way they actually want to go. And again, I know that SOUNDS like team-cheering, but it is not. Consider: If the GOP are fragmented, it makes compromises between the parties, and progress for the country, more likely. And that’s a GOOD thing. For all of us.

          • Stevendad says:

            My children, at least when they were young just wanted what they wanted despite anybody else’s wishes or needs. They either had a temper tantrum or whined if they didn’t get it. (Of note, this didn’t last very long.) But this sounds familiar doesn’t it? In this way, I feel like politicians do not act as adults. Adults see both sides of issues and make a measured decision between the two options. This group just seems to start whining and complaining when they don’t get their way. I don’t consider that adult behavior.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. The political climate has become toxic in the last 16 years – more than ever. Nothing will improve or have any lasting impact until this changes. Everything else we talk about is fodder.

          • Big Data says:

            I am in agreement on this. And a big BIG part of the problem is the Hastert Rule, both as it applies in Congress, and how the principle is applied in elections. A party wins an election and therefore push all of their most radical ideas as if they have a mandate.

            Witness: About 26% of Americans want to completely dismantle Obamacare. The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 26 percent of the country wants to repeal the entire law. Meanwhile, 30 percent want to expand the law, 19 percent want to keep it as is and 17 percent want to scale it back.

            So what are Republicans scrambling to do in first 100 days? Repeal Obamacare with no replacement in sight.

          • Peter says:

            Give us an example of Democrats doing this.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter:
    “No policy will ever be any good (or last) if one party crams it through in spite of the other.”

    I agree on this one. Many forget now, but Obama campaigned on US unity over party loyalism, but was then greeted with a vow of obstructionism by GOP leaders on his inauguration day. As Obama sought to fulfill his campaign promise of more universal healthcare, he went out of his way to reach out across the isle to make it bipartisan, even basing the structure of Obamacare on plans from a right-wing think tank, and a plan already implemented by governor Romney. Furthermore, it had many items advocated on Boehner’s own website. Still, GOP was more interested in the idea that government does not work than helping the President with healthcare for all Americans, and so they stood together against any plans that Dems might put forward. They put out a lot of lies like “death panels” and “government takeover of healthcare” (despite it being based on private insurance with some subsidies). When Kennedy died, and Scott Brown (R) took his place, Dems unexpectedly lost their 60% hold in the Senate, and barely got healthcare done at all. Many on right like to proclaim that Obamacare was rammed down the country’s throat, but it is instead better describes as a popular idea that GOP blocked and diminished at every opportunity. For years, GOP proclaimed that most people were against Obamacare without noting that about half of those “against” it wanted something even more liberal, like a single-payer system. A relative few wanted it dismantled. Of course, with continued battle to remove adequate funding and reluctance to fix its flaws (because they did’t want Dems to get any credit), the GOP succeeded in making the program flounder and lose favor.

    So I find some flaw in the idea stated by Henry that Obama was 50% of the cause of government dysfunction. And really, this is not just a case of team-cheering. Even those on the right will acknowledge that the right believes in less government and thus has a vested interest in assuring that government programs fail. The last thing that the small gov wing on the right wants is a successful government-subsidied healthcare program. As Ryan and his supporters keep proposing, they want to repeal and replace Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid with vouchers, private enterprise, and block grants to the states. I don’t believe they want to harm the American people, but I do believe they aren’t terribly interested in helping the people will will inevitably suffer and/or die under their programs. It’s not their responsibility and is out of their hands. It’s a matter of personal responsibility and survival of the fittest. Anyway, it’s not the GOP voters who are most likely to die, and many of the GOP voters clearly do not care. It was the GOP voters at a debate in 2012 cheered the idea to “Let ’em die,” regarding their dislike of government subsidied healthcare.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/tea-party-debate-audience-cheered-idea-of-letting-uninsured-patients-die/

    My frustration with the left and the right, is that the left is too timid to act, even when they have the mandate of the majority, and the right is anxious to overpower when they have the opportunity to advance their own interests of the monied and powerful, and the passions of the radical minority, even with whole and complete disregard to the true will of the majority on individual issues.

    • Peter says:

      Neither of us know, but my opinion is that they are equally culpable. Like a bad marriage. Obama wouldn’t even entertain the Republicans’ contributions to the stimulus package, which set the tone. Then when he moved the goalposts on the debt ceiling vote – by listening to another proposal after one was agreed to – he further damaged the relationship. He tried to be a firm leader early on (a sound strategy to some degree) and it backfired. He was not a negotiator. And Congress of course played a giant role in all this as well – but I’m sure you know that is the case.

      • Peter says:

        And by the way – what happens behind the scenes isn’t really the point….. the point is that if any policy passes with no support from the opposing party then it is doomed to be repealed/rescinded/revised at a later date. There isn’t much evidence that disagrees with this. EITHER PARTY

        • Stevendad says:

          A camera was on Obama during the Repub input hearing for Obamacare. As Tom Coburn spoke he shook his head and rolled his eyes. So much for seeking input. It was a pure political ploy to appear he was listening. Obamacare just shifted the lack of access away from the very poor to the working poor who could not begin to afford $6000 deductibles.

          • Stevendad says:

            Sorry, last comment sort of autofiled. Look at TV viewership or record sales in past. Much, much higher. The only thing nearly everyone is interested in is the NFL. Here’s my PROBLEM rating most to least, which I expect BD won’t agree at all on: $20T debt, radical Islam, N Korean nukes, bloated and inefficient government, anemic growth at ZERO interest rates, uncontrolled immigration and its economic & security issues, healthcare finance mess , ascendency of Iran, income inequality and rise of “two Americas”……..skip many,many things……..bathrooms. So if we can’t even agree on which problems matter, how can we ever arrive at solutions?

          • Big Data says:

            I don’t know about eye-rolling on camera. I do know that Obama and Democrats attempted to engage the Republicans on both the stimulus and Obamacare, but it wads a strategic decision of McConnell and the GOP to stonewall and be hyper-partisan. GOP was never really interested in participating in either process.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/the-real-story-of-obamacares-birth/397742/

          • Peter says:

            Stevendad – True. And he didn’t put in any of the suggestions that were brought to the table. I think he viewed it as “setting the tone” – showing he was going to be strong and principled. Not a bad strategy, but it started a chain of events that set the tone for his presidency.

          • Peter says:

            Oh and BD – what Stevendad and I were talking about was the stimulus – which was put in the first few weeks of his presidency. By the time Obamacare rolled around the marriage was already broken.

          • Big Data says:

            Obama put over a third of stimulus into tax cuts … to appease the GOP. GOP wanted a cost-free approach or one based solely on tax cuts. It’s not true that Dems did not appease the GOP. The stimulus was smaller and had more tax cuts solely to appease GOP. But when GOP doesn’t get their complete way, they take their ball and go home.

          • Peter says:

            You have your facts wrong on this one.

          • Big Data says:

            My facts are correct. If you have contradicting information, please provide it.

          • Big Data says:

            http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/06/nation/na-obama-economy6

            WASHINGTON — Despite Barack Obama’s decision to include as much as $100 billion in business tax breaks to his economic stimulus package to woo reluctant Republicans, obstacles to speedy, bipartisan passage remain.

            The president-elect began working Monday in pursuit of twin goals — reviving the economy and transforming the political climate in Washington — by including GOP leaders in his first round of Capitol Hill meetings since the election. He pitched the need to act fast and with a broad consensus.

        • Stevendad says:

          We as a society are fragmented in so many ways compared to the past. No one listens to the same music, watches the same TV shows, believes in the same solutions or even sees problems with the same weight (i.e. relatively huge emphasis on bathrooms…) This may be leading to a so much more heterogenous America. Look at show viewership comparAdd this to partisanship as an end and not a means and we get the nondirectional back and forth

        • Big Data says:

          Peter, my point is that a party can credibly pass policy that the other party dislikes IF the first party has majority backing from population. GOP seems unwisely willing to push policy that majority object to just because their most passionate “majority of the majority” (ie 30 to 35% of voters) supports it.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t agree with that. Obamacare and the Iraq War are two of the most obvious recent examples. The backlash is just too great when the execution isn’t perceived as effective.

            And of course, I don’t see the GOP as the big bad wolf in this the way you do. I see very little difference between the two parties – both fragmented, both dogmatic, neither willing to compromise, both with extremist arms wagging the dog, etc. But no point debating that part of this. Can we take “GOP” and “Democrats” out of the discussion and just call them politicians?

          • Big Data says:

            Peter, you see both parties as equivalent because neither actually work toward your preferred goals: smaller government with less spending, less policing on world stage, etc. I mention the parties with respect to their clear differences.
            For instance, if you would be more objective and less determined to arbitrarily assign everybody equal blame for everything, you would see that GOP has been the more obstructive and less-compromising party. They have self-proclaimed that as their policy and intention while the Dems have not. It is documented in the Congressional records and their voting policy. It is disingenuous of you to deny simple observable facts for the sake of false equivalence.

            And Obamacare is indeed a prime example. Demi attempted to compromise and bring in GOP ideas but GOP’s only goal was to oppose the whole of the legislation. They blatantly misrepresented parts of the legislation to slander it, and overplayed public objection to it as well as its every inevitable flaw. Even now, when it has brought uninsured rate to historic low, and has had some success over last 2 years in slowing overall medical cost increases, GOP portrays the hiccup in some of this years rate increases as a disaster requiring complete dismantling of the program.

            So when only 26% of the country wants to actually distantle Obamacare and 49% want to retain or expand it, GOP blindly wants to destroy a program that is largely effective, for partisan political ends, despite many dangers inherent in destroying it.

            The parties are different, and we need to examine those differentces. Dems also have flaws. We need to examine flaws of both parties and not just portray all politicians as equivalent and bad. For that matter capitalism and business also have flaws, but I seldom se you address them. We must examine all flaws in society and in our economy in order to fix what is broken and keep what is not, not just oversimplify the arguments as “Government Bad, Capitalists Good.”

          • Big Data says:

            dismantle … not distantle …

          • Peter says:

            Missing the point again…..I don’t CARE which party is more to blame. Who cares? I just sound like I’m deflecting you because you blame everything on Republicans. With my far right closed minded friends they call me “Obama lover” incidentally……because I refuse to accept that with two corrupt largely identical political behemoths, paid for by big money and lobbyists, that ONE of them is more to blame than the other. And if it is 70/30 or 60/40 who gives a crap? They both have the blood on their hands and neither has done squat to MEANINGFULLY improve the plight of the poor or the income disparity you rail against in a lasting long term fashion. It just doesn’t interest me to waste time playing home team partisan political crap – we never get to the heart of the issues when we do that. That, sir, is what is different about you and those that came before you on this forum. And why you drive me and everyone else so insane.

            But don’t get me wrong. I have just as much disgust for Republicans as I do Democrats.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter:
    “I’m still not interested in going head to head with your unflappably immune-to-criticism Democratic platform, …”

    There you again. Please stay away from the conversation killing partisan speak, and attack the message, not the messenger. I made some points to be addressed, and your dismissal of everything you disagree with as a partisan platform is tiresome.

    I did not mischaracterize you. I ascribed the vote for change by the working class as a vote for government help. Yes i drew that line of connection, not you. But it seems to me an obvious and credible line. No need to get snarky about it.

  • Big Data says:

    It’s interesting how even Peter and Stevendad disagree as to the message of this election. Peter says it was a change election with the economically disadvantaged looking for a new approach. Stevendad says that “a reduction in the size and scope of government … was the overriding mandate of the electorate”. There is no doubt that both types of voters voted for Trump, but these are conflicting electorates. The former wants more government spending and the latter wants less. The former wants the rich to get less and the latter want the rich to get tax cuts. No mandate for either. Pretty sure who will get the bounty though, and it won’t be the middle and working class. Hillary won’t get locked up (not that she ever should have been), the big wall won’t get built, whatever smaller wall might happen will not be paid for by Mexico, coal jobs are not coming back, and the ghettos are not getting a makeover. I’m pretty sure the rich will get a tax cut though.

    • Peter says:

      I’m still not interested in going head to head with your unflappably immune-to-criticism Democratic platform, but must (as usual) contradict the way I am characterized.

      I don’t think that saying this was a “change election for the economically disadvantaged looking for a new approach” means more spending, or the rich getting less. You drew that line, not me.

      • Big Data says:

        Ok, Peter, but the working class folks who flocked to Trump pretty clearly were drawn to the promises of infrastructure spending, spending on the Mexican Great Wall, spending to reduce immigration, spending to establish a better health care system, and cutting taxes for middle class while cutting out tax breaks for hedge fund managers. You can’t credibly recognize this as a change election for the middle and working class without also recognizing that change was supposed to come from spending by the govt to help the middle classes. None of those rural Trump voters want to lose their promised perks to tax cuts for the rich. That is not what Trump promised.

        The fact that he promised balanced budgets, tax cuts AND big spending is a comundrum he will never be able to solve. It will be interesting to see which promises he will keep and how he will spin blame for his own failure to act on his impossible and conflicting agendas.

        • Peter says:

          I don’t know that it isn’t just as simple as a rejection of the last 8 years. The same way Obama was a sea change rejection of the prior 8 years. Yet, the world keeps spinning, the wars keep happening and the debt keeps rising….. and people that wait for the government to help them or solve their problems remain frustrated.

          • Big Data says:

            The problem is that people are projecting their own interests on the blank slate that is Trump. Just seeing reporting that many people who like Obamacare voted for Trump for other reasons and hope he was just kidding about Obamacare.

            This is how GOP is building their party. They get people who are passionate about single issues and get them all riled up. A few abortion haters, small gov enthusiasts, racists, business elites, and now some working class voters are promised that their interests will be promoted. That doesnt mean that a majority support any one of those ideas, but a coalition of disparate interests have had their passions inflamed and are promised the moon. So no, all Trump voters are not racists. Neither are they all small gov enthusiasts or all anti abortionists or tax cut fans or all rejecting the last 8 years. They are a mix of disparate desires and still only make up 46% of the voting electorate all told.

          • Big Data says:

            And by the way, obama i currently more popular than either Trump or Hillary were in the whole election cycle. That does not jibe with the idea that voters were voting to reject the last eight years.

          • Henry says:

            Most people are dissatisfied with our government and its ineffectiveness. That’s why only about 40-50 percent vote. Not a rejection of Obama as a person. Just a rejection of the partisan gridlock he was 50% of. Same reason incumbents getting voted out of congress the last few times around. (Both from your team and the bad guys team as well)

      • Big Data says:

        And what was Democrat about my post? I am merely pointing out the obvious contradictions in Trumps platform and promises.

        • Henry says:

          Obvious to you….with your facts and perspective. It’s obvious to some that Hillary is dishonest. It’s obvious to some that Obamacare is a disaster. But I bet those things aren’t obvious to you. You been bamboozled too….

          • Big Data says:

            We could attempt an honest discussion of Obamacare here, but it is difficult to get past the propaganda. Facts remain that more people are insured (good), premiums for some folks are high (bad) and that it has a lot of good and bad points. Portraying it as a disaster is simplistic, and for that reason alone, is an inadequate and false description. The disaster and tragedy will come if Trump dismantles this program before a credible replacement is ready. Obamacare has saved lives and enabled entrepreneurs to start businesses of their own because they could finally get insurance without being a hired hand at a corporation. The GOP would be wise to fix, rebrand, and adjust Obamacare, rather than applying false labels for political reasons.

          • Peter says:

            Hopefully the Federal Government will repeal, revise and improve. Could care less what the “GOP” does. If we had more bipartisan joint efforts in our government in the first place, Obamacare possibly wouldn’t be the mess that it is. No policy will ever be any good (or last) if one party crams it through in spite of the other.

  • Big Data says:

    PETER:”…The tough thing for people that identify as liberals or democrats is the reconciliation that their party is the party of Wall Street, war and crony capitalism now. ”

    How do you figure that? Trump and his cabinet ARE Wall Street. Hillary just talked to them. Obama attempted to end the wars that GOP started and Trump wants to bomb the L out of ISIS and proliferate and use nuclear weapons. I think that Trumps GOP still has WallStreet, crony capitalism and war mongering pretty firmly in their platform and practice.

  • Big Data says:

    Regarding Trump being who he says he is.

    I think Trump is how he acts and what he says. He is an egomaniacal, self-serving, thin-skinned, flip-flopping businessman. I don’t need media to interpret him, and it is not the media’s fault if people think badly of him. There is really no comparing him to Obama. Obama was lambasted at the beginning of his Presidency for having no experience (despite 10 years as state or US senator), and was accused of being a secret Muslim, a non-citizen, someone who hated white people and wanted to destroy America, a food stamp president, an advocate of death panels for old people, etc, etc. There was so much fake news and smoke being blown by the right that had no basis in fact. Meanwhile, after Hillary was persecuted for the mere appearance of conflicts of interest and for talking to Wall Street, we are supposed to ignore the unprecedented mountain of conflicts of interest represented by a president-elect who IS Wall Street, and who puts mostly billionaires on his cabinet.

    As for Trump being racist, I just think he is racially insensitive to the point if being ignorant. And while he is possibly more empathetic to LGBT than some in GOP, the LGBT community is rightfully concerned by the gay haters he puts in his cabinet and team of advisors. And lastly, there is an undisputed national rise in racist and anti-gay sentiment and actions in schools and public places that is attributable to Trump voters. Not all Trump supporters are racist, but i would venture that most racists are Trump supporters.

    Is there a silver lining to Trump? Not much, but there are 2 things. If he can push GOP to pass a half trillion or more package in infrastructure and construction, it will help working people and the economy. If he tries out some things on trade policy that dont work, it will be on GOP head and not Dems, and if he finds something that works to help the country, then good for him. The GOP will at least be forced to ATTEMPT governance and not just obstruction, and maybe something good will come of that. If not, Dems are back in 4 years and maybe GOP will be ready to be more conciliatory. Doubtful, but it could happen.

    • Henry says:

      Lol GO TEAM Democrats!!!!

      • Big Data says:

        Last 4 sentences were stated in terms of me being a Democrat. The rest were spoken in terms of being a neutral intelligent observer.

        • Henry says:

          Even funnier. And more subtext in there that implies that we should not trust or like billionaires – but be sympathetic to the LGBT community. I’m just shocked at what a home team fan you are. Part of the problem with Democrats – they can’t even see the image they project or self-critique their VERY flawed candidate.

          • Big Data says:

            The irony, Henry, is that for every flaw criticized in Hillary, Trump has the same flaw magnified by 10, PLUS a horde of new ones all his own. But he’s a by god spellbinder and has bamboozled the masses.

          • Stevendad says:

            Again, as a former Democrat,The party is likely heading into the abyss if they don’t realized that the plans and strategies they have created are not winners. The party is in complete disarray due to the Left and they are wanting to go more Left yet! I think it needs to be pointed out that once the immigration mess is figured out, Latinos are more likely to be conservative as their background is both capitalistic and Catholic by and large. Counting on them to vote Democratic forever is a pipe dream. I think even an African-American community is starting to wake up to how they have been taken for granted by Democrats.

          • Big Data says:

            Then GOP should drop their partisan cries of amnesty and grant a path to citizenship for hardworking undocumented immigrants who have been here for years. This is policy that 2/3 of Americans and a majority of Republicans favor in recent polls. Why do GOP leadership oppose it?

        • Big Data says:

          And no subtext about disliking billionaires is there. You are extrapolating beyond what i am saying. Trump lied, thats my point. He riled up the working class about Hillary talking, just TALKING to Wall Street, promised to drain the swamp of lifetime politicians and big money, promised to take away tax benefits of hedge fund managers, says he’s going to hire and appoint the best people, but then his actions disavow almost all of his promises. He is filling his swamp with more alligators who have wealth and/or party loyalty as their only resume bullet, are largely inexperienced in the realm in which they are expected to work, and are the opposite of what was promised.

          • Peter says:

            Just because someone is a billionaire doesn’t discredit their abilities. In fact, in many ways I think it is more likely to be that they are quite qualified than not. Appointing successful people doesn’t disavow taking away tax benefits of hedge fund managers. Of course you and I won’t agree on what “qualified” means. I think in the totally partisan dysfunctional government we have now, having political experience could actually be a bad thing.

            But honestly, with all due respect what is the point of this debate with you? You applaud just about everything Obama has done – and blame the GOP for everything he didn’t do. You have a completely glass half-full view of Hillary Clinton even beyond what I’ve seen from MSNBC and the New York Times. And so far you have not said one good thing about Donald Trump – trashing almost every move that he has made. This is why you are accused of being partisan. There is no depth to your thinking – and no open-mindedness that the Democrats vs Republicans debate might be more nuanced. Like I’ve said before, part of the reason I stick around is that you remind me of the very thing that is terribly wrong with our political climate. Don’t you see that we can’t go forward with one “team” forcing policy on the other? Then, the following elections will be mini-revolutions where everyone who didn’t want the policies vote out the incumbents (i.e. the Tea Party). Now we are doing it all over again with liberals raging against the Trump machine. In 2,4,6 or 8 years there will be an uprising against this and Dems will take over the Capitol and White House and erase what Trump did. This is horrible, horrible government and people like you feed into this. If you really want to help the country, take off your Democrat jersey and open your mind.

          • Peter says:

            And BS that there is no subtext about billionaires. If there wasn’t, then why even mention that there are billionaires in his cabinet. (Especially when most of them aren’t) DeVos, McMahon and Ross are actually the only billionaires he has appointed. Tillerson, Zinke, Perry, Puzder, Pruitt, Kelly, Mattis, Mnuchin, Chao, Price, Ross, Haley, Carson, Pompeo, Sessions, Bannon, Priebus, Flynn and McGahn are not.

          • Big Data says:

            Ome good thing about Trump: He, like Obama, recognizes the need and the benefit of a half trillion to trillion dollar infrastructure program. Todays hyperpartisan GOP Congress would never let a Democrat President get credit for such a needed effort however. Perhaps they will get it done with Republicans running the show. Perhaps authoritarian Trump will make them.

    • Stevendad says:

      That most racists are Trump supporters means Trump is a racist is a complete fallacy. That’s like saying most cop killers are Obama supporters. Does that mean Obama likes and agrees with cop killers?

      • Big Data says:

        And i did not promote that fallacy. I am not saying Trump is racist. But it is concerning that Trump falsely denied knowing who David Duke was, and willingly accepts the support of racists. Trump may not be actively racist, but he does not seem to give a hoot about understanding what racism is, how it is important, or how to fight it. He seems to diminish the idea as inconsequential political correctness, and that is alarming.

  • Big Data says:

    Regarding conversation -killing partisan speak:

    Stevendad and Peter, you realize that your posts are full of conversation-killing partisan speak, right? You may only recognize it in others (me, mostly), but you are as guilty, or perhaps more so. I got to thinking about this, and it seems to me that the difference between such “partisan-speak” that should rightfully be avoided, and having an intellectual position that is backed by logical argument, is precisely the logical argument. Partisan-speak is almost any (and the “almost” is an important word here) statement that expresses divisive ideas in terms of “always” or “never”, or that are merely repetitions of popular mantras that are echoed, or are opinions based on extrapolations of limited personal observation. Intellectual positions are conclusions derived from data, logic and calculation, backed by both observation and research. An intellectual position/opinion might be “I believe government programs are often inefficient and would benefit from competition.” Partisan-speak is an unbending absolute like “The government makes everything less efficacious and more expensive.” An intellectual position or opinion might be “I believe that we can balance the budget effectively without raising taxes.” Partisan-speak is saying “you are simply determined to raise the taxes on the rich. I still don’t think that you really are doing much problem solving in your thinking. You have one outcome you want to happen and we can’t talk about anything else without you bringing it back to this. And the problem with your solution is – it is never enough.” or using terms like “huge ill-conceived programs like [Medicare]”.

    As for that 2nd quote back, it was particularly offensive as it once again turned the discussion to personal insult and disrespect. That is really uncalled for.

    What I actually said, in brief in my post, was that it appears disingenuous and as bad marketing for GOP to begin their cost-saving push by (once again) arguing for cutting costs in social programs while SIMULTANEOUSLY planning a big tax cut for big corporations and the most wealthy. How is that statement partisan? And how is it that such a plain and forthright statement merits another personal attack against me rather than addressing my intellectual position?

    By the way, I did not “miss” Stevendad’s points, and my “one outcome” of raising taxes is not the only outcome I argue for, but is the point most likely to get a knee-jerk partisan reaction from this audience. To the degree that I believe that it is intellectually logical and most likely necessary to raise taxes on the most wealthy in order to address budget deficits, it is not a partisan issue, any more than you, Peter and Stevendad, believe that your positions on reducing the size of government and avoiding tax increases are blindly partisan. You believe you have good arguments backing those positions, and to the degree that you back up those positions, you have an intellectual position. If you simply assume that the necessity of shrinking government and never increasing taxes is self-evident, you are being partisan.

    How would you feel if I said “you are simply determined to cut size of government despite any negative impacts to the poor. I still don’t think that you really are doing much problem solving in your thinking. You have one outcome you want to happen and we can’t talk about anything else without you bringing it back to this. And the problem with your solution is – it is never enough.”?

    • Stevendad says:

      Good to see you back and in fighting form. I am NOT partisan. I am a moderate Dem whose party Left him behind. I am an American and I argue only for what in the long run is best for all Americans IMHO. I’m sorry, but “The government makes everything less efficacious and more expensive” is true based on 3 family career Feds and at least a hundred discussions with Fed employees. You just choose to ignore the disincentives for efficiency, near total lack of accountability and reward for bloat system we have wrought is a disastrous way to run any large enterprise.

      • Peter says:

        I’ll second this. I live in the Washington DC area and work closely with hundreds if not thousands of Federal employees. Much of my opinions of government inefficiencies come from them – not from the papers or political angles. Anyone who thinks we need more government bureaucracy is likely not on the “inside”.

        For full disclosure I have voted in all presidential elections and voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians.

  • Peter says:

    Another example of our jacked-up media (as if the election coverage wasn’t bad enough) is the stories reporting on Trump. I am not a fan of Trump’s in any capacity, by the way – I think he is an egomaniac and a questionable business man. The left-leaning media is creating this narrative that the President-Elect wasn’t who he says he is – that he is a racist and that KKK rallies and hate crimes are on the rise now and that the election was a vote for “hate”. Eight years ago, the right was creating a narrative that we had elected a president who wasn’t who he said he was – that he was possibly even a Muslim, not born in the US and secretly plotting to ruin our nation from within. Both angles create nice home-team furor and passion but unfortunately have two awful side-effects.

    1) They miss the point of why the election went as it did. In both cases, people were voting for change. This falls in line of the income disparity argument we have had on here for years – if you feel like you are getting a raw deal, you don’t vote for the party that has been in power for the last 8 years of your misery. You don’t vote for the party that is giving speeches at Goldman Sachs and in bed with Wall Street (in 2008 this was Republicans, in 2016 it is Democrats). You vote for someone to shake up the system. Right or wrong, Obama and Trump ran on the same message – shaking up the system and dramatic change.

    2) They kill all productive dialogue. Just like I pointed out in the Medicare chat below, when someone starts to believe the partisan rhetoric, they get emotional, illogical and quit listening to rational thought or opposing views. You can’t even have a conversation anymore – as evidenced by the awful marriage of Obama and Congress.

    Turns out, 8 years later – Obama was neither a catalyst for impactful change nor an America-hating Muslim. Sure we had some small changes and certainly adopted a more globalist foreign policy approach. But all in all the reality of the Obama administration was well in the middle of the ridiculous extreme narratives. Keep that in mind as we try and watch the Trump administration objectively – it will continue to be increasingly difficult to filter through the partisan spin on everything – in both directions. The more we can avoid the mind control groupthink, the more we can solve complicated problems like Medicare, the budget, taxes, foreign policy, poverty, health care and income disparity.

    • Stevendad says:

      There is a great deal more credit or blame given to the President than he (so far he) deserves. The whole multi trillion dollar enterprise of Federal government has a momentum that can only be shifted modestly by one person. However, when the planets align, and all are of one party, then “progress” can be made. Thus Obamacare was born and a trillion dollar “stimulus” passed. Hopefully the present alignment will lead to a reduction in all of this “progress” and a reduction in the size and scope of government, as was the overriding mandate of the electorate. Despite the media’s insistence it was all about misogyny, racism, xenophobia, etc, this was the real message. Obama blew it for his party by doubling down on “same” rather than real “change”. Think about it: Dems went from both houses of Congress and the Presidency to none of them. The Democratic Party is at an historic low, perhaps a nadir or perhaps portent of things to come. Unfortunately, we are careening towards the abyss and need real leadership and real solutions. The Dems offered neither, just a lot of “not him “. I have to hope Trump can produce some solutions. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

      • Stevendad says:

        Ok Peter, BD must FINALLY realize there is no countering our superior logic. Just crickets the past few days…????

        • Peter says:

          I doubt that is the case. Hopefully though….the tough thing for people that identify as liberals or democrats is the reconciliation that their party is the party of Wall Street, war and crony capitalism now. And their party is the one that is not accepting election results (or at least complaining). If I was a liberal, I would have hoped that we would have taken the high ground during the last 8 years. They have to be disappointed or at least concerned with these facts. Even Obamacare wasn’t really what the liberals wanted – it still greases the palms of insurance companies, making it too expensive for many (and rising).

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: I have to ask if: “The true will of the people supports addressing climate change, keeping the iran deal, fixing not destroying obamacare, keeping medicare and medicaid, funding Planned Parenthood, providing reasonable access to abortion, and Dems should fight hard against GOP attempts to overrun the will of the people.” is true, then why are House / Senate / state houses and governors some if not overwhelmingly Republican, who clearly oppose these things?
    And the “get rid of Medicare/aid” is just Liberal nonsense. Surely you don’t believe their political BS? I think that’s a huge problem with the Dems, seeing only what they believe, not believing what they see: i.e. their party in the worst shape since Reconstruction, 150 years ago. If only we can import enough voters, we will win! How about importing some good ideas and good candidates?

    • Big Data says:

      What do you mean by “get rid of Medicare/aid is just Liberal nonsense.” Are yousaying that it is false propaganda from liberals that conservatives want to scrap these programs?

      Conservatives repeatedly push privatization of these very popular programs, including conversion to a voucher system. That is not propaganda and it would essentially scrap the financial security that these programs provide to elderly and needy. Voucher programs for private insurance are just like govt loans for education. They drive prices skyward and ultimately enrich companies or colleges while bankrupting citizens and draining the treasury. And pure competition in healthcare and insurance just incentivizes the deaths of sick people thru lack of coverage. Ultimately we should move to universal health care and abandon these schemes where companies seek to get rich off of the misery and desperation of the sick.

      • Peter says:

        This is the problem with this sort of partisan-speak. There is a faction of Republicans that want to privatize a portion of Medicare. Few want to “scrap” Medicare/aid like you suggest. Almost all (and many Democrats) want to reform it. Nobody wants to ‘scrap the security to the elderly and needy’. These politicians are not evil … stupid, maybe – but not evil. I seriously doubt that any politician on either side wants to ruin the lives of millions of people. And Medicare/aid needs reforming. How can anyone have a conversation about reforming huge ill-conceived programs like this if every time someone suggests an alternative they are accused of trying to “getting rich off the misery and desperation of the sick”? You realize how frustrating that is? This is what I mean by partisan-speak. It kills the conversation before it even starts.

        • Stevendad says:

          Yes, false propaganda are the perfect words. Vouchers wouldn’t fly. It’s all just jabber…no one is scrapping those programs. They have to be reformed. There is no choice. Not enough money in the MC / Soc Sec Ponzi schemes. The government makes everything less efficacious and more expensive. The VA / Indian HS are shining examples of government efficiency in health care…ahem.

          • Stevendad says:

            BD. It’s interesting that you admit now that government loans have been a factor in inflating college costs.
            It’s cheaper to supply the same care in VA (a proxy for single payer) vs private care (per 2004 study) but delays of months rather than days lead to deaths. May be hard to compare… Similar reports from Canada and U.K.

      • Big Data says:

        Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposals, also pushed by Romney in his 2012 campaign, are described as a “premium support” plan which is a type of voucher plan. The devil is in the details, and some claim the premium support approach is different than a simple voucher approach. The attempt is to use competition to drive down government costs, but it is unclear what the impact would be on the costs to the elderly. It seems to me that, unless medical costs themselves are controlled or driven down by allowing govt to negotiate lower drug prices and hospital costs, any savings to govt will be costs to seniors. Again, the devil is in the details, but seniors (or future seniors) have reason to worry when rich folks are so intent on cutting their own taxes and cutting safety nets to pay for it, which is what the GOP always SEEMS to be proposing. It would be a lot more credible if taxes were held steady or increased somewhat on the overwhelmingly prosperous citizens and THEN proposals were made to contain costs that also fell lightly on everyone else.

        Nobody likes to see their own rather meager incomes even further depleted while the richest are simultaneously getting a big raise. That is really poor marketing, and that is certainly how the GOP appears to be heading (again).

        • Peter says:

          I don’t think I’m getting a big raise with this administration….. could be wrong….. This last post again shows that not only did you miss the point of what Stevendad was saying, but that you are simply determined to raise the taxes on the rich. I still don’t think that you really are doing much problem solving in your thinking. You have one outcome you want to happen and we can’t talk about anything else without you bringing it back to this. And the problem with your solution is – it is never enough.

          • Stevendad says:

            It’s funny, BD, and you sometimes point out exactly the problem with massive government intervention. Once you let the genie out of the bottle you begin picking winners and losers when you have to modify the plan. Always remember the unintended consequences of good deeds and legislation choose some over others.

          • Peter says:

            Exactly! This was my point earlier about the DOL regulations on financial advice. Unintended consequences of good deeds. Try to keep the unaware consumer from being screwed – instead have the consequence that smaller investors can’t even get professional advice any more. Try to reform the mortgage industry with more regulations and government intervention – instead have the consequence that it is now more difficult for middle class Americans to get a mortgage.

            Plus – I’m not sure why BD doesn’t realize that his own favorite political party is doing the very thing he rails against. Picking “winners” based on lobbying, super PACs, donations, etc. That undermined the well-meaning Obamacare for instance. It has also kept the government from truly punishing the Wall Street actors that caused/exacerbated the meltdown in 2008.

  • Peter says:

    Regarding the popular vote…. There are 318 million people in the USA. Clinton got 64.2 million votes and Trump got 62.2 million. 20.1% vs. 19.5%. It is arrogant and idiotic to say that “we are ignoring the will of the majority”. The majority doesn’t give enough of a crap – or like either candidate enough – to vote for either of these people. Plus, the way our system is written involves the Electoral College. It is predictable and banal that whomever loses the Electoral College while winning the popular vote would be whining about how unfair it is. Trump supporters would have done it too. But that’s the law. Ironically, it was Trump who was against the Electoral College during the campaign. That said, I think it would be foolish to change this process – people that live in the heartland would essentially lose their voice. Nonetheless, my main beef is with the ridiculous partisan crap – and the sour grapes and inability for people to move on and support the new President. That’s way scarier for our future than any other dynamic in our electorate.

    • Big Data says:

      Really, Peter, you are being uncharacteristically silly and unreasonable. Percent vote margins are expressed in terms of people who care enough to vote, not total population including infants. That is just absurd logic. My point is that, among citizens who have taken enough political interest to vote, Hillary’s vote margin advantage relative to Trump was about 1.6% of voters. No one has lost the Presidency in the last 140 years with that level of popular advantage. I am not sour graping the election. I am merely pointing out that there is NO mandate for Trump and his administration to start drastic dismantlings of programs like Medicare or Medicaid, nor even to destroy Obamacare. The roughly 100,000 people who pushed Trump over the top of the electoral votes in 3 swing states voted for jobs and economy, not small gov, not tax cuts to wealthy. GOP needs to recognize that they were elected on a populist wave, but also that luck of state populations and rare political circumstance let them win with lesser votes. If GOP starts advertising their usual crap that they have the will of the people behind them to give favors to the rich and corporations, while dismantling the safety nets to pay for the tax cuts, I think they will find that the swing Trump Voters will join with Dems to trounce GOP in next election.

      • Stevendad says:

        Of course, the campaign would’ve been run completely differently if it were a popular vote. It’s real hard to tell what would’ve happened had that been the circumstance. Every other office made it clear that the public is behind the Republicans agenda as they control everything at this point!
        Time to put up or shut up
        for the Republicans!

        • Big Data says:

          Last sentence is a good point. Its easy to be the back corner curmudgeon claiming to have the better solution. It is quite another to get good law passed and implemented.

          • Stevendad says:

            Now we’ll see the Dems “not willing to compromise “. This is code
            for both parties to do it my way or the highway. Schumer better find some serious read aloud material for all the filibustering.

          • Big Data says:

            Of course he will, and he should. The true will of the people supports addressing climate change, keeping the iran deal, fixing not destroying obamacare, keeping medicare and medicaid, funding Planned Parenthood, providing reasonable access to abortion, and Dems should fight hard against GOP attempts to overrun the will of the people. POT (Party Of Trump) was elected to restore economy to middle class. Dems should work with POT on those efforts but oppose usual GOP foolishness.

          • Peter says:

            One day hopefully we won’t have such foolish partisan nonsense in our government.

          • Big Data says:

            Hmmm … please clarify. I’m curious if we agree on which parts are partisan foolishness.

          • Peter says:

            Well, I certainly don’t think the only partisan talk is “from the right”. You wouldn’t know it if I told you anyhow.

      • Peter says:

        That’s all entirely true that it was really just a few counties that swung the election. But regardless of the 1.6% (or whatever way you want to calculate it) difference in margin, the election was won fair and square via the electoral college system and it is time to move on.

        • Big Data says:

          This has been such a wacky year, I am half expecting the recounts to find Russian hacking, resulting in faithless electors to disregard vote totals and throw a wrench in the results when they vote. Not really likely. But it would not be the strangest event of the election. Just one more crazy thing.

          But the popular vote comments were not meant to be about who legitimately won. I was merely pointing out that legislators would be wise to actually follow the will of all Americans by learning to compromise, and not just use a hairline victory as excuse to wreak partisan havoc.

          • Peter says:

            I certainly wish that had been the case for the last 16 years as well. Hopefully having a wild card who is a non-Republican/Democrat in the White House will help that!

          • Peter says:

            And you realize when you talk about Russian hackers you sound just like Trump talking about rigged elections? Or like the right when they said Obama was secretly a Muslim? Just saying….. I know you don’t think it comes off that way, but ….

          • Big Data says:

            Our intelligence agencies have verified that Russians are very likely the culprits who hacked Democrat leadership and provided info ultomately leaked to hurt Dems and thus actually did help to rig an election. I dont believe our intelligence agencies had any evidence for obama being a seccret Muslim. Thats the difference between substantiated and unsubstantiated speculation.

          • Peter says:

            The same intelligence agencies that told us that Benghazi was about a video? Or that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Either believe it all or believe none of it.

          • Big Data says:

            I dont really think the accuracy of the FBI or other intelligence agencies is binary … all correct or all wrong. I prefer to understand t

          • Big Data says:

            … the underlying arguments.

          • Peter says:

            Which is literally impossible with the information you have at hand.

  • Big Data says:

    Interesting piece here from a conservative regarding the new alt-reality media, aka post-truth era, aka truthiness. This is how slander against Hillary cost her the election. Not from hidden conspiracies against her, but from open crowdsourcing of perceptions masquerading as reality, propaganda masquerading as research, anger masquerading as fact. No one seems to care about truth anymore, at least not truth based on facts research and analysis. They only care about what they feel to be true based on their limited experience, and what their circle of friends feel and express, along with what they selectively read and ingest that matches their predispoitions. All hail the death of truth and the rise of alt-truth. Except that i will still be fighting for the true true.
    Choice article quotes:
    In the new alt-reality bubble, negative information simply no longer penetrates; gaffes and scandals can be snuffed out, ignored, or spun; counternarratives can be launched. Trump has proven that a candidate could be immune to the narratives, criticism and fact-checking of the mainstream media. This was, after all, a campaign in which a presidential candidate trafficked in “scoops” from the National Enquirer. And got away with it.

    No wonder “fake news” could flourish in this environment.

    “Honestly,” Paul Horner, one of the creators of fake news, told the Washington Post last week, “people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore—I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    So when, three days before the election, a fake news site posted: “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead,” the story could go viral, getting 560,000 shares on Facebook alone. Similar bogus stories were shared millions of times during the campaign. But this didn’t happen in a vacuum: Such stories fit easily into a media ecosystem that embraced an Alex Jones.

      • Peter says:

        LOL Don’t respond to an accusation of fake or biased news with a story that is EXACTLY that! In the first half alone I counted about 15 “speculations” at best – lies at worst. The biggest lie the media passed to all of us was that Trump couldn’t win. And just like Karl Rove a few elections back, the media held onto this belief even as the numbers were coming out. To try and paint “false or misleading media” as only a right wing problem is laughable.

        • Big Data says:

          The inability to accurately predict the future is much different than misrepresenting the present. No analysts thought Trump could win. That was not a lying media but an astonished media. The problem with fake or ‘truthy’ news is that it is poorly researched or flat out deceptive. And it happens in liberal and conservative media, but more with the latter, IMHO.

          Also, a news analysis story such as the linked one is allowed to have speculation. That is honest as long as speculation is not presented as fact. I don’t really see why you found the article offensive. It is interesting and certainly not fake.

          • Stevendad says:

            There’s all sorts of distortions and lies from the liberal media and the conservative press. There is no question that there is a feeling amongst the LGBTQ community that Trump is against them. However, I’ve watched this election very closely and have found no evidence of this. Again, Peter Thiel addressed the Republican convention and, in an absolutely jaw-dropping reaction , He was given a standing ovation! Yet on and on and on you hear that Trump is against this community. Clearly, Pence had said some of this. But all of this is been artributed to Trump as well. Interestingly, he is very good friends with Bruce/Caitlyn (sp?) Jenner and has said nothing negative about that situation.
            One of the tenants of the process to speak “truth to power”. It seems like they just have forgotten about the truth part…
            Instead we have false narrative that fit with the worldview of the writer rather than what actually happened, what was said, etc.

          • Stevendad says:

            Press not process

        • Big Data says:

          Wow. Look at todays news. Trump reads FAKE news and goes off on a tweet storm about how he won the popular vote except for illegal votes from immigrants … for which there is absolute zero evidence of that occurring. Fake news riles Trump. Welcome to the next 4 years.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter,

    My initial inclination was to shy away from responding to further discussion about divisiveness and arrogance, primarily because the discussion itself is one that seemingly invites division.

    For instance, it is difficult to defend myself against accusations of being divisive without simultaneously tossing out accusations which are also inherently insulting and divisive. I will say this, however, as politely as possible. Divisiveness is related to, or actually is in opposition to, diplomacy. And it seems to me that the opposite of diplomacy is to engage in personal attack and also to allow, without comment, personal attack by like minded individuals, while only critiquing personal attack by those you oppose. If you look over whatever most recent posts are currently available (I am seemingly unable to access most of recent pages on this forum), especially those under my current moniker, you will find no personal attacks by me against anyone, except for rebukes placed as a defensive post against critique by those posters who have directly and very personally attacked my intelligence and knowledge rather than discuss perspectives. Even then I was much milder in my response than the attack I received. And if you attack me for being divisive while staying silent about divisive attacks from others, that certainly seems divisive in and of itself. At least that is from my perspective, which I am posting for your consideration, and not as an attack on you.

    I also must point out that there is a big difference between seeing and understanding the other side of an argument, vs. agreement. You and I each have vastly different perspectives and considerable passion in defending our own beliefs. I believe I have taken extraordinary effort to see and understand your perspective. I have concluded and stated rather objectively that most of our differences can be explained by my inclination to look at data, systems, and trends, and your differing inclination to look almost exclusively at personal responsibility, morality, and initiative while ignoring systemic explanations. Just because I still disagree with you, does not mean that I fail to listen or understand. You very likely feel similarly. I should suggest that what you describe as divisiveness is simply disagreement, along with a persistent struggle to express a perspective in a manner that connects. And I further suggest that persisting in difficult conversations in quest of points of agreement is the very opposite of division.

    Setting that aside, it may actually be instructive to discuss your perspective vs my perspective on arrogance of Republican vs Democrat over the past 15 years and currently, post-election. We clearly have different views. What specifically do we each find arrogant in the public discussion?

    To be continued in next post…

    • Peter says:

      Please…no more discourse about the discourse…..LOL

      • Stevendad says:

        My point about arrogance is that Republicans have I’ve lost most of their arrogance because the things they were arrogant about are all gone. Telling people who they can marry and love, being totally against abortion, being against marijuana if not other drugs, and a variety of other social issues have all basically been won by the Democrats. There’s very little left to be arrogant about as far as the Republicans. I’m not one but the best I can tell they have lost all of these battles. I am not judging one way or the other on this just pointing out that it’s over for the most part on social issues for the Republicans.

        • Big Data says:

          Abortion is still very much in play, and the GOP arrogance I see there is in attacking Planned Parenthood with false accusations based on highly edited and manipulated videos, and attempting to kill the organization when clear majorities of the population support its existence.
          But arrogance exists in economic realm as well. Despite all evidence to the contrary, GOP pushes economic solutions that primarily involve more tax cuts to rich and cutting social programs. The former just creates more debt, and the latter is too unpopular to pass. But arrogance marches on, ignoring the lessons of the past …

        • Big Data says:

          The most glaring arrogance i see on the GOP side, whether traditional wing, tea party, or trumpist, is this overwhelming confidence in their own moral or policy superiority despite representing a distinctly minority view. The majority of Americans are against tax cuts for the rich, against completely eliminating obamacare, against making abortion completely illegal, against making voting harder with tighter id and registration laws, against defunding planned parenthood, against loosening regulations on banks. Yet elitists in the three gop factions will each very likely use their narrow gop victory to push their own agendas as if they have “the will of the people” behind them. This fits the very definition of arrogance which is a belief in ones own superiority, despite all evidence to the contrary.

      • Big Data says:

        Ok. Postponed anyway. I was judt offerring to listen. 😉

  • Big Data says:

    In the interest of friendly cometaderie, I should note that I agree with many points put forth by Peter and Stevendad below. There was a lot of arrogance uncovered in the election, and everyone SHOULD have a voice and everyone should be included in the conversation. It has been a mistake that has been repeated over and over for decades that liberals and conservatives have been rallying their respective bases to just overrun the other side with turnout rather than to persuade the Americans at large as to the validity of their arguments and to serve everyones interests. You can mock the liberals for ignoring the working class, but the conservatives gave them an even colder shoulder. Here on this forum, they have been dismissed as not having the right education, not marrying correctly, or not seeking the proper career, all while conservative policies were arguably primarily responsible for driving them to lower incomes and greater despair. So be careful with your schadenfreude. There have been plenty of deaf ears all around. A few heard the rumbles. Bernie, for one, but also a real estate marketer who just happened to side with the GOP for personal convenience. Perhaps he saw how weak the GOP ideas had become with their empty mantras of exorbitant increasing riches to the already wealthy as a cure to a slow economy, and their false promises of trickle down. He knocked all of the priests and priestesses of small gov off the stage and sold himself as a populist savior of the working class. That he could do so as a blatantly rich self serving magnate is truly a triumph of marketing over reason.
    I am disappointed, that after recognizing arrogance on one political side, the posters here chose to claim that:
    “The liberal agenda – beautifully illustrated by Steven H in this thread for years – is to marginalize, attack, mock, ignore, etc”. First of all, this strategy has been at the heart of the conservative agenda for years and they execute it with near perfection. Liberals attempt it, but are amateurs by comparison. And indeed this was also clearly the campaign Trump strategy. To assign such strategies as uniquely liberal is a failure to learn the lessons of this election. And to make this claim while calling out a single poster and mocking, marginalizing and ignoring his arguments is even worse. Arrogance is a funny thing. Those who see and call it out most readily in others are often the most deeply infected.

    • Peter says:

      I’m not saying that conservatives have never been arrogant. Just that the arrogance over the past 15 years or so has been largely liberal. Certainly conservatives have been arrogant in the past as well. I would completely disagree that liberals are amateurs at this arrogance. In many ways they are better at it since they have the mainstream media helping them with it. Liberals post-election want to label all Trump supporters as racists, suckers, idiots – but they aren’t listening to these people and understanding their perspectives. Sound familiar? 🙂

      • Peter says:

        Being blinded by an ideology and not being able to see others’ perspectives and at least understand others’ experiences is what bothers me the most. Of course I’ve said it many times before – the divisive discourse is what disturbs me the most. And I view that as arrogant and over the course of 3-4 years of this I have tried to shy away from this. In fact, it is the ONLY thing I’m critical of you of …. My closest friends and family members are what you would describe as “liberal” and we can have conversations about this. I do have one family member who is like you though…lots of eye rolling and judgment of contradictory opinions. Some on the left are making a huge error in the way they are characterizing Trump, Bannon, Pence, etc. in such close-minded one dimensional ways. For instance, I think Hillary has a great deal of corruption and criminal activity in her past. If she had won, that would not be what I would talking about. I would be talking about the good things – how she knows how the government works as well as anyone and will be much more capable of working across the aisle than Obama or Bush. I wouldn’t be standing in the street flipping out about her conflicts of interest. I would be supporting our elected president – the same way I did George W and Obama when they won. That’s not arrogance at all.

      • Big Data says:

        “Liberals post-election want to label all Trump supporters as racists, suckers, idiots – but they aren’t listening to these people and understanding their perspectives.”
        Not what I’m reading and certainly not what I’m saying.

        • Peter says:

          “People are definitely dumber…..that’s how Trump won the election”. Case in point.

          • Big Data says:

            You can read that as saying all trump voters are dumb, which the sentence does not say, or you can read it in context, which is to say that fake news and false perceptions, too willingly accepted by a less educated portion of the populace, swayed a close election. Thus, the population, being easily swayed by bad information is effectively acting dumber as a group.

          • Peter says:

            I read it the right way. And your reply confirmed what I thought you meant.

          • Big Data says:

            What i said was way different than all liberals laneling “all Trump supporters as racists, suckers, idiots – “. For one thing its about a quote from one guy making a generalization that more people are believing crap without fact-checking, which is true. Your statement is an indictment of the “liberal” media making statements about all Trump supporters being suckers, which is not true. There have been plenty of articles analyzing the legitimate working class gripes of Trump voters. Hell, ive been trumpeting the evils of income disparity for years and that is what this election rotated around on. The working class is rebelling against all these arguments of work harder, pick a different career, get more outlandishly expensive education, and saying they need better jobs and more money. But yes, fake news passed around wildly and poorly researched articles overstating Hillary’s flaws while ignoring policy differences did also swing the election.

        • Peter says:

          I don’t view being a supporter and benefactor of crony capitalism – or being loose with classified information – as “flaws”. Being a pig who hits on women every chance one gets is a flaw. Hillary’s problems were typical of everything that is wrong with our government – and if she was a Republican you would be saying all the same things.

          In a lot of ways, Clinton vs. Bush was a similar argument. While Bush wasn’t as immoral or criminal as Hillary, he was purportedly in bed with Wall Street, Saudi Arabia, big oil, etc. And Bill was way worse than Trump when it came to personal behavior (I view having sex with your employee as far worse than talking trash about grabbing women).

          Your partisan lens isn’t letting you accept that Hillary was a terrible candidate and not just one with ignorable “flaws”.

    • Stevendad says:

      You continue to build in that the economic collapse was due to trickle down. I have refuted this false narrative several times, showing how there was plenty of blame to go around in both parties. And again, unfettered illegal immigration and Dodd Frank (both Dem supported) have made income inequality worse and that the Gini coefficient is highest in predominantly Dem cities. Of course we need to help people to have mechanisms to succeed, but no one is wise enough to give across the board solutions that work for all. ALWAYS will be winners and losers. But if they would SWEAR they could help themselves. Just start today!! Get a minor side gig and put aside half what you earn in a mix of stocks/ bonds and gold (scottburns.com gives good advice about this) once you have $500. Very doable. Then you invest alongside the 1%. Nearly all will benefit if they JUST DO IT (with deference to Nike). Again, a huge amount of income inequality is from investment and not income side of earning. Jump in the water and get wet. Or just quit whining….

      • Big Data says:

        “You continue to build in that the economic collapse was due to trickle down. I have refuted this false narrative several times, …”
        The false promise of trickle down has been failing the country for 35 years, not just since 2008. The economic collapse of 2008 had many causes which we have discussed, but clearly the big debt accumulated during 20 years of GOP tax-cut and spend policy made the 2008 collapse more difficult to manage. I have heard of no evidence that Dodd Frank has contributed one pip toward income disparity. What evidence or article do you have that supports this? And immigration impact is 5% or less.
        http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/On-the-Economy/2011/0623/Is-immigration-behind-wage-income-inequality-Not-so-much

        • Stevendad says:

          Please find the data about changes recently in small business and home lending. It has slowed to a crawl. Bankers I know tell me Dodd Frank has terrified community bankers. I’ve seen this in many, many articles as well. Have you talk to any local bankers about this?

          Obama doubled all that debt. So he is also to blame. I am opposed to both parties screwing future Americans. Not me and probably not my kids, but hundreds of millions of my fellow citizens.

          That article is BS IMHO. The premise is that any work that’s done by immigrants would not be done by natives at any price. That seems very unlikely to me. Eventually $30 to 40 an hour would get natives up on to roofs or whatever. Obviously, the price of everything would go up but that may be part of our problem with growth in the sense that we have zero to negative inflation. Now we are in effective deflation. Ask Japan how difficult it can be to get out of deflation. Their markets and economy has grown very little since the 1980s. In this situation, people buy less now because it’s just going to be cheaper in a month or year. Deflation makes the whole merry-go-round stop. Modest inflation is what makes the whole thing go. Excessive inflation makes it bubble and pop. That’s one of the problems of the fed, they can make things worse by trying to control markets.

          • Big Data says:

            Dodd-Frank has many parts. What aspect hurts or frightens community bankers? After the collapse of 2008, i am rather unsympathetic to banks resuming freewheeling in unlimited risk with the nations money to make a quick buck for investors. We need Dodd-Frank or something like it.

          • Peter says:

            Dodd Frank is just like the DOL rule I talked about earlier. Had decent intentions but is poorly designed and executed and hasn’t had the intended results. The connection among all of this is that with the new regulations and the doubled national debt, we may not have the ability to save ourselves in a financial crisis if we have one again soon. You’d think after 2008, we would have broken up the banks rather than made them larger and more powerful. Seems like that would have made sense. But just like Obama didn’t have the b***s to get the insurance companies out of Obamacare, they don’t have the b***s (or the power) to take on the large banks – particularly when they finance their campaigns. So we end up with this weird hybrid policy that tries to help the people, solve the problem, but all the while keep greasing the palms of big business. Which is why they ultimately become failures.

        • Peter says:

          The 2008 decline didn’t have anything to do with trickle down economics. False connection.

          • Big Data says:

            I did not say that it did. Stevendad falsely put that statement in my credit. I just said trickle down was a false promise, which is what it has been for 35 years.

    • Stevendad says:

      See above. It is absolute BS that we have “dismissed” people because of marriage, career choices, etc. They can work 8 extra hours a week, even at min wage and save half (say $30), invest and at a realistic 5% return over inflation accumulate $200k in current dollars over a work lifetime as well as increasing your Soc Sec income. Also avoid high credit card or payday loan interest in an emergency. So you’re going to say no one can do that? Again, BS.

      • Stevendad says:

        i’ll restate this to put it closer to where the comment belongs: Actually, lest I forget, Moneyning is a great source of Information about where to invest money!

      • Big Data says:

        If the answer to the working class is always to work harder and harder for less and less, and the gift to the wealthy is always to receive more and more for doing the same or less, then where does personal responsibility and reward fit in? Americans already work harder and longer than any other advanced country, and yet vacations and health care and other benefits are less, college costs more, and income disparity is worse. When do we quit telling people to work harder for less and just provide a decent lifestyle and benefits for every working American?

        • Stevendad says:

          I think you completely missed the point. I went down to the most bare example: a minimum wage job, eight hours a week, and showed that it would give you $200,000 in spending power plus better social security benefits. Obviously, something more involved would be more helpful. The key thing is to invest alongside the 1%. From what I’ve seen, much of the income inequality is based on the stock market gains over the past 30 years. Most of the very high in the 1% make most of their income from investments. Only a very few make this from actual earned income. A great deal of the “excessive CEO compensation” is based on stock futures and similar investments that they are given for bringing up this price of the stock.

          There is a plurality of opinion that the increases in college tuition or largely based on the interference of the government. Regardless, I expect this will all come down significantly as universities move further and further away from classrooms and more and more towards online learning. Why would anyone spend huge amounts of money to physically go to university when they can get the same degree largely online at a much lower price?
          By the way, it worked for this working class American.

        • Big Data says:

          No, you missed my point, and again this harks back to analysis of individuals vs systems. You can always advance individuals in a system, but if the sytem is more constrained on the low earners, income disparity increases, slowing overall growth even as the richest prosper wildly. This is a bad system, not a failure of individuals.

        • Peter says:

          I sure wish I had received more for doing less….. I worked my butt off for minimal pay for years to get to this point. And took lots of risk and missed time away from my family. Now I make 7 figures and am a “bad guy”. Again, I take exception to this constant vilification of the successful. We NEVER tell people to quit working harder for less. We inspire and motivate them to work smarter – to learn trades, skills, etc. that help them build a career that helps both them and society. We don’t take even MORE of my money and hand it to them.

  • Big Data says:

    Lots to discuss and many points to answer, and not enough time in an evening. So lets get a little fact checking out of the way. Trump voters were not, by and large, voting for small government. You deceive yourself if you think so. As National Review wrote:
    “The era of small government is over. As Donald Trump’s convention speech made clear, the election of 2016 is a race between an old-school Democrat and a new-school progressive — between a post-war Teamsters’ boss and a university professor. Actual conservatism is nowhere in sight.”
    Trump promised government, if not personal, intervention to guarantee an expensive southern border wall, international trade wars to protect US jobs, renewal of the coal industry, rebuilding of the inner cities, rebuilding the nations crumbling infrastructure, a better less expensive health care plan, a bigger military, AND big tax cuts for everybody. Oh. Yes, and he would eliminate the national debt at the same time, which is total fantasy, but set that aside.
    Yes his agenda is pro business. But nothing he said ever hinted at small government and it is certainly not what his new working class friends voted for. They voted for big beautiful help the working class government spending. They will be sorele mad when the GOP fails to deliver on the Trump wishlist.

    So kindly dispense with any notion that the Trump victory is a victory for traditional small government conservatism. It was a vote for unleash the national debt big spending and big tax cuts policy. Like Reagan but now the middle class wants trickle up, not trickle down.

    • Big Data says:

      BTW, this was in response to Stevendads comment that “[Trump’s] general idea of smaller government is of course in line with my Libertarian world view.”

      • Peter says:

        Yes, agreed – I haven’t seen a Republican or Democratic candidate in a long time who was for smaller government.

      • Stevendad says:

        National Reivew has been wrong all along about Trump and I hope are wrong again. Right, the idea is less regulation and less taxing. My hope is Paul Ryan will rein in too rapid a growth in debt. Guarding the border and national defense are clearly enumerated Constitutional powers. SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare , free phones, Obamacare etc etc are not, even if they are laudable and good. The regulatory arm of the government has gotten flat out abusive. They have changed with regulations by orders of magnitude the original laws. They have embraced the CO2 theory of global warming. By the way, BD flat out lied about my position on this. I stated it is not settled science that CH4 may be the main issue, not CO2. This is NOT calling it a “hoax” as you said I did.

        Again, reining in regulation costs nothing in direct government spending (only saves money) and costs trillions. I am aware of countervailing cost arguments, but the self created CA water crisis is a classic example. They have copious water in northern CA and diverted it to save a fish, which incidentally had NO EFFECT. This was based on shabby science and has costs tens of billions. It is not just spending that needs control, but regulation! Don’t be too eager to secede, the rest of the country may just let you!

        And explain to me how letting people keep money they earned is more government? I have no problem in fair tax increases: a VAT with corresponding EIC increases for the working poor and income taxes reductions for everyone else; reducing loopholes but also reducing corporate taxes; making large employers reimburse governments for benefits they pay out; taxing the wealthy yearly for untaxed accumulated securities and private business wealth (1-2% or so), elimination of carried interest etc etc, just not across the board increases in income tax on those who already pay a massively disproportionate share of income taxes. These all eliminate unfair loopholes to avoid taxation or outright “wealthfare”.

        So smaller government means shrinking many parts of the government and increasing actual Constitutionally enumerated powers. This is PRECISELY what Trump has said. Very, very Libertarian ideas.

        • Stevendad says:

          Actually, lest I forget,Moneyning has some great ideas about how to invest!

        • Big Data says:

          Well stevendad, I have never intended to mis-represent your position. So regarding “By the way, BD flat out lied about my position on this. I stated it is not settled science that CH4 may be the main issue, not CO2. This is NOT calling it a “hoax” as you said I did.” I apologize of mis-stating, but it was not a lie in the primary use of that word, which is “to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive”. There was no intent to deceive.

          Regarding settled science, scientists fairly well understand that methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, but also resides in the atmosphere in smaller quantities, and new emissions stay in the atmosphere for a shorter time than CO2. That said, it is not likely to be an either/or problem, but instead that both gases are an issue in varying proportion. The degree to which one gas is proportionally a problem depends on the time span you are studying and the Reduction of methane can produce better short term impact (because the remaining methane can also more quickly decline) but increases in C)2 are troubling because they impact the atmosphere for many more years in decades. See the following, but read it carefully. If you selectively read only what you want to see, you can simultaneously prove that CO2 or Methane are “the problem”, when the article really indicates it is both.

          http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/methane-vs-carbon-dioxide-a-greenhouse-gas-showdown/

          • Stevendad says:

            I accept your apology, and myself apologize for misinterpreting your intention and welcome your at least considering CH4 as a major component.

        • Big Data says:

          Regarding the 3 inch “delta smelt” fish in California:
          That’s an apparent reference to the 1.4 trillion gallons of water (paywall) that have been pumped into the San Francisco Bay since 2008, largely to save the delta smelt’s dwindling population. … Based on the number of almond acres in the state, Slate calculated that California uses 1.1 trillion gallons of water each year to farm almonds alone.
          That means the trillion gallons of water diverted toward the delta smelt over eight years could maybe have sustained one segment of California’s farming community for one year. Maybe.
          It would appear then that there’s a larger problem facing California’s water supply than the luminous three-inch fish, like, perhaps a drought. The water pumped to the delta smelt is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated 63 trillion gallons of ground water the Western US lost to the drought from 2013 to mid-2014, according to water scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
          Trump’s solution for the water crisis then starts to feels a little like mending a leaky faucet with duct tape. It may help temporarily, but doesn’t address the larger, more pervasive problem at hand.
          http://qz.com/694841/this-is-the-3-inch-fish-trump-says-california-is-protecting-at-the-expense-of-its-farmers/

          • Stevendad says:

            It would have helped substantially. The overarching problem for all of this is population growth outstripping resources and nature’s ability to cope. Of course, the Earth will go on, the question is whether humans will…

          • Big Data says:

            Agreed. The issue is never saving the earth. Earth is fine. The issue is always preserving our habitat so we survive. But know that here is a real drought in California, way beyond what different river management can correct.

        • Big Data says:

          “And explain to me how letting people keep money they earned is more government? ”
          I don’t believe I ever said anything like that, so I certainly cannot defend it. “Letting people keep their money” aka tax cuts to the rich is a problem because, without corresponding spending cuts, it produces more debt.

          Also, this brings up an issue I have wanted to address. I have used a Ben Franklin quote multiple times on this forum and that quote addressed how money belongs to the government, and since govt makes the rules which enable people to get rich, govt also may change rules to tax that money to support the good of the nation at large. I never really payed much attention to the preamble that precedes that quote. Here it is:
          ===
          “The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People’s Money out of their Pockets, tho’ only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point.
          *****Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors’ Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell’d to pay by some Law.*****”

          So, when there is a national debt, and tax money due, tacx cuts to the rich are not just letting people keep THEIR money. It is letting people keep the NATION’s money. So says Ben Franklin.

        • Big Data says:

          Regarding: “the idea is less regulation and less taxing. My hope is Paul Ryan will rein in too rapid a growth in debt. ”

          Consider Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon. His embrace of alt-right is troubling to me, even if it is just an embrace of convenience to boost his own and Trump’s interests. But Bannon should be troubling to you, Stevendad, as his philsophy, closely aligned to, and voiced through Trump, is nothing like you hope for.
          ====
          Bannon informed his staffers at Breitbart that a core part of their editorial mission was to “destroy Paul Ryan’s political career.” In December, he told one of his reporters that his “long game” was to have Ryan ousted from his Speakership by spring 2016. Both of these directives came after Trump had launched his campaign — and before Ryan had expressed any approval of the GOP front-runner. But the roots of Bannon’s antipathy for the Speaker and his ilk predates this election cycle — in 2014, Trump’s chief strategist told his fellow religious conservatives that “the tea party’s biggest fight is not with the left,” but rather with “the Republican establishment, which is really a collection of crony capitalists.”

          Perhaps, the most critical disparity between the two men’s worldviews is the way they conceptualize the relationship between working people and America’s economic elites. While Paul Ryan champions our nation’s corporate titans as “job creators” — whose prosperity is inextricably linked with that of the middle class — Bannon paints them as rootless, godless elites whose wealth is harvested from the exploitation of ordinary people.

          Bannon:The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism…that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost — as many of the precepts of Marx …

          Bannon: So I think the discussion of, should we put a cap on wealth creation and distribution? It’s something that should be at the heart of every Christian that is a capitalist — “What is the purpose of whatever I’m doing with this wealth? What is the purpose of what I’m doing with the ability that God has given us, that divine providence has given us to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth?”
          He further decries the greed and faithlessness of today’s economic elites, explaining that “when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West.”
          His opposition to those elites becomes concrete, in policy terms when he reflects on his own experience as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Bannon not only voices disdain for the bailouts, but complains that “not one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis. And in fact, it gets worse. No bonuses and none of their equity was taken.” What’s more, he appears to endorse some version of Glass-Steagall and the Volcker rule in Dodd–Frank…

          Bannon:I think you really need to go back and make banks do what they do: Commercial banks lend money, and investment banks invest in entrepreneurs and to get away from this trading — you know, the hedge fund securitization, which they’ve all become basically trading operations and securitizations and not put capital back and really grow businesses and to grow the economy.

          http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/11/why-steve-bannon-hates-paul-ryan.html
          ====

          So a big piece of Bannon’s philosophy is economic populism. Almost none of it is small government or tax cuts to rich or cutting bank and financial regulations. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with the GOP. Prepare for a bumpy ride.

          • Stevendad says:

            I have a feeling Bannon will be more transitional than long term. I’m not a huge fan of his and of hard core conservatives. I could be wrong, but I think Paul Ryan is pretty safe in his job.

  • Peter says:

    Was just thinking- the Trump victory echoes one of the very things that our struggles with Steven H (Big Data) showed. Steven H continually pointed to resources and research that supported his worldview. He also denied that Trump was universally panned and that Benghazi, the private email server, or other Clinton scandals carried any weight. I think this is a microcosm of what our mass media did.

    For years now, the media and liberals have been ignoring the opinions, politics and thoughts of a large group of people. They marginalize them as “gun-loving, bible thumping white trash” or with other such unflattering labels. And look, I’m not a fan of this demographic (I used to live in a community dominated by them) but they are people. And they are voters. And their opinion matters whether someone agrees with them or not. Even KKK members have a voice in this country. As do transgendered people, Syrian refugees and disabled veterans. We all have a voice and we can’t squelch the voices we don’t like or don’t agree with. We must listen to them and (gulp) learn from them.

    The liberal agenda – beautifully illustrated by Steven H in this thread for years – is to marginalize, attack, mock, ignore, etc….. What happened on Election Day is this group got tired of this and used the vote to speak up. The funny thing is – they weren’t in the shadows…they were there all along. Michael Moore himself was screaming for the last two months about the vibe in the Rust belt. He knows this group of people and could feel what was happening there. Trump rallies would be packed with thousands of people time and time again, yet the media never covered it – ignoring them completely. The democrats ignored this as well, instead focusing on stupid strategies like sending fake protestors so the media would cover THAT rather than the fact that 40k people came to see Trump.

    It’s not really about Donald J Trump – it is about a movement – a rejection of the crony capitalist, corrupt, dishonest politics that we have endured for some time now. And it is the liberals own fault for doing the very thing they hated Republicans for doing when they were in power – ignoring the feelings of a giant part of the population. Like it or not, we are all Americans and we can’t ignore any part of our people.

    • Stevendad says:

      Well said. The Liberal / Progressive response is based on incredible, irrefutable ARROGANCE: “Our ideas are SO good that one must be a __ist to disagree with us!” So they attack the people who don’t believe governments answer all. As has been shown in polling, the SAME people who put Obama over the top were the same people who put Trump over the top. They did not suddenly become racists.
      To paraphrase: all we are saying, is give Trump a chance. Again, based on my optimism, I hope he can be a LOT more Presidential and pick good people to help him. His general idea of smaller government is of course in line with my Libertarian world view. If Paul Ryan can keep Trump from adding to the debt in an increased manner we just might pull something good off.
      Here’s a non sequitur: Our hospital now gets fined 3% unless 80% of patients are satisfied. Can we apply the same to the VA, IRS and TSA? Cut 3% of their budget if they don’t? For that matter CMS should have to meet the same levels.. Fair is fair after all…

      • Stevendad says:

        Also unrepentant arrogance!

      • Peter says:

        That’s really true. That is the same arrogance I felt talking to Big Data/Steven H that I didn’t feel 3 years ago talking to other more liberal posters. Condescending arrogance and total shock that others might disagree or that people might have completely valid arguments or points of view that contradict his worldview.

        Also if this doesn’t flat out EXPOSE the media for what it is, I don’t know what will. The media joined right in with the arrogance. Check out this article….

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/commentary-the-unbearable-smugness-of-the-press-presidential-election-2016/

        I was also enjoying watching Bill Maher’s show this week. It really illustrated the arrogance and Animal Farm – style thickheadedness of some Democrats. He offered up suggestions on what Dems could do better to win future elections and the audience went silent. The panel disagreed with him when he said they missed an entire demographic (white, non-college educated working class men). The crowd only cheered when he offered flimsy Trump insults.

        To be honest, the reaction of the left to this election has been very disturbing to me. The media has created such a disconnect from reality for people. None of us really truly know how the “other half” lives (as they say).

        • Stevendad says:

          Any thoughts on the 80% satisfaction proposal?

          • Peter says:

            I’m not familiar with that….will have to look into.

          • Peter says:

            I see what you are asking…..frankly, I don’t know that health care should be treated the same way as say, the IRS or TSA…. I’m also not sure that cutting the budget for failing to meet it is reasonable either. I have heard of this in hospitals and such now that you mention it – frankly, I think the way the government has approached both your industry and mine have done more to damage it than help people. They just don’t know what they are doing.

    • Big Data says:

      A little more fact checking. Not quite true that I “denied that Trump was universally panned and that Benghazi, the private email server, or other Clinton scandals carried any weight.” I actually PROCLAIMED, not denied, that Trump was universally panned by educated editors and analysts of all political stripes. And I also did not deny that Hillary’s burden of unfounded accusations against her carried weight in public opinion. What I argued is that none of these accusations and investigations ever bore fruit of substance, and that the email server isdue was especially overblown, even by the so called liberal media. This illustrates the lverwhelming success of GOP strategies to mock, marginalize, and attack. They discovered that they dont have to prove anything, but just have to throw enough mud over and over to destroy their opponents. And look what it got them. Trump.

      • Peter says:

        I meant you denied that Trump was not universally panned. And saying that Hillary’s scandals carry weight in public opinion isn’t the point – saying that when there is smoke, there is likely fire is my point.

        Sorry, but you will never convince me the email server thing is overblown. I just know too much inside information on this to let that one go. Almost nobody inside that community thinks it was overblown.

        And Trump didn’t win because of those things. Again marginalizing a group of US citizens.

        • Big Data says:

          I saw rallies. Of course he had followers and so was not universally panned. He was however almost universally rejected by both liberal and conservative mainstream press. As to smoke and fire, there was a heck of a lot of smoke blown around Obama in his first term, but most (not all) agree there was no fire. Where there is smoke there is smoke. Where there is fire, there is fire, and probably smoke. There is always smoke in politics, and it is usually a smoke-screen coming from the opposition.

          Trump won electoral college by skin of his teeth and by tremendous luck of circumstance. Remove any one of the following: the free media publicity, Comey’s last minute memo to GOP re inconsequential e-mails, pollster’s mistakes that misled the electorate, press misquotes of Hillary regarding coal, press failures to explain the e-mail issue adequately; and Trump would have lost. He lost the popular vote, probably by 2 million plus votes, and so has no mandate, but he and GOP leaders will surely act as if there is one, arrogantly disregarding most Americans while they follower their inner voices that most people disagree with, and actively disregarding the working class who put Trump over the top.

          • Peter says:

            There was no smoke around Obama. In 8 years. And I’m sure the right tried…..

            And the mainstream press endorsing or panning means nothing at all to me. They were almost entirely on the Hillary side all along with their reporting. And she still lost.

            Popular vote argument also means little. Very small margin…and she won by 2x that margin in California, meaning she lost the rest of the nation by 2 million votes. Irrelevant anyway as we have an electoral college.

          • Big Data says:

            Popular vote indicates a mandate, or lack of one. Woe be to the President or Congress or Party who chooses to oppose the will of the majority, regardless what result the Elector system produces.
            We have talked about ignoring the interests of the white working class and how it was a mistake. Surely it is a much bigger mistake to ignore the majority voters, especially as they represent the majority populations in almost every urban center in the country. It would truly be arrogant to pursue such a path.

      • Stevendad says:

        The process got us all Trump… Just like the last 2 got us Barack Obama. I seldom agreed with him, but never doubted the legitimacy of his Presidency. The Left owes Trump the same deference.
        As I said months ago, pay for play is much more serious charge. Do you want the justice department and Congress to aggressively pursue this to prove your point. May be no “there there” but that is far from proven. And again Hillary’s email scandal did not have “unfounded accusations” but just did not meet prosecutorial level despite being “extremely careless”. This is not the same as the “nothing to see there” point of view you seem to have.

        Regardless, let’s give Trump a chance. Interestingly, the press is already criticizing Trump for cabinet mayhem. Obama had no appointments at this point when he was elected in 2008.

        • Big Data says:

          Stevendad, while you may have accepted Obama’s legitimacy, a huge faction of the GOP never did. There are still birthers, even yet.

          APPEARANCE of pay for play is specious for Hillary. The 25 citizens she spoke with as SOS, who also gave to the Clinton charity (from which the Clintons receive no money) is hardly a worthy scandal. How can it be pay for play if there is no pay? Trump’s charity, by comparison, has confessed to violations of law and use of charity money to directly benefit Trump and his business interests, and he has absolutely mind-bogglingly massive conflicts of interest between his business and political interests that dwarf the minuscule accusations against Hillary. His new Trump Hotel near the White House is on land rented from the GSA with which Trump has a dispute about rental rates, and for which organization he will be appointing a new head. Talk about Pay for Play! “Give me lower rent or you don’t get a job!”

          Hillary’s email scandal did not meet levels to merit prosecution. Correct. Furthermore, there was no intention to reveal classified info, incidental classified info on the server was either low-level, retroactively classified or in dispute as to level by differing organizations, and none was released to public or hackers as far as any investigation discovered. That should be the end of it.

          As for Obama appointments, by Nov 21 2008, Obama had offerred Hillary the Secretary of State position and she had accepted. Bill Geithner was appointed in late November but I don’t have the date. Most of his other appointments were in early December. Like Trump, Congressional approval comes much later.

          • Peter says:

            Wow you are some Hillary fan…..

          • Stevendad says:

            It is alleged Bill did speeches for hundreds of thousands, then Hill intervened for said entities. Thus she received half as NY is a community property state. Quid pro quo. If it’s true… I don’t know, but smells bad. Has nothing to do with Clinton foundation.

  • Stevendad says:

    Watching MSNBC this morning they had a large round table with Michael Moore as the featured guest. Of course, the whole thing was about how The Democratic Party needed to double down on progressivism. They also of course named all the other “isms in “that were the blame for the way people voted. It’s interesting to see Joe Scarborough cut off one of the guest when he suggested that the voters voted due to racism. He pointed out that the same group of voters it put up Barack Obama over-the-top were the same group that put Donald Trump over the top.

    Regardless, it is clear that they don’t understand at all that the Trump voters voted because they do not believe that larger and larger federal government is the answer to all ills. Many openly admitted they did not vote for Trump the man. If they continue to ignore this, they will not be relevant for a long time, if ever. Wake up Democrats!

    • Peter says:

      I agree – I think in North Carolina in particular, they rushed to far to progressivism and the people fought back. There are a lot of very progressive college towns and societies in NC (Chapel Hill, Charlotte, etc.) – but the majority of the state are old-school southerners who aren’t quite ready to have gender-neutral bathrooms or openly accept – or celebrate – gays, transgenders, Muslims, or frankly anyone different than them. I remember – I lived there for a while and have lots of family there. It is an interesting place.

      Not saying that one group is “right” or “wrong” – I’m just saying that if you try and force your way of thinking onto a people, they will resist. That’s why I think the people spoke up in this election in NC and went back to being a red state. People have to realize, there is a BIG step between general tolerance or acceptance of LBGT people and embracing or celebrating them. These things take time. Just look at the gradual acceptance of marijuana as an example. If 20 years ago the government tried to make it completely legal recreationally nationwide, people would have flipped out. Society has to change gradually, naturally, organically….not with the government forcing it on the people with executive orders or Supreme Court rulings. And I do believe our society is moving in the progressive direction – even with Trump as President. We just run the risk of alienating a large portion of voters if we ignore their views and start forcing them to swallow difficult pills.

  • Big Data says:

    I’d like to bring together some recent disparate and conflicting comments, and discuss them.

    1) Peter and Stevendad object to the “laziness” of people not searching for truth, and the lack of objective sources:

    Peter: … there is no media source that I know of that just reports the news. Everywhere is so editorialized and biased.

    Steven dad: The “truth” or as close as we can define it, requires work and research. Unfortunately, most are too disinterested or lazy to do any.

    2) Then Peter objects to my statements as divisive, that I should draw a conclusion from the fact that Benghazi has been investigated multiple times by both parties, with no conclusion of criminality or gross incompetence.

    Peter: …not everyone agrees with you that Benghazi is what it seems (and that the investigations were legitimate) or that Hillary no less an awful person than Trump is. These are not open-and-shut cases where you or I know the definitive answers. You treat them like they are though – and all of your opinions fall as part of a predictable ethos. That’s what is off-putting and divisive.

    3) Then finally, Peter states his own conclusions about Hillary,

    Peter: The biggest complaints people have about government and politics are things like inefficiency, lies and half-truths, politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths, saying one thing and doing another, crony capitalism and pay-to-play politics, self-interests above the people….. Hillary checks the “YES” box to all of these things.

    ====

    So first question: What is the purpose of either a trial or an investigation, if the people interested in, or even involved in the process, only accept the results when it fits their preconceptions?

    Benghazi has been investigated 9 times. NINE!
    1) Clinton convened an Accountability Review Board to investigate the incident
    2) The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (House Republican-led)
    3) The Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs (Senate Bipartisan Committee)
    4) The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Senate Bipartisan Committee)
    5) The House Committee on Foreign Affairs (House Republican-led)
    6) The House Committee on the Judiciary (House Republican-led)
    7) The House Committee on Armed Services (House Republican-led)
    8) The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (House Republican-led)
    9) The House Select Committee on Benghazi (House Republican-led)
    ===
    Granted, some of these committees investigated different aspects of the response. But while deficiencies were found in State Department, CIA and the military, there was nothing in any of the reports that defends the ridiculous conspiracy theories hyped for years on Fox and other Republican news sources or that merits the kind of defamatory attacks against Hillary that have persisted.

    Peter says “not everyone agrees with you that Benghazi is what it seems (and that the investigations were legitimate)”. What does that mean? That I am not justified in stating the conclusions of 9 separate investigations, most of them by Clinton’s enemies? Why? Because “not everyone agrees” in their conclusions? Isn’t it a little ridiculous to hold our conception of truth and facts hostage to a few nutcases (or a bunch of nut-cases) who have been bamboozled by the repeatedly discredited conspiracy theories of the very same partisan news sources you object to?
    Why am I being divisive by stating the facts that are repeatedly rediscovered by investigation after investigation? Isn’t it the partisan conspiracy theorists who are the divisive ones?

    Then Peter states his own partisan divisive opinions about Hillary. Most of his comments are the stereotypes of politicians (say one thing, do another) which are non-specific and which arguably apply to every politician, CEO, and leader who ever led anything or made any decision. But specific accusations of “pay to play” and “self interests above the people” are simply divisive slander and not are not well supported by fact or by Hillary’s years of service to advance honorable ideology she has held since a college student. The pay to play accusation is particularly absurd since it originates with an opponent who runs a Foundation which is arguably a sham vs the Clinton Foundation which has been rated as one of the most efficient charity organizations in existence, with estimates (by organizations that evaluate charities) of the percentage of funds going to charitable services ranging from 80 to 88%. And since the Clinton Foundation pays no salary to any member of the Clinton family, it behooves me how anyone claims that donations to that Foundation can be twisted into a pay-to-play scenario.

    Finally, the willingness to equate Trump and Clinton as equally undesirable, or as similar in their ethical grounding (or lack thereof), or presidential ability shows an astounding lack of willingness to do research or seek truths. Forget this idea that we can’t know things because somebody somewhere believes something different. It should carry some weight that every almost every endorsement of publications and newspapers across the country, including notable conservative papers and magazines endorse Hillary, or at least endorse not-Trump. I think about 6 small-town papers nationwide have endorsed Trump. Only 9% of Europeans think Trump would do the right thing regarding world affairs, vs 56% for Hillary. Trump’s primary support among US citizens is with the non-college educated. Trump is widely recognized by people who actually study this stuff as one of the least capable, least prepared individuals to vie for the presidency as a major party nominee.

    Meanwhile, Hillary has been one of the most over-investigated, politically slandered, individuals in US history. If she is so goo-darn terrible, why can no one take her down? Because she is so sly and slick? Listen to her. She is no car salesman. She is a policy wonk. She is piss-poor at deflecting criticism and that has been her problem … not that she is too slick, but that she is not slick enough.

    Take the whole e-mail server thing. People like to claim she was being so slick setting up a sophisticated system to hide her criminal activities. The FBI report found that she is a technical neophyte who insisted on using an antiquated model Blackberry because that was what she understood. She really did just set up a system for convenience. And as the unfriendly and reluctant FBI has now stated TWICE, she did NOTHING that was malicious or prosecutable.

    Yet there will be those nut-cases who still want to “lock her up”, even though the politicians they favor are highly unlikely to be able to weather the kind of scrutiny Hillary has received without having a real crime uncovered. And who started that “Lock her up” nonsense? Mr Bridgegate Christie himself. He is looking a lot more criminal than she is, these days.

    So I am all for research. And despite all the partisan sources available online, there is a lot of good research by good reporters. You just have to look for the real data and block out the unsubstantiated rumors and the conspiracy theories.

    • Peter says:

      Never been interested in relative comparisons of integrity between Trump and Clinton and wasn’t what my point was. My main point is that between Benghazi, the private email server, the Clinton Foundation, Whitewater, and all the other evidence and accusations of her dealings that would qualify as conflicts of interest (at the minimum) or pay to play…..it is a conspiracy theory to think that there is no fire behind any of this smoke. I’m sure you like Obama, so let me use him as a comparison. He has been president for 8 years and is very unpopular outside of his party. What are his “scandals”? All I know of are the preposterous right-wing nut ones – like that he wasn’t born here or is secretly a muslim and trying to ruin the nation from within. That’s it…..emails have been leaked from DNC and all sorts of other places and there is nothing in there that makes Obama stink…. You can’t blame every attack on the vitriol of your opponent. And you can’t believe that someone like Clinton doesn’t have the power to quiet the noise around these things. Maybe she is innocent of all of the long list of things she has done – but we have countless examples of both her and Bill lying to the face of the American public, Congress and even grand juries.

    • Peter says:

      And in the interest of equal time – I think there is much evidence that Trump may not even be a good business man- which is one of the primary reasons many people support him. I have often thought that having someone with more of a mind for how the actual business world works would be great for our government – but does Trump even know that? Where are the people he has mentored over his career? Most great business people have this. Where are the testimonies of his employees who he has helped make great lives for themselves? Even Kenneth Lay and Bernie Ebbers likely had these at times. The bottom line is Trump is a self-marketer – more in line with Paris Hilton and the Kardashians than Bezos or Buffett. He is a brand – and his running for president is simply a furthering of that. Even with all the left-wing media like CNN and MSNBC trashing him constantly, I think this is the part they miss the most. Is he really even a good business person who knows how to lift others up – to give people the means to succeed and someday become millionaires and billionaires themselves? I don’t see the evidence.

      • Stevendad says:

        I think there is not just some smoke around Hillary, but a room full of smoke obscuring everything. Remember that Comey did not find her devoid of any fault or wrongdoing. In fact he found her “extremely careless”, just not quite to the level of criminal behavior. She lied directly to the public about the Benghazi cause and her own emails backed up the fact that a video had nothing to do with it. This was done totally for political purposes to help elected Barack Obama. Please support this, if you can. This may not be criminal, but is clearly distasteful and unethical behavior.

        Time will tell about the “Peifer play”. My guess is Hillary win the election and the press will then turn on her. We’ll see how this turns out. Great theater! Not sure it’s good for the country though…

        Don’t get me wrong I don’t support trump either. He has some good ideas that fit in my general political mindset, but he has a lot of bad ideas and certainly can’t help saying and perhaps doing stupid things

        • Peter says:

          It’s a shame for people like Big Data (Steven H) that the corrupt DNC and our media did everything in their power to promote such a shady candidate with so much “smoke” around her over a true progressive like Bernie Sanders. Bernie would not have lost Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan and would like be President right now. And he was the true supporter of Steven H’s ideology – income inequality was his top issue in his platform. Kind of ironic in a way.

          • Stevendad says:

            Pretty clear Bernie never had a chance. Even if he had won the vote he would have been defeated by the superdelegates.
            I am, by the way, a registered Democrat. My party has been hijacked by the Progressive wing and this DISASTER is the result: Repubs have a vast majority of governorships and state legislatures , the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Presidency and soon will have the Supreme Court. The Democrats control NOTHING. Hopefully some of my party will realize this disastrous Progressivism coupled with a “my way or the highway” dogma is not where our country is.
            And by the way, don’t buy into your own BS about everything that you call Trump. He clearly is in many ways flawed, but he had many things attributed to him that he did not say. For example, he said “some of them are rapists” and did not call all Mexicans rapists. And yet I hear that quoted over and over and over again.
            Distortions and occasionally out right lies by the media have essentially shut out any voice that they may have had with many Americans. They lost all credibility in their fawning and pandering over Hillary Clinton and the progressive agenda.
            Hopefully, we will all give Trump a chance and see how he does and hopefully, he will learn to act more “Presidential” His victory speech seemed to be a terrific start. I think much of what he said earlier was likely just electioneering, but time will tell. Hopefully his business sense will set us on a better path. Lots of “hopefully” in that paragraph , but I am an invertrate optimist after all.
            I think a start for all of us would be honest and to look at what is really true and not what is politically expedient for us. There is no question we have real problems that need real solutions. Stephen H/big data I’d be interested to hear what you have to say after an appropriate mourning period…

          • Peter says:

            Totally agree Stevendad. Think nobody looks dumber here than the media. They shilled for Hillary for the past few months and were scrambling all night on Tuesday trying to report ‘objective’ news with their Hillary spin. Obviously, MSNBC didn’t hide their disgust and Fox didn’t hide their glee – but CNN was like a malfunctioning robot trying to make sense of it all. The best was when Wolf Blitzer tried to spin the announcement of Hillary winning California (to take the lead temporarily) as exciting news while Jake Tapper looked at him befuddled. Brit Hume called out the media well I thought – I forget what channel he was one – by saying that those that actually REPORT the news made a huge error by marginalizing Trump and treating him differently than any other candidate. That was my favorite part of the whole evening. Not only did we blow up and reject the whole Washington establishment and crony capitalism but we also embarrassed the media. People are going to be much more cynical about these polls next time around. And no, I did not vote for Trump.

          • Peter says:

            Big Data may be in the process of moving to Sweden….. 🙂

          • Big Data says:

            “Brit Hume called out the media well I thought – I forget what channel he was one – by saying that those that actually REPORT the news made a huge error by marginalizing Trump and treating him differently than any other candidate. ”

            I think the biggest mistake the media made was giving Trump so much free publicity for months, while simultaneously slamming Hillary every time somebody said the words e-mail.

        • Stevendad says:

          Oops “Pay for play”

          By the way, the whole “doctors keep patients ill just to keep them coming back” thing is just absurd. I’ve been doing this 30 years and I’ve never seen that. Some people don’t keep up with technology, but I’ve never seen such a sinister element. People are plenty good at making bad decisions to keep us plenty busy!!

        • Big Data says:

          “She lied directly to the public about the Benghazi cause and her own emails backed up the fact that a video had nothing to do with it.”

          This is your opinion. Most facts, and the opinions of knowledgable insiders do not defend this point of view, however.

          http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Benghazi-Hillary-Clinton-Morell/2016/08/07/id/742478/

          Hillary Clinton’s assertion to the grieving mother of a Benghazi, Libya, victim that the deadly 2012 assault was caused by an anti-Islam video was as “true” as the fact it was a terror strike, according to ex-CIA acting director Michael Morell.

          In an interview Sunday with ABC News’ “This Week,” Morell said “the video did play a role in that attack, and Republicans don’t want people to believe that.”

          Morell said in 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation testified to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that it believed “the video was a motivation in this attack. Abu Khattala, who is the only person arrested, said that the video was a motivation.”

          • Peter says:

            LOL @ article from NewsMax to support this. Right after you railed about fake news sites. While not essentially fake – this is hardly a respected source for news. (like Brietbart or Mother Jones)

          • Big Data says:

            The three quotes are verifiable from multiple sources. Even a biased news outlet can report quotes and facts correctly. It does not become fake just because newsmax or msnbc or fox or hannity reports it. reports it.

  • Peter says:

    Thought this was a great quote about the state of US politics… “A normal country doesn’t have a half-trillion-dollar trade deficit. A normal country doesn’t fight five simultaneous undeclared wars. In a normal country, the government actually does its job.” It really is disgusting that it has come to this point that we may even elect a misogynist egomaniac for President just to try and change the tide. I mean, what are the other options? The biggest complaints people have about government and politics are things like inefficiency, lies and half-truths, politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths, saying one thing and doing another, crony capitalism and pay-to-play politics, self-interests above the people….. Hillary checks the “YES” box to all of these things. And our other option is an unproven, loose cannon who we can only imagine what impact he may have in the White House. And both want to spend more money that we don’t have. And the media plays too big of a role. Scary times we live in – and the government stupidity and bureaucracy is keeping us in economic stagnation and hurting the little guy more than ever before. Companies have cash they are hoarding rather than putting back into the infrastructure. Health care and education plans don’t work efficiently to be sustainable or actually help our sick and our children. Politics has become entertainment news (O’Reilly, Maddow, Hannity, Matthews, etc.) rather than an important part of our society. We bury our industries in regulations that do nothing but slow growth and create red tape. All in the name of “helping” the average American citizen. The reality is all that most government policy does is further along the reputation of the politician – greasing their pockets for multi-million dollar post-service careers. Hillary and Bill Clinton are case in point for this. And there is little doubt Trump would do the same – it could even be argued that this campaign is about that win or lose. One of these days, people need to stand up and ignore the totally biased media filling their heads with nonsense and imaginary vitriol. Start voting for the people you think appear to be the most likely PUBLIC servants. Quit voting for celebrities, egomaniacs, criminals or career politicians who care WAY too much about what people think of them. Vote for people who aren’t wrapped around their “party’s” axle – instead vote for open-minded, negotiators who will look at all the options and do what is best for the nation. A great example of this is what Jesse Ventura did in Minnesota. He ran for one term only – and objectively (without party influence) looked at their government and listened to people who knew more than him and made sound decisions. Is this bad? If a pro wrestler (who is a little kooky I admit) can do it, we should be able to find another 535 or so congressmen/women, 50 governors and one president who can do the same. It is the only hope we have.

  • Big Data says:

    Well, I don’t really expect any traction with this crowd, off of that last thread on monetary theory. So let’s move on.

    I’m curious to learn more about the Fiduciary Rule. Peter helpfully added some info earlier, from which I will requote part of the conversation here for convenience, with no editing:

    =====
    Big Data:
    I haven’t researched the fiduciary rule. On the surface it seems like a good idea. It seems deceptive to hire a financial adviser whose perfectly legal motivation may be to give you bad advice so he can make more money.
    What is wrong with the new rule and how could it be fixed or made better?
    =====
    Peter:
    I’ll add my two cents to this one. The regulations are so cumbersome – when combined with the regulations already in place they make it hard to meet them all. Just from a personal standpoint, I have had to fire all of my clients under a certain dollar amount. I would love to help them, but the new regulations make it not an economical option. Don’t get me started…..another attempt to “protect” someone that ends up hurting the little guy.
    =====

    OK, maybe the regulations are too burdensome as implemented. But do you agree that there is some need to curb abuses by some bad players in the Financial industry?

    Take doctors as an example. If a doctor purposely patterns prescriptions to help patients get a little better but not completely well, to keep his patients sick so that they remain more frequent patients, that is a clear ethical violation, and sets the doctor up to be sued for malpractice.

    I’m not claiming this is common, but it is less absurd than it seems. My wife has suffered from asthma and allergies all of her life. Before I met her she was going to a pulmonary doctor and never really getting better. Another doctor in the practice, but not a pulmonary doctor, pulled her aside one day and told her in strict confidence that my wife’s doctor had a history of not prescribing the latest and most effective treatments. Several of his patients had recently gotten worse and gone to the hospital. The most recent had just died in the hospital. This doctor recommended a new pulmonary specialist and possibly saved my wife’s life. Was the bad doctor just incompetent, or pulling a scam. We may never know, but at least we know it was illegal.

    So if a financial adviser is hired and recommends bad or mediocre advice that is designed more toward adding fees and charges to the adviser’s income than toward improving the finances of the client, is it illegal? Should it be? What is the remedy? Change advisers? What if the behavior is difficult to analyze? After all, if the client really understood what the financial adviser was doing, he would not need the adviser?

    My assertion is that there should be some way of authenticating that the adviser you hire will be giving good advice for the client. That is certainly the intention of the Fiduciary Rule. Another method might be to require a certification to be a financial adviser (my understanding is that no certification is required), and that there should also exist a society of certified financial advisers that requires something like the Fiduciary Rule, but without the burden of instruction coming from government. Would that be better?

    So briefly,
    Is there a need to protect the consumer from bad actor financial advisers?
    How best to accomplish that goal?

    • Peter says:

      Like most things the government tries to do, the effort and intent is noble – but the execution is terrible. You have people making these laws and regulations that have no idea what it is actually like to be a financial advisor, doctor, or whatever. They are just politicians – it’s hard to expect something efficient.

      The interesting thing is – there is nothing in place to protect the consumer from all sorts of things, yet we hammer certain industries that are politically popular to attack. For instance, if you pay for a gym membership for 10 years and never go – you don’t have regulators coming down on the gym for continuing to charge you. And how many of us think we are getting totally honest treatment from auto mechanics? Don’t you think sometimes they recommend things that aren’t needed or charge more labor hours than are actually the case?

      Sure, we need to have regulations against bad actors. And we have for years in medicine and finance – and many have been caught, sued, punished, etc. This regulation – along with so much of what has been pushed through in the last 20 years – is just cumbersome nonsense that makes it harder for people to do business.

      Also – there is ABSOLUTELY a certification to be a financial advisor. There are multiple exams you must take to be licensed. Additionally, if you want to be a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) you are already held to the fiduciary standard and additional testing and ongoing continuing education. Not sure why you would think no certification or licensing would be required.

      The CFP board is THAT organization that you reference – the society of certified planners that requires the fiduciary rule. I have been one for 20+ years. Yet, even with that I now have to document and justify every action I take to such a painstakingly detailed level (for regulators) that I can no longer afford (time wise) to take on smaller clients. This same thing happened in medicine – the rule backfired because the lawmakers are know-nothings when it comes to the specific industries they are making laws around.

      • Peter says:

        This is precisely the problem with government solving our problems by the way.

        • Henry says:

          No argument about that from me. What makes someone think that politicians can make the best decisions for all sorts of industries they don’t understand. Best left to the free markets with the government as a ‘watchdog’. They have WAY overstepped their bounds in the past 10-12 years.

      • Big Data says:

        Thanks for the information.

  • Peter N says:

    “Your tired talking point that tax cuts to the rich are “just letting people keep their money” is dumb. The after tax incomes of the rich were increased at the expense to the national debt. That is funneling money to the rich. ”
    Wow, the money must be yours in the first place to funnel it somewhere.
    You assume the government owns all money we earn and is just nice enough to let us keep some of the money we earn. How Marxist… I mean libtard of you.

    • Big Data says:

      Pull out a dollar bill. The owner of that money is printed at the top.

    • Big Data says:

      I recall the quote of a great Marxist scholar:

      “All Property indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of publick Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents & all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity & the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man for the Conservation of the Individual & the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property of the Publick, who by their Laws have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire & live among Savages. — He can have no right to the Benefits of Society who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.”
      – Benjamin Franklin –

    • Big Data says:

      Before anyone thinks I am just being snide and divisive, just think a minute about what the whole concept of money in a society is for. Money is just a standard part of an economic system that has one overall purpose: to advance the prosperity of the citizens of that country. Money, by itself, is worthless. It really is owned and controlled by the country which issues it, and is intended to be used as an abstract representation of debt (or so some theories have described it), and it has value because we all agree to certain rules and conventions in how it will be used for trade against items which actually have value.

      But again, money is a part of an economic system set up and controlled by the country for the good of the citizens of that country.

      This is what Benjamin Franklin meant when he said: “All Property [excepting basic life necessities] … seems to me to be the Creature of publick Convention.” Property and Money are inventions and abstractions. And then Ben puts forth the idea that the rules of the economy, including those of property, money, and taxation are subject to change by government (representing the Publick) as needed: “But all Property superfluous to such purposes [life necessities] is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition.”

      [Note that this last sentence of Ben’s quote got truncated in my earlier post, and I found the complete sentence elsewhere.]

  • Peter says:

    One of the real problems we have today that the Presidential election always illuminates is that there is no media source that I know of that just reports the news. Everywhere is so editorialized and biased. The radio is covered with right-wing conservatives and the TV is dominated by left-wing liberals. It’s like having nothing but “homer” sports coverage, but much more dangerous as it shapes people’s thinking. The major 24 hour news networks are shameless in their biased reporting.

    • Stevendad says:

      Agree. The “truth” or as close as we can define it, requires work and research. Unfortunately, most are too disinterested or lazy to do any. The press used to do this but editorial boards have gotten worse and worse about dominating content in order to shape public thought. Even Bob Woodward has pointed this out in several interviews.

  • Henry says:

    Marxism: a theory and practice of socialism including the labor theory of value, dialectical materialism, the class struggle, and dictatorship of the proletariat until the establishment of a classless society

    Marxism: the system of economic and political thought developed by Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, especially the doctrine that the state throughout history has been a device for the exploitation of the masses by a dominant class, that class struggle has been the main agency of historical change, and that the capitalist system, containing from the first the seeds of its own decay, will inevitably, after the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, be superseded by a socialist order and a classless society.

    You are telling me you don’t agree with this philosophy????

    • 9Big Data says:

      Of course i dont. I have always argued for a democracy, with a well regulated capitalist economy exercising reasonable restrictions on banks and monopolies. Like we used to do in more prosperous times before the aristocratic economic elite bent the playing field way too far to their advantage. What I advocate is nothing close to marxism or socialism.

      • Henry says:

        Capitalism- “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state”

        Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of themeans of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment is determined by the owners of the factors of production in financial and capital markets, and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in the market.

        I’m sorry dude but you agree with the Marxism definition far more than the Capitalism one.

        • Big Data says:

          Sorry dude, but you have twisted my posts and you dont get to declare what i believe.

          Analysis of classes and factions and income inequality is not sufficient to define socialism or marxism, or every economist would be a marxist.

          I dont believe in inevitability of socialism so by the very definitions you posted, i am not marxist.

          Dont you believe that unfettered laissez faire capitalism has some instability that must be countered by sane govt policy?

          If not, why not?

          • Henry says:

            Of course. But we hardly have “laissez faire capitalism”. Our capitalism is so highly regulated it is almost choked to death. But I do agree that the part of it that needs to be changed is crony capitalism. The giveaways to insurance companies in the ACA for example. However I would hardly call the American capitalism system “laissez faire” or “unfettered” or having “instability”. If that was the case I would agree we need some sane govt policy. The reality is I think we need the same thing you do – SANE govt policy. Not ridiculous overregulation like this new DOL Fiduciary rule. What a nightmarish misguided mess that is.

          • Big Data says:

            Ok, a decent conversation. Thanks. I knew you could.

            So it seems our differences are nuanced after all.
            We agree on a capitalist system and the need for regulation and govt policy but just disagree on how much, and whether what we have is too little or too much.

            I haven’t researched the fiduciary rule. On the surface it seems like a good idea. It seems deceptive to hire a financial adviser whose perfectly legal motivation may be to give you bad advice so he can make more money.

            What is wrong with the new rule and how could it be fixed or made better?

          • Peter says:

            I’ll add my two cents to this one. The regulations are so cumbersome – when combined with the regulations already in place they make it hard to meet them all. Just from a personal standpoint, I have had to fire all of my clients under a certain dollar amount. I would love to help them, but the new regulations make it not an economical option. Don’t get me started…..another attempt to “protect” someone that ends up hurting the little guy.

          • Stevendad says:

            Replying to Peter below. Exactly, such as Dodd Frank suppressing small businesses and home ownership.

        • Stevendad says:

          Should be above. These comments nest so much sometimes it’s hard to tell where you are!

  • Big Data says:

    One of the most troubling difficulties in our increasingly partisan politics is this lack of common trust and vision, leading to a breakdown of our treasured political traditions and conventions. Trump openly questions validity of upcoming elections. Not only does Congress block Obama’s highly qualified and respected Supreme Court appointee without even a vote, McCain threatens to block any of Hillary’s Supreme Court appointees, before she even has opportunity to nominate them or even take office. Multiple investigations (eight?) on Benghazi clear Hillary of wrongdoing, yet still there are political leaders who refuse to accept the findings of their own Congress. Clear scientific concensus warns that we should act on climate change, but political hacks block the process at the behest (and monetary influence and reward) of wealthy multinationals. You read the headlines of FoxNews vs. HuffPost and you clearly see two opposing teams rooting for their own side rather than reporting a neutral perspective. Balanced discussions are discarded in favor of name-calling and personal attack.

    And I am reading frightening accounts of “Patriots” (misguided traitors, actually) threatening to act as terrorists in order to fight for their party’s candidate if he should lose (as it appears he most assuredly will). What will happen Nov 9? Who will die because our leaders (and one particularly irresponsible descendant of the Drumpf family) would rather fan the flame of discontent and arrogance, rather than accept the voted will of the people?

    Scary times.

    • Henry says:

      Yet for years now, you have been the most divisive, partisan, bullheaded person on here. Why don’t you take your own advice?

      Even in your tirade above you tell a story clearly from the left, even mocking Trump (calling them Drumpf). So hypocritical to post something like this then ask why others would rather “fan the flame of discontent and arrogance”.

      Of course if it wasn’t for your idiocy and hypocrisy, we likely wouldn’t still be posting new messages to this thread. Your easily arguable points and completely hard-headed ill-informed points of view are what keeps us going and entertained…. 🙂

      • Big Data says:

        The same arguments were used against Obama. Gop leaders convened on first day of his presidency and vowed to obstruct anything the new president did, encouraged racist rants and lies, and then blamed him for being divisive. Its complete BS.

        You in particular, Henry, only seem to show up to hurl epithets and insults. You are being divisive and hateful. I am trying to have an intelligent conversation. It is difficult when folks like you insist on dragging the conversation into the mud. Please stop.

      • Big Data says:

        If my points are easily arguable, then please argue instead of sniping. You have offered nothing.

        • Henry says:

          Your post above is the very thing you are arguing against. I may be sniping and “fanning the flame of discontent” but at least I will admit to it.

        • Big Data says:

          Wow. Are we descending to the pee wee herman defense? (“Thats what you are but what am i?…”)

          I pointed out 2 facts in my post.
          1) it was duplicitous and disingenuous for gop to knock Obama as divisive when they first provoked the divide.
          2) it is also disingenuous for you to critique me as bullheaded and divisive when almost all of your posts are divisive.

          I have not called you an idiot, a hypocrite, or ill informed, as you have done me. I am just pointing out that you are behaving badly.

          Your ability to admit that you are behaving badly is not a virtue. It would be much better if you would find something intelligent to say.

          Can you do that? Sure you can.

          • Henry says:

            I was talking about the first post with the slanted view on Benghazi and the Drumpf reference. Just idiocy meant to inflame.

          • Big Data says:

            Slanted view on benghazi? When an issue has been investigated 7 or 8 times by partisans on both sides, and the egregious charges have been found groundless, its time to let it go, no matter what the issue and what side you are on. Right?

          • Peter says:

            I think his point is that not everyone agrees with you that Benghazi is what it seems (and that the investigations were legitimate) or that Hillary no less an awful person than Trump is. These are not open-and-shut cases where you or I know the definitive answers. You treat them like they are though – and all of your opinions fall as part of a predictable ethos. That’s what is off-putting and divisive. (Said this a few times before)

      • Big Data says:

        Mocking trump is no longer partisan. Educated observers across the political spectrum recognize he is a narcissistic buffoon and compulsive liar and an existential risk to our country.

        There are other opinions of course. Is he your guy? It might be entertaining to hear you defend him.

        • Henry says:

          No defense of Trump here – and I’m not a supporter. But believe it or not – everyone doesn’t agree with what you said about Trump. Just like everyone doesn’t agree that Hillary is a lying, self-serving shill for Wall Street and repeat criminal who will talk out of both sides of her mouth to get elected. Both are partisan characterizations, but clearly both have supporters since they make up 90% of the vote.

        • Big Data says:

          I can make pretty strong arguments that those opposing views are not equally valid.

        • Peter says:

          Evidently 59 million people don’t think this way.

  • Big Data says:

    … But we are getting back into personal sniping, which really gets us nowhere. So, a new topic:

    I was recently reading an article which discussed how one of the few facts that GOP/Conservatives, Dem/Liberals, and Independents agree on is that the different political and ideological groups today disagree, not just on ideologies, but on basic points of fact. There is no widely based trust today in the media, scientific institutions, or non-partisan research centers. We can even see it here on this forum, where the posters are, as far as I can tell, a higher intellectual caliber than your average internet forum.

    But even here, conversations devolve away from concepts and ideas to sniping about who is a Marxist or who is uninformed or whose arguments should be ignored because they vary from a given poster’s argument.

    A good discussion can weather, and even be improved by, a bit of poking and MILD antagonistic banter. But I hope we can all remember that this discussion is best served by discussing the ideas and not just engaging in labelling and name-calling for it’s own sake.

    This has been a public service announcement. 🙂

    • Stevendad says:

      I hope you don’t feel I was sniping. I just go back over and over that we need to restrict spending and government control both for issues of personal freedom and general incompetence of large bureaucracies. US government is largest now, and second largest ever. USSR was larger. That didn’t end well, did it?The idea of a small # of committee members running hundreds of millions of lives over whatever issue is antithetical to my upbringing about what it is to be an American.The commerce clause has been stretched FAR beyond its intended meaning. Will government expansion “pop” and shrink or continue to enlarge and consume all? The question of the next decade…. I still haven’t heard you comment on the experience of myself and other poor people I knew. Self determination is a two edged sword. Do you oppose self determination?

      • Big Data says:

        No stevendad, the people who toss around terms such as Marxist as an epithet were sniping. The people who claim, with no basis in the post or intellectual explanation, that arguments they don’t like are illogical, were sniping.

        As to your points, I will try to answer them fairly.

        Size and Efficiency of Government: Among the 29 OECD nations, cost of government as % GDP varies from 33.7% (Sweden) to 58.1% (Finland). The US is the 25th from the top (5th from the bottom or 5th most efficient) at 38%.

        Government bureaucracy: Beauracracy can be inefficient, but sometimes it is a necessary evil and is even better than the alternative. Canada managed to create a cost-saving and efficient health-care system that surpasses ours in many metrics, covers all citizens, avoids the regulatory burdens we place on our businesses as intermediaries in our healthcare, and is very popular in their country. We should be able to do as well. Obamacare needs to be improved, but going back to our old broken system is not an option. Competition in healthcare was simply an excuse and motivation to leave neediest people uninsured and without care.

        Commerce clause: This clause has been interpreted over time by the Supreme Court as is allowed to happen by its mandate. There is no going back to the past, and even the different founders had different interpretations, so there is no single original meaning to go back to. Even Jefferson allowed that Constitution should adjust over time to the needs of society. There are some rules and regulations and agencies that just make more sense as national items in a modern world. If it does NOT make sense to be national and it should be state-based, I think it would be more practical to argue on basis of current need, not antiquated and original interpretations that did not anticipate our world. Jefferson would agree.

        As for experience of poor people you knew … There are always a portion of society who are lazy or unmotivated. I cannot judge the needs and merits of all of the working and middle class, nor even the poverty class, based on a few ne’er-do-wells as observed by even such an astute individual as I am sure you must be. Such people are a very small minority and I should not hold the whole of our economy hostage to the idea that these few must either be punished or redeemed. Let them have their small sustenance, earned or not. I am much more concerned with the new workers, the advancing workers, the workers whose trade has vanished and who must learn a new skill, the struggling families, the aspiring entrepreneur. These are the Americans who are being left behind as the moneyed interests multiply their holdings at the economy’s expense.

        Self-Determination: Yes, I think that people should work to advance their own career and interests. I don’t believe however, that we should be increasing the slope and multiplying the hurdles for the many so that the investments of the successful few can be forever protected. I believe in meritocracy with many ladders and a safety net. We have been moving to an aristocracy with ever fewer ladders and ever larger holes in the net.

  • Big Data says:

    Moving this conversation to a fresh post since it was too many levels down for replies.

    Peter said:
    ” … capitalism and competition is telling us that the people that invented the technology that is behind the phone that 2 billion people now have in their hands should be rewarded exponentially.”

    I said that would be a good idea because currently the ceos, cfos and bankers get all the money and the inventors and technologists doing the actual work and responsible for the advances get very little. Peter thought that was a meaningless restatement of his position.

    This is one of the big gropes i have with the attitudes within the 1%. They think that their incomes validate how imprtant and essential they are. And it’s a circular argument. They feel important because they have big incomes and they deserve even more income because they are so important.

    The inventors and workers actually creating wealth and efficiency in this country seldom get the big rewards. The people who prosper are the bankers and managers and ceos who focus on money and who are most skilled at appropriating it and accumulating it from everybody else.

    Peter’s false equating of big tech management with “the inventors” of the technology is perfectly representative of the arrogance of the 1%. His objection to my more accurate restatement of his post is also reflective of the obscene depth to which the 1% believe they are the most important people on the planet and nobody else matters.

  • Cindy says:

    $40k seems like a lot. But only if you’re stuck in an employee mindset. It’s a relatively small amount for business owners, product owners, etc. Service providers too.

    • Peter says:

      Do you mean $400k?

    • Big Data says:

      Cindy,

      $400K is still 8 times median income. Not to be sneezed at.

      I agree that when that money is being reinvested in a business enterprise, it falls in a slightly different category than just personal income.

      But if 400K does not seem like much to you, how do you think half of the households feel, who make less than 12.5% of that amount?

  • Peter says:

    Once again – the economy self-corrects without overly simplistic “take more from the rich” strategies.

    http://wealthmanagement.com/high-net-worth/second-gilded-age-may-be-losing-its-luster

  • Stevendad says:

    BD. I think you miss the biggest point of the whole thing. What I believe you are saying: If we just tax the rich enough, then it will make up for overspending by government, irresponsibility of people at all income levels and a general political malaise. People are only poor because this was cast upon them by the rich. The rich are only rich by paying money to bribe politicians to pervert the system. Mistakes and poor planning and actions should have no consequences, etc etc

    • Big Data says:

      Good try, stevendad, but you are seeing my points through a distortion filter. None of your sentences accurately portray my position.

      Reworded: If we increase taxes on the rich reasonably, and manage spending and government investment in infrastructure and education, we can reduce the debt burden while still strengthening the economy and reducing the political malaise. The impacts of temporary financial irresponsibility can be changed from a life sentence of poverty to a learning opportunity in how to prosper. The perversion of our economic system, driven by unfetteted monetary bribes from moneyed interests into the political rwslm, has tilted the playing field and reduced incomes and opportunities for most Americans, while shifting almost all economic growth into the hands of the economic elite.

      There will always be poor and rich, and the traits that separate them include discipline, hard work, and intelligence that can lift people up, and oppression and calamity, along with lack of the former uplifting characteristics, that can drop people down. There is no goal to reward sloth or lack of ambition and discipline, but instead to assure that hard work can be adequstely rewarded with a decent life. The goal is to reduce the oppression of a tilted economic system that distorts incentives, making the ladders almost unclimbable from the bottom and the rewards exsessive at the top.

      Your message seems to be that no matter how distorted and tilted and oppressive a system has become, it is irrelevant and pointless to attemp to improve the system because individuals can always work harder than before to climb up and improve.

      Again, you and Peter, and some others here, always focus on individual ethics to the exclusion of the impacts of the system within which we apply those ethics. You either deny the extraordinary tilting of the playing field, or you say it does not matter, or that the slope can be corrected by individual, non-governmental means. I have never and will never reject the importance of individual ethics and ambition in lifting up the individual and the country. But i also assert that we MUST understand and adjust the systemic policies of our political and economic system in order to optimize the rewards of those individual ethics and ambitions for individuals at ALL economic levels, and not just the top.

      Surely we can agree that a system that rewards all efforts with equal income is unsustainable and corrupt. Similarly, we should also agree that a system that gives all profits from the labors of the nation to just a few people is qlso unsustainable and cotrupt. Surely we can all see that there is a balance between the extremes that can best motivate the lowly laborer to improve while providing life’s necessities, and also reward the very successful with a superior but not extravagant lifestyle. Surely we can also see that there will always be a battle for the rich to increase their rewatd. and the poor to increase theirs.

      The rewards have clearly shofted to the rich in the last 35 years. All of the economic data and research shows it. The desire of the rich to retain this system that opptesses the poor and middle at greater profit to the rich, is understandable. My point is that it is inefficient and unsustainable and will never be set right by individual or market forces alone.

      • Big Data says:

        Multiple typos in that last post, (sorry ’bout that) but I think it is still readable.

        • Stevendad says:

          I think you missed a major point. Clearly people at top (including Dem programs as mentioned before) have tilted earnings. I just don’t trust government to collect and redistribute income. You must be infinitely wise to know what is “fair” for each American. I am not.
          You miss the point of SWEAR as well. Of course, it would help the whole economy if all practiced this, but regardless it is something each of us can do to help ourselves. I told you I grew up with and worked with the poor as well as some good friends of mine doing the same. Self destructive behavior and poor choices abounded and were far and away the biggest determinate of long term wealth (or being alive for that matter). I’m not wise enough to legislate good choices. However, even you must agree we have to balance rewarding bad behavior. I have a coworker who works 60 hours a week at $9 an hour and can’t get any educational aid because she makes too much money. If she was in AFDC she’d get it for free. Does this make sense? At what point does rescuing become enabling?
          I defer to your superior wisdom in this…

          • Big Data says:

            Your quest to improve personal ethics is noble. It improves the country but does not fix the broken economic system. I am not trusting the government to be all wise. What you are missing is that goverment ALWAYS is in loose control of money distribution through policy. I am only clever enough to agree with the experts in recognizing that policy needs to change to stop coddling the rich and start moving resources back to middle and working class.

          • Big Data says:

            It is indeed a challenge to balance “rescuing and enabling”, as you stated. The replacement of AFDC with TANF was an attempt by bill clinton to strike a better balance and limit benefits to encourage people to get off welfare. In the case of your co-worker, it is unclear what you think is the best option. You seem to be criticizing govt aid, yet are you saying that you think she is being sahortchanged by not receiving any?

            Of course, i am of the belief that full time workers should be getting $12/hr with time and a half after 40 hrs, which would probably be a better option than govt making up for subpar wages.

    • Big Data says:

      Sorry for the Blitz, guys. But you don’t have to look very far to see that Americans are far from lazy. We are possibly the hardest workers in the world, yet most Americans are profiting less from their efforts than other nations, and less than past generations. There is no good reason for that to be the case.

      Our economic policies have not kept pace with changing times. You say that income redistribution to the rich is due to automation and outsourcing? You are absolutely correct, those are two of the causes. Why should richest 1% profit from that change and nobody else? It’s not because richest are so clever and everyone else is lazy. It’s because broken policy with distorted incentives allows that to happen.

      • Henry says:

        Because you can’t outsource or automate ingenuity, inventiveness and leadership. You CAN outsource or automate unskilled labor.

        • Henry says:

          I guess this was just ‘sniping’ and not a point worth replying to. Big Data / Steven H only replies to the more juvenile posts I guess.

        • Big Data says:

          Not much to say except that businesses outsourcing our jobs is expected as long as policies make it a profitable deal. Policy should change to protect american jobs.

    • Henry says:

      Still no comment on this from our Marxist friend.

      • Henry says:

        …Nor this……too substantive.

      • Big Data says:

        Its an interesting article, but since there was no comment or question posted with it, i felt no need to comment. Neither did you apparently. I am honored however that you seem so anxious to hear my opinions. Was there something about this article you wanted to ask?

      • Big Data says:

        Also, i refrained from answering because i was waiting to see who your Marxist friend was. ???? Then I realized you falsely think I am Marxist. But that is debunked elsewhere …

        • Peter says:

          There is nothing you can say to this. This article isn’t partisan or politically motivated. It is just the reality.

        • Big Data says:

          Again, i read it and it is interesting. Thanks for posting it, peter. It touches on themes we have discussed but does not prove or disprove anything. Perhaps Henry has some comment he wanted to add …

  • Steven H says:

    OK, I’ll expand on a comment from memory, since 3.5 years of comments are temporarily missing.

    I was thinking about a thread in which I had been commenting about the EpiPen company (the company is actually Mylan) and how they increased profits, but that it was not the same as creating wealth in a macroeconomic sense. Sure, by increasing prices, they would manage to transfer more money to the company balance sheet from Medicare, insurance companies, schools, and desperate patients and parents of patients who need this product. But is that wealth creation? Their EpiPen product saves lives, and they invested in improvements in that product, and their price increases created wealth for the company, but is that really what we mean when we talk about “creating wealth”?

    Does a bank robber create wealth when he takes money from the bank? Of course not. He is TRANSFERRING wealth. Does a company create wealth when they hold their customer’s lives for ransom with massive price increases on a life-essential product? Of course not. They are TRANSFERRING wealth, although by legal (if ethically corrupt) means.

    Some posters here object to my characterization of income and wealth having been transferred or shifted or (pick any other synonym for moved) from the lower and middle class to the wealthy over the last 36 years. They prefer to say that such wealth was either “created” by the wealthy or at least “earned” by them as long as it was acquired by legal means.

    What I would like the EpiPen example to demonstrate is that there are cases where companies (or individuals) increase their own income and wealth that have nothing to do with wealth creation, and nothing to do with “earning” in the moralistic sense [to come to be duly worthy of or entitled or suited to].

    Earn also means “to receive in return for effort” which can be applied to any exchange of money or goods, independent of legality or morality. By such terminology, EpiPen “earned” their profits in equal measure as to how the bank robber “earned” his booty. Effort was made and money was received. That is the amoral (not immoral, BTW) definition of earn.

    But back to wealth creation. What is it? When I use the term, I usually mean it in the macro-economic sense. Is the community or country better off for the efforts applied? It is not enough to say a company is profitable and legal. Payday loan lenders are profitable and legal, and some will claim they serve a useful purpose. But do they create wealth? It’s a matter of judgement, but I would say that, under the terms they are legally allowed to operate today, they are a drain on their customers and that they leech wealth from the unfortunate to enrich the unprincipled.

    And now back to wealth and income “shifts” and “transfers”. It is absolutely undeniable, based on economic research, that national US income shares of the upper 1% have increased as income shares of the lower 90% have decreased. This is a movement, a transfer, a shift, a relocation, a relegation, a transposition of money from one group to another. It happened.

    And it is not explainable by saying that wealthy people create it all or are more worthy.

    • Stevendad says:

      Of course Epipen is morally bankrupt. There are alternatives, but they were pulled by an aggressive FDA. (Anakit) So again, government intervention perturbed the natural course. Perhaps they were perfectly justified, I don’t know. I appreciate you making the Libertarian case in this instance.
      As far as payday lenders, this example supports the S in SWEAR. No need for them if you had some savings to get through a crunch. Or you could borrow against savings at MUCH lower rates. Either way, you avoid usurial trap. Very few can not save at all, they just choose not to prioritize. Live small a while and catch up if you must. Never borrow for depreciating assets. Drive a beater or take the bus, eat in, watch Netflix, get a cheap no data phone plan, no cable, work close to home, avoid drugs and too much alcohol, exercise, don’t drink $6 coffee. Not all work, but some will…

      • Big Data says:

        Please stop painting all desperately or temporarily poor as irresponsible. Of course many many people could do better financially. But a small percentage, which may still be millions of Americans, live and plan and spend responsibly but still get caught in a crunch. The only people I know personally who had to use a payday lender were retired grandparents attempting to raise their grandchildren, with the grandfather still doing back breaking manual labor at the age of 70 to bring in more money. They lived frugally and had a modest home, but still got caught with medical bills beyond what they could pay. Its easy to sit back and say you could have saved more, spent less, lived cheaper. But in the real world of high medical costs, unforeseen emergencies, and paychecks that are 30% lower for 90% of Americans vs what they SHOULD be, it is OBNOXIOUS for people in the richest 1 or 2 % to tell poor people to live cheaper. You might as well be saying “Let them eat cake.”

        I understand your message of financial responsibility. I’m not sure you understand my message that financially responsible people are getting crushed by effects of high income disparity.

        • Peter says:

          Such a tired defense. If you follow SWEAR and make good choices, eventually you will find yourself in fine shape. Not much more complicated than that.

          • Peter says:

            “But a small percentage, which may still be millions of Americans, live and plan and spend responsibly but still get caught in a crunch”

            If it is just a small percentage (even if it is millions of people) then we don’t need to change everything. The system is working. Plus, I don’t believe that those that fall in this tiny percentage stay there either.

          • Big Data says:

            We don’t need to change everything. We just need to pay people what they are worth, not just what the manipulated market reluctantly ekes out to workers, and we need to share and distribute the prosperity of the country to include the have-nots and not only the have-too-much’s.

            It won’t kill the upper 1% to forego pay raises for 30 years while the rest of the country catches up. After all 90% of Americans have lagged behind for 35 years. It’s time for millionaires to live cheaper for a while.

          • Big Data says:

            No, for millions of people that is not true.

          • Peter says:

            “What they are worth” … Meaningless idealistic phrasing…..

        • Stevendad says:

          I agree there will be a few that can’t EVER save, but that is rare. The idea is to have savings for the future. I could have done better myself BTW. I guarantee there is SOMETHING people can do to come up with $50 a month. I made a few suggestions, but I’m sure there are dozens more.

          • Big Data says:

            Again you cannot save ANYTHING when your reasonable expenses exceed your meager income. The idea that absolutely everyone can make more than they spend if they try hard enough and follow simplistic strategies is just flat out wrong. And high income disparity makes the problem worse for more people. And fixing high income disparity will help millions and improve the economy.

          • Peter says:

            Incorrect…. Flatly incorrect

        • Stevendad says:

          I didn’t paint all, I clearly said all but a few can make choices to save. Smart phones are not necessities is a gods example . The people who come in on Medicaid almost always have them.

          • Peter says:

            Absolutely true. That’s why I posted that quote earlier that just as many people have running water as have cell phones. Cell phones are NOT a necessity.

          • Big Data says:

            I have seen these resentments about poor people with flat screen tvs or computers or smart phones. 1) these are the technologies of the present. They are no longer expensive extravagances but normal affordable and efficient parts of modern American life. Everyone should have them imho. 2) smartphones in particular are one of the most efficient and essential devices created. Not only do you get mobile communication, but you can keep track of appointments, get email, find your way through traffic, navigate to where you need to go. It can even serve as a computer and tv or many people, eliminating the need for the separate devices.

            You might as well favor that poor people should live in a modern world without indoor plumbing or air conditioning. Maybe instead we should just pay people decent wages for their labor so they do not need food stamps, medicaid, or welfare to live a normal American life.

          • Big Data says:

            I lnow you will scoff at that last post. But if you have a child in school you know that a computer at home is necessary. And if you have a work and child schedule, a smart phones features are necessary.

          • Peter says:

            Lol….. Ok then maybe they should take one of those farm jobs in my other post to cover such “necessities”.

            It’s like “needing” a car. Someone can get a “car” for a few hundred dollars. Someone can get a computer for even less. Doesn’t warrant smart phones or even a television. Those are not necessities. Food, water, shelter…..those are necessities. The government should not pay for everyone to have flat screen TVs and iPhones. But they should help everyone eat and have somewhere to sleep every night.

          • Peter says:

            Uh…and yeah, air conditioning is a luxury as well, Steven H. Sorry. Maybe in your mind it makes me heartless, but I don’t want my government providing cell phones, tvs, air conditioning and computers to all citizens. Particularly when it means taking more money from the people and putting it in the hands of the buffoons/misogynists/criminals/liars we watched on television last night.

          • Big Data says:

            Who said anything about govt providing cell phones or A/C? I just think anybody working ANY full time job in America should be able to afford a place to live, food, medical, last years model smart phone and small tv, and a beater car.

            And if you’re in my state you better have A/C because people literally die in summers without it. It is alife necessity. And each summer is getting a little hotter.

          • Big Data says:

            And i do think its a good thing govt provides BushPhones to the poor to enable them to find jobs. Its cost effective and good for everybody.

          • Peter says:

            Maybe if someone is struggling they should take one of the farm jobs in the article posted above. Don’t need any experience for these jobs and they pay well. Don’t need a suit or even to be clean. Don’t need a cell phone to “manage your schedule”. Or take a job where you are admittedly grossly overworked and underpaid – but have an opportunity to advance. Then maybe take public transportation or car pool to the job. Cook at home instead of going out to eat – beans and rice, rice and beans, etc.. Don’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or take drugs. Have your spouse work as well. Don’t have kids. Save money. Once a little is saved, invest some of it. Try to work your way up to a supervisor or foreman position. Use the extra money for training for a better job. But most importantly work hard and don’t expect anything.

            Or another strategy…. get involved politically. Campaign for someone who will increase entitlement programs. Hope for health care costs to be reduced. Find a politician you believe has your best interests at heart and support them as they push to help your situation. Wait for Washington to change laws to improve “your” economy so you don’t have to take that farm job and can do something easier. Hope for change. Vote for change. It’s not your fault after all – it’s the system.

            I chose the first one. Now I’m in the 1%. Not everyone can make that leap, but time and time again it has a better success rate than hoping corporate America or Washington politicians (aren’t they one in the same anyway) extend a hand to you and save you. That has almost a 0.00% chance of getting you in the 1%.

          • Big Data says:

            Peter, how about both approaches. As i said before, your stories and principles of personal ethica and motivation are completely valid for individual advancement, but they do not fix a broken system. But the approaches are not mutually exclusive. You can improve yourself and advance your own situation and also fight and vote to make our country more productive and sustainable by improving and rebalancing the economic incentives.

            Thats what I do. Both.

        • Henry says:

          Then stop painting all poor people as “desperate” and unable to fix their situations. Or trying to tell us all what paychecks “should be”. Or what taxes are “fair”. You don’t have a clue what someone’s paycheck “should be” -and comparing it to the 1950’s or to someone else’s paycheck is meaningless. Your arrogance is astounding.

          • Big Data says:

            The picture i am illustrating is one where people at the top and bottom are working equally as hard as their counterparts in past generations, but the rich are receiving more as everyone else receives less.

            It is as if you have a successful company where all of the new profits go to upper management while workloads just increase and pay stagnates for the workers. The answer is not mobility or work more hours. The answer is to give the workers a bigger say in how the pie is sliced. And that is why democracy is so brilliant. You can only let the rich oppress everybody else for so long before the majority invokes the power of government to rebalance the system. That is why our system works and has survived for 240 years. Without the power of the vote, we would have devolved into a deep plutocracy decades ago. As it is, we get to a precipice and democracy pulls us back as it did in the the 1930s after the crash.

            Our country and our ethics and our people have not declined. But our economics, while getting better, is only at partial efficiency, and still leaves too many people behind. Even in the 30s when unemployment soared, working people denigrated those out of work as lazy. That was not the problem then, nor is it now. We face a crisis of economic system imbalance, not personal ethics.

          • Henry says:

            The picture i am illustrating is one where people at the top and bottom are working equally as hard as their counterparts in past generations

            Not true at all. Just look at the article about farm workers. People busted their butts in agricultural labor jobs back in your good ol’ days….. Maybe people are lazier now. Maybe people are more entitled. It could be possible you know.

          • Big Data says:

            Henry,
            You really think richest folks have 10x the income share of 35 years ago because they are 10x smarter or harder working than previous generations of wealthy, or isn’t it more likely that they have manipulated the economic and political system to their advantage?

            You really think that all of middle and working class is 25% lazier or dumber than past generations or do they have 25% less income share because their income has been redistributed to the rich by political means.

            I think a redistribution of income has occurred, not some sort of redistribution of ambition or IQ. Because the latter is crazy talk.

          • Henry says:

            Actually yes. I think inventing the internet and other technological advances parallels more to the Rockefeller/Carnegie era where income disparity of the top 1% was FAR WORSE more than it compares to 35 years ago.

            And I do think our new generation of workers are a bit lazier. Can’t put a percentage on that – just going off what I’ve seen. But also think the lower end is affected by what Peter said – the loss of the manufacturing and unskilled labor market.

            Certainly don’t agree with you that it is because of dirty rotten Republicans.

          • Big Data says:

            Henry: So you agree that today’s economy is like the Gilded Age of Carnegie/Rockefeller when the rich leeched off of average workers.

            And yes both the Gilded Age of the late 19th century and the Lesser Gilded Age of today are much worse than the more balanced and progressive and prosperous economy which existed 35 to 65 years ago.

            You are correct on both points.

            However, you are wrong about workers being generally lazier. In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, more middle class families got by on 1 income, and retirement plans were more generous, and college was more affordable. Today incomes have stagnated, two income families are the norm, the poulation is more highly educated (college graduation rates are higher) and people are working more hours, yet the middle class falls behind in prosperity because they have lost leverage and income to the economic elite.

          • Henry says:

            Not all what I’m saying. Why do you restate people’s points and agree with them? What’s the point of that? Whatever….

          • Big Data says:

            Your argument was silly and begged for twisting a bit. I know what you intended to say (but mangled in the post) … that todays economy was like that of the Gilded Age, but not as bad. What you actually said was closer to my restatement, which is why had a little fun with my reply.

            Seriously, todays economy does indeed have parallels to the Gilded Age, when the very wealthy used the advances in technology as leverage to get rich on the backs of common workers. You may find that parallel harmless but I don’t. The invention of the internet came out of government research, and while entrepreneurs can be commended for findng profitable use of this public utility, its existence does not make them 10x smarter or 10x more worthy.

          • Henry says:

            OK – so 7x more worthy? 3x more worthy? Should Hillary or Trump make that call? Like said above, I’ll defer to your wisdom on that one – dont think i can put a valuation on that one.

          • Big Data says:

            1x more worthy than all the rich people of the 50s thru 70s.

            I cannot assess where people should be on the salary playing field. Capitalism and competition does that. I can recognize what a fair playing field looks like. History tells us that. Whenever the richest 1% have more than 12% of all income we are out of balance. When they have more than 20% of all income, we are near a cliff and the economy will be corrected through government action or economic calamity.

            Last i checked, with capital gains, it is well over 20%.

          • Peter says:

            Exactly. And capitalism and competition is telling us that the people that invented the technology that is behind the phone that 2 billion people now have in their hands should be rewarded exponentially.

            Maybe U2 should give some of the money they have made to the Spin Doctors. They are a band too – they don’t work any less hard. Why should U2 get to keep so much money when they are working no harder than the next guy?

            Like Henry said (and to which you did not reply) – you can’t automate or outsource ingenuity, inventiveness and (I will add) talent. And that pays whatever the market is willing to pay.

          • Big Data says:

            Fine, give the rewards for cell phone tech to the people who invented. I can guaran-dang-tee you it aint going to the inventors. And i can also assure you that the ceos, cfos and accountants didnt invent any of it. Even steve jobs didnt know crap about the tech. He had a vision for the interface. Most ceos of Big tech only know how to play with money and manage people. Good skills, but they dont know the tech. In little companies, sure, the tech genius may run things. But not in big tech.

            So go ahead reward the real workers and inventors. That is precisely what i am arguing for.

          • Big Data says:

            Edison and Tesla famously fought to win the battle over the electrical technology that would run this country. They both made essential contributions. You know who got the money. JP Morgan who muscled them both out and formed GE with the inventor’s tech.

            So sure, take all the stolen profits from the bankers and money guys and give it to the inventors. Good idea.

          • Peter says:

            Another sarcastic nonsensical restating of my point. Useless.

          • Peter says:

            Then maybe the people that actually record the U2 albums should get paid more than the band itself. Since indeed, they were the ones doing the work.

    • Big Data says:

      Most people are working more for a smaller share of the pie. That is the opposite of lazy. Only the richest could be described as lazy, as they are working the same or less while claiming a much larger share of the pie.

      http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/18/news/economy/bernie-sanders-americans-work-more/

      ====
      “It turns out, Americans are logging more weeks of work a year now that they did in the past, according to research from the Labor Department. In 1979, people were working for 1,687 hours a year. By 2013, that figure had jumped to an average of 1,836 hours a year …”

      1) Women in workforce:
      “Overall, men are working just 2% longer hours than they did in 1979. But women’s annual hours have gone up almost 20%, according to the Economic Policy Institute analysis.”

      2) Poor are working more:
      “In 1979, people in the bottom 20% of earners worked about 1,250 hours a year. Today they are putting in 1,500 hours a year.”

      3) Despite more hours and economic growth exceeding inflation, real weekly wages are almost the same as 1979, meaning hourly wages have declined. “If you adjust for inflation, weekly earnings in 1979 averaged $332 a week. Weekly earnings in 2014 were $334.”

    • Big Data says:

      “Everybody knows Americans are overworked. A recent Gallup poll found that salaried Americans now report working an average of 47 hours a week?—?not the supposedly standard 40?—?while 18 percent of Americans report working more than 60 hours a week. Indeed, overtime pay has become such a rarity that many Americans don’t even realize that the majority of salaried workers were once eligible.”

      However, the new increase in salary level to qualify workers as exempt from overtime will help a little, and despite “the fearful squawks coming from the business lobby” that the sky is falling, “middle-class Americans never did better than when the overtime threshold?—?the annual salary below which workers are automatically entitled to time-and-a-half overtime pay?—?was at its peak. A half-century ago, more than 60 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime pay. But after 40 years in which the threshold has been allowed to steadily erode, only about 8 percent do.”

      “And ironically, the longer and harder we work, the more we weaken the labor market, weakening our own bargaining power in the process. That helps explain why over the last 30 years, corporate profits have doubled from about 6% of GDP to about 12%, while wages have fallen by almost exactly the same amount. The erosion of overtime and other labor protections is one of the main factors leading to this worsening inequality. But a higher threshold would help reverse this trend.”

      https://medium.com/the-wtf-economy/overtime-pay-is-the-minimum-wage-for-the-middle-class-3c7220f7a781#.i90z0cwb0

    • Big Data says:

      So how come overall the U.S. economy is doing well, but the middle class is not?

      http://www.marketplace.org/2016/06/08/world/middle-class-less-money-and-bigger-bills-what-gives
      ==== From the article ===
      “If wealth isn’t being shared among people outside of the top bracket, then it doesn’t feel like we’re wealthy unless you’re in the top,” Pate said. “Wealth is being generated, it’s just not being distributed.”

      Marketplace calculated that the typical middle class life has gotten 30 percent more expensive in the past twenty years, and Pate says overall wages have been flat since the 1970s.

      On why we don’t need to go back the way it used to be to succeed:

      We don’t need manufacturing jobs to save the middle class. Our unemployment rate is incredibly low. We have people in jobs. We just need employees to be supported in the jobs that they’re in. We have very low minimum wages, we have seen the demise of most unions, so people don’t have the collective bargaining power that they used to have. We basically rely on companies to be the ones that determine how much income people make in this country, and then that becomes a question of well, every dollar I pay to my employee’s a dollar I don’t make in profit. That trade-off I think makes it very hard for companies to sit down and say this is the right thing, so that’s why we should pay people more as opposed to saying oh they’re fine, they’re making ends meet.
      On why has it taken so long for us to notice that making ends meet is getting harder and harder:

      Not everybody is looking at inflation figures and saying, ‘well, am I better or worse off?’ In nominal wages, people feel like their salaries are increasing, and they do. I get a little raise every year, I feel good about it, but I’m not thinking well what else has gone up in terms of expenses and prices in the meanwhile that means that I’m actually earning less than I was last year. My salary looks higher, but I’m actually worse off than I was the last year because things are now more expensive. In the beginning people didn’t really notice it so much and now it’s becoming so much of a bigger gap, the difference in the inequality is growing at such a rapid rate that I think people are finally saying “I’m done with it, this seems unfair.”

      On how she was surprised it took so long for candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump rise in the wake of widespread middle class discontent:

      This has been nice dry kindling just waiting for a good spark.

    • Big Data says:

      The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World – When do we Draw the Line?

      http://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/

      According to the Center for American Progress on the topic of work and family life balance, “in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.”

      The U.S. is the ONLY country in the Americas without a national paid parental leave benefit. The average is over 12 weeks of paid leave anywhere other than Europe and over 20 weeks in Europe.

      Zero industrialized nations are without a mandatory option for new parents to take parental leave. That is, except for the United States.

      At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not.
      In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.
      According to the ILO, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”
      Using data by the U.S. BLS, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950. One way to look at that is that it should only take one-quarter the work hours, or 11 hours per week, to afford the same standard of living as a worker in 1950 (or our standard of living should be 4 times higher). Is that the case? Obviously not. Someone is profiting, it’s just not the average American worker.

      Americans are the Outliers
      And if all of this data tells anything, it’s that we are the outliers, not the norm. Why are we the outliers?

      – Our companies fairly ruthlessly let people go. We want to keep our jobs and not be a ‘low performer’ compared to others.
      – The decline of the union has led to less paid time off and other leave benefits.
      – Cultural value of money over everything else. We love money, we want more of it, and we think money can buy happiness. And the more we work, the more we get paid.
      – It’s been drilled in our heads that we are lazy compared to emerging market counterpart workers in India, Mexico, China, and other parts of Asia. Who isn’t? And what is our mental image of the work environments in those locales? To validate those fears, our jobs are being outsourced to the cheap labor in those countries. In reality, the U.S. is still the world leader in productivity per person.
      – Our legislative branch of the government (on both sides of the aisle) has been bought and as a result has shied away from passing laws that protect workers that every other industrialized nation has passed.
      – We generally don’t fight for our working rights. We take what is given to us.

    • Big Data says:

      Reposting in proper place:

      Sorry for the Blitz, guys. But you don’t have to look very far to see that Americans are far from lazy. We are possibly the hardest workers in the world, yet most Americans are profiting less from their efforts than other nations, and less than past generations. There is no good reason for that to be the case.

      Our economic policies have not kept pace with changing times. You say that income redistribution to the rich is due to automation and outsourcing? You are absolutely correct, those are two of the causes. Why should richest 1% profit from that change and nobody else? It’s not because richest are so clever and everyone else is lazy. It’s because broken policy with distorted incentives allows that to happen.

      • Peter N says:

        “Why should richest 1% profit from that change and nobody else?”
        Why should anybody that isn’t taking the risk profit? There is no reason..
        The fact is that machines are making people more profitable. It isn’t the people themselves. So I can buy the same machine here or in China and make the same product but it will cost less to run the machine in China.

        When you take the risk of buying the machine you want a return on your investment. The workers have no loyalty. They will go to whomever pays the most. Why should the employer have loyalty to the workers then? Every one is free to do what they want unlike Steven H’s Marxist/communist world.

        How simple can it get?

        • Big Data says:

          Capitalism will fall apart if you suppress worker wages for so long that the economy slows down. Employees are consumers and consumers drive the economy. Henry Ford understood this. Why don’t you?

          Stop with the Marx obsession. You are the only one who ever brings him up. No one else here gives a hoot about Marx.

          • Henry says:

            Wait….you don’t think you are Marxist?

          • Big Data says:

            I’m equally as Marxist as Thomas Jefferson, A Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. You are badly deceived and delusional if you think that fighting plutocracy and economic aristocracy is Marxist. The original Tea Party was not just about taxes. It was fighting the excesses of global monopolies that took away the rights of small companies and individuals. And it was about setting up the US Government to be a check against the excesses of those big businesses for the lifetime of this nation. You may think you are fighting the good fight of patriots, when you are just being King George and the East India Company.

          • Peter N says:

            “Capitalism will fall apart if you suppress worker wages for so long that the economy slows down. Employees are consumers and consumers drive the economy.”
            So do the machines. They need upgrades and replacement parts. When we sell automation we get requests for about 10% a year of what we originally sold in replacements, training,maintenance, etc.

      • Peter says:

        Strangely he doesn’t. Of course he also thinks his economic perspective is both informed and logical.

        Think we have established that basically Steven H / Big Data just wants to see the income brackets on the rich move again and money funneled to others. The rest is just noise to him.

        • Big Data says:

          “just wants to see the income brackets on the rich move again and money funneled to others. ” … Which is exactly what You and Peter N and Henry and others have been arguing for. We simply disagree on which direction it should move.

          • Peter says:

            Another lie. I have never argued for reduction in taxes. Not once.

          • Peter N says:

            More libtard speak. Libtards distort the discussion by the language they use.

            A reduction in taxes in not funneling money. It is letting those that earn it keep it.

          • Big Data says:

            Peter, you have argued to eliminate estate tax. That is, in fact, a tax cut to the rich that you have advocated.

            Peter n, … wow, talk about distorted partisan, terminology. Your tired talking point that tax cuts to the rich are “just letting people keep their money” is dumb. The after tax incomes of the rich were increased at the expense to the national debt. That is funneling money to the rich. Any policy change that economically favors the rich over the general population is funneling money to the rich. All of the repub policies of the last 35 years have favored the rich and funnel money to them. The proof is in the increased incomes and wealth of the rich.

          • Peter says:

            I was accused of “wanting to see the INCOME brackets on the rich move again and money funneled to others”. This was factually incorrect. Please stop “quoting” me.

          • Peter says:

            And literally LOL @ the tax cuts to the rich went right to the debt. Does spending play NO role with you? You realize we could have had tax cuts for everyone AND reduced the deficit had we not gone to war in Afghanistan and Iraq?

          • Big Data says:

            Peter.
            Of course spending and revenue both impact debt. What bush tax cuts did was to cut taxes without corresponding cuts to spending, so yes the tax cuts went straight to debt, and the majority of stimulus of those cuts went to the wealthy where it was least useful to the economy. Imho, that was a big contributor to the combination of excess capital going into risky investments, and depleted fortunes of middle class, that fueled the financial collapse of 2008.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t disagree with you regarding the Bush tax cuts not being accompanied with spending cuts and going straight to the deficit. Especially when a chunk of that spending went to a pointless military conflict. However, I completely disagree with your connecting of the dots to the financial crisis of 2008 though. That had other reasons behind it – that don’t connect to Federal spending or tax cuts.

        • Big Data says:

          “Of course he also thinks his economic perspective is both informed and logical.”
          Yes, because it conforms to published mainline macro-economic research and facts instead of political bias based on narrow personal experience.

        • Big Data says:

          You complain that I ignore all of your stories of personal economic struggle of climbing the ladder, your observations about the laziness of the poor and your philosophies of SWEAR and the like. i don’t ignore them. They give personal insight to the conversation, and can be inspirational in how to improve individual plight. But ultimately they DO NOT MATTER with regard to the impact of government tax, labor, education and trade policy and how it shapes the playing field. You are talking about the person climbing the ladder, and I am talking about the system of ladders, their number, height, and rung separation. I know you just want to talk about the individual struggle because it is what you understand.

          Broaden your understanding.

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