Who Actually Earns $400,000 Per Year?

by Emily Guy Birken · 6,669 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:

    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:

    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)

  • 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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