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President Obama raised this issue yesterday in a speech to a progressive audience so I think it’s a worthy topic for discussion. In the President’s view, income inequality and disparity are issues which only the government can “solve” by some sort of redistribution scheme. However, the President offered no specifics, he only encouraged congress to somehow take up these issues with short term economic legislation.

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Report from Nola.com:

President Barack Obama prodded Congress to raise wages and secure the social safety net as he issued an overarching appeal Wednesday to correct economic inequalities that he said make it harder for a child to escape poverty. “That should offend all of us,” he declared. “We are a better country than this.”

Focusing on the pocketbook issues that Americans consistently rank as a top concern, Obama argued that the dream of upward economic mobility is breaking down and that the growing income gap is a “defining challenge of our time.”

“The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed,” the president said in remarks at a nonprofit community center a short drive from the White House in one of Washington’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

Though he offered no new initiatives, Obama blended a call for Congress to act on pending short-term economic measures with an ambitious vision aimed at rectifying a growing level of income inequality in the United States. Amid public doubts over Obama’s stewardship of the economy, the speech served as a guide for the remaining three years of his term.

Is the President right? Does he bear any responsibility for the lackluster economy since 2009? Is it the government or free market capitalism that can best provide opportunity and upward mobility?

59 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t we have more important issues to discuss? The government cannot control everything! We already have too much government control that is inept and unreliable!
    He is wrong and is just trying to move our attention from Obamacare.

  2. This government hasn’t been successful at anything ( GOOD That is). They are sticking their liberal noses in everything that is not their business and that is from both sides of the aisle and ALL in the WH!!

  3. I’m pretty far to the right both economically and socially, but I still think the government has a role in providing opportunity and upward mobility.

    For example, I think every child should get a top notch education regardless of whether their parents can afford it. And right now that can probably only come from the government (though I think it should come from the state government).

    I also think everyone should get a BASIC level of healthcare and a security net. I wish social institutions would do this rather than the government, but I’m not sure they can because the government has been squeezing them out of this arena for several decades and now they’re not capable of doing it.

    The problem isn’t that government took an interest in upward mobility. The problem is they’ve been going about it all wrong and they’ve made things worse rather than better. Raising the minimum wage sounds like a good idea, but ultimately it will make things worse for the lower and middle classes.

    Also has anyone noticed how the mantra has shifted from “a chicken in every pot” to “that rich guy has way more chickens than you do and I’m going to fix that.” But Obama isn’t even going to fix inequality because he’s not really a populist.

  4. The United States grew out of the British–Europeans with its monarchies, for the most part. If government of the US feels it has no role in helping to ensure equity for its people in all things including income, “what good is it?” If the same old rule by the few persists, we don’t need a so-called US government. ‘I don’t subscribe to ‘private’ insurances, etc. Services for the public should be managed by the public, not private interest driven interests.” So many have for so long feared that some little guy would get a free dime that they failed to see that the few big guys were getting free millions. So, here we are with this group calling itself GOP> Wake up! merica.

    • Tom – you are greatly mistaken about the role of US government. The US government’s role is defined by the US Citizens. The US Citizens have time and again constrained their government to do less. Bill Clinton got elected and tried to do the same thing as Obama, he also got slapped by the American people in 1993/4 just like Obama did in 2010. Clinton learned his lesson and was famously quoted as saying ‘the age of big government is over.’ Obama has not learned such a lesson so his approval rating is tanking.

      What you are promoting is the idea that it is government’s responsibility to ensure ‘equal outcome’ not ‘equal opportunity.’ To do this, they must take away free choice from all, in order to ensure equality of outcome for all.

      In America we prize the ability of the individual to make our free choices and benefit or fail. Walmart is a favorite whipping post for the left on injustice, however, people don’t know that Sam Walton went bankrupt multiple times in his life before being successful at Walmart. The man who started Dollar General didn’t even graduate High School. And then there’s Mr. Facebook who started with a little program as a college student.

      Most people who have wealth get it by skill and hard work. Few get it by crook, and even fewer by luck.

      What you don’t realize is that in America private citizens provide products and services to other private citizens for mutual benefit. Health care services are just one of those. The more the government has gotten involved in trying to regulate health services the worse it has gotten. It is at its worst now with millions losing coverage and having to buy more than what they need for more than what they want to pay.

      i think it is you that needs to wake up…I believe America is waking up, we’ll see what happens in 2014.

  5. “We The People” broke from Great Britain and Europe to become a FREE and independent nation with equality for ALL and minimal government – it took a schosche bit of time (150yrs) to get it thru everyone’s mind that ALL means ALL and they still don’t understand the meaning of the 1st Amendment. In addition, We were founded on free enterprise and Capitalism and no taxes (until 1913). Assuredly the less have always been given a helping hand and now over 47% of the populous is now receiving a helping hand at the expense of the other 53% and 25% of those pick up 90% of the tab.

    We are not a Socialist country and it has been proven over and over again that pure Socialism or Communism fails. Some level of Capitalism must be injected. We are a people, individualists, who have bootstrapped for many generations, with the greatest amount of innovation and technology. there are tens of thousands, probably tens of millions of individuals like Dr. Ben Carson. He bootstrapped just like I did (only he went much further than me with even less than me).

    B.O. is just trying one more shot at Socialism and big government. Just as ACA is not about health care, it is about Socialism, big government and controlling 1/6 of the economy and GDP thru big government.

    Tom, you really should move to a British-Euro country where the governments and conditions you describe exist. Actually over 55% of “We The People” still promote and believe in our founding documents and specifically the Declaration, US Constitution and Bill of Rights – there are some amendments that need to go away.

  6. The naivety of the left that raising minimum wage will make things automatically better for everyone in the long and short term, is like a merchant thinking if they continually raise prices their profits will rise at the same rate.

    While so far I am still for a minimum wage, i heard an economist give an interesting principal against having a minimum wage. The concept is essentially that when you set a minimum wage, you are ensuring that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify such a wage will be unemployed. I don’t know how many ‘older’ rich people I’ve heard talk about starting at a company for almost nothing, barely scraping by for years and climbing their way to the top….they also prized their time of scraping as critical to their success.

    With a minimum wage, the principle is that you will cut the unskilled off and there will be more unemployment.

    That’s besides the fact that it will incentivise businesses to do more with less. They will get their 10% profit one way or another.

    The concept that government has any role in ‘income equality’ is ridiculous…and evil. The only acceptable role of government is to put in place laws/regulations that ‘the people’ agree to, and then ensure they are uniformly and equally enforced.

    here is an interesting video on government’s responsibility to the poor:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rls8H6MktrA

    • Josh – You left out another negative about minimum wage – If it gets high enough then those earning it will become complacent and lose individual incentive and initiative. This country is built on personal responsibility, freedom to innovate, and “bootstrapping” themselves to greater achievement and usually more wealth, greater ego and respect.

      • That is likely that people will get complacent, but people are already complacent. I worked with a guy a few years ago who quit a job making above minimum wage because he could make more on welfare. he explicitly said that is why he was quitting.

        He was a good worker and was in line to get a raise, and promotion…but he didn’t want to wait.

        I guess I’m saying, people are already complacent now. There really isn’t a risk for people in America to starve to death. Miss a few meals, sure, but there is enough charity and government programs that people really don’t have to worry about eating…if they know how to game the system.

        When i lost a job before, i didn’t even know about government programs, or charity…my family never used them…i just went and found another job and never listened to people who said ‘they’ll never hire you’ or ‘you have to know somebody’

        Too many people get and stay unemployed because they don’t believe they can do any better…and they can. We humans are capable of amazing things when we try, but too many people make too many excuses….i think i may be preaching to the choir.

        • you are correct Josh – my knowledge is partially based on what i observe, observed in the past. I knew several enlisted that were satisfied where they were and didn’t want to study and work to pass the next advancement test. I also knew people in biz who didn’t want to ‘bootstrap’ further because their didn’t want the responsibility that comes with more earnings and learning.

          Like you i have never used welfare, but have relatives that have long past – but i have used unemployment. When i got fired in ’87 i used unemployment and positive thinking, saying, “i will get a job before unemployment runs out” – played some golf, lost my house and sure ’nuff found a good job 15 days before the ending. 🙂

      • Sam…I am curious about this “bootstrapping”. Do you mean to accomplish an impossible task totally unaided. That just “aint” gonna happen. Dr Ben Carson did his bootstrapping through the welfare program as a child and grants and student loans for education. He became a brilliant surgeon but he had a lot of help from a lot of taxpayers.

        Josh…Sam Walton was an exceptional man…but he was never the driving force behind the Walmart of today. When he was alive, it was called Sam’s Club and you paid membership dues just as you do today. Sam Walton was a very patriotic man and during his lifetime his stores carried only products made in America. He had a daughter who was a true business woman and under her direction Sam’s and Walmart became what they are today. In either of these store’s locations, you will be hard put to find to find a product made in America.

        • Tess – for Walmart you have your facts wrong.

          Sam’s Club is separate from Walmart. Walmart was started in 1962. Sam’s Club was started in 1983. Yes, Sam’s club was and is a paid membership, just like Costco and many other companies.

          Walmart has changed some since Sam left. However he *was* the driving force behind Walmart. He visited every store in a little red truck. Dressed in a ballcap and overalls to disguise himself to make sure people were doing what he expected of them.

          But regardless, the point is that rich people didn’t get that way through some evil means like liberals, democrats, and Obama, seem to want to make the nation think. Wealth is created and maintained through hard work and integrity. Lose integrity and you will lose your wealth.

          • Josh…how is Sam’s Club separate from Walmart? The company’s controlling stock is owned by the Walton family and the company is organized into three divisions: Walmart Stores U.S., Sam’s Club, and Walmart International. With his sister, Alice, Rob Walton is board chairman and a co-managing member of Walton Enterprises, the family’s holding company that controls over 51 percent of the stock.

            Walmart recently created its own electric company in Texas, Texas Retail Energy, and will supply its stores with cheap power purchased at wholesale prices. Through this new venture, the company expects to save $15 million annually and will sell electricity to Texas consumers in the future. Walmart is the US’s biggest private employer. Its low wages have incited labor protests and congressional report (PDF) released in May that calculated how much Walmart workers rely on public assistance. The study found that the 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required some $900,000 worth of public assistance a year to survive. That means the taxpayers are subsidizing Walmart’s payroll.The annals of Walmart are filled with stories of frazzled executives who quit, retired young, or were canned after burning out under the strain of the enormous workloads, endless road trips, and relentless pressure to perform that came with working for Sam Walton. Is this what you call integrity?

            • Tess – i suggest you look at the entire picture – if they paid those employees the extra $9,000 / yr they wouldn’t be in business. whose fault is it that those employees need $9,000/yr to meet there needs which is what the government determines is money needed for the Wisconsin standard of living. and why isn’t the government bringing companies and manufacturing back to U.S. to bolster jobs and economy. You know the answer but will never admit to it!

            • Sam: I didn’t read the writer’s previous piece, or the responses, but the article you cite actually refutes your point.

              Apparently, the discussion being debated was the idea that if a company designs its jobs in a more efficient way, the worker can produce more–and can be paid more.

              Your writer is falling back on the Luddite argument that more jobs is always better, even if they are paid at a level that the employer, out of the goodness of HIS heart, feels obligated to ask employees to donate part of THEIR wages to a food drive for fellow employees.

              http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-asks-customers-to-donate-food-2013-11

              Defending the company spokesman in that story, Kory Lundberg, says it is evidence that employees care about each other. [But it is ALSO evidence that the company does NOT. At the very least, the company should have had a matching program, if only for the PR value.]

              I think the real discussion, today, should be whether savings realized by ruthlessly beating down suppliers, by higher productivity, and by other methods, should be shared with “associates,” or whether the well-being of those “associates” should be seen as a threat to the real, singular, and exclusive goal of maximizing investor profits.

              For the past 35 years, “productivity” has been seen as getting more “out of” employees–and not getting more “with” employees–and it’s why real wages have fallen precipitously while profits have skyrocketed.

            • Goethe – I guess I missed the writer’s point – what i got was Costco operates on a 1.7% P.M. and Walmart on a 3.2% P.M. – not a lot of Hi P.M.’s for these companies to stay in business. Raise prices, lose volume or raise prices, reduce overhead (not employee overhead), lose volume.

              I worked for High Tech companies all but a few years of my life and active duty. Yes, they all had profit sharing, usually in stocks and they all had 401K’s; but they all had P.M.’s between 20 and 36%. as a Marketing Manager i was instrumental in setting those margins and a sales engineer, i was instrumental in destroying part of that margin. My motto to the customer was, “I will get you the best price possible and still have my company make some profit !”. My companies often ran into problems and had to divide or sell out.

              To you, the real point is most companies do try to be employee centric and customer centric to crate loyalty, respect and long term of each. Unions, Educators, and Liberals love to howl about the insane profits of all capitalists.

              The real deal is Capitalism works on Profit Margin and uses what methods management devises to maintain that margin and be competitive. Capitalistic countries will always have a gradient of citizen wealth and freedom and Socialistic countries will always just be two gradients, have and have not plus very reduced freedoms.

            • Sam: I’m not saying profits are bad. But I am concerned that managers have increasingly seen employees as the enemy–or at least as “tools” or “drones” to use. And it’s ironic that this is occurring at a time when employees are less and less able or willing to assert themselves as a group.

              And that’s because, since the late 1970s, there has been an increasing belief that jobs are scarce, and you should take whatever you can get–then sit down and shut up.

              The ideal is to empower employees–that is “lead from behind,” in which individual ingenuity produces a synergy that catapults the group far beyond what any pointy-headed MBA could come up with.

              And it is the increased efficiency and productivity and new ideas that THEN leads to higher profits.

              Considering the success of “crowd sourcing,” it seems inevitable that mass creativity–and more reasonable compensation–will eventually supplant the system of incredibly over-compensated oligarchs justifying their insane salaries by claiming to be the only brains in the organization.

            • Goethe – Once again you’re showing your Liberal and union influence. After 8 years of active duty i started with Martin Marietta in ’70; then Tektronix, next Control Data Corp, onto Fairchild Semiconductor; Mentor Graphics EDA, Tektronix (again), National Semiconductor, Hewlett Packard, finally Agilent Technologies. All these companies except MMC wanted nothing to do with the union. All had Mantras that positioned customer 1 / employee 2 / R&D 3 / and on and on with a statement at the bottom (or top) “we need to be profitable or the customer loses, company and employees losses”

              incredibly over-compensated oligarchs justifying their insane salaries by claiming to be the only brains in the organization” Upper management sets strategies, direction and goals plus Op plans for each year’s – so they are paid most and get the biggest bonuses / problems, they fail and they get the bat up the butt. They also hire people as technical and innovative as possible to deliver the strategy and invent innovative products to capture cash bonuses, market share and loyalty. Our stock bonuses, cash bonuses, longevity is determined to our own strategic plans we battle thru with supervisors.

              This is most capitalistic companies, unless you work on a production line, then some R&D is relegated to discovering automation to get assembly workers and unions out of the mix.

            • Sam: You have to admit that the high CEOs are overpaid. They get MANY multiples of the salary of the President of the United States. And on a regular basis, we see that any success some of these guys have was a fluke, as they move to a new position and fail miserably.

              There is an art and a skill to management, but I am not convinced that some managers are worth a hundred or thousand times as much as another.

              Most jobs come from small companies. And small companies offer many more opportunities for people to show themselves. And salaries are more reasonable.

              Instead of corporate welfare for the largest companies, including the government handouts to the oil companies, I’d like to see the laws set up to encourage individuals to start businesses, and to help small companies compete with the Goliaths.

              I’m not talking about unions. I’m talking about true capitalistic opportunities–not the subsidizing of the multinationals that we have now.

            • Goethe – I agree with your whole post! Especially having seen my CEO’s Bonus being 50X my pay package – didn’t begrudge his salary being 30 or 40 X my pkg just the added bonus on top of it.

            • Sam: That’s what’s wrong with the huge corporations. They destroy everyone in their path. They beat down suppliers until they run them out of business. They use and abuse both employees and customers–because they can. And in this discussion, they rationalize astronomical salaries because they have so many layers.

              I wish people would think when they watch the show, Undercover Boss. They want us to think, GOSH they’re swell to want to see what it’s like. What we should be saying about this pampered elite is–they are sometimes fired for not being able to do the simplest tasks–so why are they paid a hundred times as much as I am??

        • You really are amazing Tess – taking something to an extreme to diss a point. You should look it up – early definition, “pull oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps”, in electronics where it’s a common term, it’s a self starting oscillator taking in feedback from the output and feeding it back in to create a stable oscillation source. I was referring to Carson himself who’s Mother drove him to initiate and drive himself to do well in school and use whatever resources were available to become the great surgeon he is (was), including student loans which he paid back. And btw that what the real America is all about, giving those who need it a helping hand to assist in their becoming self-sufficient. Not to become permanent parasites via the government’s over generosity for those who work for a living. I did my bootstrapping via the military and couldn’t start University till i was 29 for eight years at night.. There are several ways to use initiative and help to go from menial to at least middle class.

          • Sam…you’re right, I don’t speak “electroninese”. However, I don’t believe that you, me, Ben Carson or anyone else achieved adulthood without a lot of help. You really need to read about the Carson Scholarship Fund. He explains it is his way of giving back and describes how he grew up in a single parent home with dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem. The fund has given out 5,700 scholarships to date. He is a good example of how a menial, with government generosity, can become upperclass. By the way, you need to check on how the Doctor cleared his student loans.

            • Tess – Never dug that hard !! – Try vetting some of your Democrats candidates to the length & depth that you go after Republican candidates – you probably own stock in MSM’s and other Liberal rags

          • Sam…I thought I just gave Dr Ben Carson a good review. If you are considering a person to be your leader, (from whatever party) for four or more years you really need to go the length & depth of their past performances in life.

            • Tess: Yeah, probably eight years. When you go back to Grover Cleveland, only about half of presidents served a second term, but that includes assassinations.

              When you look back, people didn’t think Obama, Bush43, or Clinton would be re-elected, but they were. Reagan had relatively low ratings when he began running for re-election. Nixon was only re-elected because the Dems committed political suicide. The Tribune actually thought Truman lost in 48.

              When you look at presidents who lost re-election in recent history, they were beaten by their own party. Republicans rejected Bush41. There was a challenge to Carter by Teddy. Ford lost because he was challenged by Reagan. Johnson was challenged by McCarthy, primarily. And Truman almost lost because Strom Thurmond AND Henry A. Wallace both ran against him (separately) in the general election!

              Anyway, my point is that we are probably going to have 8-year presidents from now on, unless the president is repudiated by a significant part of his (or her) own party.

  7. Mr. Peters, the government already tries to control the entire world. Why not our own country’s economic conditions?

    Bulldog, the government is “us”. In a democracy we get exactly the government we deserve, large or small, good or bad. There are things I don’t like, mainly the amount of money we throw at the Pentagon, but it has provided us with one of the highest standards of living in the world and as much personal liberty as you will find anywhere. Appreciate what you have.

    Josh, I think you’re mistaken. The President hasn’t said anything about equal outcomes. That’s just a red herring tossed out by the GOP. He’s talking about the kind of economic opportunity that existed when I came of age in the 1960’s where everyone (at least whites) could get a good education and if they worked at it could afford a comfortable life. Since then corporate power has disembowled unions, slashed real wages, exported jobs, disinvested in the U.S. , and purchased many of our politicians with their campaign contributions who are willing to pass laws that have slashed capital gains taxes on the wealthy and shifted the tax burden to the middle class.
    And you’re wrong about how most wealthy people got their money. Most of them got it the old fashioned way: they inherited it. The self-made billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros and the dot-com entrepreneurs are far more progressive than the bums who didn’t earn theirs.
    As for waking up, Canada provides better health care, for everyone, with their single payer system and they pay about HALF as much as we do. Somethings government does better than the private sector. Think highways, infrastructure, parks, libraries, courts, police, fire, and paying for health care for everyone instead of letting insurance companies suck up up to 30% of our healthcare dollars.

    • Godfrey,
      some points in your post dissected:

      1) “the government already tries to control the entire world. Why not our own country’s economic conditions?”
      a) the first does not necessitate the second — illogical
      grade F

      2) “In a democracy we get exactly the government we deserve, large or small, good or bad.”
      a) true for a democracy — where the many tell the few what to do (mob rule)
      b) USA is a republic — where the few have the same equal say as the many do (read Plato’s Republic).
      grade C … for effort

      3) ” Since then corporate power has disembowled unions, slashed real wages, exported jobs, disinvested in the U.S. , and purchased many of our politicians with their campaign contributions who are willing to pass laws that have slashed capital gains taxes on the wealthy and shifted the tax burden to the middle class.”
      true — grade A

      4) “Somethings government does better than the private sector. Think highways, infrastructure….”
      a) false — the gov does not build anything, it hires private enterprise to do so.
      grade F

    • Godfrey – i must say, what country do you live in? It must not be the USA, because all we’ve heard over the last several years from this president is how unfair it is that rich people are rich and poor people are poor. How unfair it is that one person has health insurance while another does not.

      I don’t know if the president has said the specific words ‘equal outcome’ – but that IS what he has been talking about. If you don’t believe he is trying to force equal outcomes, you really need a reality check. I don’t mean to sound mean, but seriously that’s what his presidency has been about.

      I’m not saying that he wants everyone to make the exact same amount of money down to the last penny, but he has been clear that there has been unfairness in the system, and the unfairness he points to has really nothing to do with any real unfairness of opportunity, but unfairness of outcome.

      As for the 1960’s, people can easily afford today to live like people did in the 1960’s…they don’t have to even work very hard to do so. No cell phone, no cable TV…hey, how about no TV, no air conditioning.

      Today in America the average ‘poor’ person has 2 cars, cable, cell phones. The Red Herring is that somehow ‘upward mobility’ was easier in the 1960’s…of course that was the time of the Kennedy tax cuts where Kennedy inspired (but didn’t see) a tax cut model Reagan would follow 20 years later…The difference today is that people believe they ‘deserve’ a higher standard of living that people in the 60’s would have though made you ‘rich’

      Rich has changed in the USA.

      As for Canada’s health care system – it is actually irrelevant to America. We liked what we had before Obamacare. Statistics were very clear before Obamacare – 85% of American’s had health insurance, and 80% of those were *happy* with their insurance – of the 15% without likely less than 5% wanted it. That is why Obama had to lie and say ‘if you like your plan you can keep your plan.’ It is also why almost 80% were, and are, against the ‘mandate.’ And also why almost 80% today say Obamacare needs to either be repealed or drastically changed.

      Very few people in America want a single payer plan…we like our freedoms.

  8. obama’s gist: give unto the many according to their needs, not their productivity….

    gee, where have i heard that before…?

    unsuccessful attempt to deflect from his obamination-care, which is getting uglier by the day;
    talked to some small business owners who were really upset because they had to advise their employees this month, that in order to keep their health insurance come 2014, they would have to deduct from their salaries from $200 – $400 per month to satisfy obama’s mandates.
    these small business owners are scared stiff that this pay-cut-in-reality (to force the workers to buy into something extra against their will) would result in going out of business when some, or most, quit because they cannot make ends meet with such a reduced salary.

    obama crushed the self-employed in 2013 (who are losing their heath-plans by the millions) — seems obama does not like individuals who stand on their own two feet.

    come 2014 obama is on his way to crush small business — the backbone of american industry — looks like he really doesn’t like private enterprise.

    given more time obama’s dictates will destroy the middle class — “hunger games” anyone? he, and his, would ride in chariots of gold while looking down on his subjects toiling in the dirt….

    where did we go wrong, America, to have allowed such a national disaster in the white house?!

  9. “1) the government already tries to control the entire world. Why not our own country’s economic conditions?” a) the first does not necessitate the second — illogical grade F”

    What’s “obvious” is that the U.S. government has a greater responsibility for running the U.S. than it does the Middle East. Grade F response for cluelesness.

    “2) “In a democracy we get exactly the government we deserve, large or small, good or bad.”
    a) true for a democracy — where the many tell the few what to do (mob rule)
    b) USA is a republic — where the few have the same equal say as the many do (read Plato’s Republic). grade C … for effort”

    Obviously, a republic is a representative democracy. It is not where every minority group has the same power. Would you really rather have a country where a minority decided what to do? In fact we have been moving in that direction recently toward a plutocracy.
    Grade D response for lack of scholarship.

    “4) “Somethings government does better than the private sector. Think highways, infrastructure….”
    a) false — the gov does not build anything, it hires private enterprise to do so. grade F”

    That’s because this is not a socialistic country where the government owns the means of production. Obamacare does not hire doctors, it sets requirements for the private sector which serve the public interest. Governments don’t generally build roads, but they collects taxes, finance, and obtain rights-of-way for highways and bridges on behalf of EVERYONE. There would be no public highways without government regulation. Also the legal use of force is restricted to government agencies so the public retains ultimate control and we don’t end up with a bunch of warlords like Somalia.
    Grade F response for shallow thinking.

    “obama’s gist: give unto the many according to their needs, not their productivity…. gee, where have i heard that before…?”

    Not from President Obama, obviously!

    “where did we go wrong, America, to have allowed such a national disaster in the white house?!”

    Grade F response for utter detachment from reality and probable racism.

    • Godfrey — you have an irrational mind, so the further you post the more you expose it.

      Please, keep on posting….

  10. “Josh – You left out another negative about minimum wage – If it gets high enough then those earning it will become complacent and lose individual incentive and initiative. This country is built on personal responsibility, freedom to innovate, and “bootstrapping” themselves to greater achievement and usually more wealth, greater ego and respect.”

    Sam, do you really think that making a hair over $30,000 a year for a full time worker earning $15/hr is going to make anyone “complacent”? If so, then maybe we should eliminate the capital gains tax subsidy for the complacent wealthy since they certainly haven’t been doing anything to boost employment in the past few years. Corporations have been sitting on a mountain of cash and not investing it because what’s been missing has been “demand.” You know, the thing a prosperous middle class provides?

    • Godfrey – actually I do believe many would be complacent and they have no desire or initiative to improve their selves. No desire to further their education or acquire technical skills, which requires effort and usually sacrifice. I have observed those traits. In addition it would attract even more illegal aliens, where even now for every 100 illegals – 69 citizens are displaced from the workforce. And why do illegals migrate to the U.S.? because the country they come from is oppressed and offers less opportunity.

      btw, I am one of those “the unhinged right-wingers “, a Libertarian and Tea Party. I’m curious, have you ever served? Your angst about “the amount of money we throw at the Pentagon” makes me wonder what you have against the military and its veterans and if you understand the purpose of a military.

  11. Godfrey – technically speaking I do not believe corporations have mountains of cash stored in their corporate buildings, stashed in their CEO’s socks, whatever. If they have cash it is likely in a bank somewhere. those banks use the money to invest, granted it is more limited investment..but the money *is* invested…that’s how banks work.

    You need to ask yourself the question…why? Why are corporations holding their money in banks instead of risking it with investment, business growth, innovation…etc?

    Corporations have been holding on to their cash ever since Barak Obama looked like he had a good chance of winning the presidency. The reason they held on to their cash is because they knew what was coming with a less business friendly president who naively believes that if you limit one group of people’s freedom, it will automatically mean more freedom for another group of people.

    Specifically, they knew about Obamacare and the higher costs. They also knew about the potential of higher taxes, as the Bush tax cuts were set to expire taking money out of the economy….etc. They knew generally that they had a ‘social justice’ president who believed that social justice means hurting one group to help another…and they knew they had a big bull’s eye on their back.

    It is sensible for them to hold onto their cash so they can help secure their company…and the employees, pensions…etc.

    What you don’t realize is that when they ‘sit on their cash’ they are limiting their profits intentionally…and you really need to understand why a corporation would choose to limit their profit potential. Understanding that will help you to see the real source of economic woes of our times.

    • josh — “Godfrey – i must say, what country do you live in?”

      with a name like Godfrey, gotta be an english hooligan….

    • Josh…how many companies can you name that have actual monthly pensions for their employees? 401’s, employee pays half, company half, for stocks selected by a brokerage firm. Remembering the IT collapse, we know what it is for an employee to lose not only their job, but see their 401 stock value go down, down, down. Presently, if you happen to have a salary of 100,000. a year you will likely receive stock bonus plans or even a profit sharing plan…all free. Social justice?

      From Reuters: The Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report showed that U.S. nonfinancial companies held $1.7 trillion in liquid assets at the end of March. What the banking system is holding would make this appear meager. From the companies’ point of view, it makes perfect sense these days to hoard cash. Congress lets overseas profits accumulate untaxed, so long as offshore subsidiaries own the cash. Second, companies have a hard time putting cash to work because fewer jobs and lower wages mean less demand for products and services. Third, a thick pile of cash gives risk-averse CEOs a nice cushion if the economy worsens, which it has not.

      For the 38th consecutive month, the country added jobs: 203,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in November, to be more precise. There are now 10.9 million people looking for work who cannot find it. Workers who are part-time but want to be employed full time, and workers who want to work but are not looking — brings the total up to 20.7 million. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average workweek for people employed by private companies edged up to 34.5 hours in November. If people working two and three jobs could get one job for of 34.5 hour, think how many jobs would be left open for other unemployed persons.

      President Obama passed 25 separate tax cuts, including $300 billion in middle class tax cuts — one of the largest in history – as part of the stimulus package. Unlike President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts, which went to the wealthiest 2.2%, President Obama’s tax cuts overwhelmingly benefited working and middle class families, 95% of all Americans.

      What actions or laws has President Obama promoted that labels him as anti-business? There are none.

      • tess,

        Obama has transgressed upon all individuals’ freedoms, and is on his path of creating unconstitutional “socialism” in our nation (the mild term for what communism stands) — dictatorship of the few, telling the rest what they must do, or else!

        In our previously free nation, individuals could exercise their free will to choose what heath insurance, or none, they wanted — with obamacare — the lil’ dictator forces all to buy into something, even against the people’s will!!!

        Are you unable to see this travesty, or have you buried your liberal head in the sand, so the only thing you can utter is: “Heil Obama”!?

      • reposting this in the right place…hopefully

        tess-i could name lots of companies, most of them I’ve worked for have had pensions and 401k, but none were managed like you stated. I think you are creating a straw man argument.

        your quote from Reuters actually supports my position that companies don’t find America a good place to invest right now.

        actually most of those 25 so called tax cuts were not tax cuts at all. they are tax ‘credits’ mostly…but no real permanent tax rate cuts. I looked them up.

        there are 2 easy to find actions Obama took that hurt the economy. Obama are and the tax increase he put in place a couple years ago.

        he has presided over the most consistently bad economy since the great depression. he is philosophically unequipped to get the economy going.

  12. Actually, this discussion leaves out the fact that government has had an active role in creating economic inequality–with huge corporate welfare programs and tax programs that encourage money to go into fewer and fewer hands.

    I can see both sides of the minimum wage argument.

    My basic philosophy is that government should stay OUT of our personal, private lives as much as is possible. But I also believe that “the people,” acting together, in the form of government, should act to protect the powerless from the powerful. And, unfortunately, the rich and powerful get laws written to their own benefit, to the detriment of the rest of us, and ultimately, themselves.

    • tess-i could name lots of companies, most of them I’ve worked for have had pensions and 401k, but none were managed like you stated. I think you are creating a straw man argument.

      your quote from Reuters actually supports my position that companies don’t find America a good place to invest right now.

      actually most of those 25 so called tax cuts were not tax cuts at all. they are tax ‘credits’ mostly…but no real permanent tax rate cuts. I looked them up.

      there are 2 easy to find actions Obama took that hurt the economy. Obama are and the tax increase he put in place a couple years ago.

      he has presided over the most consistently bad economy since the great depression. he is philosophically unequipped to get the economy going.

      • Josh, yeah, and Reagan “presided over” the appearance of Halley’s Comet.

        The business recession was actually very short. It started in December 2007 and ended in Q1 2009. Since then, corporate profits have gone though the stratosphere and the stock market has more than doubled, to all-time highs.

        All that money just hasn’t “trickled down.” I’m not so sure that’s Obama’s fault. (Lots of other things are, though.)

        • Goethe – Not sure how my reply ended in this spot….i had hit different conversation stream.

          But regardless, the recession wasn’t directly Obama’s fault. The prolonging of the problems have been…just like Roosevelt and the great depression. His policies actually made the depression worse and prolonged it. Were some people helped, yes, but many more were hurt…just like Obamacare. It is hurting more people than its target ‘help’ group.

          Part is policy and part is impression. Obama has been pretty clear in his speeches about outcome based injustice, rather than means based injustice. It doesn’t give a business that much confidence to take a risk, so they hold on to their profits for stability sake…like the Reuters report pointed out. Some people think it is evil CEO’s trying to keep their pockets lined, but I know people who own companies. The feel tremendous responsibility to their employees to keep the company stable, because they feel the employees are dependent upon them to do so. Any business leader or owner i have met personally has never been an evil greedy person like the liberals and democrats try to paint people as being.

          Obama’s talk about raising taxes since he came into office, and actually doing it in 2010 has made things more difficult for businesses taking money out of their pie. Additionally the Obamacare has increased the cost of insurance, and therefore the cost to companies.

          Is Obama 100% responsible for what happened, no, but the philosophy, speeches, and legislation are not helping the situation, and in many ways hurting things.

          With a different philosophy running the WH and congress, it is likely that unemployment and spending would be much lower than what they are now…making everything better economically.

  13. completely agree. The monopoly laws are good examples of government power used properly. The way the government has stepped in on the mortgage crisis (Dodd/Frank bill is one of them), has made it harder for small banks and financial institutions. Have a personal friend who had a successful small mortgage company and he was doing quite well. They did things right and legal so the mortgage crisis didn’t really effect them much. But they eventually went bankrupt, because the new laws/regulations passed made it difficult for small companies like them to stay in business, larger institutions are more able to keep the laws…plus larger institutions got bailed out being ‘too big to fail’

    • Josh,

      obama’s current goal is the destruction of small business — the backbone of our economy — once gone, the middle class will be next to follow under his socialist dictates.

      creating his socialist vision of USA ala CCCP, a ruling elite in power dictating to their poor subjects what to do.

      unless obama is impeached ASAP for his unconstitutional obamacare, he my just accomplish his goal!

  14. “btw, I am one of those “the unhinged right-wingers “, a Libertarian and Tea Party. I’m curious, have you ever served? Your angst about “the amount of money we throw at the Pentagon” makes me wonder what you have against the military and its veterans and if you understand the purpose of a military.”

    Sam, in fact I am a Vietnam veteran and a disabled one. I’m still trying to figure out what was gained by murdering 58,000 Americans in that war and over a million Vietnamese. The dominos never fell and Vietnam is now a tourist destination and trading partner. And of course Iraq and Afghanistan turned out so well too. We’re spending over half our federal taxes on trying to run the world (not counting diplomacy) http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm yet we can’t even create a prosperous economy in our own country for the 98%. That’s pathetic.

    “…only thing you forgot was Godfrey’s bullshit about Canada’s health system…”

    http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/info-03-2012/myths-canada-health-care.html

    • I flat don’t believe you, That you are a United States Armed Services ‘Nam disabled Vet with that attitude. In the most simplistic terms, You kill a virus or a enemy before it grows enough to kill you. and especially when it has threatened you or yours. ‘Nam was so complicated through political regimes and trying to play by Ho Chi Ming and China rules instead of just kicking ass, Telling N. ‘Nam and China to stay home or get the bat up the butt. The analyses is almost endless.

      Your crap about Mil spending from the ancient website is 2009 FY numbers. In the Meantime your Muslim buddy has raped the military down to down to 580 gigabuck: http://www.cbo.gov/topics/national-security/defense-budget.

      If Canada’s healthcare is so great why do Canadians come to the U.S. at their own expense for healthcare?

  15. “And why do illegals migrate to the U.S.? because the country they come from is oppressed and offers less opportunity.”

    Well Sam, congratulations on having done such a great job of selecting your parents. Obviously you DESERVE all the benefits of having been born in the U.S..

    • Actually my soul did select my parents and country. As does every soul, before arriving in this hellhole. In addition, my 30 years USN/USNR and a ‘Nam Vet Disabled does deserve all the benefits I have! As you are dissatisfied with this great country you probably misheard your guides or pissed ’em off when you selected parentage.

    • Godfrey — keep posting.

      The more you do, the more you expose yourself as nothing but a clueless english hooligan….

  16. “I flat don’t believe you, That you are a United States Armed Services ‘Nam disabled Vet with that attitude.”

    Who cares what you believe, Sam? It’s true whether you believe it or not.

    “You kill a virus or a enemy before it grows enough to kill you. and especially when it has threatened you or yours. ‘Nam was so complicated through political regimes and trying to play by Ho Chi Ming and China rules instead of just kicking ass, Telling N. ‘Nam and China to stay home or get the bat up the butt. The analyses is almost endless.”

    What a ridiculous justification for making war on a tiny country, half way around the world, that was absolutely no threat to us, and murdering 58,000 of my contemporaries and over a million Vietnamese, then LOSING the war! Your kind of jingoism and desire to bully the rest of the world will continue to result in more unnecessary wars, more death and mayhem, while chickenhawk politicians (and Navy veterans who sat out the war safely off-shore on a ship) send more gullible young men and women to their death. Shame on you.

    “Your crap about Mil spending from the ancient website is 2009 FY numbers. In the Meantime your Muslim buddy has raped the military down to down to 580 gigabuck:”

    $580 billion would still be way more than necessary, but in fact is is roughly twice that. Military expenditures are deliberately hidden all over the budget. Maintenance of our nuclear arsenal is hidden in the Department of Energy. Veteran benefits are hidden in the Health and Human Services budget. Military development is hidden all over the place. And whenever the budget pie is displayed they always include Social Security even though Congress makes no appropriations for benefits. SS is a self-funded program and doesn’t even belong in the budget. The apparent purpose is to make the military slice look smaller so as to not trigger a taxpayer revolt.
    Sam, I enjoy a good debate as much as anyone, but I’m not going to waste my time on clueless people who think the President is a Muslim. The truth is that like most highly intelligent, educated people, he’s probably an atheist.

    “If Canada’s healthcare is so great why do Canadians come to the U.S. at their own expense for healthcare?”

    They dont. http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/info-03-2012/myths-canada-health-care.html but I’m sure you “flat don’t believe” it. You sound like a guy who is more interested in confirming your biases than knowing the truth. That’s why you come to this conservative website where your unsubstantiated arguments are unlikely to be contradicted.

    “Actually my soul did select my parents and country.”

    Pshhhh!

    • Sam: I’m with Godfrey on the Muslim thing. First, it’s not a disease. I have met a lot of Muslims over the past year or so, and they were ALL very kind, sensitive, and caring.

      And I don’t get the claim, anyway. There is absolutely no evidence–only “guilt” by association, and if that’s the case, there’s 20 years or more evidence of his practicing Christianity.

      If it mattered (it doesn’t), if you feel that you have to condemn him on religious grounds, it would be more reasonable to complain that either he believes in the kind of Chistianity espoused by the Pope–or his lack of pandering to organized religion suggests that he might be an atheist, agnostic, or a Deist, such as yourself. 🙂

      • Goethe – the “virus” thing is a metaphor!!! Any country, religion, group who ia an aggressor of freedom, capitalism and democracy is an enemy of the U.S. and if they become territorial (like a virus) they will eventually have to be dealt with or we will be overtaken.

        I have nothing against Islam, other than the fact it is a religion that major elements and passages are both territorial and misuse the concept of Tao (God). parts of Christianity and Judaism do the same. But I believe that Islam is the only one who proactively, today, practices the impure belief of Jihad (not reconciling oneself with Allah, but defiling and destroying all non-Islam believers – even other sects of Islam). Not unlike the Catholic / Protestant war of Ireland and the Christian Crusades and Muslim Conquests.

        I also don’t believe that Sunni Islam and Sharia is good for America or radical fundamental Christianity is good for America.

        My instinct and intuition tells me that Obama is a Sunni Muslim tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and he does in fact patronize Islam over Christianity and definitely over Judaism. He also listened to Rev. Wright’s babble for almost twenty years.

        Pure and simple – his attitude towards the U.S.A. is negative and he is not good for the Free, Democratic-Republic.

        • Sam:

          That just doesn’t make sense. When the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown in Egypt, we saw that coming, and we could very easily have said that we stand behind a legally elected government. We did have senators, such as McCain make that very complaint. And they wanted to cut off military aid to the country because a military coup had taken place.

          We could have supported Morsi. We could have worked with the military. There was an election coming up in the fall. And when the military gave its ultimatum, we could have become mediator. It would have been so much better if Morsi had just been voted out at that time. But we just sat back and watched the military roll in.

          I think it’s much easier to argue that Obama has worked to undermine the Brotherhood–or at least stood by and allowed the collapse to happen.

  17. Godfrey…I feel amiss in not writing sooner that I find your posts credible. Vietnam was a war like no other in US history.It is our forgotten war, probably out of shame. It became a hidden war. Started in 1954 by the Eisenhower Administration who decide to stop aiding the French and do some state building. Hence, South Vietnam. By the end of Eisenhower’s presidency, there were nearly 1,000 US advisers helping Diem and his armed forces. Under President Kennedy, the number of advisers rocketed to around 16,000, which renders suspect claims that, had he lived, we would have gotten out of Vietnam. President Johnson viewed the conflict differently. He believed that if you were in a fight, you needed to fight to win. He escalated the war and the race was on. The American public turned on him. Countless numbers of Americans congregated daily on the White House lawn, chanting: “Hey,hey, hey, LBJ. How many boys have you killed today?” Tragically, the American public also turned on the soldiers who went to Vietnam. There was no welcome home parades, handshakes or flags waving. Just silence as there is today. I take a deep interest in this war because I had an Uncle who left his left leg in the jungles of Vietnam.

    You are right about Canadian healthcare. It is almost unbelievable that Cuba has one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

    You are also right about military spending. Some forget we have two budgets plus an Armed Service Committee whose funding balance is endless.

  18. Do we have an economist onboard? Here are two issues that might fit this thread:

    (1) There has been increasing talk among economists about fear of DEflation, which has been such a problem in Japan. For someone who remembers 15% inflation coupled with 18% interest rates, I feel a real whiplash hearing that inflation is considered too low.

    (2) Bitcoin could yield a number of topics. For instance, with the incredible rise in value, relating to traditional currencies, is this just another bubble? OR is Bitcoin the wave of the future, in which financial matters bypass the Fed and other national banks? It started out as a way to pay for porn and other questionable online transactions, like a currency called something like “blue money,” which got its name from the “blue” (porn) transactions it was used for. Could Bitcoin eventually supplant the dollar on world markets?

  19. I wanted to comment on the President’s press conference today. Obama wonders why the press doesn’t like him. Here’s one reason why:

    He was asked if this was the worst year of his presidency. He went on some ramble, trying to put the best face on it. Seems to me, the press–and the people–would like him better if he would answer a question like that by saying something like “they’re all hard,” or “haven’t you been reading the papers?”

    OR–he could quote the movie Love, Actually, in which Hugh Grant plays the Prime Minister of Britain, and he says–

    “Yes and I’m sorry about all the cockups. My cabinet are absolute crap. We hope to do better next year.”

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