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Old 08-01-2007, 01:59 PM   #41
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But this begs the question.

Who helps society more?

A. The rat-race runner who pays $200K in taxes every year and works 60 hours a week doing insanely stressful work nonstop?

B. Or someone working part time at a coffee shop who likes to take life easy and smell the roses?

Much more interesting IMO.

-Mach
are they both self-sufficient? Which one is more likely to need assistance in the future? Does the rat-racer have a healthy form of stress relief or is he prone to outbursts at his neighbors or others?

Does one volunteer? Do either of them have kids? Are they actively invovled with their family? What morals are they teaching their kids for the future?

Is one living a fairly simple life while the other is propping his up with debt?

Is it maybe too narrow a lens to examine someone based solely on their income?
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:40 PM   #42
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I agree about rampant materialism. Just today in the AARP magazine they talked about a couple who bought a retirement home in a golf community that has four bedrooms and 5400 sf---just for the two of them! I think McMansions don't even feel like homes. I think the majority of people don't need SUVs. I think it's a riot that every one needs "a designer kitchen" and then doesn't cook in it! It's outrageous how expensive weddings have gotten. Yesterday on The Colbert Report, there was a guest who lives in Bejing and he talked about how the land is being destroyed because of the ever increasing American consumption of cheaper cashmere leading to the Chinese production of it (goats), which is responsible for all this dust that comes to the West coast. And now that the Chinese are producing so much, their economy and consumerism is growing, so it will just continue the cycle. But that brings me to another point: rampant consumerism is no longer just an American phenomenon. The Chinese and Indians, just like the Russians before them, are doing the same thing.

I found it so sad recently to read an article bemoaning the fact that the current generation isn't as doing as well economically as their parents had done at their age. I know it's been the goal of parents to have their kids "have a better life" by earning and spending more. But realistically, how much more could lives be upgraded materially? How could homes and cars become any bigger? Maybe this will be the start of looking at nonmaterial things to find happiness.

But Ferco confuses the point by implying that people are working feverishly to accumulate lots of money to retire early...and to buy things! As Webzter said, people who are striving to get several million dollars to drop out of the rat race are not also living in a McMansion with a HDTV in every room. I don't think too many people on this board earned such a high salary that they could save millions while spending thousands and millions. I worked hard, not to accumulate money or things, but just because the job and my work ethic required it. And because working wasn't good for me in so many ways, I lived way below my means even on a small salary to save and invest money, so I could get out at an early age.

As Old Woman, said, a million dollars could bring $40,000 at a SWR. If you don't have a pension (my case) and you're paying $1000 a month for insurance, and have 12 years to go until Medicare and you want to have some protection for stock market downturns so your 1 million doesn't go down and give you even less than $40K, it is best to have more than a million.

I've yet to see anyone on this board who is overly materialistic. A few maybe have lived with a lot of materialism and now seem ready to downsize and concentrate on what's important. So let's not confuse the vast majority of Americans or consumers around the world with this very small group of FIRE wannabes or successes!
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Old 08-01-2007, 05:16 PM   #43
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What difference does it make?
It was in response to mach's point that the person making 200k/working 60 hours yada yada and contributing more in taxes is in return doing a lot of good for society. My point, Sam if actually read the posts, is that if those tax dollars are poorly spent, what good is it really doing for society? Your tax dollars that paid for the $25-30 million dollars worth of Hurricane Katrina ice that had to be later destroyed (I kid you not), is not making society a better place now is it? I suppose we can debate that as well.

From mach
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Who helps society more?

A. The rat-race runner who pays $200K in taxes every year and works 60 hours a week doing insanely stressful work nonstop?

B. Or someone working part time at a coffee shop who likes to take life easy and smell the roses?
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:08 PM   #44
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I read the posts carefully before I asked that question. Tax money is tax money. Why does it make a difference where it comes from? If the humongous tax contributed by the rat-race is poorly spent, so would be the pitiful contribution by the part time coffee shop worker.

Now if you want to discuss about how effieciently the government manages tax money, then that would be a completely new subject.
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:10 PM   #45
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Nope, not interested enough in doing so.
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:58 PM   #46
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[quote=Webzter;542352
Is it maybe too narrow a lens to examine someone based solely on their income?[/quote]

To keep it short and not fuel any more fires heated posts:

Yes. And your point is a sufficient condition to rejecting the original post, that focusing on reaching financial point X or being a wealthy CEO, is somehow necessarily bad for society in most meaningful definitions of good/bad.

Onen step further, not only does it not appear to be bad, it appears to be both ethical, and good, for the right reasons (efficiently helping society through hard work and a free economic system), as a whole. That's for a society in general, which is consistent with the OP claims which were not specific.

-Mach
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:07 PM   #47
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I should have been more clear. The taxes the 200k contributes and I was referring to the government who I doubt produces a very high ROI on taxes received.
Don't get me wrong, I don't intend to claim that 200K vs 40K somehow necessarily makes a person more ethical, only show that it certainly doesn't make them LESS good or ethical.

I'm personally not interested in running the rat-race any longer than necessary, and I intend to do get out of it through savings and investment, which I don't think is bad for society.

-Mach
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:43 PM   #48
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For me, WM is one of the better stores I shop at.
I love my DW, but she doesn't like shopping there.
And if she is not happy, I will soon be unhappy also.
If I am like Khan, free of these issues, I think I can retire on 500K.
You can free yourself of these issues- exactly the same way that Kahn did. It's called divorce. But often it's cheaper to deal with the issues some other way.

Ha
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:18 AM   #49
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This post has become increasingly interesting..its amazing how we all interpret and draw conclusions based on what we perceive what someone has said or is thinking. Most of my statemnts in the original post were only observations of events in the society in which we live. I have found that some of us, perhaps study or live economics on the macro level and some of us on the micro level. As a crude analogy, as much as I/we would like to ignore/destroy the plants and trees, we are in fact in a life sustaining symbiotic relationship. I need the oxygen they produce and they need the carbon dioxide I produce,...... just try going 60 seconds without it!
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:58 AM   #50
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The person pulling in $200k+ contributes in ways beyond just taxes. They create jobs at Costco when they purchase their HDTVs. Their McMansions create jobs for builders, etc. and when comepleted for gardeners, etc.

I could argue that the person that makes $200k a year and works until 65 and spends like the Jonses ends up making a larger contribution to society than the person making $200k who LBYMs and retires at 40.

Which is better in the long term? Well that is a different topic!
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:05 AM   #51
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The person pulling in $200k+ contributes in ways beyond just taxes. They create jobs at Costco when they purchase their HDTVs. Their McMansions create jobs for builders, etc. and when comepleted for gardeners, etc.

I could argue that the person that makes $200k a year and works until 65 and spends like the Jonses ends up making a larger contribution to society than the person making $200k who LBYMs and retires at 40.

Which is better in the long term? Well that is a different topic!
On a PERCENTAGE basis, the Starbucks barrista pays more taxes, on an ACTUAL cash basis, the $200K a year guy pays about $80K in various taxes,enough to pay about 4-5 folk's SS payment............
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:27 AM   #52
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On a PERCENTAGE basis, the Starbucks barrista pays more taxes,
How did you come up with that?
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:43 AM   #53
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The person pulling in $200k+ contributes in ways beyond just taxes. They create jobs at Costco when they purchase their HDTVs. Their McMansions create jobs for builders, etc. and when comepleted for gardeners, etc.

I could argue that the person that makes $200k a year and works until 65 and spends like the Jonses ends up making a larger contribution to society than the person making $200k who LBYMs and retires at 40.

Which is better in the long term? Well that is a different topic!
Let's say the high-stress guy takes his rage out in traffic. He cuts people off, tailgates, lays on the horn, swears, etc. In an average day, he might impact 50 people on the road. Let's say that he gets 5 of those people in a foul mood and causes one of them to start driving like a jerk the rest of the commute home as well. Obviously, this has a cascading effect.

Further, let's say that, because he's so high strung, he has no outlet for his frustration and takes it out on his two boys. Not physical abuse mind you, just emotional belittling. And, since he's working so much, they're neglected. They've got problems at school but all he does is criticise them for bad grades and whining about their problems. Eventually they despair of everything and decide to take out their problems on their school, especially the bullies that picked on them.

The shooting spree makes headlines across the country. 12 students and 3 teachers killed. But, it turns out that one of the teachers, while fatally shot himself, was able to stop the two boys in time before they killed even more people.

Meanwhile, the barrista is always pleasant and engaging with everyone. She connects with her customers on a personal and emotional level. While she might only be in someone's life for a few minutes a day, everyone walks away feeling even more uplifted and engaged.

One of her customers happens to be a Phys Ed teacher who is despondant about life. His wife just left him, his finances are in shambles, and he's thinking he might just skip work to go home and end it all.. run the car in the garage. The barrista picks up on his problems and sits down to talk to him... her simple act of going out of her way gets him out of that funk.

He goes to work at the school that day when two angry young boys come in and start shooting. Putting away any thought for his own safety, he charges after them and manages to wrestle a gun away from one of the boys and shoots them both. He's shot in the process but, as he dies, he knows that he's helped save many others.

So, in this extremely contrived scenario, you could argue that, from a social standpoint, the barrista made the much more positive impact.

In other words, it's probably better to judge people on the moral of their character rather than the size of their paycheck.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:23 AM   #54
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Strange going on in this thread.... and all just made up stuff....

But I will throw in MY made up stuff...

You talk about the 'high stress' guy making $200K per year.... I will tell you from a lot of experience that the people who make that and above are normally less stressed than the white collar guy making $60 to $100... and the top executives making in the $1 mill range are usually not that stressed either... they MAKE people stressed, but they are not...
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:45 PM   #55
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This post has become increasingly interesting..its amazing how we all interpret and draw conclusions based on what we perceive what someone has said or is thinking. Most of my statemnts in the original post were only observations of events in the society in which we live. I have found that some of us, perhaps study or live economics on the macro level and some of us on the micro level. As a crude analogy, as much as I/we would like to ignore/destroy the plants and trees, we are in fact in a life sustaining symbiotic relationship. I need the oxygen they produce and they need the carbon dioxide I produce,...... just try going 60 seconds without it!
This has become an interesting thread - I have skimmed so I apologize if I am missing a point, but I was thinking along the same lines as Ferco's post - when we consider what someone contributes to society it is increasingly important to ask at what cost does that contribution come? Does the pollution from the 2 hour commute in a single passenger car ofset the added taxes he pays?
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:51 PM   #56
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How did you come up with that?
When I was single, my marginal tax rate was higher than I am now with a family..........more deductions.

What deductions does a 20 year old college student have working 20 hours a week?
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:53 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Webzter View Post
Let's say the high-stress guy takes his rage out in traffic. He cuts people off, tailgates, lays on the horn, swears, etc. In an average day, he might impact 50 people on the road. Let's say that he gets 5 of those people in a foul mood and causes one of them to start driving like a jerk the rest of the commute home as well. Obviously, this has a cascading effect.

Further, let's say that, because he's so high strung, he has no outlet for his frustration and takes it out on his two boys. Not physical abuse mind you, just emotional belittling. And, since he's working so much, they're neglected. They've got problems at school but all he does is criticise them for bad grades and whining about their problems. Eventually they despair of everything and decide to take out their problems on their school, especially the bullies that picked on them.

The shooting spree makes headlines across the country. 12 students and 3 teachers killed. But, it turns out that one of the teachers, while fatally shot himself, was able to stop the two boys in time before they killed even more people.

Meanwhile, the barrista is always pleasant and engaging with everyone. She connects with her customers on a personal and emotional level. While she might only be in someone's life for a few minutes a day, everyone walks away feeling even more uplifted and engaged.

One of her customers happens to be a Phys Ed teacher who is despondant about life. His wife just left him, his finances are in shambles, and he's thinking he might just skip work to go home and end it all.. run the car in the garage. The barrista picks up on his problems and sits down to talk to him... her simple act of going out of her way gets him out of that funk.

He goes to work at the school that day when two angry young boys come in and start shooting. Putting away any thought for his own safety, he charges after them and manages to wrestle a gun away from one of the boys and shoots them both. He's shot in the process but, as he dies, he knows that he's helped save many others.

So, in this extremely contrived scenario, you could argue that, from a social standpoint, the barrista made the much more positive impact.

In other words, it's probably better to judge people on the moral of their character rather than the size of their paycheck.
What's the address of your Starbucks? Mine sucks, I want to buy coffee at yours......
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:59 PM   #58
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When I was single, my marginal tax rate was higher than I am now with a family..........more deductions.

What deductions does a 20 year old college student have working 20 hours a week?
Why does he need deductions? Most likely, that 20 yo college student working 20 hr/week does not pay a dime in tax, except of cource SS and Medicare, which every one pays.
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:02 PM   #59
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What's the address of your Starbucks? Mine sucks, I want to buy coffee at yours......
As I said, it was very contrived. Frankly, a bald-faced appeal to emotions. But, in my defense, it was in the spirit of the hypothetical question that I gave one hypothetical answer. Humans are very complex things and I doubt any of us could fully follow a thread of how we impact each other.

In other words, I'd be hard-pressed to believe that, holistically, rich people are necessarily better than normal people.
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:24 PM   #60
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Why does he need deductions? Most likely, that 20 yo college student working 20 hr/week does not pay a dime in tax, except of cource SS and Medicare, which every one pays.
Remember when Ross Perot was pushing for a flat tax, and told everyone he only paid a 2% marginal tax rate on something like $140 million in income?
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