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Old 10-23-2010, 11:45 PM   #201
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Is that a fact? Or just a wish.
I guess we will find out.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:17 AM   #202
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Beautiful. It seems to me that perhaps more than half of the posting members here are to the left of the midline, if libertarianism is the right pole, and a thoroughgoing capitalist/welfare society like Sweden is the left pole.

I don't really understand this. Like you say, allowing non-producers to live off producers always fails in the long term. But then, for a US Congressman, or even president, the long term is really not a concern. And people are good at justifying what either helps them materially, or gives them psychic income. At the government level, there is way more intellectual cleverness deployed on manipulating, justifying and selling redistribution schemes, than on understanding how to produce more.

Society is cyclical, and I believe that the old idea of societies having a vigorous youth, a comfortable maturity, and then a decline into a corrupt and senescent final stage is correct.

I would say it's 3 to 1 against us having the intellectual insight, political means, and drive to turn around the ship now heading for the rocks.

Ha

I think that comparing your socialist component with Sweden for the non producers vs producers is not a good analysis IMO... from everything that I have seen, read etc. about Sweden is that everybody shares the production and non production... IOW, at some point and time you produce, at another, you do not...

This is compared to what I think you wanted to point out where there are permanent producers and permanent non producers like we have.... completely different view IMO...
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:19 PM   #203
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A story in the nytimes that addresses this same topic
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/we...erzenhorn.html

Quote:
The bipartisan fiscal commission appointed by President Obama and due to report its recommendations on Dec. 1 is working toward a much more modest goal of cutting the projected deficit for 2015 by one-third, not eliminating it, as Mr. Cameron seeks to do.
The slower approach is possible in part because the United States starts off in a stronger position. Federal government spending in the United States is a smaller percentage of gross domestic product than it is in Britain — in part because individual states are responsible for much of their own budgets and they have already made significant cuts. Britain also already taxes its citizens more heavily.
Quote:
“If anybody thinks it’s impossible to do that kind of thing here, you have got 50 governors that have gone through a Cameron-style exercise,” said an official close to the White House. “And they had to do it in two years, not five.”
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:31 PM   #204
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I think that comparing your socialist component with Sweden for the non producers vs producers is not a good analysis IMO... from everything that I have seen, read etc. about Sweden is that everybody shares the production and non production... IOW, at some point and time you produce, at another, you do not...

This is compared to what I think you wanted to point out where there are permanent producers and permanent non producers like we have.... completely different view IMO...
You may be correct. However, my Swedish friend says that they now have a more or less permanent class with very low levels of employment, very high levels of social services, crime etc. I don't read Swedish, so I can't really go look for myself. More than a few of these are imports.

She also says the producers are getting quite put out with this situation, which is bothersome for them as they have for a long time had this fairly happy acceptance of a highly redistributive government, as they tended to see it as having shifting roles, as as you say was more used by people at dependent life stages or down on their luck.

Ha
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:32 AM   #205
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An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,but had recently failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:03 AM   #206
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If we accept (as I do) that we do, indeed, need to have a social safety net, and that we have a duty to provide for those incapable or unlucky enough to be unable to do so for themselves, we need to set some level at which such help is offered. The standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like Finland (or Sweden) seems a fair enough number to use and the USA provides exactly that. Good, the problem's solved. We've provided -- both through the structure of the economy and the various forms of taxation and benefits precisely what we should be -- an acceptable baseline income for the poor. No further redistribution is necessary and we can carry on with the current tax rates and policies which seem, as this report shows, to be increasing US incomes faster than those in other countries and boosting productivity faster as well.

America: More Like Sweden Than You Thought - TCS Daily
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:58 AM   #207
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If we accept (as I do) that we do, indeed, need to have a social safety net, and that we have a duty to provide for those incapable or unlucky enough to be unable to do so for themselves, we need to set some level at which such help is offered. The standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like Finland (or Sweden) seems a fair enough number to use and the USA provides exactly that. Good, the problem's solved. We've provided -- both through the structure of the economy and the various forms of taxation and benefits precisely what we should be -- an acceptable baseline income for the poor. No further redistribution is necessary and we can carry on with the current tax rates and policies which seem, as this report shows, to be increasing US incomes faster than those in other countries and boosting productivity faster as well.

America: More Like Sweden Than You Thought - TCS Daily
I totally agree that a safety net of some level is appropriate and fitting for a civilized, prosperous country like the US. I don't want to see the walking, half-dead on my streets.

I do not know enough about Sweden to say that level of support is proper. However, I do know that entitlements have a way of creeping up until they are excessive. I have a friend who worked most of his life being paid, "under the table" and hardly paid anything into SS. Thanks to a surfing accident, be injured his back and now is living on SS disability insurance (originally $18k per year) - which is safety net level. Then he had a dependent child which gave him an extra $8k per year. So now he's living in his beach bungalow (which he paid off a long time ago), and doing more than fine on his $26k per year. I also think he gets food stamps and a Medicare.

Safety net fine, but entitlements have a way of getting too big.

Increasing income and productivity sounds good - but don't forget our federal and state deficits are growing fast. Subtract out the need for a tax increase to bring in more income to the government just to zero out the deficit spending, and the US doesn't look so great.

Let's be darn careful with that safety net. It doesn't take too much to kill incentives for investors to grow our economy. Our current unemployment number shows that business is not taking any chances by hiring more people. They are afraid of what more government programs Obama may have up his sleeve.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:54 AM   #208
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Relative to the US, Britain has a much more generous social safety net and much higher taxes to support it. While the cuts are significant, the NHS and even the child tax credit won't be impacted and I don't know that tax rates are being cut.

Child tax credit: The benefits available for British families - Telegraph

In the US our social safety net has been undermined by decades of successive tax cuts and a bootstrap narrative that goes so far as to characterize SS pensioners as societal parasites.

The result is a shrinking middle class, a continued reliance on foreign sources of motor fuels, a healtcare system that's double the cost elsewhere, an education system that's not keeping pace with our global competitors and a national debt that will soon be equal to our GDP.

A prescription of more deregulation and more tax cuts isn't going to fix this.

Ha..you compare libertarianism to Sweden. If you're comparing the distribution of wealth, I think a more accurate analogy would be Sweden and South Africa.

List of countries by income equality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:53 AM   #209
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IfThe standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like Finland (or Sweden) seems a fair enough number to use and the USA provides exactly that. Good, the problem's solved. We've provided -- both through the structure of the economy and the various forms of taxation and benefits precisely what we should be -- an acceptable baseline income for the poor. No further redistribution is necessary and we can carry on with the current tax rates and policies which seem, as this report shows, to be increasing US incomes faster than those in other countries and boosting productivity faster as well.

America: More Like Sweden Than You Thought - TCS Daily
The article is grotesquely misleading since it focuses only on cash income for the poor. In Europe the standard of living for the poor and working class is dramatically enhanced by the public infrastructure, which makes it possible to live a civilized life on what appears to be a lower cash income.

I've been in the poor sections of Glasgow, Hamburg, Vienna and DC, specifically to do housing comparisons. No one would put the poor sections of DC on a par with Hamburg or Vienna, although Glasgow is closer.

In Salzburg a pensioner couple with the PPP of $12,000 can live very nicely. Public transit goes everywhere and is extremely cheap for the elderly
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:18 AM   #210
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An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,but had recently failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

How about a cite a name etc ?
Or is it another my brother in laws college roommates cousins etc
We all know what a failure the US military is with its socialist everybody wears the same gets paid the same etc culture

There is nothing about "socialism" that guarantees equality of outcome without regard to effort
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:27 AM   #211
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This was one of the silliest things I've ever read here. It's clear to me that whoever came up with this:

a) is ignorant of Obama's actual political beliefs
b) doesn't have the slightest clue what socialism is



Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,but had recently failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:32 AM   #212
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This was one of the silliest things I've ever read here. It's clear to me that whoever came up with this:

a) is ignorant of Obama's actual political beliefs
b) doesn't have the slightest clue what socialism is

Not to mention has no idea how professors actually teach this point

I've been a full Professor in both an applied economics Department and an Engineering school. The problem of how to structure team versus individual rewards is as old as the code of Hammurabi.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:36 AM   #213
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That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
Is this particular straw man a stated goal of Obama?
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:46 AM   #214
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You may be correct. However, my Swedish friend says that they now have a more or less permanent class with very low levels of employment, very high levels of social services, crime etc. I don't read Swedish, so I can't really go look for myself. More than a few of these are imports.

She also says the producers are getting quite put out with this situation, which is bothersome for them as they have for a long time had this fairly happy acceptance of a highly redistributive government, as they tended to see it as having shifting roles, as as you say was more used by people at dependent life stages or down on their luck.

Ha

Maybe your friends are not getting enough time off... or had that many kids..

OR... maybe it has come home to roost that having a wellfare class leads to more people wanting wellfare... even over there..
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:54 AM   #215
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An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,but had recently failed an entire class.

snopes.com: Socialism Grade Averaging

An old story according to the above.

I do think over time the results would be as you outline.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:26 AM   #216
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snopes.com: Socialism Grade Averaging

An old story according to the above.

I do think over time the results would be as you outline.
Thanks, Dex, that story has been hanging around the Internet for a long time - there must be 10 references to it on Google. I just used cut and paste to post it. The reference to Obama was accidental by me. It was not meant to be a political statement or commentary about Obama. I just thought the story (which is probably the figment of someone's imagination) seemed appropriate to the discussion. If you give away too much stuff, people get lazy.

I doubt any teacher would really ever try this stunt - so it is no reflection on teaching economics or political systems either. Let's just call it a parable.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:22 AM   #217
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An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,but had recently failed an entire class...
A classic. I've also seen this as 'at UC Berkeley', 'at Yale', 'at Texas Tech', and 'at UTAS' (University of Tasmania, Australia). I suppose we just can't keep a good urban legend down.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:47 AM   #218
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An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,but had recently failed an entire class...


Yes, this "parable" has been around for a while. I'm actually surprised some teacher somewhere hasn't tried it just to see how students would respond.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:59 AM   #219
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Yes, this "parable" has been around for a while. I'm actually surprised some teacher somewhere hasn't tried it just to see how students would respond.
It would have to be someone retiring at the end of the semester.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:01 PM   #220
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Yes, this "parable" has been around for a while. I'm actually surprised some teacher somewhere hasn't tried it just to see how students would respond.
Here is how I did it.
We did engineering team projects. The students organized themselves into 2-5 person teams. I gave each team the choice of either all getting the same grade for the project , or keeping notes and submitting them to me on their individual contributions, which I would use in connection with my subjective evaluation of each person's effort. If students chose their own teams and there were 2 or 3 on a team they went for the same grade. More than three they went for the individual evaluations. If I chose the teams they always went for the same grade.
Now these are all students in the same department and not strangers to one another. So YMMV

The problem with the urban legend fable is the projection of the junior high academic claim of "I did it all by myself" to the real world outside where we all stand on the shoulders of giants. Some admit it and some don't but the real world is a team sport
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