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Old 03-25-2011, 12:10 AM   #141
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:29 AM   #142
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jdw, let me help you out.

These are opinions:



These are facts:

FDIC: Failed Bank List

FRB: Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey: January 2011

FDIC: Bank Data Guide
lol!! you help me out?? lol!!! and yet you still wont discuss the facts wrt bill gates. i think it is because you cant, so you pick on something else i said. well let me help you out, what you quoted from me in your post above i know is my opinion, at least i am man enough to admit it, whereas the same cant be said for you. you apparently get your jollies trolling people.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:45 AM   #143
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Yep, the folks who brought us Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Ebay, et.al , were all just plain lucky, and never in the history of the world will all the planets align again to ever allow anyone to duplicate their success... except of course for the next crop of dot com zillionaires from Facebook, Google, Amazon, et.al... and undoubtedly many from the next generation will do equally well. Timing may have played a part (it always does) but to say that Bill Gates would be hacking code if he hadn't stumbled into MS is unprovable speculation, and a bit of a stretch, IMO

I think you and a few others are reading his posts in a different way than I am...

Sure, Bill Gates will not be hacking code... I do not see him saying that... but he also probably would not be the richest man in the world (or is it #2 now).... he might just be someone who makes a few hundred mill... or even a billion or two.... not the same as he is now...

And guess what... he might not have done even that good... who knows... but thinking that he would make it as big as he did doing it a different way is a streach IMO....
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:51 AM   #144
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and yet still you wont discuss the historical facts i posted, you would rather make this about me.
Why does WesternSkys have to put down 'facts'... sure, your facts were acurate... but does not mean that he has to come to the same conclusion as you on what those facts indicate...

He might think that Bill Gates CAN reproduce his success in some other way... just because he got help the first time does not mean he might not get help the second...
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:10 AM   #145
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Some might have seen the oil company commercials, wherein, on split screen, an oil company employee and a non-employee talk about oil company "profits"; where they go, all the needs of society, and how the oil companies should be taxed for their windfall how to reconcile those different views.

The oil company spiel about the profits going to "small business, vendors, blah blah blah" seems to mistake profits for "costs". But, that aside, without confiscatory taxes, the only way to share in those profits, or the profits of any company, is to be an owner.

Changing the mindsets of people from "employee" to "owner" seems challenging, if necessary, but it still doesn't solve the problem, as mentioned in the "31% think they can retire on $250k" thread, of how can one become an owner, if there's little/no excess cash flow in the budget. Of course, we can argue that those poor folks can get rid of their cellphone, cable, etc., but the point still stands that a lifetime of saving $50-100 month still doesn't amount to much... Folks with disposable income, however, have no excuse, except being stuck in the passive employee mode.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:23 AM   #146
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Here's one source, but it doesn't include table data for 2009

The Tax Foundation - Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data
I followed the link and got this
Quote:
Each year from 2005 to 2007, the top 1 percent's constantly growing share of income earned and taxes paid set a record. That trend reversed in 2008. In fact, the income share for the top 1 percent of tax returns was lower in 2008 than in 2000, largely due to differences in capital gains.
Your claim referenced "wealth" not "income". You were claiming a long term trend, not a one year blip in a long term trend. I think I can safely say that 2008 was an unusual year for capital gains income and the results for that year don't say anything about the trend line.

So I guess I'll have to be more specific, I don't know of any data that shows a long term trend in the rich getting poorer (as in having fewer assets) and the poor getting richer.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:26 PM   #147
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This is a more accurate analogy--

You tell the kid to buy his clothes, food, etc out of his allowance. You then cut his allowance and then get mad when he can't still purchase all of the same things he could before. In fact, you seem to expect him to actually start paying rent as well.

For the past 40 years, the cost of the federal government has bounced around 20% of GDP (its higher now due to the recession and stimulus spending, but I'm talking long term here). We have our taxes set currently so that they only bring in about 15% of GDP.

If you want to continue with a 15% GDP tax rate, you need to specify what government services you want to remove/reduce to get down to a 15% GDP cost structure. In order to get down to that cost level, you are going to need to make real cuts in Defense, SS, Medicare, or Medicaid. What serious cuts do you advocate making?


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No - it wouldn't be the end of the world to increase the rate on cap gains and dividends. But it's like a parent giving a kid an allowance. Would you give the kid a bigger allowance if the kid spent it foolishly?
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:47 PM   #148
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You seem to miss the distinction between "necessary" and "sufficient" conditions. Sure, Gates worked hard and accomplished a lot. Somebody with the same opportunities who insisted on working 32 hour weeks would have failed.

But, he also had opportunities that are extremely rare. If he had to start over, and the planets didn't align as favorably for him, he'd be a successful software designer, but we wouldn't know his name.
Only part way thru this thread..but just had to comment on this..

IMHO...what some of you might be missing in the Gates discussion.....is this: "Gates and others like him "make their own opportunities". No one GAVE them to him. Did IBM make a stupid mistake? Yes. Did they give him the opportunity. No. What THEY gave HIM was "a NO"!
GATES is the one that had the vision...that they refused to see.
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:01 PM   #149
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Well, Gates got lucky in that he was a participant in the PC revolution quite early. Still, he had the vision to drop out of Harvard to take a more active role. He was quoted as saying that if he had waited to finish school, it would have been too late. Contrast that with Ken Olsen, founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corp (DEC), who said in 1977 that "There is no reason for anyone to have a computer in his home". DEC had a great success with their 32-bit supermini VAX line to challenge IBM mainframes, but Olsen missed out on the next revolution.

Anyway, Gates is no hero of mine, and I have called him names and cursed Microsoft when I encountered nasty bugs on my PCs. Still, I would give Gates credit where credit is due.

But, but, but, what's all this have to do with wealth inequality again? Do we give an individual credit only if he could justify beyond any reasonable doubt that luck had nothing to do with his success? Else, we would strip him of all his money or what?
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:16 PM   #150
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and yet still you wont discuss the historical facts i posted, you would rather make this about me.
Sorry jdw_fire...but have you considered the facts you are holding onto...might be a bit one sided? And do they really have any bearing whatsoever...on what Bill Gates was able to turn it into?? (gently asking...).

I mean....isn't that sort of like ...those that say "X person is wealthy because they were lucky or they inherited it?". When in fact, the person that was lucky or inherited had choices. They could "blow that wealth" to the point they have nothing...or they can choose to " use it to create more wealth".

Gates turned his opportunity into something for himself, for others and for the world. And I am grateful...because I really like my laptop.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:42 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by Hamlet
This is a more accurate analogy--

You tell the kid to buy his clothes, food, etc out of his allowance. You then cut his allowance and then get mad when he can't still purchase all of the same things he could before. In fact, you seem to expect him to actually start paying rent as well.

For the past 40 years, the cost of the federal government has bounced around 20% of GDP (its higher now due to the recession and stimulus spending, but I'm talking long term here). We have our taxes set currently so that they only bring in about 15% of GDP.

If you want to continue with a 15% GDP tax rate, you need to specify what government services you want to remove/reduce to get down to a 15% GDP cost structure. In order to get down to that cost level, you are going to need to make real cuts in Defense, SS, Medicare, or Medicaid. What serious cuts do you advocate making?
I was going to post my own list of removals/reductions, but I found this list to be more comprehensive.

http://www.patriotactionnetwork.com/...lowing-useless
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:55 PM   #152
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Quite a few federal agencies on the above list! Recently, a friend of mine sent me a similarly long list of state agencies in California.

I am reading Deadly Spin, a book about the sorry state of health care in the US, and am currently at the chapter where the author, a former PR representative of Cigna who changed his mind, saw with his own eyes the lack of health care in some poor Appalachian counties.

I just had this idea. Why can't we retrain and convert some of the existing public workers to become health care workers, and to send them into needy areas? It's a matter of prioritizing and to put your money where it is most important, the same with government as with individuals, yes?
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #153
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Only part way thru this thread..but just had to comment on this..

IMHO...what some of you might be missing in the Gates discussion.....is this: "Gates and others like him "make their own opportunities". No one GAVE them to him. Did IBM make a stupid mistake? Yes. Did they give him the opportunity. No. What THEY gave HIM was "a NO"!
GATES is the one that had the vision...that they refused to see.
I think the context of the statement is important. The original claim was that if you redistributed all the wealth, in 10 years it would be back in the original set of hands.

One counter-example to that claim is Bill Gates. Yes, he saw an historically big opportunity, grabbed it, and ran with it. But, if he had to start over again, the chances are near zero that he would see another equally big opportunity. He's bright and hard working and would probably find something that would make him more money than the average Joe. But he wouldn't find another opportunity like writing the operating system for the first PCs.

There are other people besides Gates who could have run with that same opportunity. But they were born a couple years later and weren't in a position to grab it, or a couple years earlier and were committed to something else, or just didn't know IBM was outsourcing. Those other people aren't lazy grasshoppers, they're probably above average earners today. They just didn't happen to be in the right place at the right time. If we gave everyone a new start, one of them might be the guy who finds the next great opportunity.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:51 PM   #154
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But, but, but, what's all this have to do with wealth inequality again? Do we give an individual credit only if he could justify beyond any reasonable doubt that luck had nothing to do with his success? Else, we would strip him of all his money or what?
Excellent point. The article linked in the OP asks why so many Americans don't seem to care about rising inequality. There were some good responses including "Most people don't know it's going on" and "Most people think that inequality isn't a problem because we have equal opportunity" and "Most people think that the rich provided a unique good".

So why do I care? I see these attitudes showing up primarily when we argue about how we distribute taxes. Should tax rates be progressive? If so, how steep should we make the curve?

One of the arguments used by people who argue for pretty flat taxes is that the only reason some people have more is because they worked harder, and progressive tax rates "punish hard work".
A different argument is that people who have tremendous financial success produced some huge and unique benefit to society, which wouldn't have happened without them.

I happen to disagree with both of those. I think that most people who have a lot really did work harder than the average Joe. But, the harder work somehow turned into disproportionately greater rewards, and the disproportionate part is luck. To a certain extent, progressive taxes result on a higher tax rate on luck than on hard work, and that's okay with me.

I also think that the "unique" service that the very wealthy provide (like Bill Gates and MS-DOS) would have been provided by someone else if this individual hadn't done it (in this case, some IT people think someone else would have done a better job). There's no long term loss to society in taxing Bill at higher rates than most of us, there are plenty of people who will fill that role.

So I don't happen to buy those two arguments in favor of flat taxes. There may be other good arguments, I certainly wouldn't go back to 90% marginal rates, but these two arguments don't do anything for me.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:53 PM   #155
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I agree with Independent that if it weren't for Bill Gates, someone else would have grabbed that opportunity and ran with it. Maybe Gary Kildall would have been sitting at the throne. The era of the PC had arrived, and Gates was only one of the many who knew it was a historical moment.

But all this talk about what alternative universe we would have sans Bill Gates was missing a big point, I believe. That is, without Gates, we would still have another Microsoft, and it would most likely be another American company. Yes, an American company.

On the hardware side, other than Intel, who else could have built for us the modern microprocessor? It's AMD, another American company, an underdog who is still giving Intel a hard time. I have nothing against Intel, but I like to buy AMD processors whenever I can to support this underdog. We need competition to keep Intel from being a monopoly, and it's great when the competition to an American corporation is another American company. And the distant 3rd CPU maker, Cyrix, used to be another American company!

The American economic system is far from perfect, but there are things that we still do well. I am sure several tomes have been written about this. We need to remind ourselves why we have been able to maintain some technological edges.


PS. Microsoft is the biggest software house, but not the most innovative company. Gates was paranoid and constantly worried about competition, and has resorted to dirty tactics to kill competition, as described in Barbarians led by Gates, a book written by two insiders.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:04 PM   #156
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I was going to post my own list of removals/reductions, but I found this list to be more comprehensive.

IF THE FOLLOWING USELESS GOVERNMENT SERVICES ARE ABOLISHED.... IMAGINE THE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS SAVED!!!!!! - Patriot Action Network
For some reason, that list is missing the numbers. You'd think that the guy who compiled it would have had the budgets available right next to the names, why didn't he copy them down?

I'll pretend that I put this list on a spreadsheet with the associated budgets. Then I sort the list by budget. There's probably and 80/20 rule. The least expensive 80% of the items only represent 20% of the total savings, and that savings is nearly invisible compared to the whole federal budget. The more expensive 20% add up to more money, it's worthwhile listing them and explaining exactly what we lose when we cut those programs.

There's a classic story about Ronald Reagan from Donald Stockman. When Stockman put together such a list for Reagan (he had one program per page), Reagan was unable to make the kinds of cuts he had promised. Once he saw what each program did, he found himself continuing most.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:12 PM   #157
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Why does WesternSkys have to put down 'facts'... sure, your facts were acurate... but does not mean that he has to come to the same conclusion as you on what those facts indicate...

He might think that Bill Gates CAN reproduce his success in some other way... just because he got help the first time does not mean he might not get help the second...
i notice that you say "He might think" which implies you dont know what he thinks; i dont either. that is because he wont discuss his opinion of how the facts that i pointed out would affect gates' fortune. instead he replied with sarcasm and then focused on me personally. what kind of logical discussion can be had when he resorts to those tactics? he doesnt have to agree with my opinions (no one does) but it would be nice (and civilized) if he discussed the facts instead of using the tactics he used.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:31 PM   #158
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Sorry jdw_fire...but have you considered the facts you are holding onto...might be a bit one sided? And do they really have any bearing whatsoever...on what Bill Gates was able to turn it into?? (gently asking...).

i would have been happy to discuss that with WS (or you if you like) if that had been his in any of his replies but neither question was, instead he was sarcastic and then made it personal.


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I mean....isn't that sort of like ...those that say "X person is wealthy because they were lucky or they inherited it?". When in fact, the person that was lucky or inherited had choices. They could "blow that wealth" to the point they have nothing...or they can choose to " use it to create more wealth".

Gates turned his opportunity into something for himself, for others and for the world. And I am grateful...because I really like my laptop.
this makes me think you missed the point of the first post i made wrt gates. i was responding to someone who said (paraphrasing) if we gathered up all the wealth in the US and evenly distributed it to everyone, in 10 years it would again be back in the hands of the people who have it now. i then said i didnt 100% agree with that and gave a couple of examples, 1 which supported his statement and 1 which gave reason why i didnt think so (gates). i never said gates wasnt smart, didnt make good choices, wasnt talented or anything along those lines. all i said was that i didnt think he would be as rich as he is now bacause there were some lucky events and timings that happened that allowed him the opprotunity that he exploited. and since that is all history and they wouldnt happen again i didnt think he would be as rich again. i was in no way belittling his acomplishments, but i think that when you look at the facts objectively you would have to admit that there was some luck involved in his fortune.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:31 PM   #159
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I was going to post my own list of removals/reductions, but I found this list to be more comprehensive.

IF THE FOLLOWING USELESS GOVERNMENT SERVICES ARE ABOLISHED.... IMAGINE THE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS SAVED!!!!!! - Patriot Action Network
They sure do a lot of shouting on that site...

I saw plenty of stuff that could be cut or eliminated in that list, but it's nebulous to claim that it is a list of "unconstitutional" departments. Unless it's been before the SCOTUS, and ruled as such, it is only opinion that it's unconstitutional. It is also a stretch to say they are all useless programs, designed to redistribute wealth.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:31 PM   #160
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For some reason, that list is missing the numbers. You'd think that the guy who compiled it would have had the budgets available right next to the names, why didn't he copy them down?
Heh. It would have contradicted the author's point. Closing all those agencies down wouldn't even shrink the annual deficit significantly. Ah, but think how much cheaper and easier it would be to build all those nuclear power plants without pesky government regulation and oversight. And we'll need them, what with shutting down the Tennessee Valley Authority, a huge power production operation.
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