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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 01:52 PM   #41
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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What is the definition of a "middle class" American? *
The term "middle class" becomes elevated to the buzz-word of the day every political campaign season, because both Republicans and Democrats claim to be "for middle class Americans."

But they differ in their concepts of what "middle class" means (although no political candidate has the guts to specifically explain what he/she means by "middle class").

To Democrats, the implied definition of "middle class" is anyone who "works for a living" -- meaning anyone who either does strictly manual work or low level administrative work, or belongs to a labor union. (The latter includes people such as professional athletes making millions of dollars per year, airline pilots making well over $100,000 per year, and members of certain other unions whose income is far above average). Any non-unionized person who works by using their brain is excluded, except of course for the candidates themselves. Lately, these have included Howard Dean (doctor/politician), Dick Gephardt (lawyer/politician), John Edwards (lawyer/politician), Al Sharpton ("holy man," professional organizer of protests in support of black people's positions whether they are right or wrong), Wesley Clark (Four Star General, Five Star Opportunist) etc, etc.

When Republicans refer to the "middle class," they generally mean those people who have been economically successful (or are on track to be); who have the naive notion that they "did it all themselves" (ignoring the many government functions that were an essential ingredient to their success); and who therefore believe that the taxes they are paying are "an unfair burden" on them. Too bad that they have to keep their $40,000 SUV for another year before they trade it in for another

I'm forever looking to support candidates who will acknowledge the following: (1)That the people with the highest incomes generally contribute the most to the economy, at the same time that they benefit the most from government; (2) That they do pay the major share of taxes; and (3) That they should continue to pay the major share of taxes. But how is a candidate going to display the "charisma" necessary to win their party's nomination with a centrist message like that?
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 02:12 PM   #42
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

Hello Ted. Re. "I'm forever looking to support candidates, etc etc............................" I think you
are a smart guy, but you would be better off
dropping out and never voting again (like me).
Otherwise you are doomed to disappointment.
I look at our choices for 2004 and see a solid
base for starting up a new mental institution.
Most of these people are out of touch with reality.
Republicans or Democrats, who can tell the difference
anymore?

John Galt
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 02:13 PM   #43
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Re: Retiring In Canada

Quote:
What is the definition of a "middle class" American? *
The term "middle class" becomes elevated to the buzz-word of the day every political campaign season, because both Republicans and Democrats claim to be "for middle class Americans."

But they differ in their concepts of what "middle class" means (although no political candidate has the guts to specifically explain what he/she means by "middle class").

To Democrats, the implied definition of "middle class" is anyone who "works for a living" -- meaning anyone who either does strictly manual work or low level administrative work, or belongs to a labor union. (The latter includes people such as professional athletes making millions of dollars per year, airline pilots making well over $100,000 per year, and members of certain other unions whose income is far above average). Any non-unionized person who works by using their brain is excluded, except of course for the candidates themselves. Lately, these have included Howard Dean (doctor/politician), Dick Gephardt (lawyer/politician), John Edwards (lawyer/politician), Al Sharpton ("holy man," professional organizer of protests in support of black people's positions whether they are right or wrong), Wesley Clark (Four Star General, Five Star Opportunist) etc, etc.

When Republicans refer to the "middle class," they generally mean those people who have been economically successful (or are on track to be); who have the naive notion that they "did it all themselves" (ignoring the many government functions that were an essential ingredient to their success); and who therefore believe that the taxes they are paying are "an unfair burden" on them. Too bad that they have to keep their $40,000 SUV for another year before they trade it in for another

I'm forever looking to support candidates who will acknowledge the following: (1)That the people with the highest incomes generally contribute the most to the economy, at the same time that they benefit the most from government; (2) That they do pay the major share of taxes; and (3) That they should continue to pay the major share of taxes. But how is a candidate going to display the "charisma" necessary to win their party's nomination with a centrist message like that?
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 02:16 PM   #44
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Re: Retiring In Canada

Quote:
I'm forever looking to support candidates who will acknowledge the following: (1)That the people with the highest incomes generally contribute the most to the economy, at the same time that they benefit the most from government; (2) That they do pay the major share of taxes; and (3) That they should continue to pay the major share of taxes. But how is a candidate going to display the "charisma" necessary to win their party's nomination with a centrist message like that?
Not to change the subject from Retiring in Canada but I have a theory about this one.

Some time ago, early 90's or so, no please do not quote me on this one. I read some place that 80% of the population made under 27k per year household income. The top 2 - 3% made over
$100k and all the rest fell in between. This does not include retired slobs like myself that choose not to work and live an economical but comfortable existance.

About the same figures were allocated to net worth. The top 3 - 5% of the poulation had a net worth of $1m and the bottom 80% had less than $25k All others floated in between 80 - 95%.

Well based on this one can summise (sp) and this is a general observation. As with all things there are exceptions.

If you make less than and are worth less than the 80% group, you are most likely blue collar, low income, less educated, (drink and smoke heavily .... I added that for fun) I call these folks the 80%'ers.

Now at election time if you can get the 80%'ers too the polls you will have a landslide. Now, because they are 80%'ers there are a lot less no shows at poll time (Most likely Drunk or coughing up lung chunks.. Nooooo another joke. Not wanting to offend anyone here) So let's say 50% of them can get to the polls. That still leaves a majority.

So my theory is, right or wrong is that if you are not in that group, you are NOT being courted by the politicians in any way at all.

If the top 1% of the population all turned out to vote, they would have minimal impact on the results.

So, in jest, if you are NOT a cigarette smoking, bourbon drinking lowly paid, ex sanitary worker, now on welfare with some kind of resperatory ailment, you do not even have a snails chance of even remotely having an effect on the final election outcome.

8)
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 02:25 PM   #45
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Re: Retiring In Canada

Quote:
What is the definition of a "middle class" American?
Hi Shok,

The way I use "middle class" is in the older sociological sense, rather than strictly income or asset based. To me, middle class means there is enough income or assets to have security, and education, health care, etc for one's kids. Plenty of "working class" people fit this definition in America. A Boeing or GM or GE worker, or a telephone lineman may be strictly working class in education, etc., but have a very middle class income and benefits package.

At the high end, I don't recognize upper middle class. These people are just consumer-earner slaves with a higher bandwidth.

Upper class to me is people who don't have to work, though they may, and they don't have to fret and plan like most of us ERs. Ski in Gstaad, sleep with who you want because you are too rich to be bothered by divorce settlements, eat what you want, drink what you want, etc. And I know, many of you are probably saying, well, I can do that now within reason. If you are upper class, you can forget about within reason. Anything is within reason!

The hereditary rich, top pro athletes, rock stars, real Hollywood stars, successful entrepreneurs, top officers of large corporations, successful surgeons, big entrepreneurial attorneys, and best-selling authors among others are all upper class in my book. Although these groups differ greatly, they offer freedom and choice not bounded by frugality.

Most of us have freedom and choice to a degree, but it is heavily bounded by the need to be frugal. If we can affect our security by buying a new 911, we aren't rich. An boy, would my security ever be screwed by buying a $125,000 car. In more ways than one I would guess.

JMHO,

Mikey

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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 03:30 PM   #46
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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Hello Hyperborea. *Re. your comments on immigration,
just curious. *What planet have you been living on?
Our government policies are a joke. *Our borders might
as well be non-existent. *And now, anyone who gets
in will be rewarded with my money. *I am not happy,
but I am resigned to this stupidity.

John Galt
I'm speaking as someone who's actually been going through the process personally. I understand that a lot of politicians use this issue as well as the "rising" crime issue (despite a falling crime rate) to radicalize their supporters. Border control of illegal immigrants and the entry of legal immigrants and visa holders is a seperate issue. Definitely crack down on illegal immigrants. The US visa holder or legal immigrant requires a job sponsor paying the prevailing wage. It is a long and arduous process. There are generally no self-sponsorship visas where candidates with high demand skills are allowed to immigrate (many other countries do this - often to bring in highly educated workers or skilled tradesmen).

As far as your "claims" about the monetary issue, you are wrong. Non-citizens are ineligible for welfare. They are eligible for Social Security to the extent that they have payed into the system (and that it still exists when they go to collect). They can claim unemployment but again only as far as they have paid into the system. Could you please provide me with the information as to how I can collect my share of this "reward money" that you speak of? I could certainly use this cash (if it exists) to speed my trip towards FIRE.

Hyperborea
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 04:20 PM   #47
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

I'm not sure I have a lot of evidence to support my
positions on immigration. Mostly based on anecdotal
info, news and my gut (proven highly reliable over the years). Anyway, it may be difficult and arduous for
someone to enter the USA legally, but that aside, I
view our borders as totally porous and our governmental policies as a joke. It's bad enough that
we can't stem the tide, but we then coddle those who
manage to get in. They (illegals) should all be sent packing.
We'll never do it of course. Too non-PC don't you know?
And another thing. I do not buy the argument that most
of these people are doing work Americans won't do.
When those Americans get hungry enough, they will do the jobs. That's the way a free market works.
Unfortunately, we don't have one. I doubt that we will
in the future.

John Galt
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-29-2004, 06:38 PM   #48
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Re: Retiring In Canada

As a california resident, I get a first hand view of the "work americans wont do". Perhaps thats not the right thing to call it. Doing work at rates americans wont do them at - - even if they're hungry - - might be more apt. Or maybe its work that wouldnt be done if people had to pay a living wage to have them done.

I lived in a well to do area where a lot of landscaping, housekeeping and nannying occurred with illegal immigrant labor for pennies on the dollar. I had a quote done for some area landscaping in back of my house and the landscaper quoted me two prices, one for regular full price labor and one for labor that he "would use discretion in finding lower cost laborers" (wink, nudge nudge). In this case I simply wouldnt have done the work at the higher quote, while the "discretionary labor" quote was incredibly cheap.

My live-in ex girlfriend also employed two housekeepers. Each came every other week. One was from a local company and did a nice job for $100. The other was clearly an undocumented russian worker and she worked twice as long for $50. If not for the lower cost, we would have only had the house cleaned every other week. If the russian woman had been available weekly, we probably would have dumped the legal worker.

I now live in the land of fruit and nut orchards. A large quantity of your produce from this area is picked by undocumented workers for dollars a day. If I drive by the orchards and look in the back at the barns and "back homes" that appear to be falling down between 6 and 7am, I see clumps of workers emerging that slept in them, unheated, overnight. If forced to employ 100% legal workers, your produce would cost so much that you probably wouldnt buy it.

Its not clear cut. There is a solid line below which work is either prohibitively expensive or undesirable to the american worker. On the other hand, there may be some crossing of that line and taking of jobs. On the third hand, I've rarely walked into a retail store or restaurant that didnt have a "help wanted" sign out, so anyone whimpering that they cant find a job or that the jobs they want to do are being taken away by immigrant workers, documented or not, is whining to the wrong guy here.
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 03:49 AM   #49
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

This may be off topic but here goes. I have faith in supply and demand, the
marketplace, free enterprise, entreprenuerism, etc.
In my view, all of these are being killed off by
government heavyhanded management (or ineptitude) of all aspects
of our lives. This would include the handling of the immigration issue, but that's only a small part of it.
In a truly free and open market, with minimal
intervention by government, I would be happy to take my chances.
The whole system is so extensively managed now
that market forces are relegated to a minor role
(look at farming for example). Of course we all must
play the hand we are dealt, and if I was working
I would take full advantage of whatever government
rules/laws might benefit me. Delighted not to be
participating any longer. It makes
me sad even to watch from the sidelines.

Back to the "illegals". If they were not available to do
the work cheaply, and the work never got done due to
higher costs, then that work probably wasn't really needed anyway. Obviously that's true in the case of landscaping and gardening. If the owner wants his grass cut or a tree planted, he can do it himself.
Any liberals who worry about the plight of those who
live in other countries should feel free to send them money and build them houses. Just don't invite them
to come here.

John Galt
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 04:38 AM   #50
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Re: Retiring In Canada

My view of 'the free market' is that anybody ought to be able to go anyhere on this planet to work.

In 1966, I took engineering orientation for new hires - 7 green cards, 5 Americans. When I made a remark about 'foreigners' to my lead engineer - he started laughing - "You do know that I left the Sioux Res in WW II to fight for you 'foreigners' and you're ALL still immigrants in my book."

Free markets are crap unless they embrace free movement of labor - ie the whole loaf not just half.

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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 05:02 AM   #51
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

John Galt,

I don't worry about people coming here, as much as I worry about the jobs going there!

Actually immigrants would rather stay where they're at and have an Amercian company build a facility in their hometown.

China is now garnering most of the world's manufacturing jobs. Ironically, they probably have the 'most free' marketplace of all. Free to hire Children and Free to pay their workers pennies, Free to mistreat workers with terrible working conditions. Free to pollute their countries Air, Land and Water.

Then there is India where Amercian companies are building large service centers. If a job can be done over the Telephone like - Legal Services, Engineering and Computer Sciences - the job is at risk. They Pay about 1/10th of what US companies are paying. One of companies in town that publishes legal documents has just farmed out a bunch of work to Indian Lawyers. They are teaching them Amercian Law.

These are countries that have a 'Free Marketplace' They are pretty much free to do as they please. I'm not interested in relocating to one of these places though!

No, John I don't think you have to worry about immigrants coming here. They will be paying the Social Security that you are soon to receive. *And I'll bet you are only few generations away from immigrants from Europe.
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 05:50 AM   #52
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

Hi Cut-Throat! Four quick points.

1. Companies going "offshore" are trying to make more money. As Martha used to say "It's a good thing!"
We once called it free enterprise.

2. We should avoid telling other countries how to
run their own ship all the time. Our track record is not
all that pure.

3. While it is true that my family is Scotch-Irish, as far
as I know none of my relatives broke any laws to come here.

4. If the USA would stick to the purposes our founders
envisioned (and got out of social engineering, for example) there would be plenty of money to pay for social security.

When I used to vote, I always voted Republican.
Now, I think they are just as nutty as the Democrats.

John Galt
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 06:51 AM   #53
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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4. *If the USA would stick to the purposes our founders
envisioned (and got out of social engineering, for example) *there would be plenty of money to pay for social security.

When I used to vote, I always voted Republican.
Now, I think they are just as nutty as the Democrats.

John Galt

Right on, John!

-Jay

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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 07:49 AM   #54
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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If the USA would stick to the purposes our founders
envisioned (and got out of social engineering, for example)
John Galt,

Here I disagree strongly.

I personally find Child Labor and Slavery horrible.

Some of our founders had slaves, which is terrible! - Just because they founded this country did not make them faultless. Luckily, men with more honor and compassion came after them to rectify the wrongs of our society.

Had your life not been subjected to what you call 'social engineering' you would not have lived the cushy life you did. It may be to your advantage to deny the rights you had for others - Just recognize that you had those privledges when you were growing up as well as the cleaner air you breath today to register your complaints.
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 09:17 AM   #55
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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I personally find Child Labor and Slavery horrible.

As do I, but outlawing slavory does not cost a thing. Social Security & Medicare on the other hand...

This is what I believe John is talking about when he mentions social engineering.

-Jay
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 10:00 AM   #56
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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As do I, but outlawing slavory does not cost a thing. *Social Security & Medicare on the other hand...
I think most of the large plantation owners in the South right after the Civil War might take a huge execption to the first part of this statement. Whole towns disappeared after outlawing slavery because they were no longer financially viable.

As far as the cost of any social program goes, you can't judge them only by looking at the expense. Just like any other investment, you need to look at a cost-benefit analysis. I notice that Social Security and Medicare are two of the most popular government programs around for the beneficiaries. Their vote counts too. More than 48% of Americans over 65 depend on social security benefits to maintain a lifestyle that is above the poverty level. What is the cost of having this many elderly people living in poverty?
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 10:13 AM   #57
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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What is the cost of having this many elderly people living in poverty?
Here's a solution that should make both sides of this argument happy: kick all of the immigrants out of the country and give their vacated jobs to the elderly.

Hey, this social engineering stuff is kinda fun!
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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 10:14 AM   #58
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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Free markets are crap unless they embrace free movement of labor - ie the whole loaf not just half.
This might be true if all a nation were is an economy. But it is more, it is a culture. Less theory and more attention to what has happened in the last 40 years as a result of labor mobility would be helpful. France, Germany, Sweden, UK all are having severe crime and other social problems as a result of labor mobility from respectively North Africa, Turkey, Turkey, Pakistan and Jamaica. France in particular has a muslim minority almost as large as our African- American minority here. All these countries have found that they have a tiger by the tail. Most of them are doing what we have done, moving toward "affirmitive action". They use none of the bogus theories that we put forward about slavery, etc. Just plain old "what the hell else are we going to do?" If they don't give these groups a permanent subsidy of one kind or another, they will give themselves a subsidy via crime and destruction of the host nation's culture.

Another dificulty with unfettered labor mobility is that it totally falls down in modern welfare societies. Which the US is, by the way. All a pregnant Mexican has to do is somehow get across the border, and she and her family will have their anchor baby, compliments of MediCal. Is that fair to some family already living here, maybe some members have served in the arm forces of our country, but unfortunately they get no medical insurance at their jobs?

Good luck USA competing with China. There the poor people are smart, and no one ever heard of affirmative action.

Mikey

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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 10:23 AM   #59
 
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Re: Retiring In Canada

Hi Cut-Throat!

If you think men of honor have "rectified
the wrongs" (I'm not talking about slavery here), I have
to wonder what planet you are living on. I know everything wasn't heavenly back in
1800, but it surely looks good from where I stand, and I see damn few men of honor any more, at least in politics. You are talking to a student of history here
Cut-Throat. You don't need to be a genius to see where
we are headed.

BTW, my life has not been all that "cushy".

John Galt


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Re: Retiring In Canada
Old 01-30-2004, 11:07 AM   #60
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Re: Retiring In Canada

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As far as the cost of any social program goes, you can't judge them only by looking at the expense. *Just like any other investment, you need to look at a cost-benefit analysis. *I notice that Social Security and Medicare are two of the most popular government programs around for the beneficiaries. *Their vote counts too. *More than 48% of Americans over 65 depend on social security benefits to maintain a lifestyle that is above the poverty level. *What is the cost of having this many elderly people living in poverty?
SS has been around for roughly 70 years. People surely were able to survive & provide for themselves before. Many of us on this board discuss retiring early because we are responsible enough to realize we need to provide for ourselves and are willing to work for it. What I don't like is having to pay for someone else's retirement because they were not responsible enough to provide it for themselves.

Also, the reason SS & Medicare are so popular is basically it is a handout. Alexander Tyler said over 100 years ago "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. " The most popular government program will always be the one where the majority can extract the most money from the wealthiest few. SS & Medicare scare the heck out of me because I truly believe it can potentially be a major cause of America's downfall.

Ironically I'm usually a very optimistic person.

-Jay

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