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Old 10-20-2011, 11:10 AM   #41
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Also from the Wikipedia, specifically on income inequality, on who is the most unequal (you'd never guess):
Ya know what they say about statistics? "There's lies, damn, lies, and then statistics".........
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:53 AM   #42
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Not your fault. People need to use better thread titles than "Interesting Article".
I am the people who will try to do better with the title next time. Sorry!
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:58 PM   #43
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If there is money available to fund corruption, corruption will rise to absorb that money. Humans taken as a group seem to be almost infinitely corruptable. It's like if candy is available, children will eat it. Best to dry up the source of candy if you want children to eat less of it.

Ha
No question that humans are corruptible, but I just can't follow that drying up the money is any solution. Seems like poor places are often more of a hotbed for bribes?

I see it more as a crime of opportunity. If it is known that the cops accept bribes, bribes will tend to be offered. If it is known that the cops are straight, one is not likely to offer, fearing a charge of attempt to bribe.

To clean up the source of bribes pretty much requires that the cops are already clean, else why would they enforce it?

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Old 10-21-2011, 11:59 PM   #44
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No question that humans are corruptible, but I just can't follow that drying up the money is any solution. Seems like poor places are often more of a hotbed for bribes?

I see it more as a crime of opportunity. If it is known that the cops accept bribes, bribes will tend to be offered. If it is known that the cops are straight, one is not likely to offer, fearing a charge of attempt to bribe.

To clean up the source of bribes pretty much requires that the cops are already clean, else why would they enforce it?

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We are not talking about bribes, which are illegal, but legally applied contributions and lobbying. And we are not talking about police, where I think your concerns are quite justified. We are talking about legislators, administrators and regulators most of whom are less brave than police.

Your issue is real no doubt, but I think less important. And the bribes you mention in poor countries- there is no shortage of money in these places, it comes from giant multinationals. There is however a shortage of law and order.
Swiss court approves African kleptocracy: Mobutu's loot to go to his family - Afrik-news.com : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper

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Old 10-22-2011, 08:29 AM   #45
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We are not talking about bribes, which are illegal, but legally applied contributions and lobbying. And we are not talking about police, where I think your concerns are quite justified. We are talking about legislators, administrators and regulators most of whom are less brave than police. ...

Ha
I see, yes, I agree that at the higher levels there doesn't seem to be any way to fight the corrupt (sometimes subtle) use of that power. Dry up the money, and they will look for anything else worth having. Transparency is all we have, but those in power control that to some degree also.

Things are probably better than in the days of the chief or feudal lord. If things really go too far, we get the angry mobs with pitchforks (or modern equivalent). I don't think we are there yet, however there will always be some group that feels they are being held down by 'the man'.

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Old 10-22-2011, 11:01 AM   #46
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And then there is the 2%





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Old 10-22-2011, 01:01 PM   #47
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I remember a time working hard and smart and being successful was something to aspire to, not disparage and hate. Why should I care what someone else has who has lived a different life and made different choices?

There's a whole lot of unmotivated, unintelligent, poorly educated people out there who just have their hands out instead of doing it on their own. Why do people need to measure their success in life only on their wealth? Are they happy, have their needs met, in a satisfying loving relationship?
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:00 PM   #48
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Another WSJ article. Looks like it's not so great at the top from this perspective (Subscription needed?):
The Wild Ride of the Wealthiest 1% - WSJ.com

"During the past three recessions, the top 1% of earners (those making $380,000 or more in 2008) experienced the largest income shocks in percentage terms of any income group in the U.S" (roughly 3x the beta)

"The super-high earners have the biggest crashes. The number of Americans making $1 million or more fell 40% between 2007 and 2009, to 236,883, while their combined incomes fell by nearly 50%—far greater than the less than 2% drop in total incomes of those making $50,000 or less, according to Internal Revenue Service figures. "


And this last quote makes it seem that the majority of high-income earners are acutally just one-time wonders:

"Though often described as a permanent plutocracy, this elite actually moves through a revolving door of riches, with some of today's nouveau riche becoming tomorrow's fallen kings. Only 27% of America's 400 top earners have made the list more than one year since 1994, one study shows."
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #49
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Another WSJ article. Looks like it's not so great at the top from this perspective (Subscription needed?):
The Wild Ride of the Wealthiest 1% - WSJ.com



And this last quote makes it seem that the majority of high-income earners are acutally just one-time wonders:

"Though often described as a permanent plutocracy, this elite actually moves through a revolving door of riches, with some of today's nouveau riche becoming tomorrow's fallen kings. Only 27% of America's 400 top earners have made the list more than one year since 1994, one study shows."
An interesting article I was about to post it. On the other hand the top of top 1% is clearly different from the rest of us.

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s. Siegel has started a nonprofit called ThriftMart, a mega thrift-store that sells donated clothes—many from her own closet—and other items for $1. She does miss one luxury—the Gulfstream. After they defaulted on the $8 million jet loan, the banks seized the plane. The Siegels can use it only occasionally, with the banks' permission.
Recently, the family boarded a commercial flight for a vacation, making for some confusion. One of the kids looked around the crowded cabin and asked, "Mom, what are all these strangers doing on our plane?"
Imagine the poor children only being able to fly occasionally on the Gulfstream, I hope flying commercial doesn't traumatize them for life.
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:25 AM   #50
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Like this guy
Boy, and we thought we were frugal for cutting our dryer sheets in half... or not using dryer sheets at all... only to find out that this guy doesn't even do laundry!
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #51
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Yes. I guess, like many of you, I am in the top 1% and I feel guilty about it while reading this article.
Anyone who gives up a whole decade of their life learning the crafts of their trade, pays enormous tuition costs, pays outrageous premiums for liability insurance, and makes life and death decisions DESERVES every dollar they make. Most Americans I believe respect doctors and feel they deserve all the fruits of their labor.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:47 PM   #52
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Income inequality grows, according to the CBO.

Income More Than Doubles for Top 1 Percent From 1979 - ABC News

The poor can get jobs with the cartels, though.

Mexican drug cartels recruiting 'expendable' Texas teens | khou.com Houston
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:27 PM   #53
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As a nation we are failing on so many fronts, but taxing the people who are successful even more than they are already taxed will only seal our fate. It is demagogic nonsense. Who does me more good- some incredibly rich guy who is paying a very large amount of income tax, or some of the 48% who pay no income tax? We can also hope that Warren Buffet will run his company and keep his mouth shut about his populist BS.

What we need is radically improved K-12 education- and I don't mean more money to the already hopelessly hamstrung public school system. Charter schools. Niall Ferguson has a recent Newseek article about a group of those nasty Wall Streeters who play poker and raise money to fund some Charter Schools in Harlem. Students at these schools are vastly outperforming those in nearby and more costly public schools. We mainly need people who are employable in profit-making enterprises, not more make-work. How does Germany have a very successful manufacturing sector? By making their training and education rational, not based on the fantasy that somehow smothering young people of all degrees of aptitude with the debt for a college eduation will pay off for them or the country.

We need a rational national energy policy, but since there appears to be no rational being in government, how likely is that? So far our energy policy is keeping our heads in the sand, and fantasizing about windmills and the Whole Earth Catalog. We need improvements in meaningful infrastructure. Things like a modernized higher capacity electrical grid. If peak oil flow rates do show up, we will need all the elecrical power we can get to run our Chevy Volts

We need to bring back Glass-Steagall. Pay attention to Paul Volcker while we can. He is the only honest man left and he is getting old.

We need to make our immigration entirely a skills based preference system. We need a border barrier that works. If Americans won't pick fruit, take them off welfare and they likely will. Failing that, import fruits and vegetables from Mexico.

Do like Portugal and legalize small (personal) quantities of any drug. So what if some idiot occasionally offs himself, they do it all the time anyway. Offer non-mandatory treatment for addicts who actually want to get well. If the dope market collapses, suddenly a lot of people will be looking for honest work. Pimping is very poor cash source compared to drugs

And if it is still possible, Wake Up Americans!


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Old 10-26-2011, 08:29 PM   #54
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As a nation we are failing on so many fronts, but taxing the people who are successful even more than they are already taxed will only seal our fate. It is demagogic nonsense. Who does me more good- some incredibly rich guy who is paying a very large amount of income tax, or some of the 48% who pay no income tax? We can also hope that Warren Buffet will run his company and keep his mouth shut about his populist BS.

What we need is radically improved K-12 education- and I don't mean more money to the already hopelessly hamstrung public school system. Charter schools. Niall Ferguson has a recent Newseek article about a group of those nasty Wall Streeters who play poker and raise money to fund some Charter Schools in Harlem. Students at these schools are vastly outperforming those in nearby and more costly public schools. We mainly need people who are employable in profit-making enterprises, not more make-work. Hwy does Germany have a very successful manufacturing sector? By making their training and education rational, not based on the fantasy that somehow smothering young people of all degrees of aptitude with the debt for a college eduation will pay off for them or the country.

We need a rational national energy policy, but since there appears to be no rational being in government, how likely is that? So far our energy policy is keeping our heads in the sand, and fantasizing about windmills and the Whole Earth Catalog. We need improvements in meaningful infrastructure.

We need to repeal Glass-Steagall. Pay attention to Paul Volcker while we can. He is the only honest man left and he is getting old.

We need to make our immigration entirely a skills based preference system. We need a border barrier that works. If Americans won't pick fruit, take them off welfare and they likely will. Failing that, import fruits and vegetables from Mexico.

Do like Portugal and legalize small (personal) quantities of any drug. So what if some idiot occasionally offs himself, they do it all the time anyway. Offer non-mandatory treatment for addicts who actually want to get well. If the dope market collapses, suddenly a lot of people will be looking for honest work. Pimping is very poor cash source compared to drugs

And if it is still possible, Wake Up Americans!


Ha
I need to +1 this and quote it before it disappears! Well said.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:44 PM   #55
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I need to +1 this and quote it before it disappears! Well said.
+1 - copied and saved to my hard drive!

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Old 10-26-2011, 08:59 PM   #56
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I'm mostly in agreement with Ha as well, except for that last part (a. No half measures on dope - make it legal in all quantities or keep it illegal. And b. selling booty is extremely lucrative and it's a renewable resource as well. Don't underestimate how much money Americans spend on getting some ass).

And I would only add: Turn off the TV and get off your ass.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:14 PM   #57
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I'm mostly in agreement with Ha as well, except for that last part (a. No half measures on dope - make it legal in all quantities or keep it illegal. And b. selling booty is extremely lucrative and it's a renewable resource as well. Don't underestimate how much money Americans spend on getting some ass).

And I would only add: Turn off the TV and get off your ass.

+1
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:17 PM   #58
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We mainly need people who are employable in profit-making enterprises, not more make-work. Hwy does Germany have a very successful manufacturing sector? By making their training and education rational, not based on the fantasy that somehow smothering young people of all degrees of aptitude with the debt for a college eduation will pay off for them or the country.
Are you suggesting that higher education should be more subsidized? That's been going out since the late 80s when state budgets started cutting public university funding.

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We need to repeal Glass-Steagall. Pay attention to Paul Volcker while we can. He is the only honest man left and he is getting old.
Eh? Glass-Steagall was repealed by the Gramm-Leach bill. That led to CBOs and SIVs and Enron.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:18 PM   #59
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Are you suggesting that higher education should be more subsidized? That's been going out since the late 80s when state budgets started cutting public university funding.



Eh? Glass-Steagall was repealed by the Gramm-Leach bill. That led to CBOs and SIVs and Enron.
Sorry, brain fart. Bring back Glass-Steagall is what I meant. Thanks for catching that error.

Ha


Thomas Frank: Bring Back Glass-Steagall - WSJ.com
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:37 AM   #60
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I'm mostly in agreement with Ha as well, except for that last part (a. No half measures on dope - make it legal in all quantities or keep it illegal.
I agree about making it legal in all amounts, but the effect on Portugal's crime and social problems has been incredible just by decriminalizing small amounts (of all drugs) for personal use.

Quote:
- There were small increases in illicit drug use among adults, but decreases for adolescents and problem users, such as drug addicts and prisoners.
- Drug-related court cases dropped 66 percent.
- Drug-related HIV cases dropped 75 percent. In 2002, 49 percent of people with AIDS were addicts; by 2008 that number fell to 28 percent.
- The number of regular users held steady at less than 3 percent of the population for marijuana and less than 0.3 percent for heroin and cocaine - figures which show decriminalization brought no surge in drug use.
- The number of people treated for drug addiction rose 20 percent from 2001 to 2008.
Scribd

So even a slightly more reasonable judicial slant toward drugs would pay off significantly, from both a cost and social basis. But I still agree with you and Peter Tosh. Legalize it!
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