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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: United States President: 2008
Thread: United States President: 2008 [ This thread is 90 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 (66) 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 ]
Mytical
Mytical

Hero of Order
Chaos seeking Harmony
posted October 26, 2008 04:29 AM

The blame does not stop there.  Voters need to actually get a clue, and stop falling for the smoke, mirrors, and blame game.  I swear we need debates with the canidates hooked up to an electric device.  Any time they try to start talking about blame the 'host' gives em a shock.  Any time they try to fillibuster around a question, same.

Worse, this election will cost over 1 billion dollars..and nothing really is being said.  Hey, give me a billion and I can not say anything really for a decade
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TitaniumAlloy
TitaniumAlloy


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posted October 26, 2008 04:51 AM
Edited by TitaniumAlloy at 04:54, 26 Oct 2008.

And on a country that is broke, don't forget.
Though the cost would be more than that I would think.

But with the iraq war costing somewhere near 720 million dollars per day that doesn't seem all that significant, really.



What was funny was the thing on the Daily Show contrasting Palin's "working class", "ordinary", "regular", "joe the plumber" stance to her 150,000 dollar clothing and accessory bill in just two months
That's a fair effort, I applaud you Miss Palin.
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Mytical
Mytical

Hero of Order
Chaos seeking Harmony
posted October 26, 2008 05:10 AM

It's sad to say but I don't think that they know what the 'average joe' is anymore.  The line between the haves and have nots has grown so wide, they may not be able to see past it.  Let me tell you, an 'average joe' doesn't have 150k to just spend on clothing, jewelry, etc.  Nor do they have hundreds of millions to run campains with.  They don't own 7 homes.  The true 'average' person has trouble putting food on the table anymore, let alone anything else.

They can't afford to get sick, and not only because of the cost of a doctors visit or medicine.  They can't afford to miss a day of pay.  I went to a doctor for the flu, missing a single day of work.  Not only did the doctor charge me $400 (a weeks pay) but I lost out on $80 for the day.  So basically 'normal' days pay of work for getting sick for one day, and I actually got off cheap (visits to doctors can cost thousands, my dads lifeflight cost $14,000 alone, and that is not including what two hospitals will charge him).

They sometimes work 80+ hrs a week, and most work hard for their money.  They are paying a mortgage, probably a vehicle payment, and if they are lucky get 2 weeks a year paid vacation.  IF they are lucky.

When any person who is running for president is capable of living on 20..no lets say even 30k a year..then they can talk to me about the 'average joe'.  I don't think any of them (Obama, McCain, etc) could.  I would give them a month..and that is being generous.
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TitaniumAlloy
TitaniumAlloy


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posted October 27, 2008 07:37 PM

worldwantschange.org


10 Days, 1Million International Signatures for Obama.
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nocaplato
nocaplato


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Lover of Ancient Philosophy
posted October 27, 2008 09:52 PM

Off topic reintroduction

Hail and well met,

I would like, in some ways, to reintroduce myself to this discussion.  Recently I've been engaged in a rather brutal (at times) discussion of the role of religion in the political sphere.  While I stand by my arguments, I also recognize that in moments of frustration, my tone grew sharp and my language more... let's say colorful.  For that I apologize to any offended.

Let me be clear.  I am what's called these days a 'non-practicing Catholic'.  In personal terms what that means to me is a certain favoritism toward Christianity.  If put under duress I might even call myself a Catholic still.  However, long ago I came to the conclusion that there are many pathways toward leading a good life and that religion, while a helpful guide in many ways, is not the only arbiter of morality.  Science and logical reasoning were the first wedges and, as I aged and learned, seeing a wider world made me recognize validity in a huge range of belief systems.  

Not the least of which was my exposure in the military.  During the 1st Gulf War I served as an interrogator and linguist and was trained in Arabic to decent level of skill (for a non-native).  Though my instructors were generally Christian, what I discovered was that those of Lebanese, Egyptian or Syrian decent (my Arabic intsructors were of those nationalities) were certainly not the extremists I used to misunderstand on news reports.  As a part of our training, we were also exposed to the tenants of Islam.  These were not brainwashing situations.  I went through DLI, which is a U.S. military joint task force command.  It's instructional methods and demands are set by the military.  It is wise, however, to know the ways of your potential enemies.  To reduce your foes to extremists is to underestimate their abilities.  Because faith does play a huge role (though not monolithic) in Arabic countries, understanding the basics of Islam is a critical part of understanding the culture.  

I say all this off topic because I feel the comments made during my posts, and in the posts and accusations leveled against me, have sullied me in some ways.  I would like to clear the table in order to have my comments measured, not by the stridency of the religious discussion, but by what I feel is my more detached view.  I want the rancor of that debate to not be the only standard by which my comments are judged.  

I enjoy a spirited debate, so long as the evidence presented is measured and attacks are kept focused on the subject, rather than the persons.  

While I do stand by the logic of my positions, I also feel I let personal attacks over-heat me at times.

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TitaniumAlloy
TitaniumAlloy


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posted October 28, 2008 02:21 AM
Edited by TitaniumAlloy at 02:22, 28 Oct 2008.

White supremacists charged over Obama assassination plot

"Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt. Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt."

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted October 28, 2008 03:50 AM

@ nocaplato

I, for one, have enjoyed your eloquent and well-tempered posts. I suspected, you had to be in a job connected with language and maybe even writing somehow. A pleasure to read, so keep them coming.

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TitaniumAlloy
TitaniumAlloy


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posted October 28, 2008 05:42 AM

Hey Plato, you're forgetting the number one rule of OSM: never apologize.
Just blame it on The Death
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nocaplato
nocaplato


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Lover of Ancient Philosophy
posted October 29, 2008 04:24 AM
Edited by nocaplato at 04:31, 29 Oct 2008.

Thanks Joker...

Quote:
I, for one, have enjoyed your eloquent and well-tempered posts. I suspected, you had to be in a job connected with language and maybe even writing somehow. A pleasure to read, so keep them coming.


I don't know about either eloquent, or well-tempered.  Just ask Mytical.  Some of those posts must have hovered pretty darned close to deletion, especially toward the end.  I don't do anything so auspicious as writing.  I'm just an English teacher.

Quote:
Just blame it on The Death


Done!  It's all The Death's fault. He made me do it!!

I'd like to throw down the gauntlet now on something else that's been bugging me over the last few days.  The recent campaign charge from McCain/Palin is the old saw, fifty year old, McCarthy-esque claim that 'X' is a socialist.  Coupled with some of the other things going on out there like this:

Health reporter gets an interview with a VP pic; husband is Republican Media Consultant

The socialist claim is, as Biden says, ridiculous.  The idea that 'Spreading the wealth around' is some sort of attack on capitalism or the average American is just flat out wrong... There, I've said it.  

Come one, come all, McCain/Palin folks, let's hear the justification for this.  I'd love a tussle on this with someone who's got good reasoning, is willing to analyze their own position in light of evidence (I promise to do the same with any evidence you offer), and will try to refrain from personal attacks.  I don't care to talk about 'Joe the Plumber' fiasco into the debate.  It's a red herring, for one, and not important for the discussion.  

What's more, to pre-stir some agitation, this debate could be titled:  "The Reason Joe Six-Pack Should vote for the Democrats".  

Meet an 'average' Joe

To put this in perspective, we need to have a subject for discussion.  Let's pick one who's just a little more than average, though, just to make things more interesting.

Let's assume Palin's 'Joe Six-Pack' is code for 'average American'.  This person could be of any stripe, rural or urban; the person could be of any gender; not the sexist male suggestion implied by Palin; the person could be of any faith, since this will be a discussion of money; and could be of any race, though when it comes to economics, minorities and the poor have even more financial incentive to go Democrat.  

Let's assume Joe makes a pretty darn good salary, let's say a household income of 100,000 a year.  That's a figure that should give fodder to the Republicans, since there are some organizations out there that can provide evidence that such a middle-upper class person should vote McCain.

The Wage Gap

For about 30 years now the Congressional Budget Office has been collecting tax and income information about American workers and categorizing those incomes into 5 quintiles, plus a sixth group, the top 1 percenters.   The lowest quintiles are those in poverty while the upper quintiles are those earning lots and lots of cash.  In the time since the CBO has been collecting this data a remarkable long-term trend has been taking place.  As the years go by, the upper end make more and more money while the lower end make less and less.  

'Average' Joe and the Bush Tax Cuts

According to 2006 statistical information (the most recent census available was in 2005, the information was analyzed and published two years ago) the top fifth of the country earn, on average, 172,200 a year.  The second highest quintile earns an average 70,300 a year.  That puts our imaginary 'average' Joe at the top end of the 4th quintile... upper-upper middle class.

Under Bush's tax cuts this fellow received only a 0.6% increase to his average after tax income thanks to Bush.  That's about 600 dollars more a year.  Thanks for the help Prez.  By comparison, the top quintile, (earning 172,200) earned an extra $12,752 and 80 cents.  To put it another way, if 'average' Joe had gotten that amount in tax refunds, he'd have been able to take about 46 days off (without pay) in addition to all the other days off he/she usually gets and still make the same in a year.  To put it another way, he could have gotten an end of year X-mas bonus equal to about 1 and 1/2 months.

Now, the top 1% (granted, an unfair comparison) earned themselves a tax cut on average of 179,900 dollars.  That's right, the top 1% got a tax cut of almost twice his yearly salary!  That's just a tax cut!  Doesn't include the 1 percenter's regular 7 figure salary (on average).  

Furthermore, while it fluctuates from year to year, the top 10 percent, that is the top % earners in the country account for typically half, yes, half... 50% of the total amount of income made by the entire population for an entire year.

Even more interesting, the top 5% (the group to which Obama wants to restrict his taxes) made, in 2006, roughly 38% of the total income earned in the United States.  And yet, this group had the largest tax cut out of all groups under Bush.  A tax cut of about 20% according to CBO statistics.  

When McCain/Palin claim Obama wants to spread the wealth around, they're saying he wants to take some of the money these folks are earning and spread it down from the top 5% (the guys who were given those massive tax presents) and give it back down to the folks who make less.  I'm not sure exactly what base McCain is playing to here, but only 1 out of 20 folks should be ticked off buy it, if all you're worried about is cash in your pocket.

As if that weren't enough, Wage Gap Pt 2

Though the CBO has only been keeping track of these things since 1979, som data about wages can be extrapolated back to around the turn of the century.  In all the time economic historians and statistical data have been kept the gap between the rich, the middle class and the poor has been consistently growing.

In 1979, the average poor family earned 14,400 dollars a year.  In 2005, the average poor family earned 15,300.  That's a change of 900 dollars.  By contrast the highest quintile earned 95,700 a year on average in 1979.  By 2005 that income had increased to 172,000, a difference of $76,500 .  The top 1% saw an increase from $326,400 in 1979 to $1,071,500 in 2005, a change of $745,000!

Here's something really interesting.  In 1979 the 1 percenters had an income 23 times greater than the lowest.  That has grown dramatically.  In 2005 the 1 percenters made 70 times as much money as a poor family.  Meanwhile, 1 percenters of 1979 earned 8 tims as much as the typical middle class (the real average Joe) in 1979.  The 1 percenters now earn 21 times as much as the middle-middle class.  

To put that in perspective: The average middle income family of 2005 earned about the same as a poor family in 1979, when compared to average rates of income.  Rich in 1979 - 23 times the average ultra poor family.  Rich in 2005 - 21 times the average middle income family.

Even our 'average Joe Six-Pack is earning only half as much as the top 5th quintile, and one tenth as much as the 1 percenters.

So, is 'spreading the wealth around' as McCain puts it, such a bad idea? Are we going to suddenly fly apart as a country if the ultra rich, or even just the top quintile, lets loose their death grip on some of that cash?  I can't be sure of the answer.  Maybe we can go to 1979 (a recession year by the way!) and ask the folks back then what they would think about our modern income distribution.

What part of all this, exactly, is Socialism?  Marxism?  Sometimes I just want to yell at my TV.

For statistical data on income distribution check out the Census Bureau and the Congressional Budget Office.

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TitaniumAlloy
TitaniumAlloy


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posted October 29, 2008 04:25 AM

Quote:
It's all The Death's fault.

Now you're learning
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Mytical
Mytical

Hero of Order
Chaos seeking Harmony
posted October 29, 2008 05:51 AM
Edited by Mytical at 05:52, 29 Oct 2008.

Quote:
I don't know about either eloquent, or well-tempered.  Just ask Mytical.  Some of those posts must have hovered pretty darned close to deletion, especially toward the end.  I don't do anything so auspicious as writing.  I'm just an English teacher.


Hmm, is my evil twin causing havoc again?  Possession prohaps?  .  Actually since I've never seen you in the glade, and none of your posts that I have read have been racist, sexist, or any of the other ists..I've not had any real problem (though I might have disagreed with you ) with your posts .

Should you visit the Glade, as long as you are a decent Roleplayer..all will be good

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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posted October 29, 2008 08:49 AM
Edited by mvassilev at 08:50, 29 Oct 2008.

nocaplato:
You have to consider why the gap is increasing, though. It's because college-educated people are becoming more productive at a higher rate than non-college educated people are. So the income gap really isn't necessarily a bad thing. And I don't see any need to "spread the wealth around" just because not everyone is equally productive.

And I think that over this election cycle everyone forgot what taxes are actually for: to pay for the government's expenses, not to spread wealth.
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TitaniumAlloy
TitaniumAlloy


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posted October 29, 2008 08:55 AM

Well the idea is that spreading the wealth around creates a larger percentage of productive people, without greatly damaging the productivity of those with wealth and economic stability.


McCain supported this as well during the Republican primaries but of course now he's taken the "Obama is a damn socialist/terrorist/muslim/Karl Marx" stance as a last ditch effort and wouldn't be seen dead supporting that kind of stuff any more.
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nocaplato
nocaplato


Adventuring Hero
Lover of Ancient Philosophy
posted October 29, 2008 09:29 AM

Quote:
nocaplato:
You have to consider why the gap is increasing, though. It's because college-educated people are becoming more productive at a higher rate than non-college educated people are. So the income gap really isn't necessarily a bad thing.


That may be so for some college graduates.  But I'm a college grad, and so are most of the people I work with, and none of us are in the top quintile.  

Granted, teachers don't get paid very well, so it's not entirely a fair comparison, but nurses are in the same general bracket as are police and firefighters.  On the other hand, I find it difficult to justify a middle quintile income with pay rates so deep on the low end.  In the 7 years I've been teaching I have seen 1, yes 1 pay raise at 3%.  There are teachers out there now who've seen a pay increase only once in 10 years.  

Full disclosure, I'm talking in part here about COLA increases, which are supposed to be adjusments for inflation.  There are also pay grade increases and time in service in creases that can be earned.  However those are largly predicated on more post graduate work, difficult to swing when courses can run $300 a unit.  After every additional 15 units, a teacher can move over 1 'step', which increases your pay scale.  The far right of the pay scale for teachers stops with masters degrees, usually those are accompanied by a flat 'master's stipend'.  

There are also time in service pay increases that happen at varying rates, for example, an increase after your first 3-5 years is typical, with another happening at year 6-8 and so on.  These increases are very small for teachers with les than a BA/BS + 30 units (a few hundred dollars a year, typically).  Once you're over past step 2 (BA + 30) your time in service becomes pretty useful.

However, the average teacher salary in California, which is one of the top five pay scale markets in the country, is between 45 and 50 K a year.  That's the middle, middle quintile.  The top end runs between 60 and 70 k, soy can actually push up into the 4th quintile toward the end of your career.

Here's the problem, there are actually teachers who'v been working all the time the CBO has been keeping track of these records (1979).  They'll be getting within a few years of retirement now.  The pay scales haven't really changed all that much through COLA increases (as I said, one in the last ten years in my district, and that was a measlely 3%).  That means when the teacher getting ready to retire started his/her career, they had hopes of reaching the 4th quintile half way through their career, not at the tail end of it. They keep working to stay in place.  That's sort of the opposite of what's supposed to happen.  Even for teachers.    

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nocaplato
nocaplato


Adventuring Hero
Lover of Ancient Philosophy
posted October 29, 2008 11:53 PM

BTW, sorry Mytical, it was Angelito that had his finger over the button

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TheDeath
TheDeath


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posted October 30, 2008 08:16 AM

Don't take that much from mvassilev, he's too obsessed with 100% capitalism
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mvassilev
mvassilev


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posted October 30, 2008 08:25 AM

TA:
Quote:
Well the idea is that spreading the wealth around creates a larger percentage of productive people, without greatly damaging the productivity of those with wealth and economic stability.
How? Giving me more money for nothing isn't going to make me any more productive.

nocaplato:
Teachers are different because their salaries aren't as dependent on productivity. The education system is flawed, and teachers aren't paid enough. A teacher who doesn't actually teach but has been a teacher for 30 years is paid more than a good teacher who works hard but has only been one for a year. In their case, pay has very little correlation with productivity.

When I was talking about pay and productivity, I was talking more about doctors, engineers, etc. The situation with government employees is obviously different.
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TheDeath
TheDeath


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posted October 30, 2008 08:33 AM

Quote:
How? Giving me more money for nothing isn't going to make me any more productive.
A simple example: education. "Free" education may just be a substitute for "get money for nothing and use that for education". Of course this is only a simple example and there are much more similar scenarios.
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JollyJoker
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posted October 30, 2008 08:40 AM

Quote:

When I was talking about pay and productivity, I was talking more about doctors, engineers, etc. The situation with government employees is obviously different.

Doctors? Don't you think there's a slight conflict of interests concerning "doctors" (and the related industry) and "productivity"?

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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posted October 30, 2008 08:42 AM
Edited by mvassilev at 08:43, 30 Oct 2008.

TheDeath:
Education isn't money. I have no problem with providing people with an education; I just don't want to give them actual money. There's a difference. Education has benefits beyond that of spending the initial money: it has quite a large return. A person who invests in their own education will most likely get a very good return on their investment, and that's good for society as well. But just money, no.

JJ:
Quote:
Don't you think there's a slight conflict of interests concerning "doctors" (and the related industry) and "productivity"?
Please elaborate.
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