Monday, February 11, 2013

In Gold We Trust

Until the GOP can overcome this image:

They are going to be a lost voice in the wilderness increasingly ignored.  I'm not saying the above hastily improvised salary graph is accurate.  But it's the impression a growing number of Americans have of our current economic condition.  I'm aware of the fact that any job I get, even though it requires a college degree and years of experience, will have less spending power than a kid bagging groceries would have when I was in school.  So it's difficult to fall in behind conservatives who still insist if we just make it easier for the wealthy to get wealthier, their natural generosity and giving natures will make all things right with the world.  I fear a growing number of Americans are sharing that reluctance to jump back on the old conservative GOP economics bandwagon.


  1. The worst problem is that it's leftist policies which are increasing the graphic and rightist policies that would decrease it.

    The 2nd worst problem is that explaining all that can be very counter-intuitive. Think of it like trying to explain vaccines. "So wait, you're going to inject me with a disease to make sure I don't get the disease?"

    A good example: Know all those stories about the "golden parachutes"? (you know: CEO or someone high up gets fired, still gets a kajillion dollars) Now who's "policy" is at fault for those?

    Well look @ #5 on this list:

    HR departments have extensive bureaucratic guidelines for how to fire someone and are so paranoid about building a paper trail of documentation that the process of firing someone usually takes weeks. They're justified in their paranoia, since there are a number of laws that allow at-will employees to fight wrongful termination for various reasons. Most employees, especially at the top, actually have detailed contracts to protect themselves in case of a firing.

    Now ask yourself, who is usually the one putting in more bureaucracy? Which side is putting the laws to protect workers' rights?

    Of course, nobody ever thinks that CEOs are "workers" too. ;)

  2. The main reason for those income trends is our society's increasing reliance on debt, both individuals and the government.

    The more debt a society takes on, the greater the share of that society's wealth is going to be transferred to those who profit from creating debt: the bankers who make the loans, in other words, and those who get most of their income from financial instruments derived from those loans (which is increasingly what most CEO income comes from).

    All government programs intended to combat "income inequality" just make matters worse. That's because the government must borrow money to pay for those programs, which just means more debt and even more money for those who profit off of debt.

    Likewise, raising income taxes on the wealthy also only makes matters worse. All that does is render actual wealth-creation less profitable for them, thus lowering their demand for wealth-producing workers and thereby decreasing those workers' pay, while incentivizing the wealthy to invest even more heavily in debt-creation instead of wealth-creation.

    If Republicans could figure this out, and then figure out how to communicate it, they would probably be in better shape politically, but I see little evidence that they can. For starters, many of them are in that elite class which is profiting from debt, so they have no real incentive to figure it out.

  3. My point is - and it was inspired by a round table talk on FOX the other day - that conservatives can't act as if they are blind to the problem, or that if we just throw off the chains of regulations the millionaires and billionaires will empty their pockets and let the wealth flow. No, they've done well making sure whatever restrictions they abhor haven't affected them. What Conservatives need to do is acknowledge the disparity, without acting as if sin stops at the corporate threshold. Acknowledge, and even emphasized, that some oversight is needed. When mentioned at all, it's under the breath and as if there's some vague idea of regulation that might be needed, but let's move on. That's what hit me as I listened to commentary on the GOP's little infighting. It was as if they didn't want to admit what is clear, rather than deal with it and explain its causes.

  4. Heh, a fair point Dave.

    Though there is some confusion on worldviews I think here.

    Some seem to believe that if there isn't a central force dispensing punishment (fines, jail, etc) that people get away with stuff scott-free. However, the true free market does not "let" anyone get away with anything. Bad choices lead to loss of business, profits, etc.

    Think of it like a debate on whether there should be a law against jumping off cliffs. Some would say we need the government to keep people from the edge and punish them. The free-marketers would be the ones saying "let them jump, gravity will punish them plenty". Sort of. I could recommend some John Stossel books that actually make this point better (or quote them). ;-)

  5. I would agree ... for the most part. But every time I go to the store and buy a special bag of air with a handful of potato chips thrown in for free, I'm reminded that something broke down somewhere, even when market forces should be at work (I've not talked to anyone who says 'gee, I sure get my money's worth when I buy potato chips').

  6. Oh don't even get me started on foodstuffs and all those issues. (I come from a farming community.) The government regulations and other stuff screws over everyone from the grower to the consumer in such myriad ways you could write a book on it.

  7. I was from the great Ohio farmlands, and I remember many a conversation from farmers over just what things were really like in the world of regulations. Made me see farming in a different light.


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