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By: TFF Thu, 02 Feb 2012 15:00:44 +0000 “What percent of sales at Wal-Mart (soon to be a global monopoly) do you suppose come from welfare checks?”

Not terribly high… Walmart is the largest retailer in the world — you can’t get that kind of scale from welfare alone.

Moreover, Walmart locations are typically in the suburbs, unreachable by public transportation. Those on welfare are far more likely to live in the cities.

Finally, from anecdotal evidence, it would appear to me that most shoppers at Walmart are working-class. Many, of course, are elderly. Shall we shower hate on them too?

Must be nice to live in your world where all that is beneath you…

By: OneOfTheSheep Thu, 02 Feb 2012 07:12:38 +0000 @LetThemEatCake,

Those layers under your hoodie you keep revealing are truly amazing. Your latest words accuse all of western civilization, imputing all of the errors, transgressions and exploitation of colonialism to capitalism.

Capitalism, like a gun, is a tool. It is man, in all his imperfection, that is responsible for what happens when a tool is misused.

You hate Walmart, obese people (particularly if they’re poor and filling up their carts there). America, to you, is an image distorted as in a Fun House mirror; a “dog eat dog” decadent society where “consumers” are part of the elite mysteriously disenfranchised whose very citizenship has been “erased”. This image is laughable gibberish.

But you finally tip your hand. You speculate on how “…America must be…”. You DON’T KNOW! You’re not from here! Now I understand the “set” of your “mind”.

DO share with us the blissful socialist paradise in which you choose to live!

By: LetThemEatCake Thu, 02 Feb 2012 06:22:09 +0000 @Sheep

“I love the mental simplicity of those who only see a faucet full on or full off and none of the infinite interim options.”

Mental simplicity is something you seem to apply readily with your reductive view of capitalism for example.

“You dance back and forth from one extreme to another, seeing only injustice and none of all that is right in America.”

I would characterize it as providing much needed context to your simplistic view of things. You make sweeping statements about what capitalism is and how American capitalism has improved the lot of entire world over the last six decades but you obviously fail to take in the perspective of the actual ENTIRE world, the history, the exploitation, the abuses and the many populations that were also negatively affected. Surely some eggs were cracked making that omelet no? A one way armchair view of the world and history. Pick and choose what suits.

“You are the human equivalent of the dog that would bite the hand that feeds it.”

Strawman. I also noticed you had nothing to say about how socialism has prodded capitalism along in America all these years.
What percent of sales at Wal-Mart (soon to be a global monopoly) do you suppose come from welfare checks?

“But it would be a waste of my time to try to explain to one blinded by hate that which is beautiful.”

Seeing one-third of American adults in a state of obesity walking around sounds like tremendous progress. Yes, watching obese people fill up their carts at Wal-Marts across America must be quite a beautiful site.

American capitalism has come to mean dog eat dog. The culture has become decadent, one that espouses consumption as the way to a better life. Consumers and investors have drowned out democracy and erased the citizen. You have a dysfunctional government that hasn’t served the people, only its paymasters, for quite some time. Most assuredly I agree with you that politicians need their “feet held to the fire”. The consumerist culture however is what also enables them. it is a vicious cycle.

I would excuse no ones failure, especially not the government. It was Bush who gutted the SEC and regulatory power with it. The government has allowed the financial crooks, the corporations and Wall Street to run amok. You can go back to Reagan especially where much of these roots lie as well. Bill Clinton went on to complete the deregulatory Reagan dream and unleashed the banking industry. Bush’s appointment to the Supreme Court would go on to help the Courts ruling which effectively stated that corporations are people and money is speech, only corrupting the electoral process further. I doubt government can be fixed without removing the money from politics.

Capitalism without democracy is dog eat dog.

By: OneOfTheSheep Thu, 02 Feb 2012 03:01:31 +0000 @LetThemEatCake,

I love the mental simplicity of those who only see a faucet full on or full off and none of the infinite interim options.

You dance back and forth from one extreme to another, seeing only injustice and none of all that is right in America. You are the human equivalent of the dog that would bite the hand that feeds it.

Just as our representatives in Washington have utterly failed to notice and reign in the excesses of the financial sector and effects of globalization on the American work place, you would excuse THEIR failure as unreasonable expectations on the part of “we, the people”? Well, maybe we need to convey our expectations more clearly.

Our individual existence as “boss” or “worker” or “bureaucrat” or student” do not define us as individuals. In most cases these are but are but way points along life as we mature. So individual incentive and dedication are NOT synonymous with a “dog eat dog” society.

Individual success is more lasting and fulfilling if there is also collective success. What we have in common is our individual existence as a citizen of this country, and all that this means. But it would be a waste of my time to try to explain to one blinded by hate that which is beautiful.

By: LetThemEatCake Wed, 01 Feb 2012 23:44:32 +0000 @OneOfTheSheep

“…you presume to tell me how to think. I shall forego the considerable pleasure of an uncensored response to such presumption and just say “Yes, I can”.”

Thank you for stating the obvious which also reinforces my point about picking and choosing. Remarking about “lavish spending” without giving proper focus and attention to the system that underwrote it is gross negligence.

Again, where would capitalism be if socialism wasn’t there to bail it out and push it along? Try and see the entire system and how it works not just cherry pick parts of it and underline nice sounding ideals that seem to exist mostly on paper.

It’s not just the financial sector, corporations have run amok as well and they take advantage of socialist policies, excuse me, subsidies to their benefit all the time. Do you think it’s only the lazy that benefit from welfare? What do they spend their welfare checks on? Remove welfare in America and suddenly supermarkets would take a serious hit.

I can only imagine how much sales at Wal-Mart would fall. I think it’s safe to assume a great majority of Wal-Mart shoppers and workers are on welfare and state benefits. Good thing so many of those useless items sold and consumed are produced in China. Let’s cheer capitalism here for a moment, in this vacuum where only cheap goods matter, disregarding the consumption and where those products are made and in what conditions. Good thing prices are so low at Wal-Mart I mean the workers and shoppers tend to be poor so they need ‘deals’ on even the most basic necessities. Quite the catch-22.

How about cell phone companies? Everybody has a smartphone and data plan these days, even if you’re on welfare.
This is the gross irony of those who are quick to call out the welfare system. They completely disregrad the welfare that capitalism itself runs on, bankers and corporations.

It takes money to make money and corporations get massive subsidies all the time which get taken from the US taxpayer. They also seem to find a way to avoid paying taxes. They have their cake and eat it all the time. They protect the bottom line at all costs. Western capitalism has become a world that revolves around consumers and investors. Democracy and its citizens seemed to have disappeared.

Again, you can pick and choose and of course think how you want, doesn’t mean that’s been the reality for 7 billion people and should be.

By: OneOfTheSheep Wed, 01 Feb 2012 22:07:28 +0000 @KenG_CA,

With much of your latest comment I wholeheartedly agree.

I would even consider legislation as a “legitimate solution” to the flow of money in a given society. An axiom I believe strongly in is that any society is an incredibly complex reflection of it’s tax “system”.

As you change what is taxed or not taxed and how much you change society, for better or worse, or both in different areas. So I feel I must hasten to appropriately clarify such “consideration”.

Just as disconnecting the governor on an internal combustion engine can both improve efficiency or allow the engine to destroy itself, to redefine and refine our existing society from what it is, warts and all, into what we would have it be by rewriting our tax system from “scratch” would require the political will to come to consensus as to what our society should be and then “intelligent regulation” to bring that about. Only once we know what society we want do we know what it will cost. What we want and what we can afford will naturally vary with the “times”, both good and bad.

If we but look closely at how our present tax code and unionized bureaucrats run our FAA, Department of Homeland Security, etc., and the regulations they enforce or do not enforce just in the limited areas of immigration, ethanol, lead removal and aviation policies (which have all but killed private aviation in this country), “ intelligent regulation” would seem an oxymoron.

I’m enough of an optimist to believe it need not always be so if “we, the people” get rid of government unions so that we can establish appropriate duty and power to govern our bureaucrats on the basis of efficiency and accountability. I’m NOT saying this would be easy, but only worth a good faith effort to accomplish.

You’re absolutely correct that “We don’t train enough people for the relevant jobs and we don’t incentivize investment.” But the REAL problem is that neither “status quo” is going to change until specifically and intelligently addressed by our “representatives”! WE have to hold THEIR “feet to the fire”, and we don’t.

By: KenG_CA Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:12:43 +0000 Sheep, in theory banks will lend out all the money being hoarded by companies like Apple. However, that’s just theory lately. Because of the pain they still feel from the debt crisis, where they loaned to anyone with a pulse and had it blow up in their faces, they now are far more selective about loaning money out. Combine that with far fewer housing starts (which traditionally consume a lot of banks’ deposits), and you’ll see that much of the money that banks have on deposit is just being lent to the government. And it’s not because they can’t receive a higher interest rate from other borrowers; it’s just that they want to minimize their risk, and that ends up crippling the economy.

The idea that money being saved by individuals or businesses with lots of income is being re-invested in the economy via banks is one of the conventional wisdoms that have reality flying in their faces. Massive deficit spending causes inflation? Yes, usually. But not now, there is no economy with the ability to inflict that kind of penalty on us. There are enough jobs out there if people are willing to take them. Yeah, but are employers willing to hire just anybody, when it’s a buyer’s market?

“If you put it in a financial institution at interest then, traditionally, it gets loaned out again and again and thus creates economic activity.” If the money is being lent to finance a leveraged buyout, it creates no economic activity, just a shuffling of paper.

Nobody is suggesting that we legislate what companies do with their money, just that we adjust the tax system so they don’t idle their money.

And to your last comment that makes insinuations about regulations: I have started or invested in more than a dozen (mostly technology) start-ups in the last 12 years or so, and none of them have been hampered in any way by regulations. The two biggest obstacles they have faced have been a shortage of talent and risk capital. We don’t train enough people for the relevant jobs and we don’t incentivize investment.

By: TFF Wed, 01 Feb 2012 19:47:58 +0000 “There is inflation in America that erodes the purchasing power of dollars in a mattress relentlessly.”

Very little inflation in recent years, which is perhaps part of the problem. When inflation averages 3% to 4% annually, people have a strong incentive to find something to do with their money. When it is averaging under 2%, they are far more willing to wait and watch.

Hopefully inflation will pick up a little? Doesn’t need to be double digits, just enough to keep things moving.

And yes, we need retraining in addition to investment. The new economy will not look like the old economy. (When has it ever?) Read about the Luddites — we’re seeing something of that these days, for similar reasons.