You guys have called me vapid and clueless. You've insinuated that I'm naive and don't have skin in the game. You've accused me of ignoring your most important points, as if they were kernels of truth from God, herself. ilap, you've even threatened to expose your fallacy. That's unfortunate, because, until you showed up, this has been a relatively respectful, polite and amicable board.
At great effort, I'll try to keep it that way. So, let me spell out for you, again, my most important point:
You guys believe in "free markets..." I say YOU are naive. In REALITY there is no such thing as "free markets" -- only in ideology class and on FOX.
Markets everywhere are MANAGED AND MANIPULATED -- including under democratic capitalism, in corporate boardrooms, on the NYSE, in the futures pits... everywhere. It's just a question of "to what ends". This is the central truth of human history from an economic perspective and is central to any evaluation of our current situation.
What emerges from the drivel you write is that you believe in markets managed to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, allow the public infrastructure of our great nation to decline, encourage a massive transfer of wealth to enemy countries, deprive the majority of citizens affordable health-care and education, etc. This is what we've experienced thanks to "hands-off-the markets-look-the-other-way Republicanism" and the public infatuation with "what's good for an unfettered Wall Street must be good for us, too". This is the outcome of "free markets" in the real world of the USA in the late-20th and early 21st centuries.
You -- and the rest of us -- have been duped.
You talk of free markets "raising living standards" but you are oblivious to the fact that average incomes and "living standards" have been falling in our country. The rich get richer and everybody else takes a loan. This was NEVER healthy (as you, btdt, halfway acknowledge), and now we all know it.
You decry the "re-distribution of wealth", but how do you explain what has been going on? I say the system has been manipulated to put more money in the hands of fewer people while depriving others of a living wage, a secure job, a secure retirement, affordable health-care, sturdy bridges, universal hi-speed internet access, fuel efficient transportation, a decent education, etc.
Can our society afford to provide these things only for the few? No. You ask what society has thrived under "tax and spend"; I ask what society has thrived with declining living standards for the many, while the few eat cake?
With all due respect to you, Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, investment bankers, crooked corporate executives and the rest of those who would cloak our country's decline in the shroud of "freedom", I say you are wrong.
Fred and all,
How about something more uplifting than the current topic. Check out this 80 year old woman dancing Salsa, maybe it will bring a smile to someone´s face today? We all need to smile some time. This woman is amazing.
<As a doctor, you know that systemic problems demand systemic solutions, not the band-aid of punishing a few arrogant and unethical executives who greatly overstepped their bounds.>
Actually, that is exactly what is needed in health care. What you have is a pseudocapitalistic system in which some health care groups (insurers, drug companies) are allowed to charge whatever they want where others (lab companies, doctors, hospitals) are not.
The obvious answer is to make the whole system socialistic like Canada's. They have universal coverage and pay less per person than we do. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE MONEY; IT IS THE WAY THE MONEY IS BEING DEPLOYED.
So the answer to the health care mess is simple. Extend Medicare to all Americans and allow the government to negotiate prices with drug companies.
The problem with doing this is that there will be massive job losses at health insurers and drug companies.
So what is easy logistically is difficult politically. Doing the right thing would cause some short term pain, and avoiding short term pain is exactly what Obama has been avoiding. He has not made any tough decisions. To date so far all he has done is act like Rodney King and ask, "Can't we all get along?"
It's funny that you mention putting Band-Aids on things, Musk because that is exactly what Obama is doing.
Fixing health care costs more politically than economically.
Instead of these multi-trillion bailout packages, going after corrupt execs costs next to nothing. How much does it cost to set up an exchange for buyers to buy some of these bank's toxic assets? How much does it cost to really beef up the SEC and CFTC?
There are few shareholders in favor of golden parachutes, million dollar option packages, and eight figure salaries. The fact that these things are now common place demonstrates the market is one big Ponzi scheme.
Since 1997, the only ones who have made money on the market are financial advisors and corporate managers. Even the biggest no-brainer of them all, regulating derivatives, is on the back burner.
I voted for Obama and hope he turns it around, but for now, he has avoided the difficult political decisions at a huge financial cost.
All the politicians have done with the auto companies and banks is throw money at them. They are flushing our money down the toilet. The tough political decisions have not been made.
So if Obama comes to me and says "we need to tax you more to cover health care", my answer is going to be "go to hell". If OTOH, Obama does his part and fixes the bloated bureaucratic pig of a health care system we have now and then needs more money, I will gladly say yes.
Maybe Winny is right and those in power have tied the hands of our political leaders, but I don't buy it. Clinton's AG went after Microsoft. The auto CEOs came hat in hand and painted a horrific picture if they didn't get a loan. $25 billion later they are still in bad shape.
Few corporations right are now flush enough with cash to put heat on Washington. The game has changed.
And some of our friends are rich also. Some of my Mom´s family are , or should I say "were" very well off until the stock market went down. But all that aside, living in certain areas are cheaper than other areas. I think you could agree on that. Living in the Mid West of certain Southern states is surely cheaper than living in San Francisco or Wash DC area, Conn. NYC. So, I don´t think you or anymone can say that someone who makes say $200K a year is rich, when the price of living is so high. My best friend lives in Falls Church VA. Her husband makes $180 K a year, she had to go to work. It´s not that they live high on the hog either, they live just middle class in most ways.
lillie, who said the rich were monsters? Some of my best friends are rich!
They are just better able to take a tax increase than everybody else. They will just benefit more when the economy turns around. They have an INCENTIVE to improve America that the poor do not.
I should have never posted on this board when politics are what everyone is talking about. I broke my rule. But I have been reading them and could not resist. I agree with Doc. Fred yes, even making $80K a year is good money in many places. Do I have to explain to you that in certain areas of the USA making $200K a year, having several kids who want to go to college, a house payment, insurance payments etc. etc. and say you live in the Washington DC area or other areas that are very expensive to live in . That 200K does not go far? I can see you now thinking I am one of those that make that kind of money, you are wrong. But if I do, so what???????? Would that make me some kind of a monster? Really Fred, if you are buying stocks, then your not exactly broke. Even if you are broke now, you were not before, because I don´t think you´d be on this PBR message board if you were not an investor before.
"Making $200K-$250K is good money of course, but that does not make you rich"
You can kind of tell where people are by their idea of where "rich" begins. You can tell where I am because I think "rich" begins at 1/3rd the income range you gave. :)