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Old 11-01-2008, 12:18 AM   #16
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Of course this was a city state described by Aristotle around 350BC and we have updated since then but it was already known that the best societies are ones with a larger middle class. The rich are spoiled and the poor are envious and the middle class is on the tight rope. They can't screw up like decadent rich people but they don't usually have the ambition to be masters of the universe controlling everyone and they have a stake in society to defend. The flaw based on the time period is that the poor had no choice but slavery and when that was thrown off more recently, even more people joined the middle classes.
I have never read any of this stuff in my life before but it closely corresponds with my intuition.

Me and Aristotle, wha'?
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:22 AM   #17
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We all spend money but if we go into debt we over consume leading to too much debt. At some point we must stop or go bankrupt. Either option retail spending will slow leading to recessions. If the middle class saves 20% on the average over their life time they will be creating jobs and be more independent. You can't increase wealth without capital assets and capital assets need savings deposited in the bank to lend to companies to ignite the economy.

Yet if we don't save much the government is forced to print money or electronically make more money to keep the economy going. I've decided that anybody who thinks they are a conservative but don't understand the role of savings in the economy need to start researching the role of savings. To see people think jobs are only related to spending shows how pervasive Keynesian economics has been for decades.

Can't people save 10-20% and spend the rest? Why go into massive debt? Retirement is going to suck without a nest-egg.
I largely agree with this, but ask yourself, why is it that we have this consumerist mentality and the whole aversion to savings that we see in recent years?

If the middle class are being screwed, then who is behind it?

Qui bono? Who benefits?
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:36 AM   #18
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The decline in stock market and house price valuations has closely corresponded with the f****** of the middle class in the US, by the Buscho criminals, who are, and, always have been, criminals, scumbags, and - if you are a US citizen - anti-national traitors.

I've been trying to warn people since I joined the forum, sometimes in code, but most of you didn't listen.

Ron Paul has been trying to warn people for, literally, decades, but not enough listened.

So now, here we are then.

As we have had the biggest financial and monetary bubble, in recorded history, ever, we will now have the biggest financial and economic comedown, in recorded history, ever, and the middle class, as always (as in Weimar Deutschland, for example) will bear the brunt.

Be aware that Obama, regardless of whether he is well intentioned or not, will not rescue anyone from anything.

Greenspan is to blame, more than any other single living individual. As an elderly man, he will be allowed off the hook and easier targets will be found.

For those of a curious (read: sceptical, cynical, perceptive) nature, none of this is news.
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:15 PM   #19
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Wealthy tax evaders that get out of paying their fair share are scum. And lawyers and accountants that facilitate them are scum.
Evasion is not avoidance.

Do the free markets not operate on the notion of the best possible business structuring?
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:37 PM   #20
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Be aware that Obama, regardless of whether he is well intentioned or not, will not rescue anyone from anything.
I think at this point we'll simply be content with a stop to the looting of the Treasury.

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Greenspan is to blame, more than any other single living individual. As an elderly man, he will be allowed off the hook and easier targets will be found.
His luster quickly is wearing off. He is being trashed more often in articles, blogs, etc. and he was called recently to testify before Congress.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:06 PM   #21
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I largely agree with this, but ask yourself, why is it that we have this consumerist mentality and the whole aversion to savings that we see in recent years?

If the middle class are being screwed, then who is behind it?

Qui bono? Who benefits?
Borrowers benefit from low interest rates and savers are punished. The government benefits in having more dependent socieities. Keynes HATED savers. The consequences are there and after the Reagan Revolution all the monetarist points of view were forgotten (or didn't permeate) economists so they continued with Keynesian methods which the government loves.

I remember my sociology teacher (major Marxist fan) who talked about the business cycle. "It goes up like this and it goes down like this, and when it goes down this is where we come in." The government wants bad economics because it's good jobs for social engineers.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:41 PM   #22
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I don't know about the assumption that all poor people are automatically violent sociopaths. If you took the time to get to know these people, you'd find that most of them are quite the opposite: good people who have gotten into dire straits and can't find a way out of it. (90 percent of people who lilve on welfare would dearly love to get off it and have a decent job and home.

You want to be careful of labeling people like that, financeguy. Not everyone on the planet was born with your advantages in life. I mean, seriously, many peop-le on welfare were born into it, and have no idea of how to get away from it. Those that do often lack the skills -- because they're too busy trying to basically /survive/ -- to get out. It isn't as easy as the middle class seems to think it is.

I know. My mother had to use it to raise me and my older brother. Fortunately for us, she knew how to get us out of it, and did it.

To sum it up: If you think of the poor as 'leeches', perhaps you ought to spend more time helping them stop it, instead of bitching here about it.

Okay. rant over. I just heartily dislike it when someone just sits around pontificating about poor people. Usually, it's people who have the advantages the poor don't, and don't want to bother with the hard work of trying to figure out how to help. Not that helping is easy, but try spending more energy /doing something/, and less bitching and moaning.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:53 PM   #23
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And hey, while we're at it, I don't think it's necessary to demonize the rich either. I'm sure there are lots decent, honest people who also happen to be extremely wealthy.

I think my main quarrel with financeguy's picture of society is the rather melodramatic picture of the evil upper and lower classes and the diefication of the middle class. The argument is really about good guys vs. bad guys as evidenced by his admission apparently that income isn't REALLY the true indicator of the class you belong to, but instead is whether you're "good" or not. I'm really over the glorification of the "average American" or the supposed higher moral values of the vaunted middle class of any nation. There is nothing that makes any one of a particular socioeconomic classes inherently better or worse than anyone else.

That said, I do agree that a large middle class leads to greater economic and political stablity. I just don't think it's because of some special higher morality that is the exclusive province of the middle class.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:48 PM   #24
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I don't know about the assumption that all poor people are automatically violent sociopaths. If you took the time to get to know these people, you'd find that most of them are quite the opposite: good people who have gotten into dire straits and can't find a way out of it. (90 percent of people who lilve on welfare would dearly love to get off it and have a decent job and home.

You want to be careful of labeling people like that, financeguy. Not everyone on the planet was born with your advantages in life. I mean, seriously, many peop-le on welfare were born into it, and have no idea of how to get away from it. Those that do often lack the skills -- because they're too busy trying to basically /survive/ -- to get out. It isn't as easy as the middle class seems to think it is.

I know. My mother had to use it to raise me and my older brother. Fortunately for us, she knew how to get us out of it, and did it.

To sum it up: If you think of the poor as 'leeches', perhaps you ought to spend more time helping them stop it, instead of bitching here about it.

Okay. rant over. I just heartily dislike it when someone just sits around pontificating about poor people. Usually, it's people who have the advantages the poor don't, and don't want to bother with the hard work of trying to figure out how to help. Not that helping is easy, but try spending more energy /doing something/, and less bitching and moaning.
I kind of get the idea of what you're talking about. I think what libertarians understand is that work is painful and people seek to avoid pain. Dependency is real and it's not just poor people who are dependent but also people who have cushy jobs with huge entitlements (public sector workers)that others have to pay for (workers with no guaranteed pensions). The middle class is not perfect but they are not in the position of a rich hollywood star to screw up and have another chance. If you really mess up your finances you may never be in the middle class ever again. These circumstances make middle class people more cautious than someone who has huge sums of money. That is the reason there is a hatred of the "new rich" who don't have the discipline to control their urges and desires when they come upon lots of money quickly. Eg. Hollywood, rock stars.

I like the idea of helping people but help with money isn't the complete picture. It has to do with giving advice when people ask for it. People unfortunately look up to authorities even when they are adults. When a personal finance expert is asked for help, people will generally listen to them more than an average guy who understands the same subject and is giving advice. You can't help people who won't listen and have little intent to change their ways. Some people are so defensive they will do the opposite of what you advise. These are the usual results of nagging.

When you study human nature you get more of the understanding that if you want to improve your world you get better results when you help yourself. Also the results happen faster. This is why conservatives are hesitant of government programs. The new deal and especially the great society were supposed to eradicate poverty, but as you can see it didn't. The middle class didn't increase either. The demands for more government seem eternal but the results are lacking.

Now that I've described how people get averse to work they can also get attracted to pleasant things. These attractions can lead to habits (addictions). So when you have people who may not listen and aren't actively trying to improve themselves then you add bad habits it then gets very difficult for an outside person or institution to really reform people. Secondly you have to trust that the person or institution is going to help you out of altruism with no self interest. I've asserted before in other posts that many people who are a part of these government institutions to eradicate social problems have a vested interest that those problems aren't solved for fear of solving themselves out of a job.

Ultimately the helper can only meet, the person needing help, halfway. Conservatives want to focus social programs on people who can't help themselves and that's mainly related to medical problems. Most economists (including Adam Smith) believe that some education should be paid by the government so a basic education and literacy is available to all people. Now that these institutions exist there are people who benefit but there are those who don't do the effort and perfect results are elusive. These imperfect results lead to demands for more programs to solve the imperfections and conservatives worry about an increasing bureaucracy taking over our lives.

Look at it this way. Can you get too much insurance? If you insure everything in your life will there be any more resources left for you to continue your economic existence? This is why I harp on the saving of money and people getting active and making their lives more independent, because a lot of suffering comes from being dependent on people who have power over us. If you rely on a social program you must follow rules governed by those programs. Yet as I get more financially independent I get less dependent on jobs. I also can find more free time to spend the way I like instead of serving other people's purposes. You want enough financial resources to pursue your purposes.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:56 PM   #25
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I have never read any of this stuff in my life before but it closely corresponds with my intuition.

Me and Aristotle, wha'?
Aristotle's "Politics" and "Ethics" are great reading.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:01 PM   #26
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I think my main quarrel with financeguy's picture of society is the rather melodramatic picture of the evil upper and lower classes and the diefication of the middle class.
Agreed.

A very good argument can be made that the laziness and complacency of the middle class and their desire to maintain the status quo is the biggest problem out there, and not the upper or lower class leeches.

As you said, it's a melodramatic portrayal.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:10 PM   #27
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and the under class steal, rob and assault (usually each other, but sometimes they assault the middle/working class) and live off welfare.
Dude, I lived in an "underclass" area for a good number of years, and that is just a fucking insane opinion. Don't go lumping a large portion of the population into that thug mentality. That's not how it is. I stood on lines with people paying for their food with food stamps - for the most part they were not lazy criminals abusing the system. They were people trying to get by, feeding their families. I didn't see people all happy while paying with their food cards - all proud thinking they got over on the system - there's a sadness, a humiliation to it. I read a lot of what you say - you're a smart fella, why would go off and write something like that? Of course there's higher crime in poorer areas, that's just human nature, but don't drop a whole class of people into that way.
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:18 AM   #28
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The middle class spend too much money. It doesn't matter how much they make. Saving money is what makes the middle class increase in size. Any government that keeps spending in check so the taxes don't increase and open trade with other countries will give the environment for success. The rest is up to US.
Except modern capitalism is predicated on massive spending and suppressed wages. A contradiction in terms? That's where credit is seen to come in, which we can see is reaching its limit and now everyone is freaking out.

Modern capitalism does not want us to save at all.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:16 PM   #29
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Except modern capitalism is predicated on massive spending and suppressed wages. A contradiction in terms? That's where credit is seen to come in, which we can see is reaching its limit and now everyone is freaking out.

Modern capitalism does not want us to save at all.
Thank you for saying that. That's because modern people aren't capitalists. Keynes introduced the government and Neo-Keynesians accepted it and now people feel their needs should be met by the government and not themselves. This is a very important point. Terms can change meanings depending on how people use them.

The term capitalism was a derogatory term originally coined by Marx that market oriented people picked up because they liked capital and it's uses; yet you need to save money to have capital. The method of the left now is to criticise capitalism by pointing out the the rampant "consumerism" as capitalism. I know the left because I studied with them and many professors open themselves up to their tactics and their books do as well. They want crashes to occur to increase the size of the government one stage at a time so people adopt socialism slowly over generations. Bloody revolutions are to swift and shocking for people to accept.

The economic crashes in the past were supposed to be lessons to the greedy so they would learn until some other generation repeated the mistakes. As Santayana would say "those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them."

The way of the left is to cushion the crashes but it leads to a spoiled attitude of entitlement and a conclusion for many people (including the middle class) that they would like to trade their freedom (which requires lots of responsibility) for entertainment and pleasure as long as the government protects them of consequences of their choices. Those who love power love to have addicted sheep to manage.

I'm not a big fan of Plato but he at least coined the term "appetitive" and made it clear that those who can't resist temptation are often manipulated and get the worst results in the long run.

My goal is to let people know that even under a socialistic system it's possible for them to save money and to learn self-discipline. Without discipline I think our society will continue to decay until others who are less spoiled take over, and woe to us if they have values of dictatorship that seek to eliminate opposition. I guess if it could happen to Rome it could happen to the west in regards to repeating our mistakes.

The next genius will have to be able to convince people to enjoy reality instead of trying to escape it.
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