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View Full Version : Life, Liberty, and the "Persuit" of Happiness?



Metallixs Girl
10th October 2005, 02:33 PM
America is known for this line discribing the American Dream, but what does it mean to you?

To me, it says "persuit" as in, the freedom to persue happiness, not automatic happiness. As in, you should work, and you have the freedom to try to get however much money or whatever job you like.

Welfare (at least the way many people use it) seems to kill this idea completely, and that's why I'm a republican and not a democrat. Now, IMHO, welfare should only be given to the disabled, laid off, or homeless, BUT some people in my town apply immediately at 18 and start having kids to earn more. I don't believe they should get paid/rewarded for having 6 kids, especially when they aren't even married! But that becomes their job, more babies = more money, and that can't be happiness for the kids, and they never learn to care about working so they do it too. That's what makes poverty, I believe. Big business support = more and more jobs = a better economy and standard of living

I know that's just my view but what are y'all's?

mr_pikachu
10th October 2005, 02:46 PM
Well, I understand the concept of welfare. Those who are unable to work for whatever reason are supported minimally until they can get back on their feet (unless there is something that will permanently prevent them from getting a job, such as a devastating illness/injury/etc.). However, it's now being used as an excuse not to work. Instead of working to support themselves and America's economy, people are pulling money away from the economy through the welfare system. It's quite sad, really; people would rather live in poor conditions their entire lives instead of making the effort to get a job. But what irritates me is when the people who could get a job and simply choose to live off welfare then complain about poor living conditions. In some countries, they'd be lucky if the government gave them a cardboard box to live in. That, to me, is tragic. We're probably the most affluent country in the world, and we've got some of the laziest citizens.

I won't put down anyone who gets a job and works for a living, no matter how menial the tasks that person may have to accomplish. Nor will I insult the people who are unable to get work. But the ones who could work but instead decide to leech money from the rest of the country are aggravating as heck to me.

Heald
10th October 2005, 04:43 PM
The Constitution and the American Dream were devised by the richest most-powerful elite of American society, who became the rulers of the USA.

Today - the USA is still ruled by the richest, most-powerful elite.

Of course, your assumption that the pursuit (not 'persuit') automatically means money = happiness needs to be true, otherwise your argument falls down. However, this is not the case, since you do indeed get impoverished people who happen to be content, and then you get greedy, paranoid CEOs who worry so much about their money that they're too stressed.

Anyway, the real issue here is people sponging off welfare, so we'll talk about that.

Perfectly capable people can be unemployed for several reasons. One is geographic unemployment - big firms (the ones you so apparently love) decide that it will be cheaper to employ labour in another state, or sometimes in another country, and think it is alright to make thousands unemployed. Another is that big firms are offering poor wages for a job and people don't think this is fair so they decide to go for welfare. You don't like this? Well guess what - these big firms could easily afford to make their wages more appropriate or even generous, but because the top 100 or so like to have big 6-figure salaries, they decide to cut costs by making those at the bottom of the chain - the people who actually do the work that makes them rich - work for minimum wage (or sometimes less if they're also paying off the government).

Also, you add that 'not being married' as a bad quality on their behalf. You know, people can get raped and left to raise a child on their own, or accidently have a child and the father leaves them. Single-mothers (or fathers) don't usually choose to be single. It's not as if people purposefully drive their significant other away. And while you may think that not being married is morally wrong, other people may not feel the same way, especially secularists. So please don't force your Christian beliefs into your argument.

You speak of Democrats and Republicans but unless people like you realise that there are more than two parties, America is never going to solve its problems as its stuck in a two-party system with both parties having a right-wing agenda.

Metallixs Girl
10th October 2005, 05:48 PM
Ok, I just don't think anything's wrong with big business. My dad worked so hard at his job as a tractor technician, and now he's a service manager, and he still works his butt off. But he earned everything he gets, and we're comfortable but not rich. I went to school with some of the stupidest people who would always TALK about leaving school and starting welfare because their parents did and they didn't need school...It's just pathetic, I'm so glad my dad raised us better than that. These kids are the ones who end up whining because welfare needs raised. >_< It may need raised, but not for them.

Crazy
10th October 2005, 09:01 PM
I've always wondered what if suffering made someone happy? I mean technically wouldn't that be an infringment on someone's rights to stop them from hurting someone if it made them happy? I really think they should re-word that.

Arnen
10th October 2005, 09:03 PM
I've always wondered what if suffering made someone happy? I mean technically wouldn't that be an infringment on someone's rights to stop them from hurting someone if it made them happy? I really think they should re-word that.

Yes, but it wold also be infringing the other person's right to life and happiness. Plus, if suffering makes a person happy, that person needs serious help anyway.

Musourenka
10th October 2005, 10:09 PM
The American Dream, to me, signifies both the philosophy of individualism and the attitude of "I Can". To the extent those two aspects existed in our culture, people prospered. You have the ability to pursue your goals, whether they be concerning family, money, friends, etc.

What bothers me is how we've moved away from that and to a culture of envy, hatred, and entitlement. That is what is wrong with America today. People hate the rich for being rich, people think they have a right to heathcare and welfare, and personal responsibility is all but non-existant today.

Asilynne
11th October 2005, 04:35 AM
I agree with a lot of what you said. While welfare was a good idea when it was invented, its abused a great deal in todays society, along with the NAACP. As you said a lot of people are using them as an excuse to get a free handout, which is sad for the people that actually honestly need it.
My dad worked ever since he was 11, and even though hes retired from the post office he still works to supplement his retirement check, and it makes him mad too that some people are that lazy. Because sure, some of them who are single parents might need it but both my dad AND his mom were single parents with young children and yet still worked.
It kind of sucks considering that we, who actually work hard to eke out a living, pay for the lazy peoples welfare so they can sit on their asses @.@
I hate how the world always makes America out as this pompus country with every republican being rich and every democrat poor or struggling for the 'little guy'. I dont know anyone that is actually rich, and most of my friends are republican, mainly because we had to work hard for our money so we sure as hell dont want to just hand it over to someone not willing to work for it. Most of the time the foreign countries that bash America watch too much TV and listen to the media about how its like here, when they dont know a thing about how it really is to live here.
And the sad thing is we saved most of their asses in he two World Wars, go figure right? Next time we should just let Germany have them :rolleyes:

Heald
11th October 2005, 11:20 AM
And the sad thing is we saved most of their asses in he two World Wars, go figure right? Next time we should just let Germany have them :rolleyes:This is why the rest of the world hates you - you're think you're so great because you skew history in your favour.

vegetrunks
12th October 2005, 01:09 PM
There sure are a lot of old school 19th century laissez faire liberals here. Modern libs (like myself) believe that the freedom to pursue happiness does not simply mean freedom from govt intervention but also freedom from the "four great giants" (want, ignorance, squallor, idleness), this is what welfare is all about. Personally I don't see how the abuse of the welfare system could drive someone to become conservative, most of the libs proposals involve encouraging social mobility etc, its not we could just abolish it, in most cases it is necesarry right?

Tainted
12th October 2005, 05:13 PM
Yes, but it wold also be infringing the other person's right to life and happiness. Plus, if suffering makes a person happy, that person needs serious help anyway.


What if you're buddhist? Buddhist's don't necessarily get jolly off of suffering, but they accept that life is suffering and their only freedom or cessation from the suffering is to achieve Nirvana.

Putting crazy, crazy Sigartha G. aside, why do you care so much about welfare? I got a buddy whose mom is on welfare and she doesn't deserve it. She spends it all on drugs and has never worked a day in her life. All the power to her, I say. If a system such as welfare is set up, it is inevitably going to be abused. You act as though people on welfare are swimming in riches or something, cause welfare definately isn't anything but complete shit.

Sure, you're getting paid not to work, but you're making next-to-nothing.

I'm just really concerned as to why do you care that people choose to go on welfare? That's not you. That's them. I don't mean to be offensive, but it seems every topic you post in this forum has something to do with your bigotted views on politics, religion, homosexuals or race.

And props to Heald: Everybody hates America because they warp history to make it seem like they did everything right. Sure, every country is somewhat guilty of self patrinization, but you guys are the worst. :p

Believe it or not, you guys did next-to-nothing in World War One (Hey guys, it's 1917 and the war's almost over. Let's join in and claim we saved everybody's asses!), and the best foot-soldiers in the first war were Canadian and Australian, under British rule.

But fuck, I don't really care. I just find it funny how a lot of information on your side of the border gets corrupted or twisted slightly in your favor.

Adieu,
Zak Hunter

mr_pikachu
12th October 2005, 05:22 PM
I'm not going to debate this history, because frankly, I don't know enough about those events to be effective in that sort of debate beyond transforming the thread into a flame war. And that's never any fun.

However, the concern about welfare is that the people who rely on it instead of making an available choice to work pull money away from the rest of the country, thereby hurting our economy. I'm not going to say that living on welfare is a barrel of fun, because the small amount of money people get from it is not enough to provide a lifestyle full of expensive entertainment. However, when thousands (millions, maybe?) of Americans who could be working instead take money away from the rest of the country without working at a job to support the economy, it hurts the country.

Note that there are people who cannot work for legitimate reasons. I don't have any problem with them being on welfare; that's why the system was set up. But it needs to have better safeguards against the people who, like you said, Tainted, wish to exploit it. Yes, I understand that there will always be people who try to exploit a system. I'm not even going to say that those people are bad; I will say, however, that the system needs to be retooled to prevent this exploitation from happening at the level it is today.

Musourenka
12th October 2005, 10:04 PM
There sure are a lot of old school 19th century laissez faire liberals here. Modern libs (like myself) believe that the freedom to pursue happiness does not simply mean freedom from govt intervention but also freedom from the "four great giants" (want, ignorance, squallor, idleness), this is what welfare is all about.

Freedom from want? Impossible. Want forever exists.
Freedom from ignorance? Ignorance comes almost entirely from one's choosing.
Freedom from squalor? Not if it is paid by other people, by force.
Freedom from idleness? Again, idleness is one's choice.

Welfare does nothing to alleviate those things.


Personally I don't see how the abuse of the welfare system could drive someone to become conservative, most of the libs proposals involve encouraging social mobility etc, its not we could just abolish it, in most cases it is necesarry right?

No, welfare is not necessary.


I'm just really concerned as to why do you care that people choose to go on welfare? That's not you. That's them. I don't mean to be offensive, but it seems every topic you post in this forum has something to do with your bigotted views on politics, religion, homosexuals or race.

Because welfare is paid by taxes, and thus, they are receiving our money without our consent.

Tainted
13th October 2005, 08:03 AM
Because welfare is paid by taxes, and thus, they are receiving our money without our consent.


Well, that's the obvious answer. But there are plenty of ways the government rips money from us anyway. If we didn't have to pay tax for welfare, we'd have to pay tax for something else. That's just how it works. The government always feels obliged to rip money from us no matter what it's from-- just look at the gas prices lately. They'll take any natural disaster or the like and give it as an excuse to bump the gas up another ten cents, which doesn't make much sense considering a good majority of oil is obtained from Alberta, which hasn't been affected by anything.

Adieu,
Zak Hunter

Musourenka
13th October 2005, 04:01 PM
Well, that's the obvious answer. But there are plenty of ways the government rips money from us anyway. If we didn't have to pay tax for welfare, we'd have to pay tax for something else. That's just how it works. The government always feels obliged to rip money from us no matter what it's from-- just look at the gas prices lately. They'll take any natural disaster or the like and give it as an excuse to bump the gas up another ten cents, which doesn't make much sense considering a good majority of oil is obtained from Alberta, which hasn't been affected by anything.

I agree with that, and I say all taxation is wrong, period.

Craig
14th October 2005, 02:03 AM
The "persuit" of happiness is destroying our world. The United States of America is destroying the Earth ! No unified peoples in all of history can hope to match the scourge that is the USA.

To the citizens of that spoiled, rotten land... if you disagree with taxation, please leave it ! Im sure there are some desert islands in the southern pacific that might be suited to your needs! No taxation, no government (save your own self!)

The United States of America bullies other nations into selling their crude oil in American dollars per barrels! This is a travesty beyond compare! The only two nations with substantial oil reserves that do not sell in USD are Iraq(they wanted to sell in euros) and Iran! Well. I guess theres only one, now. The reason? The bullied countries are forced to invest in the united states to keep their massive debt in check! The price of your toxic black gold must continue to increase so that the sellers can still be making enough profit to invest!

America is evil! Everyone in the world knows this. We must unite against it! We must unite against capitalism! The root of all evil is money! If money had no place in our world, our world would be much better! Imagine coming back from work knowing not only is your well being, that of your family is assured...but of the entire world! I would sleep much better at night, wouldn't you?

Life, Liberty and the trivial persuit of happiness? Bah! Its a game. Its only a matter of time until they lose. GOD IS GREAT

Asilynne
14th October 2005, 03:00 AM
This is why the rest of the world hates you - you're think you're so great because you skew history in your favour.


Well you know what they say, everyone hates a winner. XD
And Craig LOLZ are you joking? Not trying to be sarcastic Im serious, cause that looks majorly conspiracy theory lol

vegetrunks
14th October 2005, 06:56 AM
No, welfare is not necessary.

We can't get rid of welfare, the world would be a much worse place for the poor, see Oliver Twist.

mr_pikachu
14th October 2005, 02:12 PM
To the citizens of that spoiled, rotten land... if you disagree with taxation, please leave it ! Im sure there are some desert islands in the southern pacific that might be suited to your needs! No taxation, no government (save your own self!)

For the record, I don't disagree with taxation. I might disagree with the level of taxation and how the money the government receives from taxes is being used, but I don't disagree with taxation in and of itself.

I'm going to assume that the rest of your post was pure sarcasm, Craig.

And Tainted, you might want to learn a bit about OPEC before you criticize governments of any nation for raising taxes on petrol. It has a lot more to do with everyone's least favorite oil cartel than anything else.

Musourenka
16th October 2005, 11:16 AM
We can't get rid of welfare, the world would be a much worse place for the poor, see Oliver Twist.

And I simply have to disagree. Welfare does not help the poor; it enslaves them into a culture of dependence and entitlement.

Crazy
16th October 2005, 11:39 AM
And I simply have to disagree. Welfare does not help the poor; it enslaves them into a culture of dependence and entitlement.


I wouldn't go that far, because it does help them to a certain degree. Instead of constantly giving them money, maybe they should just give them a certain amount (a one time deal) and let them work with it. That way they wouldn't grow dependant on it, but they would still get the start they need.

vegetrunks
16th October 2005, 12:03 PM
And I simply have to disagree. Welfare does not help the poor; it enslaves them into a culture of dependence and entitlement.

I see what you mean but its not like we can get rid of it completely (which is what your previous posts seem to suggest you believe), welfare does help but we have to be careful and set up safety nets to keep people from scrounging.

vegetrunks
16th October 2005, 12:27 PM
Freedom from want? Impossible. Want forever exists.
Freedom from ignorance? Ignorance comes almost entirely from one's choosing.
Freedom from squalor? Not if it is paid by other people, by force.
Freedom from idleness? Again, idleness is one's choice.


OK, I should have explained this... the four great giants were first set out in a report on the poor written in the 1940's those words have different meanings now to what they did then.....

Want: Should really be read as "Need" and more specifically basic need like food, shelter etc. Yes, need will forever exist but I don't think this is a reason for us to sit back and not do anything
Ignorance: Meant lack of education making someone unemployable, also meant those with learning difficulties or disabilities, there was no such thing as PC in those days.
Squallor: This word hasn't changed, I feel that the well off have an obligation to help those living in squallor, and the majority electing a party that agrees with these principles is the closest we can get to consent. Its not like we can take certain people out of paying taxes because they didn't vote for the man in charge
Idleness: This is a tough one to explain, it basically means that we should encourage the poor to work rather than sit around, its a way of making sure they don't scrounge, this is why welfare is buttons compared to a proper wedge and you have to prove you're looking for work before you claim it.

And I'd also like to jump in on the "America saved us in WW2 thing", I suppose it depends on your perspective, America did sod all in WW1, but its unlikely we would have won WW2 without their help. However, they did not help us in the way many people seem to think, their biggest contribution was a load of money and pilots to help us out in the battle of britain. And their intervention was not some big moral crusade against Hitler, America were reluctant to get involved in Europe (can you blame them?), there was actually a lot of libs campaigning in favour of intervention which is quite weird (see Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"), remember it was Hitler who declared war on the US, not the other way round. So yes American did help us out a lot in WW2, but thats no need for Americans to keep bringing it up as a reason why we should support every action they take.

kalad1
19th October 2005, 11:29 AM
I just thought I'd throw in my two cents.

I see a couple "solutions" to the welfare problem, a couple of which are rather insane and I would never actually implement myself.

1. Retool the welfare system. Make it so they have to at least TRY to get work. Make it so that they can only buy healthy food with food stamps, as opposed to Oreos and cakes.

2. Get rid of it completely.

3. Murder off all the poor so that they no longer need the money.(I said a few were insane, didn't I?)


As to the gas and big business side of things, first off, we've had it better in america than almost anywhere else, and that's part of the problem. We need to pass anti-outsourcing laws and raise the minimum wage to a "living" wage.

With the gas, well, we need to dump it and find a different fuel, damnit. We've been entirely too dependent of fossil fuels. Everyone drives everywhere because everything is spread out due to us being able to drive everywhere. If we weren't able to, places would be closer together, and we could walk everywhere, which would be MUCH more healthy for all of America.

Musourenka
22nd October 2005, 12:53 PM
As for the welfare thing, I don't think it helps the poor in the long-term. It alone doesn't cause a culture of entitlement, but it is part of the belief that if someone is unable to fend for themselves, someone else should fend for them (heck, almost everything in the US political system is based on that). I find it a flawed belief. And yes, I am for completely removing welfare.


As to the gas and big business side of things, first off, we've had it better in america than almost anywhere else, and that's part of the problem. We need to pass anti-outsourcing laws and raise the minimum wage to a "living" wage.

Why do we need anti-outsourcing laws? Why shouldn't businesses go overseas if they want to?

And no, we don't need a minimum wage at all, much less a "living" one. Ever heard of supply and demand? It works the same way for labor.

Roy Karrde
22nd October 2005, 01:09 PM
I'm going to acree with Musourenka, Anti-outsourcing laws would kill big buisness in America. Most companies that depend on outsourcing would pick up and move to Mexico, Canada, or Europe in hopes of easier laws. A living wage while a good idea on paper would lead to more people going for un-employment. Companies would have to cut down on their work force so that they could maintain the same amount of profit while paying off the "living wage". In turn people that could possibly be making a living off of the minimum wage would be forced to live off of welfare. Which is what this topic is all about. Anyway personally I am not against Welfare, I have seen personally through friends at what happens when you have no other choice but to turn to Welfare. Sometimes, sometimes people just need help so that they can maintain a life of being a single parent with x number of kids.

mr_pikachu
23rd October 2005, 05:32 PM
And no, we don't need a minimum wage at all, much less a "living" one. Ever heard of supply and demand? It works the same way for labor.

Ooh. I think that's an extremely dangerous argument. I see your point, but I think that the minimum wage would be very necessary, especially if welfare was abolished, as you're also arguing.

Minimum (or "living") wage acts as a defense against class over-separation. It is likely that there will always be some separation of the upper and lower classes, and sometimes middle classes as well (though the middle class was not always a prevalent group). Without the minimum wage, society can gradually shift to the upper classes, usually leaders of large corporations, making all sorts of money when they slowly shift toward charging labor next-to-nothing. This is a poor result, with or without welfare. With welfare, we would end up with a very large portion of the country, perhaps even the majority, relying on welfare. Why work for a living when you get more money for doing nothing? Without welfare, you end up with people either choosing not to work and dying or working for a few dollars a day and, if they are lucky, surviving starvation for a few years longer than those who do not work. That may sound apocalyptic, but keep in mind that if America were the only country doing this, the other countries would take over the success that America had held, and the U.S. could fall into ruin. Clearly, neither would be a good result for us.

RedStarWarrior
25th October 2005, 02:22 AM
The original line is 'life, liberty and property.' You have to love have they made it sound more poetic.

Krystalline Kabutops
30th October 2005, 10:19 AM
We wouldn't need welfare if we did several things;

1. Increase the minimum wage as inflation goes up. Ironically, Congress has already passed laws like this, but here's the funny bit; It applies to THEIR salaries, and no one else's.

2. Pass laws that limit how much a CEO can make. Say, no more than 8 times what the average worker in the company makes. You KNOW that all of those billions of dollars companies make every year are going into the salaries of their heads. Doesn't it make more sense to pay your workers decently? Henry Ford only did so well because he paid each of his factory workers enough money that they could buy one of the cars they were assembling.

3. The CEO of a company has to live in the country that the assembly-lines are in. I guarantee that they'll stop outsourcing to third-world hellholes. Plus, if your workers are making 12 cents an hour, and you only make 8 times what they do (see #2), where does that leave you? 96 cents an hour? Hardly enough to live on.

4. Overhaul the American education system. Our public schools are literally falling apart, are drastically underfunded, and the people who work in them make about as much as a McDonalds employee. Pay teachers a LOT more, increase the education budget to about the same amount that we pour into the military (Where's the money going to come from? I'll tell you! REPEALING ALL THOSE TAX CUTS TO THE RICH!), and get the system adjusted to an information economy. Our schools were designed for an industrial economy, with the kids being set loose every summer to help work on the farm. Classrooms need to be hooked up to the Interweb, and the summer break needs to be spread out through the year, so that school is more or less continuous, with a week every so often off.

5. Overhaul the political system. I'm not quite sure how we'd accomplish this, but the objective should be to get the smartest people possible into office.


I'm sure I'll think of more later.

Musourenka
30th October 2005, 11:56 AM
It's been a while, but it's about time I replied to this topic again.


Minimum (or "living") wage acts as a defense against class over-separation. It is likely that there will always be some separation of the upper and lower classes, and sometimes middle classes as well (though the middle class was not always a prevalent group).

There always will be gaps between classes, but I've always wondered why that mattered. So someone is making millions and another is making hundreds. So what?


Without the minimum wage, society can gradually shift to the upper classes, usually leaders of large corporations, making all sorts of money when they slowly shift toward charging labor next-to-nothing.
Explain how wages would keep decreasing. I simply don't see how that is the case, otherwise all of the poor would have vanished long before the 1940s (when the first Minimum wage act was passed).



1. Increase the minimum wage as inflation goes up. Ironically, Congress has already passed laws like this, but here's the funny bit; It applies to THEIR salaries, and no one else's.

First, I don't think Congress should even have a salary, nor should any politician. Having the ability to increase their salary at the expense of everyone else via taxes is wrong. Second, supply and demand; more costly labor, less labor hours (and less work done). Thirdly, do you know what inflation is?


2. Pass laws that limit how much a CEO can make. Say, no more than 8 times what the average worker in the company makes. You KNOW that all of those billions of dollars companies make every year are going into the salaries of their heads. Doesn't it make more sense to pay your workers decently? Henry Ford only did so well because he paid each of his factory workers enough money that they could buy one of the cars they were assembling.

Why should CEOs be limited to a certain amount? Why should there be a ceiling on wages? They make a lot of money? Again, so what?

The effects of your proposed ceiling would be enormous. There will be less CEOs and less people taking the high skill/high risk jobs because it would no longer be worth it for them. The results would be massive business closures and massive unemployment. Innovation in technology? Almost nil; it's now too costly. Same with medicine, doctors, etc.

Yes, it makes sense to pay your workers a decent amount. Most businesses understand this and do just that. However, I have an issue with your Keynesian outlook on Henry Ford. Ford did well because he correctly predicted that it would be less costly to have dedicated employees at fairly high wages than to have lower wages and high employee turnover. "Buying back the product" had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was all benefit versus cost.

Note that Ford used Efficiency Wages; Minimum Wages are not Efficiency Wages at all.


3. The CEO of a company has to live in the country that the assembly-lines are in. I guarantee that they'll stop outsourcing to third-world hellholes. Plus, if your workers are making 12 cents an hour, and you only make 8 times what they do (see #2), where does that leave you? 96 cents an hour? Hardly enough to live on.

Then say good-bye to the only chance that third-world countries have at this point, due to global politics and horrid leaders of those countries. It may seem like a hell-hole, but without some of that outsourcing to other countries, they'd be even worse off.


As for public education, I say axe it. Children are taught, purposely, not to think. Hell, I learned more from the real world, the workplace, the college library, and the internet than I ever learned in school. There's no point in trying to fix something that's flawed from its very core.


5. Overhaul the political system. I'm not quite sure how we'd accomplish this, but the objective should be to get the smartest people possible into office.

The only problem is that the most evil people in the world were smart.

Krystalline Kabutops
30th October 2005, 03:32 PM
First, I don't think Congress should even have a salary, nor should any politician. Having the ability to increase their salary at the expense of everyone else via taxes is wrong.
Taxes don't really have anything to do with it. My point is that if they can increase their sallaries as inflation goes up, why not minimum wage as well?

Second, supply and demand; more costly labor, less labor hours (and less work done).
You don't seem to realize how much extra cash these people are riding off with. There is PLENTY of extra money in the system to pay workers, and still leave the CEO living comfortably for the rest of their life.

Thirdly, do you know what inflation is?
Of course I do. What would make you think otherwise? The fact that my philosophy on these issues clashes with yours?

Why should CEOs be limited to a certain amount? Why should there be a ceiling on wages? They make a lot of money? Again, so what?
They make a lot of money, and their workers make barely enough to scrape by, forcing them to take up second jobs, and thereby reducing their efficiency.

The effects of your proposed ceiling would be enormous. There will be less CEOs and less people taking the high skill/high risk jobs because it would no longer be worth it for them.
I beg to differ. You act as if the only jobs that are high skill/risk are those of CEOs. It's still better than working on a factory line. European companies have gotten by fine with the CEOs only making around 24 times more than the average employee. Btw, fun fact - the average american CEO makes several HUNDRED times more than their employees.

The results would be massive business closures and massive unemployment. Innovation in technology? Almost nil; it's now too costly. Same with medicine, doctors, etc.
You seem to think of this only one way - CEOs are tied down by their workers' wages. Instead, the employees could be buoyed up by their employer's wages. The more you pay your workers = the more you get paid yourself. Everybody wins. It doesn't leave room for monopolies like Wal-Mart to take root, but then again, do we really need stores that make more than most of the world's countries?

Yes, it makes sense to pay your workers a decent amount.
Sadly, most employers don't.

Most businesses understand this and do just that.
We must be seeng different things here. Define "Decent amount".

However, I have an issue with your Keynesian outlook on Henry Ford. Ford did well because he correctly predicted that it would be less costly to have dedicated employees at fairly high wages than to have lower wages and high employee turnover. "Buying back the product" had absolutely nothing to do with it.
The point is that he would have HAD to pay them excellent wages for them to be able to buy the product back. It's just a roundabout way of getting to the same conclusion.

It was all benefit versus cost.

Note that Ford used Efficiency Wages; Minimum Wages are not Efficiency Wages at all.

Then say good-bye to the only chance that third-world countries have at this point, due to global politics and horrid leaders of those countries.
You realize that the influence of global corporations is MORE likely to keep these leaders in power? That banning companies from doing anything their could and probably would motivate the countries' leaders to change their practices, so that the companies can return?

It may seem like a hell-hole, but without some of that outsourcing to other countries, they'd be even worse off.
Without these countries, the corporations couldn't make the mind-boggling killing they do, and they know it. That's why it's in their best interests to keep dictators/human rights abusers in power.

As for public education, I say axe it.
Meaning that only the rich could get their children educated, and the poor just remain in poverty, ignorant and powerless.

Children are taught, purposely, not to think.
Where do you get this from?

Hell, I learned more from the real world, the workplace, the college library, and the internet than I ever learned in school.
Here's the thing; The only reason you had ACCESS to those resources was because your parents could afford to send you to college, get you an internet connection, etc. Ignorance is at the core of poverty. Why do you think it was illegal for blacks to learn to read or write in the south before the civil war? because the aristocracy knew knowledge = power.

There's no point in trying to fix something that's flawed from its very core.
The thing is, it's not.

The only problem is that the most evil people in the world were smart.
Ignorance breeds hatred. I'd rather take my chances with someone who's intelligent than someone who's clueless as to what they're supposed to be doing.

Btw, Einstein, Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes, and Socrates were all smart. Brains =/= evil.

mr_pikachu
30th October 2005, 06:32 PM
Y'know, you've made some interesting comments, Musourenka. I've gotta admit that. May I attempt a rebuttal?



There always will be gaps between classes, but I've always wondered why that mattered. So someone is making millions and another is making hundreds. So what?

Frankly, I agree with this to some extent. But the issue is more than that. Class separation isn't a big deal, but when the gaps become too large, movement between classes becomes more difficult and even, at its most critical level, impossible. A crucial idea of the American system is that anyone can rise up with hard work and determination. Similarly, those with wealth and power can lose it if they squander it or become complacent. When class divisions become too great, this feature of American commerce can become null and void. This is why there are defenses against such a scenario.


Explain how wages would keep decreasing. I simply don't see how that is the case, otherwise all of the poor would have vanished long before the 1940s (when the first Minimum wage act was passed).

Ah, but don't forget what prompted the creation of the minimum wage! Answer: The Great Depression, which ran well into the 1930s (and some would argue the '40s as well). This is perhaps the most relevant example of my example. There were a few absolute titans who accumulated massive amounts of wealth. The majority of the population was pushed downward in the class system, thus resulting in near-catastrophe for the U.S. When most of the citizens of a country cannot live adequately no matter how much they work, that country is in serious peril.

Musourenka
1st November 2005, 08:10 PM
To Krystalline Kabutops:


Taxes don't really have anything to do with it. My point is that if they can increase their sallaries as inflation goes up, why not minimum wage as well?
I see your point, though I argue against both of them.


You don't seem to realize how much extra cash these people are riding off with. There is PLENTY of extra money in the system to pay workers, and still leave the CEO living comfortably for the rest of their life.
Perhaps, but my argument with minimum wage is an ethical one; it is wrong to use force to make someone pay others a certain amount.


Of course I do. What would make you think otherwise? The fact that my philosophy on these issues clashes with yours?
No, because you wouldn't be saying that minimum wage should rise with inflation if you knew what inflation really was. No offense to you or anyone else, but damned near no one knows what inflation is. Inflation is an increase in the supply of money. It is a monetary phenomenon, not of price (though it can certainly affect prices). The Consumer Price Index is near useless in detecting inflation because 1) it cannot differentiate between actual inflation and increases in demand, supply costs, etc. and 2) inflation tends to hit the capital markets before anything else.


They make a lot of money, and their workers make barely enough to scrape by, forcing them to take up second jobs, and thereby reducing their efficiency.
I disagree with that "barely enough to scrape by"; they have a home, they have food, they have a car, they have a phone, and they have some luxuries. While not extravagant, they are nowhere as bad off as many claim.


I beg to differ. You act as if the only jobs that are high skill/risk are those of CEOs. It's still better than working on a factory line. European companies have gotten by fine with the CEOs only making around 24 times more than the average employee. Btw, fun fact - the average american CEO makes several HUNDRED times more than their employees.
A reduction in CEOs won't be the only thing that happens; the effects of the ceiling will spread out to other jobs.


You seem to think of this only one way - CEOs are tied down by their workers' wages. Instead, the employees could be buoyed up by their employer's wages. The more you pay your workers = the more you get paid yourself. Everybody wins. It doesn't leave room for monopolies like Wal-Mart to take root, but then again, do we really need stores that make more than most of the world's countries?

CEOs are tied down by all costs, including labor. An increase in wages doesn't guaranteed profit. Just try paying cashiers $30 an hour; your business won't last long. And CEOs can't get paid if their business goes "POOF!"


We must be seeng different things here. Define "Decent amount". Enough that they're not seeking another job. Enough that they're still able to afford food, water, a home, etc.


The point is that he would have HAD to pay them excellent wages for them to be able to buy the product back. It's just a roundabout way of getting to the same conclusion.
No it's not. It doesn't mention cost versus benefit at all, thus it is a useless explanation.


You realize that the influence of global corporations is MORE likely to keep these leaders in power? That banning companies from doing anything their could and probably would motivate the countries' leaders to change their practices, so that the companies can return?
You're partially right that such large corporations benefit from such situations (i.e. very little other competition), but you're wrong that banning corporations there will change the practices of the leaders. Most of those leaders are corrupt, and the main things tying many third-world countries down are those corrupt leaders, and various global political institutions (United Nations, the World Bank, etc.). The political level is the major problem, and until it is dealt with, corporations are currently the only thing preventing those of the third world from being completely sick and starving.


Without these countries, the corporations couldn't make the mind-boggling killing they do, and they know it. That's why it's in their best interests to keep dictators/human rights abusers in power.
Again, you're partially right that corporations do benefit from that, but they're not the problem.


Meaning that only the rich could get their children educated, and the poor just remain in poverty, ignorant and powerless.
If anything, it is public education that keeps the poor down. Why? At an early age, they're forced to go into an institution that teaches them to mind the rules (Zero Tolerance on everything!) and to recite what's in the book. Yes, they can usually read, write, and do basic math, but they are not taught concepts and reality. They learn the dots, but they aren't taught how to connect them.

And where do I get this from? From seeing people unable to put two and two together. From people unable to start from basic elemental concepts and thoughts and work upwards from them. From seeing my cousin unable to apply what he's learned to a problem because his class "doesn't do it that way."


Here's the thing; The only reason you had ACCESS to those resources was because your parents could afford to send you to college, get you an internet connection, etc. Ignorance is at the core of poverty. Why do you think it was illegal for blacks to learn to read or write in the south before the civil war? because the aristocracy knew knowledge = power.
Bolded, because this point is crucial.... If the aristocracy (or bureaucracy) know that knowledge is power, what reasons would they have of risking their power base? Why would you trust education in their hands? Why must mandatory government schooling be the answer?


The thing is, it's not. Yes it is, for the reasons I described, and for the fact that it forces (by threat of imprisonment of the parents) children to sit through years of "education".


Ignorance breeds hatred. I'd rather take my chances with someone who's intelligent than someone who's clueless as to what they're supposed to be doing.
Forgive my lack of lucidity, but I meant that knowledge is no safeguard against corruption.

To mr. pikachu:


Frankly, I agree with this to some extent. But the issue is more than that. Class separation isn't a big deal, but when the gaps become too large, movement between classes becomes more difficult and even, at its most critical level, impossible. A crucial idea of the American system is that anyone can rise up with hard work and determination. Similarly, those with wealth and power can lose it if they squander it or become complacent. When class divisions become too great, this feature of American commerce can become null and void. This is why there are defenses against such a scenario.But see, it's not that the gaps are large that makes it difficult to move around, it's that there are barriers in the way. Whether it be laws, environmental factors, or just luck, there are times where movement is restricted. Minimum wage nor welfare will help this, because the biggest cause of the gap is legislation and taxes.


Ah, but don't forget what prompted the creation of the minimum wage! Answer: The Great Depression, which ran well into the 1930s (and some would argue the '40s as well). This is perhaps the most relevant example of my example. There were a few absolute titans who accumulated massive amounts of wealth. The majority of the population was pushed downward in the class system, thus resulting in near-catastrophe for the U.S. When most of the citizens of a country cannot live adequately no matter how much they work, that country is in serious peril.
Minimum Wage was, to my knowledge, originally a way to equalize male and female wages.

As for the Great Depression, the only reasonable explanations I've found have to deal with the Federal Reserve Bank (massive credit expansion in the 20s, people think there is a huge investing boom when there isn't, people malinvest, crash follows. This wouldn't be the first time in history that this happened, though it would be the biggest) and government intervention (particularly Hoover's price and wage floors!). Unemployment shortly after the crash was about 9%. It jumped up to 23% after Hoover's price and wage floors, and up to 29% in later years due to various government legislation. It took over twelve years to get through the depression because everyone was not allowed to adjust to the depression and the new conditions at their own pace (intervention prevented that). My guess is that the depression would've ended on its own in two or three years time.

mr_pikachu
1st November 2005, 08:35 PM
To mr. pikachu:
But see, it's not that the gaps are large that makes it difficult to move around, it's that there are barriers in the way. Whether it be laws, environmental factors, or just luck, there are times where movement is restricted. Minimum wage nor welfare will help this, because the biggest cause of the gap is legislation and taxes.

You're right about the barriers; there will always be obstacles to overcome in a class-based system. I do think that minimum wage helps a bit more than you think it does, but other than that, I pretty much agree with this. We could debate the issue of how much minimum wage really helps until kingdom come, so I won't push the point further. It's pointless to argue about a minor part of the issue, the way I see it.


Minimum Wage was, to my knowledge, originally a way to equalize male and female wages.

As for the Great Depression, the only reasonable explanations I've found have to deal with the Federal Reserve Bank (massive credit expansion in the 20s, people think there is a huge investing boom when there isn't, people malinvest, crash follows. This wouldn't be the first time in history that this happened, though it would be the biggest) and government intervention (particularly Hoover's price and wage floors!). Unemployment shortly after the crash was about 9%. It jumped up to 23% after Hoover's price and wage floors, and up to 29% in later years due to various government legislation. It took over twelve years to get through the depression because everyone was not allowed to adjust to the depression and the new conditions at their own pace (intervention prevented that). My guess is that the depression would've ended on its own in two or three years time.

I haven't done quite that much research on the figures and timeline, so I can't really debate this right now. I'll have to look the finer details up. I will say that you're right about the economy working in a cyclical pattern, although I'm not sure how well it would've recovered from being as battered as it was during the Great Depression.

On a side note, this is a great debate! It's been a long time since we've had a good, intellectual, non-flaming political discussion!