The Trump Presidency - how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Hair

LeVeL

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He is not forced to buy a Porsche, and a Toyota costs exactly the same as it would for someone with a lower income.

I don't want people to all buy the same things at all, I simply show that if a rich person spends a high amount of money to live (bigger house, bigger car, expensive lifestyle) it is THEIR choice, not a rule of nature forcing them.
I understand where you're coming from but keep in mind that the more someone spends on all of those things, the more money they're pouring back into the economy and supporting more companies. Also, how far do you take the "basic needs" vs choice argument? Just like you say no one needs a $100k Porsche, I will also say that no one needs a $25k Toyota - my first car cost $2500, so should people not "earn" enough to buy a fancy new $25k Toyota?


Everything that is beyond a healthy life is a choice of the person. This is why 1000$ to a millionnaire is almost nothing, as they do not need it to get a healthy lifestyle, while 1000$ to an average person might mean to get a healthier life than it would have had otherwise.

BTW, on this part, we clearly agree, considering what you told Blind_Io, so you should see WHY 1000$ to the middle class is WAY better than 1000$ to the rich. It is proportionally better the lower the person's income.
Absolutely correct but again, how far will you take this argument? What's "healthy"? This morning I heard the news on the radio about a fire in Boston and that the flames spread across right houses because they were so close to each other - isn't living in a single-family home on several acres much safer (i.e. healthier) than living in an apartment building? Should everyone be entitled to such a home? As another example, having a personal chef and a personal trainer is certainly healthy - should those be included in the minimum standard?

And once again, the rich get taxed at a higher rate already. Taxing someone poor who makes $30k at 10% gets you $3k in taxes. Taxing someone making $1mil at 10% would take $100k of their money, except they actually get taxed at a higher rate, say, 20%, so they're paying $200k. Fictitious numbers but they get the point across.


There cannot be someone whose work is averagely valued 1000 times that of an average person. That is physically not possible, expecially in a human society, where everything gets done cooperatively.
You don't think that a doctor who spent decades in school produced much more valuable labor that a janitor? What about the CEO of a company who employs 1000 people and makes decisions that could jeopardize the entire company?

Also, how do you determine the worth of something? What's the worth of a Big Mac?


No man could ever do the most valuable job in the society, and not for a high amount of time, if there weren't many others doing the less valuable ones and keeping them alive.

The results of the highest are built on the work of the lowest, and this work should be rewarded. If the highest keeps it all to themselves, just because they are the frontman, this is not happening.
You are correct. However, in a society where there is no income inequality, what would motivate someone to become a doctor when they can just go flip burgers at McDonald's? That society would very quickly fall apart if no one had a financial incentive to pursue more advanced and difficult lines of work.


What happens if there are too many doing the doctor's job? Their value would go to a minimum and they would starve. If they can't change job, which may happen, they would get to starvation, fierce underpayment or even serfdom, to survive.

This is where the market mechanism breaks down: to have a fair market system, people should have relatively comparable strength during the exchange, to be able to DENY what they consider too low.

This does not always happen, so you have exploitation and people getting too rich and believing that is because they are better, instead of that being because they literally rob other people.
I disagree. The way the market works is that if there are too many doctors to the point where they get paid very little, many people will choose to go into a different line of work than to become doctors. We have the opposite problem in my state right now where there are not enough electricians, which causes the existing electricians to raise prices, more people are drawn to becoming electricians for the high wages, and eventually wages for electricians will return to normal. Same thing with your doctor example.


And if the electrician would get too expensive, you could even go without electricity. Never forget that part.
I can't go without electricity, as that would eliminate my refrigerator and my heat. But anyways, that's irrelevant. As I said above, if electricians started charging $10k per visit, lots of people would become electricians to get that sort of money, which would quickly lower their wages in a competitive environment.


If that was a doctor, and you needed him to survive, you would pay them whatever they'd ask you, even all your money, even your freedom; you wouldn't be able to refuse...

Then, that doctor would get filthy rich, effectively robbing you of everything you have; not because his work is so much better, but because you can't refuse the transaction.
You can refuse to pay a doctor $100k for a visit if there is another doctor who says he'll do the same job for less. Based on the number of doctors out there who can entice you with a better deal, you eventually arrive at an equilibrium - a number above which more doctors will want to enter the market, which will lower wages; below which fewer people will be enticed to become doctors, which would increase wages.


You're speaking from an authoritarian position that dictates who can earn how much and what someone's labor is worth. What I'm suggesting is that we, the people, make those decisions in the marketplace.
 

SirEdward

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I understand where you're coming from but keep in mind that the more someone spends on all of those things, the more money they're pouring back into the economy and supporting more companies.
They're still not forced to buy the Porsche. Remember that I do not mind people buying Porsches, nor do I want to stop them doing that; I mention this, though it is a repetition, because it will become useful later on in this comment. I want the right importance being given to the right things.

Your desire to buy a (surplus) Porche is worth far less than the desire of someone else to buy a car plain and simple. It is not because of envy, it is because the more people the society is able to allow to raise, the wealthier that society will be.

Plus, a single $100k Porsche is nowhere near the impact of 4 $25 Toyotas when it comes to pouring money back into the economy. Another reason to grant more people a little less than few people a lot more.

Also, how far do you take the "basic needs" vs choice argument?
As far as you like, if you want. There is no such things as a hard limit on "how much is enough". If there was, most injustice would disappear because angry people would tear apart those getting too much, effectively creating funcioning communism, which we know for a fact cannot exist.

It does not exist because how much is enough is dictated mostly by the wealth level of the society, which is always changing.

However, the lack of hard limits works both ways: someone arguing that the most extreme luxuries are basic needs is clearly a greedy bastard disconnected from reality.

We have to study our society, understand what we can do, understand what is a good investment and what not, and then strive to allow each member of the society to get to what is needed the most in increasingly easy ways, while not taking away the possibility for the very skilled ones to get real high, without taking advantages of loopholes.

Absolutely correct but again, how far will you take this argument? What's "healthy"?
I kept this here because it is in line with what I just said: there cannot be a fixed line for what is "healthy". However, if you consider something being healthy, whatever it is, then evey person not having it comes before all people having more than that. And again, not in a communistical sense, but in that who cares if you have problems getting the Porsche, if the average guy has difficulties buying himself the Toyota.

If you consider the Porsche being the standard, then you'll have to help the average guy getting it...

On the other hand, if a Toyota would be deemed too much for the average person, then you won't need a Porsche, but a Toyota would be enough for you to distinguish yourself; everything over could be taxed even more heavily to help the average guy getting their 2500$ used car.

This morning I heard the news on the radio about a fire in Boston and that the flames spread across right houses because they were so close to each other - isn't living in a single-family home on several acres much safer (i.e. healthier) than living in an apartment building?
Can everyone live in single-family homes on several acres? If this is possible, and the society can afford it, it is probably healthier. However, our technological level and our demographics tell us that this is not possible. The limit then is not "justice", the limit is "resource availability and sustainability". We cannot ignore that.

And once again, the rich get taxed at a higher rate already.
Coming from a country where some people (not the richest...) are taxed up to 70% of their income, I tell you that 40$ is really, really, really acceptable, particularly for the extremely rich.

You don't think that a doctor who spent decades in school produced much more valuable labor that a janitor?
Indeed he does, but he couldn't do it, if not for a fraction of the time (maybe not even that), if the janitor wasn't there to keep the medical office clean.

What about the CEO of a company who employs 1000 people and makes decisions that could jeopardize the entire company?
What about the fact that the each one of the 1000 employees is producing more than they earn, otherwise they wouldn't have the job? (that was one of Marx's realization, and it is spot on). How much is enough for a person who can jeopardize an entire company, considering that the 1000 employees are all paid LESS than they contribute to the company itself? Shouldn't the CEO be also paid LESS than what they actually do? How much less? A Company (the bigger, the truer) is a cooperative effort.

Also, how do you determine the worth of something? What's the worth of a Big Mac?
The perceived market value of something depends on how many people want it and how much of the thing there is.
The real market value of that same thing depends on how much it allows the owner(s) to generate.

The perceived personal value of something depends on how bad that thing is wanted by that person.
The real personal value of something depends on what that person wants to achieve and how much the thing is needed to achieve that.

The perceived social value of something depends on how much the thing is considered to be worth to the well-being of the society
The real social value of something depends on the actual effects it would have on that society.

Outside of a society composed of all the human beings on the planet, there is no value at all, as "value" is a characteristics that human beings give to things in order to deal with them (at many levels, with various, differing "values") and which is completely tied to the usefulness (in any form) of that things to the human beings.

So how do you determine the value of a Big Mac, given that it has no value outside of the human world and its value for the human beings depends on who they are, in what conditions they are and on what their goal is?

The truth is, let's set at least an objective first, that we can agree upon, and I will tell you, if possible, how much a Big Mac may be worth in regard to that objective.

in a society where there is no income inequality, what would motivate someone to become a doctor when they can just go flip burgers at McDonald's?
Passion. ...but no, that is just to say how easy it is to counter the "motivation only through money" argument. In truth:

I do not ask for a society with no inequality, because this is not possible; I advocate for a society capable of cutting out useless things whose balance of pros and cons is damaging it, and for a society that is able to allow the LARGEST PART POSSIBLE of its own members to live a good live in which they can pursue their happiness and desires.

It would be good if it was all of them, but this is not possible; so I focus on the largest number of people possible.

We have the opposite problem in my state right now where there are not enough electricians, which causes the existing electricians to raise prices, more people are drawn to becoming electricians for the high wages, and eventually wages for electricians will return to normal.
This only works if people are allowed to become electricians. Stop them from doing that, and the few there are will become unfairly rich, at your own expenses (you couldn't refuse the offer of the greedy ones).

It is the same for the doctor: the problems come when you cannot refuse. Market is a human behaviour, which only grants good to both parties when they can refuse (and go buying the same from someone else, in this case)

You're speaking from an authoritarian position that dictates who can earn how much and what someone's labor is worth.
Not at all. That is the extreme of what I say, and I am not an extremist in the least. (this is also why I wrote that small part at the beginning)

What I'm suggesting is that we, the people, make those decisions in the marketplace.
This is not bad, as long as it does not become extreme. The marketplace is a human behaviour, and it needs a series of conditions to work well. The extremists of the marketplace believe that it could work regardless of the conditions. This is what I say is plainly stupid.

The market mechanism in itself is useful, but it is a tool, not a god.
 
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prizrak

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If you reduce the amount that gets in, you have to reduce the amount that gets out, or run a deficit and make debts to compensate for it; debt upon which you will pay even more money as interest rates to investors.
  1. Yes we are running a deficit and have been for a while now
  2. You are making the incorrect assumption that all government spending is good AND that there is no waste.
The Western World has been one of the best systems so far, yet stupid, greedy people are trying to destroy it and transform it back again into what the world was before it: extremely much to the already rich, just crumbles for the poor, destiny tied to your birth social position, not to your abilities. The moment an idiot rich can get richer and more powerful by doing NOTHING but spending his own inherited money, you know you have a problem.
I'm not sure where you got this from, some of the richest people in the world right now emerged in late 20th/early 21st century by building products and/or services that people found desirable. Just because someone inherited their wealth doesn't mean that they are lazy/stupid/shiftless, the reason some families are synonymous with wealth is because they managed and increased their wealth properly.

You are also confusing earnings with worth, Bezos as an example is worth $130Bn, that doesn't mean he gets paid that amount every year, that means all of his liquid assets, most of which is Amazon stock btw, are worth that much. So if you are taxing their "income" you really won't get a whole lot out of it.
There cannot be someone whose work is averagely valued 1000 times that of an average person. That is physically not possible, expecially in a human society, where everything gets done cooperatively.
That makes absolutely no sense at all, to use Lev's example, a doctor is significantly more valuable than a janitor. Anyone can be a janitor but it takes years of medical school, a certain specific (rather rare) mindset and willingness and ability to keep on learning as the field is constantly changing. Same goes for C-suit executives, not many people are even capable of the work (I couldn't manage at that level, hell I don't want to at any level) and their decisions have massive impact on thousands (and in some cases millions) of people so yes their labor is much more valuable.
what mafia does: either you do wha they want, or your life gets destroyed, maybe you even die).
Sounds a whole lot like the IRS and government to me...
Then, that doctor would get filthy rich, effectively robbing you of everything you have; not because his work is so much better, but because you can't refuse the transaction.
That makes no sense as there isn't just one doctor, there is not just one of anything
The "market" is a human behaviour: it only self-corrects when people can refuse the deal they get offered. If they can't, it won't self-correct anything and wealth will be destroyed rather than created.
I completely fail to see your point, people move between socio-economic levels all the time and in both directions, sometimes you are in a position to refuse the deal you are offered, sometimes you aren't and many times lower paying jobs are simply a foothold into the economy.
 

SirEdward

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  1. You are making the incorrect assumption that all government spending is good AND that there is no waste.
Talking out of experience, when you cut without addressing the problems, you will be only cutting the working part, not the parasites. Trust 30 years of italian tries to do exactly that without addressing some of the real problems.

I'm not sure where you got this from, some of the richest people in the world right now emerged in late 20th/early 21st century by building products and/or services that people found desirable.
This is not the world from 60 years ago, nor it is the world from 40 years ago, and it is not even the
world from 15 years ago.

BTW, the point still stands: many of those people got way too rich for what they have done.

Just because someone inherited their wealth doesn't mean that they are lazy/stupid/shiftless
Of course not; yet they can succeed by being that, if they have enough money. Some of them even get elected president. It is a fantastic evidence that the system has problems that need to be addressed.

You are also confusing earnings with worth, Bezos as an example is worth $130Bn, that doesn't mean he gets paid that amount every year, that means all of his liquid assets, most of which is Amazon stock btw, are worth that much.
At some point, those things got into his own possessions; it is impossible that he has worked THAT much hard as an average guy. Most of that wealth actually comes from those who work(ed) for him.

That makes absolutely no sense at all, to use Lev's example, a doctor is significantly more valuable than a janitor.
As with Lev, the doctor could not work (not for that amount of time, anyway) if the janitor didn't clean the medical office. Part of the wealth of the doctor comes from a teamwork, and yet it stays with the doctor.

I am not asking for no stupid black or white actions, I am just pointing out that "what is earned" is not exactly an easy thing to determine, and there are reasons why extreme inequalities are impossible if not by taking away someone else's hard-earned money; not because people want to cheat (some of them want), but because of how our system is organized.

C-suit executives, not many people are even capable of the work
Not many, you are perfectly right, but still many more than the executives payrolls would suggest...
And after all, not that many of them are required either.

That makes no sense as there isn't just one doctor, there is not just one of anything
It depends on the conditions you have. In some places, in some areas, in some fields, there can well be just ONE of them.

In some areas, single persons or companies try to build up a situation where there is noone else to compete. Monopoly.

Or, in our simpler terms, what Jeff Bezos is trying to achieve (and will achieve, unless the conditions change) with Amazon.

I completely fail to see your point
Of course not: you are thinking about social ladder here, while my sentence was about how the exchange behaviour of human beings (which is behind the marketplace thing) works.
 

Blind_Io

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@Blind_Io your argument here isn’t very clear, are you saying that tax cut didn’t help middle class enough? Or are you saying that the ROI is too low to justify the cuts?
Both can be true. The tax cuts were targeted to help the wealthy, the challenge Level is having is that he seems to be assuming that all taxes are straight percentages - not progressive. The other part of this that we haven't discussed this time around (although we have in the past) - is that the tax cuts for companies are permanent, the ones for individuals are not. We have already seen how most companies are spending their tax cuts - by buying back stock or sitting on cash. Remember what we were promised with these cuts? That massive tax cuts to the wealthy would result in more spending, which would drive the economy. That hasn't happened. That corporate tax cuts would drive reinvestment. That hasn't happened either, at least not enough to drive GDP to the point of paying for the tax cuts. The tax cuts would pay for themselves with greater economic growth - not happening either. And finally, that the middle class would see this incredible benefit and be "so well off". Actually, the majority of Americans have seen such a small benefit that if you didn't tell them it was there, they probably would not have noticed.

So: the tax cuts for most Americans were just crumbs falling off the table enjoyed by the wealthy and by corporations. This is what "trickle down" actually looks like. The ROI on these cuts is not enough to pay for the cuts themselves, which is what we were promised.
 

prizrak

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As with Lev, the doctor could not work (not for that amount of time, anyway) if the janitor didn't clean the medical office. Part of the wealth of the doctor comes from a teamwork, and yet it stays with the doctor.
That's a complete BS argument, every person working in a business is paid a wage, that wage is a combination of how difficult the task is (it's easy to mop), how in demand it is (making sculpture out of loose diarrhea is rather hard but who wants to see that shit) and how replaceable the worker is (garbage pick up is rather easy but not many people want to do it).

Or to put it another way, the doctor could stay after hours and clean his office, janitor can't treat his patients.

@Blind_Io alright that clears it up.
 
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prizrak

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Try mopping for 40 hours a week.
Been there, done that, whats your point? Also served people ice cream, washed dishes, made salads, vacuumed, worked deli counter, etc...

Just because something can be physically taxing doesn't make it a difficult task.
 

SirEdward

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That's a complete BS argument
I'm not saying the doctor should be paid the same as the janitor, I am saying that without the janitor, the doctor couldn't do the job, or couldn't for as much time, having to dedicate a part of it to cleaning up.

Everything complex is a teamwork.

Or to put it another way, the doctor could stay after hours and clean his office
That's less time for the patients.

It is the reason why cooperation works well. Instead of having everyone doing everything, you put everyone doing what they do best, then you combine the efforts and get more efficiency, more efficacy, more wealth.

This is why whatever you earn is not really only what you have done, rather a combination of efforts from many people. Of course skills have to be rewarded correctly, but the necessity for cooperationg puts a limit on how much -more- than someone else working to the same project you can really produce, thus how much you can earn.
 

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Been there, done that, whats your point? Also served people ice cream, washed dishes, made salads, vacuumed, worked deli counter, etc...

Just because something can be physically taxing doesn't make it a difficult task.
It may not be mentally taxing, but it can be physically. Either can be a measure of difficulty.
 

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That's a complete BS argument, every person working in a business is paid a wage, that wage is a combination of how difficult the task is (it's easy to mop), how in demand it is (making sculpture out of loose diarrhea is rather hard but who wants to see that shit) and how replaceable the worker is (garbage pick up is rather easy but not many people want to do it).

Or to put it another way, the doctor could stay after hours and clean his office, janitor can't treat his patients.

@Blind_Io alright that clears it up.
I agree with Prizrak on this one. There is a difference between skilled and unskilled labor. The doctor is skilled labor, the janitor is unskilled labor - while the janitor contributes to the functioning of the office, many people can do his job. Mopping is not technically demanding labor so there is a very large pool of people who can do that job. The doctor, on the other hand, is highly skilled labor and it would take a great deal of time to train someone to do that job and it requires great expense.

The second half is how much people want to do the job. Cleaners in ORs and ERs get paid more than someone working in the office areas because they are exposed to possible contagions (blood, urine, feces, etc) and their job requires greater skill and training (effectively disinfecting an OR post-surgery, use of specialty cleaning products, documentation of the job, etc). As a result, few people would take the job cleaning ORs if it paid the same as emptying wastepaper bins in an office building. The value of the work is greater, so ideally the pay would be greater as well.

I worked for a small employer that wanted to use the therapists for unskilled labor - such as cleaning the offices. The problem is that we were only paid when we had a client in the chair, so this would have been unpaid time at work. No one went for it, and it resulted in everyone putting their foot down about doing "favors" for the owners to keep the place running. The owner and head therapist ended up staying late to do housekeeping. That's fine, it's their business and if they believe their time is best spent doing that work, they can do so.
 

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This is a job that is already being done by robots.
 

Blind_Io

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So, how's the trade war going? Not so great, huh? Maybe it's because the guy who started it thinks that tariffs mean the country of origin cuts us a check for every shipment of goods.

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-trade-war-tariffs-cost-americans-22-billion-through-april-2019-6-1028296264
Trump’s tariffs have cost Americans at least $22 billion since the trade war began, report says

President Donald Trump's trade policies cost Americans tens of billions of dollars through April, according to new estimates, even before major tariff escalations took place.
The pricetag of duties levied by the Trump administration added up to nearly $22 billion during that time period, the free-trade group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said in a new report. That was before Trump more than doubled the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese products in May, so current totals are likely much higher.
Senator Chuck Grassley, who is leading efforts to craft a bill that would seek to rein in presidential trade powers, has given the same estimate. US Customs and Border Protection has assessed more than $15.2 billion in tariffs on China and more than $6.5 billion from those levied on steel and aluminum imports, according to the Republican from Iowa.

"To be clear, American importers and consumers are paying for these tariffs," he said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday. "$22 billion out of the pockets of hardworking Americans is not in our national best interest."
While Trump and his administration claim that tariffs hurt foreign exporters, evidence suggests that businesses and consumers at home pay the price.
"The Trump administration is learning that it is hard to punish someone else by taxing yourself," said Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork. "Tariffs harm the domestic economy in addition to those we are imposing them on, so it is difficult to really damage major trading partners significantly without doing a similar amount of economic damage at home."
At the same time, retaliatory measures have hit American businesses hard. The Department of Agriculture expects farm exports to fall by nearly $2 billion to $141.5 billion in fiscal 2019, largely because of tariffs China levied last year to hit back against the Trump administration.
Trump asserts that his trade wars will ultimately help Americans, by pressuring countries to change business practices he sees as unfair. Seeking to level the playing field for the US, he argues that any short-term pain will be worth it.
From September of last year: “China's now paying us billions of dollars in tariffs and hopefully we'll be able to work something out.” - Trump.

From May this year: “Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our Country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind. Also, much easier & quicker to do,

Trump has promised to use the revenue that the government raises from China (remember, the government is not actually raising money from China) to help businesses harmed by the trade war. Washington will demand payments from Beijing, use the money to buy food, and pass the food on “to starving people in nations around the world!”

EDIT: Fixed the link.
 
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