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Rohirrim
03-04-2013, 11:15 AM
Enjoy the video. :thumbs:

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QPKKQnijnsM?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Fedaykin
03-04-2013, 05:00 PM
In a thread here I once posed the question that video does:

Is the CEO of a company worth 400x the contribution of the average employee? Why or why not?

No one cared to actually answer.

An remember, that's the average CEO, not the worst.

Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), makes 2,500x what his average employee makes. What could one person do that even remotely justifies that amount of money compared to the folks actually doing the work? One of the top engineers (not even the average!) who actually designs and makes Apple products has to work months to earn the money Tim Cook makes in an hour.

I really want to know what people think justifies that.

El Minion
03-04-2013, 06:48 PM
In a thread here I once posed the question that video does:

Is the CEO of a company worth 400x the contribution of the average employee? Why or why not?

No one cared to actually answer.

An remember, that's the average CEO, not the worst.

Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), makes 2,500x what his average employee makes. What could one person do that even remotely justifies that amount of money compared to the folks actually doing the work? One of the top engineers (not even the average!) who actually designs and makes Apple products has to work months to earn the money Tim Cook makes in an hour.

I really want to know what people think justifies that.

Their argument would be that is what the market decided when the CEO and the board agreed to the compensation package.

With regards to the ever growing inequality, the apathy and numbness towards the current march to neo-feudalism is disheartening. Why Occupy hasn't been more of a force is also troubling. Republicans are good at personalizing what voting for them means, the last time I can remember the Democrats doing that was in the 60's and 70's. Though they do have it in gay rights, but it's not enough.

The Lone Bolt
03-04-2013, 06:59 PM
In a thread here I once posed the question that video does:

Is the CEO of a company worth 400x the contribution of the average employee? Why or why not?

No one cared to actually answer.

An remember, that's the average CEO, not the worst.

Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), makes 2,500x what his average employee makes. What could one person do that even remotely justifies that amount of money compared to the folks actually doing the work? One of the top engineers (not even the average!) who actually designs and makes Apple products has to work months to earn the money Tim Cook makes in an hour.

I really want to know what people think justifies that.

I'm mystified as well. Most of America's CEOs are easily replaceable. I'm willing to bet that for most of them, there are dozens -- maybe even hundreds -- within their organizations that could do their jobs just as well or better.

Elon Musk. Alan Mulally. Bob Lutz. The late Steve Jobs. The list of corporate CEOs in modern times that actually earned their high salaries are few IMO.

Rohirrim
03-04-2013, 08:22 PM
It is ridiculously unsustainable. We are all like that guy in Florida, safe in our beds, while far below us the limestone flakes away.

orinjkrush
03-05-2013, 06:40 AM
many, if not most CEOs are just figureheads, wannabe rock stars anyway. there are NO scientific studies which show the quantitative impact of CEOs, suggesting in reality they just don't matter. Japan gets away with something like a 4/1 salary ratio don't they? The CEO myth is perpetuated by those who financially gain from the myth. Replace Popes, Presidents and Boards of Directors and the larger organizational culture still predominates. That's why M&As are so horrendous.

BroncoBeavis
03-05-2013, 07:34 AM
In a thread here I once posed the question that video does:

Is the CEO of a company worth 400x the contribution of the average employee? Why or why not?

No one cared to actually answer.

An remember, that's the average CEO, not the worst.

Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), makes 2,500x what his average employee makes. What could one person do that even remotely justifies that amount of money compared to the folks actually doing the work? One of the top engineers (not even the average!) who actually designs and makes Apple products has to work months to earn the money Tim Cook makes in an hour.

I really want to know what people think justifies that.

Apple's a pretty terrible example. I'm pretty sure they'd pay 10000x to have Steve back. And he'd be worth every penny.

Pony Boy
03-05-2013, 08:13 AM
It is ridiculously unsustainable. We are all like that guy in Florida, safe in our beds, while far below us the limestone flakes away.

32122

Rohirrim
03-05-2013, 09:02 AM
32122

I'm assuming you know how to read, Archie. Go to the library and check out some history books. See what happens to societies that allow themselves to drift into this kind of wealth inequality. Right now, the greedy are simply riding along on the inherent optimism and general good nature of the American people. That will change. When? Who knows? And what will be the catalyst? Who knows? Maybe a hot summer? Some kind of natural disaster? The current paradigm is unsustainable and the GOP's continuing "protect the rich at all costs" ideology is heading for a cliff.

BroncoBeavis
03-05-2013, 09:37 AM
I'm assuming you know how to read, Archie. Go to the library and check out some history books. See what happens to societies that allow themselves to drift into this kind of wealth inequality.

Maybe you could educate us with some of those historic "Confiscate and Redistribute the Wealth based on populist opinion" success stories. LOL

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

houghtam
03-05-2013, 10:24 AM
Maybe you could educate us with some of those historic "Confiscate and Redistribute the Wealth based on populist opinion" success stories. LOL

You mean re-redistributing. We just want it back to where it was before Reagan redistributed it. Funny how that word somehow has come to mean only one thing and not both.

Rohirrim
03-07-2013, 06:55 AM
You mean re-redistributing. We just want it back to where it was before Reagan redistributed it. Funny how that word somehow has come to mean only one thing and not both.

True. To the average "conservative", funneling all our wealth into the pockets of the few is just the natural order. That's the problem with so called "conservatives"; Too much respect for the status quo, even if the status quo is feudalism. You've got to admit, though, some form of feudalism has been the normal economic system for the overwhelming majority of civilization's history. Progressivism was a revolutionary concept when TR started implementing it over a hundred years ago. But the "conservatives" could just never get comfortable with the idea and they've been fighting it ever since ( with generous funding from the very wealthy who benefit most from the fight). It's difficult to convince some people that neither they, nor anybody else, should live like serfs.

Of course, TR took his lead from Lincoln:

"I hold that while man exists it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind."

And again:

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

Then TR took it to the next step:

"At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. That is nothing new."

It's sad, in a way, because the so-called conservatives have become the tools of the greedy, fighting for the rights of the already rich and powerful to gain even more wealth and more power, upholding a system of piracy and calling it patriotism. In other words, they're deluded. And even the great stars of the Republican firmament (TR and Lincoln) have told them so. And they still won't believe it.

BroncoInferno
03-07-2013, 07:02 AM
You mean re-redistributing. We just want it back to where it was before Reagan redistributed it. Funny how that word somehow has come to mean only one thing and not both.

Exactly. You've got guys like Romney who pay half the tax rate of an average citizen, and they've got the Tea Party dopes convinced that that's somehow fair, and those who attempt to change it are communist agents.

Rohirrim
03-07-2013, 07:59 AM
They called TR a socialist. Here's something about the whole mess that I find absurdly funny; Many of the people who have benefited the most from the redistribution of wealth upwards over the last thirty years, in other words, those who have profited the most while the country has gone into debt, now hide a great quantity of that wealth offshore so it can't be taxed. Their argument is that if the government would lower their taxes even more, they would do us all a favor and "repatriate" that wealth. At the same, they have sold the poor tea party serfs on the idea that lower taxes, especially for them, are patriotic.

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 08:12 AM
"our wealth"

Heh. There's your problem right there.

W*GS
03-07-2013, 08:25 AM
http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/print-cover-full/print-covers/20130216_cna400.jpg

Special report: Offshore finance (http://www.economist.com/printedition/2013-02-16)

Rohirrim
03-07-2013, 08:27 AM
"our wealth"

Heh. There's your problem right there.

I'd love to stick around and beat you like a drum, once again, but it gets tiresome and I have better things to do.

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 09:01 AM
I'd love to stick around and beat you like a drum,

There could be a first time for everything I guess. LOL

I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents... The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature, for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society... Every one, by his property, or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the support of law and order. And such men may safely and advantageously reserve to themselves a wholesome control over their public affairs, and a degree of freedom, which, in the hands of the canaille [the masses] of the cities of Europe, would be instantly perverted to the demolition and destruction of everything public and private.

-Thomas Jefferson ---As Constitutional as Separation of Church and State---

houghtam
03-07-2013, 11:00 AM
There could be a first time for everything I guess. LOL



-Thomas Jefferson ---As Constitutional as Separation of Church and State---

"Taxation is, in fact, the most difficult function of government and that against which their citizens are most apt to be refractory. The general aim is, therefore, to adopt the mode most consonant with the circumstances and sentiments of the country." --Thomas Jefferson: Introduction to Tracy's "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:460

Guess where the sentiments of the country lie? That should just about put an end to your dishonest and selective use of Jefferson.

Rohirrim
03-07-2013, 11:20 AM
There could be a first time for everything I guess. LOL



-Thomas Jefferson ---As Constitutional as Separation of Church and State---

http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/masonry/000/165/510/169026_198814926796252_100000032396928_818646_3875 815_n.jpg

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 12:24 PM
"Taxation is, in fact, the most difficult function of government and that against which their citizens are most apt to be refractory. The general aim is, therefore, to adopt the mode most consonant with the circumstances and sentiments of the country." --Thomas Jefferson: Introduction to Tracy's "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:460

Guess where the sentiments of the country lie? That should just about put an end to your dishonest and selective use of Jefferson.

I see no point here. He's saying taxes are a sticky issue, best left tied to democratic processes. Nobody's saying taxes aren't necessary But as we all know, Jefferson was a huge proponent of the concept of enumerated (limited) powers. There is a place for taxation. But he would've never argued that your government has unlimited powers to use it for whatever they like. Only that which was prescribed.

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his father has acquired too much, in order to spare to others who (or whose fathers) have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, "to guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

In the end, your argument is a 'mob rule' argument. Exactly what Madison warned about when he talked about Faction, or what TJ was talking about when he warned about turning things over to the "canaille"

houghtam
03-07-2013, 12:44 PM
I see no point here. He's saying taxes are a sticky issue, best left tied to democratic processes. Nobody's saying taxes aren't necessary But as we all know, Jefferson was a huge proponent of the concept of enumerated (limited) powers. There is a place for taxation. But he would've never argued that your government has unlimited powers to use it for whatever they like. Only that which was prescribed.



In the end, your argument is a 'mob rule' argument. Exactly what Madison warned about when he talked about Faction, or what TJ was talking about when he warned about turning things over to the "canaille"

"Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is
to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the
higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they
rise."

- Your boy TJ, speaking about France...whose wealth distribution, if you recall, looked a lot like the US today.

See, I can play the Fast and Loose with Thomas Jefferson Quotes game, too! We all can!

houghtam
03-07-2013, 01:01 PM
Hey look at me, I can quote Jefferson. As if there weren't dozens of other views at the founding of the nation. I wonder if that's why Jefferson was the one who suggested we rewrote the Constitution every 19 years.

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 01:01 PM
"Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is
to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the
higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they
rise."

- Your boy TJ, speaking about France...whose wealth distribution, if you recall, looked a lot like the US today.

See, I can play the Fast and Loose with Thomas Jefferson Quotes game, too! We all can!

Neither of us is playing fast and loose. It's the nature of the conflict. There's a danger in the purity of either approach. Jefferson saw both sides. There's nothing wrong with progressive taxation, only when it becomes confiscatory (a principle which I believe to be in play any time more than a half share goes to the government)

And I wouldn't say TJ is my guy so much as I like to use him because he's the only FF I'm aware of whose mere utterances have been given full Constitutional weight by certain people.

Jefferson was right about some things. As was Hamilton or Madison. But they didn't always agree with each other, except in very basic principles.

houghtam
03-07-2013, 01:25 PM
Neither of us is playing fast and loose. It's the nature of the conflict. There's a danger in the purity of either approach. Jefferson saw both sides. There's nothing wrong with progressive taxation, only when it becomes confiscatory (a principle which I believe to be in play any time more than a half share goes to the government)

And I wouldn't say TJ is my guy so much as I like to use him because he's the only FF I'm aware of whose mere utterances have been given full Constitutional weight by certain people.

Jefferson was right about some things. As was Hamilton or Madison. But they didn't always agree with each other, except in very basic principles.

Yeah.

Funny how I recall your argument then was "there is no way a person back then would even have considered atheism and keeping god out of politics" or some such...interesting how the "pay attention to the times they lived in" had to work for religion and politics, but absolutely can't for gun control. Double standard much?

Requiem
03-07-2013, 01:32 PM
Beavis is having a hard week on the boards. Will his Orange Mane stock rebound like the stock market in the future? We will have to wait and see.

houghtam
03-07-2013, 01:40 PM
Beavis is having a hard week on the boards. Will his Orange Mane stock rebound like the stock market in the future? We will have to wait and see.

Oh he'll be back. It's cyclical. Besides, I trust the economic policies of that goll durn soshulist in the White House.

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 01:50 PM
Yeah.

Funny how I recall your argument then was "there is no way a person back then would even have considered atheism and keeping god out of politics" or some such...interesting how the "pay attention to the times they lived in" had to work for religion and politics, but absolutely can't for gun control. Double standard much?

Wait, I thought you were the Constitutionally Purist Musketeer.

In any case, where's McGrube? I need a call on this flagrant projection. :)

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 01:56 PM
Beavis is having a hard week on the boards. Will his Orange Mane stock rebound like the stock market in the future? We will have to wait and see.

Well we can't all be 100% dead wrong and then still highfive it like North is South.

Rohirrim
03-07-2013, 01:58 PM
Beavis is having a hard week on the boards. Will his Orange Mane stock rebound like the stock market in the future? We will have to wait and see.

He has yet to address the OP.

BroncoBeavis
03-07-2013, 02:05 PM
He has yet to address the OP.

I think I did. Steve Jobs should've made $350k a year. got it. :)

txtebow
03-07-2013, 03:15 PM
Exactly. You've got guys like Romney who pay half the tax rate of an average citizen, and they've got the Tea Party dopes convinced that that's somehow fair, and those who attempt to change it are communist agents.

Flat tax of 18%. :afro:

Blart
03-07-2013, 03:25 PM
A good TED talks on inequality.

The effects of wealth inequality don't just hurt the poor, it hurts the rich as well.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/cZ7LzE3u7Bw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Rohirrim
03-07-2013, 04:37 PM
That TED piece is just mind-boggling. The United States is sitting on a ticking bomb and isn't even discussing it.

"If Americans want to live the American dream, they should move to Denmark." ;D

Blart
03-07-2013, 11:45 PM
That TED piece is just mind-boggling. The United States is sitting on a ticking bomb and isn't even discussing it.

"If Americans want to live the American dream, they should move to Denmark." ;D

Yup. A country that doesn't reward talent is at risk of becoming talentless.

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 09:08 AM
Many on the Right refuse to believe that economic value systems are completely arbitrary. They think some "magic hand" is at work (which is probably why for many of them their religion is inexorably tangled up with their politics and their economics). The cost of labor is whatever employers can get away with. The price CEOs charge is whatever they can get away with from shareholders. It just depends on the system you set up, socially and economically. Does our society disapprove of blatant greed, say the way the Japanese do? No. Just the opposite. Do we respect the labor of our people? No. We consider them entirely expendable. Who are our heroes, those who do the labor or those who wear the gold that labor built?

We just have to decide which model we want to follow and what our future as a country will look like. Do we follow the Libertarian ideological model of survival of the fittest (or best connected, in reality) and go the route of feudalism, or do we do what is best to have an equitable (and sustainable) society for our children and grandchildren understanding that, as TR pointed out, "At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth."

There is a reason why the biggest wars tend to bring about more equitable societies, as we saw in the U.S. in WWII. It's because everybody is under threat, even the capitalist, even the worker, and we come together. The workers need to put on helmets, grab their arms, and defend the land and the industry of the people. The capitalist must turn his industry to supplying the needs of war. Greed and war profiteering are vilified because they violate the necessary societal demands of war time sacrifice. They become taboo. It took more than thirty years and the advent of Reaganism for the Right to dismantle the equitability that came with that war. Somehow the Right ignores the obvious benefits that progressive system brought to our country. But instead of reality, they prefer ideology and when you peer through the eyeglass of ideology, you don't need facts.

I guess once you have (basically) mercenary forces fighting your wars, you don't have to sacrifice. We are in perpetual war and yet, if you are not personally involved, it means nothing to you. Sure, you gather around and listlessly wave the flag out of guilt, but the all for one, one for all thing can't survive in the outrageously inequitable system we have. In fact, the whole all for one, one for all thing becomes food for comedy, or irony. Hell, it doesn't even matter if the wars are just or unjust, right or wrong. It's like when the Russian soldiers returned from the front after WWI and saw that the party of the royals had never stopped. The immense suffering they went through had never penetrated the upper classes. So now the orgy of greed at the top need not suffer a hiatus due to societal pressures, but can go right on, war or peace. Hey, we celebrate their greed along with them, though the overwhelming majority of us can only stand in the snow and look through the windows at their party. Our leaders encourage us to do our part. "Go shopping," they say. War and greed can now walk hand in hand. Globalism is abundance. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Everything that happens is progress. :puff:

BroncoBeavis
03-08-2013, 09:45 AM
We just have to decide which model we want to follow and what our future as a country will look like. Do we follow the Libertarian ideological model of survival of the fittest (or best connected, in reality) and go the route of feudalism, or do we do what is best to have an equitable (and sustainable) society for our children and grandchildren understanding that, as TR pointed out, "At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth."

Notice he said equalize opportunity, not outcome. As a nation you have to compete with the world on some level. You can erect barriers to everyone in order to try to double down on your unwillingness to compete, but in the end, the whole nation suffers as it's left behind in it's chosen dark age while the rest of the world surges ahead.

Like I said before, you can choose to sanction those who work under fundamentally different views of humanity (China). But if we choose, as a nation, to retire from the game instead of compete with the Japans or SKoreas or Taiwans or Germanys of the world, the only ones we're hurting in the long run is ourselves.

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 10:06 AM
Bull****. The capitalists who control our government are doing more than anybody to support China (our number one ideological enemy) with our jobs, our markets and our technology. You think our massively subsidized corporate economy has anything whatsoever to do with "free trade?" Do you think the workers of America benefited from the migration of their jobs to Asia? Go to Camden, NJ or Detroit. The stock market just hit an all time high. You know who benefited?

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/images/wealth/Net_worth_and_financial_wealth.gif

That 80% who hold 5% of the financial wealth of this country are the wage and salary workers of America. You think this system is sustainable? The ****ing royalists of the 17th century would look on those pie charts with envy.

houghtam
03-08-2013, 10:10 AM
Notice he said equalize opportunity, not outcome. As a nation you have to compete with the world on some level. You can erect barriers to everyone in order to try to double down on your unwillingness to compete, but in the end, the whole nation suffers as it's left behind in it's chosen dark age while the rest of the world surges ahead.

Like I said before, you can choose to sanction those who work under fundamentally different views of humanity (China). But if we choose, as a nation, to retire from the game instead of compete with the Japans or SKoreas or Taiwans or Germanys of the world, the only ones we're hurting in the long run is ourselves.

It would be a lot easier to compete with China in the global economic market if we weren't outspending them 5:1 in defense. Everyone always likes to count us out vs. China when it comes to the economy, but it's because we're still stuck in our old, paranoid 1950's world views. China (nor any other superpower or nation who represents any legitimate military threat) has no interest in military conflict. In fact, it's contrary to their interests, because the market has become so globalized, that a market crash by either side would cripple both economies, not to mention both economies being destroyed in the first place because we buy so much from each other...that would end immediately, and the only thing propping either of us up would be the military economy, which would only last as long as our military resolve and natural resources would hold out.

The threat we face comes from rogue states, cells and individuals, and catching them requires precision and efficiency, not a huge standing army. Talk about attacking a problem with a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel... All of this can be done for much, much less than we currently spend on the military. Yes, this would destroy jobs. Jobs we would have to offset by rebuilding our infrastructure, which in and of itself is a huge contributor not only to supporting the economy, but to supporting a war effort if needed.

So slash the bejeezus out of the defense budget, shift the responsibility of "home defense" back to the states, where it was when this nation was founded, and rely on each state to raise and maintain militias (these would be your National Guard units) that can be called on in time of war. When Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers in April 1861, there was a reason they reached half a million volunteers before even the first drafts were begun.

Now, what exactly do we do with $300 billion dollars? I dunno, but I'm sure we can find some way to help level the playing field. It's not a simple their labor force is bigger than ours situation...as I recall the Soviets had a lot of cheap labor and natural resources, as well.

BroncoBeavis
03-08-2013, 10:20 AM
It would be a lot easier to compete with China in the global economic market if we weren't outspending them 5:1 in defense.

Sorry that just doesn't make any sense. Our government doesn't compete with China. (in a meaningful sense) We do. $500 billion difference in defense spending would do nothing to turn the economic tide in any sense. What would you do with that money that would allow us to compete where we currently can't?

Besides, $150 billion bucks buys you a lot more Chinese soldiers than American ones. There's no conceivable way we could place our military funding on par.

It's a trade issue, not a federal funding issue.

houghtam
03-08-2013, 10:23 AM
Sorry that just doesn't make any sense. Our government doesn't compete with China. (in a meaningful sense) We do. $500 billion difference in defense spending would do nothing to turn the economic tide in any sense. What would you do with that money that would allow us to compete where we currently can't?

Besides, $150 billion bucks buys you a lot more Chinese soldiers than American ones. There's no conceivable way we could place our military funding on par.

It's a trade issue, not a federal funding issue.

LOL you don't think repairing roads and bridges and improving mass transit would improve our economy?

So you're the guy.

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 10:27 AM
China has the largest army in the world. In fact, China will match us in military spending in the next couple of decades.
http://www.economist.com/node/21552193

But they couldn't do that if we weren't helping to support their economy with our jobs and "most favored" access to our markets. Hell, for most Americans now, they can't buy anything that isn't Chinese. China is the pimp to our capitalist whores. Our corporatists play the short game for quick profit while China plays the long game of domination. The corporatists and capitalists rake in the yen for themselves while sending our country into deeper debt. Fortunately, when the **** hits the fan, we'll discover they've stashed the profit offshore and can make a hasty escape. We give China favored nation status and they're the biggest thieves in the world. What a ****ing joke.

BroncoBeavis
03-08-2013, 10:46 AM
China has the largest army in the world. In fact, China will match us in military spending in the next couple of decades.
http://www.economist.com/node/21552193

But they couldn't do that if we weren't helping to support their economy with our jobs and "most favored" access to our markets. Hell, for most Americans now, they can't buy anything that isn't Chinese. China is the pimp to our capitalist whores. Our corporatists play the short game for quick profit while China plays the long game of domination. The corporatists and capitalists rake in the yen for themselves while sending our country into deeper debt. Fortunately, when the **** hits the fan, we'll discover they've stashed the profit offshore and can make a hasty escape. We give China favored nation status and they're the biggest thieves in the world. What a ****ing joke.

MFN for China was a travesty. That's almost the sum total of my economic trade criticism for the last 5 or so administrations. Maybe even goes back to Nixon.

But eventually their controlled economy will collapse back to reality. Our job is to keep our markets as free as possible in the meantime.

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 10:48 AM
You know why they call the crash of '29 The Great Depression and they call the crash of '08 the Great Recession? Because the top ten percent has actually profited from the crash of '08. In '29, many at the top of the investment class were ruined along with everybody else. Not this time. If this one did affect the top ten percenters, it would be a "Depression" too.

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 10:50 AM
MFN for China was a travesty. That's almost the sum total of my economic trade criticism for the last 5 or so administrations. Maybe even goes back to Nixon.

But eventually their controlled economy will collapse back to reality. Our job is to keep our markets as free as possible in the meantime.

Bull****. Our "job" is to do what's best for the greatest number of our people, like it says in the preamble.

BroncoBeavis
03-08-2013, 11:04 AM
Bull****. Our "job" is to do what's best for the greatest number of our people, like it says in the preamble.

Which is synonymous. 5 or 10 or 100 'experts' locked in a room planning things will never accomplish what the free market does. It ties into how people think humanity is getting smarter. It's not. In many ways we're less intelligent. We're just able to collectivize ideas like never before.

And that approach applies to our markets more than almost anything else (especially in an information age). It's not about picking the right experts to 'fix' things. It's about relying on 'experts' (in a control context) as rarely as possible.

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 11:19 AM
Which is synonymous. 5 or 10 or 100 'experts' locked in a room planning things will never accomplish what the free market does. It ties into how people think humanity is getting smarter. It's not. In many ways we're less intelligent. We're just able to collectivize ideas like never before.

And that approach applies to our markets more than almost anything else (especially in an information age). It's not about picking the right experts to 'fix' things. It's about relying on 'experts' (in a control context) as rarely as possible.

Let me know when that "free" market you keep talking about is going to start.

mhgaffney
03-08-2013, 11:33 AM
Pension funds and the coming collapse...

Check out this terrific interview with Michael Hudson..

http://michael-hudson.com/2013/01/2013-the-stage-is-set/

Rohirrim
03-08-2013, 11:48 AM
Pension funds and the coming collapse...

Check out this terrific interview with Michael Hudson..

http://michael-hudson.com/2013/01/2013-the-stage-is-set/

Key quote: "You can make money in financial transactions without any production." That is the tolling of the bell, right there. No labor, no products, no industry. And that, my friends, is not a "free" market. Who is one of the biggest facilitators of the financial pirates? Obama. What our government should be doing right now is grabbing the financial industry by the throat, throwing half of them in prison, and using the other half to shut down the casino while writing entire new regulations for the markets and banks. Unfortunately, government is on the take and works for the financial industry. So good luck.

Like he said, compared to what Marx envisioned and what is actually happening, Marx was an optimist. ;D

BroncoBeavis
03-08-2013, 12:06 PM
Let me know when that "free" market you keep talking about is going to start.

Nothing's pure in politics. You only really get to choose which direction to to take your first steps.

houghtam
03-08-2013, 01:06 PM
Which is synonymous. 5 or 10 or 100 'experts' locked in a room planning things will never accomplish what the free market does. It ties into how people think humanity is getting smarter. It's not. In many ways we're less intelligent. We're just able to collectivize ideas like never before.

And that approach applies to our markets more than almost anything else (especially in an information age). It's not about picking the right experts to 'fix' things. It's about relying on 'experts' (in a control context) as rarely as possible.

Collectivizing ideas is intelligence.

W*GS
03-08-2013, 02:06 PM
gaffe's misanthropy and Messiah complex are on proud display here.

He hates all who disagree, because he's got it Right - those who think he's full of **** are not just wrong, but evil. How dare they contradict He Who Knows It All? "**** 'em" is gaffe's mantra.

Too bad we all know he's an idiot that couldn't find his own ass with both hands.

Rohirrim
03-09-2013, 10:49 AM
The distribution of the stock market's largesse has been perhaps the most un-egalitarian aspect of American economics for years. A full 50 percent of all capital gains go not to the richest 1 percent of Americans, but to the richest 0.1 percent, according to The Washington Post.

But the stock market's persistent upward climb since the spring of 2009 has revealed another massive disparity: the multinational corporate machinery that generates stock gains has become unmoored from the economic reality in which the vast majority of Americans live and die.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/09/dow-jones-record-high_n_2839862.html

Rohirrim
03-09-2013, 11:01 AM
Most Americans depend on wages and salaries for their income, which is subject to a graduated tax so the big earners pay higher percentages. The capital gains tax turns that idea on its head, capping the rate at 15 percent for long-term investments. As a result, anyone making more than $34,500 a year in wages and salary is taxed at a higher rate than a billionaire is taxed on untold millions in capital gains.

While it’s true that many middle-class Americans own stocks or bonds, they tend to stash them in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, where the capital gains rate does not apply. By contrast, the richest Americans reap huge benefits. Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.

“The way you get rich in this world is not by working hard,” said Marty Sullivan, an economist and a contributing editor to Tax Analysts. “It’s by owning large amounts of assets and having those things appreciate in value.”
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-09-11/business/35275788_1_capital-gains-mark-bloomfield-tax-rates



The 400 richest taxpayers in 2008 counted 60 percent of their income in the form of capital gains and 8 percent from salary and wages. The rest of the country reported 5 percent in capital gains and 72 percent in salary.

The result, Hacker says, is that the lobbying winds up being lopsided, too.

“The amount of lobbying that takes place on tax policy from the deep-pocketed interests that have the most at stake is enormous,” Hacker said. “There’s very little representation on the other side.”

“Don’t forget,” he added, “that members of Congress themselves, particularly senators, are well off and they’re more likely to be sympathetic to the argument for low capital gains.”

Rohirrim
03-09-2013, 11:24 AM
Greenspan is the one who sold the country on lowering capital gains rates. Now it's become part of Republican theology. Cantor, Gingrich and Huntsman believe the tax on capital gains should be zero. Why? Because those at the top of the economic pyramid, you know, the ones who are raking in the capital gains, are the "job creators."

Well, they've gotten the biggest tax breaks in history over the last thirty years and are rolling in wealth so it's time for the American people to ask, "Where are the jobs?"
Ha! Suckers!

You know what jobs have been created because of the massive capital gains cuts over the last thirty years? Jobs in the financial industry for those who specialize in taking other types of income and turning it into capital gains. :rofl:

Fedaykin
03-09-2013, 01:34 PM
Greenspan is the one who sold the country on lowering capital gains rates. Now it's become part of Republican theology. Cantor, Gingrich and Huntsman believe the tax on capital gains should be zero. Why? Because those at the top of the economic pyramid, you know, the ones who are raking in the capital gains, are the "job creators."

Well, they've gotten the biggest tax breaks in history over the last thirty years and are rolling in wealth so it's time for the American people to ask, "Where are the jobs?"
Ha! Suckers!

You know what jobs have been created because of the massive capital gains cuts over the last thirty years? Jobs in the financial industry for those who specialize in taking other types of income and turning it into capital gains. :rofl:

It's the core stupidity of "supply side" economics. Jobs are not created by people that have capital. Jobs are created by demand. People with capital aren't going to just create jobs for the hell of it. They want an ROI.

No Demand = No ROI.

houghtam
03-09-2013, 01:46 PM
It's the core stupidity of "supply side" economics. Jobs are not created by people that have capital. Jobs are created by demand. People with capital aren't going to just create jobs for the hell of it. They want an ROI.

No Demand = No ROI.

Don't forget to add in the mantra of "capital gains taxes kill investments" which not only has never been proven to be true, also doesn't follow a logical argument.

I was going to invest this $50,000 and get a 10% ROI for a total of $55,000, but since the tax rate of 15% is so high, I'm only going to end up with $54, 250, WOOOOOOE IS MEEEEEEE I'll just put it in a savings account instead and get 1.5% instead if I'm lucky.

That's like the idiots who said they were going to cut their salary to $199,999 to avoid the higher tax rates for those making $200k and over...a complete and total lack of understanding of reality.

Rohirrim
03-09-2013, 02:38 PM
What we are left with is a corporatist and congressional system linked by lobbyists. It reminds me of two bucks whose horns are irreparably locked together. They know it will lead to both their deaths, but neither one can let go. This economic system is going to destroy our country if we don't change it.

cutthemdown
03-11-2013, 09:03 PM
This guy figured out a way to make things more even!

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/03/11/jury-convicts-former-detroit-mayor-kilpatrick-on-corruption-charges/

Rohirrim
03-12-2013, 07:48 AM
Yeah, that's pertinent. :oyvey:

BroncoBeavis
03-12-2013, 07:58 AM
It's the core stupidity of "supply side" economics. Jobs are not created by people that have capital. Jobs are created by demand. People with capital aren't going to just create jobs for the hell of it. They want an ROI.

No Demand = No ROI.

You're only looking at half the equation.

Lots of Demand + Little Supply = Inflation. Supply side never said that demand wasn't important. Only that if there's too much demand already, stoking more of it does little good. Supply siders believe it's just as important to fill demand as it is to create it.

Rohirrim
03-12-2013, 08:38 AM
It's the core stupidity of "supply side" economics. Jobs are not created by people that have capital. Jobs are created by demand. People with capital aren't going to just create jobs for the hell of it. They want an ROI.

No Demand = No ROI.

And populations with falling incomes in an environment of rising prices means no demand.

That Ryan would think this is the proper environment to launch austerity measures just shows what an out-of-touch ideologically rigid nincompoop he is.

Pony Boy
03-12-2013, 10:30 AM
Don't forget to add in the mantra of "capital gains taxes kill investments" which not only has never been proven to be true, also doesn't follow a logical argument.

So what you are saying is that money that could be invested in the U.S. economy but is parked in the Cayman Islands to avoid capital gains is an unproven myth?

txtebow
03-12-2013, 10:47 AM
It's pure hilarity reading the writings of you unemployed or under employed leftist sociopaths bent on marching to the beat of your politically correct drummer boy, the CIA operative (So I read on the Mane) President Obama....the money that is being invested in mutual funds, etc has ALREADY BEEN TAXED ONCE; WHEN IT WAS INITIALLY EARNED AND PUT INTO A FUND.You know why our middle class is dying?, because on average, Asian workers have higher IQ's and work for pennies on the dollar big greedy corporations know this and exploit our political process through the DC lobby;.....meanwhile in America, our "middle class", the sons and grandsons of those who used to work in the automotive plants and steel factories is morphing into this....
Our current culture is one of self destruction; embracing poverty(baby mama, teen mom, etc) and long shots (rappers, pro athletes) through the expression of people with these traits on TV etc......

Fedaykin
03-12-2013, 06:44 PM
It's pure hilarity reading the writings of you unemployed or under employed leftist sociopaths bent on marching to the beat of your politically correct drummer boy, the CIA operative (So I read on the Mane) President Obama....the money that is being invested in mutual funds, etc has ALREADY BEEN TAXED ONCE; WHEN IT WAS INITIALLY EARNED AND PUT INTO A FUND.You know why our middle class is dying?, because on average, Asian workers have higher IQ's and work for pennies on the dollar big greedy corporations know this and exploit our political process through the DC lobby;.....meanwhile in America, our "middle class", the sons and grandsons of those who used to work in the automotive plants and steel factories is morphing into this....
Our current culture is one of self destruction; embracing poverty(baby mama, teen mom, etc) and long shots (rappers, pro athletes) through the expression of people with these traits on TV etc......

Oh look, another idjit who doesn't understand how taxes work.

txtebow
03-13-2013, 06:43 AM
Oh look, another idjit who doesn't understand how taxes work.

I likely pay more in QUARTERLY taxes than you and your entire family does in a YEAR......

txtebow
03-13-2013, 06:46 AM
Which is synonymous. 5 or 10 or 100 'experts' locked in a room planning things will never accomplish what the free market does. It ties into how people think humanity is getting smarter. It's not. In many ways we're less intelligent. We're just able to collectivize ideas like never before.

And that approach applies to our markets more than almost anything else (especially in an information age). It's not about picking the right experts to 'fix' things. It's about relying on 'experts' (in a control context) as rarely as possible.

Unfortunately we are relying on only a few experts TOO OFTEN which has created this house of cards that we currently call our economy.....

Fedaykin
03-13-2013, 08:12 AM
I likely pay more in QUARTERLY taxes than you and your entire family does in a YEAR......

Nice red herring. You clearly don't understand how cap gains taxes are assessed.

nyuk nyuk
03-22-2013, 07:52 AM
You mean re-redistributing. We just want it back to where it was before Reagan redistributed it. Funny how that word somehow has come to mean only one thing and not both.

Considering this isn't a one-man dictatorship, you have quite a steep hill to climb to prove that one.

Rohirrim
03-22-2013, 07:54 AM
Considering this isn't a one-man dictatorship, you have quite a steep hill to climb to prove that one.

Really? That's not what the hysterical Right has been saying about Obama.

nyuk nyuk
03-22-2013, 07:59 AM
At least one critical response has been written about this video (http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/03/in-response-to-the-viral-wealth-inequality-in-america-video/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+aei-ideas%2Fposts+%28AEIdeas+Posts%29&utm_content=Google+Reader).

As far as wages go, anyone for amnesty or "a path to citizenship" which is just another form of amnesty has no business opening their traps about the stagnant/declining wages of the American working class. The flood of cheap illegal labor into the US has undercut American working class wages. The surplus supply has caused the lowering of the price of labor, as normally happens in the case of extra supplies of anything in a market. Those who profit off of this obviously want amnesty/path to citizenship for obvious reasons.

Back in the 1950s and 60s a working man with a family could support the family and buy a modest home and used car, even without a college education and with the wife staying home with children. That can't be said now. There are a number of factors to this, of course, but it cannot be denied that millions of illegal laborers flooding the market isn't a big problem.

nyuk nyuk
03-22-2013, 08:05 AM
You know why our middle class is dying?, because on average, Asian workers have higher IQ's and work for pennies on the dollar big greedy corporations know this and exploit our political process through the DC lobby;.....meanwhile in America, our "middle class", the sons and grandsons of those who used to work in the automotive plants and steel factories is morphing into this....
Our current culture is one of self destruction; embracing poverty(baby mama, teen mom, etc) and long shots (rappers, pro athletes) through the expression of people with these traits on TV etc......

And this --- shipping good manufacturing jobs overseas, leaving places like Detroit a wasteland. Things invented and developed here are manufactured in places like China which has a seemingly endless supply of near-slave sweat shop labor. Those products produced cheaply are then sent back here marked up in price.

And yes also, American social culture is basically one of self-destruction. Traditional culture remains but it's being marginalized and demonized.

nyuk nyuk
03-22-2013, 08:08 AM
Really? That's not what the hysterical Right has been saying about Obama.

Yes - one must be "hysterical Right" to note abuses of power by Obama. Funny, considering every left-wing publication out there has been howling about him for several years over his foreign policy.

Pass the drone to the homie on your left.

W*GS
03-22-2013, 08:21 AM
Some interesting analysis...

What happened to wages? (http://visualizingeconomics.com/blog/2013/3/4/wages)

Requiem
03-22-2013, 08:26 AM
There has never been a "traditional" culture in America.

Rohirrim
03-22-2013, 11:46 AM
Some interesting analysis...

What happened to wages? (http://visualizingeconomics.com/blog/2013/3/4/wages)

Gee. I wonder where all that money is going?

Rohirrim
03-22-2013, 11:50 AM
There has never been a "traditional" culture in America.

Yeah, but it's one of the Right's favorite unicorns.

houghtam
03-22-2013, 12:35 PM
Yeah, but it's one of the Right's favorite unicorns.

What are you guys talking about? Man, woman, 2.4 kids, new home, two cars, church on Sunday, the woman barefoot and pregnant, and not a black person in sight. THAT is the conservative ideal of traditional American culture. The only exception they want to make is that there is some sort of brown person there to tend their lawn.

L.A. BRONCOS FAN
03-22-2013, 10:52 PM
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/602957_503019916423759_558630172_n.jpg

nyuk nyuk
03-23-2013, 11:38 AM
^^ Those aren't sources, just saying. "Dept of Labor," what is what? Nothing one can research to verify.

nyuk nyuk
03-23-2013, 11:41 AM
There has never been a "traditional" culture in America.

^ Troll post?

Fedaykin
03-23-2013, 12:11 PM
^ Troll post?

That you are confused by this only re-confirms your ignorance dramallama.

There's a reason the USA is referred to as a melting pot: specifically BECAUSE there is not "traditional culture". It's a mix of cultures from all around the world.

nyuk nyuk
03-23-2013, 12:22 PM
That you are confused by this only re-confirms your ignorance dramallama.

There's a reason the USA is referred to as a melting pot: specifically BECAUSE there is not "traditional culture". It's a mix of cultures from all around the world.

Wrong.

We didn't allow citizenship from "all around the world" until after 1960. If you aren't aware of that, you must be VERY young. Melting pot before the 60s meant European immigration shedding their European culture and melting into the WASP cultural whole in the US, as that demographic were the majority founding culture of this country and represented common US culture. If you doubt it, merely look at the history of US immigration law.

Rohirrim
03-23-2013, 12:28 PM
Wrong.

We didn't allow citizenship from "all around the world" until after 1960. If you aren't aware of that, you must be VERY young. Melting pot before the 60s meant European immigration shedding their European culture and melting into the WASP cultural whole in the US, as that demographic were the majority founding culture of this country and represented common US culture. If you doubt it, merely look at the history of US immigration law.

All those thousands of Chinese who came to America in the 19th century joined the "...WASP cultural whole"? Not to mention the Italians, Jews, Irish, etc etc etc

I'll bet they'd be shocked to hear that. :rofl:

W*GS
03-23-2013, 12:34 PM
All those thousands of Chinese who came to America in the 19th century joined the "...WASP cultural whole"? Not to mention the Italians, Jews, Irish, etc etc etc

nyuk loves to show off just how stupid he is.

Fedaykin
03-23-2013, 12:43 PM
Wrong.

We didn't allow citizenship from "all around the world" until after 1960. If you aren't aware of that, you must be VERY young. Melting pot before the 60s meant European immigration shedding their European culture and melting into the WASP cultural whole in the US, as that demographic were the majority founding culture of this country and represented common US culture. If you doubt it, merely look at the history of US immigration law.


You heard it here folks, nothing but WASPs in the US until after 1960.

ROFL

elsid13
03-23-2013, 01:35 PM
Wrong.

We didn't allow citizenship from "all around the world" until after 1960. If you aren't aware of that, you must be VERY young. Melting pot before the 60s meant European immigration shedding their European culture and melting into the WASP cultural whole in the US, as that demographic were the majority founding culture of this country and represented common US culture. If you doubt it, merely look at the history of US immigration law.

That is the stupidest post I ever seen on Mane, and we have KC trolls that post here.

El Minion
04-10-2013, 05:49 PM
TED Talk–Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw2z9lV3W1g)<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mw2z9lV3W1g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Transcript:

Once upon a time, there was a place called Lesterland. Now Lesterland looks a lot like the United States. Like the United States, it has about 311 million people, and of that 311 million people, it turns out 144,000 are called Lester. If Matt's in the audience, I just borrowed that, I'll return it in a second, this character from your series. So 144,000 are called Lester, which means about .05 percent is named Lester. Now, Lesters in Lesterland have this extraordinary power. There are two elections every election cycle in Lesterland. One is called the general election. The other is called the Lester election. And in the general election, it's the citizens who get to vote, but in the Lester election, it's the Lesters who get to vote. And here's the trick. In order to run in the general election, you must do extremely well in the Lester election. You don't necessarily have to win, but you must do extremely well.

Now, what can we say about democracy in Lesterland? What we can say, number one, as the Supreme Court said in Citizens United, that people have the ultimate influence over elected officials, because, after all, there is a general election, but only after the Lesters have had their way with the candidates who wish to run in the general election. And number two, obviously, this dependence upon the Lesters is going to produce a subtle, understated, we could say camouflaged, bending to keep the Lesters happy. Okay, so we have a democracy, no doubt, but it's dependent upon the Lesters and dependent upon the people. It has competing dependencies, we could say conflicting dependencies, depending upon who the Lesters are. Okay. That's Lesterland.

Now there are three things I want you to see now that I've described Lesterland. Number one, the United States is Lesterland. The United States is Lesterland. The United States also looks like this, also has two elections, one we called the general election, the second we should call the money election. In the general election, it's the citizens who get to vote, if you're over 18, in some states if you have an ID. In the money election, it's the funders who get to vote, the funders who get to vote, and just like in Lesterland, the trick is, to run in the general election, you must do extremely well in the money election. You don't necessarily have to win. There is Jerry Brown. But you must do extremely well. And here's the key: There are just as few relevant funders in USA-land as there are Lesters in Lesterland.

Now you say, really? Really .05 percent? Well, here are the numbers from 2010: .26 percent of America gave 200 dollars or more to any federal candidate, .05 percent gave the maximum amount to any federal candidate, .01 percent -- the one percent of the one percent -- gave 10,000 dollars or more to federal candidates, and in this election cycle, my favorite statistic is .000042 percent — for those of you doing the numbers, you know that's 132 Americans — gave 60 percent of the Super PAC money spent in the cycle we have just seen ending. So I'm just a lawyer, I look at this range of numbers, and I say it's fair for me to say it's .05 percent who are our relevant funders in America. In this sense, the funders are our Lesters.

Now, what can we say about this democracy in USA-land? Well, as the Supreme Court said in Citizens United, we could say, of course the people have the ultimate influence over the elected officials. We have a general election, but only after the funders have had their way with the candidates who wish to run in that general election. And number two, obviously, this dependence upon the funders produces a subtle, understated, camouflaged bending to keep the funders happy. Candidates for Congress and members of Congress spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress or to get their party back into power, and the question we need to ask is, what does it do to them, these humans, as they spend their time behind the telephone, calling people they've never met, but calling the tiniest slice of the one percent? As anyone would, as they do this, they develop a sixth sense, a constant awareness about how what they do might affect their ability to raise money. They become, in the words of "The X-Files," shape-shifters, as they constantly adjust their views in light of what they know will help them to raise money, not on issues one to 10, but on issues 11 to 1,000. Leslie Byrne, a Democrat from Virginia, describes that when she went to Congress, she was told by a colleague, "Always lean to the green." Then to clarify, she went on, "He was not an environmentalist." (Laughter)

So here too we have a democracy, a democracy dependent upon the funders and dependent upon the people, competing dependencies, possibly conflicting dependencies depending upon who the funders are.

Okay, the United States is Lesterland, point number one. Here's point number two. The United States is worse than Lesterland, worse than Lesterland because you can imagine in Lesterland if we Lesters got a letter from the government that said, "Hey, you get to pick who gets to run in the general election," we would think maybe of a kind of aristocracy of Lesters. You know, there are Lesters from every part of social society. There are rich Lesters, poor Lesters, black Lesters, white Lesters, not many women Lesters, but put that to the side for one second. We have Lesters from everywhere. We could think, "What could we do to make Lesterland better?" It's at least possible the Lesters would act for the good of Lesterland. But in our land, in this land, in USA-land, there are certainly some sweet Lesters out there, many of them in this room here today, but the vast majority of Lesters act for the Lesters, because the shifting coalitions that are comprising the .05 percent are not comprising it for the public interest. It's for their private interest. In this sense, the USA is worse than Lesterland.

And finally, point number three: Whatever one wants to say about Lesterland, against the background of its history, its traditions, in our land, in USA-land, Lesterland is a corruption, a corruption. Now, by corruption I don't mean brown paper bag cash secreted among members of Congress. I don't mean Rod Blagojevich sense of corruption. I don't mean any criminal act. The corruption I'm talking about is perfectly legal. It's a corruption relative to the framers' baseline for this republic. The framers gave us what they called a republic, but by a republic they meant a representative democracy, and by a representative democracy, they meant a government, as Madison put it in Federalist 52, that would have a branch that would be dependent upon the people alone.

So here's the model of government. They have the people and the government with this exclusive dependency, but the problem here is that Congress has evolved a different dependence, no longer a dependence upon the people alone, increasingly a dependence upon the funders. Now this is a dependence too, but it's different and conflicting from a dependence upon the people alone so long as the funders are not the people. This is a corruption.

Now, there's good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible. So the right wants smaller government. When Al Gore was Vice President, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported back to me, the response was, "Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?"

This is a system that's designed to save the status quo, including the status quo of big and invasive government. It works against the left and the right, and that, you might say, is good news.

But here's the bad news. It's a pathological, democracy-destroying corruption, because in any system where the members are dependent upon the tiniest fraction of us for their election, that means the tiniest number of us, the tiniest, tiniest number of us, can block reform. I know that should have been, like, a rock or something. I can only find cheese. I'm sorry. So there it is. Block reform.

Because there is an economy here, an economy of influence, an economy with lobbyists at the center which feeds on polarization. It feeds on dysfunction. The worse that it is for us, the better that it is for this fundraising.

Henry David Thoreau: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." This is the root.

Okay, now, every single one of you knows this. You couldn't be here if you didn't know this, yet you ignore it. You ignore it. This is an impossible problem. You focus on the possible problems, like eradicating polio from the world, or taking an image of every single street across the globe, or building the first real universal translator, or building a fusion factory in your garage. These are the manageable problems, so you ignore — (Laughter) (Applause) — so you ignore this corruption.

But we cannot ignore this corruption anymore. (Applause) We need a government that works. And not works for the left or the right, but works for the left and the right, the citizens of the left and right, because there is no sensible reform possible until we end this corruption. So I want you to take hold, to grab the issue you care the most about. Climate change is mine, but it might be financial reform or a simpler tax system or inequality. Grab that issue, sit it down in front of you, look straight in its eyes, and tell it there is no Christmas this year. There will never be a Christmas. We will never get your issue solved until we fix this issue first. So it's not that mine is the most important issue. It's not. Yours is the most important issue, but mine is the first issue, the issue we have to solve before we get to fix the issues you care about. No sensible reform, and we cannot afford a world, a future, with no sensible reform.

Okay. So how do we do it? Turns out, the analytics here are easy, simple. If the problem is members spending an extraordinary amount of time fundraising from the tiniest slice of America, the solution is to have them spend less time fundraising but fundraise from a wider slice of Americans, to spread it out, to spread the funder influence so that we restore the idea of dependence upon the people alone. And to do this does not require a constitutional amendment, changing the First Amendment. To do this would require a single statute, a statute establishing what we think of as small dollar funded elections, a statute of citizen-funded campaigns, and there's any number of these proposals out there: Fair Elections Now Act, the American Anti-Corruption Act, an idea in my book that I call the Grant and Franklin Project to give vouchers to people to fund elections, an idea of John Sarbanes called the Grassroots Democracy Act. Each of these would fix this corruption by spreading out the influence of funders to all of us.

The analytics are easy here. It's the politics that's hard, indeed impossibly hard, because this reform would shrink K Street, and Capitol Hill, as Congressman Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee, put it, has become a farm league for K Street, a farm league for K Street. Members and staffers and bureaucrats have an increasingly common business model in their head, a business model focused on their life after government, their life as lobbyists. Fifty percent of the Senate between 1998 and 2004 left to become lobbyists, 42 percent of the House. Those numbers have only gone up, and as United Republic calculated last April, the average increase in salary for those who they tracked was 1,452 percent. So it's fair to ask, how is it possible for them to change this? Now I get this skepticism.

I get this cynicism. I get this sense of impossibility. But I don't buy it. This is a solvable issue. If you think about the issues our parents tried to solve in the 20th century, issues like racism, or sexism, or the issue that we've been fighting in this century, homophobia, those are hard issues. You don't wake up one day no longer a racist. It takes generations to tear that intuition, that DNA, out of the soul of a people. But this is a problem of just incentives, just incentives. Change the incentives, and the behavior changes, and the states that have adopted small dollar funded systems have seen overnight a change in the practice. When Connecticut adopted this system, in the very first year, 78 percent of elected representatives gave up large contributions and took small contributions only. It's solvable, not by being a Democrat, not by being a Republican. It's solvable by being citizens, by being citizens, by being TEDizens. Because if you want to kickstart reform, look, I could kickstart reform at half the price of fixing energy policy, I could give you back a republic.

Okay. But even if you're not yet with me, even if you believe this is impossible, what the five years since I spoke at TED has taught me as I've spoken about this issue again and again is, even if you think it's impossible, that is irrelevant. Irrelevant. I spoke at Dartmouth once, and a woman stood up after I spoke, I write in my book, and she said to me, "Professor, you've convinced me this is hopeless. Hopeless. There's nothing we can do." When she said that, I scrambled. I tried to think, "How do I respond to that hopelessness? What is that sense of hopelessness?" And what hit me was an image of my six-year-old son. And I imagined a doctor coming to me and saying, "Your son has terminal brain cancer, and there's nothing you can do. Nothing you can do." So would I do nothing? Would I just sit there? Accept it? Okay, nothing I can do? I'm going off to build Google Glass. Of course not. I would do everything I could, and I would do everything I could because this is what love means, that the odds are irrelevant and that you do whatever the hell you can, the odds be damned. And then I saw the obvious link, because even we liberals love this country.

(Laughter)

And so when the pundits and the politicians say that change is impossible, what this love of country says back is, "That's just irrelevant." We lose something dear, something everyone in this room loves and cherishes, if we lose this republic, and so we act with everything we can to prove these pundits wrong.

So here's my question: Do you have that love? Do you have that love? Because if you do, then what the hell are you, what are the hell are we doing?

When Ben Franklin was carried from the constitutional convention in September of 1787, he was stopped in the street by a woman who said, "Mr. Franklin, what have you wrought?" Franklin said, "A republic, madam, if you can keep it." A republic. A representative democracy. A government dependent upon the people alone. We have lost that republic. All of us have to act to get it back.

Thank you very much.

(Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause)