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Old 03-11-2014, 06:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
Bogtrotter07
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Economics

So I want to start this thread with the posts from the Ukraine thread. It seems like no matter where someone wants to champion Reagan economic policies and a conservative agenda.

FULL DISCLOSURE : I don't care what you believe as long as you take responsibility for your own position. If you are going to argue for something, it is warts and all.

Me, I don't think we have had a competent economic policy in this country for a while. We have had a stifling political agenda, which is killing us. Which is why I would love to scalp anyone who wants blanket expansion of entitlement programs without building in cost efficiency and much more responsibility, and people that would argue failed economic policy I don't care if it is Nixon's price freezes to Reagan's trickle down theory. It is all unworkable crap.

I am a possiblist, not a liberal or a conservative. I think zero sum games are a gimmick used by those in power to control whole segments of the populace. In fact, because things never worked they probably shouldn't be tried; because things worked doesn't mean they will still work. Our growth has led to an economy in uncharted territory. To big to fail, etc., cut government spending/smaller government, and all the other clichés go nowhere to solve the problem.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenToTheGrave View Post
Yes, government money. The problem with the New Deal was that it wasn't ambitious enough. WW2 just so happened to be the greatest public works project in history. A Keynesian dream.

Even with the Regan military buildup, military spending as a percentage of GDP was much lower than WW2 levels.

I bring this up because I hear so many people who are against government spending during recessions, yet think WW2 got us out of the depression. They're the same thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizards8507 View Post
WW2 didn't end the depression because of stimulus or government spending. It ended the depression because we were building bombs. Those were the proverbial "shovel ready jobs" that were completely absent from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Full employment is also pretty easy WHEN THERE'S A DRAFT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc

The great irony is that the big-government types criticize Reaganomics as "trickle down," when the real "top down" approach comes from the GOVERNMENT, not business.
Thank you for proving my point. Wizard pointed out a great difference. Government has become so massive (a country of over 300 M people versus a country of 100 M people just making the conversion from agrarian and industrial to post industrial economy) that small stimuluses' aimed at the rich do nothing but make the rich richer. They don't effect the whole economy in the positive manner needed to improve the economy. We are in fact past the point of being able to stimulate our way out of recession caused by stupidity and greed.

But I don't want to take up this thread on that subject. I will start a new thread with this post and link back for anyone that would care to comment.
The fact of the matter is, you can talk as sophisticated economic theory you want. Wizard makes the point "Trickle down doesn't work" because the government can spend more in adjusted dollars than it did during World War II and it doesn't work. Both the Reagan/Bush and the Bush II spent more money that FDR did fighting the Axis, and their administrations showed less job growth that the Clinton Administration did. I don't have the numbers at hand but I think the Carter administration may have outpaced them, too!

So the basic ethical, moral, and scientific question is : "Is putting more earned wealth into the hands of more people the solution to the economic problems faced by America today?" If not, what is?

And if an agenda from the past worked, and it still would, why didn't we stick with it?

Last edited by Bogtrotter07; 03-11-2014 at 06:59 PM..
 
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I can be economically stimulated.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can be economically stimulated.
Doesn't one normally have to pay others for stimulation?
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Stop letting executives be paired with stock options.

End the carried interest and capital gains loopholes so if you make a million or more you pay the top rate not the capital gains rate. Americans should be able to invest and build up their money but the super rich using money to exponentially increase their wealth does not seem right to me. I don't think the founders would think so either.

Roll back the Reagan tax cuts on the rich.

By rich I don't mean where top rate is today at 400k. But we do need to decide what a good CEO to average worker pay is. 30 to 1 like it was back in 1968? 40 to 1? 50 to 1? Certainly not 500 to like it is now. So say decide 50 to 1 then the tax rate at $2.5 million should be so high the people say screw this I ain't these types of taxes I'll keep the money in the company and pay the employees. Which is buy the way what we did from post WW2 to 1982. I seen a lot of opinion pieces saying I am wrong about this but I haven't seen anyone show me the macro economic data and hard numbers that suggest I am wrong. Income grew across the board from post WW2 to Reagan because we allowed the best of capitalism to work while offsetting the negative effects.

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Old 03-11-2014, 08:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bogtrotter07 View Post
So the basic ethical, moral, and scientific question is : "Is putting more earned wealth into the hands of more people the solution to the economic problems faced by America today?" If not, what is?
A better understanding of how we got here might be helpful in this discussion. The Protestant Deformation by James Kurth (himself a Presbyterian elder) describes how our national ideology is a debased and secularized version of Protestantism. Here's an excerpt on the bit about how it affected our economic system specifically:

Quote:
Stage 1: Salvation by grace. At the personal level, the original Protestant (and, as the reformers saw it, the original Christian) experience is that of a direct, loving and saving relationship between the believer and God. This direct relationship and state of salvation are brought about by God, through his sovereign grace, and not by the person through his own works. This is the experience of being “born again” into a new life.

Obviously, any intermediaries, traditions or customs that could stand in the way of this direct relationship must be swept aside. The original Protestant and born-again Christian experiences his new life as a tabula rasa that enables him to release previously constrained energies and to focus them intensely on new undertakings. This in part explains the great energy and efficacy of many newly Christian persons. When the number of such persons is greatly multiplied, as it was at the time of the Reformation, it also in part explains the great energy and efficacy of some newly-Protestant nations (think of the Netherlands, England and Sweden in the 16th and 17th centuries).

Stage 2: Grace evidenced through work. A serious problem soon arises; indeed, it arises within the very next generation. The children of the original born-again Protestants are born into a Protestant family and church, but they themselves may not be born-again Protestants who have personally experienced the direct relationship with God and the state of salvation that grace brings. As Max Weber famously discussed in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, this can give rise to great anxiety about the spiritual state of second-generation Protestants.

For some in Protestant churches, especially the Anglican and Lutheran state churches of Europe but even the Episcopal and Lutheran churches in America, there was a solution close at hand. These churches had remained hierarchical (with the Pope replaced by the state monarch) and even somewhat communal. Perhaps, in some way that was not theologically clear but that was psychologically reassuring, the state of salvation could be reached by participation in the rituals and works of the church. In these churches, therefore, the focus upon grace gradually shifted in practice to a focus upon works, as had been the case in the Roman Catholic Church before the Protestant Reformation.

However, for persons in other Protestant churches, especially those known as the Reformed churches — the Calvinist churches of Europe as well as the Presbyterian and Congregational churches in America — the solution to the dilemma of Protestants who were “born in” but not “born again” had to be a different one. The stricter Reformed theology of these churches did not easily permit a diminished emphasis on the necessity of grace. Further, their relative absence of hierarchical and communal features meant that they had a less developed structure for the exercise of rituals and works. And yet, without the personal experience of grace, what evidence was there that second-generation, or birth-right, Protestants had received it?

As Weber discussed, the evidence for grace became a particular and peculiar kind of works: not the performance of works in the church, but the success of work in the world. This was how the Protestant ethic became the capitalist spirit. Because the Reformed churches had reformed away the legitimacy of hierarchy, community, tradition and custom, work in the world could be unconstrained by these obstacles. Thus, the second- and later-generation Reformed Protestants could experience worldly life and worldly work as a tabula rasa. This experience enabled these generations also to experience a release of previously constrained energies and to focus intently on new undertakings.

Indeed, this version of Protestantism in its worldly work was so focused that it became methodical and systematic in previously unseen ways. This experience in part explains the great energy and efficacy of some second- and later-generation Reformed Protestants. Again, when the number of such persons was large, it also in part explains the great energy and efficacy of established Protestant nations, not just for the second generation, but for several generations thereafter (for example, the Netherlands and Sweden until the 18th century; England, Scotland and America until the late 19th century).

Stage 3: Salvation by works. After several generations of this kind of Reformed Protestantism, a certain Protestant culture even with traditions and customs, developed. The number of Protestants who had experienced the culture but not the grace greatly increased. Even in the Reformed churches (Calvinist, Presbyterian, Congregational) the idea of the necessity of grace began to fade. Work in the world was no longer seen as a sign of grace but as a good in itself. Works as a good became a new version of good works.
(I'd encourage you to read the whole thing. It primarily focuses on foreign policy, but I've found it very useful in understanding American culture.)

Thus, having swept aside most of the institutions-- tradition, custom, guilds, etc.-- that had historically mediated between individuals and the "Economy", many Protestants came to believe that work is an end instead of a means, and that success was evidence of God's favor. All of this was wide-spread at America's founding, and is baked into our national DNA. It's no surprise that we've ended up with social Darwinism and capitalism "red in tooth and claw".

It's tempting to argue that if the Anti-Trust Division just started doing its job, and if our entitlement programs were a bit more generous and efficient, etc., that we'd be just fine. But that doesn't sound like a recipe for human flourishing to me. Even in the early 1800s, de Tocqueville predicted how the radical individualism of the Protestants would eventually destroy all the intermediate institutions described above, leading (ironically) to a certain kind of collectivism-- everyone isolated from his fellow man, and utterly dependent on the State.

The Catholic answer has long been Distributism, which works wonderfully on small scales, but, to the best of my knowledge, has never been tried on a national level. I'm currently exploring ways to make this work in my community, but I don't have much hope for the national economy.

Quote:
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Americans should be able to invest and build up their money but the super rich using money to exponentially increase their wealth does seem right to me.
Capital-ism, after all, favors those with capital. No amount of tinkering with the status quo is going to produce social justice. We need an entirely new system.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
A better understanding of how we got here might be helpful in this discussion. The Protestant Deformation by James Kurth (himself a Presbyterian elder) describes how our national ideology is a debased and secularized version of Protestantism. Here's an excerpt on the bit about how it affected our economic system specifically:



(I'd encourage you to read the whole thing. It primarily focuses on foreign policy, but I've found it very useful in understanding American culture.)

Thus, having swept aside most of the institutions-- tradition, custom, guilds, etc.-- that had historically mediated between individuals and the "Economy", many Protestants came to believe work an end instead of a means, and that success was evidence of God's favor. All of this was wide-spread at America's founding, and is baked into our national DNA. It's no surprise that we've ended up with social Darwinism and capitalism "red in tooth and claw".

It's tempting to argue that if the Anti-Trust Division started doing its job, and if our entitlement programs were more generous and efficient, etc., that we'd be just fine. But that doesn't sound like a recipe for human flourishing to me. Even in the early 1800s, de Tocqueville predicted how the radical individualism of the Protestants would eventually destroy all the intermediate institutions described above, leading (ironically) to a certain kind of collectivism-- everyone isolated from his fellow man, and utterly dependent on the State.

The Catholic answer has long been Distributism, which works wonderfully on small scales, but, to the best of my knowledge, has never been tried on a national level. I'm currently exploring ways to make this work in my community, but I don't have much hope for the national economy.



Capitalism, after all, favors those with capital. No amount of tinkering with the status quo is going to produce social justice. We need an entirely new system.
Some great stuff on the insight of the social roots of economic issues.

I consider myself fairly well read obviously concerning different economic theories. However I often fail to consider some of the social and culture issues that drive economic beliefs. Again good stuff here.

Free enterprise still blows everything else out of the water but you can have free enterprise with more equal opportunity and a higher bottom floor so to speak.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dude, that may be the most brilliant transfer of intelligence from one source to another via a post on the interwebs. I am going to spend a few hours digesting this before I even and anything.

You are the first person I can ever remember that left me speechless!
 
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