| Friday, June 27, 2008 - 02:11 am |
Outstanding debates to date. As a Political Science major back (way back) at Mich. St. University, my focus of study was on this very topic, so I'm loving it.
Thanks, Moonbox, for putting up some stats to back your opinion. In answer: The stats on income aren't debatable, you are 100% correct on those figures.
But putting the other stats into perspective:
36.5 million live in poverty as defined by an income under 21,000 annually. This is regrettable, but it represents about 12% of the population. Additionally in 75% of the world an income of 21,000 would be upper middle class. Over 90% of American households own a car, a telephone, and at least one TV. For the majority of the world these are unreachable dreams.
The argument about uninsured people is touchy. Considering the approximate 20 million illegals in the country, which the majority of, I presume, do not have insurance, the number may be skewed. Most companies offer a group health plan which workers can opt into. Granted, a poor person may not be able to afford this, but ANY person in the US can go to the emergency room of a hospital and receive care. BTW, as a self-employed free lance journalist, I am one of the 47 mil, I only carry catastrophic insurance. I pay my doc 62 bucks every time I go see him. But it's by choice.
No child should be without health insurance. But again, 12 million represent roughly 4% of the population. And nearly all of the states, plus the Fed, offer programs for free or reduced cost health care for children, so I can only wonder why any child is still uninsured.
And the fact that unemployment figures in the US are hovering at around 5%, which by all economic models is considered full employment, it would be difficult for the rich to provide those jobs to people.
Having the 6th highest standard of living in the world isn't bad. Of the five who are ahead of the US, what type of economy do they run? Are they socialist, communist, or capitalist? (Sorry, I'm too lazy right now to look it up myself) To say that the vast majority of Americans do not make a good livelihood is just not true.
You misunderstood what I meant by the mobility and ownership issues. A poor person doesn't NEED to go across country to search for a job. Check the help wanted ads in any newspaper in the country. Entry level jobs go begging. People want to jump right in making 30-40 grand a year, they don't want to work their way up the ladder.
Company ownership does not require equity investing with excess money. My best friend delivers pizzas for Pizza Hut for a living. Minimum wage plus his tips. HOWEVER, his employment package includes a 401K plan, which gives him Pizza Hut stock every payday, whether he contributes his own money or not. And if he does contribute his own money the company matches his contribution (up to certain limits) and offers several options to buy stocks besides PH. This makes him an owner of the company, and EVERY Fortune 500 company offers 401K plans to their people.
As I mentioned in my first post, capitalism fails when monopolies evolve. In fact monopolies are the very antithesis of a free market. Competition for goods, services, and labor are the cornerstone of a truly free market. So we agree that monopolies are bad news. I would argue that this is not an inherent portion of the capitalist model.
I can also find agreement with you on the CEO point. Fifty years ago the pay of an average corporate CEO was roughly 4 to 5 times that of the average worker in the company. According to the Wall Street Journal, today that has skyrocketed to hundreds of times the average worker. This is ridiculous. I don't care HOW good of a CEO you are, you're not worth hundreds of times more than your workers.
A perfect example of this occurred last year in one of the financial brokerage houses. A CEO took over, ran the company into near bankruptcy, got fired by the board of directors, AND WALKED OUT WITH OVER 100 MILLION IN SEVERANCE PAY! Excuse me? Hey, I'll gladly take over a company and get fired for poor performance, and I'll only charge them 50 mil!
As I say, I'm enjoying this, so please don't take anything in a personal way. That's another cool thing about the US, we can call each other knuckleheads and get away with it!
Things aren't perfect here, but tell you what: I've lived in Asia for 5 years, Europe for 3, been on every continent except Antarctica, and while every place has it's positives, there is no place else I'd rather be.