| Friday, June 27, 2008 - 08:02 pm |
I guess I'll just respond in order. This is so far a very interesting debate. I've been corrected on a few points, but let's keep going.
John Little: "LOL. Do you have any clue what a 50,000 household income for two parents looks like?"
Depending on where you live a 50,000.00 income might get you somewhere. In a decent sized city near a major business hub (i live near Toronto)you won't find a house worth less than 200,000 or a mortgage for less than 1300/month. Your disposable income is crap and you'll be working until you're 70 to retire. I'm 25 freshly hired out of school and I make $35,000 a year in my first job. The money doesn't go far I know, and I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I had kids.
Phatz: "The top 1% of the US population earns 21.2% of the country's annual income" and pays 39.38 of all the taxes in the country. Fair?"
You really miss the point there. What is the alternative? We tax the poor at the same tax bracket as the rich so they can't even afford housing anymore? I don't know where you get your numbers from, but the top 1% income earners still would take home at LEAST 12-15% of the country's annual income NET after they're taxed. They're not even paying income taxes. They're paying dividend and capital gains taxes mostly, which are completely different (and lower typically).
Zetetic Elench dam Kahveh:
"Not true. The US's nominal GDP is far higher than any other country, but per capita (per head of population), it just scrapes into the top ten"
Well your correction is fair I guess, but not entirely relevant (no offense). The CIA website shows the US 10th over all in GDP per capita. The only countries ahead of it are tiny city/island states like Cyprus, Singapore, Quatar, Bermuda etc and they shouldn't really count because they thrive as tax or business havens or tourism hot spots. Norway is admittedly ahead and that's the only real COUNTRY ahead of the USA. My previous argument is still pretty much spot on then.
Now JMR32, I am really appreciating the way you're discussing things. In response to your points, the USA is behind countries like Canada and Norway in terms of standard of living. These are capitalist countries who have slightly more left-leaning politics than the USA.
While I can't dispute many of your points, let's talk about your best friend. Ask him how much he contributes to his 401k and how much Pizza Hut is willing to match it. I work for a bank in Canada with operating profit of about 3.5 billion a year. They will match my retirement contributions up to about $400 a year. This is fairly common. The problem with the argument that poor workers CAN purchase the companies they work for is that they don't have the disposable income to do it. Richer people WITH the disposable income can. What this ends up meaning is that people with high incomes are the ones who INVARIABLY end up controlling corporations and the employees' dividend cheques are for pennies.
I am not a strict socialist. I am considered right-wing in Canada and people call my Prime Minister Pres. Bush Light (He isn't but whatever).
What I'm trying to say here is that guys like Bill Gates are able to EXPLOIT the current market systems in the US to the point that they are able to make 10's of billions for themselves on the backs of their employees. Bill Gates made his fortune not by creating GOOD software, but by marketing his MS-DOS system better than its similar (argued sometimes to be better) competing system. He made his fortune by creating a veritable operating system monopoloy which to this DAY we have not shaken. Windows Vista is TERRIBLE software. Windows 2000 and Windows ME were TERRIBLE software. Windows XP was okay, but not great. Basically Microsoft has allowed our operating system technology to stagnate in a veritable monopoly for 30 years, forced us to purchase CHEAP AND SIMPLE word processing software for hundreds of dollars and forced us to work with buggy, unsecure programs.
Microsoft makes its money by making it's software, which is used basically everywhere, completely incompatible with its competitors. That's it. It's a monopoly of the worst variety, and all we can do is hope and wait Google brings it down.
The only thing that can compete with this sort of business behavior is government intervention. Government regulation works to curb these sorts of monopolies and make sure that a 100% free market never actually happens. If congress didn't drag oil execs in front of them every once in awhile, nothing could stop them from colluding to hike oil prices even further. Regulation needs to be there, and that's all I'm saying. Business will do what it's allowed to do. Why? Because corporations are not people. They are legal entities.
I began my argument by saying the US system should be tweaked. Higher minimum wages would be nice. Higher top end taxes would also be nice. Standardized health care would be nice. I'm not saying the capitalist dream should be abandoned, but the US government is run by big business more than most countries, and that's not of benefit to the average american. I live in Canada. I can also become fabulously wealthy. We have our own billionaires here. The difference, however, is the average Canadian is better off than the average american, and that's because the government takes better measures to ensure the poor benefit from a good economy as well.