I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Friday, November 25, 2011

Two Americas

Herbert Gans in the New York Times:
When the jobless recovery ends and the economy is restored to good health, today’s surplus will be reduced. New technology and the products and services that accompany it will create new jobs. But unless the economy itself changes, eventually many of these innovations may be turned over to machines or the jobs may be sent to lower-wage economies.
In fact, if modern capitalism continues to eliminate as many jobs as it creates — or more jobs than it creates — future recoveries will not only add to the amount of surplus labor but will turn a growing proportion of workers into superfluous ones.
What could be done to prevent such a future? America will have to finally get serious about preserving and creating jobs — and on a larger, and more lasting, scale than Roosevelt’s New Deal. Private enterprise and government will have to think in terms of industrial policy, and one that emphasizes labor-intensive economic growth and innovation. Reducing class sizes in all public schools to 15 or fewer would require a great many new teachers even as it would raise the quality of education.
Kevin Riordan in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Like other members, Davis, Pizzo and Kramer say they want to restore the patriotic, exceptional, constitutional America they remember.
They believe in God and in hard work. They want immigration laws enforced and English spoken, and they want America to get out of hock.
"It's absolutely horrendous," Pizzo says, "that the country cannot live within budgets."
To them, Barack Obama is a socialist in all but name who presides over a bloated government that spends too much of our money while seeking to micromanage our lives.
Public school curriculums, they say, have swapped out patriotism for pabulum; the media are biased; and radicals from the '60s and '70s are running/ruining America. And as for that Occupy movement, let's not go there.
"It's reprehensible, their hatred of those who have achieved," Kramer says. "Redistribution of wealth is the direction . . . [but] the good news is, it has become so blatant that a lot of people are waking up."
To its members, the tea party offers hope.
"What our forefathers had established for us was fading away," Pizzo says. "I really felt something had to be done. And fortunately, there was the tea party."
For me, Gans is speaking irrefutable truths. But I see no way to convince these ladies of that. We are in a political stalemate.

I really have no idea what to do about this situation.


czarejs said...

I talk until I'm blue in the face to friends who would love to sit down with those ladies. I just can't believe that we are in this predicament. Reminds me of a scene in the novel "The Killer Angels". Joshua Chamberlain discusses slavery with visitors from the South. After hearing their views, which are completely opposite of his own, he is upset and offended. One of the visitors comes and tries to calm him. The visitor than asks a question, what if it is you who is wrong? Well Jazzman, he knew he wasn't wrong and we just have to know that we are not wrong either. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I think there are Two Americas. There are the 10 percent whose taxes support our government (or 18 percent or 22 percent, whatever number doesn't take you off topic). And there are the majority whose net tax bottomline is in the red, and benefit from big government programs.

Pick your study, but it is irrefutably true that the majority of American taxpayers wind up paying nil. Compassionate society blah balh, it may be morally correct, but it is undeniably true.

How the people picking up the check get demonized by the likes of you is beyond me.

Duke said...

Anon, I never engage anyone on the "irrefutable" "facts" unless they cite sources.

Show me anyone - ANYONE - who says the majority of American taxpayers pay nothing in taxes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jazzman, I like you and "the likes" of you.

Thanks again for your hard work.

Anonymous said...

Well, the US Treasury for one: "http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/incometaxandtheirs/a/whopaysmost.htm

The top 50 percent pay 96 percent of the cost of the federal government...the top 5 percent 50 percent, the top one percent one third.

Nit pick the numbers, that is your MO, but the fact is that America's progressive tax structure leaves a small fraction of demonized taxpayers paying for the programs that support the rest.

Duke said...

As I suspected: you've fallen for the ruse of equating income tax with federal tax.

Income tax is only one part of federal revenue. And, since it is based on income, it will skew as income inequity rises. But you leave out FICA, Medicare, gas, utilities...

And, of course, you also conveniently leave out state and local taxes, most of which are regressive.

"Pick your study, but it is irrefutably true that the majority of American taxpayers wind up paying nil."

You are simply wrong. I know it's hard to admit that, but you are.

But thank you for making my larger point. Unless you are part of the 0.1%, you are getting shafted by the current system. Yet you refuse to believe it. I simply don't know how to convince people like you to act in your own best interests.

Maybe I never can. A pity.

Duke said...


Your numbers are from 2002. Things have gotten even more regressive since then.

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself why are 50% of Americans not paying any federal income taxes or very low federal income taxes. Because working class Americans are getting shafted, they are underpaid, they receive fewer and fewer benefits. Working class Americans are forced to take part time jobs which have no benefits and forget about pensions. A poor retiree on Social Security is probably not paying federal income taxes. A disabled person on SS disability benefits is probably paying no federal income taxes. A single parent with two kids working two part time jobs is probably not paying federal income taxes. In short, the working poor are paying minimal or no federal income taxes. But they are paying wage taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, excise taxes, state taxes, property taxes (some poor people still do own small homes). It's a sad commentary that so many working Americans don't earn enough to qualify to pay federal income taxes, they are being paid so poorly. The workers are being Walmartized and Targeted.

Anonymous said...

How are the low productivity majority getting "shafted" in a system where other people's income underwrite their survival? Economists write of a "tipping point" in societies, where 51 percent garner more benefits from the government than they pay in. The inevitable result is that the electorate votes themselves more and more entitlements, programs benefits...why not? It's OPM --other people's money!

I'm all for free speech, but it is my observation that the teaching profession is disproportionately responsible for our plunge into socialism and the debt from entitlement programs that will eventually collapse our society. You are educated and eloquent, versed in technology, have time on your hands, and have a disportionate affect on our youth. Plus your income is basically divorced from your productivity and results from how much you can accrue from OPM, hence shrilly motivated. That last sentence reads overly harsh but I'm too tired to edit it -- I worked all weekend.

Tax the rich, to feed the poor. until there are no rich no more.

Anonymous said...

Did your teachers ever "learnya" this one?

"As I was walking up the stair,

I met a man who wasn't there.

He wasn't there again today.

How I wish that man would go away."

Or take a plunge for himself!

Sorry--I have been working all weekend, too. Yup,another pinko teacher plotting the downfall of society. OPM? Nah, SOMB --sweat of me brow, comrade.

As a Cold War vet (19E), I am personally miffed at the sourness of your grapes. God bless the U.S. and you--if you sneeeze.

Anonymous said...

Curious. Duck....She Who Must Not Be Named (or her hair conditioned) has deceed a peace offensive affectionuately embracing tenure reform, Merit Pay, and the other dink pinpricks being flung at Gulliver.So...we've been hearing for year that everything was Just Ducky, No Problems There, now.....you have your own sparklingly plan. Everything ptrfrct. now a reform agenda from th eNJEA. Sounds like some people above Babs pay grade go involved. How do you account for that, Duck?

Anonymous said...

Is that you, Zacherley? Why are you out of the crypt?

Duke said...

Zacherley! Oh, now I feel old...