Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Making America Greater

Memorial Day has just passed, and we remember and honor those that died defending our country and the American way of life, with all of our guaranteed freedoms. When it was founded, our country was unique in its premise that the populace could govern itself. Many other countries have since modeled their governments after ours.

What do you think are some things Americans can work on together to make the country better?

What is that "American way of life"? What are those "guaranteed freedoms"? What countries are you thinking of that modelled themselves after the USA?

There are lots of things that we can do to make our country better. First, we need to admit that we have problems. Then look to other countries that have solutions.

Because I know you, I'll assume you are just being facetious rather than being ignorant of US and world history. But just in case: before the US fought for our independence and established our constitution, the rest of the world had been largely established as monarchies and dictatorships. Ancient Greece and Rome had gone through periods of democracy and a republic, but had devolved into government by emperor before their subsequent declines. Borrowing heavily from those periods, our founders crafted a balanced republican form of government that most of Europe has embraced.

As for our freedoms, I'll refer you to the Bill of Rights. We have the freedom to travel, to speak our minds, to work in whatever field we wish (or to start our own businesses if we wish). Our American way of life and the freedoms we enjoy are what brings immigrants from all over the world to come and become Americans.

So again, what things can Americans work together on to make the country even better?

You can't start your own business if you have no money. You can't travel if you have no money. You can't protest if you would lose your job. The trouble with our country is the difference between what those pieces of paper say, and reality. It is getting harder and harder to make ends meet for a majority of US workers. Our country is worse off now than it has ever been due to the disparity between those that have, and those that have not. How can we work together to fix that?

You can start your own business if you want to, or at least you could have a decade ago. There was a poll a few years ago that indicated that almost half of Americans had an idea to start a business, but didn't because they felt there were too many regulations. They didn't mention anything about obtaining loans or finding cash for the venture, just the overwhelming regulations that now exist. When governmental interference stifles entrepreneurship, a key portion of what made America great has been lost. Cutting down the size and scope of government is a way to help small business.

That doesn't sound like any of the businesses that I know about. There is very little regulation on software development or its use. Not enough regulation in my mind. Who knows who can buy your data from Facebook? Can that data be linked to data from Google? Europe has much better regulations.

Immigrants continue to come to this country with almost nothing. And yet many of them continue to succeed. We have had to cut down several ash trees in our yard that succumbed to the ash bore. We hired a start-up company of hispanics who are first-generation immigrants from Mexico. They started the business with one old truck, a chainsaw, and several members of the family. The last time we called them up to remove another tree, they now have several trucks and work crews, and new equipment. Hard work and a dream still works in America.

Cool! An anecdote! How much can you extrapolate from one instance? It doesn't sound like you believe the country can get any better.

What would make you say that? The country is great because of the inventiveness and drive of the people who live here. As long as government, regulations, or high taxes don't interfere, American ingenuity will continue to create and imaginer things that will make our lives better. That is the American way.

An error I think Democrats continue to make is the idea that this is a zero-sum game. There is not a set about of cash in the world. If I make a dollar, then someone else forfeited a dollar. If I get rich, someone else gets poorer. That isn't how economics works. I can make a dollar, and so can every one else.

If a company makes a dollar, those profits are spread across the employees, bosses, and shareholders. It is a zero-sum game! If the boss makes more, then there is less for everyone else. You don't have to be in the rocket manufacturing business to understand the growing income inequality.

Ooooo, a graph.  Unfortunately, your graph is showing wages, not wealth in the real world.

" In the 1960s, for instance, nearly a third of poor households had no telephone. Today, not only are telephones nearly universal, but roughly half of poor households own a computer. More than 98 percent have a television, and two-thirds have two or more TVs. In 1970, less than half of all poor people had a car; today, two-thirds do.72 Clearly, the material circumstances of poor families have improved significantly despite any possible increase in inequality."

The following graph indicates that although income inequality has grown, the lowest quintile of the population has continued to consume goods at exactly the same rate as in 2000. Inequality of income does not equal a decrease in buying power.

You're arguing two totally different things here. There has been a growing income inequality between the richest and the poorest, but the money flowing within the entire economy has nothing to do with a single company's profits. If the company makes more money, then everyone at the company can make more money, or the company can hire more people at the same salary.  There is not a finite amount of money in the world, that everyone is fighting over. While the top 10% has increased their wealth, mainly through the stock market, the poorest 10% have also shown an increase in their wealth and have maintained their buying power for goods and services.

I wish you were correct, but you are not. It is true that many more people have TVs, computers, cars, and mobile phones now than they did in 1960. But it is also true that household debt (mortgage and credit card) is increasing, savings are decreasing, and people have to work more for less:

But again, now that governmental regulations are decreasing, investors are once again investing in companies, and companies are expanding and hiring. The way to put money in someone's pocket is to provide them with a job. Making it easier for investors to invest, and for companies to expand and hire workers is a way to improve the quality of life for Americans.

Many of my friends who have started startups were very excited about Obamacare because it allowed them to leave their company and start a new one, without risk of losing their healthcare. That looks like it will change, for the worse.

I think voodoo trickle-down economics was disproved a long time ago. Such a great country that people can continue to believe whatever they want! USA! USA!

You don't understand your own mantra. Supply -side economics, the actual term for what we are discussing, provides for more earned incomes across the spectrum. Wealth doesn't trickle, but productivity, employment opportunities, and general population wealth increases.

"Higher taxes on the rich mean that those people have less wealth to invest, donate, and spend, while the government has more for its purposes. The taxpayers usually are pretty careful with their own money, but politicians are notorious for squandering it. When they throw scarce resources into boondoggles like “green energy” companies or websites that don’t work, they make the country poorer for having wasted resources that could have been put to better use.
Far from “stimulating” the economy, most government spending simply gives a few people a temporary income boost that does no lasting good. Here’s one of my favorite stories about the “stimulus package” of 2009, told to me by a friend who lives in western Maryland. One of the “stimulus” projects (as announced by a big sign that itself was a waste of resources) consisted of laying sod in the median of a highway.
The locals all knew what would happen. Winter would kill the grass, which it did. The labor had been wasted and the sod had been wasted. That’s what happens when politicians make decisions about the use of money they have taken by force. You wouldn’t pay for sod where you know it won’t grow, but politicians will.
If anything, the epithet “trickle-down” applies to the government method of taxing those who earn money so that officials can then do with that money as they please. A little of the money will be given to the poor through giveaway programs such as Food Stamps and Obamaphones, but most of it will wind up in the pockets of much wealthier, politically-connected people who know how to play the system.
What poor people should want is more freedom and more growth, so they will have better opportunities."

Freedom of opportunity is what makes America great. Making sure the government doesn't interfere with that freedom, or enact rules that actually make things worse, will make the country better.

1 comment:

  1. As to your friends starting their own businesses, things will change for the better. Unless their business is so bad that they are on Medicaid, they have had to buy their own insurance. In some markets, because of Obamacare regulations, there are now no insurance companies in operation at all. Good luck buying insurance one. The CBO noted that the new bill will lower premiums, so your friends, who had to purchase insurance before, will now have more options at lower prices.And everyone that gets their insurance through their work will have lower deductibles. That benefits all Americans.


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