TCS Daily


The New Myths About Inequality

By Arnold Kling - July 10, 2007 12:00 AM

The Left is gearing up for 2008 with major proposals for government intervention to "fix" the distribution of income. For example, the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, recently proposed raising the minimum wage, giving unions more advantages in the workplace, expanding government's role in child care, and other policies that will be harmful to economic growth, which is the one proven way to raise our standard of living.

In order to build support for this statist agenda, policy wonks and pundits are spreading a set of myths about inequality. We are hearing that incomes are stagnating in middle America, that class mobility is disappearing, and that the political process favors the wealthy. But we should not believe the myths.

The Mid-Range Worker

By a mid-range worker, I mean someone whose annual income is roughly between $30,000 and $50,000, assuming full-time work. Location makes a difference. The $30,000 figure may be fine for Topeka, not so good for Manhattan.

Mid-range workers have more skills than a typical high school graduate, but they are not heavily-credentialed professionals. They usually do not have supervisory responsibilities.

When you go to the doctor, the receptionist is probably a low-range worker. The tech who takes your blood pressure might be a mid-range worker. When you go to the bank, the guard standing in the lobby is probably a low-range worker. The teller is probably a mid-range worker.

Fifty years ago, many of America's mid-range workers toiled on assembly lines. Today, more of them work in service industries.

How does the standard of living of today's mid-range workers compare to that of their counterparts in America thirty years ago or their counterparts in other advanced nations today? Here are some generalizations:

--In terms of food, clothing, shelter, and durable goods, mid-range workers are doing rather well. Their living spaces are notably larger. They almost all have air conditioning and central heating, while some of their foreign counterparts do not. They have plenty of television sets, telephones, and household appliances.

--In health care, they consume more premium medicine (services provided by specialists and advanced equipment). They are more likely to overcome cancer, heart disease, depression, or an at-risk pregnancy; however, much of their additional health care spending produces benefits that are at best difficult to measure and at worst nonexistent. And a relatively large share of their compensation consists of employer-provided health benefits, even though they might instead prefer more take-home pay.

--Today's mid-range worker probably has a more difficult time affording a home in a highly-desirable location. Those with a taste for urban amenities, beaches, or spectacular mountain scenery are likely to be priced out of the market. The supply of amenity-rich locations has not kept up with demand, and affluent Americans have bid up the cost of living along the ocean in San Diego or near the ski slopes of Aspen or in the classy sections of San Francisco.

--Speaking of classy locations, do not expect the mid-range worker's children to go to the schools favored by the affluent. Private school tuition has gone up faster than the mid-range worker's income, as has the cost of housing in the neighborhoods with deluxe public schools. College choice, too, will be very constrained by the determination of the affluent to bid up the price of the prestige spots.

Aristocracy or Meritocracy?

In a stereotypical aristocracy, one's social opportunities and income prospects are determined by the accident of birth. In a stereotypical meritocracy, anyone can grow up to be rich and successful.

An aristocracy was more likely to exist in earlier centuries, when economic change was slow and much of society's wealth was embedded in land or physical objects. Today, knowledge is a major source of wealth. In addition, the faster pace of economic growth means that inherited wealth has declined relative to recently-produced wealth. Both of these latter factors make inherited tangible wealth less important than in the past.

Today, the most valuable inheritance is likely to be genetic. Children with strong natural cognitive abilities are likely to have high earnings potential.

The distribution of rewards in America today is still relatively merit-based. However, the extent of economic and social mobility is difficult to assess. One optimistic indicator of mobility is that wealth differences across siblings remain fairly high. Another optimistic indicator is that educational attainment continues to rise with each generation, particularly among immigrants. On the pessimistic side, the trend toward smaller families tends to reduce sibling variation, and my guess is that it reduces the deviation of children's social standing relative to their parents.

Another pessimistic trend would be more stratified marital habits. Fifty years ago, a college-educated male was much more likely to meet and to marry a female with average or below-average cognitive ability than is the case today. Stratified marriages will produce stratified children. As cognitive skills become increasingly important determinants of wealth, we may see a reduction in intergenerational mobility across income classes.

Overall, we are unlikely to see the sort of society in which the children of the affluent and the children of the poor have relatively equal chances of ending up in the top income quintiles. The best we can hope is that, for a given level of inherited abilities, the chances of poor children are at least as good as those of the affluent.

It could be worse. America is reasonably well insulated from the most insidious form of aristocracy--one which is based on inherited wealth, with little regard to merit. And what we have is preferable to a European-style welfare state, which under-rewards work, thrift, and especially entrepreneurship.

Political Power

Inequality of economic outcomes raises the issue of potential inequality of political power. A frightening scenario would be one in which political power becomes highly concentrated and the wealthy are able to control the levers of power.

Some indicators suggest that concentration of political power is not a threat. Elections are fair, and neither party holds a monopoly on power. Freedom of assembly remains high. Freedom of the press remains high. The media, particularly the Internet, seem much more diffuse and diverse than was the case a generation ago.

Other indicators are more troubling. The re-election rate of incumbents is high. Political dynasties (Bush, Kennedy, Daley, etc.) flourish, suggesting a less-than-open system.

A factor that reduces the accountability of politicians is the large size of voting districts. There are as many eligible voters in elections for my local school board as there were in the entire United States when our nation was founded. This makes trying to influence local government a daunting task for the individual citizen.

The share of government in our economy moves steadily upward. The fastest-growing sector of our economy, health care, is headed for government domination, either with health care "reform" or without it, due to the demographics of Medicare.

Many politicians campaign as if they believe that concentration of political power is a good thing—as long as they have the power. Populists promise to use that power to fight against the wealthy and the privileged.

In reality, major corporations and entrenched interests are systemically favored by greater concentration of political power. Unregulated competition, not big government, is the friend of the little guy. Political leaders who campaign on the issue of economic inequality are almost certain to tighten the relationship between political and economic power. It is more important to understand the consequences of political aggrandizement than it is to argue over the interpretation of statistics that measure economic inequality.

The author is an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute and the author of Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care. Along with Bryan Caplan, he writes EconLog, which can be found at econlog.econlib.org.


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138 Comments

Arnold "Thomas Malthus" Klinger: We Should Eat The Poor And Burn Their Babies
C'mon Arnold, come out of that closet, put on your brownshirt and pants and get out your SchutzStaffel insignias and show the world who you really are. A wanna be NewNazi who would probably love to "eat the poor" and burn their babies; and alive no doubt.

Arnold is so pathetic and hilarious it's sickening isn't it? TCS should make a very big pic of Arnold the Prison Guard it's site Icon, put him in his brownshirt w/SS insignia right on the site index page; that's what TCS is really about: NewNazi'ism!!

Go 4th Reich, Go 4th Reich, Go 4th Reich (in other words "God Bless AmericKKKa" our home, sweet Reichstag!!

typical leftist, all hate, no thought
...

Then go away
If you can't read well enough to understand the post, have nothing substantive to contribute to the discussion, and don't like this site, then go comment somewhere else.

Paris Hilton...
I am pretty sure Paris Hilton will move to Dubai or Shanghai, when there will be to much inequality in the US...

Sort of a bizarre story: it basically confirms the 'myths' as facts...
.. and then say that there's nothing wrong with inequality, even if it is increasing, certainly nothing to do something about.

New Myths About Iraq
The winds are blowing hard in the face of W. and his ill-conceived Surge. An unnamed U.S. official is warning that a soon-to-be-released progress report will conclude that the Iraqi government has not met any of the political "benchmarks" that the Surge was supposed to bring about in the first place by increasing security and the safeguarding of the political process. Now rumors are circulating that pressure is building in the White House for W. to announce a plan for the imminent removal of large numbers of troops. To counter this zeitgeist, neocon publications like the Weekly Standard and the National Review are repeating the line that the Surge, which after all has been fully implemented only in the past month, is already showing remarkable signs of succeeding, what with the downtick in sectarian violence and our new Sunni allies willing to fight with our troops against Al Qaeda. It would be shameful and cowardly, then, for Bush to sound the retreat now, just as things were finally starting to turn around, etc. . .


This is the prelude to a story neocons are promoting in preparation for the storm of incrimination they know is coming. These writers are well aware that Iraq was a colossal blunder that the Surge has no hope of redeeming, and that over the next few election cycles the consequences for this failure will fall most heavily on not just the Republican party and the cause of American conservativism in general, but also and not least, upon their own careers and professional reputations. These talking points are the first threads in a narrative the Right will try to weave and cover itself with to deflect as much blame as possible for their grotesque failure in Iraq. It's basically a variation on the familiar "one hand tied behind the back" storyline used to rationalize the similar failure in Viet Nam (the hand in question naturally being tied by appeasement loving liberals). It will read as follows: "Just when a sufficient number of troops were brought in and a new 'get tough' strategy was finally implemented (which was what we advocated all along, but no one listened), just at the moment when victory was at hand, the Democrats and the New York Times, along with a few turncoats in his own party, forced President Bush (who was never a true conservative anyway) to declare defeat and withdraw from Iraq. They will repeat this spin to themselves ad nauseum until it becomes another article of rightwing faith and takes its place upon the mantle alongside other beloved myths, such as liberal media bias and activist judges.

Get off the drugs, Beatle burnout.
Put away the bong or the pipe or whatever it is you use, mix in a few O'Doul's with your steady diet of Budweiser for breakfast. Do yourself a favor, and stop irritating the rest of us with your infantile bawling and mewling.

Who lost Iraq?
I suspect they're already writing the articles about who lost Iraq. It will be the liberals and the appeasers and the traitors who don't love our freedoms. The same old stuff we heard after Vietnam. We just weren't prepared to Stay the Course.

Then they'll say it was all that stuff about human rights and torture, and things that shouldn't be discussed during wartime, that sunk our ships. Are we expected to fight with one hand tied behind our backs? It's downright unpatriotic to talk about human rights, when those people over there ain't even American.

Get on the bus, bub. Real patriots aren't afraid to break a few eggs, when they're cooking up a big batch of Freedom. Even though we're losing this one, there are still more enemies out there, just lookin' for a killin'.

It's hard when your own people aren't cheering you on.

All depends what inequality you're talking about.
You are not entitled to have everything that everyone else has.

Inequality is inherent in our natures. Or are you trying to tell me that everyone has equal talents, intelligence, and "gifts"?

Is Tiger Woods supposed to dole out part of his income to you because he can play golf better than you? Do you think that Warren Buffet owes you something? You would probably say "no" to both of those questions, yet you support concepts that secretly whisper "yes" to those questions.

And it's not the government's place to "do something" about inequality. The government would inevitably fail at that, and whatever it tried (which it has no business trying in the first place) would further complicate the very problem it sought to cure.

terribly unconvincing...
...even to those who would want to be convinced.

An article with so many "probably-s" and "likely to-s" sounds like the author gathered his opinions, ideas, hopes, and tavern-made hypotheses on a "My Diary" page which accidentally got published. Perhaps some research to back that up which he claims might behoof the author.

Uh...
...what does your post have to do with Kling's article?

-Bob

you have eric all wrong
he would never demand that govt gave Woods or Buffet's money to him.

He just wants Woods and Buffet to pay for his medical care, his housing, his food, his car, anything else he can think of.

Great article. What myths?
This really is a great article, but it also seems to miss the points that Kling offered as the reason for it.

>"We are hearing that incomes are stagnating in middle America, that class mobility is disappearing, and that the political process favors the wealthy. But we should not believe the myths."

So these are the "myths" Kling refers to, even though these statements are true. But I don't see anything in comments that follow that would disprove these true statements that Kling refers to as "myths".


>"The Mid-Range Worker"

Good explanation of the mid-range worker. I would agree with the classifications, etc. that Kling offers. Good description for an entity that is tough to define given the diversity of circumstances across the country.

Here is where it gets off track:

>"How does the standard of living of today's mid-range workers compare to that of their counterparts in America thirty years ago or their counterparts in other advanced nations today? Here are some generalizations:"

This comparison is misleading and not relevant to the discussion. Remember Kling's "myths"? They are true as a result of the economic policies, etc. of the current Administration. There was no talk of income inequality, stagnating wages, etc. in the late 90's. Policies of the Bush Administration have set the trends that make Kling's "myths" actually true.

Kling's points that follow are true, middle rangers are definitely better off than they were 30 years ago. I think Americans across the spectrum are better off than 30 years ago, thats the reality of an evolving society. But the middle rangers are not better off today than they were 10 years ago, thats the point. Bush's policies do indeed lead to stagnate wages for middle rangers and primarily benefit the wealthy and corportations.


>"Aristocracy or Meritocracy?"

Again, this section is right on, its good reading and interesting. And kudos for offering optimistic AND pessimistic views of a single subject. But it says nothing to support the main point of the article- to show that these "myths" are actually myths.

>"Both of these latter factors make inherited tangible wealth less important than in the past."
"Today, the most valuable inheritance is likely to be genetic."

Middle rangers are better off than 30 years ago, way better off than 100 years ago when aristocracy was even more prevalent. In the last 10 years I don't think a shift to meritocracy has influenced the fact that middle rangers' wages have stagnated and the wealthy have received the greatest benefit, by far, of our government's economic policies.


>"Political Power"

>"A frightening scenario would be one in which political power becomes highly concentrated and the wealthy are able to control the levers of power."

Amen brother. That is exactly what we had from 2002 to 2006. Total Republican control of government and total corporate control of Republicans. Money runs America. Who has the money?

This is really a great article though. This section again, discusses multiple views of the subject, and is factual for the most part.

>"In reality, major corporations and entrenched interests are systemically favored by greater concentration of political power."

Yes, exactly! Its just a different set of entrenched interests that benefit when political power is concentrated with Democrats. Corporations do ok under Democrats also, but experience from the last 7 years shows they do much better under Republican control. We've had a complete shift since Bush took office, FROM a government that fought on the side of people and environmnet more often when they conflict with corporate interests, TO a government that fights on the side of corporations EVERY TIME when they conflict with people and environment. That is a direct result of Bush's leadership. The Supreme Court is but one example that highlights this fact. Its not that Bush didn't want activist judges on the Court, its that he wanted them to activate according to his view, 2 appointments later, its reality.

>"Unregulated competition, not big government, is the friend of the little guy."

Thats simply an incorrect statement. Very naive. Neither one of those is the friend of the little guy. Seriously, if history and experience haven't taught you that, no amount of explaining will make a difference. Thats the weakness of ideology. Even Libertarian, as wise and logical as it is.

True, beatles was all hate. But thats more similar to your arguments MarkTheProjectionist
than a typical leftist.

Ann is proud of you.

we're talking about equality of opportunity
which has been an American dream for centuries. The bottom line of this essay is, no big thing.

Nobody say everyone's entitled to a house with a mountain view and a giant car. The idea is, poor kids should have a fighting chance to earn these things. Social mobility is decreasing as income inequality increases.

>And it's not the government's place to "do something" about inequality.
Depends on what the something is, doesn't it, and what kind of inequality we're talking about.

Regarding Warren Buffett - you'd be surprised, but he disagrees with you. And it is really tedious for you to turn this into my psychology and my envy: I admire talented people who make their way and create jobs. Please stick to the issues instead of imagining what I'm whispering.

Namecalling is all this guy can do
stop wasting everyone's time Mark.

most liberals feel that the truth is a hate crime
and bob is much more liberal than most

there is equality of opportunity
it's not our fault that you have no marketable skills

namecalling is all Mark can do
save all our time and shut up.

so many irrational myths, so little time
the myths of the stagnating middle class have been debunked in numerous other articles. There is no need to repeat them in every article.

There was no talk of income inequality in the 90's because there was a Democrat in the White House. The same reason why there was no discussion of homelessness during the same time. Truth be told, income inequality was even greater during the Clinton years. It's just that since the liberals couldn't make hay with the issue, they dropped it.

Ah yes, the common myth that Republicans are rich people.
The richest people in this country are by far Democratic.
The richest members of both the House and the Senate are almost exclusively Democratic.
The Democrats get most of their donations from big donors, while Republicans get theirs from small donors.

Yes, it's amazing that companies do better in an economy that is growing rapidly, compared to one that is stagnating.
But then again, so does everyone else.

Under Represented
Ok Kling, someone other than me has actually posted it. This country has bee under represented since 1911, and that was not by Constitutional Amendment. No, no boys and girls that was because the sitting legislature at the time enacted Public Law 62-5, limiting the number of congressmen.

We need a movement to restructure the House of Representatives. There is plenty of technology to support representative caucusing without the need for assembly. And if having them all in the same room together is important to you, then how about they convene two, max four, times a year at some large city convention center to wrestle with each other over who’s on what committee.

opportunity
Can you name any other country where you think that the chance of making it are better than the US? Let's say there's a new Buffett, or Gates, etc. out there, would he prefer to try in Sweden, or France. Indeed, even the guy who developed linux computer thing now lives in the States, right? In fact I do think the US is badly deteriorating because it's LESS free than before, but still it's about the best.

Competition with Foul Lines
Only one thought in this sentence is incorrect, “Unregulated”:

“Unregulated competition, not big government, is the friend of the little guy."

It should be a phrase, “competition with foul lines”. But, besides that, big government is no the friend of the little guy!

The New Myths About Inequality
Thank you for your interjection of common sense into this issue. In particular, it is refreshing that to know that someone has recognized the deleterious effects of having such immense electorial districts as we have come to have in this country. If anyone is interested in knowing why Americans are "Bowling Alone" these days, surely the impotence of the ordinary citizen to influence these enormous political entities is a major factor. Not only do we need to permit decisions affecting neighborhoods to be made at a neighborhood level, we also need congressional districts which allow average citizens to know and to exchange their thoughts with their representatives. As it is, we can only communicate with our leaders via the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken. There can be no dialogue between people and their government if every congressman represents over 600,000 people. No wonder Americans hate their leaders! We might as well have kings.

You might check the original nationalities of numerous highly successful start up companies
The patten is accomplished people who have excelled in their nation's merit-based educational programs have created companies you may not have heard of like google. This is obviously an indication that these nations educational systems are greatly deficient.

Where's Lemming?
Have you ever noticed Bedulls1 ALWAYS posts intellectually vacant emotion-pukes-but Lemming NEVER applies his incessant cries about deficient arguments to his fellow traveller.. then again Bedulls just might be Eric's latest multiple personality..

checking
It doesn't matter what country a guy was educated in, the clever ones mostly want to come to the States because there is more chance of getting ahaead; that means more opportunity that most places. But wait a minute....that doesn't just apply to the smart guys, even the losers and dummbies and ordinaries guys have a better chance, that why we see most of them ideed try to get to the States.

Fighting chance?
What are you talking about? What about the guy I met who was dirt poor and starting digging ditches. From there he used thepay to buy a backhoe. From there he built a 100 million dolar company.

Fighting chance means hard work and will. The problem with the liberal left is they seem to think it should be easy and readily available. It is readily available but it is not easy.

Read the founding of Dominos Pizza. What about Microsoft?

There is no such thing as equality. It is a myth. Life is about the application of sweat and work.

Income inequality? So your advocating redistribution of wealth because?

Warren Buffet is feeding upon his guilt for success. Read Malcom Forbes.

What a dork
The rants of a obvious lunatic aside, your arguments, if that is what they can be called, lack even the remotest speck of intellect.

There are many fine hospitals in which help is available. I recommend one in Cuba.

Yes, that guy was fighting chance
You can always find people who beat the odds. That doesn't mean the deck isn't stacked against people who start out short.

And that doesn't mean you don't have all kinds of people who were born on third base and are congratulating themselves for hitting a triple.

As far as 'income redistribution' - you're missing the point. You were just recently complaining that your efforts to go into business for yourself were endandered because as self-employed businessman with a pre-existing condition, you're ininsurable for health insurance.

You wouldn't have that problem in any other advanced country in the world.

>There is no such thing as equality. It is a myth. Life is about the application of sweat and work.

So go sweat and work and hope you don't get sick and if you do bravely tell your family you don't want government help.

check again
Yes, it _does_ matter what country a person (not necessarily a guy) was educated in because it's harder and harder for non-rich people to get high-level education in the US.

Sure. big government isn't the friend fo the little guy. big business is.
are you kidding??

Pick Your Mythology Is No Answer
The tragedy is that arguments like Mr. Kling's are just another mythology - only favoring one unreal "ideal" over the one gaining ground at the moment. All idealist regimes are "right" becaue they ARE ideals - but we don't live in an ideal world.

If there were no abuses or inequalities of / in Free Market Theory - then there'd be no objections to it and no counter-movements. Same applies to the Socialist Theory. Instead of real dialogue and real problem solving, what these ideologies do is to put us all in an eternal divisive debate because no one will admit the flaws in their own utopian fantasies.

Ideologies are perfect "job insurance" for everyone from priests to politicians and writers - and perpetual hobby horses for those who think they can gain status by subscribing to the ideology which best fits their fears and pet peeves. The effect is to turn "good ideas" into scams for the psychologically needy.

Everyone today needs to spend a month or two closely studying the biographies of men like Benjamin Franklin. He was the true proponent and practictioner of the Randian principle of giving value for value recieved. Of course, to follow his example, everyone would then have to set about actually creating value and earning a living from it. Like that's gonna happen in a nation of ideologues and armchair philosophers!! Not!!

Big business must persuade, not coerce my money from me. Government only coerces.

do you notice that when eric can't refute, he demands quiet
at least he seems to have gotten over his sexual fantasies regarding farm animals

big business creates opportunity, govt creates nothing
...

myths
the problem is, the alleged abuses that led to the regulations were for the most part, myths themselves.

For the ones that aren't, there's the myth of the perfect.
That is, just because one can point out that the free market isn't perfect, does not prove that govt regulation will make things perfect. The truth is, govt regulations almost always make things worse.

Please stop your idiotic namecallling and post on topic
But wait - you have nothing to say.

Big business can and does bully
And government can help. I know this goes against libertarian doctrine, but it is a longstanding and well-established truth. But take your case to the voters.

notice how when eric gets called out on his offtopic insults, he starts demanding people stay on top
...

big business can be ignored, govt can't
If I don't want to buy from Microsoft, I don't have to.
If I want to open a store and compete with Wal-Mart, all I have to do is offer a product that people want more.

If I decide I don't want to do business with the govt, they send police officers to help me change my mind.
If I decide I want to set up a competitor to the Post Office, I will be thrown in jail until I change my mind.

Just because you know something eric, doesn't make it true.
(in fact, the opposite is much more likely)

You're the one doing the namecalling and posting nothing, zero on topic
Stop wasting time and space.

You only see part of the picture
Sure, you can not buy Microsoft products if you don't want to. But you also eliminate 70% of your choices if you boycott Microsoft. If Microsoft builds a plant in your town and pollutes your water and air, you best not ignore them.

My point is, there are a whole myriad of relationships we have with businesses. Direct and indirect. There is more than just a consumer-to-retailer relationship. This relationship is the easiest for individuals to have some control, we can simply not spend our money with said store. Its not always that simple.

>"If I decide I don't want to do business with the govt, they send police officers to help me change my mind."

What country is that in?

>"If I decide I want to set up a competitor to the Post Office, I will be thrown in jail until I change my mind."

You heard of UPS? I know, I know, you can't start a first class mail competitor. You don't like it, get the law changed, or better yet, leave the country. You whine about taxes a lot too Mark, if you leave the country you'd take care of that problem for yourself too. Africa seems pretty unregulated, might be the perfect place for you.

It'd be nice if you at least TRIED to be truthful

>"the myths of the stagnating middle class have been debunked in numerous other articles."

Huh? Every statistic I've seen shows middle ranger wages have stagnated. Its hard to explain, corporations are making a lot more money, their executives are making a lot more money, the workers are not. Trickle down doesn't work, thats twice now its been proven in practice to be a failure.

>"There was no talk of income inequality in the 90's because there was a Democrat in the White House."

Huh? There was no talk of it because it wasn't the case. Everybody was doing better in the 90's. The wealthy were still doing the best out of everyone, but everyone's ships were floating higher. THAT is how our system should work. The wealthy should perform better, they have resources and options others do not, the wealthy are best postioned to take advantage of prosperity-building opportunities. Everyone in society should be lifted during good times, like in the 90's. Unlike the last 7 years.

>"Truth be told, income inequality was even greater during the Clinton years."

Got any proof? According to everything I've seen, thats a false statement.

>"Ah yes, the common myth that Republicans are rich people."

Common myth? Thats funny. Its more like common sense. Is that what you meant to say?

POLITICIANS are rich people, that much is for sure. I'd be interested to see a comparison of the mean and median net worth of Democratic and Republican politicians. I'd think Republicans would be higher, but thats a toss up.

Now, if you want to talk about registered voters and net worth. I'd put money on registered Republicans to be higher than registered Democrats. Thats a no-brainer.

>"The Democrats get most of their donations from big donors, while Republicans get theirs from small donors."

LOL! You have no concern about how truthful your comments are, do you? I'm telling you, if your job with W doesn't work out, you could team up with Ann C and go on the road. Ike and Tina revisited. Except I think Tina would be doing the battering this time.


>"Yes, it's amazing that companies do better in an economy that is growing rapidly, compared to one that is stagnating.
But then again, so does everyone else."

You would think so, it seems logical. Unfortunately, its been proven otherwise the last 7 years.


Mark, I politely ask that, unless you have something worthwhile to offer, don't respond to my posts anymore. I would love to see some criticism come back at my comments, but you just spout delusional ideology. I think I'm correct in the things I say, but I'll never know differently unless someone with good, truthful points makes an opposing argument. I see your name on a string and I know without reading it that it degenerated into "Ann-speak". Thats just who you are, your reputation here.

you only see a fantasy world that doesn't exist
So you honestly believe that the role of govt is to provide you with all the choices that you want?

The fact remains that you can buy products other than MS and those products will do everything that you need.

If MS builds a plant in your town and starts polluting, you still have a solution. You can sue MS for the damage that they are doing to you and your property.

What country sends cops to my door if I try to not do business with them? Every country.

Delivery of first class mail is a govt enforced monopoly.
Don't believe me, try checking it out for yourself.

MSFT 70%????????????
MSFT has a 4% share of the software market

Excellent point NoIsmsPlease! Thats good stuff

And its great how Mark put an extra exclamation on it by posting exactly what you're talking about. Its perfectly logical he would get defensive and use arguments that fit perfectly in your description of why his arguments are flawed. And you weren't even talking about him!


NoIsmsPlease: "Instead of real dialogue and real problem solving, what these ideologies do is to put us all in an eternal divisive debate because no one will admit the flaws in their own utopian fantasies."

Amen brother (or sister, as the case may be).

NoIsmsPlease: "Ideologies are perfect "job insurance" for everyone from priests to politicians and writers - and perpetual hobby horses for those who think they can gain status by subscribing to the ideology which best fits their fears and pet peeves. The effect is to turn "good ideas" into scams for the psychologically needy."

Thats beautiful stuff. Add talk radio hosts to that list. Entire industries are based on this point!

don't you get bored with this stuff, over and over again?
"So you honestly believe that the role of govt is to provide you with all the choices that you want?"

Absolutely not. And nowhere did I say or imply that.

"The fact remains that you can buy products other than MS and those products will do everything that you need."

Thats right, thats why I said 70% and not 100%.

"If MS builds a plant in your town and starts polluting, you still have a solution. You can sue MS for the damage that they are doing to you and your property."

Thats right, I'm glad you say that. Its not very pro-free-market of you. Aren't you opposed to my ability to sue? Don't you despise trial lawyers?

"Delivery of first class mail is a govt enforced monopoly.
Don't believe me, try checking it out for yourself."

You only know that because I told you so in my post. Going to Africa?

Exactly!!!
The continuing divide that animates a whole section of posters is that all decisions must be made on a yes/no, either or basis: either government takes it all over, or government must do absolutely nothing and stand by and let the market work. Endlessly, the merits or defects of a specific proposal are ignored in favor of labeling ("socialist") and ideological pronouncements about evil government in general, in the abstract. It would be funny if it were not for the fact that these people actually believe. And what's bizarre is they can never point to anywhere their ideas are actually in effect - they're just sure that if they were in effect, we'd have a paradise.

High Level Education
If by high-level education you mean "get a degree from Harvard or MIT", keep in mind that the top tier of colleges are very generous with scholarships to anyone who can demonstrate the need. It may be true that someone outside the US would have a much more difficult time getting a premier degree, but inside the US an intelligent but poor person (provided he's not so poor that he spends all his waking hours supporting his family) can study hard and get admiitted to a top university.
If by high-level education you mean "learn what's needed to excel in some profession", then in the US and most of Europe there are very few people without access to a good-enough library and internet educational resources. Granted, some professions (surgeon) require hands-on experience that reading and thinking can't provide, but most fields are open enough to provide entry. Self-study requires extraordinary discipline,
but when we talk about opportunity laziness is not a valid objection. Self-study also reduces the cost of education to little more than the cost of staying alive while learning.

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