Sunday, August 11, 2013

It is So Comfortble to Not Need to Give a Rat's Arse Anymore About What Idiots Think...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

I have my share of disagreements with the progressive mindset. Especially, and particularly with the far out leftists that haven't a clue about what liberty and individual freedom means or the value of retaining the same.

However, every once in a while a person with a considerably (and I mean considerably as in a boatload of) more overall progressive viewpoint than my own comes along that makes a whole lot of sense. When these occasions arise I think I would be remiss if I did not consider the author's views as well as passing them on to a different and broader conservative libertarian audience than might be otherwise reached.

Tao Speaks - I am not a big fan of either of the two major political parties that exist today in the United States and the minor parties that do exist seem to cherish being extreme and exist for no other reason.

I do understand the economic policies of the Republican Party and I believe they are fundamentally flawed. I honestly can say that as far as the Democratic Party goes its policies are not all that much different.

In all honesty I think the concept of “fundamentally flawed” is based on the fact that I believe that an economic system, especially capitalism, has at its core a goal of creating wealth, creating an opportunity for wealth, and creating an environment for economic equality, that is equal to none.

Jobs should be a pathway to wealth and increasing income equality; our economy cannot create jobs.

Do you realize that from December 1999 until December 2009 our economy created a net of ZERO JOBS? Did you know that since December 1999 to December 2008 that middle-income households suffered a NET INCOME LOSS, when adjusted for inflation?

With the passage of NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagall coupled with the supply side economics and anti-unionism of the 1980′s we have witnessed to slow but total destruction of our economic system in our country. This is reflected in our GDP where corporate, after tax profits, make up 11.1% of our GDP while wages and benefits have dropped to 43.5% of our GDP: Corporate profits have been growing and wages have been shrinking as a percentage of our GDP and there is no way to change that trend.

I want to know whose side are we on? {Read More}

After reading Tao's article this fiscally conservative social libertarian site would be most interested in your comments.

Being reasonable and of active mind is far superior to being locked into any ideological dogmatic drumbeat.


  1. 1) The repeal of Glass-Steagall had absolutely nothing to do with the financial collapse in that the vast, Vast, VAST, majority of banks that failed were either solely commercial banks or solely investment banks. The only glaring exception was CitiBank and they would have probably failed anyway in that they have long been a mismanaged business. 2) That the middle-income households have suffered a net-income loss is at least potentially misleading in that it a) uses households as a barometer (family size and the number of workers for family have steadily been showing a downward trend for decades and I would need to get the data from 1999 to 2008) and not individuals and b) does not take into account mobility and movement between the groups (according to the IRS's own numbers, 58% of the people in the bottom quintile in 1996 were out of it by 2005 and a similar percentage of people in the top 1% were out of that within the same time period - Mr. Tao only appears to be looking at static categories here). 3) There are literally millions of jobs in this country (a fair chunk of them good paying jobs) that are currently not being filled because of a crappy skill set amongst the populace. Maybe if we concentrated on getting people prepared to do this work (plumbing, pipe-fitting, truck-driving, electrical work, etc.), we wouldn't have the necessity to constantly belly ache so much

    1. First off Will,

      In regards to Glass-Steagall, it took down the veil between lending and investments. Thus the big banks became too big to fail. If you note, our whole issue with "bubbles" started a little after the passage of the repeal. One of the bubbles became bundling home mortgages. When that bubble burst, then the commercial banks that held mortgages as assets (the traditional old time banks) had the value of those mortgages written down by the regulators and all of the sudden they were no longer financially viable and closed down.

      If it wasn't for the government bailout and strong armed tactics of Hank Paulsen every big bank and investment house would have gone under.

      As far your second point. The number of workers per household has been dropping? Really? So, what women are staying at home and not working? As far as the 58% and the bottom quintile goes...if you factor in age and maritial status you will find that the number one reason 58% moved from up is because they got married (went from single filer to married filing jointly). Marriage is the number one way to move up out of poverty because now your household is two income not one.

      There are not millions of jobs without applicants because there is not an industry in this country that does not have more applicants than they have jobs for.

      Back in the old days, we had unions and they had apprenticeship programs that trained young people to do the type of jobs you mentioned. I personally do not believe it is the US Taxpayers obligation to create individuals with the skill sets that companies require...let the company hire and train their own people.

      I also believe that most companies and their managers and HR departments don't have a clue what they are doing. Since I have hired thousands of people I know a little about this subject. Most companies rely on Monster and Indeed to tell them who is a match or not. At Indeed there are, on average over 600 resumes submitted for every job opening. If you can't find an applicant out of 600 then you are the problem not the applicant pool.

    2. Tao said: " One of the bubbles became bundling home mortgages. When that bubble burst..."

      You hit on the key cause of the problem, which was not Glass-Steagall. It was specific policies. Regulations. Intrusions by the government into the mortgage sector that all but forced banks to make massive amount of bad loans that they would not have done at all, had matters been left to the free market. Bad policies involving the CRA, and Fannie, and Freddie.

    3. And Tao... "Back in the old days, we had unions and they had apprenticeship programs that trained young people to do the type of jobs you mentioned"

      Why did the unions stop doing this? If they still did this (instead of going to the other extreme of making sure marginal very low-quality workers who would otherwise be fired keep their jobs), they would be quite popular among all that dealt with them.

    4. You're wrong on pretty much everything, Tao. 1) I repeat, the only major hybrid bank to go down was CitiBank. All of the rest were mostly purely investment or purely commercial. 2) The data from the IRS that I provided here was for INDIVIDUALS. The income of the individuals in the bottom quintile created a scenario in which 58% of them were able to move to a higher quintile (a fair chunk of them moving up more than one quintile) and the overall gain in income of the people in that quintile from 1996 to 2005 was 91%. And the major reason for this wasn't marriage but age. Young people start off poor and then as they accumulate additional skills and education they move up the food chain. 3) I didn't say that there were millions of jobs without applicants. I said that there were millions of jobs (mostly in the trades) that companies cannot find qualified applicants for. My point is that maybe some of these kids should be studying these trades in high school or in trade school and that maybe we shouldn't be subsidizing through grants and loans kids getting BAs in philosophy and sociology.

    5. And as for the FDIC-insured commercial banks that did get into trouble, the data here is pretty clear that what got them into trouble were not activities that Glass-Steagall prohibited. Their problems arose from investments in residential mortgages and residential mortgage-backed securities—strategies and investments they had ALWAYS been free to engage in.............And you know who agrees with me on this, Tao - Try President Obama, "...there is not evidence that having Glass-Steagall in place would somehow change the dynamic." Just because 2 things happen in close proximity doesn't mean that one necessarily causes the other.

  2. When you get the "far out leftists that haven't a clue about what liberty and individual freedom means..." my only possible response is to ask my Libertarian brethren for a definition and a reason they think they completely understand such complex topics that they can reject my understanding out of hand.

    When the Libertarians start talking about "freedom" there's a high probability they're fudging it.

    1. Ducky said: "When the Libertarians start talking about "freedom" there's a high probability they're fudging it."

      Do you have any examples of this? In my long experience, libertarians might ask for too much freedom. Or maybe even a reckless amount. But they never "fudge" it. They are very straight forward, and pretty consistent on this matter.

  3. On another one of the points, forced unionization has been a major factor in causing job loss and economic stagnation. I've watched time after time as union companies vanished and those among them that were not forced-union (and were better able to adjust to the economic roller coaster) survived.

    Detroit? Not a small factor in that city's economic problems was the situation (until recently) where Chrysler workers were paid more than $40 an hour (low estimate) to do the quality worst work in the industry (as revealed in the constant bottom ratings given to the product year after year). This was a very strong disincentive to build cars where the UAW was strong. And NAFTA? The trend on reduction of manufacturing jobs was underway before NAFTA, and it slowed down after the passage of this act.

    1. The Council on Foreign Relations (a totally nonpartisan group) thoroughly studied the effects of NAFTA and found that it was a slight net plus for America.............Another key point here that people like Tao completely ignore is that American manufacturing has essentially quadrupled (adjusted for inflation) since the '40s. Yes, it, as a percentage of GDP, has gone down but that is only because the other sectors (finance, health-care, retail, etc.) have grown at an even more magnificent rate.............And the way to level the playing field isn't through government doing more but less. Facilitate entry into the market (reduce the cost of licensing), eliminate the minimum wage (which discriminates against the young and unskilled) and reduce red-tape (according the SBA, the average cost per employee of compliance is like 30-40% higher for small businesses than it is for corporations). Those are the things that could really get the economy moving, IMO.

  4. Les,

    Thank you for the compliment, at least I think it is....

    It might help if you realize that the term "progressive" has multiple meanings and for the most part it shouldn't have anything to do with the Democratic Party.

    Second, it might surprise you, but some of us "progressives" know perfectly well the value of liberty, personal freedom, and one the right keeps forgetting, personal responsibility (at least they forget that it applies equally to the rich as it does to the poor).

    I personally believe that the great threat to personal freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility is poverty and income inequality. While I am leery of big government I am not willing to succumb to the naivete that small government is automatically better. I think that the solution is "different" government. By that I mean a government that ensures a level playing field for everyone and has nothing but the country as a whole and the country as a whole continued improvement as its only reason for action.

    Level the playing field then get out of the way.

    Sadly the playing field is not level and the only way we can return to a level playing field is through government...a different government than the one we have right now. in something from November 1863:

    " It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    1. Actually Tao I did find merit in your post, which is why I took the liberty of posting it here at RN USA. I believe the points you make are worthy of a broader discussion. Or put another way I hope it helps to broaden the sphere of thought among conservatives and libertarians.

      While we disagree on what degree the federal government's involvement in the private sector should be we both understand there is a proper role for government . And that size is relative to a growing society, even in a republic such as our own.

      There will never be income equality in the true sense of it's meaning. Unless of course you mean that tying the true value of a person's effort to their earned income is income equality. If so then we're on the same page.

      Personal responsibilty? To that.all I can say is absolutely. Having spent many years as a manager I too used the terrm personal responsibility, often.

      Oh I do not clump you in with the wd/DS's and the Anon progressives Tao, those who perhaps don't understand freedom or liberty and who IMNHO never will. You certainly are no wd/DS or Anon(s). I'll leave it at that.

      At any rate you may take this posting on RN as a compliment.

  5. It's a shame that on this site, of all places, we read pro-bankster propaganda in the comments. Capitalism does not work without the rule of law. The law should not be a buffet for the wealthy. Before there was Glass-Steagall we got the Great Depression, and sure enough, after Glass-Steagall was repealed, we got the Great Recession. On top of that, with the social safety nets we have in place, the Great Recession would have been another Great Depression. And if it wasn't for the bailouts, many banks would have failed. The huge steaming pile of irony that is the conservative position here is plain to any honest observer.

    As well, history shows us the more unionized the workforce, the greater the shared prosperity of all Americans.

    Furthermore, the more Free Trade and deindustrialization, sure enough, the weaker the purchasing power of most Americans.

    These are all facts. You can argue about what to do about them, but the conservative answer seems to be to play the sycophants and revel in their pain, to paraphrase Lemmy Kilmister.


    1. Pro-bankster propaganda? Quoting President Obama? And surely you must know that simply because two events happen in close proximity doesn't necessarily mean that one caused the other. The real fact of the matter here is that Glass-Steagall DID NOT in any way prevent the commercial banks from doing what they ultimately did.............And in terms of us having a Great Depression if it weren't for the bailouts, that is pure speculation. A 2008 study by the Minneapolis FED showed that close to 80% of business borrowing took place OUTSIDE THE BANKING SYSTEM and that nonfinancial institutions were showing no sharp decline in their ability to secure short term loans. It seems to me that the major beneficiaries here were largely those banksters that you seemingly love to hate.

  6. Jersey: Those are opinions you give us, actually. They are vague and also contradicted by the facts. We've gone over specifics on free trade and unionization already , in previous comments in this item. (Detroit? So completely unionized. What a utopia!)

  7. dmarks, you wouldn't know a fact from a fairy tale. Everything I said is a fact, and only a liar would say otherwise.


    1. The Sword of TruthMon Aug 12, 11:50:00 AM EDT

      Cribbing Forest Gump's Mama here... "Liar is as liar does", or in a different vein, "it takes one to know one."

      Which is it Jersey McJones? OPS, both would apply simultaneously I suppose.

    2. One could ask of you first, Jersey. You said I lied, but gave no specifics. Sword appeared to merely be following in the path of vagueness you established.

  8. How about something specific, instead of insults? I can be very specific about how forced unionization has wiped out a lot of jobs, and how free trade benefits all. The "Everything I said is a fact" claim by you is argument by strength of vehemence, which is really quite weak. I do say otherwise, and I am most definitely not a liar.

    We can start with North Dakota... one of the most prosperous states in the country. In 2012, it has the sixth highest per capital income. It also had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and the lowest rate of unionization..

    Or how about free/fair trade? Here is some information from the Dept of Commerce)

    "The percentage of GDP represented by exports is the highest in nearly a century and is indicative of how important exports will be in any effort to encourage economic growth and the creation of new jobs,"

    This is a direct result of relaxing trade barriers.

    One of us might be a liar, and it is not me, that is for sure. You can do better than your entirely substance-free most recent comment. Why not try?

    1. Remember dmarks, jmj is a Jersey kinda of guy. Not much different than those Noo Yawk city types. You now, the wise guy mentality?

      jmj ain't such a bad guy, cut him a little sack. Who knows, maybe he'll come around.

    2. Yup. Seen some great comments from him in the past. Not too long ago, either.

  9. This statement from Jersey needs to be addressed also:

    "These are all facts. You can argue about what to do about them, but the conservative answer seems to be to play the sycophants and revel in their pain, to paraphrase Lemmy Kilmister."

    The ultimate expression of this sycophy is the massive many multi-billion handout to the big banks. Most conservatives and Republicans opposed it. Most Democrats and liberals (apparently, including Tao) supported it. Tao is the only one here who buys into the bankster line (scare tactics) that this massive handout was necessary to avoid a depression. Now, that is sycophantishness. Or sycophy. Or whatever you call it. In any case, it is an insult of low intellectual value, so lets put it away, shall we?

  10. Tao actually understands capitalism quite well. As I understand his view (correct me if wrong Tao) government should level the playing field and get the hell out of the way. Which I assume means getting rid of the pull pedlars, corporatist, and the crony capitalist. All very positive. The only thing I differ with him on is the degree of government involvement in leveling the playing field.

    Oh, the money this nation spends on the MIC, very questionable military actions such as Iraq, Syria, and going as far back as Vietnam (remember Ike's farewell speech to the nation in 1961?) could have been spent on productive things like our infrastructure and keeping the nations debt to revenue much lower and more manageable.

    Oh, and the income disparity issue has bothered me for quite some time. Back in my father's early hey days in business executives made 50 times (give or take a little) more than their average employees. Today what is it, as much as 500 times give or take with all the stock options, bonuses, and other perks for working hard to send jobs offshore so the corporation makes an even healthier profit margin.

    Now don't read me wrong here dmarks but there is something bass ackwards and that is really what Tao is attempting to point out. I think.

  11. Les, I am quite open minded about doing something like, say, cutting military spending by 25%. Since the MIC has been built equally by both the left and right in this country, resistance will be found from both sides.

    And yes use some of the saved money for insfrastructure. At the same time, repeal Davis Bacon, prevailing wage. Both of these are pure corruption (being forced fundraising efforts for campaign politics) and add about 10% to spending on such contracts.

    Les, part of the reason for what Tao notices, and you notice, with the bass ackwardsness is the ferocious regulatory environment involving regulations that do nothing good for public safety and the public interest, but instead serve only to block competition and new economic activity. These regulations hamper new economic activity. The richest, biggest companies at the top are able to weather this so they survive while the small ones crumble. And yes, the big ones get taxpayer handouts (again, apparently supported by Tao) which gives them even more of an advantage.

  12. Tao doubted that there were millions of unfilled trade jobs out there. Here is some documentation to counter that view -,,,, Hopefully it'll help.


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