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  •  We need to start questioning (0+ / 0-)

    the size and scope of the private sector. Why should the investor class make a profit from everything we do ? People need to understand that the government is a non-profit and that government bureaucrats make a lot less than corporate CEOs. Of course, we'll never get anywhere as long as people rely on television for their information.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:30:23 AM PST

    •  Most of us who work are part of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the "investor class."  

      Anyone who has a 401(k) or a retirement plan is part of the "investor class."  

      And yes, in a capitalist system, the economy is built on making a profit.  I am a part owner in a business, and I make a profit from the work I, and our employees, do, because I have spend decades, and a lot of money, building up that business.  

      •  No, people who work for a living (0+ / 0-)

        are working-class. It's almost sad that conservatives are still pushing this everybody's an investor crap. There's no such thing as a capitalist system and we're allowed to use our government to provide services everyone needs on a non-profit basis. It's much more efficient for things like education and health care.

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:10:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, I work for a living. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It so happens that I'm a lawyer, and I am a partner in a law firm (a small business) and we employ others. But I work 50-60 hours most weeks to earn the money to pay both me and our employees.  Am I "working class" or "investor"?  My point is, you can be both.  

          •  Here's a simple test: (0+ / 0-)

            do you have to work ? If so, you probably aren't among the global .01%. Why you promote the interests of a class to which you do not belong is another question.

            The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

            by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:18:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What "class to which I do not belong"? (2+ / 0-)
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              Whatithink, VClib

              I definitely am an investor, in two respects:  (1) I own a business -- that is my biggest investment; and (2) I have my 401k, and my other savings, invested.  

              I am also working for a living.  

              I belong to both.  

              I am not part of the uber rich who do not have to work for a living. But "investors" aren't limited to the uber rich who don't have to work for a living.

              •  The threat to our liberty, (0+ / 0-)

                and our standard of living, doesn't come from a law firm that owns it's building, or from a teacher with a pension plan or a guy who rehabs houses, though all of these are technically investors and some may even flatter themselves that they belong to the investor class. It comes from very large, global concentrations of capital and the notion that these must be allowed to profit from all human activity is nothing less that corporate totalitarianism.

                The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:20:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Just curious, (1+ / 0-)
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                  How is a global concentration of capital a threat to your liberty? I can see it being a threat to a solid safety net, but how does it affect your liberty?Please be specific.

                  •  Monopoly power constrains my choices, (0+ / 0-)

                    and people are not free under feudalism. Unlike my government, corporations are not democratic institutions. The more power they have over our lives, the less democracy we have. The conservative elite doesn't hate the government, they just hate Democracy.

                    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                    by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:26:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  But we aren't a democracy we are a (1+ / 0-)
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                      •  This is why (1+ / 0-)
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                        there are laws against monopoly power.

                         Monopoly power constrains my choices, )
                        The most powerful corporations clearly are not a monopoly -- Exxon, Apple, for example, are not monopolies.  They are very large companies, certainly, but a small mom and pop business would never have had the resources to develop the IPhone or the IPad.  And even Apple, powerful as it is, has no "control" over me.  I can choose not to own Apple products.  I can choose not to buy Exxon products.  

                        If a corporation has "control" over me, it's generally one of two situations.  (1) I have chosen that role for myself -- I have chosen to buy their products, or use their services. (2) in the case of a monopoly, like a local utility company, they have submitted themselves to extra regulation and control by government -- government even controls how much profit they can make on their monopoly (that's how concepts like the rate base came into existence).  

                      •  Not this again. (0+ / 0-)

                        The idea that "we are a republic and not a democracy" comes from a misreading of the Federalist Papers. A republic is simply any government other than a monarchy. So the US is a republic. What Madison said in #10, and again in #14, is that we are not a direct democracy., as in ancient Athens. The fact that we elect representatives and executives makes us a democracy, albeit a representative, as opposed to a direct, democracy. Democracy and Republic are not mutually exclusive. I get to vote for the nation's Chief Executive every four years. I have never been given the opportunity to vote for a corporate CEO. Do you see ?

                        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                        by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:41:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There's a difference (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          VClib, nextstep
                          . I get to vote for the nation's Chief Executive every four years. I have never been given the opportunity to vote for a corporate CEO. Do you see ?
                          I can opt out of any privately owned business.  I can decide not to buy their products, or not to own any stock.  I influence privately owned business only if I choose to -- by being a customer, or -- if they are a publicly traded company buying stock.  If I choose to buy into a company, I get a vote on the governance of the company (shareholders get to vote).  

                          I cannot choose whether I want to buy-in to the federal government -- I am forced to because of tax laws.  I cannot opt out of control of the federal government.

                          I don't know what makes you think you should have control over someone else's property, which is what a privately-owned business is.  If it's your property -- if you own some of it -- you get a say in proportion to your ownership.  

                  •  The "global concentration" comment wasn't mine but (0+ / 0-)

                    let me comment.  The enormous wealth of a few has allowed them disproportionate influence via lobbying, unlimited political expenditures, and other means.  This has reduced the influence of the vast majority in government policy.  Clearly, the rich don't get everything they want all the time.  Nevertheless, average citizens get less of what they would without the impact of big money.  The process continues with Citizens United, ALEC getting state legislatures to make voting more difficult, big money helping to elect state legislators who gerrymander in ways convenient for them, etc.

          •  A small point (1+ / 0-)
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            Your honor! I object to you saying you work "to pay both me and our employees".  Your employees work to pay for themselves.

            •  What I meant is that (0+ / 0-)

              our clients pay for the lawyers' time  -- we bill clients for services performed by lawyers.  I bill so much an hour for my time, for example. Our support staff, and our business staff, are paid out of what the clients pay for lawyers' time.  

              So, the services I perform for clients pays for both me, and for the employees who work for our firm.  Technically, the employees perform services for me (for our lawyers) so that I can spend more time working for clients.  

              That's how it is in most professional services businesses.

      •  You're probably overestimating (1+ / 0-)
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        the number of Americans who can afford investments today.  Further, 401(k)'s have basically been forced on employees by bosses who've dumped pension plans.  Most Americans don't have investor skills to wisely invest themselves or to pick a good adviser.  Economic crises can devastate investment accounts.  The corporations that dumped pension plans know investment is risky - otherwise they'd be trying to make a profit investing their pension fund money.  Yes, a few lucky folks could end up ahead with a retirement investment account, but on the whole pension plans are better.

        •  Nonetheless, anyone with a 401(K) (2+ / 0-)
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          Whatithink, nextstep

          is an investor, and is making money off investments.  (After all, when the market dropped, most of what we heard about was the dramatic effect on 401k's.)  That may have been forced on us by the government, who provided the financial incentives for employers to switch from defined benefits plans to 401(k)'s (after all, "401(k)" is a provision in the Internal Revenue Code put there by Congress).  But the fact remains that anyone with a 401(k) is an "investor."'

          And, of course, the vast majority of governmental pension plans, like teacher retirement systems, are also "investors."

          And, because I have money invested in my business, I'm an investor in that sense, too.    

          It's not like there's a handful of people in this country who are "investors" and who are making money from business.

    •  in fact (1+ / 0-)
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      from an economics point of view, part of what's happening today is the rich are getting rich while the rest of us aren't.  The extra wealth of the rich makes them look for more places to invest.  That leads some to push privatization in order to let them invest in formerly public sector areas.

      •  They want everything; schools, water, everything. (0+ / 0-)

        They'd privatize air if they could and charge us all a quarter a breath.

        For every one rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.

                                                   Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

        If you've got some time, like an hour and a half,
        here's a good documentary on privatization ☛ Catastroika

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:14:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And I would say that liberals try (0+ / 0-)

          to nationalize everything. What is your point? Do you not want a capitalist society?

          •  I want a smart economy (1+ / 0-)
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            Scientific studies have shown Canada's single payer health care system provides a similar level of care at far lower cost per person than the US system.  When private companies don't do it as well or endanger the public, it's reasonable to go an alternate route.

          •  What is my Point ? (0+ / 0-)

            You don't see what my point is ? Not everything should be left to for-profit enterprises, they are inefficient and seek constantly to charge more and deliver less, or does your experience with for-profit healthcare convince you otherwise ?

            The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

            by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:59:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Everyone who works for a corporation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      except the CEO, makes less than the CEO.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:14:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well of course. (0+ / 0-)

        The fact remains that upper management positions in large private enterprises pay much more than those in government. From the consumer's point of view, outlandish compensation represents inefficiency.

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:25:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course it is outlandish... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coffeetalk, VClib

          in the first scenario, the money doesn't belong to everyone, and in the second it does, the taxpayers.

        •  If the consumer thinks a CEO's pay is outlandish (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Azazello, nextstep, VClib

          the consumer can choose not to buy what the private corporation is selling. If I thought Steve Jobs was overpaid, I could choose not to buy Apple products.

          The same choice does not exist in government.  I could not say, "I do not think George W. Bush is worth $400,000, therefore I chose not to participate in the federal government."  I could chose not to take federal benefits, of course.  But I cannot "opt out of" federal regulations, federal laws, and federal taxes.  I had to pay for George W. Bush, for his upkeep in the White House, for all his cabinet and all his staff regardless of whether I thought they were overpaid or not.  

          •  Well that's the thing, isn't it ? (0+ / 0-)
            ... the consumer can chose not to buy ...
            If I am compelled to buy, for example, private-sector health insurance do you suppose I'll be able to find a company whose CEO makes only $400k ?

            The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

            by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:04:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It depends (2+ / 0-)
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              VClib, nextstep

              Ironically, the less regulated a business is, the more likely you are to find smaller operators where the CEO's make less money.  

              The increased regulatory control over the health insurance industry, however, through the ACA pretty much will put smaller health insurance entities out of business, or will prevent new start ups.  

              But health insurance is unique because -- as the lawyers on both sides freely admitted before the SCOTUS -- it's pretty much the only place where you are compelled to buy a specific product.  Even so, of course, as was made clear, you aren't REALLY compelled to buy health insurance.  You aren't put in jail if you don't pay (like you are put in jail if you don't pay federal income taxes).  You can choose instead to pay a tax.  (And for most people, paying the tax will be much cheaper than buying health insurance.)  

              •  The less regulated a business is (0+ / 0-)

                the more likely it is to be in the hands of a monopoly or oligopoly. I can't believe anyone actually defends monopoly capitalism

                The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

                by Azazello on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:18:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm defending capitalism, not (1+ / 0-)
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                  "monopoly" capitalism.

                  And more regulation on an INDUSTRY makes it more likely that only the bigger players can afford to comply with the regulations.  

                  For example, some banking regulations are making it much more difficult for smaller banks to survive.  See here and here.  

          •  You can't opt out of gov't (0+ / 0-)

            but in the kind of society I want, you have an equal say with everyone else in picking the president and picking the representatives who set the president's pay, must confirm the president's appointments, can override presidential vetoes and decide if the president should be impeached.

            IF you own stock in the particular corporation you'd like to influence, you have an opportunity to have a say.  Doing so may not be as convenient as voting for gov't officials. Corporations don't work on a one-person-one-vote basis - they work on one-dollar-one-vote.  For 99.9% of the population that means no meaningful say.

            You can choose not to buy one brand, but you may not be able to find a brand that is less odious.

            I have a friend who works for a gov't agency which operates as a business competing with private companies.  Despite rules designed to make it less competitive, it does well.  Would a gov't business that wasn't competing against private companies do as well?  (Works for Canadian health care.)  If not, one option could be several separately managed gov't brands competing with each other.  There are more possibilities than one might think.

            •  This is because corporations are (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, nextstep

              property, and belong to their owners, like any other property.

              If I own a 99% ownership in a piece of land, and you own 1% ownership, should we have "equal say" over what happens to it?  If we sell, should we split the sales price 50/50?  

              A business -- whether it's a privately held corporation, a publicly held corporation, an LLC, a partnership, whatever form it's in --  is property that belongs to its owners.  

              If you and I start a restaurant, and I put in $100,000 in capital and you put in $10,000 in capital, I am going to have more control than you, because I own more.  That's how property rights work.  

              A business -- regardless of its legal form -- is the property of the owners.  The owners control the property based on their ownership.  That's how it works, even in a business.

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