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View Diary: The goal IS to reduce the standard of living (386 comments)

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  •  We should have a top rate of 90% (4.00)
    again.  We should use the income from the top rates to pay down the national debt and to grants for colleges or trade schools and to for national health care.

    Nations that take themselves offshore should be paying the taxes they would had they not offshored.  Those companies GREW in this country and owe this country.

    I fear for my country.  I fear my country.

    "War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means." - Karl von Clausewitz

    by maybeeso in michigan on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 06:20:49 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  That era of high taxation (4.00)
      was the longest period of sustained growth and strength in the American economy.
    •  Take home pay should be limited to (4.00)
      $200,000 a year plus an incentive for each free market job paying $40,000 or more created.

      If you want to get rich, you should be required to create high paying jobs supported by the marketplace.

      •   no (4.00)
        no, no it shouldn't. it is odd that your comment refers to the 'free market' when it would abolish it.
        a free market is free to set prices for goods and services. capping everyone's salary at $200k a year is 1) bad economics 2) bad sociology.

        lets put aside for the moment that the truly wealthy don't sell their time to get by in the world, they invest. and as your suggestion ignores that rather huge part of the economy it would be entirely ineffective towards what i presume your aim to be. ignoring that...

        i want my pediatric neurosurgeon to make a shitload of money. i do not want her going off to work in another country where she will be fairly compensated because some authoritarian regime has decided to limit salaries in the U.S.

        we should have quality health care for everyone . ability to pay should not be a factor in the quality of medical care anyone receives.

        public schools should be temples to the best practices in education. good teachers should earn six figure salaries. every school child should be well equipped (including well fed). we must do away with savage inequalities.

        but i want my neurosurgeon to make a shitload of money, and your suggestion would destroy the US - not just the economy, but the US. perhaps you've heard of a lil place called the USSR that tried an experiment somewhat like you're suggesting...

        •  Your neurosurgeon can train new surgeons (none)
          to his high standards.

          He can then put them on his payroll.

          Then more high quality surgeons will be available to treat even more patients.

          He can then bring home more than $200,000 a year.


          If I have to go overseas for medical care, I will have a choice of where I go. I may pick a German surgeon instead.

          Medical providers either have to work in the United States or compete against surgeons in countries like India or China.

          •  Your're still wrong (none)
            1. not every one can teach - just try it some time.
            2. If ery job is capped at $200,000 I'm gonna get the easiest job for my $200,00 income - I'm no fool.
            3. If everyone earns $200,000 all prices will go up to ensure that they reflect the fact that people make $200,000 - evrey one looks for profit.
            •  Yes, wrong.... (none)
              Take home pay should be limited to $200,000 a year based on how many ice cream cones you can eat. Makes as much sense. Reality check time...

              On Perlstein and beautiful irony: Poynter

              4/20/2004 10:14:11 AM


              Inside the Dow Jones annual meeting on Wednesday, Pulitzer-Prize winning Wall Street Journal reporters will stand up and speak to directors and shareholders about the damaging effects that proposed healthcare cuts and pay limits will have on quality at the Journal. Dozens of other Journal and Dow Jones employees will attend the meeting to support those speeches. (The Journal is Dow Jones's flagship publication.)

              •  Creating jobs high paying jobs is more (none)
                beneficial to society than eating ice cream.

                Want more money? Create more high paying market sector jobs!

                I am simply proposing to measure a very useful quality such as middle class job creation and allow it to be rewarded.

                I don't care to continue to reward greedy people for laying off Americans and for jacking up my bills.

            •  yeah, this sounds like free market communism to me (none)
              with the worst of both systems.


            •  You will find that few jobs paying (none)
              $200,000 are easy.

              If you know about any easy $200,000 jobs, please post the details below.

              People making more than $200,000 tend to have specific skills enabling them to earn such large sums. They will generally have a hard time switching to something else that still pays $200,000.

              Furthermore, I don't think people with the easiest $200,000 jobs will be inclined to give them up.

          •  wtf (none)
            if you have to go overseas for medical care you'll have a choice of where you'll go?

            well that's just fucking great for you, now isn't it.

            1. how about those of us without the financial resources to afford international airfare? and hotel and skilled rehab stays? and the fees of foreign doctors and hospitals (i hear, from pastordan among others, that they can be quite expensive)??

            2. how about those of us who didn't do the requisite pre-planning for our emergency trauma surgeries?

            3. how about those of us who are stuck in this country (see 1) and therefore have to fight behemoth HMO's - who have a fiduciary obligation to only care about profits - every god damn day in order to survive? fuck us huh?

            what unabashed self-ishness. what arrogance. oh, it's ok cus you can go to Germany.

            by the way, doctors at teaching hospitals do teach. they teach med students, they teach residents, and they teach fellows. in your 'plan' who exactly gets credit for training the fourth year med student during clinical rotations? the junior resident? the senior resident? the attending? do they all divy up the incentive? or do they all get the full bonus?

            and my attending neurosurgeon, btw, wouldn't be employing the residents or fellows she trains. they'd be working for the hospital - or the hospital's physician orginization. does the CEO of the hospital of the PO then get credit for the work of my attending neurosurgeon under your 'plan'?

            •  You have to truly CREATE a JOB (none)
              needed and supported by the market and not simply manage or transfer an old job or simply teach somebody how to do a job.

              Setting up Dr. Bob's Emergency Trauma Center would be considered a transfer.

              Teaching a novel surgical technique for a previously untreatable condition and then hiring people to perform it would qualify.

              Scams will trigger IRS penalties and interest charges and possible jail time.

              Most hospitals receive so much government money that they shouldn't qualify as market based entities.

              Also if courts are used to collect past due bills, that income would not count proportionately towards the $40,000 requirement.

              Lifting an individual's income above $40,000 for the first time would be an important test. Don't fire an old employee making $50,000 because that would then simply be a job transfer.

              If you trained me to be a fine Afghan cuisine chef and paid me at least $40,000 a year you would be on your way. There are no Afghan restaurants in my area and I haven't made $40,000 a year for more years than I care to admit.

              If you opened SV Breweries with me and we had five people making more than $40,000 a year, we could agree to let you claim all five.

              Basically, I am proposing a job creation tax credit. If you feel that is too difficult, feel free to stick with a $200,000 a year limit.

        •  asdf (none)
          I want my musicians to make a shitload of money because everyday when they sit down to write or play I want them making the best damn music money can buy.

          That doesn't feel like such a solid argument when directed at musicians though.

          I would like my pediatric nuerosurgeon to care about children and take it as a privilege to do a job that can profoundly and positively effect their lives. I also want my pediatric neurosurgeon to have a deep dedication to the arts of surgery and medicine. For their hard work and many years of training I expect them to have a very comfortable lifestyle, but that shouldn't be the reason they entered the profession.

          Tracking energy and transportation news.

          by joel3000 on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 10:47:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  dude (none)
          what are you doing arguing for the free market when you have a political compass score of -7.13, -6.92?!?

          just joking :).  it just reinforces my idea that the political compass quiz is not measuring what it claims to meaure. nice post i give you a 4!

          "Religion ... it's the crystal meth of the masses." - Salman Rushdie

          by colorless green ideas on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 10:52:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  heh. (none)
            yea, can i tell you a secret? this thread actually reminded me i wanted to put those numbers in my post.

            i'm a democratic socialist. i think that's rather different than capping everyone's incoming at $200k.

            i think the best solution we have to the economic and sociological questions humanity faces is a democratically regulated free market. i think excellent universal education is the bedrock upon which sound democracies are built and sustained.

            do i like that society values (as measured by income) rap more than it values physics? or football more than medicine? nope. but the only way to change it is to truly educate the populace.

            •  i scored a (-6.00, -7.33) (none)
              and i consider myself a free-market liberal, in the vein of RFK jr, so what does that mean?? i guess it means that just because many on the radical right have defined "free market" as no government intervention at all (except of course, property rights, corporate licences, patent, trademark, copyright, huge military, etc), doesn't mean we have to accept their definition.

              "Religion ... it's the crystal meth of the masses." - Salman Rushdie

              by colorless green ideas on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 01:51:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Somebody in the bottom left corner is a... (none)
            ...Liberal Libertarian.  Of course they would be for the free market (although they would also be for fairly high taxes and a strong social net).
            •  i disagree (none)
              according to their "analysis" a person in the lower left quadrant would have the same economic views as Stalin, matched with libertarian social views.  

              Which of course is absurd, since there are really no questions that talk about state ownership of industry, or a "command economy", and only one that talks about private property (in regards to ownership own land). Their analysis positively states that there is a "commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left", and that "further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer...".

              So, their scale suggest that left vs. right is a completely "controlled market" vs. a completely "free market", thus they suggest that their questions will map a persons beliefs according to this scale, yet they don't even ask questions that reflect the extremes of the scale, so you have free-market liberals showing up economically equivalent to Stalin!

              I'll try to illustrate my criticism more explicitly. There are many economic questions that ask us about corporations, here is an example:

              "Because corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily protect the environment, they require regulation."

              An "Agree" registers a negative (left) economic score and a "Disgree" registers a positive (right) economic score.

              So how does this question have nothing to do with "left" or "right" as defined by them?

              In communism, there need not be regulation, because the government is the only economic producer/supplier.  The only regulation is military, and police in order to prevent people from illegaly entering the market.

              In a so-called "free market" absent of any government regulation whatsoever, a "corporation" would not exist: a corporation is a fictitious entity--a government sanction, protected, and often subsidized regulation.

              So their bounds already smaller that the scale they present, and their questions make certain assumptions that include government regulations that are not calculated in their results.

              I could go on like this for hours.

              "Religion ... it's the crystal meth of the masses." - Salman Rushdie

              by colorless green ideas on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 01:23:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  not to mention, even that the military (none)
               is a huge government imposition on the economy, and nearly all the military related questions register as "authoritarian" on the social scale.

              what this quiz does is measure the magnitude of economic and social political values as best relating to a generalized representation contemporary political economies of the highly developed nations (but mainly the US and UK), all of which are mixed economies, and the standard left/right coalitions that exist within them.  They really blow it when they attempt to bring in historical figures, and to define the scale in abstract terms.

              "Religion ... it's the crystal meth of the masses." - Salman Rushdie

              by colorless green ideas on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 01:35:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I want more pediatric surgeons. (none)
          If medical schools admitted all qualified candidates, we would have more doctors and surgeons and perhaps the so-called free market would adjust the salaries. I find it interesting that many MDs support the concept of free markets when the number of doctors is kept artificially low.

          Don't Panic - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

          by slatsg on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 03:33:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  disagree (none)
        wage caps during the depression is what lead to our crazy system of employer funded platinum health plans (and other benefits) for desirable employees, which is what has kept us from getting real health care reform over the past 50+ years.

        besides the fact that it sets a bad precedent for overly intrusive government control.

        i like your idea about incentives for job creation, though.

        "Religion ... it's the crystal meth of the masses." - Salman Rushdie

        by colorless green ideas on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 10:48:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No hard ceiling on pay (4.00)

        I favor a percentage approach to limiting CEO/Executive pay.  Let's say that if any CEO wants to get paid more money, then he has to raise worker pay to get the pay increase and that any corporation that fails to follow the formula suffers from higher taxes and reduced deductions.  So, let's say that for a corporation to get maximum tax benefits, the CEO pay can be no higher than 300% of the pay of their average worker.  Thus, to increase CEO pay, average worker pay must increase.  There must be no trickery allowed to sidestep the requirements.  No, "This is a corporate mansion that the CEO is living in, not his/her own" or other means of compensating without having to actually claim it as pay.  If you LIVE as if you are paid X amount, then you and your corporation WILL lose tax incentives and deductions.

        You own a business and want to maximize your income and the tax breaks for your business?  OK, increase the pay of your workers.  Your pay increases as a percentage of the average wage of your average worker.  Win-win.

        "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." --9th Amendment

        by praedor on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 10:52:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  WRT the mansion (none)
          How would that apply to Governors, Presidents, University Presidents, and the like?
          •  Public servants (4.00)

            Are not the same as filthy-rich CEOs, etc.  Inspite of the nonsense rhetoric to the contrary, the President is NOT the CEO of a business and is not actually paid all that much.  The Whitehouse and other official buildings are symbols of governance and are entirely different than some secretive, gated-community bazillionaire getting millions of $$ in compensation for being a CEO while worker pay and benefits are cut, cut, cut.  Hell's Bells, the CEOs get bazillions in "compensation", etc, when they fail utterly and the company tanks and they are removed from the chair!  No sympathy here at all for such execs.  Their very lives should be tied to the wellbeing of the society as a whole and the workers that make everything they take for granted possible in the first place.

            In any case, the mansion thing can be fiddled but I rather like the Exec compensation thing being hard-wired to worker compensation.  Every benefit cut or pay cut for the workers equals a similar cut in Executive pay and benefits.  Pay increases and benefit enhancements lead to Executive pay increases and enhancements.  Failure leads to failure, period, for the CEO.  If the company tanks, you leave with nothing but what you've managed to save while you ran the company into the ground.

            "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." --9th Amendment

            by praedor on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 11:19:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  good point (none)
          i think this is a decent argument

          "In 2004, the ratio of average CEO pay to the average pay of a production (i.e., non-management) worker was 431-to-1, up from 301-to-1 in 2003, according to "Executive Excess," an annual report released Tuesday by the liberal research groups United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies.

          That's not the highest ever. In 2001, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay hit a peak of 525-to-1."

          even if one argues that a ceo adds a tremendous amount of value to a company, did ceo's become 130 times more valuable than their average worker in the span of only one year, 2003 to 2004?

          no, of course not. they did however get better at fleecing their average workers and their own sharehodlers.

        •  I'd be more in favor of ... (none)
          A corporate overcompensation fee.

          For every company that does $X Million or more of sales in the USA, look at their wage structure.  For every worker that gets compensated over $Y relative to their average worker, impose a 50% fee (not a tax, a fee) on that excess compensation.

          Applies to all companies doing business in the USA, whether headquartered in Europe, the Caymans, whatever.  It's not a tax, so you pay it whether or not the company is profitable or not and you can't get out of it with accounting tricks.

          Companies can get out of paying it by either raising wages or reducing the ludicrious compensation packages executes are receiving.

          •  OK, I like this (none)

            I like your idea as well - get the offshoring bastards or out-of-country corps that screw workers and the US taxpayer.  Anything so long as CEO/Exec pay and benefits are punished if they goe above a certain ratio compared to worker pay and benefits.

            "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." --9th Amendment

            by praedor on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 01:20:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Setting hard limits is disastrous (none)
        $200,000 a year plus an incentive for each free market job paying $40,000 or more created.

        Setting any hard limits in the economy has usually disastrous consequences as the hard limits are insensitive to industry types, amounts of education and experience required etc.

        If you want to get rich, you should be required to create high paying jobs supported by the marketplace.

        True, but the actual metrics is to create benefits to the society. The society then measures those benefits by paying for them, as customers, at the free market, where supposedly many such providers of benefits compete. The scheme otherwise known as Adam Smith's grand theory.

        Of course that does not work anymore (never did actually but various conditions were obsucring that) for many reasons. So adjustments are required.

        The main problems of excessive wealth accumulation and the resulting decrease in competition can be tackled by steep progressive, exponential even tax structure based on the median income of the population with costs of education being deducted. It is self-adjusting and allows for individual variations on the scheme of things. Those greedier will still climb higher although the system would be designed to create a "law of diminishing returns", whereby if you climb high enough the taxation rate becomes 99.99%. This of course combined with very steep inheretance tax to create a break on multi-generational accumulation.

        On the same note, larger the companies are in general, less capitalistic they get as the decreasing numbers of ever larger behemoths decrease free-market choices of the consumers and their political and financial power creates unscaleable barriers to market entry for small players. That is why companies should also have such progressive scale, to ensure a large number of smaller competitors, which satisifes the "free-market" part of the theory from the consumer's point of view.

        As to offshoring, someone on this very thread proposed a simple system: a fee for wage disparity payable by any company selling goods and services in the country. You calculate the difference between the total income of the top executive and the bottom floor sweeper, and if it exceeds a certain ratio (not sure how to auto calculate that) the company has to pay the difference (times some value probably) as a penalty.

        I am sure other self-adjusting tricks exist to stop the negative trends and bring about socially conscious forms of capitalism.

        •  Many companies pay their salesmen (none)
          a base salary plus a commission.

          I am really just proposing to force fatcats to be compensated like they compensate their salespeople.

          I think an incentive for paying fast food workers well would be a great idea.

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