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Nowadays, the Rockefellers are probably best known as the namesake for the TV show 30Rock.  One of them, Nelson, was the unelected Republican Vice President under Gerald Ford after Nixon resigned.  100 years ago, along with Morgan and Carnegie and others, John D. Rockefeller was just another robber baron getting rich beyond imagination on oil and coal and steel and railroads.

A brutal massacre of mineworkers at his Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, in Ludlow, Colorado, became a shocking national scandal - not unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911.  (The pic is of one of the militia guys who did the killing.)  Some say that Rockefeller's kids were so ashamed, they eventually put much of the family fortune into the various Rockefeller Foundations, as an attempt to redeem the family legacy.  However, it seems likely to me that the income and inheritance taxes likely played into it, too.

Cross-posted at Docudharma

THE LUDLOW MASSACRE

In 1914, there was a fierce regional United Mineworker's strike in southern Colorado, amongst the most violent in U.S. history.  One of the companies was Rockefeller's Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, in Ludlow, on the front range of the Rockies.  Typically for the day, the miners lived in company housing and were paid in scrip only good at the company store, rather than actual legal tender money.  When they went on strike, the UMWA set up a tent colony nearby, at a key location to intercept scabs.  Woody Guthrie tells the tale well, so I'll skip writing out the details.

Maybe the Rockfeller spawn would have formed their charitable foundations no matter what.  But the enactment of federal taxes on income and estates (in 1913 and 1916, respectively) could easily have acted as a spur in that direction, too.  Perhaps not coincidentally, the Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913.

CARNEGIE LIBRARIES

Another robber baron turned philanthropist was Andrew Carnegie, who specialized in building public libraries - over 2,500 of them worldwide, with about 2/3 of those in the U.S.  The Carnegie libraries popularized open stacks, which had been mainly closed previously.  Here's the first one, at his home town Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland.  (Creative Commons by kilnburn):

The libraries have proved a lasting legacy.  Carnegie's ruthlessness in amassing his fortune have faded from society's collective memory.  He got tax benefit from building them, too.  He might have done it anyhow, even without any tax benefit - and in fact did, since the first ones were built in the 1880s, some 30 years before tax incentives came on the scene.

But a lot of other very rich people might not have been so generously to charities in their wills were it not for the estate tax.  It surprises me that in all the Republican talk about "repealing the death tax", questions about the potential impact on philanthropy never seem to be raised.  Rather a glaring omission to my thinking.

The deal with Carnegie libraries is that he paid for the bricks and mortar, and the host community had to cover the staffing, operating and maintenance costs.  And the libraries were to be Free to the People, as emblazoned on Pittsburgh's Carnegie library.

One might think that the second richest man in history (ol' John D. is first) would have been partial to monumental structures, like the one in Pittsburgh.  But considering that there were 1,689 built in the U.S., they couldn't all have been like that.  Here's one from the small town of Deadwood, South Dakota (no kidding!):

The architectural qualities vary widely, with some very modest entries, like this Carnegie Library in Bloomfield, Nebraska:

And here's a search result for pictures of more of 'em.  Carnegie died in 1919, and the last of the Carnegie libraries was built in 1929.  Not surprisingly, there's a lot of 'em in California.  But the state with the most?  I'll let you guess that in the poll.

PHILANTHROPY TODAY

If you're involved in the non-profit world, you don't need me to tell you that it's pretty bleak.  Foundations have seen their endowments take a dive at the same time that charitable contributions are drying up.  New Mexico has an outfit called Cornerstones, which specializes in funding and technical support for restoration of old adobe buildings - mostly early Spanish mission churches, moradas, structures at the Pueblos, and certain other historical buildings like the Martinez Hacienda in Taos.  Cornerstones has cut its staff down from nine to just one.  And that one's hanging on by a thread in hopes they can weather the economic storms and not shutter the operation completely.  But it's touch and go.

And similar problems are being faced throughout the gamut of charitable operations.  Similar problems happened during the 1930s, when the WPA hired people from all kinds of disciplines in positions that had been vacated.  One example:  WPA hired an entomologist for the Natural History Museum in San Diego.  Some folks might think the study of insects is a frivolous pastime, but anyone involved in agriculture knows better.

WPA LIBRARY PROGRAM

The last Carnegie Library was built in 1929.  And Carnegie covered construction only, never operating costs.  The WPA picked up the ball on both fronts.  Modest small town libraries, like in El Monte, California:

And grander edifices, like a State Archives building in Springfield, Illinois, and this library in Rochester, NY:

But the WPA also did outreach to bring books where they'd never been available before.  There was a program to create and disseminate audio books on victrola records, for the blind.  There were bookmobiles, too, this one serving people of the Louisiana bayous:

WPA had a farm-to-market road program, also intended to make roads passable for school buses and other basic social services:

PACK HORSE LIBRARIANS

When it came to library services, the WPA did not wait until roads were paved throughout Appalachia.  They put in a program, serving dozens of counties in several states, of (mostly) women who made a monthly circuit on horseback.  These pictures are all from Kentucky (where 17 Appalachian counties were served), but the program extended to Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, too.

This was not a job for the faint of heart, as it involved not only terrible roads, but sometimes rougher terrain than that:

This circuit included a school built by the WPA, a sturdy stone structure replacing a previous one-room log schoolhouse:

And also included stops to read to the sick and the illiterate:

BREAD AND ROSES

Originally, I intended a diary on the WPA libraries, but it got off on a tangent a bit, because of Carnegie, and the more general question of the relationship between philanthropy and federal taxes.  And indeed, with philanthropy (and state and local governments) all feeling a mighty fiscal squeeze these days, needs are great.  To my thinking, these kinds of library services are infrastructure.  They provide nothing but benefit - from the services rendered, to the gainful employment of people hired to provide the services.

I've jumped around a little, but I hope you can understand the connections I see between the parts of this diary.  I'm sure Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Lou Dobbs (Jingoist-CNN) would throw a fit at the idea of programs like packhorse librarians.  But in this time of the great unraveling, many small threads need to be woven back into the fabric of our society to make it whole again.

Previous entries in the series:

Update:  The answer to the poll question can be found here.  Even having looked it up, not very many of you got it right.

Originally posted to Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:44 AM PST.

Poll

Which U.S. state has the most Carnegie libraries?

4%63 votes
23%323 votes
2%36 votes
50%703 votes
3%44 votes
2%35 votes
0%5 votes
0%11 votes
4%64 votes
1%15 votes
1%20 votes
1%20 votes
0%4 votes
1%24 votes
1%25 votes

| 1392 votes | Vote | Results

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  •  Tips for greening the economy (331+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skybluewater, bink, cdreid, Joe Bob, dwellscho, northsylvania, Sean Robertson, jennifer poole, Buckeye BattleCry, Rayne, SarahLee, leftcoast, DelRPCV, TaraIst, maynard, karlpk, LynChi, Andrew C White, rogun, meg, OLinda, Byron from Denver, eeff, Duncan Idaho, freelunch, acuppajo, sobermom, Matilda, musicsleuth, mataliandy, exNYinTX, givmeliberty, jancw, marge, Creosote, Birdman, opinionated, bronte17, TracieLynn, BlackSheep1, Wee Mama, Cassandra77, MD patriot, srkp23, roses, michelle, dgb, skwimmer, thingamabob, bustacap, hopeful, dksbook, wader, Melanchthon, NMRed, asterlil, hopesprings, dejavu, TexDem, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, grannyhelen, Nina, exiledfromTN, cosette, attydave, Sychotic1, betson08, snakelass, hazzcon, The Zipper, annetteboardman, papercut, lcrp, Pohjola, Oaktown Girl, pdxRita, ybruti, side pocket, kfred, Hillbilly Dem, plymouth, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Hardhat Democrat, realalaskan, bibble, Gowrie Gal, ebbinflo, madaprn, joanneleon, la motocycliste, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, salmo, NoMoreLies, greycat, JaciCee, waitingforvizzini, Lying eyes, irate, sc kitty, PBen, sap, elkhunter, stitchmd, juliesie, drewfromct, Brooke In Seattle, Rudykip, reflectionsv37, NLinStPaul, sallyfallschurch, Pam from Calif, pasadena beggar, snootless, Mr X, lotlizard, Ice Blue, blue jersey mom, SheriffBart, exmearden, techno, HiBob, FightTheFuture, FindingMyVoice, sodalis, USexpat Ukraine, Cory Bantic, Team Slacker, kathny, Asinus Asinum Fricat, xaxnar, Jim R, coffeeinamrica, begone, occams hatchet, kovie, Tin hat mafia, Showman, esquimaux, trashablanca, Sanuk, BachFan, Nightprowlkitty, New Deal democrat, Do Tell, Milly Watt, sherlyle, kkmd, RAW, emeraldmaiden, Ellicatt, Yellow Canary, dougymi, sailmaker, goodasgold, merrinc, jguzman17, global citizen, bubbanomics, Crashing Vor, imabluemerkin, real world chick, NearlyNormal, armadillo, bleeding heart, Preston S, justCal, MarciaJ720, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, Turbonerd, IL clb, profh, Timothy J, sarayakat, means are the ends, Dreaming of Better Days, beatrix, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, Bernie68, Friend of the court, DBunn, tegrat, AmericanRiverCanyon, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, DrSteveB, marykk, dotsright, Cronesense, blue armadillo, dmh44, tgypsy, desertguy, moodyinsavannah, leema, bfbenn, Wide Awake in NJ, gloriana, edsbrooklyn, yowsta, operculum, greenchiledem, joyful, malharden, Drowning Wave, millwood, gchaucer2, Brahman Colorado, Zydekos, Neon Mama, Terra Mystica, TomP, gizmo59, VA Breeze, kimoconnor, edison, Phil N DeBlanc, indyada, dadadata, jfarelli, theunreasonableHUman, slapper95, DCBlue, Its any one guess, tofumagoo, geomoo, pickandshovel, TokenLiberal, mofembot, temptxan, pragprogress, PJ Jefferson, DixieDishrag, RoscoeOfAlabama, dont think, caps lock on, In her own Voice, wishbone, JCAinCLE, Fiddlegirl, maggiejean, cameoanne, 1BQ, Neon Vincent, aufklaerer, litoralis, meatwad420, Toe Jam, gdwtch52, An Affirming Flame, cantelow, cn4st4datrees, desertlover, Daily Activist, Mercuriousss, redtex, dawnt, johngoes, soms, MooseHB, obscuresportsquarterly, sanglug, IngeniousGirl, notquitedelilah, EmmaKY, DoggiesWatches, FundaMental Transformation, Dragon5616, Randtntx, Wendy Slammo, Words In Action, Hunter Huxley, Lazar, ZAP210, Norbrook, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, ppl can fly, YellerDog, oohdoiloveyou, flitedocnm, ArtSchmart, Vacationland, LaughingPlanet, skeezixwolfnagle, robertacker13, politik, leftywright, Interceptor7, TheWesternSun, chrome327, KentuckyKat, atxcats, plankbob, polar bear, elginblt, Earth Ling, pateTX, JRandomPoster, Betty Pinson, Unenergy, Urtica dioica gracilis, MsGrin, cocinero, jonwilliamsl, bottles, josebrwn, Oh Mary Oh, Actbriniel, RepTracker, nicethugbert, Olon, freesia, indigoblueskies, Amayi, asterkitty, guilford caswell, smallgal, lallard, New Aeon For Change 93, rk2, dakinishir, stargaze, Saving the Lives of Our Own
    In all the various ways it can be done, both high and low tech.

    (Carnegie Library in Mankato, MN)

    "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:46:08 AM PST

  •  You may have gone off on a tangent (18+ / 0-)

    But a most worthwhile one!  Great pics and diary.

    dress for dinner and be discreet.

    by moodyinsavannah on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:50:18 AM PST

  •  Yes. (28+ / 0-)

    We are all in this together. The rich need to pay their fair share, and part of that is taking our fair share from their estates.

    Then, there's the aristocracy problem. We don't need a hereditary group of super-rich sucking up all resources. It didn't work for Louis XVI, it's not working for us.

    The future is this moment, and not someplace out there.

    by MBNYC on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:52:51 AM PST

    •  While I agree in pricipal with you (5+ / 0-)

      I can't stand the entitlement attitude of:

      The rich need to pay their fair share, and part of that is taking our fair share from their estates.

      No one owes you anything.  Maybe you owe it to yourself and "all of us" to become rich so you can pay your fair share.

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:56:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL!! (28+ / 0-)

        I bet you miss George Bush.

        Yes, the rich owes working people much.  We create their wealth and soon we will take it.

        "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

        by TomP on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:05:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Does that include the working rich? (10+ / 0-)

          Your sense of entitlement is obvious.

          What dollar amount do you consider rich?
          Exactly how do you "create my wealth"?

          Are you working the 15 hour days for me?
          Are you helping me work our cattle? Fix our fences?
          Are you the one who took the risk to start our business, took on the debt and worked your ass off to make it successful?

          Or are you posting on a blog, hoping to take from me that which I EARNED?

          A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

          by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:17:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some ways that all of us are working to (42+ / 0-)

            create your wealth are:

            Building highways so that your products can be taken to market.

            Building power grids to fuel your home and business enterprise.

            Building and maintaining a system of laws and law enforcement so that your lives, property, and rights can be protected.

            Protecting the environment so that you have clean air and clean water, necessary sustenance for life.

            Participating in the creation of markets for whatever goods and services you produce.

            As a former real estate developer I always believed that it wasn't my brilliance or hard work that enabled me to complete a successful project. Rather, it was a combination of a number of fortuitous circumstances, some of which I was wise enough to take advantage.

            But I didn't create any of the jobs that filled the office buildings. I didn't create any of the banks or other lenders that funded the projects. I didn't create the underlying infrastructure that supported the building and the community in which it was developed. I didn't create the workforce that completed the work, nor the plans and design that guided a development.

            All involved the collaboration of many people, each of whom took varying degrees of risk in the process.

            "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

            by rontun on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:29:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You act as if (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lorzie, johngoes, ctexrep, eudemonist

              everyone elses tax dollars except for mine helped create those things.
              I have paid for that also.

              But I am the one who took the risk, who took on the huge debt needed in order to start my business and it isn't just a farm.

              If I had failed at that business, would you and others on here have helped me to pay off the debt I incurred?

              No?

              You want to benefit from the risk I took, from the hard work and sacrifices I made,  without any of the responsibility of the debt had I failed.
              The only way you are entitled to the success of my business is if you were also responsible to pay the debt if I failed.

              How do you feel you are entitled to the profits if you are also not responsible for the debts?

              A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

              by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:39:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If your business fails (18+ / 0-)

                you declare bankruptcy and move on. Unless your accountant was an idiot, your personal assets are protected in that situation.

                "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                by happy camper on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:43:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Guess what, bud. We WOULD all have paid (25+ / 0-)

                off your debt.  Unless it was adequately secured, in which case, you really didn't take any risk, did you?  If you didn't have the money to pay the debt if the business failed, you'd file bankruptcy.  And then either the taxpayers or other creditors would cover that debt with higher interest.

                It's not some  great honorable thing to take on debt you're not sure you'll be able to pay.  And if you're sure you'll be able to pay it, then there's no risk.  

                You've convinced yourself that somehow you're more entitled to benefit from your work than others are entitled to benefit from theirs, that you have a greater right to the benefits our society provides, because you decided to incur a great deal of debt, and thus incur "risk".  What a bunch of bull.

                •  What? (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lorzie, coffeetalk, ctexrep, eudemonist

                  You've convinced yourself that somehow you're more entitled to benefit from your work than others are entitled to benefit from theirs

                  I didn't say that.

                  I AM saying that I am more entitled to benefit from MY work than you are entitled to benefit from my work.

                  Got it?

                  And if you're sure you'll be able to pay it, then there's no risk

                  Really?
                  Apparently you don't understand anything about risk.
                  Not all of us think that debt incurred should just be sloughed off by filing bankruptcy.

                  A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                  by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:20:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Shouldn't you be out fixing fences by now??? (9+ / 1-)
                    I can't believe you have time to be sitting here blogging, what with your 15 hour work days.  That only leaves you 9 hours for sleep, eating, getting dressed, and all the other incidentals of life.  Better snap to it or all that risk I don't understand is going to get you.
                    •  There is more than one (8+ / 0-)

                      person around here claiming to be a small business owner who nonetheless has plenty of time to post shit on an internet blog. You gotta wonder, who's really doing all that hard work? Employees, maybe?

                      "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                      by happy camper on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:31:00 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Employees (3+ / 0-)

                        who I pay very good wages to.
                        Along with my husband who starts before everyone else and leaves long after our employees go home for the day.

                        I am lucky, I get to run the paperwork part of the business from my home.

                        A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                        by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:39:26 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You are lucky (8+ / 0-)

                          and lucky is the right word. Luck is something that comes to you, it's not something you work for.

                          Why not be thankful for that rather than clearly resentful that others aren't as fortunate as you?

                          If I had what you claim to have, I'd be thankful. And you know what? I probably do have much of what you have, and I am thankful. I've worked my tail off to get where I am; the spouse even more so; but we both recognize the very good fortune to have had the gifts that we've had. We're intelligent, we had families that promoted and supported our educations, and we've chosen to work in fields that hopefully support our communities. And the society that we live in values the contributions we make, including monetarily, so the social structure has allowed us to prosper, even as we have worked very hard.

                          I don't begrudge other people who are less fortunate than me anything, and let me tell you, I've seen them from all walks of life. All.

                          And while I'm really glad to be in my own shoes, I certainly try to see what it would be like to walk in theirs.

                          Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - WSCoffin

                          by stitchmd on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:51:01 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The 'luck' that she and her husband created (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rockhound, coffeetalk

                            stitchmd I think you misinterpret AJsMom's comment.  She is saying, I believe, that she is 'lucky' that within their business she handles the paperwork (not herding n feeding, etc.), and she is able to do that from within the home.

                            The 'luck' was created by them, and I suspect, not without difficult decisions to make, trade-offs, sacrifice, work.  

                            Smugness in defense of the working-class, or blanket prejudicial thinking about those with means is no real improvement over any other type....imho.

                          •  I didn't (4+ / 0-)

                            misinterpret. I took what she said and expanded upon it.

                            Some of us are given great gifts, and that is luck. Frankly, it is lucky to be born with intelligence; it takes hard work to develop it. It is lucky to be born with what my grandma would have called "gumption." Some people use that to good advantage, but some people never have it to begin with, it is simply not part of their psychological makeup. In another comment, AJsMom talks about learning from her father; not everyone has a father who is a good role model. That's luck of the draw.

                            What you do with the gifts you are given is another thing entirely. And certainly, AJsMom and partner have worked very hard to get where they are, I do not deny that. I admire it.

                            I would say the good fortune they have was created by them, building on the gifts they have had through no hard work of their own.

                            Example: I am lucky to have been born to an upper middle class family, frankly to have been born white, and to a family that values education and hard work. That is just plain luck. I didn't pick my parents. I was extremely fortunate, even lucky, that my parents had the wherewithal to put me through college so that I didn't have debts, although I am forever indebted to them. But it was my own hard work that got me through college with good enough grades to get into medical school, and it was my hard work that got me through med school, and it was the choices that I and the spouse made, and sacrifices we made, that got me through residency. But if, for example, I had not been born with the intelligence and, maybe, the gumption to get through school, I'd be in a very different place. And had I been born to another family, one that didn't push education, one that had a different economic background, I'd be in a different place. And if I had been born in a country that valued my "talents" differently, I'd be in a different place.

                            And on the flip side, there are those who can take a really bad hand that has been dealt to them and do wonderful things with it. And those folks deserve admiration, too.

                            On the other hand, there are those with much good fortune who squander it; and there are those who work very hard despite any gifts and just never get very far; all of this is a combination of things under their control and things that are not under their control.

                            Do you get my point?

                            One of the things that struck me many years ago, when I did my first medical student rotation in the newborn nursery, was holding a newborn and seeing just a whole load of potential for that new life. But I also recognized that the likelihood of that potential to be fully developed was highly variable depending on any of a number of factors that were utterly out of the baby's control. And out of the control of society. Wouldn't it be wonderful, though, if we truly had a way to capture all that potential? Just imagine.

                            There are things we can control; there are things we can't. I prefer to be thankful for the gifts I've been given, and continue to work hard to develop them. But I know it's not all due to "just me."

                            Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - WSCoffin

                            by stitchmd on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:18:02 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No disagreement on this statement or principle (0+ / 0-)

                            What you do with the gifts you are given is another thing entirely. And certainly, AJsMom and partner have worked very hard to get where they are, I do not deny that. I admire it.

                            I would say the good fortune they have was created by them, building on the gifts they have had through no hard work of their own.

                            It looked to me as though you had used the word 'luck' in her comment to infer that she was therefore acknowledging the macro role luck has played in her life, diminishing the strength of her previous statements of sole self-reliance.

                            (Much too deep into semantics, can't stop myself sometimes)

                            Ultimately, I agree with you and believe we do benefit from many things from many people and luck, none of them receiving proper credit for their contribution to who we are or what we achieve.

                            ;-)

                        •  So truthfully you're not (11+ / 0-)

                          the one out fixing the fences and working the cattle.

                          Someone else is.  And you're in a position to benefit from the labor of another.  Do you pay them a fair wage....  What's fair?  Is minimum fair?  Double that?  Is it fair if they have less than you?  I'm not sure I have the answers to any of those questions, but I do know that when you stop asking them you're probably digging into a position because you're seeking to rationalize what you have.

                          And that's what everyone is saying that has responded to your initial post.

                          Why does that someone else deserve less than you?  And why do you deserve less than another?  Why isn't everyone's 15 hours equally worthwhile?  How can someones 15 hours be worth 12,000 for another?

                          The system has no real basis for how wealth is distributed.  It's not solely by merit.  It's not solely by hard work.  Some of the hardest working are at the bottom of our ladder.  Not by intelligence.  Some of the most intelligent are among the lowest paid.  Luck plays just as large a role as any other.  Do we want to know that we prosper while another suffers in a system where luck plays such an enormous role??

                          The system is inherently flawed and it's obviously much easier to attempt to defend it from a position of wealth....

                          •  If it wasn't for her... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...those people out fixing her fences WOULDN'T HAVE A JOB.

                          •  I seriously doubt that. (3+ / 0-)

                            You really need to think things through before you hit the post button.

                            "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                            by happy camper on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:03:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Honestly? (4+ / 0-)

                            Do you not think that if it weren't for us society would exist in a different form...  do you think that what and who we are was/is inevitable?

                            For instance.  If it weren't for us don't you imagine a thriving and altogether different Native American society would have been allowed to develop?  Perhaps what they were would have turned into the perfect society that some of us envision when we close our eyes?  Maybe not...  But who's to say?

                            And who's to say that if it weren't for her a commune of young idealistic young people may have somehow gotten the rights to claim the land she's putting fence posts on as their own and would have made the decision that fences were a symbol of a society that no longer served a purpose and some of those people out fixing her fences would have found their way into that small society and wouldn't NEED A JOB....

                            As long as we're throwing hypotheticals around why just run with pessimism?

                          •  Wouldn't need a job? (0+ / 0-)

                            Work (of some kind) is required to continue existence.  Their job might have been tending the communal garden, but it's still be a job.  And I'll bet they'd be putting up fences to keep out rabbits and such.  They'd just be getting paid in potatoes instead of dollars.  How much of an improvement is that?

                          •  I guess that depends on (4+ / 0-)

                            your point of view doesn't it?  Is painting work for an artist?  Is tilling his own soil work for someone who truly loves the land?  Is putting up fenceposts for someone who has assumed a position of superiority to you in return for pieces of paper work?

                            You do realize that dollars simply represent those potatoes....  they're the same thing.....  though we've come to give dollars much more value than that which is part of the problem.  

                            This idea that we're all just lucky to have a 'job' is good for whom?  The people profiting from that labor.  Most of us are able to justify it because the end result goes to the care of our families... so even though we may not love what we're doing - our job - we do love our families.

                          •  Umm... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...not sure what you're saying here.

                            Using the example given, the people who are happy building fences to keep rabbits from their communal garden should be equally happy building fences for what's-her-name upthread.  It's just that, instead of getting a portion of the proceeds from the communal garden (potatoes), they get a portion of proceeds from the enterprise, paid in dollars.

                            Even people who love their jobs will tell you it's still work.  Artists may love to paint, but painting someone's house is still work.  Movement of materials about the surface of the earth, and all that.

                          •  Do you honestly not understand (0+ / 0-)

                            or are you just unwilling to concede a point?

                            I do understand having a different way of looking at the world.  Of being unable to see from another person's perspective.  And I'm not saying that I'm right.  I don't know that there is a 'right' here.  But I do know that the way we have chosen to live our day to day lives isn't the only possible way things could be.  Sure they could be worse...  but they could be far better also.  

                            At least 95% of the population of this planet lead lives that basically serve to enrich the lives of the other 5%.  Almost all of us in this country are closer to that 5%, but we still feel the need to prove our superiority to others through division of wealth and labor and I honestly don't understand why.  Just because?  Because some of us are better than others?  Is that true or just a self fulfilling prophecy?

                            You really don't see that if you were living on your own land growing your own food plowing the earth would mean an entirely different thing than if you were a slave being forced to do the same and enjoying none of the fruits of your labor?  Or even just a portion of the fruits because someone who through birth 'owned' the land was 'entitled' to a portion.

                            You don't see the difference between feeling a part of a community of equals and feeling at the lowest levels of a community that seems to despise you?

                            That might seem melodramatic to you, but it's a very real feeling for many of the people in this country who feel that their lives are rather failures because they've bought into this definition of success that works for so few of the people....

                            And again, I don't believe that it's the way things have to be.  So many of the rules that we live by have so obviously been drawn up by capital/property to protect capital/property.  And the first instinct of so many is to hear that phrase and withdraw hastily from it.... but why?  Why did we choose at some point in our societal history to make capital/property more important than each other?  Why is the idea that all men are created equals just lip service instead of being believed?

                            And I don't see how you can both believe that it's true and also believe that some men deserve to be allowed to control the lives of 1000's of others.  Remember this started as a thread about Carnegie/Rockefeller and wealth.

                          •  Honestly. (0+ / 0-)

                            I guess I don't understand.  Not trying to be dense, and don't even really know what point you want me to concede.

                            I'll admit that it's more fulfilling to be your own boss, certainly.  

                            I won't accept, however, that people live their lives to enrich others.  Every decision every person makes is to enrich themselves, in some respect.  A lettuce picker doesn't pick to enrich the landowner, they pick because they get paid for it, which enriches their lives.  Nobody here is a "slave" being forced to do anything.

                            I don't think my boss, or the owner of the company I work for, controls my life.  I work for them because I choose to, and I can leave whenever I want.

                            The owner here built this business, but even if it had been handed to him by someone else, it wouldn't make me angry at him.  The person who gave it to him "had" it, which, in my belief system, gives him the right to do with it as he wanted.  If he wanted to burn the sucker to the ground, that is his prerogative.

                            "All men are created equal" is, to me, a pretty abstract statement, true in some respects but not in the way I feel like a lot of people say it.  If "All men are created equal", why don't we select mates by lottery?  And just because we may be equal at birth doesn't mean we're equal at death.

                            I almost forgot about Carnegie and Rockefeller.  I've been off-topic all day.

                          •  If I had to just pick (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            an example I'd go with something obvious like miners in gold mines in Africa being paid literally pennies a day to enrich those above them a bit which enriches those above them a bit more and on and on until you get to the 'owners' of the mine who don't even live in the country where the mine is located.  Would you honestly say that the lives of those at the bottom were not lived to enrich the lives of those at the top?  Would you argue against all evidence to the contrary that there are not more human beings in slavery today than at any other time in history?  Again maybe those are extreme examples and not what you're talking about, but what we see here is just a watered down version of the same.  

                            Has that lettuce picker made a conscious decision to be at the bottom of the chain while the owner of the field has made a conscious decision to be at the top?  Or are they they fulfilling abstract roles that have in very real ways been chosen for them by a roll of the dice?  Of course there are people that confound that roll and rise above, but for every one there are hundreds that don't.  I'd imagine that we all abhor the idea of the caste system in India because it's so obvious.  Isn't our class structure here still a carryover of the same.  We haven't risen above it entirely.  It's just cleaner.  More palatable.  

                            I'd still argue that the lives of those at the bottom of the chain absolutely exist to enrich those at the top.  Wealth is the diploma of slavery....  Whatever set of statistics you believe something like 1% of the population of the US controls nearly 40% of it's wealth while the bottom 20% control none.  How do you square that?  The bottom 20% are bad and the top 1% are good?  We all know that's not the case.  Do you think the bottom 20% would agree with you?  How 'bout the top 1%?

                            What I'm saying is that this system is so far from perfect that I don't understand anyone trying to defend it.  Trying to rationalize it.  

                            Equality.... Obviously most of the people in this country would say that they agree with something close to your interpretation of that statement.  Which to me means nothing.  Like saying that you believe that all men are basically good, but also think that there's no problem with the fact that there are 2 million people incarcerated in America at the moment.  Either you believe something is true or you don't.  We don't.  Everything in our day to day lives screams that all men are not created equal.  

                            We don't select mates by lottery because we're so far from accepting that we're equal it's laughable.  We divide ourselves by race, religion, gender, physical attributes, truly abstract things like beauty, etc.....  

                          •  And just curiously.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            If we were somewhat better people....  if we could look past the created differences just a bit more.  Not completely, but just a bit more.

                            Given our 50% divorce rate do you think a lottery would honestly be much worse/better?  

                            Most of us don't go on great globe spanning searches for our mate.  A lot of us take the first one that seems to show any interest in us whatsoever:)  How much worse could it honestly be?

                            We are so tied to the way things are....  even when the way things are don't seem to work very well.

                            Just like the economic conversation.  Why are we content with a system where so many people are losing?  When it's so obvious that we have enough wealth in a literal sense for everybody.  Why would we rather have a system where some have more than they can possibly use and many, many others have far too little?  I know I'm dense:)  I just don't get it.  I never will.

                          •  It's that roll.. (0+ / 0-)

                            ...of the dice that, to me, justifies the statement that "All men are created equal".  We all have a chance to be lucky or not.  In this crazy world, determination by chance is about as fair as it gets.  We can increase the odds for our offspring to be "lucky", but that's about it.

                            I guess the argument about enriching others lives kind of comes down to semantics.  The miner works in the mine to enrich his own life.  It's coincidental that the best way for him to enrich his life is by enriching someone else, though some might wax philosophical and say, "It is only by enriching the life of another that we enrich ourselves."  I think they'd mean it a little differently, though.

                            I don't think the bottom percent are bad (though I'm ceratin some are) or the top is good (though I'm certain some are).  I think a lot of it probably has to do with evolution.  We reproduce more when we have less resources.  If all the rich people had thirty kids, and all the poor people had one each, a smoother distribution of wealth would be seen pretty quickly.

                      •  On the internet, no one knows you're a dog (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Land of Enchantment

                        ...or unemployed...or a liar...or maybe all of the above...

                        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                        by Alice in Florida on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:08:45 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Shouldn't you be (0+ / 0-)

                      working instead of posting also?
                      The fact is, I run the business from my home so I do have time to post.

                      A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                      by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:38:12 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Running Business from Home (3+ / 1-)

                        Means Watching Good Morning America while drinking coffee and surfing the internet.

                        Yeah... no wonder why you are paranoid of the business failing.

                      •  As do I. I own two businesses. And some (5+ / 0-)

                        days I do work 15 hours.  I don't, however, claim to work 15 hours a day when a part of those 15 hours are spent blogging or when they're spent reading the paper or even when they're spent on my pet volunteer project.  I also don't feel that I'm entitled to what I have or that anyone who believes I have an obligation to share my good fortune with others less fortunate are whiners or trying to "steal" from me what I've earned.  

                        Isn't it funny how those who make these claims of working so hard and taking so much risk - as the facts come out, it's not quite accurate.  Instead, it's others doing the work and the 15 hours - well, I guess they're out of bed for 15 hours anyway.  

                        Sorry AJsMom, you should have been a whole lot more straight forward with your claims if you wanted to  be taken seriously.

                  •  Big LIAR Alert !! !!! !! !! (10+ / 0-)

                    That Liar is hiding behind your logic... such a fine sharp blade that logic can be but LO! when weilded by a Liar watch out!!

                    Big Assumed Lie #1: You are Different from Other People. (1) All your benefits are derived only from your work.  Other peoples benefits are derived from others work (namely yours).  WHOOPS! look like you fell into the unsound habit of using the same modifier and then misapplying that to make a collalary argument.

                    Big Assumed Lie #2: Risk is something that you have assumed unilaterally, because you are on the hook if you are unable to pay debts.  Wrong!!!! The real counterparty at risk is the Lender, namely the Bank.  Historically banks would be diligent to review all the potential risks before giving a loan because it must ensure a that the default rate does not exceed a particular percentage, namely gross profit percentage.  In a deregulated world, motivitated by the Assumptions of Liars, the Lenders have shirked thier role as risk assessors based on the last 20 years that their risk can be sloughed off back on the government (or the collective individuals of which you are a part)

                    Big Assumed Lie # 3: Bankruptcy is some immoral sloughing off of Debt.  the principles of bankruptcy were drafted INTO the Constitution for the express purpose to eliminate debtors prisons.  WHY?  Because the traditional way of jailing a debtor or forcing them to carry all the assumed debt indefinitely would be a contract of adhesion... namely the Lender is the risk assessor and can go after the Borrower to full extent of the assets available... With bankruptcy there is a line that basically says "no more blood from a stone"  Prior to that the Lender would call the Gov't to throw the Borrow in jail or kill them.  Does that make the Lender whole... no it is just an act of revenge against the Borrow for the Lender's risk bet going sour.

                    I understand your arguments well because up until the age of 19-20 I studied economic philosophy and was magnetically attracted to the "pure" concepts of capitalism, idealism and individualism... to actually look deeper into these concepts requires being able to perceive all the players in the game.  Furthermore, the free market as touted by Republicans assumed the BIGGEST LIE of ALL: that all humans act rationally in their own self-interest.  Just look at the banking crisis, Enron, WorldCom, the massive consumer debt encouraged by others. The funniest thing about that is I know that most elephant Reds don't believe their own malarky because their entire political strategy is to use emotional triggers to compel folks to vote against their own self-interest.

                    Just like you...

                    The Republican Party is trying to return to the days of tyranny.  It's too bad that ll the libertarians of the world don't get it.  They are intellectual patsies.

                  •  Well, actually, when you come right down to it, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Land of Enchantment

                    "work" is doing what someone else wants.  So, by definition, someone else is going to benefit more from your labor than you are yourself.
                    If you want all the benefit, then just do what you want, but don't expect to get paid.

                    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

                    by hannah on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:39:54 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Gustynpip, you decry a fundamental of capitalism (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Land of Enchantment

                  and our economic system in this country!

                  because you decided to incur a great deal of debt, and thus incur "risk".  What a bunch of bull.

                  Much of the wealth and job creation through our history was generated because of incentives for business people to take some risk in starting or expanding that business.  This is a good thing.

                  You make it sound as though the whole concept is baloney and that people going beyond their comfort zones to pursue a venture is irresponsible and inconsequential.  If starting a business were 'no big deal' everyone would be doing it, right?

                  I'm not saying an entrepreneur should "benefit more" than any worker, but there should be incentives and some relief in the case of a failed venture is not inherently terrible.

                  •  Would you please explain to me coffeeinamrica (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rontun

                    why you HR'd me?  There are standards for HR'ing and the comment you HR'd doesn't even come close to it.  Disagreeing with me is not sufficient.  Even disliking me or what I say isn't sufficient.  You, the great defender of capitalism, can't even play by the rules of the owner of this site?  

                    It won't affect me in the least.  It's the second I've ever gotten - the first one I actually deserved and was received before I understood the rules.  I've received more than enough recs to withstand your pitiful little HR.  I will, however, be watching to see whether you regularly HR inappropriately.  

                    And by the way, you failed to comprehend even the basics of what I've been posting about.  I have no objection to people incurring debt and taking risk and that is certainly not what I referred to as baloney.  I do have an objection to those who decide to do that considering themselves superior to others or more entitled than others and certainly to them calling others nasty names.  

                    However, why would I expect someone who can't understand the FAQs to understand anything about economics.  I don't.

                    •  Ahhhh. Never mind, coffee. I see you've been (0+ / 0-)
                      busy HR'ing comments made by others, too, whenever you disapproved of them.  Please read the FAQs.  You are blatantly violating them.  You can be banned for this offense, and no doubt will be at some point if you continue it.  Please stop.
              •  In case you haven't noticed, we're being made (22+ / 0-)

                responsible for the debts of the fucking greedy assholes who got us into this mess.  And those fuckers have tilted the system so their losses (and their bonuses!) will be covered by our nickel, but you are left to twist in the wind if your business goes south.

                But, hey, if you're cool with that system...

                We must allow them to finish their terms. Then they can start their new "terms". -edscan

                by lineatus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:51:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Should you go bankrupt, who do you think eats the (13+ / 0-)

                debt? It's a shared meal. So yes, everyone assists in paying off the debt you incurred.

                Indeed, it's built into the system, with interest rates set to include potential write-offs of bad debt, and various forms of debt insurance structured to somehow spread the risk.

                You act as if your simple willingness to take risk entitles you to reward. That is the essence of the problem we're facing on Wall Street.

                "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

                by rontun on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:22:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  xysea

                  You act as if your simple willingness to take risk entitles you to reward

                  Why else would anyone take the risk then?

                  A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                  by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:51:20 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Why do you get out of bed in the morning? (8+ / 0-)

                    I would suggest that it's for the purpose of living. And it offers the promise of considerable risk.

                    But to what extent does that singular act entitle you to any more reward than that enjoyed by the 6.5 billion other people who've awakened this morning, climbed out of bed and proceeded to pursue whatever daily tasks lie before them, no matter the risks.

                    I do believe people should be rewarded for their accomplishments, even getting out of bed in the morning. I suspect that you're willing to take the risk you take because you have bills to pay, mouths to feed, a need for shelter, and a desire for a better way of life.

                    What you have is a willingness to work, ambition, and perhaps the intelligence to utilize the various tools and people available to assist you in your pursuit. But your risk in owning a business and accumulating debt is minor compared to the risk taken daily by our soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, or our police and firefighters whose lives are on the line each day, or the coal miner who crawls underground into a potential tomb.

                    My feeling is that people should be rewarded based upon their contribution, and perhaps a premium can be awarded for taking personal risk. Given that you're playing with other people's money (debt), your risk is relatively minor, whereas the soldier, the cop, the firefighter, are taking far greater risks, and accordingly, deserve a higher risk premium.

                    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

                    by rontun on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:05:28 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Hmmm (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    carolkay, waitingforvizzini

                    Someone does't understand the word Entitles

                    To furnish with a right or claim to something

                    Seriously your logic is a result of your personality disorder.

                    It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of narcissists' lack of empathy

                    •  Thanks so much chakra (0+ / 0-)

                      Glad to know that my feeling that I am entitled to the rewards of my hard work over the years is simply a "personality disorder".

                      Sheesh!

                      A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                      by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:13:06 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Your logic has been interesting and intelligent (0+ / 0-)

                      up to now.

                      Seriously your logic is a result of your personality disorder.

                  •  Because (5+ / 0-)

                    *they enjoy being their own boss?

                    *they like the creativity of starting something new?

                    *they can do something important or needed that nobody else is doing or doing as well?

                    *they can earn better money (assuming it works out)?

                    *they like risk; it adds spice?

                    Your mileage may vary, but ... don't several of these apply to you and your business?

                    I've never actually heard of anyone whose goal was to die filthy rich and stiff the rest of society. Considering the failure rate of start-up businesses, someone would have to be insane to have that as a goal. Most business-people are just trying to keep in the black.

                    Could I also point out that the estate tax takes nothing from the person who actually earned the money and took the risk, only from his or her heirs who didn't take any risk or earn the money. The heirs, usually the entrepreneur's child(ren), may have been affected by their parent's risk, but they also received the benefits of their parent's success in the form of superior living conditions, education, and assistance in buying a house or business of their own. Why should they also receive an entire lifetime's accumulation of wealth that they didn't earn?

                    No more nonsense, please.

                    by ohiolibrarian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:57:55 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Too bad (5+ / 0-)

                If I had failed at that business, would you and others on here have helped me to pay off the debt I incurred?

                for you that yo're not a banker or Wall St investor, because we are paying for their failures. All of us.

                Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                by drewfromct on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:33:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  If you failed, the help is called Bankruptcy! (4+ / 0-)

                So in essence, We the People are helping you with your debt!  

                Sure, the laws have been made pretty sucky against people these days -- thanks to CONservative bullshit and greedy banks --, nevertheless, You are not thrown into debtors prison, your children and relatives are not hounded to the end of their days, you have options to discharge much of what you owe for the risk you took.

                Stop imagining that you are pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps!  That's a fantasy.  The basic facts are the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle is disintegrating.  The super rich are outdistancing even the rich and very rich.  Too much money in too few hands is a recipe for destruction of a democracy.  History shows that again and again.

                The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

                by FightTheFuture on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:54:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The very concept of risk seems to be invalidated (4+ / 0-)

                when people conclude that because they took a risk, they deserve a special reward.  Since the future is unknown and unknowable, everyone who acts in anticipation of what tomorrow might bring is taking a risk.  It's not a big thing.  

                Where the idea that risk is peculiar came from I have no idea.  Why risk should earn a premium is also a puzzlement.  Women risk life and limb whenever they assent to a pregnancy and the reproductive effort it involves.  Where's their premium?

                How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

                by hannah on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:36:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  A cattle farm isn't (25+ / 0-)

            wealth in the Carnegie/Rockefeller sense....

            Like when you say look at the pictures of the Biltmore house.  One man doesn't create that type of wealth.  He may control it.  But he doesn't create it.  That wealth flows upwards and it's almost a lottery that lets particular men happen to be the ones holding the reins.

            I appreciate your hard work, but would you be willing to argue that every wealthy man works equally hard?  Would you argue that every wealthy man has taken on debt and risk?

            There's no real demonstrable connection between wealth and intelligence.  Wealth and hard work.  Wealth and decency.  Maybe you could make a case for real wealth and ambition or ruthlessness....

            Say you suspend disbelief and imagine that there were one human being on the Earth.  Would that one human being be able to create wealth in the Rockefeller/Carnegie sense?  No.  He has to control the lives and output of thousands and thousands of other human beings.  He has to have infrastructure built through the labor of thousands and thousands of others that came before him.  He makes use of an alphabet and system of mathematics that he had nothing to do with....  The means of creating wealth are a shared commodity... why are we willing to let certain men dominate that commodity?  

            There are just some men who are ruthless and greedy enough to seek more than their fair share while diminishing the lives of those who haven't followed the same path.

            •  Then there are the trust funds of such (7+ / 0-)

              people passed on from generation to generation.

              Many of the families that came through the first depression are still some of the wealthiest families today. And they'll do just fine this time as well.

              People born into wealth and an apparatus to keep the money flowing in and door open in every direction.

              I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

              by Pescadero Bill on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:56:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've never understood (14+ / 0-)

                the people who honestly believe that a person born into immense wealth is somehow on equal footing with someone born into poverty.  That regardless of the massive poverty divide that exists in this country they will still claim that we all have the same chance to succeed despite all evidence to the contrary.  I guess it's just human nature to attempt to rationalize/protect your situation when you are one of the lucky ones....

                Of course you rarely hear someone born into poverty making the same claim:)

                •  The lucky ones.... (4+ / 0-)

                  Even when arguing against so many of us still make the mistake of labeling the wealthy lucky...

                  They're not.

                  Immense wealth isn't healthy.

                  It insulates you from the human condition.  It robs you of any chance at living a life of humility and simplicity.

                  For all those who regard Christ's words as infinitely wise why don't we actually listen to them and attempt to emulate....  was there anything he was more adamant about than what a spiritual poison wealth is?

                  •  Two words: Siddhartha Gautama (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Land of Enchantment, Hobbesy

                    Born immensely wealthy, with a prophecy that he would become either the greatest ruler or the greatest prophet India had ever known. Sheltered and coddled and spoiled by a father who wanted him to become the former. Had a rude awakening as a young adult when he was accidentally allowed to see the world as it is.

                    You know how it went from there.

                    But yes, such people are probably once in a millennium.

                    Yes We Did! Yes We Will!

                    by TheOtherMaven on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:12:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Perhaps I am unique then (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ctexrep

                  My husband grew up in a house without running water.
                  He was born into poverty.
                  Neither of us had a dime of inheritance.

                  So I do believe that we all have the same chance to succeed, because I am living it.
                  It takes a lot more than luck to succeed.

                  You must be willing to take risks, work long hours and start your own business.
                  Neither of us believe you can get rich working for someone else.

                  A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                  by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:35:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Stop trying (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AJsMom

                    You won't convince too many around here that what you have done is admirable.

                    This country would be a much better place if more people were like you and had your work ethic.

                    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

                    by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:41:45 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why thank you (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ctexrep

                      I think that something people on here forget is that my business provides good paying jobs to 9 people.

                      My sister and her husband own their own business and my brother is just starting his and he is 51 years old!

                      It is never too late to live the American dream!

                      I guess we learned a lot from my Dad.
                      He grew up on a farm, poor as hell, went to night school for 10 years and ended up being a very successful man.
                      Took a lot of years and a lot of determination.

                      A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

                      by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:48:51 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My Dad's in his mid 70's (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        johngoes

                        still works seven days a week - 12 hours a day on his farm.  He's had many offers but he loves the land and it's his entire life  - to my Dad, it's just money and if he had a buch, he would still want to do what he does and would be miserable without his work - he's very simple and doesn't have a lot of money - just enough to pay the property taxes and take care of himself and the place.  But, I guess he's part of the evil military industrial complex.  I understand what some are saying but they are so caught up in their politics, they forget that there are many who work hard, pay their taxes and are charitable as well and are not right wingers - I swear, it's comments like that that infuriate me - it's as if business sucess was limited to only Republicans - we need to get some credit too.  I got a frenzy of HR's on one of my comments - probably a little to pissy on mybehalf but I can't take the blind criticism by some.
                        Take care.

                        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

                        by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:44:26 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Nobody, from what I've read, is (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Zibby, stitchmd, Land of Enchantment

                          railing at anyone's success per se.  They're saying that the idea that someone 'deserves' what they have because of their 'hard work' insinuates that anyone who works hard and doesn't have what they have is obviously inferior to them.

                          Your description of your father sounds rather the opposite of that.  

                          I keep saying it, but to me the whole thing is encapsulated by either agreeing or disagreeing with this.

                          There are people who work hard and are wealthy.

                          There are people who work hard and are not.

                          There are people who are intelligent and are wealthy.

                          There are people who are intelligent and are not.

                          And on and on.

                          There is no common denominator to wealth/success in our society.  There is luck involved.  Pure luck, genetic luck, etc...  And if you can admit that there is truth in that statement how vigorous can your defense of that society and it's concept of wealth be?  

                          When people say, "I've earned what I have and I'm sick of this entitlement society that lets those with less believe that they deserve any of it." what exactly are they saying?  That all men aren't created equal?  

                          That you could take someone born into immense wealth who has never had to work a day in their life and someone born into poverty who worked their fingers raw every single day of their life without ever being able to do anything other than live from paycheck to paycheck and consider it not only the way things are, but the way things should be?  Where do you put the middle ground.  

                          Those that worked and did get past living from paycheck to paycheck?  Why did they?  It's not just hard work...  there are other factors at play.  Do you acknowledge that or do you continue to believe that you and only you are responsible for what you have and you have no other debt to society?

                      •  "I guess we learned a lot from my Dad. " (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        carolkay, Land of Enchantment

                        There you go - luck started early with you.

                        Some didn't have the fortune of having such a dad.

                        Hell, some dads just spend their days getting drunk and beating the crap out of their kids.

                        Some dads weren't the smartest on the block or the most ambitious, but spent their entire lives working to support their families as best they could. And expected little more in return then to be able to retire and live off the Social Security they contributed to. Is that so wrong? Does that make them a failure in the great American society? How foolish of them to think they could, right?

                        And I'd bet to most, just having a secure job that pays the bills is "the American dream".

                        Perhaps living under the constant threat of job termination or medical care financial ruin is a good thing. Put a little fire under their asses, ay?

                        I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

                        by Pescadero Bill on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:57:07 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I would be astounded (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Land of Enchantment, milkbone, JeffW

                        if your business is subject to inheritance taxes.

                        I think that something people on here forget is that my business provides good paying jobs to 9 people.

                        A business that only has 9 employees is too small to be affected by the inheritance tax.  Ask your lawyer or tax accountant.  I think you will find that you just don't have enough net worth for that to be any concern to you.  

                        There's also this:

                        What about the value of my family business/farm?
                        Generally, the fair market value of such interests owned by the decedent are includible in the gross estate at date of death. However, for certain farms or businesses operated as a family farm or business, reductions to these amounts may be available.

                        In the case of a qualifying Family Farm, IRC §2032A allows a reduction from value of up to $820,000.

                        Which I found here:

                        http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=108143,00.html

                        In short, your little patch of heaven would have to be worth several million dollars for your heirs to pay even a penny in inheritance tax.  

                        Renewable energy brings national security.

                        by Calamity Jean on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:06:35 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  The post you're responding to (7+ / 0-)

                    was a reply to another about inheritance.

                    Of course there are people who are able to climb past the station that they were born into.  But what does that prove?  For every single one that does how many don't?  And research does bear out that people overwhelmingly stay near the station that they were born into.  

                    Do you believe that there has never been a hard working family who have taken risks and started their own business and failed even though they've done everything right?

                    Do you believe that there have existed persons of wealth who have done none of those things?

                    That's the luck of the system and to willfully believe that it doesn't exist is just putting blinders on.

                    You have every right to be proud of your success.  But at least acknowledge the system for what it is.  

                    It's like someone on a winning streak at poker starting to believe that it's not a game of luck anymore because they've personally mastered it.

                  •  Getting rich isn't everyone's goal (4+ / 0-)

                    living a life of meaning does not require being rich. And there are many ways to contribute to society by working for other people, and by doing jobs that don't make you rich.

                    Our society is too complex at this point for everyone to work for themselves, so by definition, some people (most, in fact) have to work for others. While they may not get "rich," aren't they allowed to expect a pay rate that will allow them to pay their basic bills?

                    And is it "right" for the employer to become "rich" while the people who work for them aren't able to pay their basic bills? I'm not saying that's you, I'm just asking this philosophically.

                    We don't live in isolation, we are all interdependent. Could you run your business by yourself, without your employees? Are you "richer" because you have employees? And what does all of that mean?

                    Like I said, just asking, philosophically.

                    Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - WSCoffin

                    by stitchmd on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:17:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Biltmore House (13+ / 0-)

              And worth giving some thought to the Newport Mansions, too.

              Also, on the question of risk?  It seems that policy in recent years has been to pretty much insulate capital from risk.  At least if you were a crony of BushCo.  And sheesh!  Did those bank guys get those big bonuses even though they ran their companies in to the ground?  In what sense were those billions in bonuses earned?

              "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

              by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:08:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Literally, there are 1000s of examples, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Land of Enchantment

                all across America, of magnificent historical architecture funded by philanthropists at the end of the First Robber Baron Era.

                Here is another: Around the turn of the century, a young daughter of southern plantation aristocracy named Martha Berry founded a school literally in a one room log cabin for poor children. The school grew and became Berry College, featuring a 26,000-acre campus that is one of the largest contiguous college campuses in the world. This was possible largely because of the generosity of Henry Ford, who amoung other things funded the construction in the 1920s of a magnificent group of English Gothic buildings known as The Ford Complex.

                A few photographs are here, here, here and here.

          •  Get over yourself. Lots and lots of people ARE (16+ / 0-)

            working 15 hours days, are working very hard, but aren't getting rich.  They didn't inherit anything TO risk, but they're taking a risk every day by going to a job that might or might not be there tomorrow.

            You happened to be lucky, whether it's because you inherited something you could risk or because you happened to work hard at something that made you lots of money.  No, it's not all luck, but it's always a lot of luck.

            You are the one who has a sense of entitlement.  So quit throwing around such a nonsensical phrase, accept that it is our society, our government, our systems that enabled you to become wealthy, and you have an obligation in return to contribute to that society, that government, those systems, to a larger extent than those for whom it hasn't worked quite so good.

          •  if you are working 15 hrs/day, you are not rich! (6+ / 0-)

            This diary is about Mellon and Rockerfeller.  So, unless you are a senior executive of a fortune 100 company or something like that, nobody is talking about you.

          •  I bet I earn more than you and (7+ / 0-)

            pay more taxes.

            I have no sense of entitlement.  Your right wing arrogance, however, is on display in your comment.  You seem to be a Republcian wanna-be.

            We all work.  Why you think that your busines makes you better than anyone else amazes me.  

            You probably take my taxes.  I'd prefer they go to those who need them.    

            "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

            by TomP on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:09:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No sense of entitlement? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ctexrep

              Yes, the rich owes working people much.  We create their wealth and soon we will take it.

              I seriously doubt that you make more than me or that you pay more taxes than I do.
              Not when your comments, such as this one, show such envy.

              A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

              by AJsMom on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:30:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Envy.... (6+ / 0-)

                Isn't that really the root of all of it.

                Look at what I have.  Envy it.

                Look at how well I've done.  Envy me.

                And by saying that...  shame on any of you that haven't done the same.  How subpar you must be.

                But again, it's just not entirely true.

                You keep going back to how hard you work as justification for what you have.

                Do you know of anyone who works harder and has less?

                Do you know of anyone who works less and has more?

                It is a flawed system.  You can't believe that it can be flawed for some and not all.  Or maybe you do.  But I'd be willing to be that if in the next few years everything, god forbid, came crashing down around you and you found yourself at the bottom again you'd be more willing to admit to the flaws of the system than you are while you're closer to the top.

                It's not that I envy you what you have in the least.  Or resent your pride in it.  I don't think that there's anything to envy or be proud of.  I think it's a fiction we buy into and it divides us.  At the very least I'd just like an understanding that it is not entirely 'yours'...  

                You use public roads that were built before you paid a nickel of taxes on what you've earned.  You use a language that you've done nothing to help create.  A mathematical system that people long dead devised.  We are a society.  We are interdependent.  And the people who deny that the most vehemently are those who most base their self-worth on what they own.

          •  I think Will Rogers had the best answer to this (27+ / 0-)

            question, way back in 1931:

            ...
            Now we read in the papers every day, and they get us all excited over one or a dozen different problems that's supposed to be before this country. There's not really but one problem before the whole country at this time. It's not the balancing of Mr. Mellon’s budget. That's his worry. That ain't ours. And it's not the League of Nations that we read so much about. It's not the silver question. The only problem that confronts this country today is at least 7,000,000 people are out of work. That’s our only problem. There is no other one before us at all. It's to see that every man that wants to is able to work, is allowed to find a place to go to work, and also to arrange some way of getting a more equal distribution of the wealth in country.

            Now it's Prohibition, we hear a lot about that. Well, that's nothing to compare to your neighbor's children that are hungry. It's food, it ain't drink that we’re worried about today. Here a few years ago we was so afraid that the poor people was liable to take a drink that now we've fixed it so they can't even get something to eat.

            So here we are in a country with more wheat and more corn and more money in the bank, more cotton, more everything in the world—there’s not a product that you can name that we haven't got more of it than any other country ever had on the face of the earth—and yet we’ve got people starving. We'll hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poor house in an automobile. The potter's fields are lined with granaries full of grain. Now if there ain't something cockeyed in an arrangement like that then this microphone here in front of me is—well, it's a cuspidor, that's all.

            Now I think that they’ll arrange it—I think some of our big men will perhaps get some way of fixing a different distribution of things. If they don't they are certainly not big men and won't be with us long, that's one thing. Now I say, and have always claimed, that things would pick up in '32. Thirty-two, why '32? Well, because '32 is an election year, see, and the Republicans always see that everything looks good on election year, see? They give us three good years and one bad one—no, three bad ones and one good one. I like to got it wrong. That's the Democrats does the other. They give us three bad years and one good one, but the good one always comes on the year that the voting is, see? Now if they was running this year why they would be all right. But they are one year late. Everything will pick up next year and be fine.

            These people that you’re asked to aid, why they’re not asking for charity, they are naturally asking for a job, but if you can't give ‘em a job why the next best thing you can do is see that they have food and the necessities of life. You know, there's not a one of us who has anything that these people that are without it now haven't contributed to what we've got. I don't suppose there’s the most unemployed or the hungriest man in America has contributed in one way to the wealth of every millionaire in America. It wasn’t the working class that brought this condition on at all. It was the big boys themselves who thought that this financial drunk we were going through was going to last forever. They over—merged and over—capitalized, and over—everything else. That’s the fix we’re in now.

            Now I think that every town and every city will raise this money. In fact, they can't afford not to. They've got the money because there's as much money in the country as there ever was. Only fewer people have it, but it's there. And I think the towns will all raise it because I’ve been on a good many charity affairs allover the country and I have yet to see a town or a city ever fail to raise the money when they knew the need was there, and they saw the necessity. Every one ‘em will come through.

            Europe don't like us and they think we're arrogant, and bad manners, and have a million faults, but every one of ’em, well, they give us credit for being liberal.

            Doggone it, people are liberal. Americans—I don't know about America being fundamentally sound and all that after-dinner hooey, but I do know that America is fundamentally liberal. Now I want to thank Mr. Gifford, the head of this unemployment, thank Mr. Young, and I certainly want to thank Mr. Hoover for the privilege of being allowed to appear on the same program with him because I know that this subject is very dear to Mr. Hoover's heart and know that he’d rather see the problem of unemployment solved than he would to see all the other problems he has before him combined. And if every town and every city will get out and raise their quota, what they need for this winter, why it’ll make him a very happy man, and happiness hasn't been a steady diet with our president. He's had a very tough, uphill fight, and this will make him feel very good. He's a very human man. I thank you. Good night.

            (emphasis mine)

            It's truly a shame that we find ourselves right back in such a nearly identical situation all these years later.

            You didn't start your business for the fun of it, and you don't do it in a vacuum.  Many people work 15 hour days, and many people you'll never meet participate in the economy that keeps your business profitable, assuming that it is.  

            Joe Biden is right.  It IS patriotic to pay taxes, and I've felt that way about it long before I ever knew he said that - back to the day I mailed my first return.  I was so freakin' proud that I had earned enough with my little business that I owed taxes, I felt like I was a captain of industry myself, walking to the mailbox to mail that check on April 15th.  Paying taxes is part of the deal with being a successful business person, the more successful you are, the more you pay.  

            Why have we allowed the idiots on the right to demonize this???  It makes no sense.  I want to put my time and energy into making my business profitable, I am happy to let the government figure out where to put the roads, when to fix the bridges and how to feed the hungry and provide healthcare.  Those things aren't my specialty, and I would make a mess of them, but pay taxes - that I can do.  We all have our roles to play in society, if we're blessed enough to be well off, part of the role is to help the less fortunate - what a great thing that is.

            'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb, 11/07/2006

            by lcork on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:11:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  rich (4+ / 0-)

            I'd say anyone pulling in more than 200k per year is rich.  That doesn't mean they don't work hard or should have to pay massive taxes.  Serious taxes should kick in over 500k (50-60%).  Anything over a million should be taxed at 90%+.  Estates should be limited to 2 million per beneficiary.

          •  It's not entitlement, it's obligation! As TR (4+ / 0-)

            back in his 1906 SOTU:

            Government should impose a graduated inheritance tax, and, if possible, a graduated income tax. The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government. Not only should he recognize this obligation in the way he leads his daily life and in the way he earns and spends his money, but it should also be recognized by the way in which he pays for the protection the State gives him.

            The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

            by FightTheFuture on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:58:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Lots of people work 16+ hours a day, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Land of Enchantment

            they just don't get paid for it.  And, what's more, they don't even expect to get paid.  They're quite content to be productive and contributing members of society without a lot of glory.  What burns them is when somebody denigrates their efforts and wants to consider themselves better than someone else because they've managed to accumulate more money.

            The accumulation of money is not a sign of virtue.  Mostly it demonstrates that someone hasn't paid all his debts.  Like Tom Daschle who hadn't paid his medicare taxes.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:29:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  well. (0+ / 0-)

            there's a finite quantity of money.  there's a finite quantity of people.  therefore when you have a lot of money, it means directly that someone else has a lot less.

            of course some people make their money honestly, through hard work and/or good ideas.  the problem is that the more money you've got, the more backs yr standing on.

            i don't want no peace, gimme equal rights and justice.

            by keonhp on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:23:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  So I guess you believe in Obama (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Land of Enchantment

          when he say's we all need to get to work - I guess you'll be kickin back.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:17:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's interesting. (5+ / 0-)

          I had to be on public assistance when my kids were little for 6 years.  I went to college, had cancer, and managed with help from different agencies to get through the hard times.

          I didn't get the child support I was supposed to, so I had to take assistance.  I got a lot of flak from certain people then.  He didn't seem to.

          Now that I have worked hard, started my own business, and am fairly successful (Making more $$ than I did with a college degree in my field), I get flak for that.

          Not that I am rich.  Just, well, interesting.

          History is a collection of choices made and actions taken at a given time.

          by New Aeon For Change 93 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:28:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You aren't getting flak for owning a business (6+ / 0-)

            you are getting flak for your attitude.

            There are lots of business owners up in here, and quite a few highly paid professionals.  

            There are bagels in the fridge

            by Sychotic1 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:53:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What attitude? (4+ / 0-)

              I was just making an observation that some people have expressed seeming resentment about the fact that I have been successful on some comments to me on Kos.

              I was noting that there always seem to be some people who want to find a flaw--or a reason to give a person negativity based on resentment of some kind.

              How does that translate to "attitude?"

              History is a collection of choices made and actions taken at a given time.

              by New Aeon For Change 93 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:56:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Funny that. Lots of people on here are (9+ / 0-)

                successful.  And they don't get flak for it.  Wonder why you've been chosen for that distinct honor.  I suspect there is a reason.  Unless I missed the diary encouraging us all to pick on New Aeon for Change 93.  

                In fact, I see little resentment here towards people that are financially successful.  The resentment is reserved for those who resent being expected to kick back some of that success to pay for the costs incurred by society so they could become successful and to help those who haven't been so fortunate.

                Personally, it seems to me your attitude should be one of gratitude.  Gratitude that the assistance was there when you needed it.  Gratitude that you now have an opportunity to provide some assistance to others.  And gratitude that you now have something others can resent.  Somehow I can't dredge up any pity for you, no matter how deep I dig.

                •  Yawn. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Land of Enchantment, AJsMom

                  You certainly did read a lot into my comment.

                  I guess since you read every diary and every comment ever posted here, we should all bow down and defer to you.

                  I was relating an occassional experience I have had.  No pity required.  I just found it interesting in light of the conversation here.

                  You presume to know my attitude, and how much gratitude I do or do not have.  Since you are an expert on me, I'll be sure to give you a call next time I'm about to feel something.

                  How about you go project crap on someone else for a while?

                  History is a collection of choices made and actions taken at a given time.

                  by New Aeon For Change 93 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:16:05 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh my. Hit a little nerve there, hey? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sychotic1, Land of Enchantment
                    No, I think I'll just continue to project crap on you, since your passive aggressive behavior is something I find particularly offensive.  

                    Making a vague assertion that is enough to get your message of the huddles masses of the poor picking on the (now) poor little successful one, but making sure to keep it vague enough that if you're called out for it, you can deny it and claim innocense of intent.

                    I made no presumption of knowing your attitude.  I just made a presumption that if you haven't exhibited an attitude, no one would have expressed resentment against you.

                    Please don't give me a call when you're about to feel something.  I really wouldn't give a shit about it.

          •  You know, (15+ / 0-)

            it wasn't too long ago that I was on public assistance while raising my daughter.  And I too, was denied child support for many years.

            Now, though, I've done okay for myself.  I'm not rich, either, but I eat and save and raise my kid pretty well.

            What that experience taught me is my taxes are going for good things - things that helped me become the person I am today.  I don't resent them.  I'm happy to pay them, if by paying them I can make one more working class mom into a middle class mom like me.

            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:56:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Absolutely (7+ / 0-)

              great comment (and good for you--yay)

              I agree completely--giving back to help others is important in a "civilized" society.

              I remember when I was an "older" returning student in college, a younger student started talking to the class about "those welfare" moms.

              I raised my hand and said "I am a welfare mom.  I don't get the child support I am supposed to.  That is one of the reasons I am on assistance.  Why don't people ever talk about "those non-support paying dads"?  There was a bit more discussion, and she thanked me for saying that.  She hadn't ever really known about that being on assistance was like.

              I haven't been able to save much, so you're ahead of the game there.  I have to put most of my $$ back into the business.

              History is a collection of choices made and actions taken at a given time.

              by New Aeon For Change 93 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:04:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly. I pay a lot of taxes and (9+ / 0-)

              at times in my life I've ben poor.  As a child for a couple years, I got free lunches.  My child attended public schools.  i attended a public college and private law school on ascholarship.  

              I use roads and streetlights.

              We're all in it together.  Obama is correct.

              That means that the truly wealthy pay their fair share, including an estate tax.  

              "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

              by TomP on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:18:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  One might note for clarification's sake (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto

            that said "flak" was not stated to be here on Kos, but was mostly in reference to "society."

            History is a collection of choices made and actions taken at a given time.

            by New Aeon For Change 93 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:19:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  relevant quote (15+ / 0-)

          "All but the hard hearted man must be torn with pity for this pathetic dilemma of the rich man, who has to keep the poor man just stout enough to do the work and just thin enough to have to do it."
           --  GK Chesterton

          The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

          by NCrefugee on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:55:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  yes the richies they oh so misses the bushies n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Land of Enchantment
      •  Ha! (15+ / 0-)

        As if they really earn that capital. Capital is other peoples' work and sweat and pain and suffering.

        •  Spoken like a true (2+ / 2-)
          Recommended by:
          Wisper, AJsMom
          Hidden by:
          drewfromct, ppl can fly

          dependent.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:19:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No (19+ / 0-)

            spoken like someone who sees capitalism for what it is--the ugly truth of which is being once again revealed right now: one great big Ponzi scheme.

            Btw, we are all interdependent.

            Are you sure you're really an "ex"rep?

            •  You're a dependent (0+ / 0-)

              you want the fruits of capitalism (taxes) to pay for your dependency.  You're not really a socialist or a communist becasue you don't know what that means or you're being ignorant to the facts of socialism and communism that limit personal freedoms for the good of the State.  Problem is, those in State positions will become the Rich - you just don't see the fault of those sysyems becasue you don't live in them - for if you did, you would be certain to find much to whine about.

              The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

              by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:31:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Close to deserving a HR here. (24+ / 0-)

                You're inventing a life story for someone you don't know, then knocking that strawman down.  Bad form.  Very bad form.

                "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

                by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:32:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  drewfromct

                  but I take offense when someone questions my status - I worked hard to get Obama elected.  So yeah, I can get personal but it's no worse than questioning me.

                  Sorry though if you took offense to my rant.

                  The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

                  by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:35:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, please. (11+ / 0-)

                Your comment is so mixed up and uninformed, it's not worth my time.

                You're "dependent." We are all interdependent. Your understanding of freedom is both impoverished and laughable.

              •  The personal freedom republican rich (8+ / 0-)

                want is for them to use our military to extend their businesses, to pay low wages and charge high prices and to use our government programs as profit machines.  For example, they are ruining Medicare with their high profits.

                I know how to figure a budget. I have always had to do it.  The budget of a country is more complex, but the basis is the same.  You need more income than expenses.  An average person finding themselves going into debt would either try to get a better paying job or ask for a raise.  They would cut out some of the unnecessary expenses, too.

                The rich would only have the military and programs they profit from in government.

                It is up to the rest of us to make sure we get a piece of the pie.  

                Why would anyone want a country where only 10% live a good life and the rest live grim lives from pay check to pay check?  It is exploitation of workers when they only get paid enough to exist, but not to get ahead.  Recently, many are not getting enough to exist or live a simple frugal life.

                •  How does a small business or family farmer (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lorzie

                  fit in with this and benefit from the military / idustrial complex? I'm talking about little guys caught up in this estate mess here.  I have stated that I only think the ceiling should be raised a little to ensure that there are no instances where it hurts these people.  

                  The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

                  by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:32:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They aren't (4+ / 0-)

                    There hasn't been any demonstration of family farms being "caught up" in anything to do with the "estate mess."

                    "It means I'm going to get a hot dog."

                    by otto on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:39:49 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Well shoot. Why didn't you say that in the (4+ / 0-)

                    first place.

                    The estate tax needed fixing to be sure. The ceiling should indeed be raised to something like 25 million or so.

                    But it is imperative that if Jr. inherits Sr.'s  100s of millions/billions that he should then pay a hefty tax for his net worth suddenly shooting up for having performed little or no effort in earning it. And then that wealth being passed on to another generation who did nothing to earn it is just insane. That's national wealth locked up and out of reach for generations. Money that could be used for the good of the country. Money that could have built all those libraries and more. Money that we the people shouldn't have to hope the good will of its controlling family will use for the good of the people.

                    Though I'm sure Paris Hilton is sitting in on every board meeting and watching over every dollar invested in her name. And I'm sure she's setting up a fund to build a whole network of high-tech internet libraries as we speak much like the Rockefellers did their temples to capitalism.

                    By then why should I even have to hope she's doing so for the benefit of communities government should be incorporating such projects?

                    I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

                    by Pescadero Bill on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:01:10 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think a business should be able to be (2+ / 0-)

                      handed down to the next generation basically intact. Maybe a small inheritance tax on it, but not a huge one.

                      But personal wealth - there should be serious limits on that. I can see the 1 mil per beneficiary rule, that makes perfect sense to me. If it's more than that, you should pay tax on the amount over 1 mil.

                      However, any decent estate planner should be able to set things up so that there's plenty of cash available to cover those taxes. Remember, we're not talking about some guy with 500k in an IRA and a home, who dies and leaves his stuff to his kids. By the time the debts of his estate are paid off, there won't be enough for the federal tax to kick in.

                      We're talking about the really, really rich. Maybe the limits should be raised a lot, maybe they should be restructured some (and give a larger allowance for a family home that's inherited).

                      But I don't want a small, tiny group of a few hundred people scarfing up all the wealth of this country.  

                    •  I did say it (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pescadero Bill

                      but it get's lost in all the chatter.  MHO is that the ceiling be raised to stop the nonsense - not to eliminate it.  I think if the ceiling was raised to the point you mentioned, it would have wide support - but as long as it's close - many won't support it.  I just think that we need to be careful that we don't put the P Hiltons in the same category as hardworking small business people and family farms who provide jobs, open space and local produce for many to enjoy.

                      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

                      by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:49:14 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  ??? (4+ / 0-)

                    I'm talking about little guys caught up in this estate mess here.  I have stated that I only think the ceiling should be raised a little to ensure that there are no instances where it hurts these people.  

                    The lower limit for the estate tax is, I think, currently three and a half million dollars.  Anyone dying with that much net worth is not a "little guy" IMO.  And there are are special exemptions for family farmers or family businesses above and beyond the $3.5 million.  The story of family farmers being forced to sell because of the inheritance tax is just that -- a story, made up by multimillionares (or their paid shills) to get people who never had enough to pay estate taxes concerned about estate taxes.  If your farm or business doesn't employ at least 100 people, your estate is not going to pay estate taxes.  

                    Renewable energy brings national security.

                    by Calamity Jean on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:28:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  How grim a life is it? (0+ / 0-)

                  You have the internetz...

                  We all spend retarded amounts of money on crap we don't need, then complain about how we can't get ahead, how we "just get enough to exist".

                  People built our country without running water, without automobiles, without telephones (or cell phones), without refrigerators, without televisions, without a lot of stuff.  Why are these things suddenly "required" parts of existence?  Just because our parents had them and we've grown up with them, we think we're entitled to them.  It's BS.

                  •  I would argue that (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Land of Enchantment

                    running water, especially clean water, is a necessity for life to exist and thrive.  Period.  If you don't have water, you breed disease and increase chances for death.

                    A lot of these things are hygiene related (refrigeration, for example), energy, etc.

                    But I wonder who is arguing for telephones and televisions as required parts of existence?  Cite, please.

                    I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                    by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:22:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nobody's arguing... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...they're required parts of existence, but I'd be willing to bet most everyone on here saying, "I'm barely making it--the rich should give me their money" has a computer and internet connection.  I'd be willing to wager they have TVs and phones, too.

                      A lot of people whine about how bad their life is, while living in what the vast majority of the world population would consider gross luxury.

                      That's all I'm saying.

                      •  So, wait a minute... (0+ / 0-)

                        let me get this straight:

                        It's okay if these people bent the rules to make it to the top, because they earned the wealth they made...despite the idea of 'earning' being a mutable, and qualifiable thing - subject to the whims and vagaries of discussion.

                        A guy who picks lettuce, but doesn't make enough to feed his family doesn't 'earn' (respect, money) enough for you to see your way clear to helping get a better job through govt assistance...but a guy who sold bad securities to people, who came from a good family and attended a great school, started a busines (possibly using govt loans or grants, uses govt resources, laws, etc) is a-okay to keep all he made without having to give back because?

                        ??

                        I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                        by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:05:49 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not what I said. (0+ / 0-)

                          At NO POINT did I say it was okay to bend or break ANY rules to make it anywhere.

                          I don't really think "earning" is all that mutable, but I'm open to discussion on that point.  Perhaps you can educate me.

                          As far as your lettuce-picker goes, he should utilize the resources available (just like you mentioned, govt loans or grants, resources, laws, etc.) so he can make enough to feed his family.  I think America still has a free public school system which could probably help prepare him for a job other than lettuce-picker.  Maybe move up to potatoes.  Just taking wealth from those who DID utilize those resources isn't the answer.

                          If that same lettuce-picker picks a crapload of lettuce (i.e. more than enough to feed his family), he should have (be required by law) to give some of it to everyone else who didn't pick enough lettuce.  Is that what you're saying?  'Cause I kinda like the world where he gets to SELL the extra lettuce and have a chance to buy a guitar, to play on those long lonely nights in the lettuce patch.

                          •  How many lettuce pickers get (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            business loans, vs how many MBAs?  C'mon you can't be that naive!

                            Guess what?  That public school your lettuce picker goes to?  Paid for by taxes.  Guess what else?  If we left it up to your theoretical self-giving CEO, those public schools might not exist...if people got to determine how much/where/if they pay taxes.  See, how that works.

                            If that lettuce picker does his work, receives his pay, yes he's paying taxes.  And he doesn't have a fancy accountant to get him out of paying taxes, so I view him as quite a bit more honest and giving than say, your average investment banker.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:25:58 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  PS You think the guys at the top (2+ / 0-)

                            didn't break the rules to get there? Man, you really are naive.  lol

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:26:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...the times in my life that I've been successful were not the result of cheating, breaking or bending rules, or unethical behavior.

                            Lettuce picker didn't get his MBA?  Oh, well, clearly that's the fault of the guy who did...

                            You're right, the school the lettuce picker went to was paid for by taxes.  Mostly by the taxes of the businessman, that evil crook!

                          •  How can you be so dense? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            And so stubborn.  That businessman paid an accountant so he would have to pay less taxes.  Someone lower on the totem pole couldn't afford to do that, so they actually paid in more than the businessman.

                            That's why a progressive tax structure will soon be necessary.  So people can't buy their way out of paying their rightful share.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:43:47 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Practice. (0+ / 0-)

                            Not sure your logic works there.

                            Really low-income folks don't pay taxes.  I should know--this is the first year in my life I'm not gonna get back every dime I put it.  Never have paid for an acoountant, either.

                            The idea behind accountants is so that people ONLY have to pay their rightful share, rather than more.  Saying that paying for an accountant lets you pay LESS than your rightful share is fallacy.

                          •  Oh hello! (2+ / 0-)

                            What's a tax shelter then?  A method for making sure you pay your fair share?  lol

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:06:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I have to go to a meeting now. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            I'll have to rebut your replies at a later time, but I'll look for them.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:28:40 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            Wouldn't we all like to think everything we've done isn't as the result of cheating another, bending or breaking rules or unethical behavior?

                            According to whom?

                            No one is blaming the MBA guy for his good fortune.  It's only in your twisted logic, your bitterness, that you would see it that way.  Why isn't the MBA guy celebrating his good fortune, and his many blessings, instead of fearful and afraid someone's going to take something from him?  Why isn't the MBA guy thrilled that he fulfilled the American dream and wants to help others do it, too?  

                            You have an antiquated and strange notion of 'mine.'  Rather like the white people who went to Africa or came to the US and said 'mine'.  They thought they worked hard for it, and maybe in some ways they did - but that didn't mean that they 'earned' the US.  They just took it, no matter who already lived here, earned and worked for it.

                            When will you see we're all interconnected?  No man is an island, no one an entity unto themselves?  You act as if you are separate, and somehow exempt, from the responsibilities and difficult choices we must all make and accept - that somehow your particular kind of hard work exempts you from it all - from having to pay back.

                            Again, a very bitter, ungrateful and arrogant attitude you have.  Perhaps our resources would have been better spent on someone a bit more, uh, appreciative of their good fortune - someone a bit more willing to ensure others, like themselves, get an even playing field, a decent education, a fair shot.

                            But even more, your answers tell me that you've led a life of privilege, facing no real adversity.  If you had, you could not be so callous with regard to the life, and quality of life, of others.  Yes, Africans have a difficult existence - they face a poverty the likes of which some of us can never comprehend.  But that does not make the poverty in this country any more acceptable.  In fact, the opposite.  

                            Whereas in Africa, there are real political and socioeconomic reasons for dire poverty and starvation, in the US there is less cause.  Because there is so much abundance.  What makes you exempt from feeding a person?  Because they have a telephone?  And what do you know about this person's life beyond that?  It's fine for you to pass moral judgment on those who live on less than you, isn't it?  Your money gives you that moral largesse...and you enjoy your power, don't you?  Wielding over other peoples' lives - 'I'll give what I choose to give, I'll determine who works hard, I'll determine if they're worthy'.  Why not just title yourself 'God' and be done with it?

                            Because for all your moral superiority, you're still failing morally.  Ethics and scruples are not just for businesses, but humans, too.  'A society is judged by how it treats the least among its members.'  The society you would like to see come to fruition punishes those who have less and rewards those who have more.

                            That is shameful and corrupt.  That you can't see that is to your great discredit.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:58:05 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wow. (0+ / 0-)

                            Pretty serious stuff.  I'll try to go point by point.

                            I imagine most folks would like to think they came by success fairly.  I imagine most folks would be correct to think so.  I imagine people have different views about what is fair or ethical.  That's why we have laws--to have a single code defining legit operations.

                            The MBA guy should be thrilled about his good fortune, and about his hard work.  He SHOULD want to help others to acheive it.  He should have the right to do that on his own terms, however.

                            I may have a strange an antiquated notion of personal property.  I've seen several people state things to the effect of "Sam Walton didn't make his store a success--our culture did.  It's our wealth!"  That seems to be the "new" notion of personal property, and, I must say, it's very different than my understanding of stuff.  I've never really seen anyone else put any money in my bank account, though, so perhaps you can understand my confusion when people say THEY created my wealth.  (Not that I really have any wealth.)

                            As far as being bitter, ungrateful and arrogant--maybe so.  Perhaps your resources would have been better spent on someone else.  Personally, I believe you should be able to spend "your" resources wherever and however you want--on me or someone else.  It's not my place to say "Who are you to judge whether I deserve your resources?", because (in my antiquated worldview) they're YOUR resources.  (except that, according to a lot of people, they aren't.  They're mine, because I "created the culture" that allowed you to have those resources.)  Furthermore, I don't believe you've really contributed all that much to my development, and I don't remember signing a contract promising to "pay back" anything.

                            My life of privelege?  My dad was a bus driver.  So was my mom.  He left when I was about a year old.  She worked for years, a single parent, until we  moved to rural TX.  She moved out here because a wealthy individual had died and left his estate in a trust fund to give a full scholarship to any school in the state to the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the small-town high school he had graduated from. While I was still in high school, she finally got her degree.  Teaching and going to school at night, she eventually got her Masters, and is now a diagnostician.  Big money, let me tell you.  She's still paying for her school.  I was lucky, I guess, in that I happened to be Valedictorian when I graduated.  Thank goodness for all the society that did my homework for me! (yeah, that's sarcasm)  I went to school for a coupla years, eventually catching a drug charge and getting locked up, which meant I failed that semester, thereby losing my scholarship.  Never did get back in school.  Ineligible for grants.  So I've screwed around for the past decade or so, been homeless, spent a coupla years in the joint, scraped by, etc.  Life of privelege?  Faced hardship?  Dunno.  Your call.

                            What makes me exempt from feeding a person?  I didn't know I needed an exemption.  I thought I fed hungry folks because I wanted to, not because I'm required to do so.  "I'll give what I choose to give" makes sense to me.  I think each person, like I've said, is the best judge of their own resources, not an outside party.  It's real easy for me to say YOU should give more; it's a lot harder to say, "You know what, I don't NEED the internet.  I'll sell my computer (or TV, or Lexus, or...) and give the money to a hungry person."  The point remains that SOMEONE must decide how to distribute the resources of a charity, so SOMEONE will be "playing God", as you call it.  Doesn't it make sense for the person who has the resources to get to decide how to distribute them?  Do you truly believe everyone who wants a handout is equally worthy of one?  You've seen the bankers running around crying about how they "need" money, haven't you?

                            Moral superiority?  I don't think I've claimed any.  I agree that people need ethics and scruples as well.  Unfortunately, a lot of people have very different ethics than I--ethics that allow them to sit on a street corner and panhandle $400 a day.  I don't think those people need my money, any worse than I do.  

                            The society I would like to see helps those that have less--willingly.  Of their own choice.  Out of their own pocket.  Not out of someone else's pocket, and not because it's mandated.

                          •  lettuce pickers (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            They make $50 an hour don't they?  I don't think lettuce pickers need to worry about anything...

                          •  You are kidding, I hope. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            xysea

                            You know they don't make that much.

                          •  He was just mocking eudemonist (0+ / 0-)

                            Because eudemonist has made a number of silly claims about life.

                          •  i'm really not mocking eudemonist (0+ / 0-)

                            Even though I disagree with him.
                            It was a reference to a John Mccain incident.

                  •  It may come under the heading (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Land of Enchantment

                    of 'standard of living.

                    Having spent a few days every year without electric, TV, cable, lights, running water and phone, I can testify people will not go back to that kind of life.

                    We now have a generater and had partial services this last icy spell, although our cable was down and we couldn't use the dishwasher or get the local antenna to work.  Our generator did a fine job of running the fan for our fireplace furnace and the well and even then it was 'hard'. I could have used the computer but was afraid the generator could cause problems, so I didn't use it. It was boring.

                    We are no longer little house on the prairie type people.  We are high tech on the pipes people:-)

              •  Our politicians are already some of the (7+ / 0-)

                wealthiest people from their communities.

                What does that say about capitalism and government?

                Only the wealthy need apply?

                Capitalism kept in check by a strong government well funded by the fruits of the capitalism it watches over. A government that then uses ITS fair share and further nurtures true capitalism through infrastructure investment and assuring the health, welfare and education of ALL its people.

                We are truly heading in the direction of aristocracy. Public education is being starved to death and fewer and fewer parents are finding themselves able to afford private educations for their kids. Which in turn creates a greater and greater gap between the haves (a quality education) and the have-nots. This, I believe, is being done very much on purpose by some in government.

                It's going to leave America much like 19th century England. That too was capitalism - unfettered capitalism at its worse.

                I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

                by Pescadero Bill on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:35:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm dependent (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                carolkay, Land of Enchantment

                You're dependent.

                We all depend on government to build and operate the public infrastructure--schools, roads, courts,  which we all depend on to prosper. When some of us prosper far out of proportion to the rest, there is nothing at all improper about expecting them to pay back in proportion to their level of prosperity.

                The Robber Barons of the 19th century would have had people believe that they amassed their huge fortunes from the sweat of their own brows, when in fact they got rich by exploiting the labor of millions. The New Robber Barons of Wall St would dearly love to do the same. We won't let them.

                Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                by drewfromct on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:49:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Dependant? (6+ / 0-)

            What right wing hole did you crawl out of.

            The "dependents" now are your "masters of the universe" on Wall Street.  They take working people's taxes.

            You can puff yourself up with that crap, but I doubt you belong to the truly wealthy.  Just another wanna-be.  They laugh at the minions who do their dirty work.

            The word used is "sucker."

            "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

            by TomP on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:22:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You don't understand capitalism, do you? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Land of Enchantment, xysea

            By definition, capital = resource + labor
            7th grade economics

            Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

            by gatorcog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:21:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  If you - (17+ / 0-)

        by dint of using resources that belong to us all - make a huge living, then yes you should be obligated to pay something back to the community.  You don't just get to take and keep.  That's why we're in the chaos we're in now - because people like you felt like they were entitled...to keep the profits earned from using resources that belong to ALL CITIZENS.

        I'm sick of GOP SOP!

        by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:21:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The rich were never self-made (26+ / 0-)

        Don't believe their propaganda. They always relied on the society that made it possible for them to prosper.

        •  Everyone else... (0+ / 0-)

          ...relied on the same society.  Why didn't they get rich?

          •  Opportunity, luck, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Land of Enchantment

            and sometimes you can do everything right and still fail.  It's how life goes sometimes.

            However, NO ONE does it completely without help of any kind.  That's a mythology that needs to die.

            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:19:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's how life goes sometimes. (0+ / 0-)

              Sometimes you do everything right and fail.
              Sometimes (like me) you do everything wrong and still fail.

              Some people, however, succeed.

              If we take money from the successful people to redistribute to the other people, how do we determine which people have "done everything right" and which are just lazy?  Or do we just make the successful people subsidize EVERYONE else?

              If you set it up so that everyone gets the same amount of wealth, regardless of their level of success, people won't bother to succeed.

              •  "Let them eat cake" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                xysea

                Of course.  What else?

                "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

                by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:33:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Why this obsession (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Land of Enchantment

                with other peoples' work ethic?  Why the determination of 'hard working' vs. 'lazy'?  

                I guarantee you many a CEO would be termed lazy by my standards, yet they make 100x my annual pay.

                I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:43:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So they got lucky (0+ / 0-)

                  and you didn't.  I don't think that means you should be able to take their money because of it.

                  Otherwise, I'd hang out at casinos a lot more.

                  •  No, they took more (0+ / 0-)

                    from resources than I did.  So, therefore they need to give back more.

                    Not less.

                    I'm not taking anything of theirs.  But all along, they've been taking part of what's mine.  Is it wrong to ask them to pay back into it, so it's there for the next person?

                    I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                    by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:53:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wait, they... (0+ / 0-)

                      ..."took more from resources"?

                      What does that mean, in the context of our "lazy CEO"?  What did they take of yours?

                      And, if they're making more, aren't they already giving back more via normal taxes?

                      "I'm not taking anything of theirs" and "They need to give back more" seem kind of contradictory to me.  Perhaps you can clarify?

                      •  No, they aren't. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Land of Enchantment

                        Their tax rate right now is as 'low' as mine, and they get to buy tax shelters and other stuff, I don't get to buy so in effect it's quite a bit lower.

                        (a) Philanthropy would be a start.  And I don't mean $80K office rugs.  

                        (b) Progressive tax structure.

                        Who works harder?  Well, what does that mean?  

                        A logger might log for 8 hours a day for 4 days a week, with physical labor.  I however, might work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, working with computers.

                        Who works harder?  How can you tell?  Is success a measure of hard work?  I've known many a restaurant owner who worked 15 hrs a day whose businesses failed.  Would you call them lazy?  

                        I think a lettuce picker might work harder than I do, but I have different skills that I was able to get that maybe he couldn't or didn't have an opportunity to get.  I don't know his life.  What I do know is, I don't begrudge helping his kids get health insurance, or a hot meal, or a roof.  

                        I understand what it's like to be poor, and I got help.  It helped make me who I am today, and so therefore I have zero problem with paying taxes, even progressive taxes.

                        I took from the system, now I give back. I have compassion for those less well off than myself.

                        Empathy deficit disorder is a real personality condition - you should Google it.

                        I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                        by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:15:39 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Charity (0+ / 0-)

                          I don't begrudge his kids hot meals or a roof either.  I'm a huge believer in charity.  

                          I DO NOT, however, believe that government should have ANYTHING to do with it.  I believe charity should be an individual decision, made by each person, based on their individual assesment of their own needs, the needs and worthiness of others (on a case by case basis), and their worldview.  When a person controls their own giving, they can screen potential recipients for actual need and for effort level.  When the government does it, who knows who it's going to?

                          I help people because it reinforces my notion that, were I in need of help, others would help me.  (I have been, and some did)  I believe it makes us stronger as a society and as a species.

                          I also understand, though, that not all people share my outlook.  They would rather save their excess money, for a rainy day, to insure against catastrophe, or so their kids can have Wiis.  I may not believe that to be the best course of action, but it's not up to me.  It's their money, and they should get to do what they want with it, period.  I may not like their choices, but I can accept that it's their choice.

                          •  Charity can be egoism run amok (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment, xysea

                            Charity to fill in for the failures of government is fairly admirable, but insisting that the government fail to do its job so you can proudly offer your charity is pathetic self-worship.

                          •  We have a fundamental disagreement. (0+ / 0-)

                            I think it is OUR job (as in you and I) to determine how much we have to share, how much we are willing to share, who is a deserving recipient of our sharing, and how best to utilize our personal surpluses.

                            You seem to think it is the responsibility of the government to determine these things for us.

                            Why?

                            Do you believe the government has better and more thorough understanding of your financial state?

                            Do you believe the government is able to utilize your surplus more efficiently?

                            Do you believe the government is a better judge of who is deserving?

                            Do you think your personal perspective on giving should be a law, thereby forcing everyone else to conform to your personal perspective?

                          •  You reject the concept of society (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            xysea

                            You falsely assume that all of your wealth arose from your own work, just as that sociopath Ayn Rand did. Evidence shows that such an assumption is false. Making policy decisions based on that erroneous claim destroys countries.

                            Evidence also shows that societies with successful government and the rule of law are more successful than those that are corrupt or failed.

                            Your questions make baseless assumptions.

                          •  None of that... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...at all pertains to the questions I asked, as far as I can see.

                            I do assume my wealth rose from my own work.  I'll tell you why.
                            For a while, I didn't do any work.  I didn't have any wealth.
                            Then I did some work, which resulted in me having "stuff", which is kind like wealth but less expensive.
                            Ayn Rand wrote some books, which were bought by people.  It seems like "her writing a book" is an integral part of "someone buying her book".  Or am I missing something?

                            I "reject the concept of society".  Awful fancy-sounding.  WTF does it mean?

                            How does assuming my work led to my wealth affect the answer to a question like, "Do you believe the government is able to utilize your surplus more efficiently than you are?"?  It seems like a yes or no question.  What baseless assumption am I making?  That it's MY surplus?  Take that "your" out, if you like.

                          •  Your work paid because you lived in this society (0+ / 0-)

                            If you think you can go it alone, go to Somalia or somewhere else with no government.

                          •  Don't recall saying that... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...but maybe I did.

                            You think if I went to Somalia and wrote a popular book, I wouldn't get paid for it?

                          •  Please let me know, (0+ / 0-)

                            how you decide who is deserving?  Do you take applications, or just pass a moral judgment?

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:04:13 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I pass a moral judgement. (0+ / 0-)

                            Some people do what they can to help themselves.  Others don't.

                            It's totally a judgement call, based on my individual perceptions of the person and the situation.

                            Crack pipe sticking out of your pocket?  Probably not getting a donation.
                            Asking if there's any work you can do in exchange for food?  Probably getting a donation.

                            Any time anybody gets any money, someone somewhere is making the call on whether or not they deserve it, be it Social Security, Unemployment, Food Stamps, anything.  I feel like, with my money, that judgement call should belong to me or a representative of my choosing (i.e. my church's Homeless Outreach program).  

                            I'll admit it's easier in a small community.  When your town is small enough that you can actually KNOW the people around you, it's a lot easier to tell who's out to get over and who is genuinely having a rough time through no fault of their own.

                          •  How can you possibly know (0+ / 0-)

                            what is going on in someone's life?

                            And why would someone with a drug addiction not be eligible for help?  I don't see the logic.  Do you just right them off, then?  Good riddance to bad rubbish?

                            Wow.  That's a shame.  I know a lot of former drug addicts and alcoholics who cleaned up and are contributing members of society.  Of course, they couldn't have done it without compassion, charity and help.

                            Your moral judgment is blinding you to greater truths - like that yes, we are all our brothers' keepers.  And some of us are prodigal children.  Whether you're a Christian, or not, it's not too hard to see that 'if we do not hang together, we most assuredly will hang separately.'  Or my favorite 'E Pluribus Unum'.  Out of many, one.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:27:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So.. (0+ / 0-)

                            ...you have no standards who you give you money to?  Just give to anyone who asks for it?

                            What if they're driving a Benz?

                            I can know what's going on in a persons' life by seeing how they life and how they act.  

                            I might give to someone with a crack pipe in their pocket.  I might not.  After the first four times I give them money and walk across the street to the crack house, I'll probably stop giving them money.  That's my idea of "helping" an addict.

                            Yours may very well be different, and you should be free to give YOUR money to whoever YOU want.  And the same applies to me.

                            Just so you know, I can't get a Pell Grant 'cause I have a drug conviction.  If the Pell Grant came from an individual instead of being administered by the government, I would probably have better luck.

                          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                            How many CEOs and investment bankers give a significant amount to charity in lieu of taxes?

                            I'd love to see the numbers on that.

                            Because as people have proven, time and time again, most can't move beyond self-interest unless they are required to by a larger entity...but it has to be an entity that they put stock in.  A non-religious person is not moved to give to a church.  A non-government person is not moved to give to the government.  That is why there are all kinds, and all kinds of giving are welcome and accepted.

                            Assuming you do give to charity of some kind, how much of your gross annual income (percentage-wise) goes towards charitable gifts?  Do you also tell those charities exactly how to spend the money, and on do you get a determination on deciding whether the beneficiaries are lazy or hardworking?

                            Just curious.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:03:41 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So, are your 'savers' exempting (0+ / 0-)

                            themselves from future government help?  I mean, I've known plenty of savers that had their hands out to FEMA when their rooves leaked after a major storm.

                            Not sayin', just sayin'.

                            I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                            by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:05:39 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hmm... (0+ / 0-)

                            I'd say I probably give around five percent.  Not as much as I should, because I'm a greedy bastard, but more than I got when I was needy.

                            Some of my giving is personal, other is through my church, a representative OF MY OWN CHOOSING whose selection process is one I agree with.

                            Savers exempting themselves from future government help?  Dunno.  Kinda doubt it.  Most of the time when people say, "The government is giving away money!", folks start showing up out of the woodwork with their hand out.

                            Just beacuse they were saving doesn't mean they weren't paying their taxes.

              •  who says (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Land of Enchantment

                I haven't seen anyone advocating equal wealth for all.  I think a more progressive tax system, that cuts deeply into income in the millions, would still allow for the upper crusty and peasant classes to exist.

          •  Exploitation of laws, cheating, etc. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mamamedusa

            Who's creating wealth in Somalia?

            •  Are you saying... (0+ / 0-)

              ...that successful people got that way by cheating?

              •  Not always (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Calamity Jean

                I was adding xysea's list.

                It is clear that most were favored by rules that helped them and hurt their competitors.

                Andrew Carnegie was allowed to hire people to murder his own employees. It was legal.

              •  Part of how JD Rockefeller "succeeded"... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mamamedusa, Calamity Jean

                ... was by having people kill strikers' children, as young as 2 years old.  You sure you want to go there?

                "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

                by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:37:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't say... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...NO successful people cheated.  I don't think ALL of them did, though.

                  •  Not all success is measured by riches, either (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm perfectly willing to limit total inheritance, instead.

                    •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

                      Why should I not be able to give my stuff to my kids?  If I earn enough to provide for my children, my children's children, and their eighty-three kids, I earned it.  Why should I not be allowed to give it to who I want?

                      •  because it creates (2+ / 0-)

                        Because it creates an aristocratic class.  Because your descendents will not have any reason to work, create, contribute or achieve anything.  Because WE as a society, believe that no one deserves a billion dollar fortune just for being born.  Because it's un-American.

                        •  You're saying... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...only needy people contribute, create, or acheive anything?

                          I don't buy that.  Do you think Pythagoras spent a lot of time wondering where his next meal was coming from?

                          I don't think my kids deserve anything for being born.  I DO think they deserve everything I am capable of giving them for BEING MY KIDS.  Carrying on my genome means a lot to me.

                      •  You didn't earn it all by yourself (0+ / 0-)

                        You relied on the culture you lived in to give you the opportunity to succeed.

                        •  Once again, (0+ / 0-)

                          if the CULTURE is responsible for my success, why isn't everyone in the culture enjoying the same success?  That variable is the same for everyone, so something else must be making the difference.

                          Are you saying the individual makes NONE of it by himself?  

                      •  Society as a whole has an interest (2+ / 0-)

                        in the devolution of property through generations.  No one has an unfettered right to leave property to whomever they want -- they haven't since medieval times, statutes of uses and mortmain, the rules against perpetuity etc.

                        These days there are rules about disenfrancising spouses and dependant children, about paying back for governement benefits and other debts.

                        Any property right you had died with you.  The property rights of other, to the extent they have any, can be balanced with the needs of society, and have for literally thousands of years.

                        In this case, one can argue that the need for revenue and the concern over accumulations of weath can trump the weak or non-existance property rights of dead owners, and people who only think they are entitled to own it. Whether those restrictions take the form of a tax or other restriction on property devolution is irrelevant.

                        •  Yeah. (0+ / 0-)

                          It's easy to steal from dead people.  They can't exactly take you to court.

                          •  Of course, it isn't stealing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            milkbone

                            since you don't own it anymore.

                            It would be stealing (which assumes no legal right to possess) from those individuals the law provides have rights in the property.  Which as been a matter of statute, not natural right, since the days that the crown owned all the land in England.

                            But those rights are not inherent or natural law, nor are they not subject to the balancing rights and interests in society.

                            Just as one's freedom of speech is curbed when you yell fire in a crowded theatre, one' property rights (to the extent you ahve them at all) can be curb when greater interests in society prevail.  We balance rights all the time, in every situation.

                          •  I'll freely admit... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...I'm not conversant with the laws regarding such, present or antique.  All I have to work off of is my common sense, which tells me I should be able to do what I want with my money.  Silly concept, I hear, but it makes sense in my little mind.

                            In Olde England, of course, the crown owned the money, so it makes sense that the owner would get to decide where the money went.

                            I like "...one can argue that the need for revenue and the concern over accumulations of weath can trump the weak or non-existance property rights of dead owners, and people who only think they are entitled to own it."  I'd wager one CAN argue just about anything.  Whether they'd be right to do so, of course, is sometimes a different story.

                          •  you can't do a damn thing (0+ / 0-)

                            when you're dead.  If you are rich, your kids will be fine.  Are you trying to leave them more than 3 or 4 million?  If so, why?

                          •  Because... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...I hope to have around seventy kids, and would like to provide for the next ten generations.  They're just as deserving as anyone else.

                          •  what do you advocate anyway? (0+ / 0-)

                            Instead of complaining about paying taxes, just make more money.  Work harder and make a few billion.  What's stopping you?

                          •  well in that case (0+ / 0-)

                            You don't deserve shit.  Go live under a bridge with the rest of the lazy fucks.  I don't want to have to see you, and I sure as hell don't want to smell your stank.

                          •  I'm not asking for shit. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not jumping up and down claiming I've been put upon by society, or that anyone owes me anything.

                            It's folks on here saying that I (or anyone) deserve a handout because I (or they) contributed to Sam Walton's wealth by somehow "creating a culture that led to his success" that irk me.  And it's the people that buy into that idea that scare me.

                          •  I suppose... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...I'm hanging around because I'm actually hoping someone will convince me I DO deserve some rich guy's money, so I can feel some of the righteous indignation about my own situation and not feel bad for it when they take his cash.

                            Not that I'd ever see any of it.

                          •  Or... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...I could just agree right along with you guys, and talk about how the system got me down, about how I can't get any money to go back to school because I got a drug conviction, about how the rich are weasels and trying to control us, how I'm enslaved in my no-health-insurance dead-end job by white folks who inherited all their money and want to live off the money they make standing on my back, drinking wine fermented with my sweat and tears.

                            Of course, I'd be lying.  But people would like me more...

                          •  After your performance in this diary... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... I rather doubt people here would really warm up to you either way.  I don't know if you are a jerk, but you certainly are acting like one.

                            "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

                            by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:05:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry (2+ / 0-)

                            I didn't mean to attack, belittle or offend anyone.

                            My apologies.

                          •  No problem. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wvhillrunner

                            No hard feelings from me, bro.

                          •  You dont need to be a lawyer (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            to know you can't do anything you want with your money.  You can't buy drugs with it.  You can't bribe public officials with it.  You can't insider trade with it (ask Martha).  You can't use it build buildings that are not zoning compliant.  Society balances your property rights against the needs of society (to not have drugs, corrupt politicians, Martha Steward or strip clubs near schools) all the time.

                            Its no different here.  Your property rights are being balanced with the needs of society.

                            In my view, whats lacking is the following -- up to a certain point, we actually do think that accumulations of wealth are good.  We want small business to grow and create jobs.  We want families to have savings for retirement.  We want land to be farmed.

                            At some point, however, the accumulation crosses the line from being productive to counter productive -- where the accumulation stifles work ethic, ingenuity, fairness and access.   It is at that point where the needs of society tip the balance in favor of a limitation on accumulations (in this form, the estate tax).

                            I've never seen a rational, economic discussion of where that tipping point is.  The exemption amount has heretofore been some random number picked out of the sky, as far as I can tell.   Congress needs Nate Silver!

                          •  Thanks for being rational, ElaineinIN. (0+ / 0-)

                            Good influence of all those Indiana Carnegie libraries?

                            "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

                            by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:18:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah, I grew up in CT, near RI (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Land of Enchantment

                            so not the Indiana libraries but many others

      •  How do you think they got rich? (19+ / 0-)

        virtually all business transactions would not be possible were it not for the legal enforcement made possible by government entities.

        Patent law, commercial codes, even government contracts and subsidies, etc. etc. etc.

        Let's not forget public education too.

        The myth of the self made man is pervasive throughout Republican mythology.  If they get rich, it is by their own hand, and thus they feel they owe no one for it.

        It's pure bullshit, of course, don't buy into it.

        We have a right to tax what was enabled by our tax dollars to begin with.

        (-8.50, -7.54) Only the educated are free. -Epictetus

        by Tin hat mafia on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:43:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What? (4+ / 0-)

        Nobody owes me anything, sure. But they owe our common society the means to sustain itself.

        The future is this moment, and not someplace out there.

        by MBNYC on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:29:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Get a freaking clue (11+ / 0-)

        no, make that get a goddamned clue.

        You think wealth is a matter of how hard you work? That there are no institutional advantages for some people and barriers to others?

        If you're poor, it's your fault, right? and if you're rich, you did it all yourself, right?

        What an idiot.

        And I say that as someone in the top 5% of (family) incomes, as someone who will be subject to the estate tax (although not next year, watch out, rents) and who voted for Obama and who actually recognizes the systemic advantages that allowed me to get where I am.

        In short, I didn't do this on my own, I have had many blessings and good fortune, and frankly, for that I feel I owe something back.

        So I'll pay my fair share.

        Will you? And do you even have any concept of the meaning of the word "fair?"

        Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - WSCoffin

        by stitchmd on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:30:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is how you become rich, ctexrep: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Land of Enchantment, xysea

        You are fortunate enough to live in a country where taxes paid by the poor and middle class have paid for the infrastructure, built by poor and middle class labor, so that you can transport your goods and services (if you didn't inherit idle wealth) and maintain your business over, or with, the infrastructure (roads, water sewer, elctrical grid, etc.), or transmit paper that represent imaginary dollars in a scheme where you use other people's money to convince them they will make a profit so that you can make a profit.
        If you are rich ctexrep, it is you that has the entitlement, not the ones you choose not to see that have paved your way.  
        If you can't see this, try getting rich in a country like Ghana.  
        Oh, and thanks to your kind who have brought the USA to its knees, once again.

        Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

        by gatorcog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:15:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If you pay your fair share, you won't accumulate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Land of Enchantment

        lots of wealth.  Besides, managing wealth is so time-consuming that your obligations to the community are bound to slide.  So, the accumulation of wealth is antithetical to being socially responsible.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:22:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Entitlement? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Land of Enchantment, milkbone

        "Entitlement" is the mentality of those who expect to inherit whatever their forebears may have earned (or inherited). A truly disturbing number of Americans have begun to think this way, that they deserve an inheritance.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:06:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, MBNYC-- we are all in this together, and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment

      it's truly unfortunate that certain billionaires don't think in those terms.  The key word you use is "fair."  Also, you are so right about Louis XVI, and unless our wealthy people don't realize this, then history will surely repeat; it's simply human nature.

  •  The Death tax effects (13+ / 0-)

    many of much lesser means than the Rockefeller's and the Carnegie's - the ceiling is way too low - I'm not for getting rid of it but let's raise the ceiling to make sure small business and farms don't get caought up with it.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:53:46 AM PST

  •  Brother, can you spare a billion? (13+ / 0-)

    And if they can't, we should just help ourselves to it.

    And my favorite Carnegie library is the one in Clarksdale, MS, which has a nice Delta Blues museum that I visited years ago.

    Woke up this morning, economy was not too sound
    Woke up this morning, economy was not too sound
    You better believe the GOP is going down...

    The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

    by kovie on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 05:54:30 AM PST

  •  The Free Money Tax (29+ / 0-)

    Estate Money is Free Money to the descendants that receive it. They do nothing to earn it. It is Free Money. I used to shine my Dad's shoes for a quarter a pair. My first job. My folks told us kids straight out they intended to spend everything they had saved and we should count on nothing but divison of their belongings and the value of their home when they died.

    Fair enough.

    We were taught to earn our way through life. No free money.

    Work and earn.

    No free money.

    I've got tax tables on the free money tax here but no time to post the data. Very few families are effected by the free money tax. Only the very richest are impacted. Lack of a free money tax takes money out of circulation which is bad for the economy. A free money tax on thre wealithiest of families ensures that money remains in circulation in the economy which is good for the economy.

    Very good for the economy.

    Very good for equality too.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as free money.

    Keep the Free Money Tax strong!

  •  Another great diary. (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the research and the pictures.  My education is sorely lacking, as I do not remember studying anything about Ludlow.  We really do have some sorry times in our past.

  •  Excellent, LoE. (14+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the research and pictures. You've woven together beautifully the issues of taxes and philanthropy and the role of government in mending and maintaining the social fabric. I particularly admire your concluding sentence:

    But in this time of the great unraveling, many small threads need to be woven back into the fabric of our society to make it whole again.

    Because of the impoverishment of American cultural and social life, and the consistent rightwing message that all that matters is money, our imagination and complex thinking have taken a hit. As if financial indicators are the only measure of value. Other economies are just as important for a meaningful and healthy body politic--and that is one that is ultimately the foundation of a fullsome and meaningful prosperity.

  •  Great job (10+ / 0-)

    This is the strongest, most accessible case I've seen against the repeal of the estate tax.

    BTW, you forgot to mention the massacre that occurred at Carnegie's Homestead plant when they called in the Pinkertons during a strike.

    Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama!

    by Drowning Wave on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:11:56 AM PST

  •  For Republicans, the decline in philanthropy (12+ / 0-)

    from the repeal of the estate tax is a feature, not a bug.

  •  You know, you can say what you will (5+ / 0-)

    about robber barons of old - they gave back.  They built things like libraries and occasionally bailout out the government.

    However, today's robber barons?  Not so much.  Oh, sure they do philanthropic stuff, but mostly that's tokenism and for show.  More often than not, they buy another house or yacht.

    There are a couple of notable exceptions - Buffet and Gates spring to mind, and I think Ted Turner did too.

    I'm sick of GOP SOP!

    by xysea on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:19:10 AM PST

    •  Some of 'em (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldjohnbrown, cjallen, xysea, chrome327

      Not all of 'em.  And really, it shouldn't only be those who are in the top hundred or so richest people of all time who do some giving back.  On that score, a few today are following up - Gates, Buffett, and Bill Clinton's efforts through his Foundation all are in that mold.

      "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

      by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:23:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I currently attend a robberbarron University (6+ / 0-)

      Vanderbilt....although the old commodore never set foot on our campus, he funded it's initial startup.

      The payback, even in those days, came at the end of their lives...I like to think that they were just pissing their kids off by giving away a sizeable chunk of their inheritance.

      (-8.50, -7.54) Only the educated are free. -Epictetus

      by Tin hat mafia on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:52:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not quite (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment

      robber barons of old - they gave back.  They built things like libraries

      IIRC, Carnegie's librarys were closed on Sundays---his overworked and grossly underpaid employees' only day off.

      We would also do well to remember and point out that the "philanthropy" of the Robber Barons amounted to a mere tiny fraction of their huge fortunes, which were accumulated by ruthless exploitation of labor.

      If Rockefeller and Carnegie hadn't been such greedy bastards, they would have paid their workers living wages, and there'd have been no huge fortunes to give away--and no need to.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:03:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for another fine diary LoE. (6+ / 0-)

    Beautifully done.

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:25:48 AM PST

    •  I've been mustering forces, so to speak... (7+ / 0-)

      ... about getting more info out about the New Deal for some time now.  Somehow hit critical mass this week.  Really POed at Lou Dobbs now, who has decided to go after the one quarter of one percent of the recovery package marked for the National Parks.  Which would make a dent in the maintenance backlog for same identified during the Bush the Lesser years.

      But it's still gonna take awhile to do that aspect of the New Deal right.  Some of the WPA's best legacy is what was done for the National Parks.

      ARRGGGHHHH!!!!!  These naysayers are really starting to piss me off.  I think it's gonna take me awhile to play this one out.  I might be getting some Pombo-sized righteousness going on again.

      "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

      by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:40:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love libraries. (8+ / 0-)

    But you make a good point about the death tax creating an incentive for wealthy families to set up philanthropies to give out money (although a very small portion) as an alternative to the tax.

    This is not to say that the tax should be gotten around, but that the tax should be increased as an incentive to either pay up or renew the motivation for creative alternatives.

    The billionnaires should be paying out more to the public, in support of the common good.

    Their money came from us, either as workers "contributing" to their bottom line, or as shoppers, borrowers, etc.

  •  I learned to love reading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    in the cute little Carnegie library in my home town. I missed it when they tore it down, even though the one that replaced it had many improvements.

  •  A poem (7+ / 0-)

    The Terrible people

    People who have what they want are very fond of telling people who haven't what they
    want that they really don't want it,

    And I wish I could afford to gather all such people into a gloomy castle on the Danube
    and hire half a dozen capable Draculas to haunt it.

    I dont' mind their having a lot of money, and I don't care how they employ it,

    But I do think that they damn well ought to admit they enjoy it.

    But no, they insist on being stealthy

    About the pleasures of being wealthy,

    And the possession of a handsome annuity

    Makes them think that to say how hard it is to make both ends meet is their bounden
     duity.

    You cannot conceive of an occasion

    Which will find them without some suitable evasion.

    Yes indeed, with argumetsn they are very fecund;

    Their first point is that money isn't everything, and that they have no money anyhow is
     their second.

    Some people's money is merited,

    And other people's is inherited,

    But wherever it comes from,

    They talk about it as if it were something you got pink gums from.

    Perhaps indeed the possession of wealth is constantly distressing,

    But I should be quite willing to assume every curse of wealth if I could at the same
     time assume every blessing.

    The only incurable troubles of the rich are the troubles that money can't cure,

    Which is a kind of trouble that is even more troublesome if you are poor.

    Certainly there are lots of things in life that moeny won't buy, but it's very funny --

    Have you ever tried to buy them without money?

    -Ogden Nash

    http://www.eliteskills.com/...

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:36:35 AM PST

  •  The current stimulus bill... (5+ / 0-)

    dubbed by some as the "New" New Deal doesn't approach the scope of the actual New Deal, in my view. More analysis is needed. I don't like the rush to get this bill passed.

  •  Another great diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolkay, Land of Enchantment

    Thank you.  It also illustrates the struggles that many unions had to go through in the early part of the last century.  I don't think people realize that men and women were actually killed over these issues.

    I don't need to move mountains, I just need the strength to climb.

    by Mote Dai on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:57:24 AM PST

  •  America (6+ / 0-)

    America once had a much larger middle class but sadly, that was when the rich were taxed a bit more to make things a bit more even and take a bit of the tax burden off the lower paid employees.

    To read that guy down there in the comment section who just because he started a business he deserves everything he has.  BS.  People put in time and effort to help you.

    And in my opinion, anybody who has over 1 billion dollars either charged somebody else too much or failed to pay others what they deserve.

    But the Haves have it and the Nots don't (though the Republicans still think that Democrats are all on Welfare somehow - well if their little corporations paid more).

    Reagananomics ruined this country's middle and lower classes.  Reagan - anyone today who still believes in the man are just greedy, selfish people, IMO.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 06:59:42 AM PST

    •  Capitalism in our society should reward industry (3+ / 0-)

      creativity, initiative, risk-taking and plain old hard work.  If you invent something, start a business or build up an existing one and it makes a lot of money, I'll be the first to take my hat off and congratulate.  People who work hard and take risks to succeed deserve the rewards.  That is what makes capitalist economies strong and dynamic.

      As with many systems, there is a downside to be guarded against.  When money itself earns money via interest, a wealthy person is exacting a tribute from the system (i.e. the rest of us) by virtue of ownership of that money and nothing else.  With compounding, this economic power grows exponentially with time resulting in an unfair aggregation of wealth and power at the top, disconnected from merit or contributions made to the system.  When such power is handed down by inheritance, effectively transferring a right to tax the rest of us for personal benefit, the distorting effects on society grow.  Eventually, one winds up with a virtual aristocracy of wealth with a two-tiered economy, a modern take on feudalism of Lords and serfs/commoners.  

      I say to hell with the economic royalists who believe it is their right to rule us because of their UNEARNED family billions!  They like to believe it is because of their intrinsic greatness or brilliance, but this is nothing more than BS borne of high arrogance nurtured by a life of privilege.  Who was it that said the likes of GWB are born on 3rd base but think they hit a triple?
       
      Large sums of unearned wealth should be taxed when transferred.  If they call that "class warfare" I say GAME ON!

      The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

      by mojo workin on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:23:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meanwhile in Hollywood (4+ / 0-)

    87 years ago, entertainment luminaries including Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith created The Motion Picture Relief Fund to "Take Care of Our Own."

    The Motion Picture Relief Fund evolved into the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTV).  Some of it's history is memorialized on a metal placque by the koi pond next to one of its newer structures:

    Koi Pond

    This koi pond is a living tribute to the leadership of Jean Hersholt, actor, directtor, and former President of the Motion Picture and Television Fund.  Jean purchased these grounds for the Fund in 1941, writing a personal check for the down payment. His passion and dedication to humanitarian service galvanized the Hollywood community, and as a result, the first buildings of the Motion Picture Country House were opened on September 27, 1942.  Culbert L. Olson, then Governor of California, said at the time:

    "This project is evidence of the unselfish hearts of people of the motion picture industry, who at all times come forward to give their talents and services in times of need."

    Jean Hersholt's dream was to help those in need in the entertainment industry.  His dedication made that dream a reality.  His vision lives on.

    Donated by the Wasserman Family Foundation

    On January 14, 2009 the Hollywood community was shocked to learn that the MPTF is phasing out long term care for the oldest and most fail residents of its Woodland Hills retirement community.  On that day social workers told bed bound residents in their 80s, 90s and 100s that they would have to start looking for other accomodations, even though many of them had moved to the retirement community years earlier believing that they could live out their final years on the large MPTF "campus" which includes independent living, assisted living and long term care.


    Shame on Hollywood.  Shame on MPTF.

  •  Here's the one (3+ / 0-)

    I look at out of my Kingston (NY) High School classroom window everyday

    Hosting provided by FotoTime



    Voters just yesterday approved a plan to renovate & restore it as a tech center. It has been empty and unused for 25+ since the city library moved to larger quarters.

    We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals- *President Barack Obama 20 January 2009*

    by coachjdc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:12:57 AM PST

  •  My parents were both librarians (9+ / 0-)

    so I've been indoctrinated into the issues of libraries as public infrastructure all my life.

    My father was a professional librarian with two master's degrees (for which, along with his undergrad degree, he had the GI Bill to thank)  in upper management of a major city library.  He also was one of the first in the nation to create an "audio-visual" department in libraries, so people could listen to/borrow records and films (and now videos.)  Believe it or not, back in the early '50s, that was a hugely controversial issue in the library community!  He's kind of famous for it now, in library circles.

    My mother didn't have a MLS degree, but she was just as dedicated to the small branch libraries where she worked.  She was amazingly creative at making these places - especially the children's areas - into fantasylands, despite few assets in her budget.   She'd repaint, use my old toys, get used window displays from liquor stores and department stores, mold clay and melt plastic - all to create displays about popular books, bringing them to life.  She wasn't on horseback of course, but she also made a point of going to local nursing homes and hospitals and making sure the people there had plenty of reading material at all times.  She would remember the name of anyone who came to her library more than once and if they borrowed a few times, she'd make recommendations based on past choices.  

    Because I was an only child, with both my parents working, I spent a lot of hours in libraries when they'd bring me along with them.  I learned to read when I was 4 and was gifted with the love of learning from then on.  What a perfect way to spend your childhood - in the stacks.  And I never had overdue books!

    Library cutbacks began in the Reagan years and have continued unabated, even under Clinton.  My mother passed away from cancer at 53 in 1984. She was behind her desk at her library the day before she died. My father, who now is in his second career as a  teacher/lecturer (at 88!), retired from 42 years as the head of his department in 1989, but he still "consults" with them from time to time, and follows library politics. He can't believe what 8 years of Bush have done to the library system.  I think only Laura Bush, former librarian, kept old George from cutting libraries out of his budgets entirely.

    Yet even without help from the government, libraries soldier on, don't they?  I now live in a small town where the library is practically the hub.   Now that more people are out of work and can't afford Barnes and Noble, libraries are becoming even more vital to our communities.

    Thanks for this great diary...I'm going to pass it on to my father, who is about to begin teaching a class on the history of cabaret singers at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement.  The things you can learn in a library!

    Or as my mother would say, "BE ALL YOU CAN BE:  READ!"  

    "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS." - Gandhi

    by hopesprings on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:15:46 AM PST

  •  INDIANA!?!?!? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    I live in Indiana and the libraries haven't helped yet!

    The state is still full of idiots!  (Although, Indiana did give its electoral votes to Obama, so maybe we're slowly getting smarter...)

    "Action comes easy; it's the moments just before that are hard." ~Defiance, Ohio~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65I0HNvTDH4

    by mr Z on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:20:54 AM PST

    •  I've been to Carnegie libraries in Iowa (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment, milkbone, filby

      that were severely understaffed and understocked, with whole shelves standing empty in single-room libraries. As LoE points out, Carnegie only funded the construction of the buildings. The systematic theft of the average American's wealth and the relentless weakening of local governments have ensured that there isn't much of anything besides the buildings in many rural locations.

      [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

      by oldjohnbrown on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:32:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The carnegie library near my hometown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, Land of Enchantment

    isn't a library anymore-they built a nice new one - but it is now an art museum for the thriving local art community. So it has proven a community asset of enormous value for many years.  A lot of the ones in California have beautiful domes, as this one does in the rear of the building. Another feature they all seem to have is the peaked front gable.

    http://www.humboldtarts.org/

    Visit Northern Word, a writing, photo and travel blog.

    by decembersue on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:21:12 AM PST

  •  While I agree that the "death tax" (4+ / 0-)

    does a lot of good (and is pretty much an ideal tax, since it taxes something that can't be avoided and it has moral advantages as well), I question a more fundamental tax policy underlying all of this.

    Why does the government subsidize donating to charity?  There was a great piece on this in the NYT not long ago discussing how in certain cities, nonprofit revenue exceeds that of the local government.  Why are taxes in effect subsidizing the priorities of the wealthy (including things like huge donations to private schools and universities) instead of the priorities of all members of society?

    Most other countries do not subsidize charitable donations.  Are we ever going to have a discussion of what this buys us, and how we might better spend that money?

    Guide to my comments: When in doubt, assume sarcasm.

    by Gray on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:27:25 AM PST

  •  A fasinating glimse (4+ / 0-)

    into a era which seems to have come full circle. The amassing of wealth in the hands of the few seems so undemocratic and yet as a culture we seem to equate capitalism with freedom and believe individualism is more important then the common good. Ruthlessness is somehow a value, an trait we find admirable. Strange to see these pictures which show the last era when the robber barons were allowed to run amuk. They may have built public monuments and put money into foundations but it seems to me that it is small compensation to the well being of the people, and the land which provided the means for their ill gotten loot.

    Estate taxes on this kind of wealth is necessary. Tom Paine wrote about it in Common Sense. When the aristocracy keeps the wealth of a society in their hands for generations and they control both the government and the resources it is impossible for democracy to exist. Common good is required for a healthy economy. Progressive taxes and the 4 freedoms of FDR are more important then buildings and monuments. We do worship the rich it's like we believe that that's what this country is about. The land of opportunity to screw or get screwed. Sad to see how we have devolved instead of progressed.                

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 07:29:19 AM PST

  •  R*p*bl*c*ns at their most hypocritical (5+ / 0-)
    1.  The estate tax does not hurt Bill Gates, who's dead when the tax kicks in.  It hurts Billy Jr.
    1.  Billy Jr. gets rich, not by dint of his own skill and diligence, but by virtue of his dad having been skilled and diligent.  If you listen to R*p*bl*c*ns, you know well that hard work should be rewarded and that laziness should be discouraged.
    1.  No family farmer has ever lost his/her farm due to the estate tax.  Any assertion to the contrary is just plain false.
    1.  If Bill Gates leaves his entire estate to charity, he pays no estate tax.  None.  He can even leave a few million to Billy Jr. and still pay none.
  •  When the spouse and I were newlywed, (3+ / 0-)

    our very first "apartment" was a part of one of Andrew Carnegie's homes in southwestern PA.  The third floor, which had a separate entrance had been the servant's quarters.  We rented it from the folks who owned the home.  They occupied the first two floors.  The entire house (servant's quarters included) consisted of 18 rooms.

    After we moved and the folks we rented from got older, the house required too much upkeep, so they sold it to a company that was setting up nursing homes in the area.  That's currently what the house is now - a nursing home.

    "Ancora Imparo." ("I am still learning.") - Michelangelo, Age 87

    by Dreaming of Better Days on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:01:47 AM PST

  •  I'd like to see $$$ to develop local farming (3+ / 0-)

    The WPA farm-to-market road program improved a lot of lives. Every American could benefit from becoming a locavore.

    Homelessness and hunger are going to be even bigger problems soon.

     title=
    Homeless during the Bush Depression

    And I have a feeling the public library may be a lot more crowded when it gets hot this spring in the desert.

  •  I think I'm in love with those horses & mules (6+ / 0-)

    ... toting librarians and their books around for people to read.  They look like fine quality working draft animals, and remind me that this one bloodline that most of my horses have, which is known for its good temperament (gentle and not herd bound) and larger heads and feet, originated with a draft horse.

    "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

    by AmericanRiverCanyon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:17:06 AM PST

  •  the estate tax is essential to capitalism (4+ / 0-)

    The notion of inherited wealth of any notable size runs directly counter to democratic, entrepreneurial, work-based capitalism.

    By definition, if rich people earned their wealth, then their offspring didn't.

    If, on the other hand, rich people should be able to pass wealth onto their kids, then that's a direct admission that the concept of 'earning' one's wealth deteriorates rapidly beyond small amounts of money. In other words, the more valid the argument for not taxing inheritance, the more valid the argument for taxing wealth in general.

  •  Please (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolkay, Land of Enchantment

    accept my sincere "thank you" for posting these diaries. You really put these issues into practical context and remind us that life was not always as easy as it is today. (Of course, easy is a relative term.)

    Trust those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it. - Andre Gide

    by slapper95 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:27:31 AM PST

  •  Five Carnegie Library restoration projects are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment, filby

    included on the U.S. Conference of Mayors' stimulus bill wish list, you might be interested to know, Land. Locally, too, we've just started discussing the possibility of combining grants from Carnegie Foundation itself and federal stimulus money to restore and operate our own under-used Carnegie Library, owned by the city, so it's interesting to learn that, yes, the Carnegie Foundation gave bricks and mortar, but it was the gov't paid the operating expenses.

    You can get more details at www.stimuluswatch.org, which has a great searchable database of the mayors' wish list of "shovel ready" projects.

  •  Thanks, LOE for this excellent diary. I am glad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment, filby

    that you went off on the tangents you discussed.  The pictures are noteworthy as well, and it makes me realize that many great things can be done if people just put some thought and effort into it.  Best wishes.

  •  Marvelous diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment, filby

    That library in Rochester, NY has grand enough woodwork to visually complement the immense exterior, IMHO.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:48:03 AM PST

  •  This might be (2+ / 0-)

    my favorite Diary Ever. Period. My favorite blog posting ever. I love those old photographs and thanks for the history. I knew about the disgraceful anti-union history but not most of the things you talked aobut the WPA doing. And did i mention i LOVE those old photos? (photography nut). Keep up the good work and thanks again!

    Murder is Fun http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/10156

    by cdreid on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:57:31 AM PST

  •  Great pictures! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    Thanks for doing this diary.

  •  outstanding, LoE. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    thank you, again.

    The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
    Teilhard de Chardin

    by exmearden on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:59:47 AM PST

    •  Hey, exme (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exmearden

      Good to see you "out and about".  There's a lot more to mine from this vein of material.

      "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

      by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:01:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Quite a few Carnegie libraries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Land of Enchantment

        as you probably know, in Washington and Oregon.

        There a fine small one in inner NE Portland, near the city morgue that was used for awhile (okay, fifteen years ago or so) as the Multnomah County used book store. Several other examples around Portland, some still used as part of the library system (Albina, for one, if levy failures haven't killed it). I worked for five years in the county library system and got to know most of them quite well.

        In Ballard, here in the Puget Sound, a Carnegie library has been various businesses over the years, most recently a restaurant, I think. It's on Market Street, east of Bergen Square.

        There are several others, the last one built in 1921, I think. The Yesler branch, renamed the Douglass-Truth branch, was remodeled in the last few years...great article on the full Seattle library history here.

        I'm still here - and getting better. Back to work, now. Yikes.

        I saw my shadow on Monday, though...;)

        The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
        Teilhard de Chardin

        by exmearden on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:15:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Funny that Red Staters wanted to read at one time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment
  •  "Pack horse librarians"--why not now, too? n/t (2+ / 0-)
  •  This was an ethic for some (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    I grew up near Child's Park, which was a private estate that Mr. Child had gifted to the city upon his death. Nearby were Look Park and Groff Park, and Smith College's Forbes Library, a private collection in a brownstone manse that Mr. Forbes turned over to the college upon his death.

    These old things dotted the landscape in Massachusetts, along with the old opera houses and libraries.

    A lot of the Midwestern colleges—Oberlin, Grinnell, and countless smaller colleges—were built by industrialists who had joined the Abolitionist cause.

    Now, I will never claim that these people were uniformly or consistently enlightened or progressive, but whatever else they did in life they shared this one scruple, and it's one worth keeping. I have no objection to heavily taxing people who do not voluntarily contribute their accumulated riches back to the public domain once they no longer need them. We do not need dynasties, and we do not need a whole class of people who are entirely insulated from normal life. That doesn't work out well.

    [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

    by oldjohnbrown on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:30:19 AM PST

  •  Hometown library (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    The library in the town where I grew up was a Carnegie. The original building is still there, but expanded somewhat. I plowed through a lot of books, discovered both good and terrible sci-fi there.

    Hatred is murder (1 John 3:15)
    Read FAR Future, a serial peak-oil novel, at my blog.

    by dirtroad on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:00:27 AM PST

  •  For those who've made their guess... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    the answer to the poll question is here: http://www.nationmaster.com/... (scroll down to the middle of the page).

    Alito. Kennedy. Roberts. Scalia. Thomas.
    More important than ever: ERA NOW!

    by greeseyparrot on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:04:25 AM PST

  •  It's well known that the estate tax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freelunch, Land of Enchantment

    is a driver for charitable foundation contributions--on the order of at least $6 billion per year.  That has been drying up as the estate tax has been drying up.

    This is only one of many reasons why the estate tax needs to be addressed before it is repealed completely next year.  (Of course, if nothing is done, it also comes back the next year--if that happens, expect a number of mysterious deaths of multi-millionaires in 2010.)

    Civil marriage is a civil right.

    by UU VIEW on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:11:30 AM PST

  •  The school bus photo reminds me of Vermont (3+ / 0-)

    There are many, many roads that are not passable for buses, even today, during mud season. Kids all around the state are stuck walking home through knee-deep muck for several weeks each spring, when the bus routes are shortened.

    Just to give a sense of scale, we have 8,000 miles of dirt roads, and 6,000 miles of paved roads, and only 320 miles of interstates.

    In some cases, dirt roads are very nice thing: slower traffic, fewer sightseers randomly cruising your street, traffic sounds are muffled, and it looks prettier.  But in some cases, mud is not such a good thing: fires and medical emergencies, for example.

    It's an interesting conundrum: the quality of life is far better in many ways on dirt roads, but it can be a nuisance when the road is too wet for the grader to come through and you have to get somewhere. Even with 4-WD vehicles, it's possible to get stuck. In many towns, everyone either owns a tractor, or is friends with someone who owns a tractor...

    In real life, a TARP is a cover-up.

    by mataliandy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:12:57 AM PST

  •  Awesome,incredible diary. (3+ / 0-)

    And, it made me cry. I have a passion for books and libraries. They encompass the best memories of my childhood. I remember bookmobiles.  

     So many things that need to be done. And, yet, we need the books.

    IRS audit all the greedy bankers and Wall Street idiots.

    by redtex on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:16:12 AM PST

  •  A People's History of the United States (3+ / 0-)

    I know this book is legendary, but in case some young 'un hasn't heard of it, I'm recommending it here.  In it you can be astounded at the ruthlessness of corporations throughout our history.  What Howard Zinn says about his book:

    My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)--that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth.

    Beautifully done, LoE.  The Woody Guthrie song and video is quite instructive.  I hope we can revive some of that orientation toward the least of these and recognize that there are those among us who will kill children for wealth.

    "We love you. Put down your guns." - Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace

    by geomoo on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:19:07 AM PST

  •  A "Charity Opportunty" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    is how it should be framed.

    "Death tax" is merely a unrealized capital gains tax. And you can't take it with you.

  •  About the erroneously labelled "death tax" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    Those ads claiming the death tax has caused family farms to go under instead of being passed down are pure fiction.

    From wikipedia:

    The term was coined in the Gingrich period by Jack Faris of the National Federation of Independent Business. [6]. It has been widely but inaccurately attributed to Republican pollster Frank Luntz. In a memo, Luntz wrote that the term "death tax" "kindled voter resentment in a way that 'inheritance tax' and 'estate tax' do not"

    Here is a response to such lies which appeared in the Seattle Times.

    The ad has so many lies in it, we hardly know where to begin...

    The claims that the estate tax severly hampers women and minorities is completely bogus. Only very wealthy women and minorities would ever have to pay the estate tax...

    The estate tax is not new. We've been paying it for decades, and it hasn't crippled or destroyed our communities.

    This is from FactCheck.org, June 2006

    The conservative Free Enterprise Fund (FEF) continues to push for permanent repeal of the federal estate tax with one of the most blatantly false advertising campaigns we've seen this year.

    So far this year the FEF says it has run ads nationally on Fox News and in seven states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, Rhode Island, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington.
    [snip]

    In ad after ad, FEF has repeated a false claim that the estate tax can take 55 percent of "what you save."
    [snip]

    So – just to be clear – that means that for the vast majority of Americans the estate tax will take zero per cent. Just over one per cent of Americans who died in 2002 owed any estate tax at all, according to the most recent figures from the Internal Revenue Service. That was when only the first $1 million was exempt. Now that the exemption has doubled, experts at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center calculate that only 12,600 Americans who die in 2006 will owe any estate tax at all. That's roughly one in every 200. Furthermore, even for those affluent few, the Tax Policy Center estimates that the estate tax will take an average of 18.7 percent. Even for estates valued at over $20 million, the average tax will be 21.7 percent.

    I can't find the reference to a study which found that in one state in which the "lose the family farm" ad was run, there was not a single example in the state of a farm having been lost because of the estate tax.

    "We love you. Put down your guns." - Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace

    by geomoo on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:39:51 AM PST

  •  My town of Rockland, Maine, has a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    Carnegie Library.

    According to tables found in Robert Leighinger's book, Long-Term Public Investment, the WPA built 151 libraires, additions onto 67 more, and renovated 856 existing others, while the PWA built 105 new libraries.

    I'll add that the WPA built 5,900 new schools, additions onto 2,170 more, and renovated 31,300 other schools, while the PWA built 6,450 public primary/elementary schools.

  •  Wonderful Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    I knew they used to carry the mail on horseback but had never seen this version of the "Book Mobile" before.  I great diary.

    I'm also reminded that men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice in the way for the right to organize.  Something we should never forget.  Support the Employee Free Choice Act when it comes up.  Save a union, save a job.    

    "Vote Your Hopes Not Your Fears."

    by YellerDog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:44:57 AM PST

  •  On TPM, Matt Cooper reported (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    that Jay Rockefeller is a long shot consideration for Sec. of Commerce.  Wouldn't that be special?

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:15:33 AM PST

  •  Class War, Indeed! (3+ / 0-)

    When Republican politicians wring their hands and wail "Class War! Class War!" each time some modest proposal is advanced to shelter working and poor families from the worst ravages of the "Free Market System," they would prefer that we forget when there was a real class war in America—and who waged it with Shermanesque ferocity.

    Over a forty plus year period ranging from the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 to the post-World War I suppression of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and other "Reds" there was almost continual open industrial warfare in this country.  And after a brief respite in the 1920’s it was resumed all over again in the 1930’s.

    What ever brickbats were hurled by strikers, whatever occasional pot shots were taken at scabs, whatever even the occasional stick of dynamite were ignited, workers were no match for the batons, bayonets, bullets and bombs of the bosses.  The same bosses who fielded private armies of Pinkertons and "Gun Thugs" but more often could simply rely on police, state militias and even Federal troops to do their dirty work for them.

    The Ludlow massacre was no isolated aberration.  Not even in the women and children who were its victims.  Two years later, in 1913 more than 70 men, women, and children were killed on Christmas Eve at the Italian Hall in Calumet Michigan.  Mostly Finnish, the families of Iron Range strikers had gathered for a benefit holiday party in the upstairs hall.  A man opened the downstairs door and yelled "Fire!"  starting a stampede.  The victims piled up against the inward swinging doors and were crushed or suffocated.  Most of the dead were children, but whole families died together.   The man who started the panic was hired by the mine bosses.

    But who cared?  As in Ludlow, most of the victims were "foreigners."  I could continue with a roster of atrocities almost endlessly.

    What those dead bought with their blood was eventually a decent life for their children and grandchildren—most of us.  They paid the real "Death Tax."

  •  Income Tax to replace Inheritence tax? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    The inheritance tax has less of a bite than the income tax would.    If wealthy individuals paid no tax when they die, but the inheritors paid income tax when they got the money, we would have a level playing field again.  Why should anyone be able to have tax free income?  Why do I have to pay tax when I produce something, but not when a rich relation dies and leaves me cash?

    Democrats are amazingly weak at defining the issues.   The major theme of Democrats should be to value Work First over ownership.

    All the republican policies are built around the theme that it is more holy to own something than it is to create something.   Workers supposedly even owe their jobs to the wizards of capitalism who "Create Jobs" by putting forcing small and family businesses to close up so they can be replaced by Walmart , Home Depot and Ikea.

    If we valued Work and Production first, we could defend our issues much more clearly.

    Owning a factory never created anything useful.
    Only the workers can create stuff, even with all the robotic factories we have today.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:36:05 PM PST

    •  One of the proposals, IIRC... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird

      ... to dump the inheritance tax, wanted to replace it with capital gains tax.  Including on homes, which would make a lot more estates subject to taxation than would the current estate tax.

      Dunno how much traction that idea got, but it seemed like a sneaky way to move the tax down more to middle class folks.  And then, perhaps, raise a fuss to get rid of capital gains tax, too.  There does seem to be a warped idea in some quarters that only labor should be taxed.  

      John Edwards was pretty eloquent on that.  Too bad he messed up, and thereby removed the things he argued from the public discourse.

      "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

      by Land of Enchantment on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:08:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Work Over Ownership (3+ / 0-)

      A great slogan

      Estate taxes are good because of ease of collection. The estate is (comparatively) easy to locate, and easy to value. Often, the estate is in probate court already, and the court can refuse to distribute to heirs unless the estate taxes are paid.

      I am in favor of estate tax.

      •  Tax Witholding (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Land of Enchantment

        It would be just as easy to collect with withholding tax, as salary and wages are subjected to today.

        Not only would withholding tax be effective, but people might start thinking about their "Take Home" inheritance jut like their take-home pay.

        The "Haves" would never go for it of course.  They favor dynastic ownership of all property.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:24:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Withholding where? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Land of Enchantment

          Withholding from what? Rent? Dividends? Under the table land swaps? Who is going to do the withholding and how would you figure the applicable rate?

          •  Much easier than you think (0+ / 0-)

            I don't really get your question about rent, dividends and land swaps as it related to inheritence.

            But, when a person dies, all the property of that person has to transferred to other persons (or corporations).    This can be simpler with a trust, but it still must happen.   It goes through a court.

            The withholding would be applied by the court at the time of the transfer, based on the recipients marginal tax rate.  Just like withholding on wages.

            Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

            by bobtmn on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:48:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You have just described Estate Tax (0+ / 0-)

              That is exactly how estate tax is collected. We agree.

              •  No it is not (0+ / 0-)

                Just in case you are open to to a fact or two:

                The Estate tax is based on the size of the estate.  
                Under current law, the first $3.5 Million is tax free.   It doesn't matter if there is one or 100 inheritors.

                The Income tax rate is based on the income of the recipient.    For anyone who pays income tax already, the inheritance would be taxed from the first dollar.

                Income taxes would collect a far greater amount than inheritance tax.  

                Not the same.

                Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

                by bobtmn on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:34:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  If the children of the rich (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    inherit all their parents' money, won't they get lazy not having to work?  That is what happens to those lazy shiftless welfare cheats who get money without having to work.

    Actually the one rich trust fund adult I knew was told by his accountant to open a business the would lose money so he could have some tax deductions.  He opened a kite store, hired several society matrons who did not need the work to be his clerks, and proceeded to faithfully lose money every year, making him and his accountant happy.

    ...do the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

    by Silverbird on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:31:16 PM PST

  •  Has anyone on this site actually has any personal (0+ / 0-)

    experience in dealing with the estate tax?  When my father passed away my brother and I paid millions of my father's money to the government, during a very difficult time.  My mother had murdered my father and then killed herself, so the last thing on my mind was dealing with the government.  

    My point is, I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to deal with what happend to my mother and father, and this is going to take a shitload of money.  I have been in and out of mental institutions, I have prescriptions that aren't cheap, and trying to hold down a normal job can be pretty difficult.  

    I tried posting something similiar to this on Daily Kos before, but got shot down for being the son of a doctor.  My father was a good man, and I am not a bad person either.  I do understand the inherent distrust of anyone with money though, but my life is no cakewalk either.  

    So is the estate tax fair or not, I don't know, but I do know that mental health is not cheap in this country, and when I can no longer afford vists to the pyschiatrist, durgs to keep me sane, or visits to my local mental health institution no one on KOS is going to foot that bill.  

    My father gave back, I have tried to give back, so if someone can please define "fair share" for me I would appreciate it.  As for what I have read so far, fair share seems to mean, "listen asshole, you have money and I don't, so you had better start giving back tenfold or I will label you as a money grubbing killer worse than Hitler."

    putting food on your family is hard.

    by mclovin on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:40:58 PM PST

  •  Call your senators about stimulus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    I just called my two Senators in NJ and let them know it’s important to get the stimulus passed. President Bush passed one of the largest tax cuts in history in 2001, and it didn’t do the trick. We needed artificial stimulus from the housing market to prop up the economy.

    Frank Lautenberg-202-224-3224

     Robert Menendez-202-224-4744

    You can look up yours here.

    Senate.gov
    http://www.senate.gov/...

    Pass it on.

  •  Ludlow to be National Monument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    I'm originally from Colorado, and have visited the Ludlow Massacre site a couple of times, and it always makes me cry.  

    Today's Pueblo Chieftain has an article on Ludlow -- apparently it will be dedicated as a National Monument in June.  About frackin' time!

    http://www.chieftain.com/...

    In a statement released Tuesday, Cecil E. Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America International, said the new designation is the culmination of years of work by the organization's members, retirees, staff and hundreds of citizens who fought to preserve the memory of the brutal attack on workers and their families.

    Mike Romero, president of the Trinidad UMWA local, called the news exciting.

    "This is great that it has finally happened. We have been working on this for quite a few years to get it done. It pleases us all, the local union and the miners. It's just a great thing," Romero said.

    This space for rent.

    by atxcats on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:20:18 PM PST

  •  I got the poll right!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    Other than corn, I think this is one of the few things my home state can boast having the 'most' of  :)

  •  mega-props to the Carnegie in Pittsburgh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    The library is a wonderful resource, and it's just a piece of the complex, which also includes two of the four units of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh -- the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  World class, all of them.

    They're located between the campuses of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, in the city's Oakland neighborhood.  It's about three miles from downtown and this summer's Netroots Nation, served by frequent buses.

    Oakland is also the home of the Original Hot Dog Shop (affectionately, the "Dirty O") and the second oldest outpost of Primanti Bros.

    grok the "edku" -- edscan's "revelation", 21 January 2009

    by N in Seattle on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:42:59 PM PST

  •  This is beautiful! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    I love old buildings and I love libraries, so I really love your diary.

    Plus, I never heard about the packhorse librarians. What an amazing historical fact!

    Thank you for sharing.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:59:30 PM PST

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