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Since the end of the presidential election last week, I've been seeing a lot of tweets and blog posts that will say something like "takers outvoted the makers"(see here, here, and here for examples).  I find the "makers and takers" narrative fascinating.  I've found few other narratives that so quickly and easily divides Americans and get us to hate each other. I wanted to take a closer look at the supposed logic behind it.

"Makers and Takers" is a right-wing meme.  The basic story is thus:  The economy is make up of people who make stuff and people who take stuff.  The takers take from the makers - usually using the power of government.  The story comes from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.  But she called them producers and looters.

Unfortunately, as often as conservatives will refer to "takers" as the problem, they rarely define or identify who these nasty people we're supposed to hate are.  Mostly, it seems to be based entirely on whether or not you pay federal income tax(payroll and other federal taxes don't count).  That is the impression I get from Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and other random conservatives.  The conservative commentator, Mary Matalin, helps clarify a little more.  Old people and veterans don't count, only people who use any anti-poverty program.

So, let's look at two different people.  Let's take a single parent with two children.  The parent works 2 jobs.  28 hours a week at Walmart, and another job at Home Depot working another 28 hours(give or take since schedules in retail shops tend to fluctuate).  At each job this person works hard and therefore earns above minimum wage... about $8.50.  Neither job pays benefits.  This translates to just under $2,000 a month(before payroll taxes and state income taxes).  That makes him qualified for a small amount of food stamps and for their kids to get Medicaid.  In right-wing language, this 56 hours a week worker is a "taker" and a "moocher" and a "looter".

Let's take another person.  Say, a former presidential candidate who made 14 million dollars last year by doing nothing.  He pays about a 15% tax rate in income taxes.  He didn't do anything except give his money to a banker.  But since he paid income taxes, In right-wing language, that makes him a "maker" and a "producer".

In this scenario, I question the right-wing framing of maker and taker.  Who is truly the maker, and who is the taker?  Are the minimum wage (or just above minimum wage) workers really taking?  Is that work of packing your groceries and loading the shelves that meaningless?  Is the work of giving someone else your money so important that it is the equivalent of MAKING something?

I would be tempted to reverse it and call the rich guy the "takers" and the workers (who are actually WORKING) the "makers".  But I find this whole narrative odious and would rather see it die than co-opted.  We're all in this together and we all have something to contribute to society.  If we think individuals are taking advantage of the system let's deal with that.  Let's not deal with it by demonizing the most vulnerable people in our society.

Cross Posted from Our Dime

Originally posted to MoneyLiberty on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And who are the real job creators? (18+ / 0-)

    As the sole marketing person for a non-profit agency for many years that went from 3K members to 80K+, I know I was hugely responsible for that growth.  Same with a struggling PC company back in the day that went from $200M to $1.2B revenue with only me and my staff's marketing help.

    Yes, investment creates jobs.  But what grows firms and creates more jobs are hard-working folks like you and me.

    Green is good: http://www.greenasteroid.com

    by bogmanoc on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:30:55 AM PST

    •  I assume... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady

      You provided the capital to hire all the people you refer to?

      •  Businesses need good managers as well as capital (7+ / 0-)

        My hubby has made his company's children very rich with his highly competent advice. The owners of the firm can vouch for this themselves. They know his worth and regard him highly for his efforts to keep the firm financially healthy.

        Years ago his sound advice made it possible for the company to weather the financial downturns and stay strong in this economy while other companies in this field have not done as well. Good business judgment is not always passed down from father to son. Sometimes the kids just aren't interested in the business, although they do like the lifestyle they have come to enjoy from its proceeds.

        I say give credit where credit is due.

        •  I completely agree... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, bogmanoc, bleeding blue

          It is a balance between capital and labor that makes our system work so well.  Couldn't agree more.  If the kids lose the formula that is their loss.

          •  This line (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bogmanoc

            "balance between capital and labor that makes our system work" should be repeated over and over again.  

            Instead of " makers" and "takers" we sould be calling people " money hoarders" and "spenders".  Spenders create jobs by pushing money through the economy.... hoarders stiffle job growth by freezing money from flowing.

            •  Saving is a laudable goal (0+ / 0-)

              You seriously want to discourage saving money like it's some kind of moral flaw?

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:26:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  When it is more money than (0+ / 0-)

                one can spend in their lifetime or their kids lifetime is is a moral flaw.  Particularly when the masses around them live in  poverty.

                I am a frugal saver but not a hoarder of money.  

                My beef is with the idea that they are somehow job creaters by hoarding money.  The reality is that the 47 % spend everything they have just to survive.  All their money gets pumped back into the economy and keeps moving.

      •  There would've been no capital (5+ / 0-)

        without sales.

        Yes, I created jobs. No doubt.

        Green is good: http://www.greenasteroid.com

        by bogmanoc on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:11:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Members = jobs??? (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry.. I see what you are trying to say that you are responsible for growth.. but members are not employees.

    •  Consumers are the job creators (7+ / 0-)

      Demand/want/need(a market) creates jobs. ALL jobs.
      Don't let them take the mantle of 'job creators' people.
      It's a lie.
      Consumers are the job creators. It's all about the consumer.
      The reason investment is made is to fullfill a market or the hope to create a market. Therefore the investment is driven by the consumer.
      Without a demand/market/consumer or the hope to create a market your non-profit would not have existed.
      Without a demand/market/consumer or the hope to create a market your PC business would not have existed.
      Hope of market=risk/investment
      Market=consumer
      Thats capitalism.
      Only government and philanthropy creates jobs with no hope of a profit.

      Consumers are the job creators in all cases.

      I'll be happy to stand corrected if you can show my how/why I'm wrong.

      •  I'd just add (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MNsmartgirl, dennis1958

        that labor and managers create jobs as well if an organization does well.  If you're profitable, you can pour more money into expansion, which means more jobs.

        Don't the Luntz's of the world get away with the lie that only the investors create jobs.  It's bullshit.  And often, he just refers to the wealthy -- not even business investors -- as job creators, which has proven to not necessarily be so.

        Green is good: http://www.greenasteroid.com

        by bogmanoc on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:15:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  At a time when demand is low and money and is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dennis1958, Dustin Mineau

          cheap it would make sense to reinvest in capital expenditures. New equipment modernized more efficient management systems. New data processing systems. Modernize the operation. But instead of that these companies are sitting on cash looking for short term gains instead of taking the long view. people are not rational actors in an economy. And on that basis alone market economic theory fails utterly to explain reality.

          •  hummmm.. well... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            essjay

            ok, reinvestment creates job without demand, we could say. maybe. the reason to do this reinvestment would be, hoped for profits. so the reinvestment is profit driven. profit comes from a consumer giving you more money for something than it costs to produce that something. so reinvestment is consumer driven and those jobs created by reinvestment are consumer driven and by hoped for future demand.

            in a real world. i think. And oh boy do i ever get your point.

            anyway. i shoulda just said 'They Lie! Consumers create jobs! Don't let them get away with'.
            and stopped typing. i know that sheepish grin

            it just gets me so mad how they've worked so hard to hurt us. sabotaging the economy, sitting on record amounts of cash, the tax cut blackmail, obstructing everything in the House, lying all the time!
            thank you for being kind in your replies. :)

             

      •  Also Dennis no business in their (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dennis1958, athenap

        right minds is going to hire more employees without an increase in demand. The paradox of thrift. No matter how many tax credits or tax benefits you give business they are not going to hire in a period of shrinking demand.

        Now marketing can help create a demand for a product or switch brand preference. But a smart consumer at this point is paying down debt and saving money. Or at least trying to. My wife is working as many as 80 hours a week to try and get a head of this mess. Yet we are considered looters. On Facebook I have been called a commie, a socialist loser and a Stalinist who is responsible for the deaths under the Stalin regime. Of course the fact that I was born 5 years after Stalin died matters not. It is still my fault.

        So I am through with Facebook arguments. Facts backed up by reliable sources mean nothing to these people. Rational calm debate only makes them angrier. A kind of an animal rage sets in. And Romney being the class act that he is is the most graceless, divisive loser in my memory.

    •  Before the mass take down of the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      athenap

      taxes on the ultra-wealthy, the Lower and Middle classes at least had a bit more money to spend and they didn't have to work 2 part-time jobs to get by with NO benefits.

      There are people in this country who want to claim it to be a Christian Nation (the powers that be that already have a lot of money, btw) and yet act like the poor should hand over all of their money so the rich can enjoy their $75 million dollar paintings and whatnot.  Just what kind of people Jesus wanted people to become (NOT).

      We need facts, we need to put videos out there of what it is REALLY like to live poor, not the stereotypical poor, no, the real picture.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:22:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Facts honestly fail to penetrate their meme (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MarciaJ720

        This is a narrative they're believing, a fable, a mythic dramatic narrative that defines their world's good and evil forces in terms of money. In their world, it is a Noble Thing to bust ass for less and less pay, and by gawd, be grateful for the chance to do that, because their reward is in heaven, yadda yadda.

        Facts about how hard it is to be poor are neatly slotted into the narrative that says people who want to stop being poor or fight against their "lot in life" are too weak to shoulder that Noble Burden and keep soldiering on (while their own attempts to better themselves via taking advantage of the benefits of society are completely acceptable).

        It goes back to the "some people are meant to be poor" idea that sits in their brains and says, "without poor people, there will be no one for you to judge as less than you, no one for you to commit your acts of 'charity' for in order that you may feel good about yourself." There will be no one left behind to see your ship come in or your rapture take you up to be with Republican Jesus in that big boardroom in the sky.

        If all poor people are just victims of circumstance, then there is no god punishing the evil of the world with lack of worldly wealth...and conversely the wealth they have is not guaranteed to be from god and being good.

        Don't forget, these people are special.

        How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

        by athenap on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:39:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  IMO (0+ / 0-)

          Christianity and Capitalism in its current form do not mix.

          People can say all they want, convince themselves that they have been so blessed with so much money (and greed) that God must have given it to them.  

          Many who are wealthy got that way through family money passed down or by getting rich early on in life and then literally working LESS than the REST.

          But what they wrote in the Bible that Jesus preached.... things like a camel has a better chance of going through the eye of a needle than a rich man getting into heaven

          or

          How about the one where Jesus tells the rich man to get rid of all of his possessions so that he will have treasures in heaven....

          Yeah, the God of the Bible was all about Capitalism and for the upper 1% of the 1%....... NOT !!!!!

          -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

          by MarciaJ720 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:59:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with you about not demonizing, on the (11+ / 0-)

    other hand, Dems and the left need their own meme regarding productivity vs. money making money.

    Then we need to keep focused on this larger issue without getting overly distracted with wars over marginally better or worse tax rates, etc.

    I cannot concieve of a society remaining even sort of healthy with the type of economic inequality America is creating.

    •  We need to bring much deserved respect (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec

      back to working people. We must fight the class war in the terms of the class war. Dignity for working people, respect for working people. The symbols of excessive consumption must be rejected. the true looters are the Trumps and Kardashians. The Jamie Diamonds of the world. Papa John is a looter. We must push back hard. The polite language of the past has failed us. We lost that battle. Time to change tactics.

  •  Carney has a good post up on Elizabeth Warren (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maybeeso in michigan, caul

    at MSNBC Net/Net.

  •  rentiers (12+ / 0-)

    A neat little word that covers landlords, patent holders, stockholders, lenders, petrostates ... basically anyone who makes their living by owning something and charging other people to use it.

    Profit is - at least in theory - earned by producing something of greater value to a buyer than the stuff you yourself bought in order to produce it.  Rent is 100% pure parasitism.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:57:42 AM PST

    •  So...landlords should not exist...? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Pete Cortez

      No one should be able to rent an apartment?
      Only those who can buy their own home should have a place to live?

      •  read into classical political economy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psyched, Larsstephens, caul

        They made a distinction between rent on land and profit on capital(a building).  Confusion arises because the word "rent" has changed meaning somewhat.

        Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

        by Dustin Mineau on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:45:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting note: in Spanish, the adjective (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul

          "rentable" means, among other things, "profitable, yielding profit."

          That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

          by concernedamerican on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:53:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Seems like a pretty... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          thin distinction...

          •  read Smith and othe classic political economists (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mjshep, psyched, caul

            You will see the important disctinction.  It isn't hard if you keep an open mind.  Thanks for commenting.

            Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

            by Dustin Mineau on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:10:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are correct.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              ...I should read them...but today's issues seem more about political, than economic, discourse...sort of like reading the dead sea scrolls.

              •  Economic history is key to understanding (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                katiec, Dustin Mineau

                our present situation. And one of the big problems in modern economics is a lack of focus on economic history. It would be like having generals who did not study Napoleon, Grant, Lee, Bradley, Sherman, Rommel, Julius Caesar, etc. It leaves them intellectually handicapped.

                May I suggest a great book on this topic: The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Seventh Edition. Heilbronner does a masterful job of explaining the history of economics in an approachable way. It should be mandatory reading in any Econ 101 class.

                •  Thanks for the suggestion. I'd also like to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dustin Mineau

                  read something on the history of the corporation.  Any suggestion?

                  •  Rather a specific book about the theory of the (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lurker123

                    firm, which can be highly technical you might want to read some corporate biographies. Sorkin's To Big to Fail is good if a little slanted into making the Masters of the Universe into heroes. There are some really good books about the history of Apple computer. Roy E. Disney's biography of his father Roy Disney, Walt Disney's older brother and manager of the Disney company is another good one. Manchester's history of the Krupp corporation is massive but really illustrative.

                    What the Dormouse Saw is a really good book on the early days of the personal computer revolution. There is a book called Bad Samaritans which is a history of trade and globalization from an international point of view.

                    There is an old book called The Peter Principal from the 70s which still resonates with an examination of the way corporations and large organizations work.

                    All of these are meant for the general reader and not technical.

                    •  I'm thinking more along the lines of how corps (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dustin Mineau

                      arose, how they became immortal, etc.

                      •  Do you mean generally as a trend? Then look to the (0+ / 0-)

                        history of the railroad industry in the 19th century. Any good American History book will do. Howard Zinn's History of the American People is a good place to start. There are a number of good books about the Robber Barons. Including a few that are titled The Robber Barons.

                        I do not trust Wikipedia as a completely trustworthy source but a search for Robber Barons should give you a start. Also any biography of IBM will give you good insight as IBM started in the mid 19th century.

                        The idea of the corporation started in early 19th century Britain. It was a way to keep investors who lost everything on a risky investment out of debtors jail. The legal risk of losses was shifted from the individual investors to the corporation. That way your losses were limited to only what you invested in the corporation.

                    •  Another Classic (0+ / 0-)

                      Wreck of the Penn Central is another classic.  It describes a bankruptcy that held the biggest-bankruptcy record for several years, and led to the establishment of Conrail and Amtrak.

          •  Not a thin distinction at all. See Krugman. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dustin Mineau

            Or Stigliz. Or Roubini.

      •  The term rentier is different then renter. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dustin Mineau, CFAmick

        A renter is someone who rents you a real estate property. A rentier is a vulture capitalist. Mitt Romney and Bain Capital are rentiers. Rentier is a dirty word in economics. If some one rents you an apartment they are doing a valuable service to the economy as a whole. A rentier on the other hand engages in financial speculation that serves no purpose. Not all financial speculation is useless. Much of it is useful. Like venture capital. But that is not what rentiers do. Scrooge was a rentier.

  •  makers = Treton, takers = world (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul

    That's why they were so into Chris Christie for a while.

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/...

  •  Makers are the men and women (13+ / 0-)

    who pick our food, clean our toilets, dig our coal, string our lines, make our cars, etc. Takers are people in banks, trust fund babies, inheritors of wealth, hedge fund managers, etc.

    See, that wasn't so hard.

    “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    by Miss Pip on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:29:03 AM PST

    •  Who pays the salaries of the makers? (0+ / 0-)

      See...that wasn't so hard.

      •  the proceeds from their labor (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        concernedamerican, psyched, caul

        Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

        by Dustin Mineau on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:46:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          a startup has no "proceeds from labor"  Because there was no product from which to realize proceeds.

          •  expected proceeds. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            psyched, caul, katiec

            If there isn't an expectation of proceeds they wouldn't be hired.  Just because someone is prepaid for services doesn't mean that the value of their services is wothless.

            Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

            by Dustin Mineau on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:14:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not sure.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              ...we are both being (un)intentionally thick here.  Sure there has to be the expectation of proceeds from both capital and labor, but it is generally not labor that pays labors salary until there are customers providing revenue.  That is the capitalists role.

              •  But the capitalist does not do the work and pays (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                katiec

                as little as possible no matter the margin between cost and selling price. The proceeds of labor rightfully belong to the laborer but the capitalist forces down wages in an illegitimate manner. Big difference between a guy who starts a small business and works side by side with the workers he employs and a capitalist who owns the means of production and by this ownership alone claims an outsized portion of the returns. Marx was not wrong about everything you know. His solutions may have been wrong but few have done a better job of explaining the problem.

                •  Capitalist takes the risk (0+ / 0-)

                  (S)he invests millions that will be lost (and often are lost) if the business goes under. Additionally, the business founder has specific skills that the workers just do not have.

                  When a business fails, the janitor loses his job and has to go find another one. The capitalist is out millions of dollars. That's the difference.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:35:40 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So the millionair ends up with nothing, so does (0+ / 0-)

                    the janitor.

                    So....  what's the difference again?

                    •  The janitor started with nothing (0+ / 0-)

                      Besides, the janitor doesn't get 'nothing', he gets a year's wages or whatever. That's something in my book, especially if he knows how to save.

                      No matter what, the janitor comes out ahead.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:52:58 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  .??? And as long as the business guy doesn't (0+ / 0-)

                        invest every penny, that is, also saves, he too comes out with something.

                        Your thinking is really odd.

                        •  Apparently we are talking at cross purposes (0+ / 0-)

                          The capitalist started with a lot of money. They might have earned it all themselves, they might have inherited it, they might be managing it on behalf of another entity. But if the business tanks, in all three scenarios they lose big.

                          The janitor has comparatively much less at risk. If the business fails he just finds another job doing the same work. In the meantime he's had this job that he might not otherwise have had.

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:39:10 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  ideal world vs. today's world (0+ / 0-)

                    In an ideal world with a real market, a capitalist investor will lose money and their "job" will be to make good decisions on where to put the money.  In today's world the top .1% power elite gets bailed out if they lose any significant amount of money.  This is what we should be working against.  Not demonizing the people who need food stamps and don't get bail outs.

                    Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

                    by Dustin Mineau on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:43:35 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Preaching to the choir (0+ / 0-)

                      No institution should ever be bailed out (at least without shareholders being wiped out and most management fired(.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:55:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •   being (un)intentionally thick (0+ / 0-)

                You might be right.  But I think the problem would help if we first clarify the difference between a capitalist and an entrepreneur.

                Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

                by Dustin Mineau on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:09:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  He pays from the profits of their labors (0+ / 0-)

        and unfairly keeps a part for himself. Little thing call ed the iron law of wages. Discovered by Ricardo in the early 19th century. If you knew anything about economics you would be familiar with this. Not that was not so hard was it?

      •  The makers pay there own salaries. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dustin Mineau

        They do so through the value of their labor. I am really getting very tired of this fucking meme that without the rich we'd all be waiting around for a man of action to give us direction and purpose.

        "For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document." Mike Lofgren

        by GANJA on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:29:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Workers are makers & billlionaires are takers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul

      Workers make cars, clothing, computers, stuff...

      Billionaires take educated work force, roads & other infastructure, safe streets, corporate welfare, etc., etc.

      Billionaires make but they also take. Workers take but they also make.

      What goes around comes around....

  •  Necessary for economic activity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maybeeso in michigan, caul

    For their to be economic activity, there needs to be:
     Productive equipment
     Workers
     Consumers.

    We need to have each element. The rich guys point out that the first is necessary, and that they own the first. So they are necessary. the rest of us are just adjuncts. WRONG!

    1) While productive equipment is necessary, The title that they hold to it is a social convention.  Andy Carnegie got incredibly rich off the Bessemer converter. Bessemer made jut, but he didn't make out anywhere near as well.

    2) the other factors are just as necessary. If they went Galt, the situation would be close to Rockne's "Show them your press clippings."

    •  In a way, customers are the job creators. (7+ / 0-)

      A business without customers doesn't need workers.  

      To stimulate the economy, we need more consumers.  

      •  Need More Consumers ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, Dustin Mineau, caul

        ... with more money!

        The working class/middle class is long overdue, 30 years to be exact, for a substantial raise.  

        Over the last 30 years, the 1% have gone from taking 9% of the income pie to 20%.  All the income derived from worker productivity has gone to the 1% while the 99% begs for scraps.  This needs to end.

        Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

        by howd on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:36:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As I said above. (0+ / 0-)

        Customers are one of the legs of the economic tripod. They aren't the only one.

        (Right now, purchasing power is the currently weakest link.)

    •  Another example (7+ / 0-)

      I used to work at a Chevy dealership in the service dept, one day the sales manager came into the service dept and said "without him we would not have any jobs." I quickly responded "without this great service dept, he would not be selling any used cars and not many new ones." He did not like it, and stormed off.

      Guess I'm a taker, I take a paycheck every week!!

    •  Who buys the equipment? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk

      Just asking?

      •  who makes the equipment? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, katiec

        Also just asking?

        Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

        by Dustin Mineau on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:36:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A collaboration (0+ / 0-)

          between the providers of capital and the consumers of capital.

          •  and who made the original capital? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            caul

            Our Dime: Understanding the Federal Budget

            by Dustin Mineau on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:07:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You mean... (0+ / 0-)

              ...who made  Adam's apple?

              How far back do you want to go?

            •  question (0+ / 0-)

              Are you playing devil's advocate, or do you really want to engage in a chicken and egg discussion?

              These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

              by HugoDog on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:37:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think our friend Balto is approaching being (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                katiec, HugoDog

                anti worker. DLC Third Way type? The folks responsible for gutting the economy? Owners after the depression showed some sense of social responsibility compared to today. The depression scared them. And these attitudes are going to continue until they get a good scare again. No violence, that is unacceptable, but they need to be taught a lesson. A few good labor actions and strikes would be real helpful. Without workers the capitalists would be left to do the work. And we all know how much capitalists like to do real work, don't we? Let the managers and executives of big box stores deal with customers, stock shelves and stand on their feet all day. Let the coal mine owners go down into the mines and dig for coal. lets see papa john make pizzas 12 hours a day for minimum wage.

                It is bad enough I have to hear this crap on Facebook. People on this website should know better than to be antiworker.

                •  Whoa Nellie.... (0+ / 0-)

                  Not anti worker at all....we need both workers and providers of capital.

                  But I don't think there are any saints in this play.  On this site we tend to look at the world in black and white when we really operate in shades of grey.  

                  Are some managers idiots?  Of course.  Do providers of capital look out for their money first?  Of course.  Does labor occasionally overstep.  Of course.

                  Is there an imbalance right now between providers of capital and labor.  Yes.  Is it the fault of capital?  Not really, they just are doing what they are programmed to do.  That ain't going to change, and they can take their money elsewhere: witness Hostess - the debt providers decided not to play ball anymore.

                  Solutions: certainly more regulation on financial services, more education so workers can be competitive in a technologically complex and global environment.  Strikes - sure, bring attention to the situation, but don't hold your breath that they will work - sounds kind of 20th century....

      •  Money is made by the Fed. (0+ / 0-)

        The guy who buys the equipment has the money to buy the equipment by social convention.

        Equipment is necessary. Some medium of exchange is necessary. The identity of the people who have current title to the medium of exchange is an artifact of our social arrangement.

  •  Labor (10+ / 0-)

    Abraham Lincoln famously said:

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    And conservatives really don't want you to read Adam Smith for yourself:
    The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people. (Wealth of Nations Book 1, chapter V)

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:18:10 PM PST

  •  Romney (9+ / 0-)

    Makers: the people who turned raw materials into steel at Georgetown Steel.

    Takers: the people who skimmed "management fees" and "dividends" while underinvesting in the business and sticking the government with the workers's pensions.

  •  It's not makers and takers it's leavers and takers (6+ / 0-)

    At least to me, Ishmael and Daniel Quinn.

    Takers:

    ...foul their land, their water and their air.
    ...take more food than they need, and hold it ransom for profit.
    ...take resources they don't need, and hold it ransom for profit.
    ...steal from their neighbors instead of share with their neighbors.
    ...fear and seek to destroy those they perceive as threats.
    ...fight wars over resources that they think they need.
    ...consider those who lack this rapacious appetite for consumption to be uncivilized, or less than human.

    •  Excellent reference (0+ / 0-)

      I was going through the comments to see if anyone else made this association from Quinn's novel.

      Randians don't "own" the phrase.  They can invent a "meaning" but so can we.

      "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

      by Snarky McAngus on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:15:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well more directly than that (6+ / 0-)

    Let's go right back to Rand's term: looters.

    Mitt Romney looted quite a few companies in his time, stealing their lifeblood and leaving them crippled to die a lingering death.

    You certainly can't call him a producer by any stretch of charitability.  He doesn't know how to make anything -- only how to maneuver himself into a legal position to skim the cream from other people's efforts.  He has been a very successful parasite, quite simply.

    ------
    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:45:03 PM PST

  •  When you read crap like "takers/makers" it is a (7+ / 0-)

    false justification for the rich to be the top dogs since  the rest of us would supposedly starve without their guidance. They hope if they repeat enough everyone will accept it as true and not the lie it is. After all, they think they believe it. But deep down the rich know that they don't merit the vast wealth they control.

    They can't admit that for decades they have fashioned, through bribes and legislation, an economic system that funnels money to the wealthy that before had been distributed more equitably across the entire population. The rich are the real takers of more than they produce but they must point the finger of blame at the very ones they have robbed.

    •  Some alternatives for framing the discussion (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul, katiec, countwebb

      “Makers” and “takers” is clever wordplay (it rhymes, for one thing). It’s the Republican version of class warfare. But here are two other phrases I prefer:

      The Predatory Class and the Productive Class

      Thorstein Veblen, back in 1899, wrote “The Theory of The Leisure Class.” He divided the economic classes into the productive class and the predatory class.

      The productive class is made up of the workers who do the work – things like growing wheat, baking bread, constructing buildings, and so on. The predatory class owns things (like factories), runs the military, and preaches the sermons – Veblen didn’t have very much respect for religion.

      Veblen said that rich people can never be happy with what they have because there’s always some other rich guy who has more “stuff.” Here’s a quote (in his quaint nineteenth-century language):

      "In the nature of the case, the desire for wealth can scarcely be satiated in any individual instance, and evidently a satiation of the average or general desire for wealth is out of the question. However widely, or equally, or "fairly", it may be distributed, no general increase of the community's wealth can make any approach to satiating this need, the ground of which approach to satiating this need, the ground of which is the desire of everyone to excel everyone else in the accumulation of goods. If, as is sometimes assumed, the incentive to accumulation were the want of subsistence or of physical comfort, then the aggregate economic wants of a community might conceivably be satisfied at some point in the advance of industrial efficiency; but since the struggle is substantially a race for reputability on the basis of an invidious comparison, no approach to a definitive attainment is possible."
      So, for example, the Koch brothers are richer than Croesus. But they’re willing to spend tens or hundreds of millions to elect Romney in order to lower taxes and thus make the Koch brothers even richer. The same goes for Sheldon Adelson. It’s not a question of becoming more comfortable or of having enough food, shelter, and clothing. It’s all about accumulating more wealth than anyone else.
      .

      Them That Work and Them That Don’t

      There’s a great scene in the movie “Matewan,” which is based on a coal miners’ strike in West Virginia.

      Here’s the quote (from IMDB):

      You think this man is the enemy? Huh? This is a worker! Any union keeps this man out ain't a union, it's a goddam club. They got you fightin' white against colored, native against foreign, holler against holler, when you know there ain't but two sides in this world - them that work and them that don't. You work, they don't. That's all you got to know about the enemy.
      And here’s the video (warning: NSFW because of certain words that might be offensive):

      Makers and takers?

      Or productive class and predatory class?

      Or them that work and them that don’t?

      But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

      by Dbug on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:15:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  People who start businesses and make things, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dustin Mineau, howd, psyched, caul

    from cookies to skyscrapers to healed bodies to children who can read and function in society are makers.  The people who work productively in those businesses are makers.  People who work for the public to keep our society running and safe and healthy are makers.  People trying their damndest to take a place with the makers are makers.   People dependent on the system who only contribute good will are makers.

    People who deal around the edges of those productive activities and figure out ways to take money from those companies, hospitals, school, governments or social welfare organization are takers.   They are maggots on the public body.

    The most screaming example of those that I know of is Bain and its children and off-shoots.  How many people has that group of takers hurt, or killed either directly or indirectly?

    Yes, children, there are makers and takers, but they are not what some people (Romney, Ryan etc) would have you believe...

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:22:42 PM PST

  •  This Ayn Rand b.s. is dishonest and distracting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nebraskablue, caul, Snarky McAngus, Mike08

    from the real problem in our economy.

    This is just warmed-over free-market economics in an age of greed that that tries to sell us on the notion that unchecked self-interest furthers the common good. Milton Friedman was wrong.Government was not the cause of the Great Depression although some of its actions made it worse.

    Ryan is playing his anti-government rag again and it wasn't accurate the first time either.Ryan personally benefited from social security after his father died and he had enough money to attend an out of state college(Miami University in Ohio). His family had a successful business that was passed down from several generations. He is the last person, like Romney, who should be telling others that they are "takers" and makers.

    Expect more of this garbage. The GOP are the Walking Dead but that doesn't mean that they can't "bite" and cause harm to our economy again. They will take advantage of the economic uncertainty we face while Republicans attempt another round of obstruction to put in place a "self-fulfilling prophesy" economic crisis.

  •  Romney paid a lot less than 15% (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nebraskablue, caul, Dustin Mineau, Mike08

    Romney, and other wealthy folks, only pay 15% on their "adjusted" income (AGI).

    Here's what's not included:

    Income and capital gains in a retirement account
    Income from municipal bonds
    Income from real estate (deferred by expenses)
    Income from public partnerships (90% deferred)

    And that doesn't include more sophisticated dodges, like  money in the Cayman islands and Swiss bank accounts.

    And don't the Romney's have about $100 million in a retirement account?

    If you add all that income back in, I bet Romney didn't even pay 5%.

  •  "One Suit Dry Cleaned free for Job Interview." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tim DeLaney

    This sign was on the outside of a Dry Cleaner where I used to live in Boston.

    It is the epitome of the Democratic philosophy. This business is not giving away service out of the goodness of its (bleeding) heart. It's creating customer loyalty by helping someone become gainfully employed, who will become a paying customer, which creates capitol and growth.

    The biggest problem with the "maker/taker" meme is that it suggests that the identities are static: makers keep on making and the takers keep on taking. Conservatives even believe that once you support a person/family with a Government "hand out," they cease to desire to be financially independent. So anti-poverty programs are just making more "takers."

    So why doesn't the dry cleaner go broke? Because in reality the system is dynamic. If the poor in America really are "temporarily embarrassed millionaires," then we're all just one free dry cleaned suit away from pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

    The goal is class mobility. The "Makers/Takers" meme forgets that. No, it actually works against that goal.

    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:06:49 AM PST

  •  The paradigm of a millionaire investing in a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dustin Mineau

    small business start-up is simply false. Small businesses are typically financed by the personal savings of the entrepreneur, his/her family and friends, and perhaps a bank loan guaranteed by their equity in their house. They start small, which is why they are called small businesses. If they work hard and have a good business plan, they grow and expand. Continued success means that banks look favorably on their line of credit. I worked for such a company. It started out as a storefront operation in 1946 with a fleet that consisted of one pickup truck. It was worth perhaps $150 million when I retired, and it never got a dime from a millionaire capitalist.

    By contrast, most expansions of large corporations are fueled mainly by retained earnings, that is, their profits. These are the expansions that create jobs by the hundreds. They generally get additional capital from banks, which ultimately rely on the US government to create the money they lend. Only very rarely do they attract significant capital from wealthy individuals.

    The picture I have drawn is admittedly simplistic and incomplete. But the fact is that the millionaire who has purchased, say, common stock of a large corporation such as GE, is not a capitalist. He is simply making a bet, and a pretty safe one at that. He doesn't participate in any meaningful way in job creation. He is not a job creator. In the parlance of this diary, He is a taker.

     

    I spent only 13 minutes at the polling place. I got off Scott free. -7.25, -6.21

    by Tim DeLaney on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:36:34 AM PST

  •  Banks invest money (0+ / 0-)

    in businesses and other personal and commercial growth so to say Mitt Romney is doing nothing by investing his money is silly.  Also, unskilled labor does not equal skilled labor.  Someone may be paid a small amount of money to gather shopping carts for 60 hours a week and someone else who works less hours may be paid a bunch more to do technical work.  

    Guess who's the more productive member of society.

  •  Are the minimum wage (or just above minimum wage) (0+ / 0-)

    workers really taking?  

    As far as billionaires are concerned, yes, they are. We all are. In a capitalistic society, only capital matters. Everything else is an obstacle to acquiring it.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:49:33 AM PST

  •  This is one of the best diaries I have read on KOS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dustin Mineau, katiec

    in a long time.

    As someone that hopes the GOP will rebuild itself as a more moderate party, I wish this message would get across to them.  

    We already know that demographics are against the GOP, but I'm not sure if they realize that much of their base is the  47% that doesn't pay income tax.  

  •  I agree fully. (0+ / 0-)

    I also agree about who are the real job creators.

    I read Ayn Rands "Atlas shrugged".   I find it hard to believe that so many people buy the notion that these "John Gault" type guys could build a train without labor.  She clearly only see's value in them and none in labor.

    From some of the comments, I think we do have to avoid declaring absolutes.  Clearly employment should be (and is becoming less so) an equitable agreement between employer and employee.   Most legislation has fallen on the side of the employer.  Furthermore with one person or a handful of people at the top, the goal is to seek cheap labor and make more money even it it means going to China.

    Absolute free market capitalism is said to work because of competition.  
    Absolute free market capitalism works by eliminating competition.  

    Now...  I'm breaking the train of thought here to say that some companies have found a better business model.

    In this model, all of the workers own the company.  While some people with more responsibility or work load earn more,  salaries are decided by all of the workers or at least a group representing them.
    This results in better, higher paying jobs for everyone, given that as the exception, there is no CEO who makes 300 times the salary of "his" employees.   That salary is set by agreement of the owners ( everyone in the company )

    I'd like to see more of that.  The lifestyles of people like the Koch brothers and our new religion "Free market capitalism" have become a cancer of sorts in our economy and country in general.  

    In my humble opinion. (IMHO)    Harrr.  I hate acronyms.

    Prove me wrong and I'll change my mind.

    by willbjett on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:54:16 AM PST

    •  This encourages (0+ / 0-)

      the average (majority) to be able to dictate the earning capacity of the exceptional (the minority).  And given the direction the country is going, it would be probable that the majority would cut off the earning capacity of the minority at the knees no matter how good at their job they are just because it isn't fair that someone earns more than someone else...

      Just because someone does more work than someone else or has more responsibility than someone else doesn't make that person deserving of more pay.  The ability to do skilled work at a high performing level makes a person deserving of more pay and that person should be able to get as much money for their ability as they can.

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