Sanding our assholes with 150 grit.

this is what conservatives want to conserve

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/48355

From rzklkng:
"Corporate Interest Plot to Overthrow US Government. Approximately 72-years ago, the predecessor to the House Un-American Affairs Committee, known as the McCormack-Dickstein Committee, investigated claims made by Marine Corps General Smedley Butler that a vast right-wing conspiracy funded by the American Liberty League (Wiki) (funded by US Steel, Goodyear, DuPont, Morgan-Stanley, Chase-Manhattan, Remington Arms, and others) with backing from some of America's wealthiest citizens (such as Al Smith and Irene DuPont) and various Wall Street interests (1930s American Business seemed to be pro-fascism as a hedge against communists and socialists to protect their own wealth in the face of the Great Depression). Their goal was to overthrow Franklin Delano Roosevelt and install a military dictatorship in order to stop FDR's New Deal and its "redistribution of wealth" and to enact fascist policies to protect the economy and their investments."


If you think the backers of bush want anything different now you are nuts. They are just using different means.
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
How do you figure? Communism and the fear that went along with it are long gone now. And overthrow what government? Are you saying the Bush gov is like FDR?
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
> Are you saying the Bush gov is like FDR?

You have serious interpretation issues, dude.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
Colm, i just threw that out there because his idea was so wacky, thats not how i actually interpreted it.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
What he's saying is that conservatives today hate the New Deal just as much as the ones who purportedly tried to overthrow FDR and install a fascist dictatorship 72 years ago (not that I know anything about that).

This is pretty much true. They still hate it with a passion. Witness the latest lame attempt to hand over social security to Wall Street.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
One word Colm....Duh. Of course they hate the idea of redistributing wealth, especially since their entire existance is to create wealth. But to say they are plotting to overthrow the government now belongs in one of my favorite conspiracy theories. I could imagine back then they may actually plot something like that as communism was this scary fear that was really spreading and there was all kinds of FUD, and it was an American duty to fight that or whatever.

But if you think the modern day President of Goodyear has even remotely had a conversation about trying to overthrow a New Deal government, thats just crazy. But of course they are going to be against anything that forces them to redistribute their wealth...
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
> Communism and the fear that went along with it
> are long gone now.

Anyone who wants to install a military dicatatorship has no methodlogical qualms about communism, what they cared about was protecting their money.

And what has bush irrationally done in the face of sky high deficits? Protected their money.

Smedley Butler is quite the hero/character:
http://www.twf.org/News/Y2001/0911-Racket.html

" War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. . . ."
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
>Communism and the fear that went along with it are long gone now.
Dude, "terrorism" is the new boogeyman, replacing "communism." Anything was allowed as long as it could be spun as "fighting communism." Just like every abuse by the current administration is spun as "defending freedom" or "fighting terrorists."
Permalink Peter 
January 18th, 2006
But why do they hate the New Deal? How does it compare/interfere with their sense of entitlement? Are they in such denial that they somehow believe they are wealthy because of their innate abilities? In my personal experience, the wealthy people I have known have not become wealthy because of some ability or hard work alone.

Each and every one had a hand up in some way. I know because I asked them. And they were honest.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
>thats not how i actually interpreted it.

So you actually just pretended you did? You ARE retarded.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
>But if you think the modern day President of Goodyear has
>even remotely had a conversation about trying to overthrow a
>New Deal government

Which part of SEVENTY TWO YEARS AGO did you not understand?

Retarded.

Utterly retarded.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
But sharkfish, how was that wealth initially created? As some point, some member of their family had to do something to earn it. I'm doubting all the rich people today are decendants of kings and queens.  The reason the New Deal was so controversial at the time was because this whole idea of really big nanny government was not around at that point. Heck even federal income taxing ability didn't really exist until the beginning of the 20th century. So in some people's lifetimes they went from having 0% federal tax to 90% federal tax... you wouldn't be mad if suddenly a large amount of your money was going to the government?
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
> Are they in such denial that they somehow believe
> they are wealthy because of their innate abilities?

Yes. They are from a religious background that says that wealth means you are a good person and in god's favor. If you are poor you must be undeserving or you would be rich.

The New Deal challenged that.
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
> As some point, some member of their family had
> to do something to earn it.

You might want to read about how many of them earned there great fortunes. And don't forget that great fortunes are made during war. Haliburton doesn't invest in free AIDs drugs for Africa.
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
Colm, what part of

"If you think the backers of bush want anything different now you are nuts. They are just using different means."

don't you understand? Does that not imply they still want an overthrowing of a new deal government or want to install a facist leadership?
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"You might want to read about how many of them earned there great fortunes. And don't forget that great fortunes are made during war."

Who gives a fuck about HOW they earned it? They still were not simply handed the money. Even if they made their fortunes in the slave trade or by kidnapping babies, the point was they were not handed their riches from the pockets of others via a government.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
No Phil, "different means" means "different means". There's no need to overthrow the government if it can be controlled at arm's length.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
> you wouldn't be mad if suddenly a large amount of your
> money was going to the government?

Mad like stomp your feet and yell? Mad like lobby for change?

Or mad like install a dictatorship?

I think you are severly underestimating the character and the motivation of the people involved.

These are the same people who installed the national education ifrastructure whos goal was to turn out docile workers for mass production.

These people, like now, are about preserving their wealth. They aren't democratic. They don't care if people die in the street. They just aren't "mad."
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
>Who gives a fuck about HOW they earned it?

That's the point: most fo them didn't. Half of the top 100 on the rich list inherited theirs.

>They still were not simply handed the money.

Definition: inheritance.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
">Who gives a fuck about HOW they earned it?

That's the point: most fo them didn't. Half of the top 100 on the rich list inherited theirs."

Colm, you should read carefully yourself. Read the threads that led to that... originally SOMEONE earned the families wealth.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
Inheritance is completely different from forced distribution of wealth by the government. I can choose to leave my flesh and blood my money, communism forces me to distribute the money to strangers.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"Or mad like install a dictatorship?

I think you are severly underestimating the character and the motivation of the people involved."

Like I said, it was a different time...i don't underestimate the business leaders at the time, I mean Ford gave money to Hitler. But a Facist government would not benefit wall street as much as an open market. A dictator and facism would only benefit certain state controlled industries.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
> Like I said, it was a different time..

A different time for who? Not if you are super rich. For the super rich the key to protect their wealth and clearly the means used to do that don't matter.

> A dictator and facism would only benefit certain
> state controlled industries.

And what do you think they owned?
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
" If you are poor you must be undeserving or you would be rich."

Yeah, son of parnas, the preachers always throw religion back atcha to justify the unjustifiable.


"But sharkfish, how was that wealth initially created? As some point, some member of their family had to do something to earn it. "

But Phil, where is it that earning your wealth is the same as inheriting it?

Additionally, why is it that some people forget their "network" and don't give that credit for their "bootstrapped" wealth? I know so many top-notch business owners who say they got started because their brother/mother/father was in business.

I know someone personally who is wealthy, who I had a detailed conversation with. His brother owns a company, and this brother purchased a franchise from his brother using a 2nd mortgage on an expensive home financed by his days as a VP in the steel industry. He told me a long sob story about how he got laid off by the steel company just before his pension blah blah blah. But he got that job via the old boys club. So even though I have respect for his abilities, in my opinion, he "earned" his position through contacts with people who already have money who pick and choose who can join their ranks.

So really, he had a leg up. Just like every other rich person I've known. This advantage is significant. If everyone had enough equity that a 2nd mortgage would help them survive for a FULL TWO YEARS like this guy did...
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
>Inheritance is completely different from forced
>distribution of wealth by the government.

They do share the one criterion that you specified, however: in neither case does the person earn the money they receive.

I'm all in favor of people earning their money, but that's not especially relevant to the New Deal. It's in the nature of corporate capitalism that you don't necessarily "earn" your money. You can work all your life at a very essential job and still make a pittance. Or, you can go to Harvard, get given a job as CEO cause your Daddy's on the board and possibly even do real harm to a company but still be paid off handsomely.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
Great sharkfish...but someone in the family still EARNED that money at some point. Maybe it was 10 generations ago. But the point is you could invent Google today and go from middle class inventors son to one of the richest people ever, and you are more then welcome to pass on that money to the next 50 generations. But that is completely different then being FORCED to give that money to strangers.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
> But that is completely different then being FORCED to give that money to strangers.

But they didn't mind the government contracts and licenses that FORCED money into their pockets. You have a curious morality. Cause and effect only work in one direction.
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
"You can work all your life at a very essential job and still make a pittance."

Exactly Colm... Risk = Reward. If you choose the safe route, you will never be rich.  It is entirely possible to work a normal job and gain more money and assets by taking a few risks...buy some rental properties, buy stocks, etc... which you are then more then welcome to pass onto your heirs. I didn't get an inheritance, I work a essential job and make an average salary... but i'm not mad because rich people can pass their money to their family... anything I have when i die I expect to pass to my heirs too.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"But that is completely different then being FORCED to give that money to strangers."

If you are lucky enough to be born into a position that makes you wealthy, and someone else is not, in a society that is supposed to be civilized, shouldn't the lucky "haves" part with some of their wealth to help the "have-nots"?

The assumption is that the "have-nots" are lazy bums and somehow the "haves" are virtuous. If that is the premise for NOT distributing wealth in a socially responsible way, then it is no premise at all.

Find another basis. Give me another premise. The one that says we shouldn't help each other because they are lazy and unGodly doesn't work because it simply isn't true.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
"But they didn't mind the government contracts and licenses that FORCED money into their pockets. You have a curious morality."

SOP, if they had the smarts to get those contracts they earned that money. No one FORCED the government to give it to them.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"If you are lucky enough to be born into a position that makes you wealthy, and someone else is not, in a society that is supposed to be civilized, shouldn't the lucky "haves" part with some of their wealth to help the "have-nots"?"

Why? Because you say so? Shit happens, life isnt fair. Get over it.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
So Phil really does believe people who find legal loopholes are smarter than the rest of us and deserve their wealth.

In a true meritocracy, scofflaws would not be rewarded.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Here we have to part ways. We have a fundamental difference in VALUES, so the arguing is pointless.

I value social responsibility, Phil; you do not.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
>But that is completely different then being FORCED to give
>that money to strangers.

Somewhere along the line you're missing the fact that society is required for each and every one of you to make money. Society is what lets you spend your money, too. You owe society more than it owes you.

Society benefits from letting you get rich off a great idea, but only up until a point.

After that point, it makes more economic sense to redistribute the cash to increase total wealth.

Mostly everybody is confused about where that point is, and the rich try and propagandize people (through think tanks, PR, lobbying, etc.) into believing that it makes little or no sense to redistribute wealth since that's what serves their interests. Their POV is disproportionately represented.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
Social responsbility and communism are different things. I think we should ensure people are not homeless and dying on the streets, but what you said, taking money from the haves and giving it to the have-nots, simply because they didn't have the same connections, is a different issue.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"After that point, it makes more economic sense to redistribute the cash to increase total wealth."

True Colm, but rich people don't usually just pile their money into a big vault and go swimming like Scrooge McDuck, they reinvest it into other startup companies via Venture Captial, they buy land and property, they hire people for their companies... it naturally gets redistributed.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
Phil

At this point in time, we are not properly distributing wealth because there are millions of innocent children suffering because their parents are lacking in whatever.
We are not being socially responsible. In fact we are being irresponsible in that this problem is eventually going to bite us all in the arse.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
"millions of innocent children suffering "

This seems a little bit of a stretch...MILLIONS...in our country?, got any evidence to back this up? Suffering in terms of dying of cholera and sitting out in the rain with no access to fresh water? Or suffering because they have to eat McDonalds instead of Ruth Chris?
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
Here's some information on "food insecurity" on the rise in the US:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/err11/

11+ percent of all US households lack enough food to feed themselves or their children. That figure likely represents a few million.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
>No one FORCED the government to give it to them.
Yeah, like Halliburton was "forced" to take multi billion dollar no-bid contracts from the government, because they were "lucky" enough to have an ex-ceo magically become vice president.
Permalink Peter 
January 18th, 2006
"11+ percent of all US households lack enough food to feed themselves or their children."

Thats not what that article says exactly. First, only 3% of housholds experience food insecurity with hunger (as in not getting enough food, as opposed to worrying about lack of food or having an unbalanced diet). If you read the actual article, only .5% of households experience hunger on an average day. The Census Bureau says there are 107,000 households, which means only 500 or so experience hunger in an average 30-days. Thats a pretty slim amount, and i tend to believe this is more the parents fault, as there are food stamp and food bank programs out there.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"The prevalence of food insecurity rose from 11.2 percent of households in 2003 to 11.9 percent in 2004 and the prevalence of food insecurity with hunger rose from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent."
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
There should be zero food insecurity in America.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
But shark...its not for lack of trying...there are programs available for those people. There are billions of dollars being sent overseas to feed other people. I agree there should be no hunger in America, but to be fair it is extremely rare for anyone to actually starve to death here, and again, there are programs out there for these people, both public and private.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
>True Colm, but rich people don't usually just pile their
>money into a big vault and go swimming like Scrooge
>they reinvest it into other startup companies via Venture
>Captial, they buy land and property, they hire people for
>their companies... it naturally gets redistributed.

I think you'll find that proportionately very little gets invested into venture capital. That's a specialist concern. Mostly, I think it goes into Fortune 500, land, overseas investments and commodities.

Wealth ISN'T being redistributed when the wealthy invest. They're not doing it out of the goodness of their heart, they're doing it because they can sit on their ass and STILL make money. The more money you have, the less risk you have to take and the more money you make. Wealth tends to get distributed TOWARDS you.

The poorer you are, the more risk you have to take and the less money you make. Wealth tends to get distributed AWAY from you.

Whether anybody admits it or not, redistributive taxation (e.g. social security) is the poor's way of fighting back against this gradual push into poverty through representative democracy. Since the poor tends to be badly represented in democracies (and most of the time they don't even realize that this is what happens) it only happens semi-periodically.

My landlord is NOT redistributing wealth to me. She does nothing, I work and then she gets a portion of my money. I redistribute MY wealth to her.
Permalink Colm 
January 18th, 2006
"Mostly, I think it goes into Fortune 500, land, overseas investments and commodities."

Fortune 500 hires more people, bids on more contracts with small businesses etc... thats definitely going back into the economy. Land... well you had to pay someone for the land, and then property taxes are assesed on top of that, so thats back into the economy. I suppose overseas investments don't help the local economy though.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
> SOP, if they had the smarts to get those
> contracts they earned that money. No one
> FORCED the government to give it to them.

That your heros use the government as their personal gang apparently makes no difference to you. This is the conservative sense of morality that I have comed to love. If you make money it must be allright.
Permalink son of parnas 
January 18th, 2006
" This is the conservative sense of morality that I have comed to love. If you make money it must be allright"

As opposed to liberal sense of morality that if you take money from others it must be allright?
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
>Fortune 500 hires more people, bids on more contracts
>with small businesses etc... thats definitely going back
>into the economy. Land... well you had to pay someone
>for the land,and then property taxes are assesed on top
>of that, so thats back into the economy.

I never argued that it wasn't going back into the economy or that rich people just put their wealth under their bed. I argued that there is a tendency toward net transfer toward the wealthy and away from the poor. The rich can sit on their laurels and let wealth gravitate towards them (in one extreme). The poor can work 14 hours a day and *still* starve (the other).

The new deal was an attempt to redress this balance. Naturally, you're going to be against it if you're rich and use such arguments as "it's my money".

Since we live in a democracy, if you're rich you're also going to plow some of your cash into persuading others (through PR, lobbying and think tanks) that it's right that "everybody should keep their cash coz it's theirs" because it serves your purposes.

During the depression, of course, no amount of PR was going to convince the starving that everybody deserved to keep their money (when the extremes were so far apart). Then you might start to think of other tactics to hold onto your money if you were one of the rich... say, subverting democracy. Of course, it's easier to convince somebody like you who actually *has* some money, that "everybody should keep their cash coz it's theirs".
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
"And what has bush irrationally done in the face of sky high deficits? Protected their money"

Luckily the Democrats are working hard to address the issue by cutting federal spending. No, wait...

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
"In my personal experience, the wealthy people I have known have not become wealthy because of some ability or hard work alone.

Each and every one had a hand up in some way."

See, I was actually about to write this long discussion about how I was starting to agree with you - about racist undercurrents in the US, how minorities do have to struggle in general, some comments about the "glass ceiling", and some ideas about how to deal with it.

But then you write crap like this and I lose all interest in supporting your position. In all sincerity, if you want to make *any* progress on racial issues, may I humbly suggest you drop the "ain't no white guy ever worked for his wealth - they've all had it handed to them" crap - you just absolutely alienate your audience.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
christ philo, your illiteracy is showing.

she *specifically* in *her personal* experience.

The people *she* has *known*

she did *not* say "ain't no white guy ever worked for his wealth - they've all had it handed to them"

or anything even close.

I mean for christs sake, its not *that* hard to actually read her damn posts....


how the fuck did you get to be a lawyer if your comprehension is that bad?
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 19th, 2006
Why the fuck would you even say something like that, unless it's to imply a generality?

Her recurring theme is that wealthy people are only wealthy because they've had a hand up - if they were born without that hand up, they wouldn't be who they are today - they wouldn't have a prayer of being well off.

And I read her comment as "here's my evidence, I rest my case."

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she's trying to say "hey, look - a bunch of wealthy folks got step-ups" but I'm not sure what the point of that would be. Why would you make an anecdotal observation unless the intent was to infer the generalization?

All the black people I'm good friends with are well-educated and are wealthy.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
Phil, meet the GINI index.

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/4Inequality.htm
Permalink trollop 
January 19th, 2006
Hey, that's a great page - thanks!
I especially like how he refers to those who oppose his views as "supply-siders" - catagorizing them by philosophy instead of by political party or state color.

I also like this:
"So who gets ahead, and who gets left behind? The single most decisive factor is education"

Which brings up my constant call to improve elementary education in low-income areas. (Not "go back to college" but "give the kids the foundation they need")

Here's the issue I have with the income tax angle - raising taxes on the rich to what effect? To simply take money away from them? To pay welfare to more people? To feed the government pork machine? If you raising federal income taxes to post-WWII levels, putting a few billion extra dollars in the federal coffers, what happens to the money?

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
My point, Philo, in mentioning wealthy people who got a hand up, is that these same people ALSO think taxation as wealth redistribution is bad because they "earned" their wealth while the other slackers did not. They actually say this; I do not have to infer it. So I often ask these same people how they came about their wealth.

Each and every person _I_ asked easily stated the circumstances, and each and every wealthy person had a hand up in some way that they did not acknowledge as a "hand up".

This is my PERSONAL experience, and that's why I posit the questions that I do; I want to make sure I do not generalize based on anecdotal experience.

No one here actually asks their wealthy friends how they got rich. Somehow, most wealthy people intimidate others so they don't ask. I have no such problem.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 19th, 2006
My apologies for presuming, sharkfish, and thanks for explaining it. :)

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
And JHC, thanks for keeping me in line. My personal suggestion would be that you could turn down the aggressive rhetoric a bit, but maybe that would be like asking muppet not to talk about his ass...

;)

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
Pardon me, but what is a hand up?
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 19th, 2006
A boost, an unearned benefit.

For exampl, children of university alumni are generally given preferential treatment for admissions. The argument is that someone who graduates from such a good school will probably raise children that will have the same work ethic. The reality is that universities get a TON of money from alumni, and if the alum's kid goes there, he's more likely to give more money.

So - by accident of birth, Johnny gets a "hand up" in getting into Harvard, whereas if the same kid had been born to parents in harlem and worked just as hard and gotten better grades and better SAT's, figure the odds of him getting in.

So the question becomes - at what level is it "the rich stay rich" and at what level do we call it luck, talent, or genetics?

Perhaps an edge case - I got a "hand up" in getting into the Naval Academy because my dad retired a LtCol in the Air Force - children of retirees can get a Presidential Appointment, which I did. The interesting twist is that Dad enlisted in 1940, when blacks didn't have the same military opportunities as whites. So does the fact that I'm white give me a "hand up" over someone who's black based on that?

I couldn't have gotten into the boat school without the good grades, college coursework, and aptitude that I demonstrated...

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
My father might be considered wealthy - he has a 6 figure income (incl. pension) and owns (has mortgages for) about 800,000 in real estate. This is in the Hampton Roads, VA, area, where cost of living is not extraordinary.

His father was an Army Sgt. who did HVAC in Iowa after WWII and Korea. They were not wealthy by any means. Dad went to Univ. of Iowa on an AFROTC scholarship and majored in finance. He earned his CPA and MBA by going to school in the evenings and on the weekends. He worked hard in the military, and retired as a LtCol. after 23 yrs. He's now working as a city Acctg. Mgr.

Over the years he has saved his money, and carefully handled his finances. He is now enjoying the rewards of those years of frugality. I don't know how one could say that he got a hand-up (or maybe he doesn't fit into the category of wealthy). I do know that he got to where he is by hard work.

Yes, it's anecdotal evidence, but I know many more people who are doing *quite* well who aren't part of some "old boys club" or whatever.
Permalink nathan 
January 19th, 2006
"For exampl, children of university alumni are generally given preferential treatment for admissions"

That's definitely not ok.

On the other hand, it's natural that if your parents are successful you are at an advantage, everything else being equal.

I don't see that as an unearned benefit, just pure luck. I don't think anyone could say there is no luck component in their success.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 19th, 2006
Of course black people growing up before the 70s and their kids have the cards stacked against them ...
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 19th, 2006
Philo, I was actually aiming at Phil who seems to believe a rising tide floats all boats.

Power is the ultimate prize, wealth is consequential. Power is not distributed willingly with the paypacket.
Permalink trollop 
January 19th, 2006
I know you were, but I still liked the link. :)

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

Other topics: January, 2006 Other topics: January, 2006 Recent topics Recent topics