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  • Reform or Revolution?

    I had the opportunity the other day to watch a most enlightening program broadcast by UCTV. The one-hour program was called "How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?" presented by President Clinton's former labor secretary Robert Reich.

    "Inequality of income, wealth, and opportunity in America is wider now than it's been since the 1920s, and by some measures since the late 19th century. Yet the nation seems unable or unwilling to do much of anything to reverse these trends. What happens if we allow the trends to continue? Will they "naturally" reverse themselves? Or will we get to a point where disparities are so wide that we finally find the political will to take action? Alternatively, will the disparities themselves grow so wide as to discourage action, by fostering resignation among the losers and indifference among the winners? And if the latter, where will it all lead?" SOURCE: Goldman School of Public Policy UC, Berkley

    The presentation made excellent use of economic graphs to demonstrate how large of a gap has developed between the upper class and the middle class (not to mention the lower class) with regards to income, wealth, and opportunity in the United States between the years 1962 to the present. The trends are alarming to say the least. The speaker correctly points to birthright as the beginning of the disparity that allows for advantages in everything from diet and healthcare to education and connections. Being born into a middle-class family myself, I have truly benefited from my birthright in terms of these advantages right from the starting gate. Some people would argue that many a poor person has risen up by their "own boot straps" but I would argue that in today's society, most (not all) poor people can only rise up with a good pair of athletic shoes or a willingness to sell drugs. Otherwise they have to remain content with working in the service industry for comparatively lower wages than their upper-class counterparts. Mr. Reich further points out that one of the elements keeping our society glued together is the belief or perception by the lower class that opportunity in this country still exists and that if one is willing to work hard, they can be successful.

    The speaker talks of two potential outcomes for this growing disparity. He uses the metaphor of the rubber band to illustrate his point. Our society will either "snap back" with a series of reforms supported by all three classes and the government to regain a sense of fairness when it comes to income, wealth, and opportunity in the United States. This has occurred at least once before in the history of our country during a time referred to as the progressive movement. The other potential outcome is for our society to "snap break" whereby this country exists with two entirely different societies. The problem with the latter outcome is that it often leads to the arrival of a demagogue who plays upon the emotions of the middle and lower classes all for the hidden intention of personal gain. We have seen this all too often in history with the likes of Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin etcetera. Mr. Reich suggests somehow that the upper class are not a group with malicious intent but rather are nothing more than a naive self-indulgent class of people who don't know any better. Here I beg to differ. I believe the upper class is guilty of a careless disregard for their fellow countrymen. They have the arrogance to believe they are superior and deserving of extravagance regardless of how they attained it and regardless of how it affects the rest of society. Once again, history shows us what happened to those monarchs who behaved the same way. Do I think there will be a violent revolution in this country? I hope not. Do I prefer a new progressive movement over even a peaceful revolution? Absolutely. My fear however, is that we are already rapidly approaching the point of "critical mass" beyond which there is no turning back. The question today before the American people is what are YOU prepared to do?

  • #2
    This has socialism written all over it.

    Comment


    • #3
      What is your point? It seems that you are advocating forced a redistribution of wealth, which seems to be a little totalitarian. Wealth is not a guaranty. It comes through a combination of work, risk, and even a little luck, but if you do not work and take the risks, luck will not help. If you gave everybody on this planet equal resources, within a few years there would be a wealthy class again, and a poor. The fact of the matter is that the pursuit of wealth is what drives our economy and provides jobs for the masses. Competition is fierce, and yes, it is possible to be left behind, but that is the fault of the individual.

      Comment


      • #4
        Maybe if we stopped forcing the rich to support the sponges then they would be forced to work for their food and in doing so might actually like earning a living and therefore we'd have less poor people.
        "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

        For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pkagel
          Maybe if we stopped forcing the rich to support the sponges then they would be forced to work for their food and in doing so might actually like earning a living and therefore we'd have less poor people.
          If you're saying that welfare and government handouts keep people dependent on government for their livlihood, then I 100 percent agree with you. But, I think that's what the gov. wants. The government wants to create a class of dependent people that rely on their handouts for the sole purpose of enslaving them to the gov. When they accomplish that they can gain control over everything in our system of government. That is what will create a socialist revolution, not some lame attempt at income redistribution. In fact, I would go so far as to say many in politicians want the income gap to grow even wider because it would serve their purposes.

          Equal opportunity, not equal results--that is capitalism in a free democracy--work hard, get more, work not, get lost.
          Last edited by savage4presiden; 06-30-2005, 09:02 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not quite the conspiracy theorist you are but yes, you got my point.
            "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

            For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pkagel
              I'm not quite the conspiracy theorist you are but yes, you got my point.
              I don't think it is a conspiracy at all, I just see it as the natural course that politics will take judging by the way things are now.

              Comment


              • #8
                This is the conspiracy I'm speaking of. Maybe it would be the normal course of events but I really doubt "many" want the gap to grow. I think they are just ignorant and allow it to happen.

                Originally posted by savage4presiden
                In fact, I would go so far as to say many in politicians want the income gap to grow even wider because it would serve their purposes.
                "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

                For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pkagel
                  This is the conspiracy I'm speaking of. Maybe it would be the normal course of events but I really doubt "many" want the gap to grow. I think they are just ignorant and allow it to happen.
                  I agree with you on that. Many politicians have good intentions of helping people through welfare, but in fact they are actually hurting them.

                  Hey! I just noticed your signature fits well with this topic!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That quote fits well with almost anything that is going on in gov't today. Notice the date on it

                    Originally posted by savage4presiden
                    Hey! I just noticed your signature fits well with this topic!
                    "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

                    For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Soleil_nuage
                      Okay, I don't like welfare either. But why don't people show as much as outrage about corporate welfare? You know subsidies to big farm conglomorates, and tax cuts to corporations who then move jobs and factories overseas to avoid paying the little taxes that they are required to pay.
                      I think outsourcing is terrible. I think it actually hurts other nations as well as America. First, you get jobs lost in America due to outsourcing. Second, when the companies go overseas, they automatically have a monopoly on the industry in whatever country they are moving to which will disable any domestic inustry growth. It's unfair to everyone but the company.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A sponge is a sponge. Difference being, offering lower taxes to a business is still a net positive outcome for the community. Offering free money to a slacker just leaves the sponge at home to breed more baby sponges. As far as outsourcing, hey, sucks, but if you don't want stuff outsourced then start buying USA made goods and stop buying at WalMart and stores of the like. If you refuse to pass up the "good deal" then don't blame anyone but yourself.

                        Originally posted by Soleil_nuage
                        Okay, I don't like welfare either. But why don't people show as much as outrage about corporate welfare? You know subsidies to big farm conglomorates, and tax cuts to corporations who then move jobs and factories overseas to avoid paying the little taxes that they are required to pay.
                        "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

                        For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Don't overlook the fact that our government places many regulations on business that make the cost of domestic manufacturing too high. Lawsuits are also out of control. Those who think businesses pay "little" taxes, it's obvious that you've never been involved with one. Considering that were giving 15 billion for AIDS in Africa, I say take advantage of every loophole you can. The media wants to remain neutral during wartime and show no loyalty or bias toward our own country, but they bitch about US companies about going overseas. Despite some of the problems that I'm concerned about, I think most people seem pretty happy, every 18 year old punk seems to be driving a new car with kicker boxes that cost more than my vehicle, so I don't know about this coming violent liberal revolution. I don't really think liberals want to fire the first shot in some sort of "revolution" cause they would lose, reversing the slow but sneaky progress that has been made for the last 30 years. JOEBIALEK, we got enough regular irritating liberals on this site, your probing here is not neccessary. Also, you dont have to write a book either, most of us see who you are after the first few sentences. Though,I have to say, you do write well.
                          The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jnhdrac
                            What is your point? It seems that you are advocating forced a redistribution of wealth, which seems to be a little totalitarian. Wealth is not a guaranty.
                            I don't read anything in the original post about a forced redistribution of wealth. I think the author is saying that he thinks either revolution or reform will redistribute the wealth.

                            Originally posted by savage4presiden
                            Equal opportunity, not equal results--that is capitalism in a free democracy--work hard, get more, work not, get lost.
                            Opportunity isn't equal if you're on different class footing to begin with.

                            I wonder what would happen to the disparity in wealth if estates & trusts were no longer allowed. In other words, when you die, whatever personal wealth you have leftover... POOF, gone, back into circulation somewhere that every person has a right to, education and health care maybe? OK I'm rambling now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pkagel
                              As far as outsourcing, hey, sucks, but if you don't want stuff outsourced then start buying USA made goods and stop buying at WalMart and stores of the like.
                              USA goods are decidedly better quality but the cost of production is several orders in magnitude above what it costs to produce in other countries and then import it here.

                              China is the perfect example of this.

                              Comment

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