Saturday, July 26, 2014

wealth management-- or not

Last night Bill Maher had an interesting show with Hogan Gidley (religious right winger on Santoriums team when he ran for president), Matt Kibbe (ardent libertarian and tea partier),  Amy Goodman (journalist, writer and liberal feminist), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Cosmos series, scientist and spokesman for logic and science), and Richard D. Wolff (economist, writer, and ardent and unashamed Marxist). An hour wasn't nearly enough for these along with Maher to discuss the issues in the depth that I'd have loved to hear.

Like most Americans as soon as I see the word Marxism, I am suspicious, but the point he was making is capitalism takes a vital middle class. We now though have a very determined wealthy class where having a billion dollars is not enough. They are taking it from both the middle and those in the bottom who would work their way up if they had a way. Because they can get salaries lower overseas, the manufacturing jobs have gone and for start up businesses, such as my husband consults for, to keep it here takes real character as right away the big money tries to buy anything and you know where it goes next!

On poverty, it is logical that generations will continue in a poverty cycle given the inferior schools in those neighborhoods. This has been true since I was in the education program in Portland, OR in the 60s. We spent time student teaching in four different schools chosen because of the wealth of the neighborhoods and this was with one district, one property tax rate. The poorer neighborhoods had inferior programs, and of course, because of poverty more children in single parent homes, parents working two jobs and kids on their own. Poverty is a breeder for sure, but the statistics of three generations on welfare has not been proven true. For one thing now there is a work requirement in the US; so that those that can work must work. It still leaves the working poor because of the low minimum wage, which leaves a full-time worker below the poverty level.

The way up is education and crazily the right has done all they can to keep education from succeeding by limiting funds. So, skip the PC which both sides love, and make schools concentrate on the basics. That's also the hope for future voters using sense in their selections of candidates.

I think we also need to make public universities affordable again. Right now the tuition rates are unreal. I found that out when considering how to help our grandkids when they get there. Good Lord, it is pricing the middle out of a college degree.

What has happened with wealth being concentrated, and ways up fewer, the middle is squeezed out. It’s more iffy now to get into it from the lower economic levels as I once could do, and the middle itself is disappearing. The economist said a vital capitalism works because of a vital middle and we are losing it—blame who you will. We could still fix that, all of it, if enough of us agree.

What has amazed me has been the wealthiest, and why they want that much. But as soon as you ask that, they paint you as hating the rich. They are clever at manipulating those who have the most lose.


Ingineer66 said...

There have always been super rich people. Maybe now there are more of them, so they seem more powerful? I am not sure. The middle is getting squeezed it seems,but not only by the rich, but by the government. Taxes and fees are way up and like you said tuition is throughout the roof. And not because we don't spend enough on it. Here in Calif. We have a law that says half our state budget has to go to education and this year is the biggest budget we have ever had in state history. One of the strengths in calif used to be you could get a good college education for almost free. Now the poor and illegal get it free and the middle pays a ton and the rich don't care cause they can afford it.

Rain Trueax said...

there need to be some restrictions on how universities can spend that money. They put them into these fancy buildings and their high priced Deans. Instead it should be more classrooms and instructors. I think the extremely rich are less. I read somewhere that 67 people owned 40% of the world's wealth. This was an unbiased look at it-- stop adding up the wealth of the poor. My point though is after you get to a certain point of wealth, why would you want more? You can't spend it. You already had enough to buy anything you wanted. Needs were long since taken care of.

I think Henry Ford had it right back then. He wanted a healthy middle class to buy his product. The billionaires today with oil and such know they have a market that can't go elsewhere.

I don't think the poor get as much as you think but it's sure what the right harps on. The problem Americans should think about is if this system is currently pushing the middle out, what can be done about it? There are things but it won't happen when we are divided and some work to keep us divided to their gain.

But again-- why want so much money? What can you really do with it other than control other people, I guess. I have never understood as having big amounts of money was never on my agenda as a way to be happy. Look at Rupert Murdoch and how happy does he ever look. It hasn't helped him with love or family. But he keeps amassing more. And working to control American's thinking. It really does amaze me. I can see wanting to be wealthy but once you are there, why wouldn't you be thinking of helping others instead of wanting more. What it looks like is there is never enough. That is no way to be happy but then they dont' care about that. They just want power and this country to be an oligarchy where they rule it all. If it keeps on as it is, they might get that.

Ingineer66 said...

More people were added to Forbes billionaire list this year than any other. But a billion dollars isn't worth what it used to be. Bill Gates has given away over a billion dollars and he makes money so fast he is still the worlds richest person.

My point was the poor get free college and the middle has to pay a ton. Why not make it cheaper for all.

I am a fan of Henry Ford's philosophy that he wanted to pay his workers a wage large enough that they could buy his cars instead of them being a plaything for the rich. But J D Rockefeller was as rich as the 6 richest people in the world today combined. So I am not sure if the wealth really is in fewer peoples hands.

Rain Trueax said...

they say it is. 64 people own 40% of the world's wealth (or some such number). But it is true extremely wealthy, like the East Indies company have always impacted governments. Some think the Bilderberg group does that today. The are secretive enough that who knows. But then conspiracies thrive on secretiveness.

yes, on universities. It's to the point only the poorest and richest can easily afford an education. That keeps power concentrated and that's the goal of some of these oligarch thinkers.

Ingineer66 said...

Luckily we have the second amendment so if the oligarchs get bad enough we can make a change.

Rain Trueax said...

We have voting, which would work, but if people are easily manipulated, they don't use it wisely.

Yeah, and violent overthrow tends to work so well in places like Libya, doesn't it! lol

Ingineer66 said...

The threat of violent overthrow keeps them throwing enough bones to the rest of us.

Rain Trueax said...

Maybe or maybe they worry that Americans will figure they can vote for those who will take away their perks and power. We could, you know. I doubt if they worry much about violent overthrow, not with all the firepower they have brought to our police with what was in Iraq. That war made them money and not it has turned police into mini-armies!

Ingineer66 said...

I agree completely. The militarization of our police is a mistake in my opinion. But since we seem unwilling to execute the worst of the criminals, the police have to deal with these bad guys that are not afraid of punishment.

Rain Trueax said...

That sounds good until you consider the brutality that is happening in some of our cities and it's the police doing it. I think it relates to their fear or maybe some of those going in that work right now like being tough guys. And we do have death penalties and massive numbers of people in prisons-- right up there with fascist countries. If we took marijuana off the table, it'd help some to be sure our prisons were for those who actually were dangerous to us.

Ingineer66 said...

Many states do not really have a death penalty. Only 13 people have been executed in California since 1978. And we have 742 people on Death Row. If we executed 5 a week it would take 3 years to do them all. It takes so long to execute somebody that most District Attorneys won't even prosecute a capital case unless it is really horrific.

But I agree many police have turned into this tough guy macho person that is unapproachable by the average citizen. And that is a bad thing.

Rain Trueax said...

We do have a death penalty and most recently it's been used. I don't think it's that merciful to keep people there under fear of death. It costs more to have it and after I served on a jury, I lost faith in our court system for being fair. Why so many times does a white get off with a slap on the wrist and a minority get the death penalty? And you know that's how it's been. What I ran into on the jury is not all information is given to you when you come up with a verdict. I don't favor it anymore myself. I do favor life in prison meaning life in prison.