1. MERRY "TALK LIKE A PIRATE" DAY! ARR!

Senate Income Inequality in the U.S.: Causes, Effects, Solutions

Discussion in 'Community' started by Jedi Merkurian, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    The last three decades have seen a massive increase in the gap between the richest and the poorest in the U.S. The top .01% make an average of $27M/year, while the bottom 90% (as of 2008 data) have an average income of $31K/year. The top 1% of households have seen their income skyrocket since 1979 while the remainder have seen their income flatlined. The average CEO makes 185 times more than the average worker.

    In this thread, let?s discussed how we?ve come to this state of affairs and potential repercussions. Also, lest this just become a rant-fest, how about some ideas on how to reverse this trend as well?

    Part of my theory is that we?re seeing the results of a 30 year war on the middle class in the form of policy, and more insidiously, of rhetoric. From the right, any suggestion of the existence of income disparity (or of it being problematic) is met with the charge of ?class warfare.? Moreover, voters have been duped by rhetoric and propaganda to vote for ?pro-business? interests while at the same time those businesses that are supposed to be creating jobs?aren?t. Instead, companies are increasing their bottom lines either through hoarding cash reserves, or in the acquisition of other companies.

    Another aspect of the right?s war on the middle class is the sneering disdain for education, in the form of disdain for ?pointy-headed Ivy League liberal elites? (notwithstanding the education level of our pundits and elected officials), defunding of public schools, distortion of textbooks to fit political ideology, and, as the recent events in Wisconsin have shown, a general scorn for the teaching profession.

    The left is not blameless. Through entitlement programs, the risk is that what was once a crutch creates crippling victim mentality and a dependency on the ?Nanny State?

    Both the left and the right thus foster an attitude that collectively says ?Somebody else will always take care of you. Let us do your thinking for you. If you fail, it?s not your fault; it?s because of [insert scapegoat here].?

    Continued?
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I've been meaning to start a topic on this too, after seeing this article a few weeks ago:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110223/ts_yblog_thelookout/separate-but-unequal-charts-show-growing-rich-poor-gap


    The Great Recession and the slump that followed have triggered a jobs crisis that's been making headlines since before President Obama was in office, and that will likely be with us for years. But the American economy is also plagued by a less-noted, but just as serious, problem: Simply put, over the last 30 years, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a chasm.

    Gradual developments like this don't typically lend themselves to news coverage. But Mother Jones magazine has crunched the data on inequality, and put together a group of stunning new charts. Taken together, they offer a dramatic visual illustration of who's doing well and who's doing badly in modern America.

    Here are three samples:

    This chart shows that the poorest 90 percent of Americans make an average of $31,244 a year, while the top 1 percent make over $1.1 million:


    And it continues to show some pretty cool charts.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    There's also the unprecedented growth of the financial sector over the last few decades, culminating in our letting ourselves get talked into bailing it out and making sure that the bonuses kept flowing despite finance sector culpability for the mistakes. We've traded away an economy that once specialized in producing things for one that specializes in moving money from one pile to another in any way that makes the pile increase in size, with an entire class of professionals that does nothing but act as a private sector tax on the transfer of money between piles, dipping their hands into the money river as it flows by. The top hedge fund managers all make more than any of the Fortune 500 CEOs, so naturally no one with an ivy league MBA wants to run a real business that actually adds to the productivity of the world, that would be beneath them.

    But the bigger the size of those money piles, the bigger the pretext for anti-christ sized incomes in the financial sector, meaning that more an more money has to be stripped away from the people who make things to free up money for the Wall Street bonus pool.
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Merk, not without trying, but what if your entire opening post was changed to this:

    The last three decades have seen a massive increase in financial mobility in the US. Case in point, over the last three years, the number of new millionaires in the US has risen 15.1%. The median income of $31K/year is a standard that is only duplicated in a very small number of other countries. Instead of flatlining, between 1961 and 2011, the median income in the US has increased 44%. But more than money, the average worker enjoys more non-financial benefits such as paid vacation, 401K accessibility, and health care than any other time in history.

    In this thread, let's discuss how to continue this reality and how to improve on the overall trend.

    Part of this theory is that we?re seeing the results of a 30 year war on personal responsibility in the form of policy, and more insidiously, of rhetoric. Obviously from the left, any suggestion of achievement or innovation (or of the lack of it being problematic) is met with the rallying cry of class warfare. Moreover, voters have been duped by rhetoric and propaganda to vote for unsustainable big labor union demands, which actually hamper individual access to jobs, while protecting the organizations themselves. The results of of which protect inflated gains while decreasing the number of available jobs. Instead, organized labor unions are increasing their bottom lines either through hoarding cash reserves, or the arbitrary collection of "union dues."

    Another aspect of the left?s war on innovation and access to upward mobility is the sneering disdain for hard work and individual achievement, in the form of utter obedience to political correctness, and promoting the dominance of what is known as the Orwellian concept of "groupthink." (notwithstanding the education level of their own pundits and elected officials) Including the mismanagement of public schools, distortion of textbooks to fit political ideology, and, as the recent events in Wisconsin have shown, a general sense of entitlement and of a scorched earth results mentality.

    Naturally, the right is not blameless. It could have stood up more forcefully to the sheer idiocy of the left, but other than that, everything is right on course. Thus, this is an even attempt to have a well balanced discussion based on the reality of the situation. Continued?


    Now, I'm not saying that either "opening post variation" is any more or any less accurate and/or biased than the other, but I'd predict the actual results would be the same no matter which version was used....

  5. New_York_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2002
    star 6
    I'll post on this further tomorrow, since today is St. Patricks day and I'm already a few deep, but I do think this interesting. A sort of cliff notes is I don't really care about inequality per se, but I'm concerned about the effect of inequality on long term growth and path dependency (poor families stay poor; rich families stay rich).
    .
  6. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Well NYJ, I'm glad you agree with the hypothesis brought up by the revised opening post. So the solution that you're putting forth is to minimize the left's misguided barriers to growth and path dependency, because really such broad characterizations are the only ones that matter?
  7. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Snark aside 44, I have no problem with upward mobility. In fact, I say "moar plz, kthx." What concerns me is the ever-widening disparity of income.

    As far as ramifications: for starters, I really don't want to see the U.S. descend into a nation of impoverished dunces ruled over by a tiny plutocracy. At least, not moreso than it already is ;) Plus we need to look no further than North Africa to see the effects of a sustained income gap.

    Much as it pains me to agree with JediSmuggler :p but I'm concerned that we're headed towards some major civil unrest unless we change course.
  8. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I think I read somewhere that income inequality actually has a bit to do with consumer society and how brands pick up a huge customer base and make huge profits out of it. In a world where people buy stuff from Apple, Coca Cola, Nike and whatnot, money just starts flowing to the top.
  9. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Agreed.

    I have no problem with upward mobility either; I am 110 percent for it. But the right's insistence on cutting education funding actually inhibits upward mobility--unless one is fortunate enough to have parents/grandparents/other relatives to fund education for him or her. I'm not one that thinks that everyone needs a college degree, in fact, I think four-year universities might be overpromoted to the detriment of other forms of post-secondary education. But that being said, money should not hinder someone who wants to pursue a career that requires a university education and has the skills to succeed at a university. And I at least think we need to revisit Bill Clinton's idea of fully funding community college education.

    Hedge funds, etc.: I'm in favor of no bailouts for anyone, not the banks, not Wall Street, and not GM. (My understanding is that the latter ended up getting bailed out due to the outcry that "Government bailed out the banks but won't help the assembly line workers!") As Alex Bennett on Sirius XM said, if a bank/business/etc. is too big to fail, it's too big to exist. We in this country need to find a way to start producing again, producing something that people will buy, as opposed to the richest people in the country making money by passing it around and moving it to the right places.

    Unions: the concept of workers banding together to lobby management is a good one, but I do think some of the unions have gotten too powerful. And I think that in some cases they can discourage innovation by inhibiting or blocking management's abilities to make changes from the current status quo.

    All that being said, Merk is right, a lot of civil unrest and crime is caused by a wide gap between the haves and have-nots, especially if there are many have-nots and only a few haves. If you want the most extreme version, look no further than the French Revolution.
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Pitchfork Level

    I also believe we're heading inexorably toward a second dissolution of the Union. Broad sharing of the nation's immense wealth was the glue that held the American Dream together in the first half of the 20th century. It foundered against two jagged reefs: 1) the bad taste left in the mouths of white people when it came to including African Americans and 2) America's economic peak relative to the rest of the world. Once growing the pie itself became more problematic and we moved from high rate growth to much lower growth rates, the fight over dividing the pie intensified. Each successive economic shock since the 1970s has intensified the fight a little bit more until, eventually, the fight moves into the streets like it nearly did in Wisconsin. Don't think America has no chance of ever seeing pitched battles in the streets between disaffected unemployed youth and riot police. Rubber bullets, tear gas. And not just aimed at black people this time.
  11. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Y'know, given my background ;) I'm not against the financial industry. As such, I think the alternative to the bailouts (especially GM) would've been far worse. However, I'm firmly in the "too big to fail = too big to exist" camp. One of the things that had me steamed during the debates on financial reforms is when Obama and Congressional Democrats caved in the face of the "unlimited bailouts" lie.

    Likewise, I have absolutely no problem with making money by moving money around. In fact, I'd love to not only see Americans saving more of their money instead of going "oooooh...shiny [face_hypnotized]," but I'd love to see us become a nation of investors, not only in our own companies, but investing in infrastructure and companies abroad, particulary in developing nations.

    And before you guys claim professional bias on me, part of what I do is also train my clients to become more financially literate. My goal is to train myself out of a job, while making enough loot in the process to comfortably retire when I'm done.
  12. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I think we are missing the real problem. The problem is not income disparity - or even wealth disparity. Those are just the excuses being used at this time.

    The problem is that we have two sides with increasingly disparate views of what America should be.

    One side is in strong favor of what amounts to a European-style social democracy, with a large welfare state and government involvement in the lives of people. The other side believes in a more free-market/capitalistic system with limited government because the people are capable of governing themselves.

    There just is no middle ground to be had at this point, and the events in Wisconsin have closed off most of the room for compromise I can see. It's just as I posted near the start of the Wisconsin dispute:
    Both sides of the Red America/Blue America divide are increasingly seeing the other as fundamentally illegitimate and/or a threat to the future. Blue America increasingly views Red America as heartless, racist/bigoted, unenlightened, and greedy folks who have no regard for the world. Red America is increasingly viewing Blue America as a bunch of race-baiting socialists who don't love America, and who are burdening their kids' generation with unsustainable levels of debt.

    You can't negotiate with those whom you feel are illegitimate, not without betraying your own increasingly polarized political base.


    I don't think we can avoid it at this point.
  13. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I personally think--and have thought since the 2008 crash--that the US very well might be going the way of Rome, and after it burns, from the middle of the ashes, we'll still be raising our fingers and pointing at each other. "The Democrats caused this!" "No, the Republicans caused this!"

    It's juvenile, it's the same sort of "But he started it!" mentality that we see on elementary school playgrounds, and the accusation by either side that the other side "hates America" is a prime example of how juvenile the whole debate has gotten. I mean, really? Anyone who disagrees with (general) your personal view of what the country should be like, must "hate America"? I've heard the accusation most from the right, but the left is not innocent either.

    As far as Wisconsin, I won't comment beyond the idea that neither side is behaving in a way that makes me want to give them my support.
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I agree with nearly everything in your post save this part. The ideology is a pretext. It really is just a battle over slicing the pie. Big corporations are just as eager to get Big Government handouts as the scruffiest welfare cheat. As the pie shrinks, or refuses to grow quickly enough, then the fight over the relative size of each slice heats up. The small numbers of people with power and influence have coopted the mechanism for slicing the pie. But the increasingly large numbers of the relatively disenfranchised still have numbers on their side. The more the fight over the pie heats up, the more it becomes a naked battle between privileged access to power and the power of the mob.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Snark aside 44, I have no problem with upward mobility. In fact, I say "moar plz, kthx." What concerns me is the ever-widening disparity of income.

    Then you missed the entire point of my snarky-snark. I know you don't have a problem with upward mobility, it's that you packaged your "honest discussion" in the most blame game oriented, biased way possible. Go look at your opening post again. It can basically be distilled down to this:

    blah...blah..the right sucks...the right still sucks...blah...oh yeah, the left did something that might not have been perfect, which they normally are....blah..did I say the right sucks?.. continued...

    Obviously, both my follow on replies were sarcastic, but they used no less loaded language to direct the thread. In your post, you even said something along the lines of "lest this become a rant-fest..." and then proceed to set up the most rant directed paragraph possible..

    duped by rhetoric? sneering disdain? hoarding cash? war on economic classes? really? Do you actually believe the words you used? You might as well have done nothing else but start a thread with an image of Scrooge McDuck rolling in a money vault along with a caption that was no more detailed than saying: "this is my issue, jerks...who is with me?" But the problem with that is for every bias in one direction, another can be thrown up in the opposite direction without actually discussing any of the actual issues. Aren't the topics here more complicated? What exactly do you mean by the right and left? political parties? politicians themselves? general movements?

    Are there kernels of truth to both our versions of an opening post? Sure. But you can plainly see how they both guide the content in the most biased way possible. If you, yourself even said that you don't have a problem with upward mobility and financial gain, your entire point can certainly be examined without turning your post into nothing more than a misguided blame-fest.
  16. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I disagree - and here is why:
    If your view were correct, it would be the poor and middle class going after ALL the rich, and that is NOT what is happening.

    On the one side, you have the AFL/CIO, leaders like Sharpton and Jackson, etc, with some rich people (George Soros, for instance) and a portion of the establishment (President Obama, Governor O'Malley of MD, etc.).

    On the other side, you have the Tea Party, various other grassroots groups (the old Christian coalition), some rich people (Koch brothers and Herman Cain, for instance), and a portion of the establishment (Jim DeMint, John Boehner, Governors Walker, Haley, and Scott, among others).

    They cross all economic strata. This is more about two increasingly irreconcilable viewpoints about the way America ought to be than about how the pie is divided.
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    That's a good point, but some of that ideological difference is also coming from indoctrination that is purely economically motivated. Fox News is, after all, one very rich man's personal media vehicle for indoctrinating the lower middle class to support the interests of the rich.

    And some of the "enlightened" rich on the left support progressive policies for purely selfish reasons - they see the bigger picture of providing a robust enough welfare state to placate the poor and middle class so that the rich can keep operating in an environment where profits are dependable and the social order is stable. Bread and Circuses. The Koch Brothers are short sighted and Rupert Murdoch may be deliberately evil. He may be trying to take down the United States. As a foreigner, he has no particular loyalty to the integrity of our nation. He is just beaming malicious propaganda at us to sow dissent. A modern day Tokyo Rose.
  18. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Just callin' 'em as I see 'em, 44. And I'm certain that some of my fellow Senators will see 'em differently ;) which is how honest discourse and understanding can take place. Moreover, my point about blaming "the other" is directed at both ends of the political spectrum.

    EDIT:
    Except that it isn't quite as cut-and-dried as all that. Government grew largest under the Reagan and G.W. Bush administrations, and the right is all about using government to intrude into peoples' bedrooms. Good grief, during Bush v. Gore, you had Gore's lawyers arguing "state's rights," while Bush's lawyers were arguing from the standpoint of the power of federal institutions.

    The sooner you realize that political ideologies will use any and all tools -including "Big Government"- to advance their respective agendas, the better off you'll be, I think.
  19. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    A clarification of my post directed at 44: if you dispute my premise, fine. Let's discuss it. If you dispute my reasoning, splendid! We can debate that too. Just don't leave it at "oh noes teh bias!1!!1!" That's a discussion-killer. Just like liberals look at Fox News and say "conservative bias," or conservative pundits say "liberal media," shutting down discourse and ignoring whatever issue is actually at hand.
  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Alright, so we're on the same sheet of music. If that's the case, I'll just re-post my/your opening paragraph, because our hypothesis is unchanged:

    The last three decades have seen a massive increase in financial mobility in the US for all classes. Case in point- over the last three years, from all backgrounds, the number of new millionaires in the US has risen 15.1%. The median income of $31K/year is a standard that is only duplicated in a very small number of other countries. Instead of flatlining, between 1961 and 2011, the median income in the US has increased 44%. But more than money, the average worker enjoys more non-financial benefits such as paid vacation, 401K accessibility, and health care than any other time in history. In this thread, let's discuss how to continue this reality and how to improve on the overall trend.

    Part of this theory is that we?re seeing the results of a 30 year war on personal responsibility in the form of policy, and more insidiously, of rhetoric. Obviously from the left, any suggestion of achievement or innovation (or of the lack of it being problematic) is met with the self-centered rallying cry of "but it's class warfare." Moreover, voters have been duped by both outright falsehood and propaganda to vote for unsustainable big labor union demands, which actually hamper individual access to jobs, while protecting the organizations themselves. The results of of which foster inflated gains on the average citizen, while at the same time, decrease the number of available jobs. Instead, organized labor unions only increase their bottom lines either through hoarding cash reserves, or the arbitrary collection of "union dues."

    Another aspect of the left?s war on innovation and access to upward mobility is the sneering disdain for hard work and individual achievement, in the form of utter obedience to political correctness, and promoting the dominance of what is known as the Orwellian concept of "groupthink." (notwithstanding the education level of their own pundits and elected officials, which only exists in their own imaginations) Including the mismanagement of public schools, distortion of textbooks to fit political ideology, and, as the recent events in Wisconsin have shown, a general sense of entitlement and of nothing less than a scorched-earth results mentality.

    Naturally, the right is not blameless. It could have stood up more forcefully to the sheer idiocy of the left, but other than that, everything is right on course. Thus, this is an even attempt to have a well balanced discussion based on the reality of the situation. Continued?

    That's my premise, so the ball is in your court. But you see things differently? That's easy to answer-you're wrong. ;)
  21. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Ok, now to (briefly) respond with my own thoughts:

    I don't think income equality in itself would be that bad if we had a better social safety net.

    If every American was guaranteed access to the following, regardless of income, then income equality wouldn't matter:
    *quality healthcare
    *nutritious food
    *clean water
    *nice clothes
    *sturdy shelter (with piping and temperature control)
    *impressive public transportation/education/libraries/childcare

    (I believe that's a comprehensive list, would anyone like to add/subtract from it?)

    But we don't live in a country where every American is guaranteed access to the above if they have no money and can't take out a loan, so income inequality does matter. I'd rather have a better social safety net (which ensures that everyone does have a soft landing in case they do hit rock bottom) than directly attacking income inequality and redistributing wealth... it just seems the best way to eliminate poverty along with class tension. If even the poorest person in America was guaranteed the above, then he/she wouldn't have as much of a grievance to redress, and would be less likely to worry about inequality (with "the bottom" being firm ground instead of quicksand). It would also alleviate the fears and stress of millions of Americans who do worry that inability to find a job in today's tough economy would rob them of the above necessities of modern American life. I would even go as far as to say that if the above list was guaranteed, then we wouldn't need unemployment benefits anymore (maybe not even Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or minimum wage either), especially if the federal government would also offer a job in public works or community service to all unemployed people that are fit to work (maybe tied to the above, as part of the deal, excluding seniors and the disabled of course).
  22. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Agreed.

    Or as I've said in the past, I believe people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. But I also believe they should actually have boots first.
  23. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    The first problem is, "Who pays for it?" - Someone is going to have to pay for those guarantees to the poor.

    Following that, it is, "How do we ensure that the folks who do wind up paying for it feel they are getting their money's worth?" - Because if the people who pay for it see those guarantees essentially allowing others to live off them, they are not going to like it. And if you figuratively hold a gun to their head to get them to keep paying, they will grow to resent those payouts.

    There's one other problem you missed: If the government is guaranteeing this, then if times are tough, will those who work for the government share in the hard times, or will they be above the fray? The average government worker has a higher average pay than the private sector, and in many cases, they get a much sweeter deal on pensions and health insurance than the private sector. Oh, and they also have better job security.

    Meanwhile, a lot of people in the private sector find they are being asked to pay more and more in taxes. They are starting to wonder if they even factor into the equation - and when they start asking for some reasonable things - like making sure that when teachers are laid off, it's not the outstanding first-year teacher, which happened in Milwaukee. Or when teachers commit misconduct, they are promptly fired, if that is appropriate, rather than draw full pay in "rubber rooms" and eventually collect a $62,000 a year pension. Many don't even EARN $62,000 a year in salary, and they see their taxes paying for that sort of stuff.

    That's just teachers. What about other government employees at the federal, state, and local level? How many more? And who created this situation? The unions and politicians. And yet even though these seem reasonable and common-sense, those who want to change things get three weeks of liberal "civility" that we saw in Wisco
  24. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Ghost might come up with better answers, but I'll give this a shot:

    Who pays for it? Everyone. And private-sector employees would benefit too. How much more money could private companies pay their employees if they didn't feel they had to offer health care benefits as part of their compensation? I've seen the dollar figure that my husband's company puts into each employee's health care benefit, and I have a very hard time believing that a tax going towards a government health care program would be greater. By all means, though, someone provide a tax dollar figure that, say, a French citizen or Canadian citizen contributes towards his or her health care. Also, if nutritious food were just as cheap and easy to prepare as crap food, then Americans would be healthier overall, thus decreasing health care costs for all of us. We need to start by ending the corn subsidies and thus ending mass production of high fructose corn syrup but that's another topic. I do think part of the nutrition quality problem could be solved by a greater free market.

    As far as allowing others to "live off" these benefits, I don't really see how they could. I'm not seeing Ghost's list as a comprehensive list of what people need to live. I considered taking "nice clothes" off his list, but the fact is that in order to get a job, people need clothes suitable for a job interview. I'm not talking about $900 suits, I'm talking about clothes that are clean and neat-looking. They also need clean water to bathe in, as well as public transportation to get to the job interview and therefore the job itself. On child care--how many single mothers are getting welfare checks because they do not have the education to get a job that would pay enough to cover child care costs? I've seen commentary on the past (in general, not here) on so-called "welfare queens" who think they are somehow "above" working fast food. Not saying there aren't whiny entitled moochers in this country, but we also have to consider the fact that a minimum wage job does not pay enough to cover day care.

    Should people working in government jobs share in hard times? Yes, of course. Here in North Carolina that is happening.

    The issues that you mentioned with teachers, I am 100 percent on board. And I say that as someone who taught school for 12 years. Layoffs should be based on performance and evaluations, with years of service factoring in behind those. They're doing layoffs here, and the first factor they are considering is performance evaluations. I wouldn't know what a $62,000 a year pension looks like, top teacher pay in North Carolina is lower than $62,000.

    I'd actually be OK with phasing out pensions and social security over time and instead requiring everyone to choose a retirement plan and put a minimum of X amount into it. I think it would have to be a phase-out though, it's really too late for the Baby Boomers to come up with an alternate plan. I think the youngest people who could consider it would be those of us in our late 30s and early 40s. My husband and I both technically qualify for pensions but we aren't banking on their still being there either, not the way things are going. We have 401Ks and other investments.

    One factor to consider regarding social security is that when it was created in 1936, the age to start drawing was the same as it is now, but life expectancy was only 61 years. So not nearly as many people were expected to draw it. Something has got to give there. And if we can revamp the food industry and have equal access to health care for everyone, people will be healthier and therefore more productive.
  25. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    The problem is.... government's made a mess once already. What proof do we have that they won't make that mess again in this Great Society 2.0 Ghost seems to want? We're tried government involvement. It hasn't worked since 1965.

    Government cannot be the provider. And that goes back to the fundamental divide I referred to earlier. A large portion of America doesn't think government should be involved in providing that sort of thing, especially when we're dealing with where our debt is.