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Most Americans actually enjoy the fruits of both Capitalism and Socialism. 56% of us have IRAs, 401Ks, or are directly invested in stocks. 31% of us collect pensions, most of which are invested in stocks. Most of us collect Social Security and sign up for Medicare when we retire. Even Ayn Rand cashed her Social Security checks. And Senator Paul wants the government to step with FEMA funds for Kentucky after the big storm.

Sorry, Greger: Most of the nice suburban houses in my state cost about a million dollars now. I think it's actually the 0.1% the system is rigged for.

Last edited by pondering_it_all; 12/13/21 06:47 AM.

We're flying electric helicopters on Mars yet you can't turn on your clothes dryer in Texas. That's because scientists are in charge of Mars, and Republicans are in charge of Texas.
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Quote
56% of us have IRAs, 401Ks, or are directly invested in stocks.

44% of us do not.

Quote
31% of us collect pensions, most of which are invested in stocks.

69% of us do not.

Perhaps your net worth puts you in the 10%? And you don't want to think that the system could possibly be rigged to help an old white college-educated Boomer like yourself?


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Quote
Most of the nice suburban houses in my state cost about a million dollars now. I think it's actually the 0.1% the system is rigged for.

They are priced to be affordable to the top 10% of earners. The rest can go rent a $3000 a month flat. Or live in their cars. Or on a park bench. Or just eat a bottle of pain pills and call it a day.

Fortunately, the Democratic California government has ended homelessness in your state and ended hunger...?

California has 10% of the nation's covid deaths.

California has a lot of things not to be exactly proud of even though they are the bluest state in the nation. Like million-dollar suburban houses. About twice what a house costs in my Republican state.

The top .1% aren't even vaguely interested in those cheap shacks.


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It's the Despair Quotient!
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Originally Posted by Greger
Actually, there is very little difference. Socialism doesn't preclude private ownership by any means. You'd still own or rent a place to live, have a job and go to work, collect a paycheck, and all that. You'd buy still things you need including luxuries if your career earned you enough.

The primary difference would be the accounting. Higher taxes and more government services. Fewer multinational corporations and conglomerates and no Billionaires. Lots and lots of millionaires though.

If you're hoping I'm going to outline some perfect system of government for you then you're out of luck. I might as well ask that you describe some perfect pure form of capitalism where workers aren't exploited at every turn in favor of corporate profits.

But that would actually be socialism wouldn't it?

Given that a million bucks just isn't all that much money anymore (yeah, it still is to ME!, but still...) I do expect that there would be a few billionaires. What there wouldn't be is a bunch of folks worth fifteen, or twenty billion or more, they'd have to engage tax schemes that push their excess wealth into investments that benefit their workers first.

There wouldn't be any Bill Gates/Jeff Bezos/Elon Musk/Koch Brothers sized personal fortunes.
That's what high marginal tax rates are designed to deal with.

The thing that amazes me is, if you counted it all up, these mega-billionaires are actually spending as much or even more in dark money to kill democracy when they'd be sacrificing less if they just paid their fair share in taxes and treated workers better. Their combined donations to foster fascism and keep the Trump RW lock on power is more money than they would have spent just not being dickheads.
They'd still be filthy rich.
In fact, one of the other reasons they'd still be rich is, a lot of what they're donating is other people's money!


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Given that a million bucks just isn't all that much money anymore (yeah, it still is to ME!, but still...) I do expect that there would be a few billionaires

A million bucks isn't all that much to the top 10%. You and me...can't even imagine resources like that.

You and I came close once to joining that rarefied realm. Cocaine knocked you back, Republican policy knocked me back. Then we both got stomped unmercifully with medical issues.

A thousand times that is really a lot of money. Does any man need to own and control more than say...$100,000,000 in assets?

How long have there been billionaires in history? All of Solomon's gold wasn't worth that. Billionaire-ism is an entirely new and entirely capitalistic phenomenon never seen before.

The ravages to the earth's ecosystem are entirely new too. Mostly, like Billionaires, just in the last century or so. If the billionaire class is given free rein I expect that our tenure on this planet will soon come to an end.

I would put an end to that sort of ridiculous wealth if I was the King of the North Pole.

And make sure everybody else got a fair shake and a hand up whenever they needed it.


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Originally Posted by Greger
Quote
Given that a million bucks just isn't all that much money anymore (yeah, it still is to ME!, but still...) I do expect that there would be a few billionaires

A million bucks isn't all that much to the top 10%. You and me...can't even imagine resources like that.

You and I came close once to joining that rarefied realm. Cocaine knocked you back, Republican policy knocked me back. Then we both got stomped unmercifully with medical issues.

A thousand times that is really a lot of money. Does any man need to own and control more than say...$100,000,000 in assets?

I'm just talking about historical inflation, nothing more.
I'm saying that a billion dollars today is pretty much what a million dollars was in the 1900's, that's all.
And so I do expect that there still WOULD be a small handful of them around, maybe twenty at most.

And yes, it is likely that over half of that twenty would be billionaires in the technical sense, as in "owning nothing but controlling many things", thus their PERSONAL wealth portfolio would look modest by comparison.
Elon Musk lives off residuals from stock investments and doesn't even have a proper home in his own name.

When you own and control that much wealth, regardless of the numerical value, it is possible to construct elaborate workarounds by simply
manipulating the definition of ownership.

Vladimir Putin is worth a few billion, some say almost 200 billion, but the reality is, Vlad literally OWNS Russia and everything in it, because
if he gives the Roman "thumbs down" signal, it no longer exists. He's probably looking at a billion or so in his personal bank account but
in reality, he OWNS the entire Russian GDP because he CONTROLS the entire Russian GDP and all Russia's assets.

So if we really look at the reality of Putin's wealth, he's already a trillionaire, as long as he stays in power.
Note that I didn't say "stays in OFFICE"....I said "stays IN POWER", which could very well be till the day he dies.


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The pleasant thing about Putin is that he WILL die relatively soon. Maybe not in my lifetime, but soon. Nothing he can do about it either.

As for Gregor's accounting, let me just relay this little-known fact: Last time Republicans were negotiating for terms on the estate tax, they were quite willing to give up the 10 million dollar exemption (to make it 5 million), if they could get the over-exemption tax rate a few percent lower. If you did the math, that would benefit their true bosses: People with 100 million dollar plus estates. They didn't really care about family farmers or business owners who would have to break up their estates to pay taxes. They cared about the 0.1% with vast family fortunes.

The rich people who benefit from our screwed-up tax system are far far richer than you know. And they want to keep it that way.


We're flying electric helicopters on Mars yet you can't turn on your clothes dryer in Texas. That's because scientists are in charge of Mars, and Republicans are in charge of Texas.
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