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Economic Policy: Birds are starving feed horses more oats

coberst

Registered Member
Economic Policy: Birds are starving feed horses more oats

Economics is one of several domains of knowledge for which I have an aversion. I did take a course in economics in college many years ago and it dealt a heavy blow to my grade-point average.

This fact may be evident by my question; isn’t there a better economic policy than feeding the birds by giving the horses more oats?
 

coberst

Registered Member
What are you talking about?
Have you never seen birds feeding on the undigested oats in horse droppings? Analyze the economic policy of capitalism in America. An example might be when we pay CEOs 600 times what we pay the average worker; or when we cut the taxes for the wealthy so that they can build more factories.

Some might call this a trickle-down economy.
 

ExpectantlyIronic

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Milton Friedman, one of the most renowned advocates of the free market, thought that if folks needed money, then it was probably best to just give them money. Hence, he came up with the negative income tax, which includes a guaranteed minimum income to replace all types of welfare including social security, unemployment benefits, etc. The NIT was never adopted, obviously, but it had been seriously considered for awhile.

The economic trick, for some genius who feels up to the task, would be to find a way to provide everyone what they need, while not reducing the general incentive to produce. I'm not sure how you accomplish that, but it sure would be something if you could.
 

coberst

Registered Member
I have little knowledge in economics and have no specific proposal to make things better. However, like all ideologies capitalism has deluged us with a constant refrain that for the good of society we must have very rich people so that they can create jobs for the rest of us. I think that it is important for the rest of us to occasionally peek behind the curtain and then critically examine the policies that sometimes serve a good purpose but in other times the purpose served is more that of self-interest for those making the policy.

We have been educated to keep our eye on the cape but if bulls could speak they would advise us otherwise.
 

dDave

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
man that's sick i didn't know that they actually did that, that's kind of strange to eat horse droppings.
 

soot

Registered Member
Have you never seen birds feeding on the undigested oats in horse droppings? Analyze the economic policy of capitalism in America. An example might be when we pay CEOs 600 times what we pay the average worker; or when we cut the taxes for the wealthy so that they can build more factories.

Some might call this a trickle-down economy.
I see what you're saying.

Edited to add: The following is not intended as a professional or authoritative assessment of anything we're discussing here. It's simply an (somewhat) educated opinion based upon a couple semesters of economics, more than a couple semesters of history, a subscription to The Economist, an interest in the topic, and a pragmatic view of the world. All of it is open to interpretation and discent. I offer it only for the sake of developing the conversation because it interests me.

I don't think a CEO's compensation can really be considered a matter of national economic policy. I agree that it's a consequence of capitalism though, and in that regard it's really a simple matter of supply and demand. There's only so much talent out there with the credentials to run a big corporation. CEO's, just like anything and anyone else, are going to command only what the market will bear. If a corporation wants to draw on a particular pool of talent then they need to compensate accordingly.

The same goes for the salary or wage of the average worker in any field. If they're only "average" then why would, or should, they command anything more than average compensation?

As far as cutting taxes for the wealthy - the wealthy pay the lion's share of taxes in this country. Why shouldn't those who pay the most be first in line when a little cutting is being done?

And it isn't like the middle and lower classes don't recieve tax breaks or benefits too. The cuts and refunds are smaller, but proportionally so.

However, like all ideologies capitalism has deluged us with a constant refrain that for the good of society we must have very rich people so that they can create jobs for the rest of us.
Well it isn't as though poor people are going to create jobs, or ship the ones they've created off-shore if the climate for business becomes unfavorable in this country.

We talk a lot about poverty in this country, and I know that it exists of course, and we talk about the evils of the rich, and that exists too. But overall what our economy has provided is a fairly level playing field where the small guy can get ahead if he works hard and smart and if he makes the right decissions, hires the right people, secures the right capital, and listens to the right advice. It doesn't alway work out for the best 100% of the time but it isn't supposed to. It's only supposed to allow and provide for the opportunity.

Now I'm not saying that it's the poor's fault that they're poor. In some cases it is, maybe in many cases it is. But in many cases it's also the fault of a legacy of racisim and classism. The playing field hasn't always been as level as it is today (and of course it isn't even perfectly level today - but it's a heck of a lot better than it's ever been). And the legacy of that wholesale discrimination still leaves an ugly stain on our society. But we're trying, as a nation, to fix that legacy.

The problem with fixing that legacy is that the people who are asked to pay for it really had no hand in creating the situations that cause economic inequality and social discord in America today. So do we just arbitrarially tax the living s.hit out of the rich (many of whom are newly rich) in order to attone for the "sins" of our antecedants who were only acting in a manner which was socially acceptable in their time period?

I don't know. But it doesn't really sound fair.

Okay, there's a figure often quoted, something to the effect that those on the bottom 10% of the of the economic ladder in America live better than 90% of the rest of the world. I don't know how true that is, but when you read about the economies of India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, etc... and the conditions that those economies (and governments) provide for their lower class I don't find it too hard to believe.

For a long time I think those conditions were a consequence of colonialism, neocolonialism, and the core economies doing whatever was possible to keep the periphery on the periphery. Except in the latter case those times are past (not long past, but past). And even where the latter is still a factor it is only a factor because of the complicity of the government of the nation being exploited.

Now, of course the fact that our economy and standard of living is better than the worst certainly isn't any reason to rest on your laurels and not make some effort to improve the lot of the most impoverished members of our society. But I think we do a fairly good job of that too. Between what the federal government provides, and what state and local governments provide, and what civil volunteer and charity programs provide the poor in this country aren't all that bad off, comparatively.

I don't think we can have an economy where everyone is rich, or a society where everyone is happy, fulfiled, and satisfied all of the time.

I also think that what we do have is about the best anyone is ever going to get.

No command economy that promised equality for all has ever lasted long. And in the few cases where it has it certainly hasn't provided that equality and often the standard of living of the people in such countries falls well below that of modern America (and probably below the standards of 19th century America).

So the poor aren't going to create jobs, and government has proven historically incapable of producing jobs. Does that mean that we have to create a climate in which it is favorable for the rich to create (and maintain) jobs?

I don't know.

Maybe, as ExpectantlyIronic mentioned, someone will eventually develop a system of government, or economics, or a social system, that really does work better than the combination of capitalism and democracy (in all of its many forms). Until then the best that we can hope is that we keep tooling or economy so that the successful can thrive and the unsuccessful have a better standard of living than they would in just about anyplace else.
 
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