Following Politics Is Like Following A Really Bad Football Team

by Ben Hoffman

I’ve been blogging politics for several years now. It seemed like things would be better if we could get a bright Democratic president with a Democratic majority in congress. We have all that now, but we see little getting done to fix the problems of America and what is getting done won’t solve anything. For example, the recently passed credit card “reform” doesn’t do much to help people from getting screwed by the credit card companies. It just provides a few obstacles where new loopholes need to be exploited.

While it’s an accomplishment that health insurance reform has gotten as far as it has, the reform isn’t going to be great, thanks to people like Representative Bart Stupak who feel the life of a fetus is far more important than the life of a person. And then we have the apposing team (the Republicans) who want to win at all costs — the ordinary American be damned. Winning is all that matters, and that means defeating any half-assed attempt at reform made by the Democrats.

Watching the Democrats is kind of like watching a really bad football team. They dropped the ball on banking reform last year when we were still in crisis mode. Any reform now will be a two yard gain when they’re down 49 to 0 with 95 yards to go and 30 seconds left to play. This health insurance reform is a giant gift to the insurance companies and new entitlements for the poor, but little to help the middle class. And what about election reform? What about the crimes of the past administration?

Spring is right around the corner and there are far better things to do than following ineptitude and corruption. Sure, I’ll still read the pathetic attempts at reform and the silly little scandals, but why bother getting upset about it? Nothing will get better. This country is doomed. The enormous debt will catch up to us one of these days. You can only live on credit for so long.

Whatever happens to the country will happen weather we care or not. Elected officials answer to big corporations, not the middle class. That will be the case until we get big money out of politics, but with the recent SCOTUS ruling, that problem is going to get even worse.

And so, as the weather begins to warm, I’ll be playing tennis. I’m building a woodworking shop in the garage and will be building furniture for the house. I may even do a little wood sculpting. I’ll put new strings on my old acoustic guitar and jam with some friends in the back yard. Kind of like Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

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66 Comments to “Following Politics Is Like Following A Really Bad Football Team”

  1. hehe. I’m a colts fan and a democrat. I really, really know what you’re talking about. Though I just read a list of accomplishments that President Obama has had since swearing in, and it made me feel better. It was a lengthy, impressive list.

  2. Ben – we blog because we care. You won’t stop caring in your shop, but you may calm your soul a bit. I’ve decided to spend more time in the yard pruning and planting and seeking little Zen moments. My heart rate will thank me.

    • Anything that allows you to practice mindfulness is good. I can completely immerse myself in woodworking and tennis. I’d imagine gardening allows you to do that, also.

  3. Ben,

    In spite of our slightly different ideologies we seem to have the same concern over our national debt, and it’s future. My concern extends, though, to the freedoms I see us losing because of it; specifically, our freedoms to earn income in proportion to the value we create and to protect that income (and ourselves) from a government that has worked hard to drive our currency into the ground.

    What protections will we have if this debt continues?

    In “Capitalism: A Love Story”, Moore seems to long for the days when the “rich” were taxed 90%+ on income over $200,000. Is that what we can look forward to? If we’re going to tax our way out of this debt, then by how much?

    In the GM deal, secured investors got screwed. How much of a secured investment should now become unsecured at the government’s whim?

    We saw a change with tax havens. Sure, on the one hand there’s people illegally hiding income, and they should be strung up, but on the other hand there are people who have LEGALLY moved after-tax dollars offshore where they’re earning 0% interest. A main reasons for doing this is to protect one’s wealth from a government who is mismanaging itself and devaluing the currency at the same time. Do we not have a right to protect our earnings and our value in that way? What other reason for disclosure can their be for this move other than to prepare for a future cash/tax grab?

    The Democrat way (as I see it) seems to be that government (Obama) will save us, but I grow more concerned with who will save us from government, no matter who is in power. To me, the only way to save ourselves is to get rich and hedge.

    • [In “Capitalism: A Love Story”, Moore seems to long for the days when the “rich” were taxed 90%+ on income over $200,000. Is that what we can look forward to? If we’re going to tax our way out of this debt, then by how much?]

      That tax rate never existed. Before Reagan, income over $3 million was taxed at a rate of 70%. That would be equal to about $7.71 million in today’s dollars. I don’t know of any job where anyone is worth $7.71 million dollars, so I’m all for going back to that tax rate. We also had semi-balanced budgets before Reagan’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

      Do you know what happens when a business owner gets taxed at a high rate if he pays himself an exorbitant income? Instead of paying himself and his CEOs those high salaries, he puts the money back into the company and provides better benefits for his employees. His business grows, the community benefits, the economy thrives, and our country is a lot better off.

      • [That tax rate never existed.]
        Not according to the Tax Policy Center: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213

        [I don’t know of any job where anyone is worth $7.71 million dollars.]
        An interesting comment, since I’ve seen many comments here talking about how it’s seemingly OK for someone like Gore to become a millionaire – scratch that – a billionaire by investing in ventures that (allegedly) combat global warming.

        But that’s also not a “job”, that’s entrepreneurship, so instead I’ll respond from a job perspective and still disagree. The “job” that is worth $7.71m a year is one that creates greater than $7.71m of real value. I submit that to not believe that is to not believe in the American way or the American Dream. Besides, who decides the threshold of what is “too much” salary? You? Me? The government? It should be the market that decides.

        [Do you know what happens when a business owner gets taxed at a high rate if he pays himself an exorbitant income? …he puts the money back into the company and provides better benefits for his employees.]
        Careful – you’re suggesting that capitalism might have a humane side, here! 🙂
        I would agree that no one in their right mind would take a high salary just to subject it to such an exorbitant tax rate, but I would argue that this forces the outcome you suggest. As owner, he (or she) MAY reinvest in the company if it makes good financial sense to do so from a revenue or (tax?) savings perspective, or they may invest in benefits if they believe they need better retention or productivity from employees, but there’s no way any CEO or executive is going to stay on with an owner or a board who doesn’t elect to pay them what they feel they are worth and we need to start there.
        What happens in the real world when taxes get too high is that both the owners and the executives find other ways to pay themselves what they are worth or they take their talents to a competing company – or worse, a competing country. No executive worth their weight is going to work for an owner who turns their enterprise into a charity or commune.

      • [Not according to the Tax Policy Center: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213%5D

        Ah, but adjusting for inflation, the income would be over 3 million dollars to be taxed at that rate.

        [An interesting comment, since I’ve seen many comments here talking about how it’s seemingly OK for someone like Gore to become a millionaire – scratch that – a billionaire by investing in ventures that (allegedly) combat global warming.]

        That’s a pretty good lie, but to make it even more outrageous, why not claim he’s become a trillionaire by investing in clean energy technologies? And capital gains taxes are only 15%, so he’s barely paying any taxes on his income.

        [What happens in the real world when taxes get too high is that both the owners and the executives find other ways to pay themselves what they are worth or they take their talents to a competing company – or worse, a competing country.]

        They’d still be taxed at the same rate if they went to another company, and if they want to leave the country to earn more money, adios!

      • [I would argue that this forces the outcome you suggest. As owner, he (or she) MAY reinvest in the company if it makes good financial sense to do so from a revenue or (tax?) savings perspective,]

        Vern – a lot of what you say is relevant to privately owned businesses. When it’s a shareholder owned business, I think there are moral obligations to look after the health of the company. I know that today an increasing number of people believe that the first obligation is to make money for the shareholders. But I think that’s a perversion. Somewhere, somehow, we as a people have to believe in our future and the health of our businesses.

        Plenty of government policies create wealth for private individuals and for corps – just look at subsidies.

        It has to go both ways. Give and get.And if some give more, I’m okay with that. Again, it’s about us as a people. And not believing in that, while accepting the amenities the country provides with our tax dollars is dishonest. How would manufacturers fare without the interstates and the constant maintenance of them. How would Walmart do? That’s stuff we organize and finance as a people.

      • [An interesting comment, since I’ve seen many comments here talking about how it’s seemingly OK for someone like Gore to become a millionaire – scratch that – a billionaire by investing in ventures that (allegedly) combat global warming.]

        Vern – how could that be wrong? Investing in what you believe in? In what you advocate for?

        There’s nothing anti-capitalist about Gore. Show me where he’s hiding earnings or not paying taxes and then we’ll have something worth commenting on.

      • [Ah, but adjusting for inflation, the income would be over 3 million dollars to be taxed at that rate.]
        That goes off the point. First you said the rate never existed, which if that source is correct, it did. From there, I’d actually say “sure” to taxing earned income over $3m at a 70% tax rate to get us out of debt if it sounds good and makes people feel better although few will actually be dumb enough to do it anyways, but again I pose the question of who is supposed to decide what the income threshold is for tax rape?

        [That’s a pretty good lie, but to make it even more outrageous, why not claim he’s become a trillionaire by investing in clean energy technologies? And capital gains taxes are only 15%, so he’s barely paying any taxes on his income.]
        Where’s the “lie”? (here you go again with your “lies” kick!) First of all, I didn’t CLAIM anything, if you read what I said. I don’t have access to Gore’s financials but what is public is his ties to investment funds, so I imagine he’s getting richer, not poorer. What I DID say was that people here have made comments that its quite alright for Gore to become rich, yet on the other hand, there’s the opinion you’ve stated that no one is worth $7m, or that if they are, they should be paying 70% tax. Are you saying, then that Gore should be paying 70-90% off anything that is above $200k, or $3m, or ?

      • [They’d still be taxed at the same rate if they went to another company, and if they want to leave the country to earn more money, adios!]
        Sorry, my comment here wasn’t about taxes, it was regarding reinvestment into one’s company and also retaining talent regarding your “no job is worth $7.71 million” comment. If taxes get too prohibitive, companies will either leave, or they will get more creative on how to compensate and keep their talent to stay competitive. So the government can say they’ll tax personal income at 110%, it doesn’t matter. What will matter is if they get so tax-greedy businesses and key investors will start move elsewhere.

      • [Vern – a lot of what you say is relevant to privately owned businesses. When it’s a shareholder owned business, I think there are moral obligations to look after the health of the company.]
        I don’t think its a matter of a private or public company, Moe, since I think that moral obligation exists both publicly or privately. I do think, as a capitalist, that the financial obligation keeps the moral obligation there.

        To me, here’s the problem – when a company gets “too big”, they get to strongarm (or cozy up to) the government which in turn helps to take the risks out of running that company. The financial risks get removed, so the moral and social obligations follow quite easily. They become protected from (new) competitors, from lawsuits, from fines and penalties. Smaller businesses (even public ones), don’t often enjoy those comforts.

        I’m not against taxes (not at all). You’re right – Walmart uses the same roads we do, the same power grids, etc. etc. etc. What I am against is unfair taxes, which these posts and comments have got me confused on what people think is “fair”.

      • [Vern – how could that be wrong? Investing in what you believe in? In what you advocate for?

        There’s nothing anti-capitalist about Gore. Show me where he’s hiding earnings or not paying taxes and then we’ll have something worth commenting on.]
        I think my point was missed here. On the one hand I see people saying it’s ok for someone to get rich in this country, yet on the other hand there seems to be this concept of “too rich”. Ben’s comment was that $7.71m a year was “too much”. I’m sure that’s small change for Gore, so are people saying that Gore should be paying 70% of that back in taxes?

        I don’t trust what Gore says, but that has nothing to do with anything. Personally, I don’t care that Gore is positioned to get rich off of green technologies, so long as he does it legally. Also, if it’s done fairly, then I might even respect him – although I still likely won’t trust what he says publicly.

        See the contradiction here? People are saying invest in what you believe in and get rich, but then it seems to be don’t get TOO rich, for if you do, then you need to give 70-90% of it back to “us” because “we” deserve it. Get rich helping society, but yet getting rich somehow HURTS society because you’re exploiting labor and profiteering. Nobody is defining what “rich” even is. It doesn’t make sense to me.

      • [People are saying invest in what you believe in and get rich, but then it seems to be don’t get TOO rich, for if you do, then you need to give 70-90% of it back to “us” because “we” deserve it.]

        No, you’re setting up a straw man. First of all, investors only pay 15%, no matter how much they make, which means Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Second, people who get paid millions a year do so by exploiting the system. By taxing them heavily, they lose the incentive to exploit the system and the country benefits by having lower deficits.

      • [No, you’re setting up a straw man. First of all, investors only pay 15%, no matter how much they make, which means Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Second, people who get paid millions a year do so by exploiting the system. By taxing them heavily, they lose the incentive to exploit the system and the country benefits by having lower deficits.]

        No, I’m asking for clarification of your point. You keep bringing up this investor tax rate and I dismissed that right off the bat by saying that Gore, as an investor, is different than Gore as a salary man. I’m asking you what you think is “too much” salary, i.e. where you personally think the threshold should be. You say no job is worth that much money, so I’m asking what you think the highest salary should be for any job before the bulk of it should be confiscated.

        [“…people who get paid millions a year do so by exploiting the system.”] If your meaning of exploitation is making use of meanly or unfairly to one’s own advantage, then I’m very surprised to hear you say that! Many people make close to, or over, $1m a year. What system are they all exploiting unfairly in your opinion, and again, what nominal salary cap do you think is “fair”?

      • [What system are they all exploiting unfairly in your opinion, and again, what nominal salary cap do you think is “fair”?]

        The most obvious examples are/were the CEOs at Goldmann-Sachs, Citigroup, AIG, Lehman Bros, and the rest of the banksters that destroyed our economy. Their only concern is profits so they can get their huge bonuses, and they use millions a year for lobbying to influence legislation, i.e. exploiting the system.

        I’d say 3 million a year is a pretty decent living. Anything over that should be taxed at a very high rate.

        Another good example is ball players. Gone are the days when a middle class family can attend ball games without having to shell out a hundred dollars, or more.

      • This will probably drown in this thread, but Vern, you say to Ben in the Gore context that ‘so it’s okay for Gore to earn millions, but

        [on the other hand, there’s the opinion you’ve stated that no one is worth $7m]

        I think Ben was talking about salary, not earnings or wealth. And on that one, I hope we can agree. If someone isn’t willing to stay with a job cuz it won’t pay him more than 7m, then shareholders should wish him bon voyage.

      • Hi Moe,
        Yes, I think we needed to make the distinction between salary and (investment) earnings. If a guy’s making me $15m then I likely have no problem paying him $7m, but to be fair I’m very hard-pressed to think of a “job” that would actually warrant that kind of pay. I think beyond a certain level (see below) the bulk of compensation would be merit and/or investment-based (stock options, dividends, etc.) and unless someone’s really stupid re: the tax laws, you wouldn’t likely want those incomes as salary anyways.

        Ben – Saw your $3m re: salary cap. I think that’s about where I’d be, too. Timely article showed up on Drudge re: a charity’s executive pay:
        http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100312/D9ED2S4G0.html

      • [Ben – Saw your $3m re: salary cap. I think that’s about where I’d be, too. Timely article showed up on Drudge re: a charity’s executive pay:]

        That reminds me, the wacko Jim Bunning runs a charity where 40% of the revenues goes towards his salary. Some of these non-profits are scams. Big churches fall into that category.

  4. Well said Ben. Trickle down never seems to go down. Further, that much wealth is only possible because of our system. The ones who benefit the most should support it the most. Those profits are made by the labor and/or consumption by the other 90% of Americans.

    • Not to split hairs, but the belief that profits “are made by the laborer” would make every inventor in this country broke – and enough of them are already.

      A laborer can’t create or protect a market for the product they are building, nor can they protect a company or its products from competitors. The 90/10 rule goes both ways. They’d have nothing if someone didn’t design something first.

      I support trickle-down and believe labor shouldn’t get screwed but neither should decent managers or executives (and yes, there are many!) Our survival comes first from thinking, and I think that should be rewarded first before labor takes any credit for either profit or our country’s overall growth.

      • [A laborer can’t create or protect a market for the product they are building, nor can they protect a company or its products from competitors.]

        Vern – in my basic economics classes when I was young (yes! I actually was young!), we learned that capitalism rested on a three-legged stool. Those legs were capital, labor and resources. Take away one leg and the stool collapses.

      • [Vern – in my basic economics classes when I was young (yes! I actually was young!), we learned that capitalism rested on a three-legged stool. Those legs were capital, labor and resources. Take away one leg and the stool collapses.]
        Not saying labor isn’t necessary (obviously it is), but I challenge the view that labor is responsible for the majority of profits and that they somehow magically and automatically deserve more money to “trickle down” the day after they sign on to a company and agree to a wage under this same premise, that they’re the reason the company exists.

      • … and you’re still young, Moe!! 🙂

      • Awww. You make me blush.

        But honestly, it’s not at all a matter of whether labor is ‘responsible for’ the profits or success. That’s like saying Oxygen isn’t responsible for water, since Hydrogen puts in twice the effort. Both need to be very respected or we die of thirst.

      • very nice analogy, Moe… I may steal it 🙂 But I always try to give credit where credit is due.

      • Thanks conlie. ACtually, I’m pretty proud of that one!

  5. Ms. Holland,

    ” we blog because we care. ” 🙂

    I care, therefore I argue against Obama, Pelosi, and Reid .

    Mr. Hoffman,

    ” This health insurance reform is a giant gift to the insurance companies and new entitlements for the poor, but little to help the middle class. ”

    Why would you believe that the problem is the insurance companies ? Because Obama said so ? The man hasn’t told the truth about anything yet .

    ” This country is doomed. ”

    Why would you say that ? Your folks are in charge . Republicans never had the size majorities and the Presidency at the same time like your guys have had . What could go wrong ?

    ” The enormous debt will catch up to us one of these days. You can only live on credit for so long. ”

    You forgot to say that Bush’s wars caused this .

    At any rate I will give you a conditional prediction . If President Obama and his henchmen and henchwomen fail on health care, he may actually serve a second term . My reasoning is the following .

    The economy is in a natural recovery . The only thing holding it back is Obama himself . For the last year he has relentlessly attacked American businesses . They really love him in Las Vegas . His obsession with Obama-care and Crap and Trade has businesses and consumers holding back .

    I’m pretty sure Crap and Tax is dead . Now if,,,if,,, Obama-care dies a well deserved unnatural death, all of the uncertainty will be removed from business . Hiring will pick up, unemployment will go down and you will be calling President Obama an economic genius .

    Obama gets reelected but, in his second term gasoline prices sky rocket, Obama blames the oil companies . Stupid people buy that and Obama leaves office as a hero . Biden loses the election to succeed Obama, because everyone agrees his hair plugs make him unqualified .

    If Obama-care in any form gets in , Obama retires in four years, writes another bestseller about his favorite topic, himself . Then spends the rest of his life touring the world . I doubt he builds houses for the poor like Carter, though he will badmouth his country for a buck .

    • Or there’s another scenario where Obama and the dems pass a good health insurance bill or even a public option that people like and it makes insurance more affordable, small businesses can provide coverage to their employees, and everyone is ecstatic. There’s pandemonium in the streets. Everyone votes for the Democratic candidates. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are taken off the air due to nobody watching them any more…

      Then there’s another scenario where martians from the planet Xenu invade earth to join the robot pigeons who have been scouting our planet for years. They start a non-profit health insurance company that drives the big insurance companies out of business.

    • [Republicans never had the size majorities and the Presidency at the same time like your guys have had . What could go wrong ?]

      Alan – that’s always a favorite line of mine. You do realize the reason Repubs never had the size majority we have is because the American people didn’t elect enough of them.

      • [You do realize the reason Repubs never had the size majority we have is because the American people didn’t elect enough of them.]

        That’s a good point, Moe. The House is the one truly representative branch of our government and has had a Democratic majority for about 80% of the past 100 years. We are a center-left country, not center-right as Republicans like to claim.

  6. Um… I hate to correct you Ben, but Martians, by definition, are from Mars, not Xenu.

  7. Ben,
    They base that claim on the way the word “liberal” was disparaged. (Read ‘Talking Right’ by Geoffrey Nunberg) Many Americans will tell you that they are “conservative”, but when polled about the issues, the majority actually lean left of center. Everyone wants to think they are “fiscally” conservative. Ever hear a politician claim to be fiscally wreckless? So the majority of Americans claim to be moderate, about 35% conservative and the 20% who still understand the meaning of the term claim to be “liberal”, thus the “right-center” claim. It’s a statistical trick the conservative media lapdogs picked up from grover norquist and the other con drunk tanks.

  8. Vern,
    In 1970, the average CEO compensation was 11 times the average hourly worker wages. In 1980, the gap was 42 times, and in 1990, CEO compensation was 85 times higher than average hourly wages. CEO compensation in 2000 demonstrates a pay gap of over 531 times the average hourly worker. Really!!!??
    This trend started here, in the US and is not reflected globally, as the 2004 statistics for
    foreign CEOs show only a 5 to 10 times wage advantage
    compared to average workers, far, far lower than for U.S. corporations.
    The increase in pay for CEOs has not been in
    proportion to company profits either. Pay for the top 5 company executives rose from 4.8 percent of aggregate net company income during 1993-95 to 10.3 percent of aggregate net income during 2001-03. This means that executives are now taking a larger slice of the overall corporate pie.
    Examples of CEOs making huge profits during
    years of massive corporate loss are recorded weekly in
    The Wall St. Journal. For example, in 2004 Merck
    had to pull Vioxx off the shelf over concern linking Vioxx to increased risk of heart attack. This quickly led Merck stock to drop 28%. However, that same year the CEO of Merck, Ray Gilmartin, received not only his base salary but performance-based bonuses worth well over $37.8 million.
    So, I go back to my earlier point, that those profits are made on the backs of the laborers and by the consumption of the populace. The wealthy do owe more to the system that allows this than the rest of us do.

    • TCL,

      That’s a wide range of dates whose stats neglect important factors, such as a) impact of technology on the tasks of a job, and b) supply of labor. The more technology improved, the more replaceable people became and let’s keep in mind that those dates represent the biggest shift we’ve seen in our lifetime in terms of technology. In the manufacturing era, “labor” had a higher value. In the distribution and knowledge eras, it doesn’t. So since labor became more plentiful and less required at the same time, it makes sense economically why there wasn’t more of a premium paid for it. On the other hand, those who could better help a company compete through efficiency and innovation were paid the premiums.

      Although I think this is an accurate assessment, I don’t necessarily support it. For one, I don’t believe in replacing a $30/hr job with a $3/hr job overseas. For another, however, I believe the onus is on the worker to continually increase their value in the marketplace, and my experience as a business owner is that only about 10-15% of a workforce truly does in any given company. The rest just want a 9-5 “job” when there is often more capable and willing employees willing to work 8-6 for the same pay.

      But I digress. If the point here is that some CEO salaries are excessive and undeserved, I couldn’t agree more, but before we make this yet another “anti-corporate” hatefest let’s also include the university president salaries and executives of non-profits/charities who also earn $1m+ a year through the same “extortion” you all seem to claim.

      • [let’s also include the university president salaries and executives of non-profits/charities who also earn $1m+ a year through the same “extortion” you all seem to claim.]

        University presidents are definitely over paid. The CU president gets about 1.5 million dollars a year plus a mansion and many other perks, all the while mismanaging the campus.

      • [University presidents are definitely over paid.] I don’t know what justifies their wage when I think that there can’t be too much difference in the “product” being offered across campuses nationwide, nor much difference in the actually tasks that a president has to perform.

        Maybe it’s that certain presidents are able to bring more $$ to the university than others are, I don’t know. It may not help to justify the pay, but it would help in me understanding the amount.

      • [Maybe it’s that certain presidents are able to bring more $$ to the university than others are, I don’t know. It may not help to justify the pay, but it would help in me understanding the amount.]

        Vern – that is EXACTLY why universaity presidents and heads of non profits get paid big bucks. They don’t manage their enterpirses so much as they are charged with raising the money and schmoozing iwth the donors and alumni and wherever else the money comes from.

    • [The wealthy do owe more to the system that allows this than the rest of us do.]
      I agree, however in this group we still haven’t really defined what we think “wealthy” to be.

      • [we still haven’t really defined what we think “wealthy” to be.]

        We ‘draw lines’ all the time in matters governmental, moral, cultural etc. And this line would get drawn and redrawn over the years by cultural mores and legislation. Right or wrong, it’s how it happens.

        Kind of like when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that while he couldn’t define pornography he ‘knew it when he saw it’. A relative and subjective line, but still needs to be drawn.

      • There’s nothing wrong with being a millionaire or even a multi-millionaire, but when you’re paid millions a year for performing a job, there’s usually some funny business going on.

  9. 531 times???!! Holy cow! Ben is right, no job is worth that kind of money.

  10. The_Conservative_Lie,

    ” I hate to correct you Ben, but Martians, by definition, are from Mars, not Xenu. ”

    Well maybe they are ethnic Martians who immigrated to Xenu . Martian Xenutians are just another minority . I mean we have an African American President . I bet the leader of the Xenutian invasion force is at least one quarter Martian . Think of how historic that would be .

    ” In 1970, the average CEO compensation was 11 times the average hourly worker wages. In 1980, the gap was 42 times, and in 1990, CEO compensation was 85 times higher than average hourly wages. CEO compensation in 2000 demonstrates a pay gap of over 531 times the average hourly worker. ”

    Executive pay is only the business of the stockholders and their representatives . If they want to pay someone $1 billion per year it is their business!!!!!!!! If that someone is worth it, fine . If he is not, it is their right to be stupid with their money . Again it is their money, not YOURS ! I’m sure the stock holders of Berkshire Hathaway have not begrudged Buffet his billions . If they do, they can choose not to own their stock . It’s called Capitalism and it works better than Socialism .

    Ms. Holland,

    ” You do realize the reason Repubs never had the size majority we have is because the American people didn’t elect enough of them. ”

    Yes I agree that has been the problem . I hope that if we ever get enough Republicans in, they show more unity and class than the current overwhelming majority of your party .

    • [Well maybe they are ethnic Martians who immigrated to Xenu .]

      If they did, they are there illegally. Xenutions see Martians as the riff-raff of the galaxy (kind of like we see Texans here) and they don’t allow immigration.

      [Executive pay is only the business of the stockholders and their representatives .]

      Stockholders generally don’t have any say in the matter. It’s decided by board members.

  11. Alen,
    How about taking some of those billions of dollars of executive pay we are talking about and putting it into the pockets of the workers in higher wages. the workers, are after all, also the consumers.
    You can say all you want about it being the business of the stock holders, but history supports me when I state that NEVER has it been good for a nation when the gap between rich and poor widens so dramatically and the middle class melts into the lower class by virtue of the process. That kind of economny is good for only the wealthy and hurts the nation (not just the poor or working and middle classes). I’ll bet if we matched up graphs showing the rise in the gap between executive compensation and worker wages with graphs showing the rise in national debt, deficit spending, decline in GDP, foreign indebtedness, trade deficit, etc… we’ll see a curious correlation. Don’t take the bet, I’m cheating as I actually have already seen such a graph…

    • [history supports me when I state that NEVER has it been good for a nation when the gap between rich and poor widens so dramatically and the middle class melts into the lower class by virtue of the process.]

      You’re right of course – that’s one thing that completely destroys nations.

      And defending it is inviting fascism. (the italian kind, not the german kind).

  12. The Conservative lie,

    The problem with your approach is it has NEVER EVER worked ! Once you lefties start telling business to redistribute, guess what, for some reason there is less to redistribute and everyone gets less . But you are fine with that, as long as everyone gets screwed equally .

    ” history supports me when I state that NEVER has it been good for a nation when the gap between rich and poor widens so dramatically and the middle class melts into the lower class by virtue of the process. ”

    I double dare you to argue history with me . You shot your big mouth off, so back it up . Give examples . Also please give examples of where Government REDISTRIBUTION of wealth has worked . I can give you numerous examples of where it has failed . Where is has failed badly .

    I can back up what I say . Can you ?

  13. Ben, you sound depressed, brother. Some dean markley phosphur-bronze light strings(i think I still have an old set of those around somewhere) on the acoustic, and take a load off.

    Things have been bad since before either of us were born…and yet life goes on.

    And our democratic football team might not be great, but the QB’s got a hell of an arm, strong and accurate, and if his recievers and blockers ever actually do their job, we just might make a game of this.

    An aside to that last comment by alan. All taxation is redistribution of wealth. Taxation is not evil, it pays for many good things that a great many people need.

    The increase in the gap between rich and poor started was essentially stable from truman tuntil the eighties, when things started to get bad under Reagan, who was the man who started the current modern day class warfare, and it has been getting worse and worse as the nation has moved more and more to the right politically.

    Ya know…Come to think of it, I could use a re string on my old acoustic myself. What kind of strings do you use?

  14. Here’s a thought – let’s all start our own respective private enterprises, get (ethically!) wealthy (I mean really, really wealthy!!!!), and then start practicing the Golden Rule! From there we can plant as many gardens, pick as many guitar strings, donate to as many causes, and most of all, control/influence as many politicians as we’d like to. 🙂

    • Great Vern – let’s team up; you handle the business part and I’ll do the hippie stuff. We’ll rule!

      • I don’t know, Moe – sure you wouldn’t try and unionize all my employees? 😉

      • What kind of business do you run, Vern?

      • That’s on the business side. I’ll be setting up day care and such.

      • Sounds good Moe – let’s make it a private, educational daycare that not only helps educate children, but parents as well!

      • Ben – I’m involved in a few businesses either as an investor, entrepreneur, advisor, or all three. Work with minority businesses, small business to “level the playing field” and drive the hard numbers (ex: sales process, efficiency, etc.) but also do work on the soft side of things as well (corporate culture, executive development, etc.). I run on a pretty unique “open source” model for consulting, which is a lot of fun.

        I do work with some larger players like F500’s and universities, but I’ve never been a big fan of bureaucracy, so I prefer to stay where my passion is which is with small biz – which is usually before people lose both their brains and b*lls working for the bigger companies. 🙂

      • You’re a programmer, Ben, if my memory serves?

      • Software engineer, which involves a lot of programming. And a lot of tedium and drudgery after doing it for 15 years.

      • Well you’re no stranger to change then! I was involved in break/fix IT back in the 90’s and then moved into app/dev when the masses were still scared to buy online. How’s biz in the State of Colorado?

      • Freelance work is a little sparse right now. The aerospace industry is big around here, which is propping up our economy somewhat. I get work from all over the country so it doesn’t really matter where I live.

  15. Mr. Hoffman,

    ” Stockholders generally don’t have any say in the matter. It’s decided by board members. ”

    Board members are elected by stockholders . Board members are supposed to represent the interests of the stockholders, who are the company owners . If the board does not do it’s job, the stockholders can vote them out . As a last resort, if management corrupts the board, you sell the stock .

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