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Be Afraid, Exultant Greek Neo-nazis Warn Rivals


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#31 FJBoccia

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 04:31 PM

Enjoy yourselves boys. I was trying to bring up a single point about working class people and the increasing disparity in income that is making it more and more difficult for them simply to survive financially, no matter how hard they work.


Richard, my very good and highly admired friend, whence comes this? My post, at least, and Paul's, as far as I can tell, were not in response to yours. I am well aware that you advocate no such thing as coerced income redistribution; I wasn't addressing your (legitimate) questions. I was talking about the very real and blatant manipulation of those legitimate concerns by the political opportunists who see this as an avenue to more or less continual power.

There are reasons for the continued downward slide in real income, and I don't propose to get into them all, but I will certainly emphasize one: The very real and debilitating degradation of our system of public education. There are manufacturing jobs out there, good, high-paying, secure jobs, that are going unfilled because not enough graduates have the minimal skill set needed to qualify for them. Today's average high school graduate can't do the relatively simple math needed to do SPC (Statistical Process Control) which is a basic requirement for world-class quality control in a manufuacturing environment. We're not talking about calculus, here; we're talking about basic arithmetic and algebra, stuff you've learned, or should have learned, by ninth grade.

The work ethic has all but disappeared. We had both a manufacturing plant and a large distribution center in a small town in northern Illinois, near the Wisconsin border. This whole area is about as white as you can get; very few Hisp[anics and almost no blacks. Yet our work force in the DC was 75% or more Hispanic. Why? Because our wages were too low? No; these weren't minimum wage jobs and in addition they were upwardly mobile --it wouldn't take long to make a good wage AND have benefits, with no real skills needed, initially. But we couldn't hire, or once hired, keep the white kids from the local schools. Not when they found out that they were actually expected to show up on time, work through the day, and go home only when their shift ended. Some of them lasted no more than a morning. The DC manager told me that the first question from so many of the new hires was, "When can I take my vacation?" or, even worse, "I'll need next Friday off, is that okay?"

So we had Hispanics drive as many as thirty miles to come to work; they showed up every day, on time, and they worked hard. We didn't try to do this; we didn't particularly want to, but we had to.

I could go on, but it's all the same thing: The absurd sense of entitlement that infects today's youth, coupled with the almost universal denigration of education as a requirement for life (watch what the kids watch; Disney, MTV, the reality shows; they ALL mock the very idea of education) ensures that so many young people end up in dead-end jobs at the bottom end of the scale, with few of them lasting more than a few months or a couple of years at most in one job.

No, no welfare mothers here, Richard. And this isn't a thinly veiled attack on the blacks or other minorities: As I said, McHenry County is almost lily-white. But that same disregard for the value of an education --a REAL education, not the phony social promotion that takes place in almost every school district in the country-- is present in almost all communities, black, white, brown or otherwise. And until that changes, and young people accept the (horrific) idea that they must work for their pay and benefits (I need next Friday off, okay, dude?) we'll continue to see this discrepancy.

There are people, and in growing numbers, who really believe that the panacea of income redistribution will end all their troubles. And there are polticians who are more than willing to tell them what they want to hear. That's what I was referring to, and it has little to do with your concerns. So, peace, my friend. There is no conflict here.

FJB

#32 PaulV

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 04:40 PM

My post, at least, and Paul's, as far as I can tell, were not in response to yours.


Mine definitely wasn't a response to a previous post. It was just commentary on the general political and economic conditions we find ourselves in today. I find it fascinating that de Tocqueville nailed what is looking increasingly likely to be our downfall from a visit to and travels in our land close to 200 years ago.

#33 DriveOn

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:34 PM

Mine definitely wasn't a response to a previous post. It was just commentary on the general political and economic conditions we find ourselves in today. I find it fascinating that de Tocqueville nailed what is looking increasingly likely to be our downfall from a visit to and travels in our land close to 200 years ago.

So did Rush Limbaugh and the National Review, coincidentally enough.

Deep breath. I'll chill and my apologies for the tone, but sometimes it seems to me that the bulk of the population has become incapable of discussing any social, economic or political issue without spouting the party line. I work with an idiot who thinks he's a wonderful Christian, actually believes that the earth is 7,000 years old (and is constantly trying to convince me of the science behind that), is blatantly racist and responds to virtually any piece of innocent conversation with an anti-Obama comment. I'm going to slug the guy one of these days.

Look, if there was someone that I honestly believed could do something about abortion, I'd vote for him (or her), but I don't think there is, and if you don't think that Republicans are pandering to the religious right in the same way that the Democrats are pandering to economic lower class, I just don't know what to say. I was angry that Obama came out in support of gay marriage, but when it comes right down to it I don't give a flat dam what those people do. I could give you a whole list of things that the Democrats have done or said recently that have really ticked me off, but I can give a similar list for the Republicans.

Sometimes I don't think there are ten rational people left in this country and I'm pretty sure I'm not one of them.

#34 PaulV

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:56 PM

So did Rush Limbaugh and the National Review, coincidentally enough.


Didn't know that since I don't read the National Review and rarely have time to listen to Limbaugh but commentators with an ideological bent using the same quote doesn't make the point any less valid. One need only look at the current national debt and deficit, and project those out into the future to see that we're on a sinking ship. Income statistics show that the debt can barely be scratched by completely confiscating the wealth of the wealthy. The distribution chart of the federal budget tells the story. Department of Defense is just under 20%. Running government agencies is about 15%. Social welfare/payment transfer programs are about 60% with the remainder being interest on the debt. You aren't going to fix the financial train wreck we're headed for without gutting the social programs that were implemented to buy votes. We're going to have to face that many of these were promises made that cannot be kept and take the consequences of being foolish enough to believe them in the first place. Oh the problem will eventually fix itself, a la Greece, but it will be a lot messier than if we did it through a thoughtful process. Math is neither fair or unfair. It just is.

Do I believe Romney will fix the situation? Fat chance! He'll be an improvement and at least won't be making things worse, but the only reason I'll vote for him is that he isn't an outright marxist like the other guy. He'll be less dangerous when/if the wheels come off the wagon.

Edited by PaulV, 16 May 2012 - 08:44 PM.


#35 IMike

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 02:27 AM

Frank, a cohort of mine (he was in B/1-26 while I was in C) went to work for the National Association of Manufacturers after he retired. He told me once that the principal reason he got from employers for the removal of jobs overseas was that they simply couldn't find Americans with sufficient education to read and understand written directions.

Richard, what I have said is not cant. I will confess to being a card-carrying Republican, but at heart I am a libertarian. I am not a member of the Libertarian Party for two (to my mind) excellent reasons. First, their position always seems to be that the proper role of government is to assist them against the others and otherwise stay out of their way, while my view is that Anarchy is as stable as a critical mass of plutonium, and far more destructive -- i.e., government is necessary, but it should intrude into our lives only when, and to the extent, it is necessary to secure the rights that everybody enjoys. Second, it will be a very cold day when the Libertarian Party elects anybody to anything. Gore lost the 2000 election because the Green Party took enough votes away from him to allow Bush to win Oregon. I don't want somebody who is slightly less than perfect on some topics to lose to someone whose programs I despise, just because I decided to cast a protest vote. The Democratic Party has, throughout my lifetime, been a pillar of socialist programs. I consistently voted against them (and ergo for Republicans) for 24 years before abandoning my Independent pretensions and joining the party. I did not thereby buy into all that all Republicans say -- nobody could, for there is too much diversity within the party.

I am far from insensitive to the plight of the unskilled worker in America. As I said, I don't know what the solution is. I do know that increasing the Minimum Wage tends to destroy the bottom level of jobs and force prices (and wages for those earning more than the minimum wage) upward. When the minimum wage was $1.10 an hour, gasoline was about 31 cents a gallon. A man earning minimum wage needed to work about 16 minutes to earn enough to buy a gallon of gas. With the Minimum Wage $7.25, gasoline is running about $3.50 per gallon, so the Minimum Wage worker has to work nearly half an hour to buy that gallon. First class postage had recently gone up from $0.03 to $0.04, so that worker had to work about two minutes and ten seconds to earn enough to write home. Today the cost is $0.44, and requires three minuted and 38 seconds at minimum wage. In 1960, a new home cost $16,500.00, and would require 15000 hours (7.21 years) of work at minimum wage to pay for it (ignoring interest). In 2008, at the nadir of the housing collapse, the AVERAGE price of a house in the US (not just new homes) was 292,600, requiring 40,325 hours or work (i.e., 19.39 years) at minimum wage to purchase. This isn't the whole picture, of course. Food is now cheaper (in terms of hours needed at minimum wage to purchase) than it was then. But overall, it doesn't appear that increasing the minimum wage has significantly helped the unskilled worker -- particularly when you consider the number of jobs eliminated as no longer economically feasible.

But in viewing the situation, one must also look at the standard of living sought to be achieved. In 1960, the family with two automobiles was a rarity, and generally among the most affluent. Today it is a rare thing when a family has only one automobile. The clothslines which used to be a standard fixture in every back yard have been replaced by clothes dryers -- and in many cases are forbidden by zoning regulations or restrictive covenants. By 1960, most homes had a television in addition to a radio; today, radios are all but forgotten and television has shifted to cable or satellite systems. Computers existed in 1960, but they required dedicated buildings to hold them. Today, they are everywhere, and so (relatively -- a good computer is likely to cost at least a hundred hours at minimum wage) inexpensive that most computer repairmen are sitting around like the Maytag repairman of yore, wondering when they will get a call. Today, what home would be complete without a dishwasher; in the 1960s, the dishwasher was mom, pop and the kids (although the kids didn't like it much, and their rebellion against it was gaining ground), All of these things cost money -- well into three figures, in most cases. Such a standard was never available at Minimum Wage, certainly not before the credit card revolution in the 70s.

The combination of desire for an increased standard of living and a deteriorating economic position produced calls that it is unfair that some make much money and others make less. However, I have never seen or heard a definition of "fair" which doesn't translate into "what I think is fair." Is it unfair that a man who bears the responsibility for overseeing the operations of a giant corporation make more money for his work than the man who sweeps the floord of the corporate headquarters? Nobody can logically say that is unfair. So, at what point does the discrepancy become unfair? In addition, reducing the (admittedly excessive, imho) saleries of the CEOs would not increase the saleries of the janitors, it would go into dividends for the shareholders. And any discussion of earnings comes face to face with the point I made earlier -- a person earns a salery because his employer believes that employing the person will enable the employer to make enough money to more than replace that salery. If it does not, in the long run the employer will be out of business -- and "too big to fail" means only that the entity is rich enough to make hefty donations to campaign chests.

But "unfair to the little fellow!" is a good rallying cry! It produces the "occupy" movements which seem to enjoy an immunity to trespass and public nusiance laws. It produces loads of people who say they deserve the things other people have (although they are careful not to say exactly WHY they deserve those things). In Greece, in Spain, in France, in Italy, the people are rallying behind the banners of "fairness." Unless cooler heads prevail, they will sink into political dictatorship and economic squallor. Many people, not the least of whom is our current president, want us to follow them into that morrass.

I'd rather not go there.

Mike

Edited by IMike, 17 May 2012 - 02:33 AM.


#36 maddevon

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:09 AM

But "unfair to the little fellow!" is a good rallying cry! It produces the "occupy" movements which seem to enjoy an immunity to trespass and public nusiance laws. It produces loads of people who say they deserve the things other people have (although they are careful not to say exactly WHY they deserve those things). In Greece, in Spain, in France, in Italy, the people are rallying behind the banners of "fairness." Unless cooler heads prevail, they will sink into political dictatorship and economic squallor. Many people, not the least of whom is our current president, want us to follow them into that morrass.

I'd rather not go there.



Well said Mike.

#37 PaulV

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:50 PM

Bank Runs begin in Greece

Spanish Bank Run?

Has the boiling point finally been reached?

#38 G.MITCHELL

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:48 AM

In Greece... the people are rallying behind the banners of "fairness."

In general, you and I have much concordance across the various aspects raised on social mobility, (limpid and alternatively, stratospheric), social vulnerability and on the labour-saving device aspirations of the home owner that you itemise IMike my good friend.

However, I would like to make one interjection around your "casual" observation of the Greek plight.

According to the reports that I manage to see, the ordinary Greek citizen is enraged by the continual corruption that exists in the Governmental apparatus and authoritarian positions. That taxes - when they are paid by the citizen - certainly do not get re-cycled to enable or support the various tranches of public infrastructural benefits and /or works. It is also mentioned that very few very wealthy Greeks actually pay their taxes, tax avoidance is rife ! I can therefore understand any cry of "lets be fair" .


On a slightly casual note myself, it is quite obvious to me that in the "West", our seemingly insatiable demands, for consumer products, from auto-matic tv seat-rockers to portable cappucino baristas to the most stunningly appointed luxury automobile, has actually been supplied, to an n`th degree, from the myriad numbers of manufacturing sites. There is very little capacity in our over-saturated market, and quite frankly, satisfied market, for any more products to make the factories run with some degree of viability anymore. Little wonder we are seeing very high unemployment across the "West".

Our factories have peaked their outputs. We dont need anymore "stuff". This is the factum brutum.


My regards.


ps, Paul - 16th may post - nice!




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