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Law Lord

'Liberal' in America

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Well, if you want to return to the tax code of 1950, and repeal all the various laws and regulations put in place since then, I am with you 100%. I absolutely agree that the economy would do much better, and that the "average person" would have a much better chance of getting a good job.

So you'd accept a top marginal tax rate of 91% if you could get the rest of the regulatory changes?

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As to the Unions, i'm fucking pro union all the way, but I have seen some industries fight themselves out of a job.

I don't think that's about the unions. It's about the fact that some industries have less demand in a modern economy or can be more efficiently done by less developed countries by now. Unions neither slow nor accelerate this process - but they make it harder on the workers. Instead of fighting for a smooth transition to a new occupation (for younger workers) or an early retirement plan (for older workers) they fight for the right to keep their jobs as they are. In the end the companies who engaged in declining industries go bankrupt and the workers are left with nothing at all.

On an interesting note, in the German-speaking part of Europe, "liberal", and especially "neo-liberal", is also a slur - but in the opposite direction: It denotes economical deregulation ("liberty" for the large corporations) Reagan/Thatcher-style. "Left-liberal" is used for the combination of civil rights with moderate economical liberalism and "leftism" or "socialism" denotes what Americans call "liberalism".

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Sure, Trisk, I'd accept that top marginal rate. As long as it came with the deductions, exemptions, shelters, and other components of the tax code of 1950.

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I don't think that's about the unions. It's about the fact that some industries have less demand in a modern economy or can be more efficiently done by less developed countries by now. Unions neither slow nor accelerate this process - but they make it harder on the workers.

That's true for some industries, but it's not the full story. Compare US automobile plants that follow the UAW work rules with those that don't. The UAW pushed for a ridiculous and rigid job classification system and work rules that made plants inefficient, even compared to other American plants that don't follow UAW rules. It's gotten so bad, that there are now unionized plants that don't follow the union's own rules, because 1) it's the only way to turn a profit, and 2) most of the union members themselves are sick of all the featherbedding and redundancy built into the existing work rules.

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Unions neither slow nor accelerate this process - but they make it harder on the workers.

Not if they are doing it right. The corporations would love us to think that all unions are nothing but pig-headed idiots who would prefer joblessness to a pay cut, but a lot of them do very good work, and are very willing to negotiate and be reasonable.

The unions and the company bosses should ideally keep each other in balance, without the bosses oppressing the workers, or the unions demanding more than is reasonable. Unfortunately people demand extremes - either no unions at all, or all-powerful unions.

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Well, if you want to return to the tax code of 1950, and repeal all the various laws and regulations put in place since then, I am with you 100%. I absolutely agree that the economy would do much better, and that the "average person" would have a much better chance of getting a good job.

Just be aware that there was no Medicare, Medicaid, AFDC or any other form of "welfare", no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act, no Department of Education, Department of Energy, or Environmental Protection Agency.

Just as an aside, without all that stuff, what do you suppose the government actually spent taxes on? There's an interesting thought worth exploring....

Oh, there was also no Civil Rights Act -- meaning that there were no workplace lawsuits based on discrimination burdening businesses, no Family Medical Leave Act, no Americans with Disabilities Act, or any of that stuff. As best as I can tell, the difference in "labor relations" regulations between then and now is pretty small in most respects.

But here's a fun fact. As of 1959, the midpoint of the golden years, not a single state in the country permitted public employee unions. Not one. I mean, even FDR opposed them. Wisconsin was the very first state to permit that in 1959.

You know, you may really be on to something here!

I think a lot of the US prosperity in the 1950s had to do with the fact that we had suddenly become a superpower and the single largest country that didn't have to rebuild after World War II. And as others have said, the 50s might've had good business and economy, but although extremely important, that's not the only thing that's necessary.

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Well, if you want to return to the tax code of 1950, and repeal all the various laws and regulations put in place since then, I am with you 100%. I absolutely agree that the economy would do much better, and that the "average person" would have a much better chance of getting a good job.

Just be aware that there was no Medicare, Medicaid, AFDC or any other form of "welfare", no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act, no Department of Education, Department of Energy, or Environmental Protection Agency.

Just as an aside, without all that stuff, what do you suppose the government actually spent taxes on? There's an interesting thought worth exploring....

Oh, there was also no Civil Rights Act -- meaning that there were no workplace lawsuits based on discrimination burdening businesses, no Family Medical Leave Act, no Americans with Disabilities Act, or any of that stuff. As best as I can tell, the difference in "labor relations" regulations between then and now is pretty small in most respects.

But here's a fun fact. As of 1959, the midpoint of the golden years, not a single state in the country permitted public employee unions. Not one. I mean, even FDR opposed them. Wisconsin was the very first state to permit that in 1959.

You know, you may really be on to something here!

Also, in those days all pies were made form scratch, and were thus orders of magnitude more delicious.

None of this bullshit frozen nonsense.

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You may be right, Duke Leto. But if you are, then pointing to tax rates as the source of prosperity is just as flawed.

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You may be right, Duke Leto. But if you are, then pointing to tax rates as the source of prosperity is just as flawed.

No one points to them as the source of prosperity.

They are merely not an impediment to it.

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Xenophon:

But from the perspective of UAW, workers in non-union plants ar exploited and underpaid. So I'm not going to contradict them - I'm saying that perhaps mass market car producing is no longer a trade for developed countries like the US; they should perhaps focus on high-profile cars (look at German or British cars) and leave the mass market to the Japanese and Koreans, and give all the redundant workers a chance to find work in other industries (of course the corporations won't do this if they don't have to - this is where unions come into play) instead of preserving their jobs as long as possible.

Brienne the Beauty:

The unions "doing it right" are usually not the ones accused of "fighting themselves out of a job". However, I think pay cuts (except when they are just a correction of exaggerated pay raises of the recent past) are just another way of delaying the inevitable. If an industry can't keep up its wages, it's probably doomed in the long run anyway.

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Xenophon:

But from the perspective of UAW, workers in non-union plants ar exploited and underpaid. So I'm not going to contradict them - I'm saying that perhaps mass market car producing is no longer a trade for developed countries like the US; they should perhaps focus on high-profile cars (look at German or British cars) and leave the mass market to the Japanese and Koreans...

Maybe I wasn't clear. There are now many unionized plants in the US that don't follow the UAW work rules. In other words, plants where the workers belong to the UAW but refuse to follow the union's descriptions of job categories and procedure. So, the wages, benefits, and so on are the same, but instead of having to have one worker who does nothing but install headlights, while another does nothing but install headlight covers, you can combine the jobs if that would be more productive.

The UAW always tries to frame the issue in terms of pay, and there certainly is a difference between union and non-union benefits, but the work rules are also a big part of the problem. The UAW likes them because they give cushy jobs to older members, but many of the younger members are getting fed up with this sort of featherbedding and cutting deals with the corporations to drop the work rules at their plants.

As for whether mass market car manufacturing is no longer viable in the developed world, 1) Japan and Korea are developed nations, and 2) many of the "Japanese" cars sold in the US are in fact made in the US. An American Toyota Camry, for example, is almost entirely made in the US. Most of the big Japanese automakers build about half of their North American stock domestically. They just don't use the UAW plants to do so.

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I remember your prior rightwing extremist views on these issues.

Good to see people openly admitting things like this.

I've come quite a way in my political views. I guess life experience does that to you.

I disagree. Having a skill set can set you apart from those having useless undergrads. I have no degree and make 70-80 a year (in the states, i was clearing 300K in Iraq) as a Fire Fighter. Many trades make comparable, if not more in terms of yearly income:

I agree, a good skill set will get you ahead of the curve and make your labor worth something. What about about the other 70% of the population? America still needs retail clerks, hamburger flippers, janitors, plumbers, customer service, etc. Why would the majority of the population want an economic plan that devalues their time and labor just because it's not specialized? People have to do these jobs anyway, and it makes no sense to make them live in poverty. Only 30% of the country has a bachelors degree or higher, a winner takes all system is bad for the majority.

Well, if you want to return to the tax code of 1950, and repeal all the various laws and regulations put in place since then, I am with you 100%. I absolutely agree that the economy would do much better, and that the "average person" would have a much better chance of getting a good job.

I'm in favor of more regulations. We have a changing and dynamic economy, and our laws need to keep up with it. I don't trust corporations to have anyone's best interest in mind except their own, so we have to assert ourselves through democratic means to keep our planet clean, and our populations with a high quality of life. The last 30 years have shown without a doubt that trickle down economics and deregulation only helps the rich, and that kind of regressive crap can only go on for so long before there are real consequences.

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