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Virginia's new senator speaks of class struggle

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Patters, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Check out what Jim Webb, the victor in VA's Senatorial race, the Marine, and Reagan's Sec'y of the Navy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009246

    Class Struggle: American workers have a chance to be heard

    Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2006

    The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

    Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.

    In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. Trickle-down economics didn't happen. Despite the vaunted all-time highs of the stock market, wages and salaries are at all-time lows as a percentage of the national wealth. At the same time, medical costs have risen 73% in the last six years alone. Half of that increase comes from wage-earners' pockets rather than from insurance, and 47 million Americans have no medical insurance at all.

    Manufacturing jobs are disappearing. Many earned pension programs have collapsed in the wake of corporate "reorganization." And workers' ability to negotiate their futures has been eviscerated by the twin threats of modern corporate America: If they complain too loudly, their jobs might either be outsourced overseas or given to illegal immigrants.

    This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation's most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the "rough road of capitalism." Others claim that it's the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism.
     
  2. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Webb is an interesting guy, and if he keeps his nose clean might be a very interesting candidate in the future.
     
  3. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know much about him personally as I have only read descriptions. From those he seems like a sensible guy. My only problem with what he says is that his party is in favor of Amnesty. How does that help middle class workers? I wish people understood the problems illegals are imposing on this country. For example, he cites medical costs, well, illegals are a large swath of that cost that is passed on to the taxpayer. When a hospital treats illegals, whom they can't deny, it absorbs a cost. Well, either the government foots the bill, or the cost is passed on through to the paying customer, the taxpayer. Well, if the govt foots the bill its with taxpayer money. People really don't understand the seriousness of the illegal invasion. Also, he talks about how the gap is growing amongst rich and middle class. Well, that is to be expected. Those who have money have the means to make more. Millionaires can invest money and will certainly grow there portfolio while a middle class individuals tend to live more inside their means. I don't think millionaires are the problem as much as I think the burden being placed on the middle class is. I have no qualms with a tax system with which those who make more, pay more. That's how the system currently plays out. My problems with the "save the children" crowd is that they want to hijack the richest, and give it to the laziest. That's not sensible, that hostile. We need to tax accordingly and run government more efficiently. You can't talk about raping those who have risked to reach there financial level while on the other hand be for Amnesty and benefits for illegals. If we had a more efficient and sensible government, we could ease the burden on the middle class while taxing people fairly. I make $50k a year, so I am by no means rich, but my principles will not allow me to support screwing one guy to benefit another. I want what is fair for everyone. When the top 10% pay 90% of taxes it's hard for me to think that they are the only problem. Government is a failure accross the board. I see Webb's points, I understand what he wants to do, I just hope he sticks to his principles and isn't swayed by "Washington". If peoples solutions are to only tax people that make more money then I oppose it. If the plan is comprehensive, where taxes are adjusted and policy is changed (illegals kicked out and immigration put in check) then I'm certainly going to listen. To me though, you can't tax middle class and working families while supporting Amnesty. Illegals are murdering the working man.
     
  4. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Typical liberal.

    The slop about tax codes protecting the rich is silly when you consider that the top 10% pay about 90% of the total income tax (for some reason a quick google didn't give me a good link but I know it's about that). The top 1% pay about 50%.

    What a CEO makes compared to a worker is irrelevant. It may be "wrong" but it's statistically insignificant. You could drop all their incomes to $100K and it wouldn't matter. Just a cute talking point.

    Manufacturing jobs disappearing ? Too bad but it is what it is. The genie is out of the bottle and it's not going back. Instead of looking fondly at how things used to be, they need to find ways to create jobs today.

    A sense of entitlement among the rich ? Huh ? The sense of entitlement is among the poor. The entitlement is in expecting the government to support their housing, food, education, pension, if they can't afford it. Having money, even if it's inherited, isn't entitlement.

    Education system fails us ? Nope. People who don't take education seriously fail themselves.

    He shouldn't laugh at the stock market, a large number of Americans have access to 401Ks or stocks through IRAs. Instead of considering the stock market something for the rich, politicians need to encourage people to grow their wealth themselves. I'm not rich but little by little, paycheck deduction by paycheck deduction, I'm building a solid retirement nestegg. If politicians made people realize that a little monthly contribution every month starting at age 18-22 can really grow over 30-40 years maybe the country's retirees wouldn't be so reliant on social security.

    Health care ? Whatever. I am fine with some kind of help for catastrophic stuff but I don't care whether the poor get help with the average doctor's appointment. I don't, and I have health insurance. Catastrophic is about all I'm covered for.

    Instead of this BS blame game Webb is playing he needs to provide actual good ideas that doesn't include higher taxes. Of course, the Dems are thrilled that they killed Social Security reform which would have gone a long way to fixing one of our problems.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  5. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I forgot to mention his point about public education. It was kinda dumb. What person would send their kids to public schools if they had the financial means not to? Sorry, but public education stinks. Public schools are filled with the worst students in the lot. Not all obviously, but given a choice between a public or private school, financial costs aside, I think 90% of the public would opt for the private school for their kids.

    My issues with the "save the children" mentallity is that it goes against the fabric this country was woven with. People who make money have done so because of hard work, risk taking, and sacrafice. I don't like the idea of penalizing those who have persevered in an effort to reward those who have no intention to. I think the playing field can be leveled, but if the plan is to force upon people a living style, or to simply "tax the rich", that's unacceptable.
     
  6. BelichickFan

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    #24 Jersey

    I do :)

    I could afford to send my kids to a private school but I don't. I am 100% happy with the public schools. The teachers are good. The curriculum is fine. How my kids do is based on them and me, not on public vs. private schools. I have no problem taking responsibility for my child's performance and not thinking it's up to the school. The school gives the kids a framework to work with, it's up to me to know what they're learning, make sure they are and help them when they are getting behind.
     
  7. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    You probably live in a nice suburb. I'm assuming anyway. Having grown up in, and currently living in, Chelsea (MA), but having moved out to Lynnfield from age 15-26, I've noticed the vast differences from city to city. The problem is, for every Lynnfield public school system, there are 100 Chelsea's. I agree with your overall position of parental accountability. That is something that I believe in whole heartedly, however my point cites reality. The reality of todays families, and related school children, is that very few care as you do. Therefore, where I commend you, I stick by my position that the vast majority of parents would choose a private school if finances were not a worry. You might be able to afford to send your kids to private schools, but you are not, by your own admission, one of those "rich people" whom Webb speaks of. Webb is speaking of the "rich" who do not send their kids to public school. My reply was, why would they? Were I rich, my kids would never be in a public school.

    BTW, in looking at the article, I never noticed this part:

    Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars.

    Last I checked wasn't our army all volunteer? So why, or how rather, would a parent "send" their children to fight a war? That's up to the person, not the parent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  8. BelichickFan

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    #24 Jersey

    :), I knew the location would come up. I don't actually live in a suburb - I live in the middle of nowhere in the desert, but yes, the schools are more like a suburb.

    A couple of points about that, though :

    - I think most kids go to pretty decent schools. I may be wrong but actual inner city schools are a relative minority when considering suburbs of big cities and the vastness of other areas like where I live. Iowa, Kansas, Montana, etc. I bet all those schools are along the lines of mine.

    - It still comes down to giving a sh!t, both by the student and the parents. We have kids at our school who are smart but do very badly because their parents don't care. I'm not trying to laud myself - in fact I try to make my kids to what they need to do AND NO MORE. I don't want their childhood to be all school. They do their homework then they're done and they play. They aren't the highest scoring kids in their classes by any means - but they're doing fine. And I don't believe that most kids, even those in inner cities, couldn't do just as well if they tried.

    It's not the school. It's the kid. The parents. The societal influences.
     
  9. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    And again, under your principled practice, I'd agree. However, the majority of public school participants, that being children and parents alike, do not share your same sense of accountability that you do. To the contrary, participants in private schools mostly do. From the parents footing the bill and choosing a school with a proven track record, to the child who will be in a class where other children are held accountable for their performance, to the school who's very existence rests upon the performance of its students, private schools will always be the choice of those who represent the highest earners of our country. Why this is chastized by Webb is beyond me. Remember that public schools will always enroll the lower tier of student when compared to a private school. This isn't a criticism, this is a reality. Public school take in everybody, whereas private school are able to pick and choose. Again, I don't quite understand why this would such a bad thing in Webb's eyes. We've always been a a class based system, we're a capitalist country afterall. The only system I know that isn't class based is communism where everyone is litterly deemed an equal. The bottom line to me is that there will be rich people, there will be poor people, and there will be more of those who fall in between. This is a reality of life. I don't want to screw one guy, to benefit the other. I just want what's fair for all.
     
  10. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I think for those reasons it is difficult to judge public vs. private schools. I suspect if my kids went to inner city schools their test scores would be similar to what they are now (above average). And if inner city kids went to my kids' school they would probably get bad scores because their parents (mostly) wouldn't give a damn.

    Is it the school or is it the parents and the environment they demand ? I suspect it's the latter way more than the former.
     
  11. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, my GF is a teacher in a public school and one of her biggest beefs is the parents. She constantly tells me about how parents think that they drop their kids off in the morning, pick them up at night, and don't need to anything again till they drop them off the next morning. They complain when their kids don't do well, but when my GF asks if she works with the kid at home, she says no. Parents don't care enough.
     

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