Ineffective Government, an outcome of our definition of "Freedom"?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Seattle, Jan 28, 2023.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    A man of few words, that's an encouraging trend.
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. You can try simple/cheap things, with the caveat that you may just make the problem worse. Which is bad, but then you can 1) stop and 2) add that to the list of things that don't work, which gets you closer to what does work.

    Or economics, or the drivers of homelessness. It's easy for him to believe he does, since he has spent time on the street, has probably known someone who was homeless for some time etc.
    Great example. He likely thinks he knows how to put out fires (odds are he's done it once or twice in his life) but he wisely decides to call the experts, since putting out a house fire is probably beyond his experience/capabilities.
    Another great example, because again, even though he has likely experienced crime in his life, he wisely decides to call people who are experts at dealing with it.
    Well, no, you gave the best first step above - call the city. Then work with them to solve the problem (if he wants to, of course.)
     
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Defer to authority, got it...

    Of course no one was arguing for vigilante justice or vigilante homelessness actions.

    Saying that common sense doesn't apply to homelessness, makes no sense. You are saying, in effect, that you have no idea how to deal with homelessness since you're just a man on the street.

    If you were to decide to run for office, now you are suddenly an expert? You are also saying, even if you were an expert and if you weren't effective, even after 30 years...it would be just because the problem is so complex.

    That works for a politician, I guess, since it results in no accountability. If it doesn't ever work...it's just because it's too complex.

    Sure you could just go in and remove all the camps and the public would be better off but that's too simply so we'll just leave things as they are since it's too complex and as a public official you know best. It's brain surgery after all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    You just gave two examples in which you wanted people to defer to authority - so yes, you got it.
     
  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    This makes sense, but there are still some gaps to what you’re saying. I’ll come back later when I have more time. I’m heading into a work meeting (Zoom call) so we can brainstorm on how to make the partners wealthier than they already are. See what I did there?

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    They pay me well, so I’m mildly kidding.
     
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    You mean you're greedy and should be paying your fair share of the taxes and not just what you are currently paying (see what I did there?)

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    I forget (if I ever knew) exactly what marketing business you are in but I assume you are working to be more efficient and to supply some product or service that someone wants. If that's the case, what difference does it make that the partners are made wealthy as a side effect?

    The better job Amazon does in selling me products that I like at a good price and with prompt delivery the more money the shareholders will make. They make more money when they do a better job selling to me. How am I better off if they make less if that means that they are doing a worse job?

    That's what doesn't matter sense when people focus on how much they make. It's not relevant. Biden is upset that Exxon had record profits last year while we all paid more at the gas pumps.

    They didn't have a higher profit margin. They had a bad year, the year before.

    It's the same with the grocery industry. We don't like it when there are shortages on the shelves and when the shelves are full and we have to pay more due to inflation we don't like that either. Some blame the grocery stores for "price gouging". They don't set the prices and the grocery business, in general, has very low profit margins and makes money due to volume.

    Yet, some get upset. It's mainly the people who have the least information about a subject that get the most upset, wouldn't you agree?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed.
    Common sense can be applied to homelessness. It can also be applied to house fires and crime - two cases where you said that the wise thing to do would be to defer to experts (firefighters and police respectively) since they have more experience than you. In all three cases, it would be wise to defer to people with more experience than you.
    Nope.
    If I (and more importantly people who were experts in the field) tried their best for 30 years and could not solve the problem - then yes, that would be a very good demonstration that the problem was complex.

    We've been working on fusion, for example, for 50 years. The reason we don't have cost-effective fusion plants is not that politicians are ignoring the commonsense solutions that people on the street have. The reason is that the problem is very complex. There are no easy solutions.
    ?? You do not consider being booted out of office as "accountability?" It's pretty much the ultimate accountability.
    That's an assumption that has been proven not to work.

    Remove all the homeless camps by the river because they are unsightly - and they show up on 4th Avenue downtown. The public is now not better off.
    Remove them from 4th avenue - and they show up behind a school.
    Remove them from behind the school - and they show up on the bike path.
    Remove them from the bike path - and they show up on 5th avenue.

    You have spent a lot of time and money, and now the public is worse off, since they are costing storeowners and shoppers money and time. It has happened both here and in LA.
    Sounds like you got triggered by this. Sorry about that.
     
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    If I got triggered it might be due to homelessness being compared to fusion. We don't know what to do about homelessness just as we don't know where life came from, right?

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  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Different areas - but both are hard problems, yes. And for both, the man on the street is perhaps not the best choice to come up with a plan to figure it out. (Although they are, of course, welcome to try.)
     
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I see the error of my ways. I walked past a park today and saw a piece of paper on the ground. I have to admit my first thought was to pick it up and put it in the trash can. I didn't however.

    I called the professionals at the Park Department. After all maybe it was supposed to be there, maybe to hold in moisture for the grass, maybe it was made of asbestos and therefore dangerous, it's a complex problem and you just never know.

    They may decide that it's better to wait until there is more paper on the ground before sending someone over. That's why they are the professionals and I'm not.

    Paper pollution is a complex problem that has been around for a long time but, as you might point out, it is better than in the 60's and 70's. Before the professionals let us know to not pollute it was more common to see people throwing paper out of their car windows as they drove.

    Today this is less common so there is progress. So the lesson is, when you see a piece of paper on the ground, call the professionals at the Parks Dept. If this occurs outside of a park, call the non-emergency version of 911 and seek further guidance before proceeding on your own.

    Anyway, if we all work together we can very slowly start to work on these problems. If our taxes go up, so be it. It's only money anyway.
     
  14. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    My comment was somewhat facetious (making my firm’s partners, wealthier), but to answer your question - my firm helps companies that are in financial distress, by helping to rebrand them, and in turn, get them back on track to compete in their given industries. Sometimes, CEO's listen and sometimes they don't, but I help with the ''discovery'' process, in terms of sorting out our clients' challenges by interviewing the leadership in these companies.

    Since you brought up greed, that's largely why some of these companies are failing. In many cases, CEO’s are the problem because they mainly focus on pleasing shareholders, which isn’t a bad thing but it is when they do so at the expense of their employees. Their answer when I interview them is to lay off part of their staff to keep overhead low, but the problem with that thinking is they still need to compete in the market so they just give the remaining employees who are often times hourly wage earners, the jobs of two people without a pay raise. They don’t tell them they’ll be doing two jobs, it just gradually turns out that way over time as I’ve discovered interviewing hourly employees. So, I have conversations every day with business leaders of middle market family owned businesses to large corporations and this is unfortunately, what many are doing to their employees. I can’t imagine why there’s a labor shortage?

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    So, to have that “privilege” to basically manage a company and reap most of the profits, the wealthiest business leaders and their investors should be paying the highest taxes. No question. Sadly, many aren’t because they’ve found loopholes to hide their money. Ask Trump how he knows that.

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    I’ll answer the rest of your response later…

    As a side note, profits are sometimes misleading. If you look at what recently happened to Bed Bath and Beyond who are nearing bankruptcy now, their CFO “cooked the books” to attract investors and once the stock price rose, the company closed over 150 stores. The company wasn’t profitable, yet there were stockholders who sold when the price shot up and made millions. The CFO shortly after took his own life, so clearly, he knew what they were doing was wrong. Thousands of employees lost their jobs but a few “wealthy” investors became even wealthier. Off what? An artificially inflated stock price, not a profitable company. That’s a big problem in corporate America and higher taxes for the rich, won’t fix that end of it.

    I went off topic a bit, but just sharing my opinion fwiw. Your posts on these topics sometimes suggest that you think most of the wealthiest people in America are all just smarter or worked harder or do all the things that hourly workers won’t do. No, many wealthy business leaders are ruthless and they do things to line their own pockets that ethical people wouldn’t do. My firm cherry picks who we work with and it’s hard to find altruistic leaders these days in business.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2023
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    If you feel you need to be an expert to do that because it's a hard problem - by all means, call a professional. I think I'd just put it in the trash, myself.
    You sound triggered again, and are now lashing out in other threads. Not sure why this is so upsetting to you. "Experts are better at solving hard problems in their fields" would not seem to be such a divisive opinion.
     
  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Define "clean up the mess". We are talking about human beings here. Homeless people need someplace to go.
     
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    So how does "rebranding" a company that is in financial distress add any value to that company? Is that like rebranding "Facebook" to "Meta" or even "Friendlybook" when their real problem is financial or not listening to their customers?

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    That's a value judgement isn't?

    If they are financially distressed companies, what would you have them do? They can't reduce overhead and keep them. If some have to work harder they will do so if it's worth it to them to have that job and hope that it will be temporary or they can get another job where they don't have to work that hard. If everyone is laying off, they might chose to stay. If things don't turn around the company may have to file for bankruptcy protection and/or lay off everyone eventually anyway.

    They get profits only after everyone is paid and all other expenses are paid. If they are financially distressed there may not be profits or there may not be profits for long if something doesn't change. Their investors shouldn't be paying the highest taxes. An investor could be their lowest paid worker or it could be a retired school teacher and they all pay the capital gains tax. If they are "rich", in absolute terms, they do pay most of the taxes.

    Regarding "loopholes", that's just the agreed upon tax code. It's a "loophole" when it's what someone else is paying. Why are you taking advantage of the loophole that allows you to shelter much of your income in a 401k, an IRA, a mortgage interest deduction and when you sell your house you pay no capital gains tax.

    That's not fair to someone without a 401k, to a renter that can't even afford a house. Why don't you pay your fair share of taxes? That would only be fair. Are you keeping down all the people below you who aren't as privileged? Think of those matching contributions that your company provides. What about the people who don't get that?

    Also think about the poor companies that have to pay you higher wages when the economy is up but when the economy goes down you don't let them reduce your wages. That's not fair. They have no choice other than to lay you off. Why are you being so unfair to your company?

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    What about the employee who embezzles from his company? What about unions that drive companies out of business. Most investors in a company are outside people, teachers pensions, etc. What about...

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    All value judgments on your part. I haven't said anything about the wealthy being smarter, working harder or saying anything about what hourly workers won't do.

    Put it this way. If someone was blaming all of their problems on Jews, blacks, or some other group, I would point out that this was just scapegoating. It wouldn't be appropriate then for someone to say, based on my remarks, "You just think Jews are smarter than everyone else, they don't work harder". No, they just aren't the reason for every problem that society attributes to them.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Poop, needles, fire hazards. We have shelters.
     
  19. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I can’t give away my secrets.

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    You help rebrand a company when you help them see their internal challenges, and give them ways to fix them. They will develop into a different culture and company …their objectives will change. So, their name may stay the same but they become more competitive and attract better talent.



    Reading quite a few of your threads, your general opinion seems to be that poor people choose to stay that way while the wealthy are harder workers, and plan better. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist.



    Sometimes the best thing they can do is fix their challenges and become part of a merger or a stronger company agrees to buy them out. But, some companies want to hang on so there are ways to mitigate their risks and clean up their “image” which will yield better financial results, than just laying off staff. Covid layoffs were different.



    Seattle, why do you ask us what we think and try to engage us if you know all the answers, already? lol

    Anyway, I think that taxation is just part of the pie. Predatory capitalism is a problem and that is why you don’t have the same advantage as the investors who were part of insider trading at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Just using that company as one example but I would bet the farm that many (not all) business “leaders” are involved in some form of insider trading so the everyday wage earner doesn’t have the same advantages to gain wealth. You know that you don’t have the same playing field if you were to take up day trading, as say Jeff Bezos. That’s wrong, isn’t it?
     
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  20. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    It's not working. Obviously these people prefer not to be in the shelters, many of which are overcrowded now.
     
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  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I sometimes wonder if these homeless drop-outs are there because modern society is just too bloody complicated for some people to manage. Even I, a fairly successful university-educated person, am sometimes bewildered and feel almost overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I need to do, just to stay compliant and functional. It's everything from taxes to renewing parking permits, annual safety testing for the car, TV licence, utility bills, ....... If I were just claiming social security benefit, I've no doubt I'd need proof of identity, proof of place of residence, plus filling out huge forms, full of subtle wording and complicated questions. I suspect it's all too much for some people.
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I think that's definitely one reason. Even a "simple" life (guy who works at Starbucks) has a huge amount of paperwork to navigate - rent, background checks, drivers licenses, taxes, power bills, insurance - and some people may simply not have the ability, determination or even desire to do it all. Doing one of the many modalities of homelessness (i.e. living in a tent, or a van, or squatting) may simply be the level they can handle.
     
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  23. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Could be. I used to work with a guy who lived in a tent down by the creek. He came to work everyday, and borrowed money from his co-workers until payday. On payday he went around and paid everyone back. He was also dyslexic. An incredible artist, but functionally illiterate. So he held down a minimum wage factory job. I suspect navigating society was difficult for him.
     
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