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Old 07-01-2018, 11:20 AM
 
Location: equator
2,630 posts, read 1,126,374 times
Reputation: 6419

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
Given the state of wage stagnation, skyrocketing healthcare costs, property taxes, tuition for public university coupled with an increasingly 'business-friendly' climate in Washington, quality of life for the American middle class is rapidly declining. You can attempt to claw yourself into the upper-middle class, an increasingly difficult task these days given that education is also being held hostage by corporate interests. We dump six figures of debt on American public college graduates and then ask them to compete for the same wages as graduates from other developed countries who have a much more robust public education system and no debt burden, then deride them as 'snoflakes' for speaking up about it. 'Pull yourself up by your bootstraps' has become the tone-deaf rallying cry of an increasingly out-of-touch Washington, more interested in preserving corporate interests and campaign donations than the education or well being of the citizens.

Most Americans are a single chronic illness away from bankruptcy. Conversely, treatment for that same illness in every other developed country carries no such risk. Millennials are derided for having fewer or no children, but no one wants to talk about how it costs 10s of thousands of dollars out of pocket in hospital fees for an uncomplicated childbirth, a problem no other Western nation faces. Our failure is that most people waste time blaming the individual, while turning a blind eye to the system that propagates these injustices.

At the end of the day, what defines developed country? A large military, abundance of corporate headquarters? Presence of wealthy private landowners? Then congratulations, America is developed. If, however, the measure of development is the rate of economic mobility, access to affordable education, healthcare, social services, ability to 'survive' in the middle class, then not only do we fail, we fall below the level of even many third-world nations. Unfortunately, the past few decades have shown that our own Nationalistic arrogance will continually prevent us from advancing, until it becomes our undoing.

/end rant
So well put I have nothing to add.

You too, Ruth, as usual. Makes me glad I'm as old as I am. Even my adopted developing country provides for its citizens far better than the corrupt U.S.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:40 AM
 
1,918 posts, read 1,090,778 times
Reputation: 2074
The corporations just have too much power here. And it translates into counter strategies that are losing their effectiveness. Hard work, reliability, talent, education, even relative experience are no longer effective hedges against corporate power.
Yes, those things may work for some people some of the time; which unfortunately just keeps the true condition of our economy hidden.
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Forest bathing
1,161 posts, read 683,946 times
Reputation: 2675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wittgenstein's Ghost View Post
I think you are making some significant errors here. A larger population also increases demand for goods and services, thus creating a need for more jobs. It isn't as though there is a fixed number of jobs in the world, and if we make too many babies, we will have a lot of unemployment.
We had fewer people in the 1950-1970 era of prosperity. More prople=fewer resources such as rare earth metals, water, etc. In the end, there will be the end.
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Old 07-01-2018, 04:42 PM
 
24,762 posts, read 26,857,673 times
Reputation: 22804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
Those nations haven't taken in 50 million immigrants over the last few decades like we have. They are just now taking in immigrants and it's already causing problems and they are headed for disaster when they can no longer pay for their social programs.

I had a young engineer work for me that is now working in our Amsterdam office and is depressed because the pay is much lower, taxes much higher and opportunity much lower than what is available in the USA...after hating the USA, he now wants to emigrate here partially because he says the Europeans only promote white Europeans (he's Muslim Asian) while America doesn't discriminate and hold back minorities...merit based promotion compared to tribal based.
Oh, but according to social justice warriors, America is the most racist country on the planet.
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:02 PM
 
Location: AZ
593 posts, read 308,091 times
Reputation: 2442
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoGuy View Post
Our rulers say there is no problem with that. Surely cream rises to the top?

When I consider the general standard of living and quality of life in northern European nations, it does get my attention.

I have no problem with accumulating half a billion dollars or so. Half a billion dollars is the subject of scorn in todays world of the 10 billion plus in assets.

Sometimes I think we got carried away with catering to the rich. The wealth has failed to trickle down, it has been trickling up for at least 40 years.
I would be very interested if you would expand on the "quality of life in northern european nations". The various countries in that region have enormous taxes e.g. VAT. Taxes on income are massive. There is also no shortage of poverty in those countries that you might not see as a tourist. I lived in Europe twice and tourists do not get the same view. However, I think perhaps you lived there and have a different view of things.
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Ohio
18,064 posts, read 13,275,864 times
Reputation: 13887
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
Given the state of wage stagnation,...
Wage stagnation is an inevitable consequence of poor foreign policy. I would also suggest it's a product of an advanced mature 4th Level Economy, and even in the absence of poor foreign policy, wage stagnation would exist.

The US has a difficult time competing globally. That's why South Korean LG Corp and its union workers, ended up gaining controlling interest in Zenith and its union workers, and four years after that, Zenith was in bankruptcy, and South Korean LG Corp bought Zenith for $200 Million and shut down all of Zenith's North American operations, leaving Zenith's union workers a choice of McDonald's or Wal-Mart for work.

The wages paid to workers in emerging- and developing-States are not "slave wages." Those wages are totally appropriate given the level of economic development, and in fact, Americans were paid the exact same wages when America was at the exact same level of development.

The US maintained two colonies in China from 1846 to 1902, and then another colony from 1918-1938. Instead of raping the Chinese of their wealth and resources, America could have helped China develop economically to the same level as the US. However, had you done that, your wages would not be at the levels they are today. They'd be 25%-50% less.

The Chinese know this, which is why China is doing all the things the US and Britain and other Western European Colonial Powers refused to do, and that is develop countries. Instead of stealing wealth and resources, China is building roads, rail lines, and installing sewer, water, natural gas and electrical infrastructure.

Ford cannot export cars to India, because the wage differential is so great, Indians can't afford to buy American-made cars. But, China is building future trading partners and will have plenty of countries to export to, since the wage differential between the emerging- and developing-States and China is not so great.

You lost 10 Million to 12 Million jobs due to southeast Asian economic expansion, and you'll lose 10 Million to 12 Million more when southwest Asia expands, and another 10 Million to 12 Million when Central Asia expands, and another 10 Million to 12 Million when sub-Saharan Africa expands.

That's the program for the rest of this Century, so you had best find something to do better than anyone else can do it, or your economic stagnation will be legendary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
...skyrocketing healthcare costs,...
Healthcare costs are sky-rocketing because you have an incredibly large ageing population, plus they are living longer. A large chunk of your healthcare costs are spent during the last 6 months of someone's life.

The Euro-States are not immune to that. They have $TRILLIONS in unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities coming due starting in 2020 and continuing through 2050. It is ugly. Britain is the best-situated and their still looking at 70% of GDP, while the worst is Italy at 350% of GDP.

Those programs are unsustainable, and they will require massive tax increases, plus a reduction in services and benefits to be able to cover the costs.

France has slashed their pension from 50% to 37.5%, raised the retirement age from 65 to 67, and is forcing workers to work 42 years (43 if you're born after 1973) compared to 35 years for Americans, and they still have problems, especially with healthcare costs. Now France is only looking at 82% of GDP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
...property taxes,...
Property taxes are a choice made by the people. People vote whether or not to increase or decrease property taxes. People who want more services, and who are willing to pay more to cover the costs of those services will approve property tax levies.

If you have issues with that, you're free to move elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
...tuition for public university...
Tuition is increasing in part, because students are demanding more services, and those services are not free. Students at the University of Cincinnati weren't happy with "free" Wi-Fi on campus. They wanted "free" Wi-Fi in their off-campus apartments 2-3 miles away from campus. The Wi-Fi system didn't fall out of the sky and set itself up for free just because a group of people held hand and sang kum-ba-ya. It cost money to buy, and money to install, and money to maintain and money to upgrade.

The University of Washington spent $151 Million on its IT budget for 2017. 40 years ago, there was no such thing as "IT".

If they have 30,000 students, which is typical of a large university, then it costs $5,033 per year per student just for IT services.

The other reason tuition is increasing in part is due to the fact that States are spending less on their State universities, in order to spend more on the public sector union pensions the public sector unions suckered them in to approving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
We dump six figures of debt on American public college graduates and then ask them to compete for the same wages as graduates from other developed countries who have a much more robust public education system and no debt burden, then deride them as 'snoflakes' for speaking up about it.
They brought that upon themselves. No one held a gun to their head and forced them to borrow $40,000 a year to pay for $6,000 in annual tuition, and then forced them to spend the rest of the money on new cars, Spring Break in the Bahamas, South Padre Island, Cancun and Key West, or get breast and butt-implants. I went back to university to get additional degrees 2001-2005 and I didn't use student loans. I got educational grants and worked full-time or had 2-3 part-time jobs. My four room-mates also had 1-2 part-time jobs. Only one of my room-mates had student loans and she only borrowed $2,000 to $4,000 a year for tuition.

As far as "free" tuition in Euro-States, only special people, namely the cream of the cream of the crop get free tuition.

In Germany, everyone goes to Grundschule for four years, starting at age 6.

Then you test.

If you don't score high enough, then you end up in Hauptschule or the Schulart mit mehreren Bildungsgängen or Berufsschule, where you learn how to retread tires for a living. It's general education focused on manual labor, including services, such as retail clerk or retail sales.

If you score high enough, then you can go to Realschule. The Realschule certificate allows you to attend the Fachoberschule, or the Fachgymnasium. Those are like technical schools. And if you were a "late-bloomer" you can get a shot at free college at the Fachgymnasium.

If you score really high, then you go to the Gymnasium and get an Abitur, which is a certificate of aptitude for higher learning. Those students -- and only those students -- get to go for free to university.

Students that went to a Hauptschule or Realschule can still get an Abitur, if they are really, really motivated and spend a lot of time and their own money on additional education. They'd need a tutor or would have to spend 1-2 years studying on their own to pass the test.

I would absolutely love a system like that, because it means fewer Americans would go to college, not more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
Millennials are derided for having fewer or no children, but no one wants to talk about how it costs 10s of thousands of dollars out of pocket in hospital fees for an uncomplicated childbirth, a problem no other Western nation faces.
It only costs $9,200 here. And there's no law that requires women to go to hospitals. They can use a mid-wife for far less. My ex-wife was a Millennial and she was born at home. So were her brothers and sisters. All six of them.

In Sweden, midwives are entrusted with caring for the health of the expectant mother and the foetus. It is the only pregnancy care available to women, and is free for the patient, falling under state health care benefits.

In Sweden, you get one ultrasound, not nine, and the one ultrasound is given in the optimum month to detect problems, and you don't see a doctor, unless there are problems. You also go once for amniocentesis, but not to a doctor.

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* Children permitted in delivery room with mother’s approval. Additional Features: Board-certified doctors and nurses experienced in obstetrics, neonatal care, including nursery and fetal monitoring. Contemporary birthing suites include flat-screen TVs, On-Demand movies and bathrooms with showers and jet tubs. Babies may stay in nursery or “room” with mom; fold-out sofas for overnight guests. Prenatal services and childbirth education classes available.


Do you think European hospitals have feng-sui and on-demand cable/satellite?

Guess again.

Healthcare in the US is expensive, because Americans not only demand high-quality care, they demand that high-quality care be in style.


And being "in style" is the most important thing to Americans.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vladlensky View Post
At the end of the day, what defines developed country? A large military,...
This developed country happens to have a currency that is used as the de facto international reserve currency and the de facto international currency of trade.

Of the other 194 countries on Earth, how many have that status?

Zero.

The costs of not implementing this strategy are clear. Failure to meet our defense objectives will result in decreasing U.S. global influence, eroding cohesion among allies and partners, and reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in our prosperity and standard of living.

[emphasis mine]

https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Do...gy-Summary.pdf


Your current Standard of Living and Life-Style is not free...it costs money...lots of it....and your currency that is the de facto international reserve currency and the de facto international currency of trade is one of the reasons why your Standard of Living and Life-Style is so high.

Are you willing to accept a much lower Standard of Living and Life-Style?
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:48 PM
 
874 posts, read 374,872 times
Reputation: 551
Arguments around inequality usually focused on tax policy. it was said after tax things become more equal. Is it too much tax, or too little tax?
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Old 07-01-2018, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
4,126 posts, read 3,418,882 times
Reputation: 5658
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
Oh, but according to social justice warriors, America is the most racist country on the planet.
Yup, the grass is always greener else where.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:01 PM
 
48,993 posts, read 39,470,869 times
Reputation: 30653
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
Those nations haven't taken in 50 million immigrants over the last few decades like we have. They are just now taking in immigrants and it's already causing problems and they are headed for disaster when they can no longer pay for their social programs.

I had a young engineer work for me that is now working in our Amsterdam office and is depressed because the pay is much lower, taxes much higher and opportunity much lower than what is available in the USA...after hating the USA, he now wants to emigrate here partially because he says the Europeans only promote white Europeans (he's Muslim Asian) while America doesn't discriminate and hold back minorities...merit based promotion compared to tribal based.
Yep, to quote Tony Blair (in regards to Collin Powell rising up through the ranks to high level), he said something along the lines of how it couldn't have happen in Britain.

The entire topic speaks not to reality but to perception.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:54 AM
 
6,942 posts, read 2,581,687 times
Reputation: 4696
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
Oh, maybe because there's an ocean between them and Europe.


This might be one reason for the income disparity:
The cities with the highest income disparity have the highest minimum wage. So no.
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