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Charlie Vignola: The bare minimum

Posted: February 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

Republicans think they get unfairly labeled as the party of the wealthy, a party that tricks working-class voters into voting against their own economic self-interest by exploiting cultural wedge issues.

But if Republicans don’t like that reputation, you’d think they’d work a little harder to dispel this belief.

The only problem is nearly every piece of legislation they come up with seems designed to reinforce this “stereotype.”

They’re for tort reform, against class-action lawsuits and want caps on malpractice judgments, all legislation that would benefit corporations and hobble honest consumers with legitimate gripes.

They’re against extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, treating them like freeloaders rather than hard-working Americans who caught a tough break and are facing one of the toughest job markets in generations.

They’re against unions, one of the last remaining bulwarks left to counter-balance corporate greed, and have taken steps to weaken such organizations at every opportunity, eroding the concept of collective bargaining so that it’s every worker for himself or herself.

They vote to cut tens of billions of dollars from SNAP, the food stamp program, literally taking food out of the mouths of millions of hungry American children.

They’re forever trying to cut Social Security benefits for elderly Americans, if not get rid of the program outright and privatize it, turning it from a guaranteed insurance program to one vulnerable to the vagaries of a boom-and-bust market.

They’re against insurance programs covering reproductive health benefits like contraception and abortion, which would predominately punish low-income women who’d find themselves having babies they don’t want and can’t afford.

They fight tooth and nail against common-sense financial regulations that would keep banks from becoming too big to fail and curb Wall Street’s irresponsible risk-taking, yet they make it harder and harder for desperateAmericans to declare bankruptcy.

They’re against environmental regulations despite continuing corporate negligence that causes fertilizer plants to explode and destroy towns and chemical facilities to leak and contaminate drinking water for 300,000 people.

One of the biggest Republican affronts to working-class Americans is the party members’ constant refusal to raise the minimum wage, which affects about 1.6 million workers.

It’s gotten to the point where an exasperated President Obama decided last week to issue an executive order to raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers, hoping to set an example and perhaps encourage more action and attention on the issue.

Republicans rail against raising the minimum wage, claiming that it will be a “job killer” — a scare tactic used as their fallback claim against any policy position they don’t like.

Their ironclad evidence of this assertion? Good luck finding it.

Today, the most comprehensive research shows little evidence of job reductions from raising the minimum wage.

For example, a 2013 survey by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business revealed that leading economists agreed by a nearly 4 to 1 margin that the benefits of raising and indexing the minimum wage outweigh the costs.

Republicans claim raising the minimum wage will unduly hurt small businesses, but an analysis of Census Bureau data finds that roughly 66 percent of low-wage workers are employed by large companies with more than 100 employees, not mom-and-pop stores.

Further, the largest low-wage employers — like Walmart and McDonalds — are hugely profitable and can easily afford higher wages.

One need look no further than the mega-successful Costco to see that paying your workers more is just smart business.

As Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said last March, “We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and we are still able to keep our overhead costs low.

“An important reason for the success of Costco’s business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty.”

The Center for Economic & Policy Research recently reported that if the minimum wage had kept pace with workers’ productivity growth since the late ‘60s, the minimum wage would be $16.54 in modern dollars.

What this means is that American corporations have seen fit to keep all of the gains for themselves and have stiffed their workers for all their efforts.

Incidentally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states with the highest proportions of workers earning at or below the minimum wage are Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Idaho.

Guess which party all of these states voted for in the last presidential election?

Republicans suggest we abolish the minimum wage all together and let the free market do its magic. While this would be a boon for corporate America — hell, Domino’s would be ecstatic if it could hire two workers for the price of one — it’d be a crappy deal for American workers.

America’s hardest-working, least-respected and lowest-paid workers are long overdue for a raise — and if the GOP doesn’t think they deserve one, then the GOP doesn’t deserve their vote.

Charlie Vignola is a former college Republican turned liberal Democrat. He lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.

 

Comments

Jackk: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:36 a.m.

Government subsidizes WalMart and McDonalds employees with food stamps and other aid. This is corporate welfare we won't hear about.

Other companies cut hours to ensure that employees get no benefits and must rely on the government.

Who is the taker? The un or underemployed worker or the largest companies in the country?


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:54 a.m.

Raising the minimum wage would affect every American, not just the 1.6 million Charlie thinks he'd be helping.

Does anyone doubt that an increase in the MW would raise operating costs for every company that has at least one MW employee? And if owners and CEOs are as greedy as Charlie thinks they are, does anyone also doubt that this increase would be passed on to consumers, or worse, to cut employment in America and open shop where total operating costs would be less?

Unless we are willing to use the force of government to set price controls for all goods and services, greatly increase tariffs, and limit how much every company can profit, any mandated "raise" would be accompanies by lower employment and higher prices for us all.

But Charlie certainly makes himself sound like a swell guy, caring for the poor and all.


ricketzz: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:55 a.m.

Governments globally are corrupt and owned by globalist elites. They are rotten to the core and will be shaken to their foundations by a Global Insurrection Against Bankster Occupation.


BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:00 a.m.

The minimum wage is a bogus issue. The vast majority of working people don't work for minimum wage, and those who do don't stay there; it's a starting point. It's the wage at which people ENTER the work force.

From there, they advance, and as they do they earn more. Therefore, it's a constantly changing group of people.


chico: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:04 a.m.

Democrats seem incapable of leadership where people are self sufficient.

Obama's economy has produced a record low workforce participation rate, and worker hours have been cut as a result of Obamacare.

What's wrong with getting a raise by continuing your education, achieving gains in experience, or changing employers......

If you know someone who is out of a job, or earning minimum wage - is your advice to them to seek education, experience, or a new employer? Or do you think it is enough for them to just have a raise in minimum wage?

Do you impart pity or inspiration?

To this author, a raise in minimum wage is prosperity. He needs to take a look around and realize there is so much more out there for people than a paltry wage meant for a new hire or work that just about anyone can do.

But this is the Democrat economy and paltry is what we should expect.

This is your life - next stop - minimum wage. HOO HOO!


therightstuff: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:23 a.m.

Why do these guys call their column Democratic Voices only to spend 95% of their time talking about Republicans? I think "Why We Hate Republicans" would be a much better name for their column.


BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:27 a.m.

Every time socialists like Vignola start bleating about the minimum wage, I can't help but wonder: if $10/hour is good, isn't $20/hour even better? How about $200/hour? Why not? Why not just "mandate" that everyone be made a millionaire, and eliminate all the "unfairness" once and for all?


17trillion: Posted: February 4, 2014 8:16 a.m.

Charlie reminds me of Charlie Brown's teacher.


AlwaysRight: Posted: February 4, 2014 9:00 a.m.

The usual scree from Charlie. Geez. Say something new.


17trillion: Posted: February 4, 2014 9:09 a.m.

Poor dude is incapable of having an original thought.


projalice11: Posted: February 4, 2014 9:24 a.m.

Mr. Vingola you are a brave man knowing that your opinion column
"The bare minimum" was going to be criticized by the "Bulling Posters"

They wait with baited breath to criticize their negatively.

The bullies are up at the crack of dawn to spew their tirades.

There is no way to voice one's opinion or submit a LTE without the
"Bulling Natives" repeated negative comments.

Mr. Vingola keep writing your "Democratic Voice" column.

Your subject matter is logical and uplifting.

Giving one a raise or a praise creates self-esteem which is sorely needed
in our society.

HERE COME THE BULLIES with their posts.

Stick to the subject matter and don't go on your rampages interjecting
the stale matters that have been asked and probed and have been laid
put to rest.





17trillion: Posted: February 4, 2014 9:35 a.m.

""The bare minimum" was going to be criticized by the "Bulling Posters" " What exactly is that? Why do you use too much punctuation at times and too little at other times? "They wait with baited breath to criticize their negatively." Huh? The above reminds me of a sentence my 9 year old occasionally writes. "Mr. Vingola keep writing your "Democratic Voice" column." Yes, please do. Unlike you on the left, we welcome the "knowledgeable" views from the likes of Charlie. "Your subject matter is logical and uplifting." Uplifting? I guess, in the same way cancer is uplifting. "Giving one a raise or a praise creates self-esteem which is sorely needed in our society." It also creates a society of self-important losers. In your mind excellence is something to be avoided and replaced with praise and commendation for being mediocre. This of course explains your lack of writing skills Lois. "Stick to the subject matter and don't go on your rampages interjecting the stale matters that have been asked and probed and have been laid put to rest." Laughing.....I couldn't agree more, I think...... --edited.


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 9:52 a.m.

When the Feds mandate an increase in the cost of labor, all associated costs rise with it, diluting the purchasing power of those the minimum wage law is intended to assist. It's the inevitable unintended consequence.

Union members like Mr. Vignola support minimum wage law increases because it protects particular industries from labor competition. Additionally, there may be a clause in their contract that requires a stepped up wage rate matching the percentage of increase in the minimum wage.

Large corporations like Costco have the scale to remain competitive with increased labor expense due to the ability to reduce costs in other areas, i.e. supply chain, etc. The majority of citizens are employed by small business that do not have the requisite scale to absorb costs in the same manner, reducing employment opportunities for entry level workers.

Basic economics: When you raise the cost of something you get less of it. In this case, it's employment.


therightstuff: Posted: February 4, 2014 11:10 a.m.

Useless partisans like Charlie Vignola don't give a rat's ass about minimum wage workers. Democrats just see this as a way to score political points with uninformed and easily swayed voters. They know that their votes count as much as educated voters. As with every other issue for them, it's all about getting votes.

Reason #2,194 why I would never be a Democrat.


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 4, 2014 12:28 p.m.

"They wait with baited breath to criticize their negatively."

Charlie's first TWELVE paragraphs attack Republicans, including that they "literally tak(e) food out of the mouths of millions of hungry American children," yet you're surprised he draws criticism?

Were you also surprised that the Titanic sank the first time you watched the movie?


BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 12:34 p.m.

What's a "Bulling Poster" or "Native"? What does "bulling" even mean? Can't be a typo, because it's written that way twice. And what's so bad about being a "Native"? As opposed to what? An illegal alien?

"The bullies are up at the crack of dawn to spew their tirades."

As opposed to what? Vignola's tirade having been set to press the night before? Your own tirade against tirades, or something?

Gotta say, that was a pretty funny comment, all in all.


CaptGene: Posted: February 4, 2014 1:02 p.m.

"Mr. Vingola..."

His name is "Vignola" not "Vingloa"

"They wait with baited breath..."

It's "bated breath". Besides, even if by sheer luck you happen to have spelled that right, it certainly wouldn't apply to me, I was hoping he'd never write again.

BB, you are correct; a very funny comment, one can only hope it was intended to be funny. Pretty sure that's not the case. --edited.


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 1:04 p.m.

Bulling
verb
1 [ with obj. ] push or drive powerfully or violently: he bulled the motorcycle clear of the tunnel | [ no obj. ] : he was bulling his way through a mob of admirers.
2 [ no obj. ] (be bulling) (of a cow) behave in a manner characteristic of being in heat.

Lois is admiring the power of a subset of the respondents to the LTE. I don't believe it related to the 2nd definition as she's no doubt beyond that phase.


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 1:09 p.m.

The correct spelling would be sheer in your usage, CG.

The perils of correcting grammar and spelling on the web are legend. :-D


Indy: Posted: February 4, 2014 1:28 p.m.

Charlie,

I have to agree with projalice11 with respect to the rumblings here from conservatives most of which lack any real global understanding of the world economy let alone the US economy and how wage rates are affected.

Decades ago, changes in the minimum wage may have changed the way a business hires people. But as we see ‘today’, times have changes: wealth in concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer Americans mainly ‘owners of capital’ (think stockholders, businesses).

Why? The oversupply of labor that keeps wage rates down effected not only in US but from the globalization of trade that exposes the US work force to billions of people earning $1/Day.

And as the market bids the wages down, Americans who do work can’t afford to live outside of what we consider to be ‘poverty’. They also become ‘qualified’ for safety net programs like food stamps.

Recitals about losing jobs from raising the minimum wage makes a good talking point but likewise misses the oversupply issue as well as the reality that poorly educated workers can’t be hired even at the current minimum wage. Thus, many conservative think tanks encourage the complete abdication of the minimum wage!

And why we do have so many poorly educated workers?: the underfunding of our public infrastructure in public education.

We see this in the higher student teacher ratio that rises as politicians refuse to fund the increased enrollments and thus cramming more kids per teachers to keep tax rates ‘flat’. This was demonstrated by our local SCV legislators that used their 33%+1 minorities to stop tax increases as the ‘demands’ for public education rose.

Then when the teachers become overwhelmed and the results fall, they are ‘blamed’ for the actions of legislators that simply refuse to properly budget taxes for public education.

In any event, the ‘job loss’ talking point isn’t descriptive of all the factors that affect wage rates.

What we should be asking ourselves is why that is the only talking point from conservatives?

And where are the liberals? Why not address the issues I’ve done here? What are ‘you’ waiting for?

It appears those we’ve elected into positions of leadership are for the most part economically illiterate and lack any reasonable amount of business acumen that concerns budgeting and management.

And finally, let’s not forget the media that has become ‘lazy’ and only recites ‘slogans’ as a substitute for actual ‘reporting’.


17trillion: Posted: February 4, 2014 1:52 p.m.

"I have to agree with projalice11 with respect to the rumblings here from conservatives most of which lack any real global understanding"

Laughing.....

"And where are the liberals? Why not address the issues I’ve done here?"

I thought you were an Indy?

I sure would like to you what the source of your arrogance is Indy.


philellis: Posted: February 4, 2014 2:05 p.m.

WIndy, which taxes did our local SCV legislators vote down that were intended for education? Can you name just one or are you nothing more than just wind?


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 2:14 p.m.

Mandating the value of labor isn't real, Indy. The market value of labor can only be determined by, you guessed it, the market. The USA is the largest participant in the global economy and there will be no retreat behind protectionist walls. Global wages are going up not down in relation to advanced economies.

"And why we do have so many poorly educated workers?: the underfunding of our public infrastructure in public education."

Prove that education is underfunded, Indy. I'll help you get started; compare USA per pupil spending with other advanced Western economies.

U.S. education spending tops global list, study shows

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/

I'll stipulate that citizens are receiving a poor return on their investment. I'd posit it has more to do with education monopoly's outsized spending on administrative sinecures. That has nothing to do with class size.

Class Size Around the World
By CATHERINE RAMPELL

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/class-size-around-the-world/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 --edited.


therightstuff: Posted: February 4, 2014 4:39 p.m.

Indy: """"And finally, let’s not forget the media that has become ‘lazy’ and only recites ‘slogans’ as a substitute for actual ‘reporting’."""

As an Obama loyalist, aren't you glad?


BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 4:40 p.m.

Ah, Indy, and the usual regurgitation of standard Dem/socialist talking points.

Well, Indy, I guess I'll pose to you the same question I posed earlier:

If $10/hour is good, isn't $20/hour even better? How about $200/hour? Why not? Why not just "mandate" that everyone be made a millionaire, and eliminate all the "unfairness" once and for all?


TheForgottenMiddle: Posted: February 4, 2014 4:57 p.m.

I always find it amazing on these blogs how both sides laud partisanship, yet both sides are blatantly partisan.

That said: I do not understand how either side can act as if their side has not and\or does not do things to help corporations (I consider Unions a corporation for this argument.) manipulate wages. In I believe 1995 or 1996 (Yes Bill Clinton was President) the US passed a bill that allowed for the increase of about 365K legal immigrants with IT skills for the purpose of increasing the IT workforce in the US. This bill was then reauthorized in 2002 or 2003 (Yes GW Bush was President) adding an additional 400K legal immigrants for the purpose of IT jobs. This was done solely to lower the cost of IT professionals on a company’s payroll. So the thousands of US citizens that worked hard to get in the IT field saw their wages cut in half overnight. That is an example of where both sides were bought and paid for by the corporations to help them increase profits. So saying that people should just educate themselves to help them improve their status does not work. As soon as there is a demand increase for a particular field the politicians and corporations will do whatever it takes to flood the market supply with cheap labor and artificially manipulate wages.

So what we do as a country is we get mad at the illegal immigration that takes low paying labor jobs, and we say nothing when the politicians and corporations manipulate the laws to help them artificially lower the wages of higher paid, higher educated employees.

So my questions to Republicans. How is this any different than raising the MW? How is that market forces at work?

So my questions to Democrats. If you support raising the MW because you say wages are too low, but you then support a bill that artificially lowers wages for a different class of citizens? Is it okay if it is the middle class and not the poor?

There is no such thing as market forces anymore in this country. As soon as our SCOTUS allowed Corporations to have free speech rights and the ability to spend unlimited money on politicians they took that away. Corporations will do anything they can to manipulate politicians to help themselves. Both parties support these policies and the sad thing is they play the divide and conquer tactics to convince us the other side is the problem. Both sides are the problem and they are both in it together.

Until the citizens in the US realize this we will keep on cutting taxes for the rich, increasing our spending on entitlement programs for the poor all the while screwing the middle class. Our deficit\debt will grow until we bankrupt the country.


BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 5:10 p.m.

"So my questions to Republicans."

Not sure you'll even find any of those here. I know I'm not; I'm a conservative, in most cases a VERY different animal.

I agree with you that crony capitalism is just about as bad as socialism; in fact, in many ways, it's pretty much the same thing under a different name.

But again, what does that have to do with anything, as the topic here seems to be the minimum wage?


Indy: Posted: February 4, 2014 5:40 p.m.

Technologist wrote: Mandating the value of labor isn't real, Indy. The market value of labor can only be determined by, you guessed it, the market. The USA is the largest participant in the global economy and there will be no retreat behind protectionist walls. Global wages are going up not down in relation to advanced economies.

Indy: Interestingly and perhaps surprising, the poster agrees with President Obama - unlimited growth!

As Obama tries to push the trade agreement known as TPP, he’ll expose even more US workers to the global workforce who make significantly less income. For example, a college graduate in China makes about $300/mth.

So it may be true that the global wages are going a bit around the globe especially in places like Viet Nam that pay less than a $1/hr, but overall, the ‘wage differential’ being captured by the multinationals for profit creates downward pressure here in the US on wage rates.

It also is creating the long term unemployment as US jobs are off shored, people here can’t find a replacement position.

And indeed as Obama has noted in his support of the TPP, overall economic activity will increase in the US economy from the multinationals that benefit from trade even if the overall incomes of all Americans decline.

This is the ‘market at work’ and indeed globalization will now distribute scarce resources using wage rates. In other words, as more people work for limited resources, their respective incomes will be less since more people will have to take less per capita due to limited resources.

Of course none of this penetrates the main stream or more specific partisan media outlets since again, the multinational are directly the discourse.

Finally, the issue that conservative libertarian markets fundamentalist assume is that resources are ‘unlimited’, that technology will overcome any scarcity, thus population growth isn’t an issue.

And even though we see no evidence of this, they believe it and thus argue that the others factors I’ve noted are simply irrelevant.

Thus, the impasse . . . of ignoring the basic concept of economics, that being scarcity. My best guess is that this is simply denied by accepting US folklore that simply says ‘work harder’.


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:06 p.m.

"There is no such thing as market forces anymore in this country. As soon as our SCOTUS allowed Corporations to have free speech rights and the ability to spend unlimited money on politicians they took that away."

Really? You must be referencing the SCOTUS decision in an alternate universe. Here's a primer for the one we exist in (includes video for those with ADD!):

5 Things You Didn't Know About Citizens United

http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/22/remy-5-things-you-didnt-know-about-citiz


Indy: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:19 p.m.

BrianBaker wrote: Ah, Indy, and the usual regurgitation of standard Dem/socialist talking points.

Indy: I am sympathetic to the poster realizing that most conservatives have been ‘bathed’ in conservative ideology for so long that anything other than that ideology is ‘socialistic’. Give the poster points for consistency at least . . .

BrianBaker wrote: Well, Indy, I guess I'll pose to you the same question I posed earlier: If $10/hour is good, isn't $20/hour even better? How about $200/hour? Why not? Why not just "mandate" that everyone be made a millionaire, and eliminate all the "unfairness" once and for all?

Indy: This poster recites a RNC talking point about raising the minimum wage to some ridiculous figure thus trying to diminish the issue. Sadly, this point fails since trying to address some semblance of the factors I’ve already noted would dismiss such a talking point.

But it is interesting to note that while the minimum wage has stagnated for decades since it is not indexed to inflation, that during similar time periods, the top 1% of income earners went from taking about 8% of all income around 1980 to over 20% today!

Likewise, when the minimum wage was set in 1967, the average CEO made about 25 times the wage of the worker. Today, it’s just under 200 times, down from close to 300 times prior to the economic crash in 2007.

This all makes logical economic sense since multinational corporations that leverage the ‘wage differential’ can pay their CEOs very high salaries while the wages become depressed due to globalization.

In any event, making ridiculous statements may appeal to conservative ideologist but that’s about it.

Oh . . . let me know forget that the poster ‘isn’t’ a conservative . . . LOL!


BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:33 p.m.

LOL!

Yeah, sure, not-so-Indy.

Your... "logic", for lack of a better term ... is an epic fail.

Like it or not, my question is EXTREMELY "valid", and right on point.

According to YOU, "This poster recites a RNC talking point about raising the minimum wage to some ridiculous figure thus trying to diminish the issue."

Really? Then WHY is that figure "ridiculous"? Care to try to explain that... without actually acknowledging the actual principle of free market forces?

If the only thing required to attain some mythical "equality" is for the government to mandate some arbitrary figure as being a solution, I think they should pick a REALLY good number. I'd have liked to have made $1000/hour, so I think we should make THAT the minimum wage.

After all... you guys have determined that the government is the answer, not the actual marketplace itself, so let's really GO for it.



BrianBaker: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:36 p.m.

PS, not-at-all-Indy, what does this mean?

"Oh . . . let me know forget that the poster ‘isn’t’ a conservative . . . LOL!"

Can you not read English?

I said I'm not a Republican. I'm not. I NEVER said I'm not a conservative. To the contrary.

In fact, the last time we had an inane discussion about this, I recall asking you WHY you socialists are always trying to deny what you are, when I, as a conservative, claim it at every available opportunity, shouting it from the rooftops when I can.



Indy: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:54 p.m.

TheForgottenMiddle,

Just wanted to note that you’ve made excellent points that sadly get lost in the RNC/DNC slogans that as you inferred and I agree, tend to ‘feed’ the respective bases while missing the points you noted.


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:55 p.m.

Time to refresh your outdated Malthusian data set, Indy. Folks like yourself have a perspective of limits and believe in managing the decline rather than unlimited potential. That's why you're so invested in having government control and divide up the pie rather than an entrepreneurial outlook that recognizes a growing economy means more for all.

http://humanprogress.org

I noted you failed to address my rebuttal of your assertions about education in the USA. Did you find your position untenable when confronted with factual data and hope cutting and pasting of boilerplate Indy script would cover you?


Indy: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:55 p.m.

Indy wrote: Oh . . . let me know forget that the poster ‘isn’t’ a conservative . . . LOL!

Indy Correction: Oh . . . let me know forget that the poster ‘isn’t’ a republican . . . LOL!


CaptGene: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:16 p.m.

technologist: "The correct spelling would be sheer in your usage, CG."

I have no idea what you are talking about. :)

Thanks.


Jackk: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:31 p.m.

Thirtyfive comments after my first, yet nobody answered why we subsidize the largest corporations in America with aid to their employees.

I ask again. Who are the takers?

Why is corporate welfare acceptable but extended unemployment derided?

Why do corporations get tax breaks and everyday citizens fined for owing a few hundred in back taxes? I guess it matters who writes the laws.


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:44 p.m.

You're quite aware that the SNAP Program has relaxed qualifications and there's marketing by the government to expand it, right?

The great Bush-Obama food stamp expansion

http://washingtonexaminer.com/the-great-bush-obama-food-stamp-expansion/article/2500895

I don't support corporate welfare of any kind. The latest Farm Bill is pork filled and it reflects a myriad of special interest spending.

Do you consider these trivial sums and were you aware of them?

J.P. Morgan Adds $2.6 Billion to Its $25 Billion Plus Tally of Recent Settlements

http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/01/07/j-p-morgan-adds-1-7-billion-to-its-25-billion-plus-tally-of-recent-settlements/


technologist: Posted: February 4, 2014 7:46 p.m.

"I have no idea what you are talking about. :)"

No worries, CG. You've caught me out a few times so I thought it appropriate to return the favor. ;-)


projalice11: Posted: February 4, 2014 8:33 p.m.


"They wait with baited breath..."
"It's "bated breath".

To the " Bated Breath" Poster:

"Baited is so common these days that to see it written as baited breath that there's every chance that it will soon become the usual form."
It’s easy to mock, but there’s a real problem here. Bated and baited sound the same and we no longer use bated (let alone the verb to bate)"

I'm waiting with "Baited Breath" to read the posts.


BrianBaker: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:44 p.m.

Indy... (((((( sigh )))))

I'm not a Republican. Frankly, I think the vast majority of Republicans are little better than you socialists.

They're the Dem-Lite Party. Worse yet, they're what I call the PSP -- Perpetually Stupid Party. Constantly repeating the same idiotic mistake of trying to be "like" Dem/socialists, except maybe "not so much".

And again, yet another completely lame attempt on your part to misdirect and obfuscate. As I said, I constantly PROUDLY proclaim that I'm a conservative. If you're so proud of your obviously socialist ideology, why do you keep trying to run away from the label?

So... what's next, Indy-the-Liar? Going to try to make another fake quote "attribution" to me?


CaptGene: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:46 p.m.

"...there's every chance that it will soon become the usual form"

Comical. There's a reason you left off any link to your source, it's because you're not only illiterate, you're dishonest. Here's the whole quote, without projalice11's editing:

"The correct spelling is actually bated breath but it’s so common these days to see it written as baited breath that there’s every chance that it will soon become the usual form"

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bai1.htm

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you are comfortable around baited breath. --edited.


technologist: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:56 p.m.

Bated is the correct spelling if you're literate and the Oxford Dictionary is an excellent resource.

bated
Syllabification: bat·ed
Pronunciation: /ˈbātid /
ADJECTIVE (in phrase with bated breath)
in great suspense; very anxiously or excitedly:
he waited for a reply to his offer with bated breath

Origin

late 16th century: from the past participle of obsolete bate 'restrain', from abate.

Usage

The spelling baited breath instead of bated breath is a common mistake. Almost a third of citations for this idiom in the Oxford English Corpus are for the incorrect spelling.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/bated

Your reference is hardly authoritative.

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bai1.htm


technologist: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:58 p.m.

Heh, heh. We need to start tag teaming our posts, CG!


ricketzz: Posted: February 5, 2014 6:54 a.m.

Bullies get cocky when in groups; they tend to be cowardly when facing a peer one on one. The behavior exhibited above by (I thank the great Al Gaines for this one) the usual gang of idiots is typical of a group of schoolyard bullies, reinforcing each others' stupidity.

Incremental increases in the minimum wage provide economic stimulus, which government is supposed to do when the capitalists sit on their money and pout.


CaptGene: Posted: February 5, 2014 7:47 a.m.

Why not comment on projalice's post ricketzz? he/she was berating anyone that would argue with Vignola, while at the same time calling those people bullies. Do you give your fellow hypocrite some kind of professional courtesy, is that it?

Besides, as usual, your "point" is without merit; in this very thread I made a mistake, tech corrected me, I made a joke about it, fixed the mistake, thanked tech for pointing out. That's what intellectually honest people do, admit their mistakes. I wouldn't expect you, or any liberal to understand. --edited.


TheForgottenMiddle: Posted: February 5, 2014 8:44 a.m.

BB—As to what this had to do with the conversation on minimum wage. I was trying to point out that politicians on both sides manipulate wages all the time, just in different ways. They are no different than raising the minimum wage. The hypocrisy of both sides in this argument is laughable because they either support many other wage manipulation tactics by our politicians or they do not know any better. Either way this is a wedge issue that is being used to divide the country. If the politicians want to manipulate wages they will in other ways. They do it all the time on both sides.

Tech—So you imply that I have ADD and live in an alternate universe because I do not like the SCOTUS decision and a blog is your support for that decision. Really!?! Also, just because one does not agree with your opinion does not mean they live in an alternate universe or they have ADD. Maybe you are the one that lives in an alternate universe and one of the extremist that are at the root of this country’s problems.

That said, while I do agree with many of your posts here I think you are way off on this one. I do very much agree with free speech and the importance on not limiting it. However, that in my opinion has nothing to do with campaign finance. Because that speech we are talking about costs money in the form of advertisements and political donations and when we allow corporations and or unions, or anyone for that matter to have no restrictions or limits on how much one can spend on a campaign or donate to a politician we are actually hindering free speech. By allowing this we take away the voice of the people and put it in the hands of the powerful and the rich, the corporations and the unions, to me the extremist on both sides of the isle, which apparently you are one.

Jackk—The reason it is okay is as you said, look who is writing the laws and who benefits from it. As I said above as long as corporations and unions can give unlimited money to campaigns and politicians we will actually keep increasing both. Cut taxes and increase spending. That is our government mantra these days.
--edited.


technologist: Posted: February 5, 2014 2:15 p.m.

"Bullies get cocky when in groups; they tend to be cowardly when facing a peer one on one."

Hey ricketzz: I and others take you on 1-1 all the time. You seem to have a fixation on "bullies, threats and cowards". From my perspective, no one fears you (I certainly don't) or is bullying you or others. Do you have a self-esteem issue?

As CG pointed out, what you perceive as "bullying" is camaraderie and respect that's earned. I recommend you reflect on that rather than externalizing your feelings.


technologist: Posted: February 5, 2014 2:29 p.m.

Fair enough, TFM. My perspective was that your assertion of "There is no such thing as market forces anymore in this country." as hyperbole that required a pointed critique. Nothing personal, let me assure you. Please accept my apologies if I conveyed differently in my post.

Let's have a civil dialectic discussion on the topic, i.e. speech.


Indy: Posted: February 5, 2014 5:56 p.m.

Technologist wrote: Time to refresh your outdated Malthusian data set, Indy. Folks like yourself have a perspective of limits and believe in managing the decline rather than unlimited potential. That's why you're so invested in having government control and divide up the pie rather than an entrepreneurial outlook that recognizes a growing economy means more for all.

Indy: I’m glad you posted this comment since it shows that libertarian market fundamentalist see ‘no limits’.

And interestingly, Obama agrees with you! His SOTU speech was using the same type of ‘we’ll grow ourselves’ out of the problems we face.

Sadly, this is only getting worse.

Energy, the primary economic driver, is either flat or falling worldwide.

Fossil fuels are limited and unsustainable. Their accelerating use do to population growth is creating environmental issues that you ignore.

And you infer that our ‘government’ of ‘we the people’ is not capable of making good decisions which is sadly true when government is ‘owned’ by ‘big money’ and not the public.

In any event, we need to focus on ‘sustainable growth’ seeking to better understand how to use what resources we can reasonably expect to persist and adjust the human population through family planning to give every person some chance at a decent life.

As we see today with the ‘wealth concentration’ from the existing ‘market’ model you support without reservation, all of the economic gains from here on out will go to the ‘few’ while global wages will continue to fall for the ‘masses’ since wages will be used to distributed ‘limited resources’.

Each of us has ‘limits’ as to our incomes and collectively, we face similar constraints expect for the very few, the ‘owners of capital’ if you will that can leverage limited resources with even an oversupply of labor and continue to concentrate wealth even further.

Anyway, ‘human potential’ shouldn’t be considered just in terms of economic resources which are limited.

And suggesting a ‘growing economy’ independent of the long term is negligent and hides economic scarcity. Continuing to promote such unobtainable growth has nothing to do per se with entrepreneurial motivations.

Your intentions and ideology are based on false premises but indeed, promising unlimited growth is very appealing to many Americans thus your recital persist even in the presence of scarcity including the concentrating of wealth.


technologist: Posted: February 5, 2014 6:32 p.m.

You and other like minded individuals are welcome to limit your thinking and all other aspects of your life, Indy. Don't expect others to share your doom and gloom. Your cut and paste repost reflects that you didn't review the data from the link I provided.

"Sustainability" is the new euphemism for public policies designed to be used strategically to reorient consumption, investments and other economic activities. These are to be controlled by an expanded state and/or supranational organizations such as the UN.


stevehw: Posted: February 5, 2014 8:20 p.m.

"Comical. There's a reason you left off any link to your source, it's because your not only illiterate, your dishonest. "

Ah, the perils of insulting someone's language skills.


CaptGene: Posted: February 6, 2014 9:40 p.m.

Thanks for pointing that out steve. Glad you've come back.


ricketzz: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:21 a.m.

"Camaraderie" is frequently put forth as an excuse for bullying behavior. When society stops rewarding bullies we might make some progress.

Only a true believer would fault the concept of "sustainability". It represents the great failure of boom town capitalism; a Ponzi scheme is instantly revealed when the growth stops.


ricketzz: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:23 a.m.

The "free market" is where Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny buy their Unicorn food.


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 8:13 a.m.

technologist wrote: You and other like minded individuals are welcome to limit your thinking and all other aspects of your life, Indy. Don't expect others to share your doom and gloom. Your cut and paste repost reflects that you didn't review the data from the link I provided.

Indy: Interestingly, dealing rationality with the resource and population issue is a benefit to all people . . .

technologist wrote: "Sustainability" is the new euphemism for public policies designed to be used strategically to reorient consumption, investments and other economic activities. These are to be controlled by an expanded state and/or supranational organizations such as the UN.

Indy: And here we again, a religious conservative rewriting the definition of ‘sustainability’!

I like this definition from http://steadystate.org/discover/definition/ :

“A steady state economy is an economy with stable or mildly fluctuating size. The term typically refers to a national economy, but it can also be applied to a local, regional, or global economy. An economy can reach a steady state after a period of growth or after a period of downsizing or degrowth. To be sustainable, a steady state economy may not exceed ecological limits.”

In any event, I’m beginning to see the connection from religious conservatism to ‘eternal life’ promised by many religions that connects ‘here on earth’ to ‘unlimited’ everything.

We can clearly see the follow us such a ‘belief’ as even now we’re in a severe drought, something that has over thousands of years brought down many societies as they grew beyond their resourc carrying capacity.

Sadly, they couldn't see what actions they were taking that eventually lead to their demise.

A good read would include: Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology) [Kindle Edition]
Joseph A. Tainter

Anyway, I’ll be putting forth some reviews of global resources that will help focus on the limits we face and the challenges that will accompany them.

For now, I agree, it’s easier just to ignore what doesn’t map to your ideology and call it a day . . . and I’m sure in the past civilizations that failed there were the same people clamoring about ‘limitless’ opportunity, or having entered into scarcity wars, found that the environment had to be sacrificed in the short run as we see today to feed/employ people unsustainability even though the long term goes away under that scenario as Tainter documents.


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 8:54 a.m.

“A steady state economy is an economy with stable or mildly fluctuating size. The term typically refers to a national economy, but it can also be applied to a local, regional, or global economy. An economy can reach a steady state after a period of growth or after a period of downsizing or degrowth. To be sustainable, a steady state economy may not exceed ecological limits.”

Translation: Zero growth, manage the decline. Welcome to the self-imposed glorious future dystopia where political squabbling over a declining pie is the main occupation.

That's your reality, Indy. Have fun fighting the other crabs in the bucket to ensure they don't escape. Free people have a rather different bucket list.

I note you attempt to inject religion into every topic. Are you some kind of zealot?


philellis: Posted: February 6, 2014 9:18 a.m.

The "free market" is where Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny buy their Unicorn food.

If you believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, why can't I believe in the "free market"? Seriously, ricketzz, most people who have studied economics realize that a "free market" is a concept that cannot exist alongside a government that wants to control the market.


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 6, 2014 12:58 p.m.

"For now, I agree, it’s easier just to ignore what doesn’t map to your ideology and call it a day . . . and I’m sure in the past civilizations that failed there were the same people clamoring about ‘limitless’ opportunity, or having entered into scarcity wars, found that the environment had to be sacrificed in the short run as we see today to feed/employ people unsustainability even though the long term goes away under that scenario as Tainter documents."

So what are the limits, Indy? How many people can our planet sustain? 9 billion? 15 billion? And what about our limits on economic growth? A GDP of $20 trillion? $30 trillion? $100 trillion?

You keep criticizing those who see limitless growth for several generations to come, but you refuse to identify those thresholds. You want us to change our behaviors and lifestyles - both which would affect our standard of living - to prevent some mysterious apocalypse, but no one will heed your warning until you provide the details.

And why is it that you, Professor Economics, continuously discuss the terms found in Chapter One of Economics for Dummies - scarcity and limits - but never mention innovation or substitutes? Of course there's a limited amount of oil out there and that fact is reflected in its price, but have you not noticed the increased development of alternative energy sources over the past decades?

As Tech alluded, many of the world's most-educated believed that the population boom of the early industrial revolution was "unsustainable" due to a lack of fertile soil. But guess what? Scientists, engineers, and those evil rich investors developed fertilizers, irrigation systems, mechanized farm equipment, etc. to shut that argument down.

If you really want to resurrect it that's fine, but give us some numbers to work with. If you're unable or unwilling to do so, then you're no more credible than the crazy guy with the "Jesus is Returning" signs on the corner of Boquet and Valencia.


emheilbrun: Posted: February 6, 2014 1:02 p.m.

Indy, I have not read Tainter's book, but think I will. In reading reviews, I did find this comment about Tainter's explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire:

"It is often assumed that the collapse of the western Roman Empire was a catastrophe for everyone involved. Tainter points out that it can be seen as a very rational preference of individuals at the time, many of whom were actually better off. Archeological evidence from human bones indicates that average nutrition actually improved after the collapse in many parts of the former Roman Empire. Average individuals may have benefited because they no longer had to invest in the burdensome complexity of empire. Tainter notes that in the west, local populations in many cases greeted the barbarians as liberators."

Hmmmmm.....Average individuals benefited because they no longer had to INVEST in the BURDENSOME COMPLEXITY OF EMPIRE. Uh, I'm not an MBA, but that would be taxes, no?


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 1:20 p.m.

Technologist wrote: “A steady state economy is an economy with stable or mildly fluctuating size. The term typically refers to a national economy, but it can also be applied to a local, regional, or global economy. An economy can reach a steady state after a period of growth or after a period of downsizing or degrowth. To be sustainable, a steady state economy may not exceed ecological limits.”

Translation: Zero growth, manage the decline. Welcome to the self-imposed glorious future dystopia where political squabbling over a declining pie is the main occupation.

Indy: Sadly, ideology driven libertarian market fundamentalist (say that fast three times as a tongue teaser) actually find themselves ‘limited’ in insight as we see demonstrated by this poster.

In fact, the poster actually by virtue of what he’s written that his objective is ‘wealth concentration’ in that a ‘steady state’ economy that maps to resource ‘reality’ will require that all people will have some reasonable chance at a bright economic future rather than watching wealth concentrate while most folks see their standard of living decline.

And this poster asserts that sustainability is ‘doom and gloom’ (that RNC talking point has been a favorite of mind for decades) versus giving all folks, again, a chance at a decent living.

Another fallacy embedded in the poster’s remark about ‘political squabbling’ is really an admission that our government that was supposed to be for ‘we the people’ is now run by ‘we the money’. So the ‘squabbling’ if you will is now about ‘wealth concentration’ as the middle class goes away due to the oversupply of labor relative to limited resources.

You’d think somebody promoting ‘free markets’ would actually understand how they work!

In any event, if you want ‘great expectations’ devoid of reality, technologist is your guy . . .


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 1:27 p.m.

Emheilbrun wrote: Indy, I have not read Tainter's book, but think I will. In reading reviews, I did find this comment about Tainter's explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire:

Indy: Yes, it’s fascinating when from an anthological point of view, you can see the common factors as to why complex societies collapse. The Roman Empire was just one . . .

Emheilbrun wrote: Hmmmmm.....Average individuals benefited because they no longer had to INVEST in the BURDENSOME COMPLEXITY OF EMPIRE. Uh, I'm not an MBA, but that would be taxes, no?

Indy: As frightening as this may seem, taxes provide the resources to community to provide everything from roads to schools to police to ‘regulated’ utilities, all of which support the community.

The issue the Romans had is no doubt similar to today where politicians get elected reciting ‘folklore’ that basically is just ‘intentions’ devoid of the reality the citizens actually face.

We see that today as politicians for the last 30 years have shouted their support for quality education while the ‘results’ have been more than 1 student in 4 dropping out as student teachers ratios increased as politicians tried to keep taxes ‘low’ while ignoring the ‘actual cost’ of the services ‘demanded’.

The public eventually figures this out . . . usually as the collapse begins . . . such that the taxes put forth by the Roman Empire that benefited their ‘elite’ finally was recognized by the ‘barbarians’ and thus they were seen as liberators in much the same manner that today we see the 1% gaining ‘wealth’ while the ‘barbarians’ (middle class) sees their lifestyles eroded away while public services get worse and worse.

That’s the MBA look at things . . .


17trillion: Posted: February 6, 2014 1:43 p.m.

So many words, so little content! Brevity and originality are not friends of Indy.


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 2:29 p.m.

But Indy has the labels of his opposition down cold, 17t. He shakes them like a shaman in every post. You have been warned! :-D


17trillion: Posted: February 6, 2014 2:40 p.m.

I know. He's Karnac! Who else but Indy would repeatedly refer to me as a religious conservative.


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 4:49 p.m.

My label is "ideology driven libertarian market fundamentalist". I hoping he'll squeeze a few more in soon, LOL! --edited.


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:07 p.m.

Technologist wrote: Mine label is "ideology driven libertarian market fundamentalist". I hoping he'll squeeze a few more in soon, LOL!

Indy: Again, the offer still stands . . . I can help you understand what the words mean when strung together . . . I do agree, however, this forum can be very valuable since I get to understand what’s going on in your head . . . and what drives you.

I can also tell by what you don’t say as to what you do and don't know. Helps me understand how the ideology slogans and talking points penetrate your beliefs and so forth.

But again, what was your degree(s) in?

Finally, lots more to come on issues of scarcity and sustainability; we’ll even address Agenda 21 that you eluded to so I can help the guest readers understand why that troubles libertarian market fundamentalist that believe in ‘economic infinity’ . . .


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:17 p.m.

Indy: "Again, the offer still stands . . . I can help you understand what the words mean when strung together…"

"…we’ll even address Agenda 21 that you eluded to so I can help the guest readers understand…"

If you were to instruct me with your superior English language skills, would you explain the definitions and usage of eluded and alluded, Indy? Would it be "the MBA look at things"?


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:22 p.m.

JohnnyCash wrote: "For now, I agree, it’s easier just to ignore what doesn’t map to your ideology and call it a day . . . and I’m sure in the past civilizations that failed there were the same people clamoring about ‘limitless’ opportunity, or having entered into scarcity wars, found that the environment had to be sacrificed in the short run as we see today to feed/employ people unsustainability even though the long term goes away under that scenario as Tainter documents."

So what are the limits, Indy? How many people can our planet sustain? 9 billion? 15 billion? And what about our limits on economic growth? A GDP of $20 trillion? $30 trillion? $100 trillion?

Indy: Estimates done by biologist who understand the ‘demands’ we place on the environment estimate that a world population of about 2 billion could exist indefinitely.

As you can see, we’ve already gone way past that.

I don’t expect people to have say a ‘1 child’ policy without really understanding what’s at stake including the potential consequences.

But as time moves forward, the human die off, currently between about 15,000 to 25,000 ‘per day’ from lack of clean water, food and sanitation, will increase.

The only question is will people believe what they see or what they hear in the ideology recitals at forums just like this.


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:23 p.m.

JohnnyCash wrote: You keep criticizing those who see limitless growth for several generations to come, but you refuse to identify those thresholds. You want us to change our behaviors and lifestyles - both which would affect our standard of living - to prevent some mysterious apocalypse, but no one will heed your warning until you provide the details.

Indy: I will indeed provide this information and agree that it needs to be clear and documented.

The book I noted from Tainter provides a nice summary of the major drivers of civilization collapse including climate change (not the one we’re discussion today but just changes . . . ), trading issues, and war. All of this gets to the resource issue and the demand placed on same by a civilization population.

But your skepticism is well placed . . . and if I can’t make the case, then I too would reject what I write.

Another excellent read on collapse is by the UCLA professor Jared Diamond who wrote: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition [Kindle Edition]. He can provide you the examples and back story and interestingly starts off with the state of Montana.

But the teaser is the example of Easter Island that isolated itself, exhausted it resources, and collapsed. Granted, foreign travelers infected the island’s population with disease but I would love to be a fly on the last large tree that was cut down since they used them for fishing . . . and lost their supply of boats to which they eventually turned to cannibalism . . .

If you wish a more visual presentation, try the National Geographic DVD “Easter Island Underworld”.


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:32 p.m.

Easter Island (63.2 sq mi)…now there's a typical example of a sizable landmass rich in resources.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Easter_Island_map-en.svg


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:36 p.m.

A Modest Proposal: Reducing the global population from 7 billion to 2 billion. - by Indy


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:50 p.m.

Technologist wrote: Easter Island (63.2 sq mi)…now there's a typical example of a sizable landmass rich in resources.

Indy: Sadly, the poster fails to understand that the circumstances on a small island mimic the large island ‘earth’ that we inhabit.

I suggest reading the book by Diamond for a better and complete explanation.

And I also suggest that this ‘technologist’ review basic engineering practices where ‘small models’ are used to test principles before testing and using ‘full size’ prototypes.

The principles are the same . . .


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 6:12 p.m.

Because a tiny island ecosystems and populations mirror that of large continental land masses. Got it. Would that be like a small rock in space, Indy?

You didn't answer my English question. Care to weigh in?


Indy: Posted: February 6, 2014 6:34 p.m.

Technologist wrote: A Modest Proposal: Reducing the global population from 7 billion to 2 billion. - by Indy

Indy: Indeed, the movement to sustainability will not be easy . . . and this is no doubt the reason most politicians refuse to discuss the topic.

Additionally, the current world population continues to grow by about 70 million net humans (births minus deaths) . . .

For reference, in 1980 there were about 4 billion people on this ‘fixed rock in space’. Today, we’re over 7 billion . . .


technologist: Posted: February 6, 2014 6:44 p.m.

"Indy: Indeed, the movement to sustainability will not be easy . . . and this is no doubt the reason most politicians refuse to discuss the topic."

So, how would you propose such a reduction before the supposed collapse? You know, so you could be the expert advisor to said politicians. According to your calculation 7B - 2B = 5B unsustainable surplus population?

Oh, and the English lesson? What of that?


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 7, 2014 10:42 p.m.

"Indy: Estimates done by biologist who understand the ‘demands’ we place on the environment estimate that a world population of about 2 billion could exist indefinitely."

I've seen "carrying capacity" figures as high as 60 billion and a bunch in the 20-billion neighborhood and among all the others, the lowest I've seen is 2 billion. By far.

Your figure - again, by far the smallest - projects a worldwide standard of living to be equal to that of the current American SofL. That means that if every human on the planet were to live a lifestyle of 2,000 s/f houses, cars for everyone, any enough food to make obesity the greatest health risk, then maybe a low-ish number for Earht's carrying capacity may have merit. But, clearly, that's not the case today and won't be for a very long time, if ever.

It's also important to note that the figures used to estimate the CC are based on today's conditions. We crossed the 2 billion mark in the 1920s and since then we have discovered antibiotics, cured polio, opened hydroponic farms, increased trade with other nations, greatly reduced the number of smokers, and a million inventions and innovations that keep people alive. We've done all that with full stomachs. . Now imagine how intenslly we'd work to find solutions if our survival were on the,line. --edited.


ricketzz: Posted: February 7, 2014 6:52 a.m.

All attempts to impose the "free market" on people have been very [literally] bloody failures. It is a dangerous idea in a world top heavy with inbred thugs. I'll tell you where it does work: the village bazaar. A lot of great social ideas are only attainable in small groups where everyone knows everybody else. Trust is essential.


Indy: Posted: February 7, 2014 8:19 a.m.

technologist wrote: "Indy: Indeed, the movement to sustainability will not be easy . . . and this is no doubt the reason most politicians refuse to discuss the topic."

So, how would you propose such a reduction before the supposed collapse? You know, so you could be the expert advisor to said politicians. According to your calculation 7B - 2B = 5B unsustainable surplus population?

Indy: It’s already happening as I’ve noted as we witness between 15,000 and more people dying each day globally from lack of clean water, sanitation and food.

Thus, the question is do you use that strategy of ‘die off’ or start educating the people in family planning to live within the means of the environment they inhabit.

The ‘market fundamentalist’ approach is that the ‘market’ will decide and thus that approach is the ‘die off’.

technologist wrote: Oh, and the English lesson? What of that?

Indy: I think your vocabulary is great . . . I’ve become fond of the word ‘risible’. But it’s important to understand the ‘grouping’ of words and what they mean when strung to together to form a concept. It’s hard to understand what going on in the world if you can’t get past the grammar and an occasional misused word.

So again, the off still stand that as you comment, I’ll help you understand the concepts especially the libertarian ones that don’t work in the modern world. Is it logical to support a failing ideology?

If I knew your educational background, it would help me help you.

I’m still puzzled why you’re embarrassed to state same . . . especially since you use a handle that appears to promote your understanding of ‘technology’.


Indy: Posted: February 7, 2014 8:21 a.m.

JohnnyCash wrote: "Indy: Estimates done by biologist who understand the ‘demands’ we place on the environment estimate that a world population of about 2 billion could exist indefinitely."

I've seen "carrying capacity" figures as high as 60 billion and a bunch in the 20-billion neighborhood and among all the others, the lowest I've seen is 2 billion. By far.

Indy: I’m open to review those studies especially what the assumptions were for incomes across the globe.

And since the US uses more than 20% of the world’s energy with only 5% of its population, is that concentration of wealth addressed in the other studies you’ve read?

Is it morally acceptable for that to continue?

Likewise, as the US has concentrated wealth here globally, does it follow that you agree that the concentration of wealth in the US is acceptable long term?

Should the owners of capital in the US be the only ones that capture the productivity gains as well as leveraging the oversupply of labor that drives wages down?

All of these factors will play into the ‘carrying capacity’ issue as to what people can reasonably expect as we move forward.


technologist: Posted: February 7, 2014 9:38 a.m.

"Thus, the question is do you use that strategy of ‘die off’ or start educating the people in family planning to live within the means of the environment they inhabit."

You're aware, if you've read links I've provided in the past, that the global birth rate is declining dramatically. Surely you understand that to achieve a reduction in human population by a net 5B to your supposed sustainable carrying capacity of 2B would require draconian measures far beyond education to achieve.

What would those be and what's the timeline to avoid the foretold apocalypse, Indy?

"So again, the off still stand that as you comment, I’ll help you understand the concepts especially the libertarian ones…"

So entertaining! Do go on. Everyone enjoys reviewing the boasting of the soi-disant superior man and the disparity between your assertions and execution. The oblique attempts to disqualify me in a personal way from the ongoing engagement that forces you to defend your positions are just precious.


technologist: Posted: February 7, 2014 9:49 a.m.

"And since the US uses more than 20% of the world’s energy with only 5% of its population, is that concentration of wealth addressed in the other studies you’ve read?"

How else would the USA produce ~25% of global GDP with 5% of population? With your professed economic expertise you no doubt understand that requires energy. Or are you proposing a significant reduction in economic activity to normalize the USA economy with less productive nation states?

Regarding wealth concentration, wealth isn't the same as income. The wealth gap in the USA is nothing new. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealth gap has increased by a mere 2.2% since 1962. The rich have always been a lot richer than other economic segments. And this applies globally as well.

If there's no significant difference in wealth concentration since the halcyon days of Camelot and the Great Society, what's your point?

http://www.epi.org/files/page/-/BriefingPaper292.pdf


17trillion: Posted: February 7, 2014 9:55 a.m.

"How else would the USA produce ~25% of global GDP with 5% of population? With your professed economic expertise you no doubt understand that requires energy. Or are you proposing a significant reduction in economic activity to normalize the USA economy with less productive nation states?"

You would think a MBA would know such basic comparisons. Self-important quasi-intellectuals like Indy would be happy if we had 5% of the population and used 5% of the energy and produced 5% of the global GDP, which on the face of it is comically ignorant.


technologist: Posted: February 7, 2014 10:35 a.m.

"All attempts to impose the "free market" on people have been very [literally] bloody failures."

Non sequitur. Free markets aren't imposed, they develop organically.

The USA hasn't had a true free market for over 100 years. As was pointed out over a year ago in these forums and Indy finally had to recognize, we have a mixed economy*. It's important to understand that when the purported "free market failure" is a rationale for more state control that ensures greater dysfunction.

*Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the private sector and state direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, and many mixed economies feature a variety of government-run enterprises and governmental provision of public goods.


emheilbrun: Posted: February 7, 2014 11:36 a.m.

From Indy: "And since the US uses more than 20% of the world’s energy with only 5% of its population, is that concentration of wealth addressed in the other studies you’ve read?

Is it morally acceptable for that to continue?"

The United States agriculture sector produces 25 percent of the world’s food supply. In addition it benefits from its modern technology, efficient farm production methods and superior transportation, storage and processing infrastructure.

Indy, is it morally acceptable for us to keep producing all that food?


technologist: Posted: February 7, 2014 1:02 p.m.

"You would think a MBA would know such basic comparisons."

Indeed, 17t. It's as if our high productivity and contributions that benefit everyone are being twisted into greed. This is the mindset of those who envision our current and future society as a dystopia.


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 7, 2014 7:29 p.m.

"Indy: I’m open to review those studies especially what the assumptions were for incomes across the globe. And since the US uses more than 20% of the world’s energy with only 5% of its population, is that concentration of wealth addressed in the other studies you’ve read?"

Personal income and wealth have nothing to do with the Earth's carrying capacity. The CC has four principle variables: food supply, clean/safe water availability, environmental conditions and living space. Again, these are variables which mean they can and do change, resulting in an increase or decrease in the CC.

Let's look at them:

Food supply: as I noted earlier, scientific and engineering innovations have increased our food supply enormously. From fertilizers to refrigeration to pesticides to 8-row combines, there is little, if any, shortage of food in the world. The worst famines of the past century were due to large, overbearing and corrupt governments and/or their policies. Mao's attempt to engineer a perfect society instead of allowing the citizens to decide for themselves how to pursue their lives led to around 30 million starved to death. Stalin, likewise, used the force of his government to collectivize Soviet farms and farmers, confiscated the food they grew, then purposely withheld it from millions of Ukrainians. Ethiopians starved because their corrupt government had the authority to distribute foreign aid which, of course, they pocketed for themselves. North Korea? Again, overbearing governments not allowing the people to pursue their own lives in a manner we take for granted.

I'd post more on the other three but I gotta run. If you've actually read my post this far down and want to discuss further, let me know.

And try - please - to disprove anything I've said above.


Indy: Posted: February 8, 2014 5:09 p.m.

emheilbrun wrote: From Indy: "And since the US uses more than 20% of the world’s energy with only 5% of its population, is that concentration of wealth addressed in the other studies you’ve read?

Is it morally acceptable for that to continue?"

The United States agriculture sector produces 25 percent of the world’s food supply. In addition it benefits from its modern technology, efficient farm production methods and superior transportation, storage and processing infrastructure. Indy, is it morally acceptable for us to keep producing all that food?

Indy: Just for some information . . . in the US, each calorie of food produced requires about 9 calories of fossil energy. This is unsustainable.

I’ll leave the water issue needed for growing food for another post.

But why do you suppose the rest of the world can’t provide the food they need?

And why does the US continue to import about 40% plus of its oil while the media and even Obama say that we’re headed for energy independence?

I was listening to Ed Schultz tell me that we’re headed for oil independence when he noted that the US produces more oil than any other nation!

Does he understand the US only has about 3% of the world’s proven reserves, about 29 billion barrels worth? See: http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/crudeoilreserves/

And while the US added about 2 billion barrels in one year from fracking (producing the oil equivalent 'lease condensate', that increase is only 28% of what the US ‘consumes’ in one year.

Why is it those that cite the reality are being labeled as the ‘doom and gloomers’?

Do you want to go forth into the future blind to the actual oil reality that exists?

And since oil is a primary driver of food production and economic growth, does anyone see the sustainability issue?

Finally, why is it that you get the information from an energy engineer and not any of leaders? What are they waiting for?

Well, the reality is simple in the political regard, why tell people reality when you can get by on intentions based on ideology and folklore with a sprinkling of patriotism I guess thrown in for good measure?


technologist: Posted: February 8, 2014 6:49 p.m.

"And why does the US continue to import about 40% plus of its oil while the media and even Obama say that we’re headed for energy independence?" - Indy

Answer: Because oil is a commodity in a global market with multiple production contributors. Seriously, you're professing expertise on a topic and make an economic error that would embarrass a community college novice?


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 9, 2014 11:02 p.m.

"Indy: Just for some information . . . in the US, each calorie of food produced requires about 9 calories of fossil energy. This is unsustainable."

That figure may be accurate, but you're missing the point, Indy. Obviously, there is a limited amount of fossil fuels on this planet and if we, as a species, locked ourselves to forever only using them then our current growth (or no growth and even if we plummeted to your two billion figure) would be unsustainable. But we are not wooly mammoths or southwestern toads ; animals that cannot adapt to even the slightest environmental or dietary changes.

We adapt, we invent, and we plan for such changes. We've used oil for the past 150 years because it works, has been relatively easy to extract, and has been very affordable. We are now seeing the results of an increasing demand and diminishing supply push the price so high that we are using more fuel-efficient machines and are coming up with alternative sources of energy. Of course we haven't yet found the perfect replacement but that's expected, as we haven't needed to yet. But there are, as I type this, a huge number of really smart people using the best resources we currently have trying to come up with more efficient solar technology, safer atomic processes, wind turbines that don't guillotine Big Bird and Woodstock, and a bunch more inventors, engineers, and scientists developing alternatives that we can't even fathom.

How weird is it to think that just 300 years ago, the most-efficient textile mills were powered by a river and a wheel? Or how less than 200 years ago, the Erie Canal was considered the modern-day equivalent of a high-speed super highway?


technologist: Posted: February 10, 2014 10:02 p.m.

Well said, JC.


Indy: Posted: February 10, 2014 1:34 p.m.

17trillion wrote: "How else would the USA produce ~25% of global GDP with 5% of population? With your professed economic expertise you no doubt understand that requires energy. Or are you proposing a significant reduction in economic activity to normalize the USA economy with less productive nation states?"

Indy: Understandably, many Americans see energy as being unlimited. Even Obama was telling the public that in his SOTU address.

And you’re assuming that nations with less energy are ‘less productive’ when in reality, having energy is what makes a nation productive.

That’s why it’s important to understand the resource issue as it exists versus trying to cover it with ‘market fundamentalism’ that ignore resource constraints.

In any event, the US uses about 25% of the world’s oil every day, about 19 million barrels (http://www.eia.gov/countries/country-data.cfm?fips=US&trk=m#pet ) , yet only has about 3% of the world’s proven reserves. We need to get the difference in what we use versus produce from importing same.

It’s not sustainable.


Indy: Posted: February 10, 2014 1:37 p.m.

17trillion wrote: You would think a MBA would know such basic comparisons. Self-important quasi-intellectuals like Indy would be happy if we had 5% of the population and used 5% of the energy and produced 5% of the global GDP, which on the face of it is comically ignorant

Indy: I find that many ‘self-made’ businessmen, many who’ve made lots of money, are still nevertheless economically illiterate.

They believe that since ‘they’ made lots of money, everyone will. We see that today in the RNC slogan about ‘wealth creators’ even as the top 1% continues to concentrate wealth at the expense of everyone else.

I’ve put forth those ‘income advantages’ in the past and will provide them again here today:

Income Advantage: People with high incomes benefit from several factors including:

a. The low capital gains rate that has them paying a rate that is not consistent with their use of tax funded infrastructure including our military, courts, and transportation infrastructure.

b. They also benefit since their ‘discretionary’ incomes are so much higher they can invest more while most Americans (think stockholders – owners of capital) exist ‘check to check’.

c. They can take advantage of ‘large’ business deals especially in off shoring where huge income gains result from the large ‘wage differentials’ in nations with low wage rates.

d. Having the ability to influence our tax laws (loopholes) provided high income earners access to our leaders where folks like me get to speak to a ‘college intern’ on the phone when I call them.

e. Legal superiority in that those will higher incomes can legally protect their assets versus everyone without such representation (think reading a standard credit card ‘terms and conditions’ that most people don’t read and can’t understand if they did.)

In any event, ‘coming down to economic earth’ won’t be easy for many Americans since most don’t understand the economics or resource issues in play.

They’ll continue to get economic pep talks from both parties since in politician's elective ‘terms’ the downgrading of our economy will be slight as it is today but they also have the ability to ‘blame the other party’ that takes away the focus from the economics. That’s the real problem.


17trillion: Posted: February 10, 2014 2:47 p.m.

"yet only has about 3% of the world’s proven reserves"

You still going to push that BS in a couple years when we become the worlds largest producer?

Say it enough and a lot of stupid people will start believing you. But......not us Indy!


emheilbrun: Posted: February 10, 2014 3:47 p.m.

Indy said,"In any event, the US uses about 25% of the world’s oil every day,"

So Indy, I'm not an MBA, but you seem to be saying that in 4 days we're all out of oil.


technologist: Posted: February 10, 2014 4:43 p.m.

17trillion wrote: "How else would the USA produce ~25% of global GDP with 5% of population? With your professed economic expertise you no doubt understand that requires energy. Or are you proposing a significant reduction in economic activity to normalize the USA economy with less productive nation states?"

Indy, you're confused again. I wrote that. Try to pay attention when you're not answering the questions.


JohnnyCash: Posted: February 11, 2014 9:34 p.m.

"Try to pay attention when you're not answering the questions."

Classic line there, tech. So true.


Indy: Posted: February 11, 2014 12:42 p.m.

17trillion wrote: "yet only has about 3% of the world’s proven reserves"

You still going to push that BS in a couple years when we become the worlds largest producer?
Say it enough and a lot of stupid people will start believing you. But......not us Indy!

Indy: I realize how tough it is to get over the ‘media hype’ on current production but the reality is that pumping out what you have faster, while politically beneficial, doesn’t make it last longer.

Here’s a really good graphic on world proven oil reserves: http://www.eia.gov/countries/index.cfm?view=reserves

You can see the US has about 26.5 billion barrels.

We use about 7 billion barrels a year (http://www.eia.gov/countries/country-data.cfm?fips=US&trk=m#pet ). So what’s 7 into 26.5?

Granted, fracking has increased the US oil reserves a bit to about 29 billion barrels but that small increase is just that.

In any event, it’s understandable that barring any actual research on your part to listen to ‘feel good’ reporters that likewise don’t do any factual back story to their reporting.

I tweeted to the LA Reporter that was grandstanding the increased production without any correlation to the total amount of oil we have . . . and he, like you, just recited the increased production!

We need Americans to seek out the facts and get real about the energy issues we’re facing versus listening to nonsense that is out of context. Shameful that the LA Times would report such stuff without any context.

In any event, stupid is as stupid does . . . but in this case, the facts ‘is what it is’.


Indy: Posted: February 11, 2014 12:53 p.m.

emheilbrun wrote: Indy said,"In any event, the US uses about 25% of the world’s oil every day,"

So Indy, I'm not an MBA, but you seem to be saying that in 4 days we're all out of oil.

Indy: Better check that calculator you have . . .

Anyway, we use about 25% of world oil production even though we only have about 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves, currently about 29 billion barrels.

The US oil consumption has dropped a bit from 20 million barrels a day to just under 19 billion barrels a day since the recession.

That puts us just under 7 billion barrels a year.

If we used just our own oil, we’d be pumped out in about 4 years.

Thus we continue to import significant amounts.

You again can see all the numbers here: http://www.eia.gov/countries/country-data.cfm?fips=US&trk=m#pet

Politicians understandably realize that most Americans won’t fact check their statements and continue to promote US energy independence which is perhaps unobtainable with the ‘unlimited’ growth pronouncements that even Obama couldn’t resist stating in his SOTU speech.

Globally, energy per capita is flat: http://ecobrooklyn.com/world-energy-consumption-capita/

EROEI is falling for many sources of energy as the ‘easy’ energy has already been used: http://8020vision.com/2011/10/17/energy-return-on-investment-eroi-for-u-s-oil-and-gas-discovery-and-production/

So the idea that we’ve got ‘unlimited’ growth ahead of us is simply lying to the public.

Thus, the need to address ‘sustainable growth’ (http://steadystate.org/ ) based on stabilizing a global population.

I completely understand why you et al are understandably upset over these realities since most Americans have been raised on ‘folklore’ devoid of the energy reality.

Waiting, however, as the energy issues get worse is only going to make any adjustments more difficult.

We need a nation discussion of this immediately . . .


Indy: Posted: February 11, 2014 12:56 p.m.

technologist wrote: 17trillion wrote: "How else would the USA produce ~25% of global GDP with 5% of population? With your professed economic expertise you no doubt understand that requires energy. Or are you proposing a significant reduction in economic activity to normalize the USA economy with less productive nation states?"

Indy, you're confused again. I wrote that. Try to pay attention when you're not answering the questions.

Indy: So sorry for the inadvertent cut and paste ... but it doesn’t change anything.

I hope the guest readers see your ‘clever’ but agreed ‘entertaining’ style of debate but sadly it solves nothing and I guess you use this to hide your incompetence in such areas.

But the links are here . . . try clicking something different from your libertarian sites.

See the world for what it is versus what you want to believe it is.


emheilbrun: Posted: February 11, 2014 5:42 p.m.

Indy said,"In any event, the US uses about 25% of the world’s oil every day,"

So Indy, I'm not an MBA, but you seem to be saying that in 4 days we're all out of oil.

Indy: Better check that calculator you have . . .

Indy, I checked my calculator. Let's try a word problem. Indy has a cherry pie. Indy eats 25% of his pie every day. How many days will Indy's pie last?



technologist: Posted: February 11, 2014 6:50 p.m.

"Indy: So sorry for the inadvertent cut and paste ... but it doesn’t change anything."

No worries. And you're right, nothing has changed, i.e. you didn't answer my questions.


Indy: Posted: February 11, 2014 7:23 p.m.

Note to guest readers: when the conservative here say you haven’t answered their questions, in fact, you’ve haven’t given them an answer they like . . . or one that doesn’t conform to their ideology.


Indy: Posted: February 11, 2014 7:24 p.m.

emheilbrun,

Sorry I can’t help you understand the numbers . . . but again, I’m writing and educating the guest readers anyway . . .


emheilbrun: Posted: February 11, 2014 7:51 p.m.

"In any event, the US uses about 25% of the world’s oil every day,"

Indy, did you, or did you not write the above?


technologist: Posted: February 12, 2014 10:04 p.m.

"Note to guest readers: when the conservative here say you haven’t answered their questions, in fact, you’ve haven’t given them an answer they like . . . or one that doesn’t conform to their ideology."

No, it means you didn't answer the question in any form. No one is taken in by your sophistry.


emheilbrun: Posted: February 12, 2014 5:55 a.m.

Indy: "Again, the offer still stands . . . I can help you understand what the words mean when strung together…"

I think you mean that 25% of the world's daily oil consumption is by the US, but that's not what you, the highly educated MBA, wrote.

But your use of the English language is so abysmal, you can't even solve my simple word problem, nor can you actually comprehend your own words.

"I can help you understand what the words mean when strung together…"


Luke 6:42
How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.








ricketzz: Posted: February 12, 2014 7:26 a.m.

Every day we delay responding to carbon pollution in meaningful ways is another week your grandchildren will spend in Hell on earth. We have already baked-in 2 to 4 degrees centigrade of heat increase. We have raised the temperature just over 1 degree already and look at the chaos around the world and here at home; we need to plan for many times more freaky weather.

None of this has happened before all at once. The chaos is unprecedented and unrelenting. Step One to helping yourself is to get educated.

http://theconsensusproject.com/

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/RickyRood/show.html?entrynum=287

Beware of Oil Company useful idiots.


17trillion: Posted: February 12, 2014 9:27 a.m.

Ricketzz, go home and get in bed and pull the pillow over your head. Stay there until the end! You'll be much happier.


technologist: Posted: February 12, 2014 10:50 a.m.

Did an oil company tell you to say that, 17t?

“Fire, fear, foes! Awake!” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


ricketzz: Posted: February 13, 2014 7:21 a.m.

You'd be right-on except that it is obvious for all to see that the climate has changed, and not for the better. You are the ones with your downy heads in the sand. As the temperature climbs the chaos multiplies logarithmically. 2010 was the hottest year so far, but 2014 may be an el Nino, which will set crazy records in temperature and crop failures. It will be wild either way.

You have no evidence to support inaction, other than a specious appeal that we are robbing emerging economies of the wonders of car traffic and flashing neon. What will it take to break you out of the Bubble? Roger Ailes snaps his fingers 3 times? Rockefeller Plaza under water? A half million West Virginians with nothing to drink?


17trillion: Posted: February 13, 2014 12:28 p.m.

"You'd be right-on except that it is obvious for all to see that the climate has changed, and not for the better"

How so?

"2010 was the hottest year so far"

Ever? Really? Did you get this from "Indy's book of fact"?

"It will be wild either way."

Can you please provide your ideal in this matter? What would a non-wild weather pattern look like, historically speaking?

"You have no evidence to support inaction"

Time Magazine, circa 1975, warning of a coming ice age.

"other than a specious appeal that we are robbing emerging economies of the wonders of car traffic and flashing neon."

How dare those people with their desire for toilets, electricity, and a stable food supply. Kill them all, right Ricketzz?

"Rockefeller Plaza under water?"

Only in my dreams. Can San Francisco be under water too?

"A half million West Virginians with nothing to drink?"

You're blaming a chemical spill on global warming...errrr....climate change? Are there any people stupid enough to read what you write and actually believe it? Ooops, didn't mean to call liberals stupid.


ricketzz: Posted: February 15, 2014 7:43 a.m.

The only thing I want killed, before we financially empower more workers across the globe is consumerism. Consumerism is tied to Avarice and Lust, 2 of the 7 deadlies. Consumerism is what is killing us. You can't love things and God at the same time. Really. Says so, a bunch of times, in all religions.

Destroying village economies and populating cities to create more consumer demand and a dirt cheap labor pool sounds more like the work of Devils.


technologist: Posted: February 21, 2014 10:49 p.m.

Lead by example, ricketzz. Toss all your consumer goods.

I'll bet your wife would toss you out first.


ricketzz: Posted: February 23, 2014 7:32 a.m.

You should try it. It's very liberating. We have never exchanged gifts or birthday stuff. It is really pointless at best. Once you get that out of the way all the psychosis around Xmas vanishes and we can enjoy the less onerous aspects of the season, for example. We of course consume. We do not do so in an automatonic emotional manner; our juices don't flow when we think of shopping.

My house is weird. I have books and stuff. Do you notice a lot of people don't have any books, or maybe a joke book or two and that's it..


technologist: Posted: February 23, 2014 12:31 p.m.

A few exceptions don't exclude your household's categorization as that of an average consumer.

We have many books as well. However, most of them exist in electronic format. It's more cost effective and efficient. We read them on consumer devices, i.e. iPads.

Appearances aren't always accurate.



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