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The Buzz on the Zero Sum Haircut

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Local Rebel
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0 posted 11-11-2007 08:39 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Noah Said;
quote:

I'll add one thing, as an aside, and that is I'm not thrilled with John Edwards as a candidate at all either in that he strikes me as contradicting himself when he speaks about poverty, yet also has had $400 haircuts and even to attend some of his poverty speeches are costly.



Careful Noah.  You're falling into the trap.

It's the same as the  'if you're not with us you're against us' false dichotomy.

Let's take a look at some ways this gets used --

You can't criticize the President in his bid to wage a war of "liberation" to spread democracy?
If you are against the war you aren't 'supporting the troops'.

Here the trap that you're falling into is that eliminating poverty and a market economy are at odds with each other -- they aren't.  In fact -- eliminating poverty -- by investing in real ways to reduce drop-out rates, teen pregnancy (not abstinence programs which have demonstratively failed) which perpetuates the cycle -- actually boosts the market economy -- not drags on it.

If someone wants to pay 400 bucks for a haircut -- the very well paid barber will also owe his fair share to support the system that allowed him to earn his wage.   Putting economic power into the hands of the impoverished merely makes them a part of the economy and expands the market -- thus expanding the opportunity for the well capitalized to increase their earnings as well.

Where I continue to be amazed though -- is how people fall for the scare tactics of the 'right' regarding taxation and poverty.  The fact is -- most Americans don't think of themselves as poor even if they are -- and they will complain about their tax money being used to support a poor person that isn't pulling their weight.  In reality though -- the lion's share of their  tax with-holdings are FICA and Medicare -- a system that's little more than a ponzi-scheme and doesn't transfer money to the 'poor' -- but to the elderly -- regardless of their financial status.  In fact -- most of the working poor are going to wind up paying very little or even no taxes that will go towards programs like WIC or AFDC.  For that reason -- I think it's even more important that a person who is actually in the position of paying a large amount of Federal Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax  (even though the wealthiest usually find enough loopholes to avoid paying them) lead the discussion of how we apportion taxation and apply that towards eliminating poverty.

I don't think you should feel bad about falling into the box -- but Rush should listen to himself and take his own advice -- it isn't a Zero-Sum game -- but for some reason when it comes to elimination of poverty he and his market think it is.
Mistletoe Angel
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1 posted 11-12-2007 01:46 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

quote:
Putting economic power into the hands of the impoverished merely makes them a part of the economy and expands the market -- thus expanding the opportunity for the well capitalized to increase their earnings as well.


My concern with John Edwards to begin with was about his character more than anything.

He has designed his campaign around the "two Americas" notion; that there is an America represented by the likes of Madison Avenue and K Street that are being catered to through tax cuts that represent them most of all and our government has gotten entangled with, and an America represented by virtually everyone else by the likes of Main Street and First Avenue, whose government is neglecting their needs while they work hard just to provide necessities to their families.

It's disingenuous for Edwards to designate himself as a definitive candidate for the poor and homeless in America, yet has the gall to make the University of California at Davis charge $55,000 just so he can speak to students there about.......you guessed it...........poverty.

It tells a lot about his character without speaking, especially when you consider the irony that that campus, along with the entire California university system, will be hit by a 7% hike in tuition costs by the end of this year. And his $400 haircut is metaphoric of that contradiction, where while he goes about presenting himself as the candidate for the impoverished, hard-working American, his head of hair costs twice what a minimum-wage worker makes in a week.

One blogger I came across the time the story broke stated it quite well: "Having a millionaire speak about poverty is like having a wino speak about sobriety.". But at the very least, if you're going to talk the talk, you ought to walk the walk also.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Mistletoe Angel
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2 posted 11-12-2007 03:41 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I'll also add that I have seen my share of speeches on the campus of Portland State University, as well as back when I was temporarily attending the University of Colorado in Boulder before moving to Oregon, and virtually every single speech I've seen was offered to students FREE of charge.

Before the 2004 presidential election, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg came to the Smith Memorial Center on PSU with Medea Benjamin (founder of CODEPINK and co-founder of Global Exchange) and Norman Solomon (anti-nuclear activist and founder of the Institute for Public Accuracy) all of whom were talking about anti-war sentiments and the political climate. The entrance free? FREE of charge.

Granny D? FREE of charge. Dennis Kucinich? FREE of charge. Howard Dean? FREE of charge. Ron Paul? FREE of charge.

If John Edwards wants to build his credibility as a candidate that will stand up to the impoverished and middle America, then I think he ought to treat his attendees to his "poverty speeches" with FREE admission all the same, rather than charge students an average of $31 per student like at that $55,000 speech at UC Davis which much of that money could very well be going to financial aid and other campus services for them.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Balladeer
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3 posted 11-12-2007 06:29 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Wow! If I had about 3 free hours, I'd respond fully to this one...but I don't.

even though the wealthiest usually find enough loopholes to avoid paying them)

Ok,  then, if we  can't get on Edwards for the $400.00 haircuts, how about the small fortune he manipulated in 2003 with his tax lawyers to avoid paying to Medicare while thumping down the political trail,saying  how all Americans should be obligated to pay their fair share? This all came out in the televised debate with Cheney. Edward's response? "Well, what about you and Haliburton??"

Quite a snappy comebacker, our Mr. Edwards.  
Balladeer
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4 posted 11-12-2007 06:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Noah!! Edwards should give free admission???? These people don't do anything for free. Next you'll be saying Gore should actually cut back on energy usage! Get a  grip, man!
Local Rebel
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5 posted 11-13-2007 04:37 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

One blogger I came across the time the story broke stated it quite well: "Having a millionaire speak about poverty is like having a wino speak about sobriety.".


This statement is completely devoid of logic Noah. First, in a free society everyone is free to talk about anything -- and charge anything that someone is willing to pay for a service rendered.  Why do you think that UC Davis paid him to come and speak?  Because they wanted to bump their prestige -- because that helps bring in money.

Second -- the only possible way that Edwards is at a contradiction is if he is advocating Communism as a remedy for poverty.  He isn't.  But, apparently you and the people that you're listening to have bought the proposition hook line and sinker from the far left and the far right that there are only two economic models in the world.

Sad.


Local Rebel
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6 posted 11-13-2007 07:44 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Ok,  then, if we  can't get on Edwards for the $400.00 haircuts, how about the small fortune he manipulated in 2003 with his tax lawyers to avoid paying to Medicare while thumping down the political trail,saying  how all Americans should be obligated to pay their fair share? This all came out in the televised debate with Cheney. Edward's response? "Well, what about you and Haliburton??"

Quite a snappy comebacker, our Mr. Edwards



Your opinions are your own domain Mike -- but, you aren't allowed to play fast a loose with the facts -- this isn't even a misrepresentation of fact -- it just plain didn't happen:
http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2004b.html
http://www.ontheissues.org/Edwards_Cheney.htm

If it did -- please post the exact exchange from the complete transcript link above.
rwood
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7 posted 11-14-2007 04:19 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Hey, he can get a solid gold weave for all I care, but strictly from a consumer's point of view, $400 is a month's worth of groceries at my house. That's apprx. 4 months of electric/gas utilities. That's a year's worth of water & sewage expenses with all out bubble baths, summer car washes and extra flushes!

I'm just surprised at the sum it takes to tame his mane.  

yeah, it's a free country with several levels of enterprise but I'd have to get a sugar daddy to help me understand how $400 every 4-5 weeks on my hair is contributing to the economy AND making me a better person cuz I can't get any better looking without going under the knife of a real cut-up.


nice title, btw.
Ron
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8 posted 11-14-2007 05:29 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
... but strictly from a consumer's point of view, $400 is a month's worth of groceries at my house.

It's all relative, of course. For some people, I'm sure that same $400 would their feed a whole village. For a year! AND they wouldn't have to diet or go to the gym afterwards.

For many, many, many Americans, $400 is chump change. That's not a negative, guys. That's America.

Whether your income is in the three-digits, as it often is in third world countries, in the five-digits as it is for most Americans, or in seven-digits as it might be for some few, what you spend -- and more importantly, what you feel the need to justify -- is going to be a percentile function of your income. Almost everyone I know, including a few who are near destitution, seem to waste a few percentage points of their money on trivialities. Everyone! I'm not sure how fair it is to fault someone because their percentage point is a little bigger than yours.


Balladeer
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9 posted 11-14-2007 06:11 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Reb, I would be very interested in reading those reports because I watched the debate and saw the conversation take place.....unfortunately I can't make either link work.
Brad
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10 posted 11-14-2007 06:13 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
One blogger I came across the time the story broke stated it quite well: "Having a millionaire speak about poverty is like having a wino speak about sobriety."


In the back of my head I keep hearing a little voice:

Who can talk about poverty and be heard?

Balladeer
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11 posted 11-14-2007 06:23 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

My fault, reb. Ie was my computer and not the links. Going there now.

As  I said, I watched happen and what I said was actual.
Balladeer
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12 posted 11-14-2007 06:31 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ok, reb, here is the exchange I referred to....
http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2004/10/06/46579.htm


Cheney: You mentioned Medicare up 17 percent, somehow that that was something we caused. No. The 17 percent increase in Medicare premiums was the direct result of the statute adopted in 1997. John Kerry voted for it. It establishes a formula for Part(B of Medicare that says, in effect, it has to cover 25 percent of the cost of the program. And the reason the money had to go in to the trust fund was to make certain that we could cover those eligible for benefits.

While you were in private practice in law, and as a senator, you had a advantage of a special tax loophole, subchapter-S corporation, which you set up so you could avoid paying $600,000 in Medicare taxes that would have gone into the fund. And it's those kinds of loopholes that necessitate a premium increase under the law that was enacted in 1997, supported by John Kerry.

Moderator: You have 30 seconds to respond.

Edwards: Well, first of all, I've paid all the taxes that I owe. When the Vice President was CEO of Halliburton, they took care of -- took advantage of every off-shore loophole available. They had multiple offshore companies that were avoiding taxes.



No denial by Edwards, no justification for his action.....just a "I've paid all the taxes that I owe" and the the shot at Halliburton.


I accept your apology  
Local Rebel
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13 posted 11-14-2007 06:40 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Actually you beat me by mere seconds Mike!  While checking the link I was able to find the exchange tonight that my browser search couldn't tag last night.  So, I was wrong and you're only partially right.

Mr. Edwards was only given 30 seconds to respond -- was he supposed to give an entire discourse on what a Supchapter S Corporation is and why he elected to set up as one when he started his practice?  Was it to avoid medicare taxes?  

Doubtful.

Over the entire course of his practice -- after all -- how is one to know how much 'profit' one is going to make?  He paid himself a salary of 360k per year and took the profits in dividends at the end of the fiscal year.  Is that avoiding medicare tax?  Hmmm?  Maybe -- but it is the nature of incorporating -- the main purpose of which is not for tax avoidance but to protect your personal life from your business life.

So, I don't buy Cheney's inference -- but I agree with Mr. Edwards that corporate shelters need to be closed -- particularly offshoring.
Local Rebel
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14 posted 11-14-2007 06:49 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

yeah, it's a free country with several levels of enterprise but I'd have to get a sugar daddy to help me understand how $400 every 4-5 weeks on my hair is contributing to the economy AND making me a better person cuz I can't get any better looking without going under the knife of a real cut-up.



Well it certainly contributes to the barber's economy doesn't it?     And in turn -- and so on, and so on....

It doesnt' really matter whether or not it's a haircut, a Harley, or a Cadillac -- the wealthy are able to afford what other's can't.  I don't personally see that getting a 400 dollar haircut makes one a better person -- but -- the question is -- where did the 400 dollars come from to begin with?  And, there's certainly more lucrative endeavors Mr. Edwards could be pursuing rather than putting up with the political process, and he could certainly be opting to spend the time with his wife instead of campaigning -- but it's something both of them want to do -- apparently as a matter of principle -- so I personally think it is to be admired regardless of whether or not I agree with what he says or even think he's the right person for the job. (I don't -- but certainly not because of the fact that he's wealthy or has a coif).

Ron
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15 posted 11-14-2007 06:53 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
... especially when I've seen so much blatant mischaracterization.

(quoting myself from another, not unrelated, post)

So, do you take any legal deductions on your income tax returns, Mike?

Or would you prefer we call them loopholes?

Did you know that virtually every lawyer, doctor, or other professional is set up as a subchapter-S corporation? I'll bet Cheney knew it.

Okay, so Edwards took deductions he was entitled to take. So, apparently, did Halliburton under Cheney's watch. Gee, maybe we should want our leaders to NOT run their own lives efficiently?

I think Washington should take a tip from Hollywood. I am so ready for a political writer's strike about now.
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16 posted 11-14-2007 07:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

was he supposed to give an entire discourse on what a Supchapter S Corporation is and why he elected to set up as one when he started his practice?  Was it to avoid medicare taxes?  

Doubtful.


You're in luck, reb. Ron didn't buy up all the swampland I had available down here. There's plenty left for you!
Local Rebel
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17 posted 11-14-2007 07:06 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Is that swampland held under your umbrella corporation or do you own it personally Mike?
Balladeer
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18 posted 11-14-2007 07:11 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Of course I take deductions, Ron, as do all Americans.

What I DON'T do is set up ways to take deductions to avoid paying that I am telling the country they should feel obligated to pay. Or perhaps what Edwards is REALLY saying is "If you are not rich enough or not smart enough or can't afford tax lawyers to find ways to avoid paying  taxes that others have to pay, THEN you should do your fair share and pay."

I'm not naive enough to claim that people should lead by example anymore but it would benice to see once in a while.
Local Rebel
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19 posted 11-14-2007 07:19 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I see - so you originally purchased the swampland during the 2000 Presidential campaign then?  
Balladeer
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20 posted 11-14-2007 07:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The fact is -- most Americans don't think of themselves as poor even if they are -- and they will complain about their tax money being used to support a poor person that isn't pulling their weight.

ok, then. If it's a fact as you claim, please cite the reference. I'll be interested in seeing that link. "Even if they are"? Let's see, then. If a homely woman thinks she is beautiful, does that make her still homely? You want to convince her of that? Talk about falling into traps. You are saying, "This is what you are, regardless of what you think you are, because this is what we are telling you you are." A page right out of the Left playbook.

I have to say I am enjoying this link immensely. Here we have a rebel defending the rich and their actions. Astounding reversal.


If someone wants to pay 400 bucks for a haircut -- the very well paid barber will also owe his fair share to support the system that allowed him to earn his wage.   Putting economic power into the hands of the impoverished merely makes them a part of the economy and expands the market -- thus expanding the opportunity for the well capitalized to increase their earnings as well.


Oh, you mean the money "trickles down" to the benefit of the economy from the money spent by the rich? LR, you are sounding less and less like a lefter with every word.


For that reason -- I think it's even more important that a person who is actually in the position of paying a large amount of Federal Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax  (even though the wealthiest usually find enough loopholes to avoid paying them) lead the discussion of how we apportion taxation and apply that towards eliminating poverty.

I agree, reb. The reason it doesn't happen is that most of those people are the ENEMY! You want to really follow that thought? Great! Let's get Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Sam  Walton, etc, etc, take their advice and ask for their input. can't do that, can we? Those are the bad guys, according to the Democrat leadership. Those are the guys not doing enough, the guys that need to be paying more, the guys that Bush gives all the breaks to. No, we need the rich POLITICIANS to tell us how funds should be apportioned, the ones who can afford all the loopholes not to pay personally, the ones some of whom who have never even held a job outside of politics.

I'm getting the impression that rich Democrats must be good and the rest villifiers of the country....yes, there are a lot of traps out there.

Ron
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22 posted 11-14-2007 09:42 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
What I DON'T do is set up ways to take deductions to avoid paying that I am telling the country they should feel obligated to pay.

Really? Edwards is urging people to pay MORE than they should owe, Mike?
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23 posted 11-14-2007 10:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

LR. just tell me which one states your comment as fact and not the opinion of the writer, and I'll be satisfied.....as long as it deals with civilization today.

Ron, so how ARE things at the pretzel factory??
Local Rebel
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24 posted 11-15-2007 01:06 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I did.  Read.
 
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