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bgwah
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« on: January 26, 2012, 02:58:02 pm »
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I'm curious what conservatives think of the following:

Right-to-work legislation. How is it fair? Does one not already have the right to quit their union job and find non-unionized work? Is this not in many ways anti-free market?

Estate tax. I hear a lot about how we shouldn't punish the successful, or how the rich earned what they have... Okay, so if we did have a flat income tax (for example), would you then support a very progressive estate tax? After all, somebody doesn't really earn an inheritance.

Free trade. I've read about comparative advantages and all that jazz.... But there are over 300 million people in this country! Are there really enough sectors that we'll have a comparative advantage in? I think this recession has shown the dangers of becoming so reliant on industries like services and housing construction. Are we just to accept a new normal of higher unemployment?

Please note I'm merely curious and am not looking for an argument.
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 03:44:36 pm »
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The estate tax is a tricky issue. Taxing it highly incentivizes distortionary stuff to be done to avoid it. It disincentivizes people to be successful. And of course, it tends to lack political legitimacy (which is not an intellectual argument, just an observation).

In the long run free trade doesn't lead to unemployment. If you look at the industrial history of most countries this is pretty obvious. Also, by definition everyone always has a comparative advantage somewhere, so you can't really be left behind. There can be short-term problems with adjusting but these should typically be possible to fix. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 04:51:43 pm »
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It disincentivizes people to be successful.

That is a lie.

Reporter:  Hey Mr. Gates are you going to start Microsoft?

Bill Gates:  No.

Reporter:  Why not?

Bill Gates:  Estate Tax.

Reporter:  I don't get it.

Bill Gates:  (sighs)  If I start Microsoft and have to pay estate tax decades from now when I'm dead my heirs will only get $30 billion instead of $60 billion.  What kind of person would relegate their children to living on $30 billion?!  I simply can't do that to them.

Reporter:  But I thought you were going to give most of it away anyway?

Bill Gates:  That's irrelevant.

Reporter:  But if you don't start Microsoft your children will have to live on a lot less than $30 billion.

Bill Gates:  Again that is irrelevant.  You must be a dumb ass Democrat liberal that doesn't understand economics.

The End.
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ag
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 05:08:19 pm »

Well, I don't mind the estate tax.

1. Right to work. Designating a workplace as "unionized" is not really any different from designating it "Republican". Would you be ok, if, in order to work in a given factory, you'd be forced to contribute to the Republican party and volunteer for the campaign events of its candidates? You know, you could always quit and go to work elsewhere - especially in a single-company town. And, if you are fine w/ that, what about designating it Catholic, or Jewish, for that matter? You know, it's not such a big deal to part w/ some skin from your penis - and if you don't want doing that, you could always choose another job, couldn't you?

2. Oh, yeah, US has comparative advantage in a lot of stuff. BTW, you seem to be badly confusing comparative and absolute advantage: as one of the most productive countries in the world, US has absolute advantage (i.e., is better at) producing most things. However, it's not the absolute advantage that matters here. What the comparative advantage says is that you should specialize in what you are RELATIVELY more efficient in. So, if US is disadvantaged in something, by definition it must be advantaged in something else.

In any case, forget the theoretical issues. In practice, blocking free trade would mean that a US consumer would, on average, have lower income and would have to pay more to get the goods s/he likes. And, of course, it would also mean higher rents that for inefficient domestic monopolies can suck from the consumers - historically, it's the big business that loved high tariffs. And, of course, it would also mean impoverishment of US trade partners - illegal immigration from Mexico would skyrocket.
US could, possibly, benefit if it managed to somehow close its domestic market without encountering the reaction of trade partners. Of course, the benefits of such an action would, mainly, accrue to businesses - consumers would merely face higher prices - but you could argue that employment could grow in the protected industries. In practice, of course, other countries would immediately retaliate by closing their markets to US goods and services, screwing American workers in the process (in fact, to bring the point home, I would bet they'd close the markets that would hurt US especially strongly). The result would be unpleasant for all involved.

In any case, at present the world free trade regime is no longer a matter of bilateral deals. China has accessto the US market not as a matter of any privileged trade arrangement, but as part of the WTO. US was instrumental in negotiating the agreements that made this organization possible and these are, in fact, quite heavily slanted in US favor: trade has been, primarily, liberalized in areas where US is very competitive, while liberalization lags behind in areas of interest to, say, developing nations. So, abandoning WTO would be extremely costly - and trying to build new barriers in trade w/ China without doing so would result in heavy punishments within the WTO rules.

Of course, you could argue that the US could leave the bilateral agreements, such as those recently signed w/ Columbia. But these (w/ the possible exception of NAFTA w/ Mexico and Canada) are largely inconsequential for the US, given the relatively small size of those economies and limited role these countries play in US trade. So, the primary effect of withdrawing from such agreements would be a) replacing imports from those countries w/ imports from China and b) destabilizing the economies and the governments generally friendly to the US.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 05:12:25 pm by ag »Logged

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bgwah
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 05:33:28 pm »
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Well, I don't mind the estate tax.

1. Right to work. Designating a workplace as "unionized" is not really any different from designating it "Republican". Would you be ok, if, in order to work in a given factory, you'd be forced to contribute to the Republican party and volunteer for the campaign events of its candidates? You know, you could always quit and go to work elsewhere - especially in a single-company town. And, if you are fine w/ that, what about designating it Catholic, or Jewish, for that matter? You know, it's not such a big deal to part w/ some skin from your penis - and if you don't want doing that, you could always choose another job, couldn't you?

This strikes me as a bit of a straw man fallacy. Why not go so far as to compare it to a job you strongly dislike? And they're the only company in town hiring? But, to answer your question, if I were required to join an organization that was say, a union who instead supported Republicans and conservatives, I don't think I would be too bothered by it and if I were, I would either try to find work elsewhere or vote for different leadership within the union.

As for the rest of your post (and Gustaf's), what sectors will we have an advantage in? Googling suggests airplanes, construction equipment, agriculture, etc... But it doesn't seem like enough to form the backbone of an economy as large as ours.

Also, how long will this transitional period be?

FTR, I do usually support free trade, I've just never quite bought into the idea that it's as great as some claim... Tongue
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 05:35:05 pm by bgwah »Logged

ag
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 06:33:35 pm »

1. So, would it be ok for me to open a restaurant and announce that I hire only Jews? To be on the safe side, I will allow those who've gone and got converted - by a good Orthodox rabbi. And, if it is ok for me to hire only Jews, would it be ok for me to put a sign at the door saying: "only Jews will be served"? (I could even allow the goyim to get my gefilte fish from a take-out window, as long as they do not sit down) And, if the former is ok, and the second is not, what's the difference?

2. What transition? You honestly think that the high rates of unemployment right now in the US are due to free trade?Huh? Wow!

Anyway, it wouldn't be to difficult to shift all sorts of manufacturing imports from Mexico to China (though, of course, in the process you'd give a major boost to Mexico's cartels: they'd switch from drugs to manufacturing products). But closing off China, without a major disruption to the US economy, is near impossible.


« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 06:36:55 pm by ag »Logged

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bgwah
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 07:21:13 pm »
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1. So, would it be ok for me to open a restaurant and announce that I hire only Jews? To be on the safe side, I will allow those who've gone and got converted - by a good Orthodox rabbi. And, if it is ok for me to hire only Jews, would it be ok for me to put a sign at the door saying: "only Jews will be served"? (I could even allow the goyim to get my gefilte fish from a take-out window, as long as they do not sit down) And, if the former is ok, and the second is not, what's the difference?

You just seem to be coming up with rather strange examples... I don't really believe race/religion is comparable to a union.

Now, this isn't necessarily a question for you or the average conservative, but perhaps more a libertarian (And maybe that is you---I don't honestly recall your specific political views). Ron Paul opposes the Civil Rights Act because he believes businesses have a right to discriminate racially if they so choose... Yet he also supports right to work legislation. How does that make sense?

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2. What transition? You honestly think that the high rates of unemployment right now in the US are due to free trade?Huh? Wow!

Anyway, it wouldn't be to difficult to shift all sorts of manufacturing imports from Mexico to China (though, of course, in the process you'd give a major boost to Mexico's cartels: they'd switch from drugs to manufacturing products). But closing off China, without a major disruption to the US economy, is near impossible.

I don't believe that's what exactly what I said. I do think some unemployment may be caused by it in the short-term. Gustaf mentioned short-term problems and I'm curious how long we're talking. Of course when we're talking about unemployment figures, they're so tweaked by the government it can be difficult to say.

More and more people working service jobs does seem to be a result of less jobs in other sectors, and I would think service jobs are a bit more sensitive to the economy, no?
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 07:39:36 pm »

I am, emphatically, not a libertarian, but a free-market liberal (European usage of the word). I have nothing to say about what Ron Paul thinks - we, most definitely, are not on the same page on pretty much anything. We wouldn't even recognize each other's support of free markets, as we would fundamentally disagree on what IS a free market. I have no clue what makes sense to Ron Paul - he, sure, does not make any sense to me.

You can change religions, you can change political parties - no problem. I guess, you think religion is different from a party (as an atheist, I fail to see how, but ok). Fine.  Let it be the Republican party. So, once again, would a restaurant that only hires Republicans and only serves Republicans (and asks you to show a confirmation of a financial contribution to that party) be ok? You know, there are other restaurants in town - you can always go there. And if a restaurant is ok, why not a big plant or a school district? I am the boss of the major employer in town, I agree to give all my employees a 15% raise, as long as they spend half of that raise on contributions to Republican candidates, and I fire everyone who doesn't contribute. You know, you are a registered Republican, so you can vote in a primary and have an impact on who the candidates are. And, sure, you can go work for the Salvation Army if you don't like my factory. What's wrong about it?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 07:48:06 pm by ag »Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 07:42:04 pm »

Are service jobs more sensitive to the economy? I don't know. At least, I haven't seen a study that says they are. Probably, depends on which service job and which manufacturing job you are talking about. Yes, of course, there is a long-term shift away from manufacturing. As a result, you can, actually, breathe in most US cities now - you've sent all the smog away to Beijing. Why is it bad?

US remains, by far, the richest major country in the world. Poor people from all over still try to get into the US - clearly, there is a huge demand for their labor there. Yes, the unemployment is up - but that's just the cycle. A few years ago it seemed to have reached levels previously thought impossibly low - all in the midst of expansion of free trade. What is it exactly that you don't like? Affordable fruits and vegetables from Mexico or affordable manufacturing goods from China? You really want to pay more for them?
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bgwah
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 08:29:17 pm »
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I am, emphatically, not a libertarian, but a free-market liberal (European usage of the word). I have nothing to say about what Ron Paul thinks - we, most definitely, are not on the same page on pretty much anything. We wouldn't even recognize each other's support of free markets, as we would fundamentally disagree on what IS a free market. I have no clue what makes sense to Ron Paul - he, sure, does not make any sense to me.

You can change religions, you can change political parties - no problem. I guess, you think religion is different from a party (as an atheist, I fail to see how, but ok). Fine.  Let it be the Republican party. So, once again, would a restaurant that only hires Republicans and only serves Republicans (and asks you to show a confirmation of a financial contribution to that party) be ok? You know, there are other restaurants in town - you can always go there. And if a restaurant is ok, why not a big plant or a school district? I am the boss of the major employer in town, I agree to give all my employees a 15% raise, as long as they spend half of that raise on contributions to Republican candidates, and I fire everyone who doesn't contribute. You know, you are a registered Republican, so you can vote in a primary and have an impact on who the candidates are. And, sure, you can go work for the Salvation Army if you don't like my factory. What's wrong about it?

Well you don't have to already be a member of a union, but agree to join one if you're employed. Unions obviously aren't perfect though I don't believe they're quite as oppressive as you're suggesting with this example. And to clarify, I meant you would be able to support different leaders of the union, not just participate in normal elections.

I get the feeling this is mostly just a difference of opinion. I understand where you're coming from even if I don't necessarily agree with your logic. And that's what I wanted to know. Wink

Are service jobs more sensitive to the economy? I don't know. At least, I haven't seen a study that says they are. Probably, depends on which service job and which manufacturing job you are talking about. Yes, of course, there is a long-term shift away from manufacturing. As a result, you can, actually, breathe in most US cities now - you've sent all the smog away to Beijing. Why is it bad?

US remains, by far, the richest major country in the world. Poor people from all over still try to get into the US - clearly, there is a huge demand for their labor there. Yes, the unemployment is up - but that's just the cycle. A few years ago it seemed to have reached levels previously thought impossibly low - all in the midst of expansion of free trade. What is it exactly that you don't like? Affordable fruits and vegetables from Mexico or affordable manufacturing goods from China? You really want to pay more for them?

I never said I disliked free trade, and actually said I usually do support it. It's an area I admittedly haven't read about a lot and wanted to learn more about. I think you make a lot of good points.
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 08:51:16 pm »

So, I guess, I should conclude that you would allow an employer to only hire people who agree (in a binding contract) to make donations to the Republican party and its candidates. Of course, they'd be able to participate in choosing the Republican party leaders an candidates. I got your point.

Of course, everything is a matter of opinion. In my opinion, it is higly disagreable to be effectively forced into an association I would not like to be a member of (on the pain of being excluded from employment). You find this unobjectionable. That's the fundamental difference.

You know, in the USSR of my youth you didn't have to join the Young Communist League.  Of course, they wouldn't let you go to college if you didn't - but, hey, not everybody has to go to college, there are other, equally good careers, especially in a proletarian state. You could become a night watchman or a cleaning lady, or whatever. Or, for that matter, you could go to a seminary and become a priest - who says there was no career path that didn't require joining the League.
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 02:15:51 am »
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Yes, of course, there is a long-term shift away from manufacturing. As a result, you can, actually, breathe in most US cities now - you've sent all the smog away to Beijing. Why is it bad?
We manufacture more in the US than ever before and more than any other country (including the PRC).  Mainland China is dirty because they don't have proper environmental controls (despite signing Kyoto) and neither the govt nor the people care all that much.

..and yes, we need to get used to higher unemployment numbers.  They will continue creeping higher and higher as we become more and more efficient.  This is (overall) a good thing.
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 03:46:35 am »
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The prior posters said things better then I can but I want to make one point... you said no one earns an inheritance. I earned my kid's inheritance! I have made financial decisions and will be leaving each with a finan cial cushion for them and their children
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 10:44:18 am »

..and yes, we need to get used to higher unemployment numbers.  They will continue creeping higher and higher as we become more and more efficient.  This is (overall) a good thing.

This is nonsense: both because efficiency doesn't mean higher unemployment and because higher unemployment is, most definitely, a bad thing. Though, of course, that's a subjective statement: may be you like people suffering, I don't know. So let me modify this: it's a bad thing for those of us who are not sadists.
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 11:48:46 am »
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I'll give an example of what I meant. 200 years ago the vast, vast majority (I think something like 90%) of Swedes were employed as farmers. Now, hardly anyone is, partly due to technological change, partly due to trade now meaning that we import most of our farming produce.

However, this has not caused a 90% unemployment rate, because most people in Sweden now work with other things where marginal productivity is higher.

In the 50s the Swedish textile industry got knocked out by low-wage competition from Germany. It was a rather large industry at that. Yet, it hardly affected unemployment at all - economy was booming in the 50s and those people simply found new jobs elsewhere.

Otherwise, I mostly agree with Ag's points on this.
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2012, 11:50:09 am »
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It disincentivizes people to be successful.

That is a lie.

Reporter:  Hey Mr. Gates are you going to start Microsoft?

Bill Gates:  No.

Reporter:  Why not?

Bill Gates:  Estate Tax.

Reporter:  I don't get it.

Bill Gates:  (sighs)  If I start Microsoft and have to pay estate tax decades from now when I'm dead my heirs will only get $30 billion instead of $60 billion.  What kind of person would relegate their children to living on $30 billion?!  I simply can't do that to them.

Reporter:  But I thought you were going to give most of it away anyway?

Bill Gates:  That's irrelevant.

Reporter:  But if you don't start Microsoft your children will have to live on a lot less than $30 billion.

Bill Gates:  Again that is irrelevant.  You must be a dumb ass Democrat liberal that doesn't understand economics.

The End.

I'm afraid this is too stupid to be worth my time in responding. I suggest you take a basic course in economics (or maybe just try thinking a little) and you might get how this actually works.
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2012, 02:44:11 pm »

I'm afraid this is too stupid to be worth my time in responding. I suggest you take a basic course in economics (or maybe just try thinking a little) and you might get how this actually works.

It's NOT stupid at all. It's an empirical issue, not a theoretical one, and the empirical evidence is still mixed, as far as I understand. Do people really care about their kids and, if they do, how much and in which sense is very much an open issue. I wouldn't make categorical statements either way.
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2012, 02:45:47 pm »
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It disincentivizes people to be successful.

That is a lie.

Reporter:  Hey Mr. Gates are you going to start Microsoft?

Bill Gates:  No.

Reporter:  Why not?

Bill Gates:  Estate Tax.

Reporter:  I don't get it.

Bill Gates:  (sighs)  If I start Microsoft and have to pay estate tax decades from now when I'm dead my heirs will only get $30 billion instead of $60 billion.  What kind of person would relegate their children to living on $30 billion?!  I simply can't do that to them.

Reporter:  But I thought you were going to give most of it away anyway?

Bill Gates:  That's irrelevant.

Reporter:  But if you don't start Microsoft your children will have to live on a lot less than $30 billion.

Bill Gates:  Again that is irrelevant. You must be a dumb ass Democrat liberal that doesn't understand economics.
The End.

I'm afraid this is too stupid to be worth my time in responding. I suggest you take a basic course in economics (or maybe just try thinking a little) and you might get how this actually works.

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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 03:06:57 pm »
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I'm afraid this is too stupid to be worth my time in responding. I suggest you take a basic course in economics (or maybe just try thinking a little) and you might get how this actually works.

It's NOT stupid at all. It's an empirical issue, not a theoretical one, and the empirical evidence is still mixed, as far as I understand. Do people really care about their kids and, if they do, how much and in which sense is very much an open issue. I wouldn't make categorical statements either way.

You're instincts on this point are correct.  I'm not really sure how many small business owners Gustaf has spoken to but none of the successful ($1 million+ net worth, excluding home) business owners I talk to ever made an investment decision based upon estate taxes.  Most of the 1%ers that I know that are getting on in years are more concerned about whether they should sell the company or let someone in the family continue to run it.  Often they can't find any competent heirs to take over management.

Just throwing out statements like "it will disincentivise success" is just part of the old worn out right wing script.  It sounds good to the masses but to people that actually work in business and have done financial modeling for companies we know it's bunk.  No client ever said to me, "your model doesn't take into account estate taxes."  Are there certain niche situations where it may come into play?  Sure, maybe.  I've never seen it.  But to say some thirty something person with a million dollar idea is not going to execute it because 50 years from now they may have to pay estate tax when they are dead is total bologna and I'm glad you recognized it as such.
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 03:19:25 pm »
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Do liberals realize that all of one's estate has already been taxed, in some cases multiple times already, and an estate tax is ultimately one last tax for dying? After all, all of one's assets were at one point purchased with taxed income, many items incurred a sales tax, property incurred property taxes for years in most cases (if not decades), etc.

Estate taxes also create a perverse allocation of resources in the sense that it leads to lawyers/accountants spending time/labor/capital on finding ways around the estate tax, or enforcing the estate tax, rather than doing something that is actually productive. It can also induce parents to find other ways around the estate tax such as selling off investments in favor of liquidity in order to buy consumer goods for their children. The purchase of these consumer goods are probably not as beneficial to the economy than the aforementioned investments would have been had the parents been able to pass them along to their children as would be their top preference.

If a parent wishes to pass along something they have bought and paid for, whether it is onto a charity or an heir, who are we to say, "no, your wishes will not be fulfilled because we know what is better for you and society than you do?" The people own the state, not the other way around. The bureaucracies are too fat, to the point of being morbidly obese, and most people are taxed enough in their lifetime as is.
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2012, 03:20:58 pm »
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Yes, of course, there is a long-term shift away from manufacturing. As a result, you can, actually, breathe in most US cities now - you've sent all the smog away to Beijing. Why is it bad?
We manufacture more in the US than ever before and more than any other country (including the PRC).  Mainland China is dirty because they don't have proper environmental controls (despite signing Kyoto) and neither the govt nor the people care all that much.

..and yes, we need to get used to higher unemployment numbers.  They will continue creeping higher and higher as we become more and more efficient.  This is (overall) a good thing.

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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2012, 03:46:52 pm »
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Do liberals realize that all of one's estate has already been taxed...

So what?  When you go buy a candybar from the snack machine between classes you use money that has already been taxed.  It doesn't prevent the machine from charging you sales tax.  It's been taxed before and now it's time to be taxed again.  Think that's bad?  Then I suggest you don't go anywhere near a gas station or you will have a coronary.

By the way Politico learn some statistics.  You will be able to sleep better at night.  There is virtually zero chance under the current taxation regime that you or anyone you know will have to pay an estate tax.  So relax, put that out of your mind, and go write your governor an angry letter about the double taxation on your Baby Ruth.  Chances are though they aren't gonna give a rat's.
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Simfan34
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2012, 04:28:21 pm »
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I'll give an example of what I meant. 200 years ago the vast, vast majority (I think something like 90%) of Swedes were employed as farmers. Now, hardly anyone is, partly due to technological change, partly due to trade now meaning that we import most of our farming produce.

However, this has not caused a 90% unemployment rate, because most people in Sweden now work with other things where marginal productivity is higher.

In the 50s the Swedish textile industry got knocked out by low-wage competition from Germany. It was a rather large industry at that. Yet, it hardly affected unemployment at all - economy was booming in the 50s and those people simply found new jobs elsewhere.

Otherwise, I mostly agree with Ag's points on this.

While I agree, people then had decades to adjust. Today, it is a matter of a few years. Transitions are rapid and the time a technology is in use is almost zero from a long-term perspective.
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2012, 04:32:39 pm »
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I'm curious what conservatives think of the following:

Right-to-work legislation. How is it fair? Does one not already have the right to quit their union job and find non-unionized work? Is this not in many ways anti-free market?

It is inherently unfair that one must join a union in order work at any job. While the union does exist to ostensibly advance the interests of the workers, if a worker does not feel that the union can represent his interests he can and should have every right to not join that union and pay its dues. ag raises and excellent point. If one has found a job, and meets all requirements for employment, it would be ludicrous and indeed illegal to mandate political affiliation. Why should union membership, with its overt political goals and aims, be acceptable?

Estate tax. I hear a lot about how we shouldn't punish the successful, or how the rich earned what they have... Okay, so if we did have a flat income tax (for example), would you then support a very progressive estate tax? After all, somebody doesn't really earn an inheritance.

I support the estate tax, so no argument there. As long as I can make my children socially prominent, then I support an estate tax.

Free trade. I've read about comparative advantages and all that jazz.... But there are over 300 million people in this country! Are there really enough sectors that we'll have a comparative advantage in? I think this recession has shown the dangers of becoming so reliant on industries like services and housing construction. Are we just to accept a new normal of higher unemployment?

I'm not sure what your question has to do with free trade. In any case, a comparative advantage is not an inherent quality- it can be gained and lost. The US can compete in many fields it is not competitive in at the moment, but that would require a new industrial policy and massive state investment in infrastructure, education, scientific research, and emerging technologies. I plan to flesh out those ideas some time. If those investments are made, along with other reforms, the US , like high-income nations like Germany, Taiwan, and Japan, can become a major manufacturer and net exporter once again. Our size will aid us in that element.

I also want to touch upon what you said on "services and housing construction". I have never found the idea of a "service economy" even mildly palatable. Service economy? Who are we servicing- ourselves? With what money? People abroad? They can go to India. The idea of a "service economy" is a fallacy- if we lose that cornerstone of any economy- manufacturing, particularly heavy industry- the need to provide services will eventually diminish and those in need of services (i.e., emerging economies) will provide them for ourselves.

As for housing, an industry based upon indefinite suburban sprawl is, as the housing market is, an unsustainable model. Besides my utter hatred for suburbanism, we'll see with rising fuel prices a shift in the way, if not standard, of living. First to go will be the bedroom communities 50 miles from the centers of employment. If I was a dictator, I'd order mass planning of urban regions in line with New Urbanism for denser re-development, not outwards expansion. The housing market will not grow in the long-term unless it adapts to what the reality will be in 20-30 years.

Don't even get me started on technology. Even if we accept the Luddite fallacy as a... fallacy, we still have to face those jobs lost to technology, which in the coming years will even beyond our comprehension of what a machine or computer could do... waitstaff, janitors, even mid-level management. With the ever quickening pace of technological innovation, it will be one of the great challenges of the 21st century to teach or re-train people with the skills necessary to compete in the job market at a rate to keep up with innovation. That is to say, have them learn the skills before they're rendered redundant by the latest widget.

If we don't act soon, then yes, 10% unemployment will be the new normal- if we're fortunate.
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2012, 05:28:50 pm »

Do liberals realize that all of one's estate has already been taxed, in some cases multiple times already, and an estate tax is ultimately one last tax for dying?

I am not a liberal (in the US sense of the word), but why is that even relevant? What's wrong w/ taxing things in different ways - especially if some of these happen to be relatively non-distortionary?
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