• fishfry
    2.9k
    Which is quite reasonable. Plumbers make about $60,000; a welder's average is $47,000. Still not vast, and they don't start out $50,000 in the hole.
    If their graduate kids make a little more, they can buy their old parents a cruise of something.
    Vera Mont

    Ok fine. You convinced me. Let's transfer the legally contracted debt of people who signed for it, to those who never took out that debt, never saw any of the money, and are busy working while the kids are partying it up in school.

    So how about mortgage debt? Why don't we transfer all of the mortgage debt in the country to those rwho don't own property? That would be fair too, don't you think?

    Also I maxed out my credit card on video games and luxury vacations. Would you please pay off my credit card debt? It's not fair that I can't pay my Visa bill this month. I need another vacation.

    You know, I think I'll enjoy living under your rule. Everything free, paid for by someone else.

    Student loaninterest forgiveness for low earners.Vera Mont

    Excellent point. Fred has no job or money. He's a low earner. But Fred loves lavish vacations, that's how he maxed out his credit card. By your logic, a frugal person who works and doesn't take vacations should pay off Fred's debt. Fred likes that plan a lot. The person who has to pay off Fred's debt, not so much.

    So long as the workers are being oppressed.Vera Mont

    That's empty rhetoric. Everyone can claim to be oppressed, especially if being oppressed gets them nice benefits in your communist paradise.

    Once social justice and balance are established,Vera Mont

    LOL. "Come the revolution ..." as we used to say when I was i school. But even then we meant it ironically, mocking those who really believed it.

    there are no sides and classes.Vera Mont

    Are you being unintentionally funny?


    Everybody shares the resources and contributes to the community.Vera Mont

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    That means, every child has the opportunity to learn as much as he or she is able to and wants to, without penalties. A just society would have no such thing as student debts, or any other kind of debt-load that keeps growing, even while you're paying. A just society would outlaw compound interest and 90% of the other financial legerdemain on Wall street.Vera Mont

    Don't hold your breath for human nature to change. That's the problem with communism. Humans.

    You're make a big show of defending the workers - represented by a skilled occupation, the holder of which probably considers himself middle class, anyway - while assuming that the working class is a static, unchangeable entity: nobody in, nobody out, beleaguered forever by white collar workers.
    That's as gross a misrepresentation as that of NY crime and that of Biden's policies.
    Vera Mont

    Right, crime in NY is only a matter of perception. As is Biden's economy. I bet you're a big Paul Krugman fan.

    That is the inevitable outcome, every cycle. Boom, growth, consolidation, wealth concentration, political corruption, bust, depression, protest, repression or revolution.Vera Mont

    Yup.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    You convinced me. Let's transfer the legally contracted debt of people who signed for it, to those who never took out that debt, never saw any of the money, and are busy working while the kids are partying it up in school.fishfry
    That's not happening and nobody's planning it.
    Fred has no job or money. He's a low earner.fishfry
    Well, at least he's not "vastly outearning" the hard-working people who will not have to take up the tax burden! Did he recently graduate from college, try to repay his student loan but didn't earn enough to cover the accumulated interest? In that case, he may be eligible for relief from some of the accumulated interest. On vacation, not.
    Everyone can claim to be oppressed, especially if being oppressed gets them nice benefits in your communist paradise.fishfry
    Does that mean I shouldn't be on the workers' side after all?
    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.fishfry
    That's what communism actually means - nothing to do with Stalin or Mao.
    Don't hold your breath for human nature to change. That's the problem with communism. Humans.fishfry
    Well, that's the problem with every ideal.
  • Ludwig V
    932
    A neocon/neoliberal/CIA plot all the way.fishfry
    I'm not going to disagree with you. But I think regarding it as a plot in the standard sense is not the best way to think about it. I think it was the result of a consensus or "group think" - everybody agreed about the basics and so acted in concert without needing to deliberately plan or co-ordinate anything. Another factor that contributed was more complicated. The distinction between communists and Russians was blurred, that it was easy to continue the suspicion and hostility even when the ideological cause of it was removed. Russians were "othered" during the communist years and remained under suspicion even after communism fell.

    Other way 'round I think. Clinton and the neoliberals did spread prosperity around the world, at the expense of the manufacturing base of America.fishfry
    They did so in the wrong way. The banner of free trade was pinned to the eternal search by capital for cheap labour. The irony of it is that the recipient countries didn't benefit all that much. In general, much of the wealth went to a minority of people who formed a new capitalist class in the recipient countries. It was actually a continuation of colonialism in a slightly different format.

    They just wanted to be friends, but the neocons only want war.fishfry
    They seem to lack a sense of bargaining and deal-making. If you regard it as a competition with winners and losers, you have missed the point. It is of the essence that you allow the other side to make its profit.

    Not sure I share your trust in the ability of our leaders to "spread the wealth around," as Obama put it.fishfry
    Yes, "share their wealth" is a lazy way to put it. It already implies taking something away. But see last comment. But my point was not that I expected them to be overcome with generosity, more that it is not in the long-term interest of the wealthy (even of the moderately wealthy) to prevent others from becoming prosperous. It might mean somewhat lower profit margins, but it doesn't necessarily mean actually taking anything away that they already possess. Its like the argument that it doesn't pay to rip off your customers too much, because they won't come back if you do.
  • finarfin
    38
    A nation of farmers would live a lot longer than a nation of comparative literature majors, I'm sure you agree. The trades are "real work." Tradesmen built the college buildings, they operate the plumbing and the electricity and haul the trash. Without them, the lotus eaters would not be able to function at all.fishfry
    I must object to your phrasing. Nearly all work should be considered "real work". Every job that exists exists for a reason: modern society demands it. There is no reason to be classist, insulting people's occupations, because each performs a function considered necessary in some way. To think that tradesmen alone could recreate our civilization without academics or white-collar workers or even the creative types is absurd. Without further specialization of labor, they will only stumble upon new technology, not invent it. They will haphazardly pantomime, not coordinate. And without a culture to enjoy, how will they live?

    An occupation's value to society is roughly related to its economic price, and the number of workers in that field. So while tradesmen are undoubtedly essential, they only make up a segment. I do agree that, based on this principle, there should be far fewer "comparative literature" majors, if that is the type of job they are seeking. However, there are far better ways to prove your point than demeaning ordinary people or idolizing one sect at another's expense.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Every job that exists exists for a reasonfinarfin
    Pimps and organ traffickers too?
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    You convinced me. Let's transfer the legally contracted debt of people who signed for it, to those who never took out that debt, never saw any of the money, and are busy working while the kids are partying it up in school.
    — fishfry
    That's not happening and nobody's planning it.
    Vera Mont

    That's exactly what's happening. Over $500 billion according to the Wharton School of Economics.

    $559 billion transferred from student borrowers to the taxpayers.

    How can you sit here and deny reality?

    https://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/issues/2024/4/11/biden-student-loan-debt-relief

    You deny the number? You think the debt will be paid by the debt fairy? What on earth can you mean by, "That's not happening and nobody's planning it?"

    It IS happening. The Biden administration is planning it. You should get better newspapers.

    Five hundred fifty nine billion dollars. That's $3387 for every one of the 164 million taxpayers in the US.

    You deny it?
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    $559 billion transferred from student borrowers to the taxpayers.fishfry

    Student borrowers are taxpayers. The question is, which taxpayers are having to pay more? You say the working class; I say the high earners.
    Would it be so very terrible if people making over $400,000 a year (many of whom are in the money-lending business) had to pay a little more so that the children of orderlies and fish-packers could get an education?
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    I'm not going to disagree with you. But I think regarding it as a plot in the standard sense is not the best way to think about it. I think it was the result of a consensus or "group think" - everybody agreed about the basics and so acted in concert without needing to deliberately plan or co-ordinate anything. Another factor that contributed was more complicated. The distinction between communists and Russians was blurred, that it was easy to continue the suspicion and hostility even when the ideological cause of it was removed. Russians were "othered" during the communist years and remained under suspicion even after communism fell.Ludwig V

    That's my point.

    We hated the Soviets. The brave Russian people overthrew the wicked Soviets. Did we say, "Yay brave Russian people, let's be friend now." No! Instead we just got everyone to hate the Russians.

    That's a psy-op. The eastward encroachment of NATO was started by Clinton and continued through Bush and Obama. In 2014 the CIA and the neocons in Obama's State dept overthrew the Russia-leaning government of Ukraine, and started shelling the Donbas region, killing some 14,000 ethnic Russians. That's how we got to where we are today.

    Hence CIA/neocon/neolib psy-op.

    But I hadn't been intending to discuss the situation in Ukraine, maybe that's a different thread.

    They did so in the wrong way. The banner of free trade was pinned to the eternal search by capital for cheap labour. The irony of it is that the recipient countries didn't benefit all that much. In general, much of the wealth went to a minority of people who formed a new capitalist class in the recipient countries. It was actually a continuation of colonialism in a slightly different format.Ludwig V

    With you there. Serf's up! There's the new global elite, and there's the rest of us. Time for a revolution? Something's brewing. Much discontent in the air.

    They seem to lack a sense of bargaining and deal-making. If you regard it as a competition with winners and losers, you have missed the point. It is of the essence that you allow the other side to make its profit.Ludwig V

    There's an alternate history in which the world became a much more peaceful and prosperous place after the fall of the Soviet Union. That was one of the great missed opportunities of history. Remember the "peace dividend?" That never happened. The warmongers ate it.

    Yes, "share their wealth" is a lazy way to put it. It already implies taking something away. But see last comment. But my point was not that I expected them to be overcome with generosity, more that it is not in the long-term interest of the wealthy (even of the moderately wealthy) to prevent others from becoming prosperous. It might mean somewhat lower profit margins, but it doesn't necessarily mean actually taking anything away that they already possess. Its like the argument that it doesn't pay to rip off your customers too much, because they won't come back if you do.Ludwig V

    In the covid period, massive government spending went to the top tier of the economy, while main street got crushed. The $600 stimmy checks were all the middle class got. Was this massive transfer of wealth upward from the middle class to the elite just an accident? Or was it all a plan? A crisis that the big players didn't let go to waste.

    Just looked it up. $50 trillion over the past several decades. That ain't pocket change.

    The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure


    https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-america/
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    Student borrowers are taxpayers. The question is, which taxpayers are having to pay more?Vera Mont

    I would prefer if Congress would pass a law to have high income earners fund college costs. That at least would have the virtue of being legal.


    You say the working class; I say the high earners.Vera Mont

    Ok, so if the tax rates are progressive enough, you say that would help the students and spare the middle class. I don't necessarily disagree. So let Congress pass a law. It's Congress that sets tax policy, not the president.

    Would it be so very terrible if people making over $400,000 a year (many of whom are in the money-lending business) had to pay a little more so that the children of orderlies and fish-packers could get an education?Vera Mont

    No, that would be fine. So let Congress pass a law to that effect. We already have a steeply progressive income tax system. The wealthy already pay a lot more.

    But no law allows Biden to transfer by fiat half a trillion dollars in debt from the students who signed for it, to the taxpayers -- wealthy or not -- who didn't.
  • Ludwig V
    932
    In the covid period, massive government spending went to the top tier of the economy, while main street got crushed. The $600 stimmy checks were all the middle class got. Was this massive transfer of wealth upward from the middle class to the elite just an accident? Or was it all a plan? A crisis that the big players didn't let go to waste.fishfry
    Yes. I've seen some analysis of this. The media told us it was about supporting the workers, but it wasn't. It was about supporting the economy. Actually, there was a real problem about that. In lockdown without support, businesses would have gone bankrupt. A difficult problem. But the solution didn't have to be so skewed.

    The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Securefishfry
    Yes, I've seen the reports about that. It's much the same picture in the UK and I'm sure elsewhere.

    It seems to me that there are three aspects to all this - each interacting with both the others. There's power - physical (The military and enforcement of the law) and social - conditional on social structures. There's psychology - mass and individual. There's ideology. The interactions are conditioned by two opposing tendencies - competition and co-operation.

    Perhaps I'm writing the beginnings of another thread. How far it would be philosophical is a question.

    And without a culture to enjoy, how will they live?finarfin
    The ancient Romans had it right. Bread and circuses. People do not live by bread alone.

    An occupation's value to society is roughly related to its economic price, and the number of workers in that field.finarfin
    Yes, the labour market is a market. But like many others, it isn't a free market - meaning a willing buyer and a willing seller - meaning that both sides can walk away without a deal. Work is like fresh food - it can't be stored when it isn't needed. Roughly, if work means food and shelter, everyone needs work to-day for to-day. The other is social expectations. You don't find out the economic value of dust-
    men until they aren't working. Then, all sorts of nasty stuff hits the fan. Dustmen and doctors are both essential to health - and how do you put a price on that? The actual differential between the two is heavily influenced by social expectations.

    Does that mean I shouldn't be on the workers' side after all?Vera Mont
    It's good to speak up for those who don't have a voice. But it is better if those who don't have a voice can have their own. But somehow, the system needs a balancing factor - a referee or arbiter, who is neutral. That's a valid position as well. Workers can be greedy, competitive, and self-interested just as much as capitalists - indeed, arguably, capitalism expects that.
  • finarfin
    38
    Pimps and organ traffickers too?Lionino

    Yes, it doesn't have to be a good or legal reason. Excluding certain outliers, the overwhelming majority of jobs are necessary to support our current society, which reflects what we value.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    That doesn't make a lot of sense. No one wants pimps or organ traffickers around, society doesn't value that. It is the corruption of a few that creates that.
  • finarfin
    38

    I agree, and I wasn't clear enough with my wording. I think those are examples of the outliers which don't illustrate society's values as a whole. However, they still exist and must be accounted for, which proves that society and individuals aren't perfect. The fact that there remains demand for the work of organ traffickers shows that some value survival or profit over ethics and others. While it's an extreme example, many other examples are more common and more accepted.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    I would prefer if Congress would pass a law to have high income earners fund college costs.fishfry

    Well, who wouldn't? But Congress and Senate are protecting high earners - perhaps because they themselves are high earners?
    Both the Senate and the House have now passed a bill to block President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which promises to cancel up to $20,000 of debt for millions of borrowers but has been held up by courts. CNN
    So you'll probably get your wish: no matter how poor they are, educated people will be crippled with debt before they even get started.
  • Ludwig V
    932
    So you'll probably get your wish: no matter how poor they are, educated people will be crippled with debt before they even get started.Vera Mont
    In the UK, the student loan repayment scheme was predicated on the "graduate premium" - that is, the idea that students would earn more money with the degree than they would have done without it. That's what was supposed to fund the repayments. At the time (in the nineties) this idea had something to be said for it - though it was always clear that some students, for whatever reason, would not earn much, if any, premium. Now, graduates are expected to repay their student loans, and a mortgage and repayments for car, white goods, furniture and fittings and save for their pension, and the student premium has largely disappeared (partly because of the increase in the supply of graduates.) The company store seems almost benign by comparison.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k

    Yeah, expectation, economic forecast...
    When i was in high school, guidance counsellors were steering anyone with decent grades in math into engineering degree courses - about six years before the engineering jobs were all filled. When my kids were in high school, computing was the most promising career - about six years before programming jobs were outsourced to India and dropped to minimum wage.
  • Ludwig V
    932

    Yes. I've heard stories. I was very lucky to be able to work for the same institution for forty years. But I managed that by turning my hand to whatever the institution needed. Few philosophers have taught as wide a range of philosophy as I have and I always had administration on my work programme as well. The best career advice is probably flexibility - even if you have a specialism. But that's wise after the event.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    Health care is not a bad gig, with the population growing older and sicker by the day. But who knows whether these old people will be able to afford treatments or get insurance coverage; who knows whether inflation will eat their pensions; who knows whether Congress foreclose on medicaid....
    better for young people to find apprenticeships in home improvement and retrofitting trades or munitions factories. But, of course, by the time the 16-year-olds of today get there, all those slots will be filled, and all the minimum wage service jobs will be automated.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    I would prefer if Congress would pass a law to have high income earners fund college costs.
    — fishfry

    Well, who wouldn't?
    Vera Mont

    Point being that Biden's debt "forgiveness" is illegal.

    But Congress and Senate are protecting high earners - perhaps because they themselves are high earners?
    Both the Senate and the House have now passed a bill to block President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which promises to cancel up to $20,000 of debt for millions of borrowers but has been held up by courts. CNN
    So you'll probably get your wish: no matter how poor they are, educated people will be crippled with debt before they even get started.
    Vera Mont

    My wish? My wish is for the president to follow the law. Well that hasn't happened since before the Nixon administration, and maybe not ever. Presidents are notorious law breakers.

    I don't wish for poor kids to be deprived of an education. Why do you keep saying I do?

    You're the one who (in another thread) wants to abort the poor. That would solve the problem of funding their college aspirations. You said it, I didn't.

    But you know, the government has caused the cost of higher education to grow much faster than inflation in general. First you have the government guarantee student loans. Next, banks freely lend money to students whose majors show that they'll never be able to pay back the loans. The banks don't care because the government (ie the taxpayers) backstop the loans. Then colleges have no reason to control costs, because the schools are getting paid by the banks, backstopped by the taxpayers.

    That's why higher education costs are out of control. In fact if we abolished government guarantees of student loans, the banks would be more careful with who they lend money to, and the schools would work harder to control costs, and college would be more affordable.

    It's another problem caused by the government claiming to address the problem.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    I don't wish for poor kids to be deprived of an education.fishfry

    Only because you seem to be so vehemently against letting them off some of the accumulated compound interest on their student loans.
    And maybe because you seem hell-bent on putting an unfair burden of putative working class taxpayers.
    And thirdly, because you pretend that government is responsible for everything it cannot possibly control.
    And lastly, because you appear to have a peculiarly skewed view of the working class, even as you advocate for its supposed interest.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    I don't wish for poor kids to be deprived of an education.
    — fishfry

    Only because you seem to be so vehemently against letting them off some of the accumulated compound interest on their student loans.
    Vera Mont

    I would not say vehemently, it's not a core concern of mine. But these are legal loans that students signed for. But the one doesn't follow from the other. I can be opposed to Biden's illegal bailout without saying I want the poor kids to go back into the coal mines and be grateful for their bowl of gruel.

    You, on the other hand, would prefer to have aborted them long ago, solving the problem that way. Why not just kill them now?

    And maybe because you seem hell-bent on putting an unfair burden of putative working class taxpayers.Vera Mont

    Excuse me? I'm trying to spare the taxpayers. You keep misrepresenting (aka lying about) my positions.

    And thirdly, because you pretend that government is responsible for everything it cannot possibly control.Vera Mont

    Example please? I don't know what you are referring to.

    And lastly, because you appear to have a peculiarly skewed view of the working class, even as you advocate for its supposed interest.Vera Mont

    Not wanting the tax burden of irresponsible college kids dump on their heads is having a "particularly skewed view" of them?

    You just made four lies about my positions. I think you must not have an argument.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    Example please?fishfry

    Capital, the fetishistic worship thereof.
  • chiknsld
    314
    Anyone arguing for excellence, greatness, success, elitism, etc., is oblivious to the fact that the evil of this world far outweighs financial equality. :down:

    ...money is powerfrank

    I would not agree that money is power. Knowledge is power as it actually helps the universe. Money is a tool that can be used to create knowledge and so there is a correlation at least.

    Of all the knowledge in the world, there is none more important than existential knowledge, as it is the reason we are alive in the first place. Any fundamental, intellectual field, such as math, science, etc., are mere attempts at understanding existence at a rudimentary level.

    Money by itself is entirely worthless, whereas knowledge in and of itself is infinitely powerful.

    If someone wanted to, they could use their knowledge to gain money, just remember where the power came from. :snicker:
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    Knowledge is power as it actually helps the universe.chiknsld
    How does knowledge gained by a teeny, weeny life-form on a teeny, weeny planet near the rim of an insignificant galaxy help the universe. Helps it to do what, that it could not do otherwise?

    What constitutes power depends on the context of the power under consideration. There are many kinds of power. The possessor of knowledge may wield power in one realm, while the possessor of money wields power in another realm and the possessor of his fellow men's trust wields it in yet another.

    Some kinds of knowledge can facilitate the acquisition of money, but inherited, stolen or otherwise unearned wealth supplies its owner with more freedom to wield power than someone has who must apply himself to wealth accumulation.

    Of course money has no intrinsic value; it is assigned value arbitrarily by the social system that generates and uses it. Knowledge is assigned value according to what is known and who knows it.
    I don't see the universe requiring either to function.
  • frank
    14.6k
    If someone wanted to, they could use their knowledge to gain money, just remember where the power came from.chiknsld

    True, I just meant that money is power during our time. In a feudal society, military prowess was power. Knowledge can be power in a theocracy or where statesmen rule. The character of the society dictates where the power-hungry put their energy.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    Example please?
    — fishfry

    Capital, the fetishistic worship thereof.
    Vera Mont

    This was in response to your saying, "And thirdly, because you pretend that government is responsible for everything it cannot possibly control."

    You lost me on the fetish bit. Anyway all I said originally was that Biden's cynical election year loan "forgiveness" is

    a) illegal, which is not only my position, but that of the Supreme court; and

    b) transfers over five hundred billion dollars of debt to the taxpayers.

    I stand by both those assertions.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    transfers over five hundred billion dollars of debt to the taxpayers.fishfry

    No, you said that debt was transferred to working-class taxpayers, which is not the case.

    You lost me on the fetish bit.fishfry
    I can live with that.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    No, you said that debt was transferred to working-class taxpayers, which is not the case.Vera Mont

    You lost me on the fetish bit.
    — fishfry

    I can live with that.Vera Mont

    I think we're at the end here. Nice chatting with you.
  • chiknsld
    314
    True, I just meant that money is power during our time. In a feudal society, military prowess was power. Knowledge can be power in a theocracy or where statesmen rule. The character of the society dictates where the power-hungry put their energy.frank

    Oh I see, this is to do with social dynamics rather than any underlying force. You truly meant that money is "power" in its most industrial sense of the word.

    For me, the abstraction of the word "power" is resident to the domain of scholarship.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment