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Living the end of the American dream.

Discussion in 'Debate Hall' started by cavalierhome, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. SLange

    SLange Guest

    If I take your stated list as factual, the above statement is a bit of a non-sequitur. As far as I am aware the US is a Corporate state developed on Capitalist principles, still is and as far as I am aware always will be so where does this come from? Are you saying it as if there is no alternative or just scaremongering? Either way the sentence is irrelevant to your Country's current financial woes.
  2. Hellstromm

    Hellstromm Active Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    Hello chiroref,

    Some of your statements are misleading, others are simply incorrect, and others are not relevant to the discussion. Let me point out that my posts, and the data I presented, were addressing the erroneous statements made by cavalierhome and was in keeping with the theme of the debate, that of the American Dream. If you wish to discuss the recent recession, perhaps a new thread is in order.

    Still, I will address what you presented as it pertains to this particular discussion. Btw, it always helps to present evidence to support your assertions (mostly because by searching for the evidence, you are able to fact-check yourself, but also because it helps in arguing your points). As this discussion on the American dream morphed into a comparison of "since 1948" and "in the 70's/80's", it is prudent to present those timelines to demonstrate that, recession and recovery notwithstanding, "no, it is not worse."

    First we address the difficult one, food stamps. An important point to be presented here is that distribution of food stamps was part of the stimulus effort to reverse the recession, and continues to help in the recovery. Also, these numbers are based on population, not percentage of. Percentage-wise, it was not a record-high. This particular statistic is directly associated with the 2007-2010 recession/recovery stimulus efforts and not associated with the greater picture as argued by cavalierhome. Specifically, it is associated with a direct effort by the government to actively pose people on food stamps, precisely because of studies presented that indicated the use of such helps to stimulate the economy (click here, here, and here). Unfortunately, opportunistic politicians have repeatedly misrepresented the reasons why there was an increase in the use of food stamps.

    The next issue on your list is, "labor participation rate at historical lows." This one is blatantly false:


    The next issue on your list is "worst recovery in modern history." This is not relevant to cavalierhome's argument from his original post (or even his subsequent posts) and it is also grossly subjective. Another note is that this particular recession was not border-limited, just as the Great Depression was not border-limited. When you are dealing with recessions that are not border-limited, the impact is much deeper and the recovery rate is much slower. Still, we return to, "not relavent to cavalier's argument," and so I move onto the next.

    Next on your list, "number of Americans renouncing citizenship at record high." The vast majority of people recently renouncing U.S. citizenship has to do with wealthy people avoiding taxation. Does that have to do with the American dream? No, it has to do with greed and a lack of respect for the nation and its people that provided them the opportunity to become wealthy. As cavalierhome put it, "America, gave me the American dream. Much more than I ever deserved."

    And to remove one more argument on this, the United States has taxed their citizens abroad (regardless of what country they reside) since Federal income tax was first instituted, through the Revenue Act of 1861. Got a problem with that? Jump on Abraham Lincoln's case. ~ http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=012/llsl012.db&recNum=323

    So we're onto the next thing on your list, which is, "percentage not paying federal income taxes at record highs." This is another false claim. It is false because it is not at a record high. It is also misleading because this refers only to income tax. The majority of those who did not pay federal income tax, instead payed federal payroll taxes. The remaining 17% that didn't pay either income tax or payroll taxes are comprised of 10% elderly and a mere 7% not having a job. ~ http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/09/19/us/politics/who-doesnt-pay-federal-taxes.html

    There's three here that i'll address together: "$85 billion per month in fresh money printing just to net 1% growth," "QE4vah driving stock market to records highs, while saving class destroyed by devalued dollar," and "$1 Trillion deficits past 5 years just to net 1% growth."

    All three have nothing to do with this discussion, and particularly not cavalierhome's statements. That said, they're also incorrect and/or misleading statements. None of the actions were posed to impose a 1% net growth, but yes some of these actions were to encourage stock market activity. I must admit, your $1 trillion deficits comment doesn't make an iota of sense, so I'm not going to respond to that. As to the dollar, the devaluing occurred prior to such actions and, in fact, the value of the U.S. dollar has increased since the actions you state (with a few bumps along the way). ~ http://useconomy.about.com/od/tradepolicy/p/Dollar_Value.htm

    Your last one was, "Country without a budget for over 4 years." is again not relevant to cavalierhome's original post or subsequent posts, and certainly has nothing to do with, "the American dream" argument for which this thread is based. This one in particular, along with many of your other statements, belong in a different thread pertaining to our latest recession and/or Congressional gridlock.

    Your closing comments, one referring to Atlas Shrugged and the notion that corporations would cease production to starve the government to induce a collapse, and the other about running out of other people's money, are Reductio ad absurdum fallacious arguments. In other words your two closing sentences, with dependent inferences, are absurd and not applicable to the United States.
  3. cavalierhome

    cavalierhome Member

    Oct 7, 2012
    The "redistribution" of wealth concept is not a Capitalist principal.
    The coveting of other peoples wealth used to be called jealousy, now it is treated an accepted principal.
    A capitalist government does not have a responsibility to “provide”. We as a people do. The government is just a tool we can use to do it.
    The wealthiest people in the US spend most of their fortune on philanthropy.
    Claiming the American Dream does not exist, is just creating license not to have to try. Simply if it does not exist it is not my fault I don’t succeed, so therefore it follows that the government should provide, preferably by taking the money from those other people who have more than me and must have cheated to get their money (or their parents did and left it to them) since the American dream does not exist.
    If we say it long enough maybe it will become true.
    Many people in the US have infinitely more money than me. I don’t want their money, I wish them all the success, I admire them and I am glad they are Americans.
    Claiming that a person making40K pays more tax than someone making a million is just plain miss statement of facts.
    A person with 40K in adjusted gross income (income – allowed deductions) pays less than 5% of their adjusted gross income in tax.
    A person with1Mill in adjusted gross income pays over 25% of their adjusted gross income in tax.
    The 40K earner pays $1,840 in tax and the 1Mill earner pays $252,000 in tax per year. In one year the 1Mill earner will pay an amount equal to what the 40K earner will pay in the next 136 years of his life. Still somehow people still want to claim that millionaires pay less than people in the 40K income bracket.
    If we need to pay more then will pay more. Show me where the money is going. Show me how many hungry people will get food, show me how many more qualified teachers we will get. Show me that we won’t be buying golden commodes for congress.
    All of these charts figures etc, have nothing to do with my original post.
    Blaming the democrats or the republicans is just looking for a way not to blame our self’s.
    We are ruining it not the government.
    Political finger pointing has to do with people affiliations and what part of the propaganda they believe.
    To me the idea of the American dream is way above all that.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  4. Hellstromm

    Hellstromm Active Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    Actually, my arguments to you were quite linear. I addressed what you presented, and did so directly --- no circles.

    Nope. You know, for someone who claims being totally incapable of understanding much of what I'm saying, I find it amazing that you can then state with such confidence these nondescript generalities on what you deem are my positions. And still get it wrong. Ah well...

    Right, so you left an extreme way of thinking, as a youngster, to embrace an opposite extreme way of thinking.

    I gather you don't see the problem with that?

    Yeah, wrong again. The middle class poses 7.6% of their income to charity, whilst the bottom upper class poses 4.2% and the upper class poses 2.8%. Nice try though (you know, with your continued misrepresentation of facts). ~ click here and here

    That's quite the logical fallacy you have going on there. Does it help you to sleep at night?

    Indeed, and so I have to ask, why do you insist on making such a misstatement since that is not at all what I stated?

    You do realize you're being deceptive, right? If not, then perhaps you need to chase "actual" figures instead of hugging only Federal income tax. It is clearly not the only tax out there and some are far lower than others (capital gain for example), and then there are the havens. Anyway, i'll leave you to either come out with true figures or, if you really wish to continue with this, you can stick with this line of deception.
  5. SLange

    SLange Guest

    I just want to add something before I bow out of this American Dream theme, having contributed some personal views from Another Country however distasteful those views may be. It is difficult to address your threads as you keep contradicting yourself and as an old person verging on senility it is getting too much for my tiny brain.

    "The "redistribution" of wealth concept is not a Capitalist principal."
    Not sure what this has to do with the American Dream which, as I understand it has always been work hard enough and you can achieve anything. Unfortunately, there are plenty who work their little socks off for a pittance and get nowhere, but, as you say that is their problem.

    "The coveting of other peoples wealth used to be called jealousy, now it is treated an accepted principal."

    This is referred to commonly as the politics of envy. One would have thought that the American Dream was based on the idea that everyone wants the opportunity to "make it", be successful and acquire the riches that are associated with having "made it". Surely that is an integral part of American thinking which is pumped into homes via advertisements and sponsorship, how can that be jealousy. I would say ambitious.

    "The wealthiest people in the US spend most of their fortune on philanthropy."

    Tax deductable and actually poor people donate to charity at a far greater percentage of their income, not so effective as a tax deduction when poor.

    I think you will find both rich and poor would like government expenditure to be accountable, not sure what that has to do with the American Dream either.

    To me you have demonstrated that the Dream constantly referred to is a paper tiger.
  6. cavalierhome

    cavalierhome Member

    Oct 7, 2012
    You should read everything...
    The IRS figures address capital gains, and all income sorces.
    Never gonna happen. Other peoples money is other peoples money. You can put up all the arguments you want, a person earning 1mill pays more then a pewrson earning 40K. Doesn't matter at all whatever you say.
    I have to go play the game now :)
  7. Hellstromm

    Hellstromm Active Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    Your earlier post, and the one above, are deceptive because, "the truly wealthy employ all kinds of legal means to minimize their tax liability, including shifting income around the world, deferring gains on their assets and many other sophisticated strategies. Another, though, is that taxes on ordinary income simply don’t apply to inheritance or investment, principal sources of wealth." ~ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/business/yourtaxes/a-wealth-tax-would-look-beyond-income.html

    One example posed in the above article is, "A billionaire can borrow against his stocks, art and real estate, and spend that borrowed money without paying tax. All he has to do is pay interest on the loan. When he dies, his heirs can sell the assets to pay off the debt. Under an existing rule known as the “step-up in basis,” no matter how much the assets have appreciated in value, no one will owe income tax on that gain. And the rest of his fortune goes to his heirs without anyone ever paying income taxes on the appreciation in the assets."
  8. cavalierhome

    cavalierhome Member

    Oct 7, 2012
    Are you an estate tax expert also, maybe you also dabble in social media advertizing...:) See I actually am an estate tax expert, I have been structuring peoples estate plans for 25+ years as part of my job as an RIA.
    The step up basis (if it survives) is only of benefit to people who use a “purposely deficient” trust. Under current tax law if you use a trust to shelter the future growth of your estate from estate tax (that would be most desirable seeing as we already paid millions of dollars of income tax on those assets during our life time) then you lose the step up basis.
    People with really substantial estates will not get this step up basis under current law.
    You can argue all you want. Even if we accept your totally wrong assumption that a person’s largest portion of their income is sheltered (not at all true) and also assume a person with 1 million dollars AGI actually earned 3 times that much but somehow magically as per your imagination made 2mill of it disappear, (a complete impossibility) that would still put that person paying an effective tax rate of 8.4% nearly twice as much as your 40K earner.
    You really should stick to arguments where you have some expertise.
    Again. Other people’s money is theirs; it is not yours or mine.
    You can use as many charts as you want. Nothing can dispute the fact that if a person earns $1 it belongs to them not the masses.
    Thinking that somehow you or anybody else is going to take other people’s money and re-distribute it is a total waste of time better used trying to make some money….
    Tomorrow wealthy people will be worth more than today. Tomorrow their children will have a large inheritance, tomorrow people who spend their time coveting other people’s money will have lost some time doing it and have nothing to show for it.
    This year my wife and I will give more money to people who really need it than 80% of the population of the US. When I file my tax I will pay more tax than 80% of folks in the US, and I don’t mind that at all. To the contrary I am very proud of it. What I mind is someone trying to convince me that what is mine should really be theirs.
    Tomorrow there will in fact be no American dream because instead of thinking how to get ahead, people are busy thinking how to get over.
    Now back to the regularly schedule game
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  9. Hellstromm

    Hellstromm Active Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    This entire discussion has been about what is, not what will be. The step-up basis was but one tax-haven available today. You just confessed to knowing about the step-up basis, demonstrating that yes, you were being deceptive earlier when posing that limited argument about taxation without mentioning anything else and your latest statements demonstrate you are aware of other tax havens.

    As to arguing, "other people's money," you might as well argue that taxation should not be imposed upon anyone, since of course taxation is the act of taking a percentage of "other people's money." Indeed, it's just an opportunistic wide-angle slogan you're creating there.

    In any event, you provided a de-facto confession of your intentionally posing deceptions in this debate and I have since addressed all your previous misrepresentations. At this point I'm sure you will resist making additional confessions of deception, but admitting just the blatant one above, alongside the series of reports and evidence I provided in disputation, is sufficient to discredit you & expose your agenda -- at least as pertains to this discussion.

    I.e., this thread never had anything to do with the American Dream. You created this thread, posturing about the American dream, as a façade, a charade of double-meanings to pose your dissatisfaction that there are serious Federal-level discussions about supplanting the present income tax structure with a "wealth tax." This would not only remove the need for your particular set of skills as an estate tax expert, a registered investment adviser (leaving you to abandon altogether your bread & butter for the past 25 years), it would also task you to pay on those properties you mentioned in "four different latitudes," and to pay on your yacht that is likely flagged with one of the Caribbean islands (i.e., more tax havens, yay).

    Thank you for your time.

  10. Smear09

    Smear09 Guest

    First I would like to say that I have read this debate through and it is very intriguing, I know I am not as experienced as all of you in this matter so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I would like to give my viewpoint as a young American just leaving college on this issue, I obviously do not have the real world experience that most of you seem to portray.

    The American Dream to me means being able to work your way up from poverty to middle class or middle class to the 1%, etc. as long as you work for it. That is what I was raised to believe and what I still believe to this day. In this regards I would definitely say that the dream is still alive, I may not have achieved it yet, but I am doing everything I can to get there.

    The issue comes from my generations work ethic. I will say that there are many of us out there that do have a good work ethic and are greatly contributing to today's society. However, I have seen way too many instances of my generation just giving up. They think that everything has to be handed to them and complain when life gets too hard. Now, I have always been very interested in politics, economics, etc. So I ask them, why don't you do something to fix your problems? Why don't you save your money instead of buying alcohol constantly? Why don't you not get pregnant and have to support a family on a minimum wage job before you even start your life? All things I have asked to people.

    The responses I get always amaze me. "Well, it's not my fault.", "Taxes are just too high", "Rent is just too high", "I'm in too much debt.". I may be foolish but to me they all sound like excuses as to why they are in a troubled spot. Undoubtedly some people are just down on their luck, but as it seems to me, most have just put themselves there.

    There also seems to be this pervasive thought that what we do doesn't matter. That "We can't affect the government or change society." or "It doesn't matter that I'm not involved because it won't change anything anyway." To me this is just sad, a very pessimistic view on life. I feel that we will always have the option to change the course of society, it just depends on if we have the will to do it.

    In the face of this, I'd like to ask what's the best advice that you would give to the younger generation today? Because I can't seem to change any of my peers minds on these issues, they think my version of the american dream is dead and long buried.

    Just my two cents.
    Hellstromm likes this.
  11. Hellstromm

    Hellstromm Active Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    And there it is, good insight Smear.

    The American dream doesn't exist, never did really... what exists is the opportunity, the recognition of that opportunity, and the will to act on that opportunity. The opportunity in the U.S., and many other republics, are many. However, they are not always obvious and there are many tricksters out there posing things as opportunities when they are, in fact, merely attempting to exploit your work, your energy.

    I have witnessed countless young people with ample excitement and energy, the will to succeed, the hope that something is out there, the opportunity they can grab and ride... and they don't get it. Opportunity isn't a ride you get into that will get you to fame and fortune. Opportunity is work, it's work that will get you somewhere, as opposed to work that won't, but it's still work. If you fail to put the time and effort into it, then it's just another job.

    As to tricksters, they pose situations as opportunities merely to harness your energy. There are no gains, no opportunities, merely a lot of work and meager growth opportunities. I consider McDonalds, Walmart, Amway and other such businesses as tricksters. They say things, "stick with us kid and you'll go places." Those places, of course, being downstairs where you can haul up more frozen fries.

    Colleges/universities do not necessarily provide you opportunities, but what they do instead is provide you an education and accreditation that will open more and greater opportunities. Education is the best means to success, but it also requires work.

    And that's the issue here. People have always looked for the easy out, and these days we have far more television shows and movies that poses "the American dream fulfilled" by being born with a silver spoon. I.e., having everything without ever lifting a finger. And when exposed to these stories, it tends to encourage people to look for an easy path, such as the lottery, or gambling, or sitting on our asses and waiting until someone comes up to them and offers them an opportunity... but hoping for luck to provide the American dream isn't real.

    So, instead, a good chunk of our generation runs to distractions, entertainment, games, to distract them from the fact they aren't willing to chase the opportunity, or they've been burned by the tricksters before and can't differentiate, or they've heard of the tricksters and are afraid of being another victim of deception, so instead they sit down, log on, and play...

    It's a scary world out there, no doubt. There are opportunities, but there are also those who have made it to their "American dream" by being vultures, by exploiting the carrion, the young and energetic. Being a vulture is also an opportunity, but it's not for everyone, and it's not a wise choice. Many people have good hearts and can't stomach the idea of exploiting others, so to them these kinds of opportunities, where you must exploit others, they really aren't opportunities, they're black holes.

    But there are clean opportunities, ones where you can help others, or help yourself without exploiting others. They exist, and they all require work to get there. So if your friends are hoping for a silver spoon existence, tell them to snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for themselves. They weren't born into wealth, so get over it.

    As to opportunities, and how to approach them, ensure your energy is not dependent upon the opportunities presented. Instead root your energy within yourself, do not attach it to intangible apples posed as opportunities. The old line of, "be the best you can be" applies here. It's not "be the best mcdonald's employee you can be," it's doing the best you can at whatever you put your mind to do and not attaching yourself to that role.

    The dream is misconstrued as something you can obtain without effort, but in truth it requires work. If that is a discouraging notion, then you understand why I say there is no American dream. What there is, is what has always existed since the dawn of time --- opportunity, and it has no borders. Fewer opportunities in some places, more opportunities in others. Dark and light, exploitative and altruistic. But ultimately a lot of work.
  12. cavalierhome

    cavalierhome Member

    Oct 7, 2012

    Not to start this debate all over again, but simply to respond to the question, this is ONLY my way. It may not be the best but it worked for me. Interestingly a young man asked me a very similar question last night; this is more or less what I told him:
    1) Work hard.
    2) Build your character ALWAYS do the right thing. It will build you up inside.
    3) ALWAYS look for opportunity. Opportunity is always around. It’s recognizing it that is hard. Lucky people seem to make their own luck. Actually what is happening is they never dismiss anything. They look for opportunity in everything. A chance meeting, an accident, and seemingly unimportant things that other people never even notice.
    4) Take calculated risks NOT foolish chances.
    5) Never quit. Never…. Be single minded.
    6) Do only ONE thing at a time. Do it very well, and then move on to the next thing.
    7) Believe in yourself.
    8 ) Live life well and surround yourself with successful, good people, don't let the need to be "cool" drag you with the bad group. Don’t EVER listen to naysayers, the ones who would make you believe “It can’t be done”, they don’t want to do it or are afraid of failure, so you know the old saying... “Misery loves company” Avoid that group MOST OF ALL.
    9) Don’t overstretch. Don’t over leverage. Buy what you can afford not what you would like. SAVE. It’s the only way to getting rich.
    10) Love your family, take care of your children, and be the best dad ever! This too builds you up inside.
    11) Help others as often as you can, even in small things. You would be amazed how a random act of kindness often gets repaid with opportunity. Helping other people also helps build you up inside.
    This building up inside cannot be overstated. The better person you are the better person you believe you are; the more you believe you deserve success the more likely it will happen.
    12) If you are a religious person let your faith help guide you. When in doubt ask… “Would someone like God approve of this”…
    13) Understand that you CAN NOT be anything you want… You can only be the BEST YOU CAN at those things you are good at. Look for what that is and concentrate on it.
    Finally… When in doubt see rule #1
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
    Hellstromm likes this.
  13. cavalierhome

    cavalierhome Member

    Oct 7, 2012
    :tup: @ Hellstromm
  14. Smear09

    Smear09 Guest

    Thank you both! That was extremely insightful.