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Comment: Re: Decent (Score 1) 471

For my part, I choose to wring my hands contemplating the single mom who has to make hard decisions about which bills she will be paying this month and which will have to wait. I won't spend much emotional energy worrying about the lower middle class teenager who feels that life is just not worth living if she is not decked out in Louis Vuitton. Apparently, your mileage varies. Whatever. Enjoy your poverty. I'm sure it will be filled with all sorts of useless crap that doesn't enhance your life and is beyond your income. Just remember, you (or the marketers you in thrall to) asked for it.

I will wring my hands for both groups. But the point you seem to be missing is that advertisers have worked to influence the subconscious. It's not a matter of you making conscious, rational decisions about what you buy. You are influenced without your knowledge. Even if you are on-guard against it (and most people aren't) you can still be manipulated. I am hyper-aware of this dynamic and even I have been sucked in.

You seem to chalk this up to weak-willed people, sure in your knowledge that you would never be influenced by advertizing. Though I don't know you, I doubt it. These people have spent almost a century refining the art of influence at a distance. It's not just ads on billboards, television, magazines and websites. They have studied the psychology of acceptance, rejection, love, want, fear, hope, envy, superiority, belonging, self-esteem, class and status. They work your feelings about who you are and your place in life. Do you know why you have to add an egg to an instant cake mix? It has nothing to do with making the cake.

Comment: Re:Incentive to Work Harder? (Score 1) 471

by kilfarsnar (#49486425) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

This is exactly what's wrong with America. The majority is convinced convinced that our economy is broken because people aren't working hard enough. I'm convinced of the exact opposite. The reason the economy isn't working right is because people are working too hard in exchange for too little. Furthermore, we could be more productive, and more prosperous, by working more cooperatively and less competitively.

You sir, are spot on. And I also think this is why America will continue its decline into neo-feudalism. We have a number of dearly held, cherished beliefs that are really counter productive.

Comment: Re:Socialism! (Score 1) 471

by kilfarsnar (#49486361) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

I realize you're trolling, but there's nothing about capitalism that prohibits benevolence. This seems to be a very confusing point for many people.

Perhaps, but there is plenty about Capitalism that discourages benevolence. If that were not the case, this story wouldn't have the appeal that it does and supply-side economics would work. Capitalism facilitates aggregating wealth in the hands of the owners. Many of those owners strove to become owners in order to become wealthy. You don't become wealthy by sharing.

Comment: Re:Decent (Score 1) 471

by kilfarsnar (#49486189) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

No this is the great "tax" thing to do. He'll just take his paycheck in dividends, stock options, and capital gains on said stock options, along with buying all his cars, homes and toys on the company dime (those will then all be tax right offs too) and pay about 1/4 the tax. At the same time he'll get a giant PR boost for being such a kind hearted socialist.

The other end of that stick is he is going to hit all the salary workers with a lot of overtime since they all got big raises.

I'm sure people are going to love making ends meet with their new windfall, but not love working 60+ hours a week to do so.

Who pissed in your corn flakes? I have to marvel at the level of discourse when a person considers this CEO to be a "kind hearted socialist". You really think paying people more than you absolutely have to is Socialism? The propaganda is working well.

Comment: Re:Decent (Score 3, Insightful) 471

by kilfarsnar (#49485979) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

What he just did was remove all money worries from his staff.

Not necessarily. When people earn more money, they tend to spend more less efficiently or for things they want more than need. If they have poor discipline, now they are eligible for more credit and can rack up bigger debts faster.

Often people spend more money than they should, Or they have a "spending disorder", such as Shopping Addiction OR Binge + Buyer's Remorse, and it ultimately results in money worries.

In other words: money worries are not exclusively caused by low salaries. Money worries can be caused by insufficient education/poor resource management, and psychological problems as well.

Our modern economy is based on this dynamic. We would not be able to sustain economic growth if people just bought what they need and maybe a little extra. Because of the way our monetary and economic systems are set up, they require constant growth or the music stops.

I would also add that people are constantly inundated with advertizing. That advertizing often seeks to make the subject feel inadequate in some way and offers the solution by way of the product being advertized. People have studied how to make people react in a certain way and what triggers their responses. Basically it is those people's job to figure out what makes you tick and use that knowledge to manipulate you. So I can't be too hard on people who make seemingly foolish decisions with their money. We are so immersed in advertizing and PR it's hard to even see it happening. The psychological pressure is immense and is designed to be hard to resist.

Comment: Re:And it's not even an election year (Score 1) 407

Relative sizing aside, the 401k may not be the largest asset, but it IS the asset that they can use for liquidity when they get old. They can't just sell their house, nor is a new or second mortgage a good idea.

It is entirely legitimate to not want to wipe out the savings of the middle class just so you can get at the rich people. The rich people may lose a bigger absolute number, but the middle class will lose out proportionately.

I know what you're saying. I would have lost quite a bit of value in my portfolio had what I advocated transpired. But you know what happens when people are shielded from the consequences of their actions? They do it again.

It's not about getting at rich people. It's about exposing the criminality that lead to the crash. There was massive fraud at all levels; from the banks to the loan originators to the ratings agencies. But because of the way it was handled, most people don't know that. The banks that were systemic risks, too big to fail, are today even bigger.

We haven't corrected the conditions that allowed the crisis. The people who caused it through fraud and negligence have not been held to account. And the public doesn't understand what really happened and why. All that is by design, of course. But it also guarantees that it will happen again. Sure, handling the aftermath of the crisis the right way would have been painful. But many people were hurt by these bad actors, and have had no restitution. They lost their homes, declared bankruptcy, etc. Hell, people were foreclosed upon who didn't even have a mortgage! None of that was dealt with, and the people who made it happen got 7 figure bonuses. Corruption has consequences, and so does not dealing with that corruption.

Comment: Re: Must example set of him (Score 1) 626

If you don't like the law, there are two things you can do. Either 1. Don't break the law. or 2. Appeal to your congresscritter to get the law changed. That being said, changing desktop wallpaper or other configuration on someone else's computer is extremely rude and not befitting of a member of society.

Meh, I'm going to go with option 3; breaking the law and doing my best not to get caught. Insert Judas Priest song here.

Comment: Re:And it's not even an election year (Score 1) 407

That's because of greed on the part of universities.

And an anti-tax mantra that sounds good on the surface but starves states and cities of revenue, forcing them to cut services or shift the cost to the students, thereby funneling money to Wall Street.

I'm not disagreeing with your point about greed at the Universities. But the big financial boys know how the system works too. Consequences aren't always unintended.

Comment: Re:And it's not even an election year (Score 1) 407

Obviously "they" don't want to destroy their own country; they just want to get rich in it. The fact that this is done at your expense makes little difference to them. You can accuse the upper class of being shortsighted...but....realize that even if the economy tanks most of them still do quite well.

They still do well largely because they have captured the government. Can you imagine what would have happened to the 1% if the banks had not been bailed out, but put into receivership instead? If shareholders had been wiped out and bondholders taken a haircut? If people had been charged with their crimes? If the public had been allowed to see what they had actually done?

Comment: Re: And It's Illegal to Videotape Police (Score 4, Insightful) 489

by kilfarsnar (#49438253) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Our scared-shitless terrorism reactionary laws allow the police to hold anyone for 48 hours without charge. That's more than enough for many (most?) people to lose their jobs. Submit or else, citizen.

This is a good point. They don't have to convict you to screw up your life.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"