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jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 10:59 AM
i also like that idea sturm (i also think all military people are underpaid compared to private industry people...but this will cost more in taxes, but not if spending can be shifted from equipment to salaries like you suggested)

i had a friend who went to university of maine, a kind of strange place where there were many really rich kids or many very poor kids from the rural area of the state...not a huge middle class as in most other states

my friend, poor and from a rural area and tied to family obligations chose military service as an officer but at a fraction of what his fellow university alumni got in the private sector...besides their degrees, they had the connections which gave them the edge in maine's tough economy

so while the rich maine alumni are reeling in the bucks in cushy jobs, my friend is a tank commander at the ready to possibly die and get paid much less for doing it

his fellow officers have similar stories...either poor or without other options, and none out there in the field from a name university like harvard...tom ridge, who is now our homeland security chief, was the only harvard grad to be enlisted in the military in the whole vietnam war

EDIT...oops, i meant to post this in the thread about the draft:p

Desertrat
Aug 21, 2003, 11:32 AM
:p Isn't it one of the primary reasons that a lot of folks try to have a financially successful life, that they can create various benefits for their children?

The idea that life should be easier for the next generation is why we've built so many universities and spent so much money on education. That's why so many middle-class despise the inheritance tax.

The issue isn't that the rich can do things that the poor cannot. The issue is whether the poor, over a generation or three, can become rich, without "The System" precluding that.

There are no guarantees in life...

'Rat

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 11:55 AM
...and you know...in real terms (i saw a lot being in HR), education really has little to do with wealth

like i mentioned in another post, from the book "millionaire next door"...two out of three american millionaires are born that way...very few people can come from the middle class or lower and achieve true financial independence

maybe there are four million milliionares in our country of two hundred seventy million, but that's on paper...after taxes, that number is cut down by 75 percent when it comes to real cash

the largest group of so called millionaires are worth just around a million just on paper...before taxes...and are nowhere near financial independence

education is for getting educated and that is a good thing

but it doesn't equate to any real gains in income...yes, some gain, but only into higher tax brackets and still that college grad is one paycheck away from being broke

call me an old skeptic, but money is inherited

just ask mr W;) :p

mcrain
Aug 21, 2003, 11:57 AM
My tax professor once said that the best way to become a millionaire was to choose your parents wisely.

mactastic
Aug 21, 2003, 12:07 PM
I think you are right jef, I see what is essentially a ruling class that has been able to form. Just enough regular people make it to keep the dream alive, but by and large the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Thankfully they aren't getting poorer at quite the rate the rich are getting richer. Somehow most of our politicians come from money as well. Again, just enough to make the rest of us believe it's possible, but by and large high government offices are held by those who's families were able to send them to the best prep schools, colleges, experience in the right jobs, often dad's political contacts (rarely mom's) and financial backing from other well-to-do families. Also a huge proportion of them seem to be lawyers, specifically prosecuters. The amount of upward mobility into politics by prosecuters makes me highly suspect of the justice system in many cases. Prosecuters with political goals are less likely to be after the truth in many cases IMHO. It is also a poor job of representation of our society at large when most of the pols are lawyers.

This applies to both parties, so no one should feel particularly singled out about this rant.:D

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by mactastic
I think you are right jef, I see what is essentially a ruling class that has been able to form. Just enough regular people make it to keep the dream alive, but by and large the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Thankfully they aren't getting poorer at quite the rate the rich are getting richer. Somehow most of our politicians come from money as well. Again, just enough to make the rest of us believe it's possible, but by and large high government offices are held by those who's families were able to send them to the best prep schools, colleges, experience in the right jobs, often dad's political contacts (rarely mom's) and financial backing from other well-to-do families. Also a huge proportion of them seem to be lawyers, specifically prosecuters. The amount of upward mobility into politics by prosecuters makes me highly suspect of the justice system in many cases. Prosecuters with political goals are less likely to be after the truth in many cases IMHO. It is also a poor job of representation of our society at large when most of the pols are lawyers.

This applies to both parties, so no one should feel particularly singled out about this rant.:D

...and do you know how much it costs (out of pocket from the candidates) to successfully run for governor? i can't read the number on my calculator...it doesn't go that high:p

and those rich kids who go to prep schools and the ivy league...they would be almost just as rich if they dropped out in 5th grade

i went to two schools...cal poly in your neck of the woods and some other school...but private, rich, and kind of too conservative for my comfort level

the cal poly kids were mostly from middle class or working backgrounds looking for an education and hoping that they get a good job so they can pay off their student loan in ten years

at the other school, the private one, the students were worried about what kind of roofing material to put on their second house and liked to compare prices of diffrerent mercedes at the local dealership:p

mcrain
Aug 21, 2003, 01:03 PM
Originally posted by mactastic
It is also a poor job of representation of our society at large when most of the pols are lawyers.

This applies to both parties, so no one should feel particularly singled out about this rant.:D

Except lawyers like me?? :D :D ;)

mactastic
Aug 21, 2003, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by mcrain
Except lawyers like me?? :D :D ;)

Hehe... you're the exception. I guess I did single someone out after all!

Desertrat
Aug 21, 2003, 01:35 PM
I disagree about the "inheritance factor" for millionaires. After all, the percentage increase in just the last fifty years has been truly large. You just cannot have that big an increase from the small beginning in numbers that existed in, say, the 1930s and 1940s.

It was reported that of the 17,000 employees of Microsoft in +/- the year 2000, some 4,000 were millionaires. They weren't born that way.

My wife, independently, has a net worth of near a million, and it's solely through her own efforts. I'm near a net worth of a million, and I at one time was too poor to buy food (50 years ago). I've inherited relatively little, but have done a fair amount of hustling for a lazy guy. I've mostly drifted along, self-sufficient but not much more, for twenty-four years. If I'd wanted them, the opportunities were certainly there.

Sorry, I've just seen too darned many people who did indeed follow the "American Dream" and are sitting pretty darned fat and happy. Most of them began from fairly humble beginnings.

And ask yourself: When you see all those $400K Bluebird RVs, do you think those Old Farts inherited the money to buy them?

:), 'Rat

mactastic
Aug 21, 2003, 01:44 PM
I think one of the most profound misunderstandings between right and left these days is their definition of rich. When I say rich, I mean someone who has a net worth of over $25 million. I wouldn't consider you're combined $2 million as even close to rich. You are solidly in the upper middle class area in my book. I think a lot of conservatives think when we say the rich we mean them, when in fact they aren't even close.

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 03:10 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
I disagree about the "inheritance factor" for millionaires.

:), 'Rat

i am not saying that you should agree with it...i am just stating a fact i read...it's like i am saying the sky is blue

2/3 rds of american millionaires are born that way...do i like it that way? no.

do people still make it in america? yes...if 2/3rds of millionaires are born that way, that means that 1/3 must have earned it...or if they inherited many hundreds of thousands, they earned the rest to put their net worth over a million

i have also seen self made millionaires, and i have also seen A list hollywood actors, but compared to the population at large, it's a fairly insignificantly small number of people

if one half of one percent of america are millionaires and only a third of those made some or all of it to make it to a million net worth, after taxes/gross amount, then it's not as common as some people would like to think

we always hear bill gates this and bill gates that, or some story of some billionaire dot.com wizard who beat the odds, and they tend to get high profile stories and a lot of coverage, but this is not everyday america as most people come in contact with

but billionaires are people one may meet once in a lifetime...i did meet david packard as a kid and he told me to quit my job and become self employed....he was the original self employment guru way before amway or that "rich dad, poor dad" author..."i am david packard and i started a huge business from humble beginnings in my garage and so can you...:p

mactastic
Aug 21, 2003, 03:25 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
I disagree about the "inheritance factor" for millionaires. After all, the percentage increase in just the last fifty years has been truly large. You just cannot have that big an increase from the small beginning in numbers that existed in, say, the 1930s and 1940s.

:), 'Rat

I gotta say, there are several things wrong with this statement. First off, you aren't comparing a millionaire from today with a millionaire from yesterday are you? That's not possible. As I'm sure you know, a million bucks ain't what it used to be.

Second, what is truly large? One half of one percent doesn't sound large to me.

Third, we may indeed have added a fair number of millionaires to this country since the '30, but we've also added 150,000,000 more people or so.

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by mactastic
I gotta say, there are several things wrong with this statement. First off, you aren't comparing a millionaire from today with a millionaire from yesterday are you? That's not possible. As I'm sure you know, a million bucks ain't what it used to be.

Second, what is truly large? One half of one percent doesn't sound large to me.

Third, we may indeed have added a fair number of millionaires to this country since the '30, but we've also added 150,000,000 more people or so.

let's say even ten percent of americans were millionaires...though a large number that would be, it's nowhere near truly large in the context that 90 percent are not

one thing that has become truly large since the 30s is the percentage of high school graduates and i applaud america for investing in education...also, our literacy rate has greatly improved over the last century

Desertrat
Aug 21, 2003, 06:18 PM
jef, what's your source for "i am not saying that you should agree with it...i am just stating a fact i read."? I've read stuff that indicates the opposite.

mac, I've run across articles claiming to use government data which stated that the percentage of our population worth one million or more has been increasing since back in the 1960s.

My personal opinion is that regardless of the comparative buying power of the dollar between some four decades back, and now, the first million is still the hardest. If one's incentive remains after passing that milestone, the "add-ons" are easier.

Had today's tax structure been in place in the latter half of the 19th century, most of Edison's research would not have been funded. Just a point to ponder...:)

'Rat

mactastic
Aug 21, 2003, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
jef, what's your source for "i am not saying that you should agree with it...i am just stating a fact i read."? I've read stuff that indicates the opposite.

mac, I've run across articles claiming to use government data which stated that the percentage of our population worth one million or more has been increasing since back in the 1960s.

My personal opinion is that regardless of the comparative buying power of the dollar between some four decades back, and now, the first million is still the hardest. If one's incentive remains after passing that milestone, the "add-ons" are easier.

Had today's tax structure been in place in the latter half of the 19th century, most of Edison's research would not have been funded. Just a point to ponder...:)

'Rat

Of course there are more millionaires today than in the 1960's. But a million dollars really isn't that much money now. What I'd really like to know is how that translates into real dollar amounts between the two time periods. For instance I'm just guessing here with my numbers but you'll get the point: a 2003 millionaire would be roughly equivalent to a 1960's person with say $500,000. Thus to equal the million dollars of a 1960's type, today you would have to have several 10's of millions. It's apples to oranges otherwise.

Desertrat
Aug 21, 2003, 06:39 PM
Yeah, constant-dollars info would be helpful...

'Rat

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
jef, what's your source for "i am not saying that you should agree with it...i am just stating a fact i read."? I've read stuff that indicates the opposite.


'Rat

my source is the book, "the millionaire next door" ...a great read btw

my favorite quote from it concerning wealth is, "big hat, no cattle";) :p

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2003, 08:28 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by jefhatfield
my source is the book, "the millionaire next door" ...a great read btw

my favorite quote from it concerning wealth is, "big hat, no cattle" referring to those yuppies who have those fancy clothes and car but no house or cash in the savings account;) :p [QUOTE]

even the most optomistic, clinton-loving "we had a great boom" statistics will never indicate that even five percent of americans are worth one million....even on paper! and like mentioned before, a million is not what is used to be...though it is still a tidy amount that a smart person (with money) can be financially independent

in my book, you have achieved the american dream, imho...and on that, congrats

also, i am a dem ;)

RobVanDam
Aug 21, 2003, 11:02 PM
Our military men and women are underpaid, but it would be insanely stupid to take money away from equipment to pay soldiers.

Why? Because the equipment we develop and produce is the best in the world. Anyone else can try to make a case, but American equipment always comes out on top. Case in point: F-18. The French have spent like 15 years or so, and countless millions (if not billions) to create this new fighter jet. What is the end product? A fighter jet that is only slightly better than a base F-18. Include the updates we have made for it, and the F-18 is better.

The M1 Abrams.

The F-117A.

The B-2.

These are all American developed, American made, and number one in the world in their class.

Hell, the F-14 is still a decent plane, and it's almost 20 years old I believe.

mactastic
Aug 22, 2003, 12:03 AM
Hell, the F-14's been around since the early 70's AFAIK. Aging, but still a workhorse. Good thing it works as a carrier based bomber, there hasn't been any real need for a dogfighter in a while. I wonder when the last real ariel dofgfight took place anyway...

RobVanDam
Aug 22, 2003, 04:02 AM
The last "real" dogfight, probably the last time we engaged some MIG's over Iraq. MIG's are good, but Iraqi pilots just plain suck.

mactastic
Aug 22, 2003, 08:50 AM
Nah, that don't count. I mean one where both pilots were equally at risk of gettin blown out of the sky. AFAIK, Iraq got 0 planes off the ground for Dubya Dubya 2, and only a very very few in Gulf War 1. Any Iraqi planes that did make it up were certainly not even close to the capabilities of the U.S. fighters.

Oh, and I was thinking too, the Navy still uses the A-6 Intruder, and that plane has been in production since the 1950's I believe. Not bad.

jefhatfield
Aug 22, 2003, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
Our military men and women are underpaid, but it would be insanely stupid to take money away from equipment to pay soldiers.


i think instead of a draft, to try and get a broader cross section of society to join...private college grads and rich kids just out of high school who may have gone to a private high school and can easily get a 1400 on the sat...it is a good idea to up the pay

i hear you on the military hardware...we can't let the enemy catch up

but i have hope that we can put out good stuff cheap...look at the f-16...cheap by comparison to the f-15 and f-22 in the air force, but still very capable and upgradeable with newer avionics

i hope the joint strike fighter...which is promised to be affordable in the end...will be a success like the f-16

RobVanDam
Aug 22, 2003, 12:36 PM
The F-16 is nice, but developing an F-22 Raptor is much more effective in the end.

And if you want the pay to get raised, get everyone you know that is of voting age to call this number: 202-225-3121. It's the number for the congressional switchboard. Then, after you've done that, tell your friends in other states to call too and demand the soldiers get a pay increase.

Personal experience is one thing that can encourage change from a politician, another is the risk of losing votes.

jefhatfield
Aug 22, 2003, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
The F-16 is nice, but developing an F-22 Raptor is much more effective in the end.

And if you want the pay to get raised, get everyone you know that is of voting age to call this number: 202-225-3121. It's the number for the congressional switchboard. Then, after you've done that, tell your friends in other states to call too and demand the soldiers get a pay increase.

Personal experience is one thing that can encourage change from a politician, another is the risk of losing votes.

thanks for the number

i will give them a call...i can't see why we can't both have f-22s and higher pay

hundreds of thousands are spent training just one pilot flying a multimillion dollar jet

where i went to college was the main school for air force officers (like chief of staff of the air force general jumper) to get their grad degrees...and guess what, many took MBAs to get skills so they can leave the air force and make MBA bucks on the outside ;)

and also in that same town is the naval postgraduate school, the navy's second most common place for a navy officer to get a grad degree...and many leave the navy after that for more money

i say pay the pilot the equivalent of what someone his/her age would make in the civilian world...this is why so many capable pilots leave the service every year...money is a big factor, especially if the person has a new house or has large student loans to pay off

RobVanDam
Aug 22, 2003, 01:12 PM
Higher pay would definately attract more people too. It would get a much better cross-section of society you're looking for. It would have to be a pretty decent sized increase though.

Some more info for ya.

Toll-Free Congressional Switch Board (These come and go, this one might have disappeared already, haven't tried it): 1-800-839-5276

The congressional switchboard also gets pretty jammed up, especially with all the things happening right now. That's why it's much easier to contact your congressman directly.

To find the number to do so, go to this site:

http://www.capwiz.com/wa/dbq/officials

jefhatfield
Aug 22, 2003, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
Higher pay would definately attract more people too. It would get a much better cross-section of society you're looking for. It would have to be a pretty decent sized increase though.

Some more info for ya.

Toll-Free Congressional Switch Board (These come and go, this one might have disappeared already, haven't tried it): 1-800-839-5276

The congressional switchboard also gets pretty jammed up, especially with all the things happening right now. That's why it's much easier to contact your congressman directly.

To find the number to do so, go to this site:

http://www.capwiz.com/wa/dbq/officials

thanks for the extra link, too

when i first moved back to my hometown nearly 20 years ago, i lived in an apartment complex which had a lot of military and i got to hear about all the money woes...low pay, maxed out credit cards, long hours off the books, etc

then in the next decade, i saw a lot of the soldiers go to school to get further skills, but on the dime of uncle sam...many could simply not afford higher education whether it was college or grad school

i know my congressman since he's also from my same town of 4400 so i will not hold back my gripies about military and civil service pay being too low:p