Bachmann calls oil spill victim escrow account ‘a redistribution-of-wealth fund’

[quote="stinkcat_14, post:38, topic:202124"]
Median household income has gone up on an inflation adjusted basis over the past 30 years. On an inflation adjusted basis it has quadrupled, which probably explains why we have computers, cell phones, 500 channels and all sorts of other things that we never had in 1975.

davemanuel.com/median-household-income.php

[/quote]

If what you say here is accurate, then on a comparable basis, we could afford none of those luxuries.

If inflation outpaces the cost of living, then people are forced into destitution. Clearly that has not happened.

With excessive inflation, then the cost of necessities [such as food] increases so fast that people can barely afford the necessities.

So, you have it exactly backwards.

People who spout this kind of stuff should go back and take an economics course.

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:41, topic:202124"]
If what you say here is accurate, then on a comparable basis, we could afford none of those luxuries.

If inflation outpaces the cost of living, then people are forced into destitution. Clearly that has not happened.

With excessive inflation, then the cost of necessities [such as food] increases so fast that people can barely afford the necessities.

So, you have it exactly backwards.

People who spout this kind of stuff should go back and take an economics course.

[/quote]

Actually, I think you are the one who needs to take an economics course, and I ought to know because it is what I teach for a living. When real income increases, we can afford more stuff than we could before. And of course, that is how households on average responded, by buying more stuff, some of which didn't exist in 1975.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:36, topic:202124"]
Real wages are down. A simple Google/Yahoo search will give you plenty of data on this.

The minimum wage is down about 25% from 30 years ago.
oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html

[/quote]

The minimum wage statistics are pointless.

bls.gov/cps/minwage2004.htm

Minimum wage workers tend to be young. About half of all hourly-paid workers earning $5.15 or less were under age 25, and about one-fourth were age 16-19. Among teenagers, about 9 percent earned $5.15 or less. *** About 2 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less***. Among those age 65 and over, the proportion was 4 percent.

Only 2 percent of people we consider trying to make a living make minimum wage. So looking at minimum wage is meaningless.

It is better to look at mean or median wages. Again, from the BLS:

bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncbl0910.pdf

The average wage is $19.29/hr. That's more than double the federal minimum wage. (Disturbingly, government employees make $5/hr more than privately employeed workers).

Further, real wages have gone up:

epi.org/page/-/old/datazone/06/avr_after-tax_inc.pdf

In 1979, the average yearly income of the lowest quintile was $13,500. In 2003, it was $14,100, a 7% increase. The second quintile went from $27,300 to $30,800, a 12% increase.

Obviously the poor are better off in terms of real wages now than 30 years ago.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:36, topic:202124"]
Union membership is down. Where people used to be able to work a job at, let's say, a unionized general electric and, perhaps, someday afford a modest house, they now work in some sort of low wage/low benefits service sector job. Even if the pay is only slightly reduced for these jobs compared to what the unionized ones of old gave, the benefits are drastically reduced. This includes flexibility, child care options, health care, time off and overall happiness on the job.

[/quote]

Ummm....so what if union membership is down. Real wages have gone up. And, sorry, union jobs are not the kind of jobs poor people have. These are middle to upper-middle class jobs (ask Rich, his BIL is a truck driver and makes more than an electrical engineer with 15 years of experience and as much as a middle level manager at a railroad with 30 years of experience). Non-union jobs have the same kinds of benefits that union jobs have--healthcare, time off, and overall happiness on the job. Unless you are saying that me, an engineer, don't get any of these things since I'm not union.

Union membership is not an indicator of how the poor are doing now versus 30 years ago.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:36, topic:202124"]
Personal debt is up. Way up. We talk about that on these boards nearly every day.

[/quote]

Ummm....so? I make decent money (not six digits like some of our friends here), and the only personal debt my wife and I have is a house. That's it. No car loan. No credit cards. And (thank God), no more student loans. Gee, some kid, cutoff from any financial assistance from his family, managed to pay for college, get a job, own 2 vehicles, support a wife and a child, all without union benefits or government grants (though I did have Stafford student loans).

Now, why is personal debt up? Perhaps because credit is so easy to come by. It is not an indicator of being poor. In fact, I would think it would be more an indicator of wealth. It isn't that easy for a poor person to get generous credit lines.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:36, topic:202124"]
The poverty rate as remained stagnant despite all of the very real advancements that you had pointed out that some privileged Americans can now enjoy.
census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov2.html

[/quote]

Wait a minute. The poverty level is set by the government. The percentage of those in poverty is directly related to real wages and the threshold the government has set. Let's take a look at those thresholds, relative to real wages.

census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/threshld.html

1979: Bottom quintile income: $13,500, Poverty level: $6,213
2003: Bottom quintile income: $14,100, Poverty level: $14,824

What does that tell you? The government considers more people to be in poverty in 2003 than they did in 1979, not that there are actually more poor people. So citing poverty statistics without considering the threshold does not give a complete picture.

[quote="Beau_Ouiville, post:18, topic:202124"]
Did y'all notice that no one yet has explained how paying a damage claim is wealth distribution?

I guess being self-insured is down right communistic!

[/quote]

It depends on what the definition of "is" is.

What is a claim?

If the union bosses say the union should receive a billion dollars each, even if the nearest member is a thousand miles from the Gulf, is that a "claim"?

We see this happening over and over.

And sometimes, some managers are so overzealous that the claims are simply not paid. Administration, you know. Procedures. Policies. Forms. Paperwork. Approvals. Difficult to get signatures, when the signer is on a 747 or shooting hoops or on a golf course.

Back to the OP. Getting back on topic:

The President has NO authority to demand a private company give him $20 billion.

NONE.

There are existing mechanisms for settling claims.

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:45, topic:202124"]
Back to the OP. Getting back on topic:

The President has NO authority to demand a private company give him $20 billion.

[/quote]

Then BP must be pretty stupid for agreeing to pay it.

You make it sound like he is putting this money in his pocket.

He absolutely has the authority, and even has an obligation to the American people, to make such a request.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:47, topic:202124"]
You make it sound like he is putting this money in his pocket.

He absolutely has the authority, and even has an obligation to the American people, to make such a request.

[/quote]

If the President arrived at your door and demanded you pay everything in your bank account for whatever reason he chose, would he have the legal and constitutional authority to do that?

[quote="jjdrury81, post:47, topic:202124"]
You make it sound like he is putting this money in his pocket.

[/quote]

No, just the unions, "advisers", academic studies, acorn type assistance groups, etc. He threatened that he wouldn't stand by if BP lowballed the people of the gulf. Wait and see what they get from the federal government.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:47, topic:202124"]
You make it sound like he is putting this money in his pocket.

He absolutely has the authority, and even has an obligation to the American people, to make such a request.

[/quote]

That part is missing from my Constitution. Where would that authority be?

We have a courts system for financial redress.

Much like the shareholders for Chrysler and GM, the big 9 banks who received TARP funds, Obama "Made them an offer they couldn't refuse".

Bush was rightly criticized for expanding the Executive Branch's powers. Obama is taking even that to another level.

I'm deeply troubled by this.

[quote="irishpatrick, post:48, topic:202124"]
If the President arrived at your door and demanded you pay everything in your bank account for whatever reason he chose, would he have the legal and constitutional authority to do that?

[/quote]

I agree that he doesn't have the constitutional authority to enforce such a request. However, he has the right to ask for whatever he wants. The real question is why is BP so stupid as to comply with his request?

He made one phone call and had the CEO of GM fired, now he makes one so-called request of BP and BP is now on the hook to Obama for 20billion, and make no mistake, Obama will control that money.

I’d say NO, he does not have the right to ask that question, he is not an average citizen…his requests have teeth and BP knows that.

[quote="irishpatrick, post:52, topic:202124"]
He made one phone call and had the CEO of GM fired, not he makes one so-called request of BP and BP is now on the hook to Obama for 20b. I'd say NO, he does not have the right to ask that question, he is not an average citizen...his requests have teeth and BP knows that.

[/quote]

The CEO of GM could have sued and if Obama's request was illegal it would have been struck down by the courts. The same thing with BP, the company could have filed a lawsuit claiming that the President has no legal authority to enforce demands.

So, IrishPat, you would rather that the President stand by and do nothing while the people of the gulf are economically devastated due to the actions of BP?

That is very interesting...

[quote="stinkcat_14, post:53, topic:202124"]
The CEO of GM could have sued and if Obama's request was illegal it would have been struck down by the courts. The same thing with BP, the company could have filed a lawsuit claiming that the President has no legal authority to enforce demands.

[/quote]

Sure, in the meantime those companies would be pelted by the admin's PR machine and their companies would have gone under for sure.

[quote="irishpatrick, post:55, topic:202124"]
Sure, in the meantime those companies would be pelted by the admin's PR machine and their companies would have gone under for sure.

[/quote]

If Obama comes out against BP that automatically puts them in a positive light with about half of the population of the US. It is also highly doubtful that they would go under because what is the consumer going to do, stop driving?

[quote="stinkcat_14, post:53, topic:202124"]
The CEO of GM could have sued and if Obama's request was illegal it would have been struck down by the courts. The same thing with BP, the company could have filed a lawsuit claiming that the President has no legal authority to enforce demands.

[/quote]

Yeah, they could also get caught on tape clubbing a baby seal, which is legal under some cases. Both represent horrible choices for PR.

From the neocon spinmeisters at the BBC:

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7971202.stm

What is do we consider "Well, we'll give you this loan, but one of the conditions is THAT guy has to resign"?

[quote="stinkcat_14, post:56, topic:202124"]
If Obama comes out against BP that automatically puts them in a positive light with about half of the population of the US. It is also highly doubtful that they would go under because what is the consumer going to do, stop driving?

[/quote]

No way. Millions would boycott BP, and it is a fact that current boycotts are already hurting BP's profitability. It amazes me that the very same people who are "hating" on BP, and demand they pay, are also the ones making it more difficult for them to pay.

This modern culture has lost the knowledge of what the word "accident" means.

BP could legally have told Obama NO, but they know what sort of PR nightmare that would have been, they had no real choice.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:47, topic:202124"]
You make it sound like he is putting this money in his pocket.

[/quote]

That's almost what he is doing. But instead of his pocket, it is a slushfund that his czar gets to decide how to spend. I severely dislike the idea of $20 billion being managed by a presidential appointment of an "independent" commission with no oversight deciding how to spend BP's money.

And I would think you, and all Americans, would feel the same.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:47, topic:202124"]
He absolutely has the authority, and even has an obligation to the American people, to make such a request.

[/quote]

A request is one thing. A demand is another.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:54, topic:202124"]
So, IrishPat, you would rather that the President stand by and do nothing while the people of the gulf are economically devastated due to the actions of BP?

[/quote]

I didn't see irishpatrick suggest Obama do nothing. But demanding a slush fund seeded with BP money is problematic. Obama should stick to what he does best--giving speeches.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:54, topic:202124"]
So, IrishPat, you would rather that the President stand by and do nothing while the people of the gulf are economically devastated due to the actions of BP?

That is very interesting...

[/quote]

The President did nothing for 57 days, now he is strong arming a private company. I'd prefer Obama commit USA resources to help in any way it can and stop attacking private companies as if they are demons.

Obama's lack of doing anything, and his lack of showing any concern at all for weeks on end is simply stunning.

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