Occupy Wall Street Is Half Right

The protestors are right to complain about crony capitalism.

What's there to say about Occupy Wall Street? The answer isn't so simple. Some complain about taxpayer bailouts of businesses. Good for them. In a true free market, failing firms would go out of business. They couldn't turn to Washington for help.

But many protesters say they're against capitalism. Now things get confusing. What do they mean? If by "capitalism" they mean crony capitalism (let's call it crapitalism), a system in which favored business interests are supported by government, I'm against that, too.

But if they mean the free market, then they are fools. When allowed to work, the market has lifted more people out of the mud and misery of poverty than any government, ever.

The protesters are also upset about income disparity. Here again we should make distinctions. To the extent the country's income disparity is the result of crony capitalism, it's bad.

Yet even if America had a true free market, there would be income disparity. It's a byproduct of freedom. Some people are just more ambitious, more energetic, and more driven, and some have that ineffable knack of sensing what consumers want. Think Steve Jobs.

But it shouldn't matter if the income gap between you and rich people grows. What should matter is that your living standard improves.

Your living standard many not have improved lately. Over the past decade, median income fell. But that's an aberration largely caused by the bursting of the real estate bubble. Despite Wall Street protesters' complaints about rich people gaining at the expense of the poor, the poorest fifth of Americans are 20 percent wealthier than they were when I was in college, and despite the recession, still richer than they were in 1993.

And income statistics don't tell the whole story. Thanks to the innovations of entrepreneurs, today in America, even poor people have clean water, TV sets, cars, and flush toilets. Most live better than kings once lived—better even than the middle class lived in 1970.

Some protesters say they hate the market process that makes that possible. They call rich people "robber barons." That term was used by American newspapers to smear tycoons like Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. But Vanderbilt and Rockefeller were neither robbers nor barons. They weren't barons because they weren't born rich. They weren't robbers because they didn't steal. They got rich by serving customers well. As Burton Folsom wrote in The Myth of the Robber Barons, there were political entrepreneurs, who made their fortunes through government privilege, and market entrepreneurs, who pleased consumers.

Rockefeller and Vanderbilt were market entrepreneurs. Vanderbilt invented ways to make travel cheaper. He used bigger ships and served food onboard. People liked that, and the extra customers he attracted allowed him to lower costs. He cut the New York-Hartford fare from $8 to $1. That helped people.

Rockefeller was called a monopolist, but he wasn't one. He had 150 competitors—including big companies like Texaco and Gulf. No one was ever forced to buy his oil. Rockefeller got rich by finding cheaper ways to get oil products to the market. His competitors vilified him because he "stole" their customers by lowering prices. Ignorant reporters repeated their complaints.

In truth, Rockefeller's price cuts made life better. Poor people used to go to bed when it got dark, but thanks to Rockefeller, they could afford fuel for lanterns and stay up and read at night. Rockefeller's "greed" may have even saved the whales. When he lowered the price of kerosene, he eliminated the need for whale oil, and the slaughter of whales suddenly stopped. Bet your kids won't read "Rockefeller saved the whales" in environmental studies class.

I have at least found some common ground with some Wall Street protest supporters. Joe Sibilia, who runs the website CSRWire (Corporate Social Responsibility), told me, "You can't have an environment where people are betting on financial instruments with the expectation that the government is going to bail them out."

So we agree that Wall Street bailouts are intolerable. Now we just have to teach our progressive friends that truly free markets work for the benefit of all.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.

COPYRIGHT 2011 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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  • ||

    Poor Americans are "20 percent richer than in 1993"? Nein I say! Nein!

    Is that factoring in the elevated unemployment, lower wages, and greatly inflated costs of healthcare/edumucations?

    Nein-Nein-Nein!

  • ||

    OK, still trying to verify wage data... I still stand behind my sentiments of nein though...

  • BakedPenguin||

    Before you go to all that trouble, perhaps you could re-read the column.

    ...the poorest fifth of Americans are 20 percent wealthier than they were when I was in college, and despite the recession, still richer than they were in 1993.
  • ||

    Well, its an asseveration advanced without any empirical support.

  • anarch||

    Missed you- welcome back!

  • Skr||

    Yeah I'm pretty sure Stossel was long out of college in 1993.

  • ||

    The data that makes people feel like things aren't getting better is household income. But that data is misleading because households are of different sizes and they vary over time. What we really care about is people, so we should look at per capita income. When you do that you can see very clearly that there have been large gains.
    Watch this for a better explanation:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrtoSx-NbLQ

    Additionally the bottom 20% of ten years ago and the bottom 20% of today are not made up of the same people. People have better incomes as they get older, and the bottom 20% is largely made up of young people who've just entered the workforce.
    Watch this for a better explanation:
    http://www.learnliberty.org/co.....ing-poorer

  • Beloved Commenter Tim||

    From what I've seen of your visits, you're lucky you weren't lynched.

  • ||

    Yes, crony capitalism sucks. But, John, I really think you're missing the point. These guys have no problem with crony capitalism. 47% of them favored the bailouts. I don't see a sign anywhere complaining about Solyndra.
    Why are so many libertarians more eager to ally themselves with the sworn enemies of freedom than imperfect, conservative hypocrites?

  • ||

    The corporate people are only stealing because they can. Cut them off the government trough and they will go back to earning an honest living. What will these fuckers do?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Because gay marriage and trannies.

  • ||

    Great. So, you can wear women's clothing when you and your life partner are thrown onto a collectivized farm.

  • o3||

    "sworn enemies of freedom"
    _
    would you PLEASE give some warning BEFORE the explosive rusharrhea coats the wallz !

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Triple Asshole,

    I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention - did you moo something?

  • Apatheist||

    Why don't you prefer my Team Red to those Team Blue scum whaaaaaaa!

  • ||

    I get you point. But, I've also noticed that the attitude of many to reaching out to the Tea Parties was noticably hostile. Yet, somehow or another finding common cause with these guys seems okay. Whats the matter, you really prefer Urban Outfitters to WalMart that much?

  • Maxxx||

    Pretty much.

    Besides a lot of the OWS douchebags are trusties and the metrosexual liberaltarians think their parties are cool.

  • ||

    and want to fuck their dirty hippy women for some reason.

  • ||

    Just don't stick me with the doctor's bill for your treatments afterward.

  • Skr||

    Because we live in major cities and our friends are eating this shit up we feel a need to say, "well yes there are a few valid points but a lot of terrible ones as well.". Instead of saying, "you're all a bunch of stupid, dirty, hippie, trustifarian, ratfuckers," and then wondering why we never hear from anyone anymore.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Bill, are you mad? Do you seriously think that Left-Wing wakkaloons are in any way significantly worse the Right-Wing wakkaloons?

  • ||

    "Conservatives" are not reliable supporters of liberty either - they're for free markets until their favorite boondoggle - whether it be funding for Israel or funding the military industrial complex - is at risk.

    Libertarians have to reach people where they live, and that includes OWS.

  • Coeus||

    But if they mean the free market, then they are fools.

    They do mean the free market, and they are fools. That is all.

  • Zeebs||

    Stossel may have interesting points to make, but he is an awful writer. Awful. Is it possible to have him write the movie reviews and have Kurt Loder write pieces like this instead?

  • Ska||

    Will the new articles be accompanied by Peace Sells?

  • Copernicus||

    He's a good write because
    he... is....very...simple...and...uses...small...words...

  • Copernicus||

    aarrggg.

    "writer" not "write"

  • ||

    John seems to think that these folks are just ignorant. They don't know that capitalism has improved virtually everyone's life. The problem is John, many out there do know that. They are psychopaths. They hate the wealthy, and would gladly support systems that level standards of living, even if those standards are lower for everyone.

    The others are Democrats and their union cronies who want to retain power. So theri standard of living can improve. By stealing our money.

  • ||

    "They don't want to be rich. They want you to be poor. They don't want to succeed. They want you to fail. They don't want to live. They want you to die."

  • e||

    It's worse than that. They want the rich to be taxed higher. Perhaps as high as in the Reagan years.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This has been a standard form complaint from leftists for time immemorial -- the rich are only rich because they exploited someone, and prosperity is sufficient proof for said exploitation. Only in shared misery/prosperity can we be sure that exploitation is not ongoing, regardless of how much force is needed to get to this point.

    They're half-right, but their definitions of exploitation and fairness are so baked that they just end up being wrong all over again.

  • "Free" Markets aren't free||

    That's just a sales pitch from the religio-economic priestcraft.*

    It's as transparently false as the priestcraft controlling people with the notion that God loves you -- and he'll roast you alive in Hell for the think-crime of being skeptical about it.

    Our system of private property in land forces landless men to work for others; to work in factories, stores, and offices, whether they like it or not. wherever access to land is free, men work only to provide what they actually need or desire. Wherever the white man has come in contact with savage cultures this fact becomes apparent. There is for savages in their native state no such sharp distinction between "work" and "not working" as clocks and factory whistles have accustomed the white man to accept. They cannot be made to work regularly at repetitive tasks in which they have no direct interest except by some sort of duress. Disestablishment from land, like slavery, is a form of duress. ~Dr. Ralph Borsodi

    ___________
    * Economists instead were assigned the task to dispense priestly blessings that would allow business to operate independent of damaging political manipulation. They accomplished this task by means of their message of “laissez faire religion, based on a conception of a society composed of competing individuals.” However false as a description of the actual U.S. economy...

    — Robert H. Nelson, REACHING FOR HEAVEN ON EARTH

    Economic efficiency has been the greatest source of social legitimacy in the United States for the past century, and economists have been the priesthood defending this core social value of our era.

    — Robert H. Nelson, ECONOMICS AS RELIGION

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The worst part about compulsive gambolers is that they just don't know when to quit.

  • Officer, am I free to Gambol?||

    Statists do want anybody talking about freedom to shut up.

  • Juice||

    I guess, according to the poster above, we should have 300,000,000 people living on the commons like the native Americans. Fish all you want, hunt all you want, take what you need from the land. It's true freedom, I guess.

  • Skr||

    And fishing hunting and farming are apparently not work that must be done to prevent distress.

  • Cranky Yankee||

    Coeus,
    They don't know what a free market is.

  • Neither do you.||

    Your idea of free market is enforced by coercion.

  • Another Phil||

    Bzzt! There is no enforcement at all if you don't commit force or fraud. That you want to be free to do so doesn't change that fact.

  • Coeus||

    Which is why they are fools. It's not like the information is hidden.

  • ||

    Speaking of the protesters. Instapunidt has this up from Boston.

    Demonstrator Andrew Warner, 36, said homeless people are hijacking tents, getting drunk, “passing out” and stealing.

    “It’s turning into us against them,” Warner said. “They come in here and they’re looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don’t bring anything to the table at all. It gets really frustrating.

    http://jammiewearingfool.blogs.....olent.html

    But forgive my loans and give me a job!!!

  • ||

    Priceless!

    My wife's work in Boston is just a few hundred yards from the Rose Kenedy "greenway" in Boston. She takes the train into Boston's South Station then she takes the subway to Park Street and walks the rest of the way.

    However, she has freely chosen to walk an extra block just to avoid the rabble rousers (my mother-in-law's term).

    Tomorrow, I am picking my wife up at work and I am going to go in early, somehow snag a parking space and intermingle with them for a little while.

    You can be damn sure that I am going to focus on free markets and Obama bashing. I want conflict. Therefore I am not going to talk about war, the military industrial complex and empire.

  • ||

    You are out there doing God's work Mike

  • ||

    John, I make no bones about being a contrarian. What fun would it be to just talk to them about things upon which we agree?

    My goal is to get them to contradict themselves and to utter some real stupid.

  • ||

    Yes it would be. I wish I were a really good satirist. These people would be so easy.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Put their responses on Youtube! Just use a flash memory audio recorder or something. You can use still internet pictures for illustration.

  • Ska||

    Please bring a video recorder.

  • Daviud S||

    "...forgive my loans and give me a job".
    No. But allow students to declare bankruptcy (and suffer the penalty of doing so) and let the lenders that gave them the loans eat the loss so that in the future lenders will take more care in choosing who to lend to. This will reduce the amount of cash that students will have to spend, which will drive down prices and result in less degrees in useless subjects.

    The solution to high costs in education (or housing) isn't to find new ways of financing, it eliminating the fraud that is inflating the costs.

    In other words, allow the market to work.

  • ||

    That's good-- that an OWS campsite should turn into a microcosm where shiftless freeloaders attempt to mooch off the shifty freeloaders. A real-world illustration of why socialism doesn't quite work.

  • John Stossel got a mention...||

    ...here.

    Without Spencer or Rand, John Stossel might be just another selfish prick talking shit to his drinking buddies, rather than "Americas favorite investigative reporter." ("We grow up learning that some things are just bad: child labor, ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling, blackmail, etc. But maybe they're not.") Without the easy victory of these sociopathic influences, we might merely be living in an oligarchy. As it is, welcome to the sociopatholigarchy.

    We Are The Monsters We've Been Waiting For
    by Jeff Wells
    Thursday, September 01, 2011
    http://rigint.blogspot.com/

  • ||

    Can you please come and clean the stupid off of my computer. Why the fuck is ticket scalping bad? Being a lazy bastard with a decent bank account, I love scalpers.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Ticket scalping is bad because it undermines the governmentally enforced monopoly on ticket sales. Duh.

  • Officer, am I free to Gambol?||

    Stop the big-government monopoly Land enTitlement program that enforces abstract lines on Mother Earth that restrict the free movement of people!

  • Brandon||

    The reason you are a troll instead of an interesting contributor to discussions is that you keep spouting the exact same vague, pointless crap. You never talk about how this stateless, agricultureless society would actually work, and you never actually address anyone else's questions or criticism, you just keep repeating yourself. What about people who prefer to live in cities, and prefer to build themselves homes? Do property rights only include teepees? Slaves? Horses?

    BTW, I don't expect any more of an answer than you give anyone else who attempts to engage you in legitimate conversation, because based on your posts I can only assume you're an autistic schizophrenic with downs syndrome. But hey, I'll give you a chance.

  • Gambol ||

    You never talk about how this stateless, agricultureless society

    Incorrect. You're just not listening.

    But hey, I've given you a chance. I can't correct stupidity and deliberate ignorance

  • JMW||

    I can't correct stupidity and deliberate ignorance

    But enough about your failures as a human being...

  • Old Mexican||

    Guys, it's White Imbecile, the girly-man who fancies himself Grizzly Adams but would cry like a little girl at the sight of his own blood after a few gnat bites if in his "original affluent society" - pitty him if you must, but don't reply to him.

  • JMW||

    I can only assume you're an autistic schizophrenic with downs syndrome.

    Please don't insult the autistics [I am one], the schizophrenics [I used to share rent with someone who was schiophrenic], or Downs folks, who are pretty nice people.

    White Indian on the other hand is just a complete failure of a human being who thinks trolling the interwebz is a worthwhile endeavor.

  • invisible furry hand||

    Or little girls! They can be pretty tough, especially when they gambol. Certainly tougher than White Noise

  • ||

    ^^Thank you for saying this!

  • ||

    @ JMW (sorry)

  • No home-field advantage....||

    ...when White Indian counts coup inside a spiderhole of Libertarian thieves and psychopaths.

    Like a boss.

  • JMW||

    Delusions of grandeur much?

  • Officer, am I free to Gambol?||

    Aren't ticket scalpers breaking a contract to which they agreed at purchase?

    Libertarianism is merely a psychopath's desire to have government -- and contract enforcement -- for me, not for thee.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yes, scalpers are in breach of contract. That is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. If I am scalping tickets, the original issuer has total recourse to sue me. But the current ticket market is a government enforced monopoly; the police have authority to ticket me, arrest me, or confiscate my property. Difference between civil and criminal. Contracts. Wikipedia.

  • Receiving stolen property...||

    ...is criminal, unless libertarians want it to be a civil matter.

  • JMW||

    Those tickets were purchased. By the scalpers. With money. Legally. Then resold. For money. Which might not be so legal, under current laws.

    But they were not stolen.

    Either try to be less of an intellectual featherweight, or leave the conversation to the adults.

  • Receiving stolen property...||

    Deliberately breaking a contract is stealing.

    Person knowingly receiving broken contract (scalped) permission to enter property is trespassing on private property.

    Libertarian told me so.

    But then they say whatever shit is convenient for the time.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    No. Deliberately breaking a contract is not stealing. It again is merely a breach of contract, a civil matter. The trespassing thing is wrong too.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Really stoppid fuck,

    ...is criminal, unless libertarians want it to be a civil matter.


    Reselling what is yours is not stealing, you sick fuck.

  • Receiving stolen property...||

    what is yours

    The contract says whose it is. And whose it isn't.

    Scalping breaks that contract.

    Not that a libertarian would care, because their so-called "principles" are merely debating conveniences.

  • JMW||

    Calling you an intellectual featherweight may have been too generous on my part.

    Dustweight I think is far more accurate.

  • Receiving stolen property||

    Libertarian Debate Rule 1: When a masquerade of "principles" isn't convenient in justifying taking more stuff, resort to name calling.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Really Stoopid Fuck,

    The contract says whose it is. And whose it isn't.


    The exchange of title is what determines who is in possession. The contract is the agreement ex ante, but once the exchange is made, the contract is fulfilled.

    You are quite limited in thinking. You haven't even thought why would someone exchange their miney for something they cannot have?

    Again, where is this contract that determines possession post facto? I am willing to bet you cannot produce such a contract.

  • JMW||

    Reselling what is yours is not stealing, you sick fuck.

    Under White Indian's logic, eBay would be illegal since people resell their stuff there all the time.

    He's gasping for intelligence like an asthmatic gasps for oxygen.

  • Toaster not a ticket contract||

    Did you enter a contract to not sell that GE toaster on eBay when you bought it from Ace?

    You say No?

    Ah, ok :)

    Then sell it. White Indian is fine with that.

  • JMW||

    How do you know there isn't a contract between me and the department store I bought a toaster oven from?

    I don't see why reselling tickets is some kind of punishable offence. They were legally purchased and thus become the legal property of the scalper to do with as he damn well pleases.

    Including, say, burning them and ensuring that those concert/sporting/other event doesn't have a full house on that date.

    Or reselling them.

    Go away. Adults are talking.

  • ||

    Good point. Otherwise it would be criminal to have a yard sale since I'am keeping the manufacture from selling more products to more people even though I no longer need a certain product. A better example would be the selling of used cars if no one was allowed to sell their car then the manufactures could produce more cars to fill the void. The only problem is many people would go car less since they can't afford a new car in the first place in essence creating a larger dissparity in wealth.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Who the fuck are you anyway,

    Aren't ticket scalpers breaking a contract to which they agreed at purchase?


    What agreement? Can you elaborate?

  • Receiving stolen property...||

    The agreement is the team's own contract with ticket holders.

    Not that a libertarian would care, because their so-called "principles" are merely debating conveniences to be discarded when said "principles" become inconvenient.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Who the fuck are you anyway,

    The agreement is the team's own contract with ticket holders.


    What contract would that be? Can you elaborate? Once the exchange of title is performed, what contract could bind the ticket holder post facto?

    Not that a libertarian would care,


    No, I *DO* care, which is why I am asking you to show the content of this contract you allude to. Otherwise I will have to conclude you're nothing more than a goddamned liar.

  • ##||

    What agreement is that again? According to the Ticketron web site, "As tickets sold through SITE are often obtained through the secondary market and prices are determined by the individual ticket seller, the prices for tickets may be above or below face value." That was for Dallas Cowboys tickets. Every other NFL ticket that I checked as well as Bob Seger tickets all has the same disclaimer so unless Ticketron and their owner Ticketmaster are scalpers and the teams are letting them do it then there can't be much of an enforceable agreement.

  • JMW||

    Man, one of these days the real Indians are going to have to come here and give White Idjit a thrashing or something for taking their name and making it look so gosh darn bad.

    They've already been through enough horse shit during history. They don't deserve this.

  • ##||

    How is selling a kidney bad when it's perfectly okay to give away it for free?

  • ¢||

    the rich are only rich because they exploited someone, and prosperity is sufficient proof for said exploitation.

    When government and "Wall Street" (or "business" or whatever) are an inseparably intorted ball-knot of the same statistically few people trading favor back and forth between each other, that's pretty much true.

    But the Occupants aren't against that. They want in.

    (And JOOS out.)

  • ||

    Antisemitism has long been called socialism for stupid people. I think these people are just the guys for the job.

  • ||

    At OccupyOakland, I saw a synagogue in a tent.

    Monday I read a news report that there are Jewish religious services at OccupyLA.

    At OccupySF Monday night I saw a klezmer band.

    So what the hell are you talking about?

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-QXPpUzNLscM/TpqGiDEHq6I/AAAAAAAABp4/-uOoa3HBM-8/s512/20111015-0367_800.jpg

  • Jeff||

    Thank you for that photographic evidence of the least attractive ass in the world.

  • ||

    It doesn't start that way. It just ends that way.

  • DK||

    So sorry to hear that, like me, you are stuck in the shithole known as the Bay Area for the foreseeable future.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If you're talking about the established super-rich... that's true.

    If you're talking about the upper middle class and the noveau rich (all encompassed under the > 250K income level), then it's a mixed bag. Since "rich" always seems to be "has a nicer car than I do" to those types, there's a fair amount of honestly-acquired prosperity conflated with the favor trading on the part of big, established corps and government.

  • ||

    Ha ha.

    As if we can't see the customary deluge of centipedes and offal tumbling out of Stossel's lying-hole.

    "Over the past decade, median income fell. But that's an aberration largely caused by the bursting of the real estate bubble."

    Oh, sure. And wages, having stagnated since 1973 are completely unrelated to median income.

    http://tinyurl.com/3clx6qb

    Well, never mind facts. There's a "free market" to fellate!

    And there's no better place to do it than on this heavily subsdized oil billionaire's pet website.

    Ha ha.

  • Tman||

    Orel troll is orel.

    http://www.swifteconomics.com/.....tagnation/

    Thomas Sowell, explains:

    “It is an undisputed fact that the average real income… of American households rose by only 6 percent from 1969 to 1996… But it is an equally undisputed fact that the average real income per person in the United States rose by 51% over that very same period. How can both these statistics be true? Because the average number of people per household was declining during those years.”

    It's always cute when trolls fail to realize that they are standing on a cards to make their argument, and it's one that the slightest whiff of truth knocks over effortlessly.

  • ||

    Ha ha.

    Thomas Sowell is a desperate little nigger trying to win the approval of his masters.

    Ha ha.

  • Tman||

    Well, that was certainly a convincing explanation that you are a racist who uses ad hominem as a desperate attempt to defend their pitiful argument.

    You're still wrong, but now you're a racist too! Well done.

  • ||

    Don't you think that there has been a great divide upon the subjects of (1) standard of living and (2) income between which lies the truth?

  • ||

    Seems to me that $100 buys you less bread now than it did in 1971 -- but it buys you a lot more in refrigeration, automobile, computing power, energy...

  • Maxxx||

    The areas where price has greatly exceeded the inflation rate (Housing, education, healthcare) are coincidentally enough also the areas with the greatest government involvement.

    Everyone's standard of living would be vastly higher if those three areas had price increases that matched the inflation rate over the last forty years.

  • ||

    Ha ha.

    Look at the apologist for Stossel, wage stagnation and free-market fellatio a) equate wages with income b) hide behind the demography of "households" c) completely fail to address wage stagnation since 1973 - a fact plain to the US Census and analyzed here:

    http://economistsview.typepad......ealth.html

    But no, please, continue to ignore the giant flaws in your religion. It's hilarious watching you goofs walk around with your zippers open.

  • ||

    Ha ha. Look at you argue with yourselves. Chase that tail, boy! Get it!

    Seriously, I love the delusion on display. As if those here don't know how to tell the difference between my posts and the transparent lies of the average frightened libertarian turd.

  • ||

    How else are we to get our daily Orel blowjobs?

  • Tman||

    a) equate wages with income

    Huh?

    b) hide behind the demography of "households"

    Actually, for your argument to be true (that income has only increased 6% in 40 years) you'd have to rely on the numbers for "households". What you are missing from Sowell's point is that the average number of people per household was declining during those years, thus making the increase in income only 6%, where if you look at the numbers for individuals it's 51%.

    c) completely fail to address wage stagnation since 1973 - a fact plain to the US Census and analyzed here:

    I'll address it then. Workers Real Compensation from 1981-2005 has increased considerably.

    http://www.optimist123.com/opt.....sation.png

  • ||

    Uh, pssst: Your chart doesn't say "wages". It says "Wages, Salaries And Benefits".

    Wage stagnation since 1973 is real. You really ought to stick to the argument you entered.

    Ha ha.

  • ||

    That one was pretty good Orel, but tomorrow, can you tickle my taint with you pinkie?

  • Tman||

    Your arms must get tired from moving those goalposts. That's probably why you resort to being a racist fuck to make your arguments.

    Here's another 50 yarder through your recently moved uprights-

    Per Capita Personal Income by State, 1980-2010-

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0104652.html

  • ||

    Yeah, sorry. Your fly is still open.

    wage: a payment usually of money for labor or services usually according to contract and on an hourly, daily, or piecework basis —often used in plural
    b plural : the share of the national product attributable to labor as a factor in production

    That word is not synonymous with...

    income: 1. The amount of money or its equivalent received during a period of time in exchange for labor or services, from the sale of goods or property, or as profit from financial investments.

    ...no matter how hard you wish it to be so.

    Ha ha.

  • Tman||

    Wow you are an idiot.

    Never mind. I shouldn't have bothered.

    Rant on Orel the racist.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Oral Hasbeen,

    That word is not synonymous with...


    I'm sorry, Oral, but teh definitions YOU YOURSELF provided clearly show they are synonymous:

    wage: a payment usually of money for labor or services

    income: 1. The amount of money or its equivalent received during a period of time in exchange for labor or services

    Maybe you should have tried harder to find less honest definitions that could help your pseudo-argument.

  • ||

    You realize we can all read, right?

    And that we know how commas work, right?

    And that when you edit away clauses from a definition, that doesn't mean you've narrowed the definition, it means you've weakly attempted to narrow the definition, but that everybody saw you do that and now everybody understands clearly how full of shit you are?

    You know all of that, right?

    Well, maybe you do now.

  • libertarian Viking||

    Orel, please explain the difference, specifically, between wages and income.

  • libertarian Viking||

    And by the way, what's with all the ha's? What are you, 8?

  • Skr||

    Wow, just wow

  • ||

    The bible of one commandment...Free Markets Shall Save Us All! As long as those are corporate and firmly anti-egalitarian and backed up by an entirely owned state. Right Libertarians have always struck me as a very odd bunch. They will never get what they want (not very clear anyway WHAT THEY WANT). In their mean while, they offer an insane version of history that begs to be ridiculed. John Stossel a good example of someone so often engaged in this pernicious, even evil activity. Odd bunch indeed.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I don't get it either. My intuition says that the OWS is a small group of people that have leveraged social media to make a very big noise. I think that many of their peers are just fine with free markets. Unfortunately, we don't hear from these folks, because they are working at jobs, creating wealth.

  • Juice||

    My intuition says that the OWS is a small group of people that have leveraged social media to make a very big noise.

    Nothing like Ron Paul fans.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Touche! Ron Paul supporters have been excellent at leveraging social media to get their message out. The difference, I guess, is that the Paul group has a clear set of policies so it is a big message. The OWS has ambiguous and contradictory slogans, so it is a big noise.

  • Eric||

    The OWS crowd hasn't found a consistent message yet, but I think that kind of misses the point. They (and most of us) know that something stinks, but most don't know exactly how to articulate what that "something" is. The same could be said for the majority of Tea Partiers. I heard a lot of name calling and one-line slogans, but very few good ideas on how to solve anything. This is understandable. The vast majority of us aren't wonks that follow the every move of the market, nor do people fully understand the intracacies of the legislative process.
    The Tea Party benefited by having their message honed for them by outlets such as Fox News. But the average protestor was just as clueless as the average OWS protestor. The main difference is in who each side blames for the current mess this country is in.
    Are there complete dipshits at the OWS events? No doubt. But from the myriad of Obama = Hitler signs, the birthers, and other bullshit that I saw from the Tea party rallies, there were morons there too.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Eric,

    They (and most of us) know that something stinks, but most don't know exactly how to articulate what that "something" is.


    Well, that showcases their ignorance of economics, or of pretty much everything.

    The Tea Party benefited by having their message honed for them by outlets such as Fox News. But the average protestor was just as clueless as the average OWS protestor.


    Not that much, Eric. The Tea Partiers were certainly more focused on fiscal responsibility, if not exactly 100% anti-FED and pro-free market. But more focused at least. The OWS is isntead a motley of fools and dingbats.

  • ||

    Ha ha.

    As if a wave of flabby, racist dipshits screaming for an end to Medicare while perched on Medicare-purchased Rascal scooters somehow demonstrated "focus on fiscal responsibility".

    Please, do me a favor. Head down to lower Manhattan, find USMC Sgt. Shamar Thomas and call him a dingbat. Please.

    Ha ha.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Oral Hazard,

    I'm sorry,I wasn't paying attention - did you moo something?

  • ||

    You're right. I wasn't talking about guns, and so should not have expected you to notice.

  • Double D||

    I'll do just that, and I'll expect him to respond, "Yes Chief, sorry Chief!"

  • ||

    Make sure you video the encounter. Please.

  • ~||

    Re: Double D

    So you'd pull rank on him? Fucking weak...

  • Eric||

    I'm sure that you're correct, as a whole, that the TP was more focused on fiscal responsability. However, time and time again, I saw on-the-street interviews with protestors who failed miserably to articulate anything more than some blathering tirade. Same thing occurs with OWC, but aside from a huge amount of media coverage, they haven't yet found an institutional benefactor to sculpt their anger into a cohesive message. It'll come, and then you can make snarky comments about them too.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Eric,

    However, time and time again, I saw on-the-street interviews with protestors who failed miserably to articulate anything more than some blathering tirade.


    That is certainly possible. However, considering that the number of TP protesters was in the hundreds of thousands compared to the few thousands of OWS protesters, it could be said that the proportion of clueless ranters in one camp is much lower than in the other.

    Same thing occurs with OWC, but aside from a huge amount of media coverage, they haven't yet found an institutional benefactor to sculpt their anger into a cohesive message.


    That's true but, again, you miss the point: The Tea Party protests arised from very specific events, to wit: TARP, the Stimulus, and Obamacare. Instead, the OWS started from a call by AdBusters as more of a symbolic gesture against the whole of capitalism despite there being no special reason for it. If you see the same amount of focus in both, either I am missing something or you are.

  • Tony||

    Whatever ridiculous excuses you conjure up to defend what has been proven to be the ultrareligious nationalistic Republican base dressed up in a costume, they're still seriously misguided while the OWS have their grievances pointed in the right direction.

    Believe it or not, all the problems in this country did not begin on Jan. 20, 2009.

  • DK||

    Again comes Tony with his bullshit. No one here has ever claimed that all of this shit started with Obama. If so, there wouldn't be so much talk likening Obama's policies to Bush's. There wouldn't be so much vilification of both sides of the two-party divide. Quit with the disingenuous Red Team/Blue Team bullshit.

  • Tony||

    I'm not the one being disingenuous about it. The parties believe pretty much opposite things with respect to economic policy. Equating Obama with Bush is lazy thinking for people who think they're above it all.

  • Bobarian||

    OK, I get it...

    Bush and Obama have the same set of policies, but Obama does for the right reasons!

    And intentions are all that matter.

  • Will||

    Rockfeller relied on government funded railroads and backdoor deals with politicians to beat out his competitors. It was a great example of crony capitalism.

    Usually entrepeneurs are not necessarily great innovators. They come up with a cheap and efficient way to distribute innovations but they are just dumbshit businessmen. The innovators are inventors, artists and creative people who are usually too passionate about their work to think a lot about the business. The entrepeneur steals their idea and finds a way to get it to more people. Usually in their effort to cheaply and efficiently deliver someone else's innovation to more people and make a quick buck, they tend to turn the innovation to a crappy, retarded version of the original brilliant work by the creative person. Capitalism creates more for everyone, but it's more crap. It might be crap that raises their standard of living a little but it's still crap and simply being good at delivering crap is not enough to raise the standard of living. You need to be a good innovator as well and the business people are only good at making retarded rip-off crap.

    This claim that people are richer because they are smarter or work harder is stupid. There's a lot of smart, hard-working people who will are not rich. There are workers and as I described above, there are inventors, artists, intellectuals and other creative people who contribute a lot to humanity and to imply they aren't rich because they are lazier or stupidier than some business moron is truly an insult to these great heroes. Also, people obviously have more opportunity based on where they start in life. Warren Buffet was the son of a rich congressman.

    Apple software is a rip-off and theft of much better and brilliant work from the opensource community. The example of Steve Jobs is a poor one since the real innovation that was used to create Apple's products was done by programmers with some very anti-capitalist and almost socialist philosophy. It is actually a good example to disprove your theory that capitalism raises the standard of living because without the contribution of people like the socialist opensource community, capitalism would only be able to deliver products that are even worse than crap because their own attempts at innovation would result in crap since they are dumbshit business people. Capitalism without real innovators would create sub-crap or a crappy version of crap. Face it, capitalists might be good at delivering shit to people but they are not the people who are the most important in raising our standard of living.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Labor theory of value... if it was good enough for Marx, then it's good enough for Will!

    Also, huge LOL at the idea that open source is even close to being "socialism".

    Open source: "denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified."

    Socialism: "a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Will,

    Rockfeller relied on government funded railroads and backdoor deals with politicians to beat out his competitors.


    You must be jesting. What else could beat the Mother Of All Backroom Deals which was the Sherman Act, Will? It was written by Standard Oil's competitors precisely to undermine the cometititive edge of that company.

    Besides this, there was little CHOICE when it came to railroads - most were already subsidized by the time Rockefeller started to contract better rates from them, so that in itself did not confer him an advantage over his competitors. It was his negotiations skills that gave him the edge.

    It was a great example of crony capitalism.


    No, it wasn't. The Sherman Act was, and it wasn't by Standard Oil. You are either an ignorant knave or a liar. I slant towards the latter.

    Usually entrepeneurs are not necessarily great innovators.


    So FUCKING what?

    They come up with a cheap and efficient way to distribute innovations but they are just dumbshit businessmen.


    Oh, right, because running a business is so fucking easy!

    The innovators are inventors, artists and creative people who are usually too passionate about their work to think a lot about the business.


    Entrepreneurs are also pretty passionate, Will. You're just another naive romantic.

    The entrepeneur steals their idea and finds a way to get it to more people.


    You're a liar, Will. In the first place, you can't "steal" ideas as these spawn in people's minds, they're nothing concrete you can fence in. In second place, entrepreneurs innovate all the time by seeking scarcity problems and opportunities others do not see. Not everybody can do that, Will, the same way not everybody can be an artist or an inventor.

    You need to be a good innovator as well and the business people are only good at making retarded rip-off crap.


    Ok, now you stepped into the "idiot" camp.

    This claim that people are richer because they are smarter or work harder is stupid.


    Someone IS certainly being stupid.

    Apple software is a rip-off and theft of much better and brilliant work from the opensource community.


    Most of the software was actually Microsoft's.

    The example of Steve Jobs is a poor one since the real innovation that was used to create Apple's products was done by programmers with some very anti-capitalist and almost socialist philosophy.


    What?? What the fuck are you talking about? First of all, did these "marxist" programmers come up with the ideas first? You're a bigger idiot, Will.

    There are workers and as I described above, there are inventors, artists, intellectuals and other creative people who contribute a lot to humanity and to imply they aren't rich because they are lazier or stupidier than some business moron is truly an insult to these great heroes.


    To imply that people are rich because they steal is the ultimate stupid argument, Will. If people do not get rich, that may be because of many things including that they don't want to, as in part involves taking risks. Most people are simply risk intolerant, Will, which does not make them stupid, but that does not mean businessmen are shaddy and stupid themselves.

    Also, people obviously have more opportunity based on where they start in life. Warren Buffet was the son of a rich congressman.


    And Steve Jobs was the adopted son of a working class family. And Rockefeller was not born a rich man by any stretch of the word. Again, you're simply a liar and a knave.

  • Tony||

    "Yer dumb" is still not an argument OM.

  • Brother Grimm||

    ""Yer dumb" is still not an argument OM."
    You're right. Good thing that's not what he just argued with.

  • DK||

    Tony has proven time and again that he is incapable of backing his statements up with any concrete facts. Just tell him to fuck off.

  • Another Phil||

    Apple software is a rip-off and theft of much better and brilliant work from the opensource community.


    Most of the software was actually Microsoft's.

    Microsoft? The guy was talking about the OpenBSD parts of Mac OSX (and, I guess, Apache and Samba and probably a zillion other things). Apple was always open about their use of open source software. You'd have to be a huge douche to call it a rip-off though. Apple has contributed source code back to many of those projects. They make a profit by making it all easy to use. Boo hoo.

  • Maxxx||

    Apple software is a rip-off and theft of much better and brilliant work from the opensource community. The example of Steve Jobs is a poor one since the real innovation that was used to create Apple's products was done by programmers with some very anti-capitalist and almost socialist philosophy.

    That's true if you are refering to the developement work that job ripped off from Xerox's PARC.

    And it's also true that they were socialist in the sense that they were unable to market their developments to the financial detriment of their benefactors.

  • Maxxx||

    Usually entrepeneurs are not necessarily great innovators. They come up with a cheap and efficient way to distribute innovations but they are just dumbshit businessmen.

    They are also not bureaucrats.

    Which is the alternative offered by your socialist paradise.

    Besides, if business is so easy why don't the OWS douchebags start some and crush the competitio with their superior intellects?

  • Realist||

    "The protestors are right to complain about crony capitalism."
    That's not half what they are complaining about.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm on my way home from the Pens game right now so someone take over liveblogging the Stoss for me tonight.

  • Bee Tagger||

    I can't tell, its either his bullshit answers or his micro-checked suit jacket that is causing me to seize.

  • Dan||

  • John Fuld||

    Let me state upfront I don't see myself associating directly with the OWS movement because of the fringe elements and the name itself and the ineffective tactic of squatting. That said I do agree with some if not a majority of their grievances, and therefore protesting with the other 99 percenters out there (if not 99.9 percenters). The people can not always all what the want, and we must look in the mirror as well as shout at the world. The power of the people is an awesome one and should be used with care. We must not allow are selves to be lulled back into a slumber by the likes of Stossel and this article as an example.

    This article is a could candidate for a game of "spot the lies".
    The REAL metrics mentioned have been deteriorating since the the early 70's, of course the NOMINAL figures are going up, talk about spin !
    Also the new spin on rubber barrons is priceless, why do we think they used every dirty trick in the book to amass their fortunes - cause they did !!!

    Income disparity is also spun nicely by mr. Stossel. He makes the case for complete equality or what we have now, i.e. your either a "capitalist" or a "commie". He nicely touches than avoids the continuing widening of this disparity for the last 20 years. Just look at the metrics, the wealth/income pie is changing and the top are taking up more of it, and what should be asked is why and not brush aside by the trickery mentioned in the first point.

    Also I love the usual musing of the "free market". The market is only as "free" as we tell it to be. The free market can mean many things to many people cause each one will limit it's freedom at some cut off point. If the market were truly free than child labor should be brought back, all prohibition should be banished, be it dangerous chemical in industry, worker safety, prostitution drugs etc.
    There is no "free market" now nor has there been one since the first prohibition,rule or regulation was agreed upon.

    John Stossel is like a PR man masquerading as a jounalist. Like in PR he never outwardly lies, but highlights he's narrative and hides the facts that counter it.

    But we should remember that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
    So lets all Be sure we are right - then let's go ahead.

  • fghu||

    hello,welcome to www.luckygrip. com,i hope everyone will more like them because of there have more nice top goods and cheaper price in there,thanks

  • Hassene Akkeri||

    Capitalism is a complex supersystem where actors are much more influent and powerful than any political decision-maker around the globe. Multinationals and Banks are untouchable because the fate of millions of people relies on their business.
    And besides this thick armour, they enjoy fantastic lobbying mechanisms allowing them to control politicians and make sure all governmental decisions keep standing on their side.

    An interesting article in Forbes talks about the 147 companies that control everything; about 40% of the globe's wealth; through a very complex holding network. This explains part of the equation.

    In fact, Occupy Wall Street's call is fueled by reasonable and intelligent understanding of what's happening. However, the "supersystem" is so complex that reform can only be engaged from within, rather than through aggressive decisions. Otherwise, the threat of the supersystem's collapse could be fatal and could lead to an irreversible economic disaster.

    The good thing is that there's more and more sensitivity from within the system to social responsibility. Bill & Melinda Gates' $60 Billion donation is an example to follow.
    Yet, the issue is far bigger than simple donations. The supersystem needs a deep structural reform to remove part of the financial randomness and tame the "virtual money's monster".

    World's economy cannot continue to rely in a such organic way on virtual gamblers. During the last crisis, banks have been saved by governments and central banks. However, the current bubbling bubble will burst in the face of governments themselves. So, who's going to be the saver this time?

    Economists are reconsidering the roots of the modern economy theories, saying that "the mountain might have been climbed from the wrong side".
    The supersystem should have enough courage and responsibility to listen to the out-of-the-box voices and try to help applying smooth reforms.

    From the political side, I think politicians will remain influenced and weak unless new post-democratic rules are applied to create a decision-making class completely independant from markets' lobbying.

  • Jackson||

    We have the money that they rely on for their escapades and games that they play. We can take that power away by taking our money back and putting it somewhere real and local. Bank Transfer Day on Saturday is a good first step. But credit unions are more than just a place to keep your money. They’re your neighbors, too. Want to see how the bank treats your neighbors?

  • العراق||

    Thank you

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