Comments about ‘Letter: Destroying incentive’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 13 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"...but most make a reasonable living and then carry with them those who are not quite so ambitious, so that they, too, make a good living." Well not so fast. First, everyone takes risks in this system, including those who you say "are not quite so ambitious." Working class people take risks when they gamble on a career or have kids they really can't afford, for example.

Now as to the workings of system itself, capitalism drives inequality because the wealthy simply have more power, and power begets power. But we had a deal here in America until the 1970's, and that was when workers' productivity increased (whether through investment in equipment or education, human capital), they would be rewarded with an increased real wage. That deal was ended in our time. Employees are not rewarded for their increased productivity. Why? Because the wealthy have the power to say so, and they can take employment overseas at will. So, they reason, why should we reward our poorer countrymen for their productivity?

For this reason I feel precious little loyalty to this system - it needs to be ended. The deal is off.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

How does that song go. Make me an angle, that fly's from Montgomery. Make me a poster of an ole rodeo. Gust give me one thing, that I can hold on to. To believe in this living, it's a hard roe to hoe.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Nonsense. The current system is a huge disincentive to the entrepreneurial spirit because it traps people in dead end jobs to protect health insurance, and discourages anyone from becoming an employer because providing insurance is such a burden. That's part of the problem; people really don't see how much health care costs now, and how much we could save with a proper single payer system. A system that would take a monkey off the back of employers, let the job creators of tomorrow move ahead without worrying about the catastrophic effects of a hospital stay, and release the creative energy of this nation. A single payer system won't provide a big screen tv or hopped up pickup truck; there's still plenty of incentive left to work and get ahead. Calling it socialism doesn't make it so.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Dennis,

Certainly we have all seen those who fit your scenario. No one would deny that there are many.
And I agree, we need to address that.

But, what about those who do not fit in the box you painted?

In fact, think about all the people who you come across daily who ARE working. Seriously, think about it. No, most don't have college degrees and some didn't finish High School. But you cannot call them lazy.

They work in restaurants, clean houses, do landscaping, fast food, dry cleaners, cashiers, automotive mechanics, bartenders, cut hair. Heck, Most of the people you see outside of work.

Do you really think they are lazy?

Many of these people cannot make ends meet. They cannot begin to think about buying health insurance for their family, and they certainly don't get it from their employers.

I suggest that you think about it before painting with such a broad brush.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Dennis, you really need to put down the Kool Aid (or the Ayn Rand novels).

First, your letter is arguing against (the straw man of) Communism and not what we have in this country – a hybrid mostly capitalist system with aspects of socialism including a regulatory framework.

Second, the “socialism” put in place since the Great Depression (as you fearfully describe it) was not done in a vacuum or by Marxist acolytes seeking to destroy our country – most were in response to very real problems inherent in modern (post-industrial) capitalism.

For example – rampant environmental degradation, abhorrent labor practices, extreme poverty for those no longer able to work (e.g., the elderly).

We haven’t always gotten it right and certainly the government can overreach at times, but if you believe we’ve completely gone down the wrong path, I urge you to read up on U.S. economic history from 1870-1930 for a clear picture of what our country was going through (hint: it was not the “golden age” you long for).

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

Under our system of capitalism, individuals find that they can reach their dreams through hard work, and thus they dream and take risks as entrepreneurs. Some make it really big — but most make a reasonable living and then carry with them those who are not quite so ambitious, so that they, too, make a good living.
QUOTE

I don't think this is accurate. Under our system most businesses fail; eighty percent of small businesses do apparently. As an LDS person I look forward to the system of co-operation, or a "united order" voluntarily entered into for all the right reasons.

We waste our energies and resources trying to do our competitors out of business. It is the law of the jungle where the strongest or most ruthless survive and surreptitiously the biggest of all contrive hidden monopolies, cartels, price fixing etc, and large contributions to the major political parties to assure their own perpetuation and upper hand in growingly authoritarian governance. Control by government does not work; it eventually becomes politically motivated and corrupt. Self reliance and character all the way is needed; you need a people morally strong to succeed.

Star Bright
Salt Lake City, Ut

Obamacare is not really about health care anyway, it's about total control of our population.

I do not want the IRS having control about what kind of medical service we get, what age is too old to get real treatment and not just a pill, or knowing everything about us - our homes, families, our money and now the most intimate information about our health. So, if anyone runs for office, the party in power can access everything about us, and can threaten to go public with it. Just remember it might not be your party forever.
Remember harry reid and his anonymous phone call? Ya, right!

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

A bit of revisionist history here... I remember in my history classes the various "panics" and economic upheavals of our nation long before the Great Depression. And changes from the outlawing of slavery to the requiring of seat belts to environmental laws requiring clean and water for Americans have all been opposed due to their potential impact on the nation's economy. But the nation survived and even experience economic boom times, followed by recessions.

Expanding access of healthcare to 30 million more Americans will cause some disruption during its implementation, but like civil rights, end of slavery, and allowing women to vote, the nation will survive and history will probably look kindly on our generation for doing so.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

No country on the face of the earth rewards success as much as we do. In no other country do the wealthy take as as large a share of the national income as in ours. In no country do the wealthy own as great as share of the national wealth as they do in ours.

The 400 wealthiest Americans own more than the 186,000,000 people who constitute the bottom 60% of the wealth distribution. Does this author really think that those 400 people are inadequately compensated?

redshirt007
tranquility base, 00

Well I declare that all land belongs to me now. Everyone will work 100 hours a week if you want to feed your children as well as yourself. See how easy that is?

God created everything, creates everything, owns everything and makes everything grow. He did it and does it for ALL his children. He had every known prophet write about it and tell us that the fastest way to purgatory is to hoard and withhold the Earths bounty.

The fact is that more people are working outside the home today in the US than any time in history yet you think the masses are lazy socialists trying to live off the few? Really? Who lives off whom?

Have you been to a city? More people work more jobs in the city than anywhere else. Where are the masses of invisible people that don't work at all? They don't exist except in your imagination. If people are not paid enough to buy food...

The "land (claims to be) owner" lives off God and the laborer. The laborer only has God to thank for his food.

The only people not working are a few mothers and all our children.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Is that why the Socialists in Germany, Japan, Italy and France are all doing better than the United States.

How do you account for the Communists in China.

As far as I'm concerned -- these "Capitalists" you so worship are responsible for out-sourcing and off-shoring everything America has built for those past 200 years to put Communist China ahead of America.

watchman
Salt Lake City, UT

Great article, Dennis. It is encouraging to know that others know and understand what has made this country the greatest on earth, and also to face the fact that we may be on the brink of losing it.

Thanks for taking the time to let people know your thinking.

Nonconlib
Happy Valley, UT

Nice straw-man argument, Dennis. But you haven't been paying attention for the past 30 years. You are apparently unaware of the growing segment of our society that the "capitalist" system has no need for. The "socialists" you criticize are merely those who are aware of these people and are trying to help them. Meanwhile, people like you vote to send more and more of our wealth to the top 1 percent of the food chain. Your theory is that some of it will trickle down to the starving masses at the bottom. Well, the past 30 years have proven that the trickle actually goes the other way. Wealth is trickling up. I'm so sorry that you can't see this. Your ideology has clouded your vision of things as they really are.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

Dennis, rather than standing on the side lines cheering for David and Charles why not walk in the footsteps of people who are working 2 jobs, collecting SNAP and still can't afford health insurance for their family. You live in your own little world, watching revolutionaries on TV and condemning me for my work ethic just because I don't agree with giving another "employee" of the company 400% of the average wage while the rest of us haven't seen a raise in 3 years. This is not getting something for nothing my friend, it is getting compensated for the value we have to the company because brains cannot function without the muscle, skeleton, or heart.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The nonsense that spews out of the Whitehouse, where we are told that somebody "owes" us a living, that there is some "rich guy" who stole what is really ours, is the root of our discontent. All we have to do is look at the results of that attitude. Obama was given every opportunity by his grandparents. He was allowed to study in the best school in America. He should have learned, somewhere along the way, that personal effort is required, that we eat because of the "sweat of our brow", not because somebody "owes" us.

Those who believe him will fail as miserably as he is failing. They will squander opportunities because they have not prepared themselves for the responsibilities of life - and they will blame others. They will keep coveting and being envious. They will remind us tof the hardship of their ancestors, even as they forget to tell us that they personally had every opportunity handed to them.

Learning to work is a personal thing. Learning to appreciate the opportunities received is a personal thing. Envying and coveting is as old as human history - and those two traits are still the path to failure.

redshirt007
tranquility base, 00

All I know is that now it takes 2 incomes in most households to make the end meet in the suburbs.

People I know that live in NYC have 3 jobs per household to make the $3000 a month rent.

I'd say your theory that most people are lazy socialists is a figment of your republican imagination.

That a lot of single income households require handouts and food stamps after paying the rent is not for lack of working.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

The Kool-Aid in question is derived from Ayn Rand's works . . .

Also, nice post.

Gildas,

Mike Richards,

Agreed. No one owes us a living.

All,

We had some great decades after the Great Depression. It was not the beginning of our end.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

I think what is lost is that we have reached property. If you compare what even the biggest of complainers on this forum have, and the quality of life, compared to those who preceded us by 100 years, we have reached what those ancestors would have considered a nirvana state. How many tv's with hundreds of channels do we need? How many cars, with automatic everything does one need to be in a state of property? How many square feed does your home/apartment/condo need to have until you have reached prosperity?

There is a point where enough is actually enough. We don't work the hours our ancestors did, because we don't need to. Our survival does not depend on our yield of this years crop before winter hits. There is only so much one should sacrifice before you move from need - to greed and gluttony.

Compare what we have to what the rest of the world enjoys - and you might realize we have actually arrived at a place where sacrificing your life for wealth yields diminishing returns. We have gotten to the point where more means someone else gets less. We are there - prosperity.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"...compared to those who preceded us by 100 years, we have reached what those ancestors would have considered a nirvana state." Not true. While we have a whole bunch of stuff and trinkets which we have been told we need, we are in fact much less self-reliant because we cannot feed ourselves without a wage, whereas in earlier times people lived on farms where they could raise their own food. Life for the working class is more precarious than ever before.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Marxist - I wouldn't change with them for anything. I believe how I will, with no interference. I don't worry about vigilantly mobs because of my families color. My wife is free to choose what she will... she can choose to do right because she chooses it, rather than being compelled. I have never worried about famine, drought or plague impacting my families ability to survive. My kids are free to pursue what ever endeavor they choose... no... I would trade places for anything.

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