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Comments about ‘Capitalism and the common good: Fairness, opportunity and protection for all’

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Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Partisanship has become so forefront in any debate that the rational middle ground has been pushed to the background.

Some look at bad regulations and conclude that all regulations are bad.

Because of partisanship, we gravitate to the extremes.

We see nonsensical EPA regulations and quickly conclude that we need to shut down the EPA.
We see crazy things coming out of the FDA and scream that the agency should be closed.

We hear that, left unregulated, corporate leaders would self regulate.

These knee-jerk reactions appeal to the party extremes who see simple solutions to complex issues.
They line up perfectly with party ideology, taken to illogical extremes.

Does anyone really believe that FIXING the EPA or the FDA is not preferable to closing their doors?

Want to reduce regulations? That is easy.

Hold C-Level corporate leaders PERSONALLY liable and responsible for the decisions that they make.
No more corporate fines which only serve to penalize the shareholders.

Those who knowingly choose to put profits above good corporate citizenship should be put in jail.

The need for regulations would drop significantly.

How can anyone (other than C-level corporate leaders) be against that idea?

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Ever notice that capitalism is voluntary! It is true freedom! You can participate or not and no one forces you to work hard, be innovative and productive and thus the incentives of wealth creation of capitalism has produced the highest standard of living the world has ever seen. Socialism has to be enforced with mandates from government! Socialism is forcing some people to work for that which they will not receive so others can receive what they didn't work for. We used to call that slavery, but now its called "social justice", which is a total misnomer! There is nothing "just" about it! Its rewards laziness, sloth and bad behavior and punishes hard work, innovation and creativity. No nation will survive socialism long! When the takers outnumber the makers, it always collapses and America is no exception, as we are seeing.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

This article includes many attacks and a great deal of whinning, with no real answers to perceived problems. Typical of the entitlement mentality that is ruining this Country.

There was a time in this Country when people knew that if they wanted to achieve success, they had to earn it by working hard. Now, far too many take the attitude of this author and expect success to be handed to them.

The irrefutable fact is that most millionaires are small business owners who worked long, hard hours for decades to achieve success. Why does anyone think that people who dropped out of high school to work fast food jobs are entitled to the same salary?

Our population is becoming ever more lazy and slothful, as evidenced by this article. If this continues, America will become just another European-style post-Christian socialist state.

ECR
Burke, VA

Such an excellent essay and the last paragraph sums it up perfectly. While corporate leaders seek for nothing more than maximum profit dor themselves, their shareholders and their CEOs, at the expense of their employees and their customers, in the end it hurts everyone, including themselves. Yes, those corporate heads have taken a risk, or their ancestors did, and they should be given credit for that. They even deserve to be wealthy for their courage and ingenuity. But how much do they owe the employees that keep their operation running efficiently? How much do they owe their loyal customers who continue to buy their products or services?

Read David Halberstam's book called "The Reckoning" about the history of the auto industry and learn how American car makers in the post WWII era had total contempt for American consumers and knew they could sell them anything, certainly not their best products. Ultimately they paid for that contempt by Americans turning to foreign car makers, who made more of an effort to meet the needs of American consumers.

There should be a healthy relationship between business and the public, and the government where necessary. That relationship is non-existent today.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

“The fact that today’s conservatism has glorified the unbridled entrepreneur and the de-regulated financier – trusting them not only with tremendous power and resources, but also to be self-governing – simply demonstrates how un-conservative it has become.
The blind spot of today’s conservatives, then, is the partial application of traditional wisdom. While it’s clear to them that unrestrained governmental power becomes corrupt and tyrannical, they fail to see that the same is true of concentrated social power.”

Well written article, and I completely agree.

Land of the Free...where everything is for sale.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

The problem with capitalism in free markets is that actors competing in it all strive to make the market "less free" by eliminating competitors (via consolidation and running competitors out of business) to build increasing "monopolistic" or oligopolistic bargaining power so that just a couple of massive corporations dominate industries and markets, typically to the detriment of consumers and innovation.

Look at airlines, cable, cell phone providers, utilities, health care providers, Walmart, etc., and you'll see that capitalism and the free market has resulted in consumers being at the mercy of a handful of massively powerful corporations controlling key needs by charging handsomely or offering poor services for providing those needs.

Thus, we need regulation and government to keep such powerful corporations from exploiting consumers.

I was just reading how the airlines are seeking ways to increasing the number of seats on planes by eliminating bathrooms and making seats more narrow... airlines can do this because there are virtually no substitutes for air travel and with just a few major carriers, they can charge for extra bags, meals, pillows, water, etc., and offer lousy service at high prices!

Ah, the wonders of capitalism!

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

" . . . glorified the unbridled entrepreneur and the de-regulated financier . . ."

In other words, "Conservatives" glorify an unworkable ideology and disdain common sense.

It takes good governance to make Capitalism work. Yes, like it or not, Capitalism needs to be restrained from time to time and guided by government in order to stay healthy and viable.

Left to itself, Capitalism inevitably evolves into a world of behemoths where the biggest baddest dinosaurs rule all . . . And the whole system becomes less resilient and unable to adapt to a changing environment.

TR and his trust busters broke up the huge monopolies and oligopolies. He leveled the playing field, making it possible for the bright, eager little guys to get their ideas to market. This more competitive capitalism produced less expensive goods and services to the benefit of consumers, the economy, the nation, and the world.

Yes, that's right. Government intercession/guidance/meddling helps capitalism not only survive but thrive to the benefit of the world.

That's what good governance does.

Believe it or not "Conservatives," the Founders created this nation's government for the purpose of GOVERNING.

. . . Got it yet?

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Wow a rant about socialism, and a claim that McDonald's workers want the same salary as millionaires. Talk about a distorted view of the world.

"Now, far too many take the attitude of this author and expect success to be handed to them." Please show me in the article where the author made any such claim.

Unbelievable..except it isn't. How sad and disturbing.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hey John Charity Spring –

“The irrefutable fact is that most millionaires are small business owners who worked long, hard hours for decades to achieve success.”

Think so huh?

According to the Coumbia Jounalism Review, “the vast majority of the country’s plutocrats either inherited their money or had significant help from family members.”

Sure, Right Wing Propaganda Rags might tell you differently . . . But RW Rags are full of misinformation.

“Just 35 percent of the Forbes 400 last year were raised poor or middle class, compared to 95 percent of the broader public, as (reasonably) defined by UFE. Twenty one percent inherited enough money to join the 400 without lifting a finger . . . Another 7 percent inherited at least $50 million or a “large and prosperous company,” 12 percent inherited at least a million bucks or a decent-sized business or startup capital from a relative, and 22 percent were “born on first base,” into an upper class family or got a modest inheritance or startup capital . . . So, at least 62 percent did not, in fact, make their fortunes “entirely from scratch.”

-from an article entitled “Billionaires made from scratch? Hardly”

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ Baron. "Look at airlines, cable, cell phone providers, utilities, health care providers, Walmart, etc., and you'll see that capitalism and the free market has resulted in consumers being at the mercy of a handful of massively powerful corporations controlling key needs by charging handsomely or offering poor services for providing those needs."

What a ridiculous comment! No one is forcing you to do business with any of those you excoriate! The reason they exist is to provide goods and services for those who CHOOSE to pay for what they have to offer! If you don't like what they have to offer, don't do business with them! That's the difference between Cuba, N. Korea and America! See how wonderful freedom is?

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Mountanman, how many utility companies can you choose from in Hayden?

I've noticed that big city or little you pretty much get your power or gas without choice from one source.

When Walmart come to town and shuts down all the competition, than they can charge what they like and pay what they like because the competition is gone.

Utilities and healthcare should be socialized, they already are, except the profits are privatized.

Jamescmeyer
Midwest City, USA, OK

Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's long-proven superior to heavy government control. In this day the government is exerting increasing pressures against private ownership in the form of increasing taxes, heavy tax brackets for top-earners to reduce incentives and job creation, and attempts to bully the businesses-the tools and property of people-to meet their demands. Hobby Lobby and the Red Skins sports team are two examples of that.

People radically opposed to capitalism have made up the majority of spies and dissenters of the United States through most of the twentieth century, and have more influence now than arguably before the cold war.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ Happy Valley. IF I didn't like my utility company, I would not use their service! As it is, they do a good job for me at a fair price and provide a service I CHOOSE to pay for! I have a friend who feels otherwise so he has a diesel generator and solar panels and heats with wood!
Has it occurred to you that Wal-Mart provides goods that poor people otherwise could not afford! There is a reason poor people don't shop often at Nordstrom's!
See how freedom works?

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Jamescmeyer –

“In this day the government is exerting increasing pressures against private ownership in the form of increasing taxes, heavy tax brackets for top-earners to reduce incentives and job creation, and attempts to bully the businesses-the tools and property of people-to meet their demands.’/”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Way to be consistent.

You think we are overtaxing high earners? That’s crazy. The top tax bracket now is 39%.
It was over 90% when Eisenhower was in office, and we built the interstate highways system, fought the cold war, developed needed social programs and STILL balanced the budget because we had enough REVENUE.

It was over 70% in 1969 when we went to the moon, fought the VietNam War and the Cold War and the war on poverty and STILL had a budget Surplus.

That was back in the Pre-Reagan days when our government was sensible and didn’t respond to the whims of unthinking “Conservatives” and their entertainment idols like Rush Limbaugh.

We need to REVERSE Reaganomics. This nation has been going downhill ever since Reaganomics was instituted. Trickle-down economics was supposed to create jobs.

WHERE are the jobs?

DuckInSLC
Sandy, UT

I thnk it's unfortunate that many US citizens have no working knowledge of economics so most of them spew the company line taken by their party.

Capitalism unbridled is cutthroat, Darwinistic, and has no time or patience for second chances. Is that really the world we want to live in? I've heard some people and commenters here talk about rewards for hard work. Is that really what you think capitalism is? Who works harder, the single mom who's husband left her and has mouths to feed so she works long 80 hr weeks at 2 jobs to provide? Or the CEO taking over daddy or grandad's business looking over reports and playing rounds of golf with "prospective partners"? Which one gets paid more for their efforts? That's unbridled capitalism...it pays for legacy and for talent and ability, along with work, but the CEOs don't want you to remember the first two items (legacy, ability).

IMO every HS student and college student should be required to take macro and microeconomics so people at least know what they're talking about instead of repeating what they've heard on talk radio.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Mountanman –

So you have a friend in the valley who “heats with wood” huh?

Well now, that’s not very Christian of him, is it? . . . In an area with such heavy temperature inversions that keep smoke down low . . . People can’t help but inhale it.

“A single home that relies exclusively on wood for heat can emit as much particulate pollution as all the gas furnaces in a large Utah city” – Salt Lake Tribune

Heating with wood in the Salt Lake Valley is just one more “Conservative” solution that hurts everybody.

No, generally speaking, people DO NOT have any other viable choice when it comes to utility companies.

That’s why they’re called “monopolies.”

chilly
Salt Lake City, UT

GaryO: "Just 35 percent of the Forbes 400 last year were raised poor or middle class.."

Just 35! Is that a bad thing? Which other country offers that kind of economic opportunity for hard work?

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"The blind spot of today’s conservatives, then, is the partial application of traditional wisdom. While it’s clear to them that unrestrained governmental power becomes corrupt and tyrannical, they fail to see that the same is true of concentrated social power."

Great comment. Jefferson once said that the one thing he feared more than a foreign invading army was bankers. Many corporations today have more financial power than many governments throughout the world. Keeping the playing field level and fair is the only way we can ensure a capitalist system that work for all.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

Obvioulsy any Captialistic society must have rules and regulations for corporations but it is far better to create "incentives" rather than penalties. A corporation which uses incentives to reward employees is far better than the micro-managing boss who is always out to find some way to put you down and threaten you. I have worked in both type companies and the incentive based company I stayed 18 years and loved it while the other I stayed 7 months and hated it. Today we have a president who thinks the heavy - handed threats are the best way to go - you WILL comply whether you like it or not. This is NOT America and that is why there is so much discord and unrest in the economy today. People just want to be able to "build that business" and have the government be a helper instead of a road block and NOT have a president say "you didn't build that business the government did". We need a NEW president and a NEW fresh approach to capitalism in this country ...and we needed it yesterday!!

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Why does anyone think that people who dropped out of high school to work fast food jobs are entitled to the same salary?"

What an illuminating comment to make about how this person feels about people who grow up in poverty - why they go to work at a young age. I home teach a young lady who is a new member, is in high school, and works fast food not to by the latest fashion, but to help her family pay the rent.

This is the problem... people think everyone came from the same situation that they did. Visit a small mining town in West Virginia - tell them the reason their kids drop out of school to work is because they just lacked the mental fortitude to become millionaires. If becoming a millionaire is simply the function of putting in enough hours, those picking the cheap food we enjoy should be rolling in the money.

I think the biggest problem with conservatives is arrogance. They somehow believe what they have is what poor people are lusting after - and refuse to work for. I dare you to find a single content person that is living in the projects.

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