Unsustainable economics

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  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 22, 2014 2:10 p.m.


    You said "The wealth of the wealthy is not sitting in cash under a mattress". It might as well be under a mattress because it has been pulled out of the economy in record amounts and taken taken off-shore to avoid taxes. You also said "If trickling down were to stop trickling, the poor would get even poorer". You have described the last thirty years of America, the poor getting poorer.

    If investors were investing like you say, like they did until we changed tax law and made it financially advantageous to pull money out of the American economy and move it offshore, then yes we would have money trickle down. The current system tax code rewards big business for pulling their money out of America rather than penalizing them.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 22, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    @Happy Valley Heretic:
    "Can we now once and for all, put the last nail in the coffin of the 'trickle down' lie that st. reagan foisted on America, and look for real solutions."

    There's no other way to 'trickle' except down. You can't trickle up... or sideways. If trickling down were to stop trickling, the poor would get even poorer.

    The wealth of the wealthy is not sitting in cash under a mattress. It's put in investments such as equity and debt securities. Without these investors investing their investments many businesses would have to close their doors for lack of investment capital, sending employees into the streets to vie with the unemployed for handouts. The defunct businesses would then stop trickling down and their stockholders would stop paying taxes leaving the government's unemployment program high and dry. Perhaps maybe China would continue to bail... except I hear they're running outta wherewithal.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    @Roger Terry

    The beauty of economic liberty is that you don't have to throw away the whole system when problems are observed. If consumers are asked to do something impossible, they simply won't do it. If practices are found to be unsustainable, they simply won't be sustained. If a parasite kills its host, it dies with it. The free market will find a different point upon which to balance, and balance there.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Globally, 85 people have the same amount of wealth as is possessed by the lowest earning 3.5 billion people combined.
    (Source: Oxfam, 2014)

    No matter what you believe at some point, someone, some where will realize that 3.5 billion folks can beat up 85 people, and just take it back....and they will. This is a simplistic notion, but there is a tipping point.

    Can we now once and for all, put the last nail in the coffin of the "trickle down" lie that st. reagan foisted on America, and look for real solutions.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Jan. 22, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    Mr or Ms marxist:

    I am shocked by your following statement.

    "The Soviet Union was fabulously successful,..."

    The Soviet Union had an abundance of "a trashed environment". A major example is the Aral Sea.

    The production of food and fiber was inadequate in most years. Most years they had to impose the "battle of the harvest" upon students, factory workers and the military conscripts.

    Soviets were very backward and inadequate at the production of manufactured consumer goods. Automobiles, washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioning equipment for the average guy and gal were shoddy and/or not available.

    The one area the Soviets were "fabulously successful" at was the development and production of military hardware. They were definitely not slouches in this area of endeavor.

    A comment to about fifty percent of the other posters:

    Even if, again IF, Karl Marx and friends are essentially correct in their analysis of Capitalism, it does NOT automatically follow that their treatment of Capitalist ills will be effective and desirable. There are plenty of "quack duck doctors" able to diagnose correctly your health problem, but their treatment is often ineffective and sometimes compounds your health problem.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    Several points...

    The prime objective of corporations is to maximize profits for owners (stockholders). Thus, they are obliged to use the cheapest methodologies to produce goods/services that they are chartered to do. Labor is a major part of corporate production. Thus, to maximize profits, corporations have to pay attention to labor costs, hiring the cheapest labor available that can do the work in an effective and proper manner.

    In past decades the US has found itself in the global economy. This means, in large measure, that much of corporate goods/services once produced in America must now compete with the rest of the world who can produce with obscenely cheap labor. US corporations had basically two choices... move production overseas to take advantage of cheap labor, or try to cut US labor to competitive levels. That's why US labor has stagnated and unions, who once used their power to keep wages high, now have been decimated.

    The question comes... can even services be moved overseas? Yes, call companies such as Comcast for help and you get the Philippines, India, etc. Call the DNews to change services and you get... well, take a guess.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:34 p.m.

    There will be a time when the masses will expect more than minimum wage jobs. And when that time comes, and really comes, it will be ugly. We have the choice to change our ways now to what I would call responsible capitalism (the idea that I can still make a profit but treat my employees well and my customers fair) or it will get ugly...

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Re: 2bits "Still waiting for the best example of 'success' in a pure Marxist economy...."

    We still have confusion about Marx the man and theoretician and Marx the label. Marx attempted in describe the process of capital accumulation in his work "Capital," among others. Marx's insights are valuable but are not allowed into mainstream economics because Marx is taboo. To my knowledge Marx never developed a blueprint for a socialist economy. He thought that was a job for somebody else. So with reference to Marx the man, there are no "Marxist" economies, pure or otherwise.

    Marx established to my satisfaction that capitalism is unsustainable over the long haul. This presents us with a real conundrum - capitalism is heading for a crackup with its wild inequalities. But establishing a humane socialism is going to be difficult. Perhaps the economies of northern Europe are the best example we have to follow. The Soviet Union was fabulously successful, but brutal. More cooperative enterprises could be an answer - the are examples of these succeeding. But regardless the next 100 years are going to be full of strife, conflict, and a trashed environment, unless we can change.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    2 bits,

    While you're waiting, do some reading about the Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. They have been a rather amazing success for almost 58 years now. They are not Marxist, but are instead patterned after Catholic social theory, which, interestingly, follows fairly well the vision Adam Smith propounded for an optimal economy. (His invisible hand notion was actually concocted to explain how a mercenary or suboptimal economy works, and that's the system we now have, which is beginning to bump up against its own limits.) The Mondragon cooperatives are based on the notion of employee ownership. Some hard-core capitalists such businesses) is hard to argue with. The wage differential between the CEO and the lowest worker in the system is 8 to 1, which is probably a fair representation of the relative value that each contributes to the business.

    Some people get stuck in two-dimensional thinking. Capitalism or communism. But there are other options. We need to start expanding our imagination in looking for solutions to the irreconcilable demands of corporate capitalism.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    In America we would like for an individual to achieve as much success that he can earn, using the legal and proper processes of America and have ownership until he dies.

    In many cases a persons successes such as fame, deeds, respect and love live on only in the minds of people. It's when the success is in the form of money and wealth that our system fails to function property.

    America boasts about equal opportunity and that each person can achieve success. However the notion of equal opportunity falls apart when the living descendents of the deceased are given the success of their ancestor without earning it. This flaw in our system allows people to have the success of riches when they haven't earned it.

    I believe that our nations should be supported by an income tax that covers every kind and source of income. I don't necessarily object to one's descendents obtaining ownership of the money, but they should pay income tax on their income.

    A more progressive notion would be that a individual's leftover money and wealth should be returned to the society from whence it came.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "Aren't we told to not covet? "

    Here's the issue. The problem isn't that rich people are rich, the problem is that they're controlling an increasing percentage of wealth. This stifles the spending power of the poor and middle class and is the primary reason we have such a slow recovery. There aren't more jobs because there isn't enough demand (there's definitely supply, record breaking corporate profits being sat on rather than invested in adding jobs) and there isn't enough demand because the poor and middle class don't have enough money to spend. Customers are what fuel job growth. Businesses don't make new jobs just because they can but because they feel there's a need. If there's not enough demand to make a need, then there won't be new jobs.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    Good points everyone. I've noticed a distinct dearth of comments from "Marxist". You would think this would be the perfect topic for him. He's the main one I've heard saying "Capitalism will eventually fail", and "Marxism is the answer", but we can't have Marxism until our current system collapses. Who cares what happens to the people during that collapse.... just as long as we get our new Marxist Utopia.

    I really want to hear where he thinks it's worked. It doesn't have to be "pure" Marxist economy. Just ANY Marxist economies that thrived and ended up with a more prosperous middle-class than what we have in America will do.

    Any takers?


    Like I said... it makes great class-warfare rhetoric... but always eventually destroys the middle-class and ends up with everybody in relative poverty.

    Not the way I want to live.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    First mistake Mr. Richards.."Why does it bother you that someone is rich?

    No one is "bothered" that someone else is rich. You are simply making this up. Conservative talking point and fantasy.

    Second mistake " Isn't that coveting? Aren't we told to not covet?" Who told me I couldn't covet, and wouldn't desiring riches, necessarily involve coveting on your part? You might not covet someones specific money, but you certainly covet the idea of riches. Coveting is simply having a strong desire for something.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    The rich will control the system to get more control and richer. They will throw out catch phrases to get the tea party bloggers to support them.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 2:25 p.m.


    Why does it bother you that someone is rich? Isn't that coveting? Aren't we told to not covet? Does the fact that someone else has more money than you or I have mean that we can take their money? Has the concept of 'private property' been abolished in America? Is this a land when government can disregard the 5th Amendment which states, " nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation", and take that property from one person and then give it to others?

    Instead of bemoaning the fact that some people are wealthy, wouldn't time be better spent improving our own skills so that we have more to offer, so that we will not be be cause of 'outsourcing', but the reason that 'outsourcing' will not be needed?

    I've spent more than three decades helping failing companies be more competitive by using technology. Some companies have fought me every step of the way. Those that changed are still in business. Those that resisted change are long gone. It's not just the workers who need to keep up, ask IBM why they're still in business.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    More up to date fodder for discussion:

    1. 85 people have the same amount of wealth as is possessed by the lowest earning 3.5 billion people combined.

    2. The richest 1% worldwide have $110 trillion in combined wealth which is 65 times the amount owned by the bottom half of the world' population.

    Source: Oxfam, 2014

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    @2 bits – “Still waiting for the best example of "success" in a pure Marxist economy....”

    Me too (see 1st comment), but I’m also waiting (have been for a long time) for the best example of success of a free market healthcare system.

    Perhaps the lesson from both of these questions is that ideology is at best a starting point in our knowledge and must always be checked against the real world.

    And if I can make a 2nd point (that will surely get the least amount of “likes” on this board) – the older I get the more it becomes clear that we need both the Left and the Right in this country as each tends to focus on particularly trouble spots, and conversely, their abilities to see with great clarity problems in one area often leads to blindness in other areas.

    As just one example, without the Right government would likely get out of control (many will argue it’s already there); while without the Left, the same will happen with Corporations (hard to argue we’re not already there in many instances).

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Some people seem to forget that in America, if you don't like what you're paid, you have some options. You can find another job. You can give up and let others take care of you. You can open your own business or join with others and open a business.

    The third option is what keeps businesses honest. The software industry knows that its assets walk out the door every night. That industry knows that anyone working from home can put them out of business if he comes up with a better "mousetrap". In all industries, someone can find a better or cheaper way to do something. When he does, everything changes. Labor might lose its value. Capital investment may become worthless.

    Whining about not making enough money only tells us that you have given up and that you think that the only alternative is to cry and whine. Those who improve themselves use that time to sharpen their skills and add value so that they can honestly tell their employer that his business needs them and that he needs to pay them what they are worth.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    2 bits, the value to Marxism isn't necessarily it's pure implementation. Much if not most of Marx's value is his analysis of capitalism.

    In addition Marxism has never been implemented in it's pure dialectical way. It's been hijacked ideologically and distorted for political purposes a few times but that's it. So you're question is a moot question.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    Thirty Six comments so far and not one person has suggested that marxism is the answer. To suggest that would be to say that any system can exist in its pure form (and to start the left/right debate again for no purpose). Capitalism in its pure form hasn't existed here in its pure form since Social Security and Medicare were enacted. The earned income tax credit favored by economists on the right instead of increasing the minimum wage (i.e. Glen Hubbard) but rejected by many in Utah who say it is socialism.

    I do agree that market tinkering should be avoided until no other solution is viable. Only the people through their government have the power to change the rules of the game to ensure fairness and avoid the catastrophe we now face economically.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    Still waiting for the best example of "success" in a pure Marxist economy....

    It's great dogma... but not so good in practice with real people.

    I think this is my last comment.. so I'll just watch for people's responses. I hope they have a good example of a Marxist success (we all know of so many well known failures).

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    Economic growth is sustainable. Growth does not necessarily equal "more stuff." Growth and productivity today come from better information technology, which does not equate to an oil-driven heavy manufacturing economy.

  • Ajax Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    A good letter calling attention to an increasingly critical problem threatening everyone’s well-being. What motivates some to go to such great lengths to in every case deny the obvious is always difficult to understand.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    The dynamic nature of money. One thousand dollars is not just one thousand dollars. If the money is spent and/or invested once a week or five times a week impacts the economy substantially. Advertising, the psychological mood of the public, credit availability, technological change and implementation, weather, tax rates and their distribution in the economy and government pump priming are among many factors that affect the circulation of money.

    The rate of money circulation and the diversity of its distribution is very important.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Mike Richards… we don't always agree… but here I will second your comment. I had one boss early in my career who push that each employee needed to have a unique value proposition… something that made them stand out from the rest. There aren't always competing and are often collaborative. But you must be able to say to yourself that you bring something unique to your job, that others can't do.

    That doesn't mean you need to be a doctor or engineer. Heck, I have a mechanic that works on my cars that fixes things the dealers scratch their heads at because he understands the electronics and the code that make them work in modern cars. Same of a lot of trades.

    Be better at something…. anything. Otherwise you are a commodity.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    Mike you talk around a problem as if the rest of us are missing something. Wealth is generated by more than sales, it is also generated by the labor of those who produce those goods and services. One cannot exist without the other. Now where the problem comes is that capitalism works in the real world and recognizes no boundaries. Hence profits will rise to the sky by only two means...lower costs or more sales. Lowering costs only can mean reducing material cost, increasing quality or volume, or reducing labor cost.

    The rub comes when those workers who are laid off or forced to take lower wages are the same ones the company hopes will buy its products. In a boom cycle employers seek to add workers and if they can't get enough they offer higher compensation which in turn makes other companies do the same.

    Without a continued and constant growth economy, the whole system dissolves into a small group having so much they don't need to purchase and the large group without the means to purchase.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    One of the greatest fallacies ever perpetrated on us is that the rich pay taxes. They do not pay taxes. Those of us who buy their services or products pay their taxes. Every service that they offer and every item that they sell includes all taxes that the government makes them pay. Does anyone really think that they are "buying" an iPhone for $100 or $200 when they sign a two year contact that really costs $85 per month or more? In that $2,000 contract, they are enabling their service provider to buy an iPhone from Apple at $500 or $600 or more. The price of that iPhone includes the taxes that Apple must pay.

    The same thing happens when we go to the barber. The $10 or $20 that we pay includes the taxes that the barber pays. If you work for someone else, they deduct the taxes that you owe from your 'gross' wages. You are forced to find a job that pays you what you need, after taxes.

    When we raise taxes on others, we are only raising taxes on ourselves - indirectly.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    Mr. Terry, you are perfectly free to live in the kind of country you described, but don't think you can change this one that way. Cuba would likely welcome you with open arms.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    I wonder how corporations would fare without those employees they are so quick to disparage? Corporations are quickly becoming the caretakers of our state and their public proclamation as to their only motive should give us pause as to our individual prospects. Capitalism cannot survive without controls put on it by us.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    @Open Minded Mormon
    "When 1% of the population owns 80% of the wealth, "

    It's the top 20% that own 84% of the wealth, not top 1%.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    "A lot of good comments are being posted. Some want wages increased, citing Henry Ford. Others, like me, want workers to add value before paying higher wages. "

    Actually I half agree with you. Just like corporations are not going to pay anymore than they have to, workers can't add value to a hierarchal power at the top finance economy that has squeezed worker productivity for the past hundred years.

    Until we re-build an industrial complex and workforce that delivers valued goods where workers can add value through knowledge and work we stuck with a system that will implode on itself.

    Step back and tell me the difference between a Soviet system where all the wealth was housed in a single industry (military) and the riches went to a very few, and a capitalist economy that wealth production (not value) is based pretty much on a single industry and all the riches go to a very few.

    It doesn't matter that the many have cell phones and cars, it only prolongs the inevitable.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    Whatever it is you do for living Mike,
    just remember -- you are not "rich" because you don't work hard [because I honestly believe you do]
    but because your competitors can off load and out source whatever it is you do for a cheaper price.

    Truth be told,
    the redistribution of the wealth is already happening,
    The problem is the rich have done a flea-flicker around loyal America,
    and sent it to Communists in China.

    WallStreet and Global market capitalists could careless about "patriotism", national security or loyalties, or America for that matter.

    It's all about profit.
    You can buy anything is this world, with money.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    This is all great to talk about.... but how about we get back to reality...

    People saying the collapse of capitalism is inevitable...
    -How long has capitalism been working? Not just in the United States, but in ancient Greece, Rome, etc...
    -And how long did the longest lasting Marxist economy last? And were the people living in that Marxist economy happier and more prosperous than similar people living in a capitalist economy?

    If you really think a Marxist economy is better... where's the proof?

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    Excellent letter, first rate economic analysis. Well done.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 10:40 a.m.


    Wouldn't it seem logical that the people that have most of the money pay most of the taxes? A fairer assessment of tax burden would be to include all taxes that are payed including income, FICA and sales tax and then look at it proportionally to ones income. Then we would find that the lower class people are paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes than are the wealthiest of Americans.

    Owners of business are most certainly entitled to make a profit. But they also must understand that their actions have consequence. The exporting of jobs to third world countries where children work in unsafe sweat shops has a consequence both in that country and America. They tamping down wages in America has a consequence.

    I am sorry but those with the money have the responsibility for the American economy. If they like the way it is going, keep doing what you are doing, but there are consequences. The bottom line is the current trend whatever the reason where all the wealth is being accumulated by the 1% has a consequence, and I hope America can live with it.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    Ahhh, a good letter and almost universally good comments.

    The problems and possible solutions could be the basis of numerous thesis's written by people far smarter and informed than I am. But allow me to bring up one factor that I understand that Karl Marx did not give much attention to.

    The dynamic nature of money. One thousand dollars is not just one thousand dollars. If the money is spent and/or invested once a week or five times a week impacts the economy substantially. Advertising, the psychological mood of the public, credit availability and government pump priming are among many factors that affect the circulation of money. The rate of money circulation and the diversity of its distribution is very important.

    I do not have any magic answers.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    A lot of good comments are being posted. Some want wages increased, citing Henry Ford. Others, like me, want workers to add value before paying higher wages. Some cite the fact that a very small portion of the population has the most wealth, but no one yet has told us that the very wealthy already pay most of the taxes, which means that you and I are already riding on the coattails of those "rich guys".

    Common sense tells us that we would not go to a barber shop and 'hire' someone who didn't know how to cut hair. We value our own money more than that. We could not go to a doctor who only knew how to use the Internet to diagnose our ills. We would not even hire someone to mow our grass unless we knew that that person had the skills and the equipment necessary to do the job; yet, some are telling us that 'corporations' need to pay the unskilled and the unqualified more.

    Wealth is generated by selling goods or services. Workers need to learn to add value to goods or services.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 10:02 a.m.


    "Labor will only be shifted to lower cost locations that have the skill to perform the work (possibly not equally, but at least good enough)."

    Wellllllll . . . I can't count the number of times I have called technical support at various companies, only to have my call fielded in India or the Philippines or Bangladesh by a "technician" who could neither speak intelligible English nor understand my questions.


    I disagree with just one thing you said. Yes, more people may own stock through 401k plans or IRAs, but statistics show that ownership is actually concentrating rather than dispersing in society. The already wealthy own an increasing share year by year. So I'm not really an owner in any sense of the word that makes any difference.

    2 bits:

    "Employers actually want their employees to succeed and be as happy as possible working there (that's the only way they can deliver their product or service)."

    You haven't worked in many corporations, have you? Ever been laid off by Novell, for instance, just so the quarterly numbers look better?

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    Corporations should not make profits? what blarney is that. Only the government running a business can do without profit. They just add more tax payer money. A business that is not profitable is going to fail.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    When 1% of the population owns 80% of the wealth,
    and continues to expotentionally gravitate upward each and every year,

    That 1% simply can't spend enough on "goods and products" to sustain our economy.
    And they are too geedy to "trickle down" their good fortunes to those procduing it.

    Henry Ford gsvr doulbed his employees pay so they could afford to by the very products they built...
    And America grew from it.

    Welcome to the new guilded age of the 21st century...
    The world of tomorrow looks more like MadMax or the Hunger Games than Star Trek.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    You can't remove the role of government in all of this. The trans-contential railroads were made possible because of vast land grants by the government to Union Pacific and Central Pacific. Boeing got off the ground because of a contract to deliver air-mail. The Department of Defense moved IBM from a maker of business machines, to computers in the late 1930s, The Space Race gave us core technologies like the semiconductor, flat screens, lcd displays, long life batteries, and the list goes on and on. Even major medical break throughs that spun off to some of the biggest pharma companies were through DoD grants. My own company is the result of a Department of Agriculture grant to study agriculture production. We now do 3 billion in sales and employ over 14,000 people world wide.

    I know it isn't the nice neat little picture some want, but government has had a heavy hand in promoting American business. If we are to be competitive in the future, that role will still need to be filled.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    Great Letter.

    I was quite frankly surprised the DN posted it.
    Wouldn't want to risk being labled with the "liberal" media attacking this country...

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    My adult children and I were talking over the weekend.

    I mentioned that perhaps - like our ancestors before - that it was time for us to migrate to Canada or New Zealand.

    more Socialist,
    cleaner enviroments,
    use the metric system,
    greater economic freedom,
    Universal Healthcare,
    for the sake of convinience for us, already spoke English.

    Those countries were more like the America I USED to know.

    Besides -
    Since we are all here for the test in motality --
    The LDS Curch is still true, even in Australia.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    To Mountanman: By all means, let's compare Communist East Germany with Socialist West Germany. No American liberal wants to emulate East Germany, West Germany is another story. It is perhaps the world's most productive capitalist economy combined with a high level of tax financed social services. A very pleasant place to live too, and you can always drive next door to France to get the world's best food and wine.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    Fact: 70% of the American economy of TODAY is based on our own consumption. Conservatives and liberals have to accept that as a fact. Wages in real terms are declining in the USA for 90% of the working class due to forces like exporting jobs that can be done more cheaply elsewhere and those that can't are given out to the lowest bidder in a never ending death spiral downward for workers.

    Problem: How do we keep the current system running in the future when the numbers are headed inexorably in the wrong direction. Productivity gains have a human limitation. Adding automation only makes unemployment higher. Finally, traditional pension disappear by the day which puts more and more people on the edge of disaster. Despite what one regular contributor says ad nauseam, we are all now "owners" through our 401K and IRAs. We all own stock and share in the risk of companies. As owners we gain when costs are cut, but as workers we are on the other side of the equation. Capitalism has no safeguard to keep the system working for everyone hence we see the looming catastrophe with no real answer as to how to prevent it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    Can somebody help clarify the last paragraph for me?

    Re: "The current corporate system of wealth distribution is a parasite that thrives by killing its host"...

    So... who is the "Parasite", and who is the "Host"? And how are the P's killing the H's??


    IF it's the relationship I'm assuming (where consumers=host and corporations=parasite)... corporations don't kill off their customers. They rely on customers wanting and buying their products/services to survive. Corporations are very aware of that. How do they "thrive" by killing off their customers?

    They also know they need their employees, and want their employees to prosper and be happy working there (if that's the relationship he's trying to describe). No.. they can not thrive by killing their employees.

    Employers actually want their employees to succeed and be as happy as possible working there (that's the only way they can deliver their product or service). Without them they are nothing (and they know that).

    Corporations want their customers to be as prosperous as possible (because that means they have money to buy their products/services). They want their employees to prosper also.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Demanding that "corporations" pay their workers more is absurd. It is absolutely absurd. How many of those who make those demands leave an extra $20 on the table when they eat at a restaurant? How many pay their barber more than the sign tells them to pay? How many tell the neighbor boy or girl who knocks on their door and offers to cut their grass or shovel their walkway that they will let them do it, but that that work deserves $50 instead of $15?

    Telling others how to spend their money is baloney. We are the wealthiest nation on earth, but we are filled with people who hold on to every penny while they demand that others share their wealth. Those who hold on have TVs, cell phones, computers, nice homes, cars and more clothes than they could every wear.

    Spend some time on YouTube watching industrial robots build cars, then realize that until workers learn how to design robots, until workers give the same value as a robot, no business will pay them for work that can be easily automated.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    If low productivity produced prosperity, there would be no poverty! Productivity produces prosperity and low productivity inevitably produces poverty for individuals and nations. There is no other alternativ! The "secret" to America's past prosperity has been its productivity and the reason individuals and nations are not prosperous is because of low productivity. There is no such thing as wealth redistribution without destroying prosperity! Very difficult concept for liberals and socialists to wrap their minds around but there are no long term exceptions. For examples compare N. Korea with S. Korea, former E. Germany with W. Germany, Hong Kong with mainland China, etc.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    President Eisenhower once gave speech in which he said that the genius of American Capitalism was that an average working man could buy a nice house, a nice car, and send his kids to college on his income alone. He said the capitalist countries that were ripe for communist takeover were those in which the wealthy had everything and workers struggled to survive. He also said that the reason for this was that America's business elite understood that it was in their own best interest to pay their workers well.

    Our elites have forgotten this important lesson. It is simply not possible to have a stable society in which half the populations can't make a living. Although communist takeover is no longer a threat, our society cannot survive in its current condition. I don't know what it will take to change.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:27 a.m.


    I typically enjoy reading your comments as (like Marx) some of your criticisms of our current system are accurate.

    That said, it seems a waste of your talents to immerse yourself in a utopian philosophy that when practiced (at least among humans) has caused so much misery and despair. Regarding Marxism, I’m reminded of the E.O. Wilson quote – “wonderful theory, wrong species.” He does think it would work great for ants & bees though… I tend to agree.

    I’ll ask you the same question I have asked conservatives with respect to free market healthcare – name a country or place on the planet where your theory has been practiced with positive results?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    While I agree for the most part with the letter writer and Marxist, there is another facet to labor other than just cost and that is skill.

    Labor will only be shifted to lower cost locations that have the skill to perform the work (possibly not equally, but at least good enough).

    That is the opportunity America has and President Obama has been talking about at every turn but has been entirely stonewalled by the republicans.

    America was the leader in auto production through the 70's simply because no one could build cars as well and as cheap as us...until they could.

    The creation of new high tech industries along with the creation of a capable workforce is the answer to our future not just the re-distribution of wealth in old industries. That dog has hunted and will never come back.

    Corporations or even small businesses are not going to pay higher wages because they should or could. They will only do it when they have to (demand). So until will create that condition this fight will continue.

  • Martin Blank Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    As Ed Abbey used to say, "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." Roger's right in that the current system is unsustainable. The question then becomes "How can we change the system to be sustainable?" Does changing the system so that CEOs buying back stock options to artificially inflate the stock price and therefore getting larger and larger bonuses make sense? It's been said that had Walmart not bought back stock and had instead used the same money to increase payroll, the average Walmart wage would have risen by $5 an hour. So what's better, that Walmart's executives made more in bonuses, or that every employee could have made a living wage?

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    Roger Terry has the non-secret answer I assume he's going to share on this comment board. He's shared it several times before, so if I remember it correctly, it's basically a pipe-dream. It cannot happen without employing the very heavy hand of government forcing "voluntary" cooperation.

    Marxist, of course, sees the problem differently as the exploitation of labor, but he's right when he says the situation can only be resolved after a severe crisis.

    Those in control of the economy are not about to relinquish it to someone with a "bright idea." Utopian schemes are fit only for those with too much time on their hands.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    Roger Terry thinks that risk and investment are of no consequence. In other words, if we took him literally, we would have to give renters the deed to our homes because our risk and our investment to purchase homes is of no consequence.

    Corporations are owned by those people who use their cash to buy shares in that corporation. Corporations have a board of directors, elected by shareholders who have a financial investment in that corporation. The board of directors are charged with the responsibility to preserve the value of the corporation and to maximize the profits so that the risk taken returns a profit.

    Corporations hire people. Those people have not risked their money to buy the corporation. Those people are paid, whether the corporation makes a profit or not. Those people get exactly what they bargained for when they took the job. They, like our "renters" do not own the corporation or the house.

    Calling names and disparaging risk will not buy you a business. If you have not invested your money in a business, you have no right to take money from those who have taken that risk.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 6:27 a.m.

    Great letter. In addition, the typical business paradigm includes an assumption that growth is necessary for profitable success. Yet overall economic growth is ultimately unsustainable, whether due to resource depletion, environmental impacts, or crushing debt. "The End of Growth" by Richard Heinberg provides a compelling look at the unsustainability of growth as a driver of our economy.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 1:25 a.m.

    "This is not a difficult riddle to solve." I disagree with this statement, even though the writer is mostly right in his analysis. As my handle indicates, I view economics mostly from the perspective of Marx. According to Marx businesses and the owners (capitalists) are driven to maximize profits, it's grow or die. So it's not that capitalists are demented and evil - they aren't for the most part - they're just people. But in their position they feel absolutely driven to maximize profits above all. In large part they do this by minimizing wages as much as possible. That's why so much American production has been shifted to Asia. American capital doesn't worry much about domestic demand for its output because they view the world as one large global market.

    Labor for its part has a hard time in the global economy because production can be easily shifted to areas with the lowest wages. Labor is to be continually whip sawed. Of course, as you point out, this setup is not sustainable, but capitalists can't see this in their zeal to minimize wages. This will only be resolved through severe crisis.