Saturday, December 15, 2007

More on Edwards

As I stated in an earlier blog posting, I am for John Edwards for President; I support him for three reasons: (1) Resume. More importantly than just the fact he just served in the Senate, I like that he is a trial lawyer. Why? Because I believe the greatest threat to America is unrestrained corporations, and John Edwards has made his living...and a very good one...taking on the corporations. In court case after court case he has exhibited the backbone and the ability to challenge and to reform corporate greed. (On the other hand, I believe his rival Hillary Clinton is a long-time insider in the corporate class structure; she sold out for power--and campaign $$$--a long time ago. (2) Programs. John Edward's list of policies about healthcare, the working class and collective action against corporate greed reflects my own. (3) Persona. I trust him. Silly as it sounds, I like the look in his eye. Ambitious? Yes. All politicians are. But I believe John Edwards, having been sorely tested by a child's death and his wife's cancer, is fueled by a political fire beyond power.


Blogger Jeff Bell said...

Cliff --
I am a centrist and my view and the studies I am aware of suggest that the fear of wealth inequity is a red herring concern. The economic system for generating maximum wealth creation is one that demands that wealth and income distribution NOT be equal and in fact settles at the relative distribution we see today which has in effect not changed in 80 years in spite of a huge variety of engineering of tax systems. Wealth acquisition "roughly" mirrors what people put into the system, that's it's unmatchable power.

Studies by the Federal Reserve paint a picture of the overall effect of corporations: that they have made us ALL vastly wealthier and at an astounding rate. Likewise common sense says that the corporate system has enabled more opportunity for upward mobility because of anti-discrimation laws that have more sway than in small business hirings.

I would suggest that a fear of unequal wealth distribution corrolates perfectly to time spent on the short end of the stick. When you see people doing better than you all around you, the concept that the system is doing what it's suppose to is of little comfort and hard to honor.

This 2003 study shows over the decades, wealth has increased for all at a remark rate and remarkably consistantly upward. And the relative differences in wealth distribution in fact closed.

If there has been a recent change in wealth distribution, my view is that it is caused by the expansion of global market, but more importantly not, in practical terms, meaningful. Yes, top box office stars make more than they did in the past. But the rest of us are wealthier than our counterparts of years past.

I respect your advocacy of your concerns. Regarding Edwards hopes -- While I agree that corporation oversight is important, I would point out that a large percentage of Americans, and in my view rightly, see a downside to keeping corporations in check through class action cases because the uneven results cause disproportionate inefficiencies (jury awards unpredictable, lawyers take 30%) in the marketplace which by definition slow wealth creation. My belief is that laws that create greater independent board oversight is the answer -- prevent the problem before it happens.

Likewise most Americans believe that an understanding of how to lead the armed services in wartime is a particularly important trait for a candidate this term. I'll leave out what I think about Edwards in this dimension except to say that it is reasonable to suggest that it is foreign to him.

I know I won't change your mind, but it's politics and that's my 2 cents. Best of luck!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

Let mer just deal with paragraph one!

(1) I am a centrist also. Center...the middle class...which is fading in the US.

(2) "Red herring"...until there is red revolution.

(3) Distribution should be equally dispensed according to the brilliance of effort and contibution and not oligopolistic control (which includes the accident of birth).

(4) Relative ditribution has not changed in 80 years, huh? Interesting choice of time frame...from 1928 to 2008. From one base year of overconcentrated wealth to another. What happened in 1929?

(5) The rest of this MBA-style charming--albeit classy--argument will occur over wine!

10:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bell said...

Well, I did one debate in high school, and it sucked! But it's kinda irressitible as time goes on, isn't it?


Middle class --- is it really fading? By what measure? Is it really predominately the fault of the oligopolies? Or has the middle class lived longer and more comfortably because of corporate products and other factors come more into play?

Red herring -- an unconscious reference on my part! I learned in BizSchool that oligopolistic monopolies are preferable to monopolies AND pure competition. Hell, in this country the working class votes Republican as much as they do Democratic. My view: red revolution least likely in an oligopolitic free market system -- gains for working class are maximized in such a system.

Oligopolies -- actually preferable to broad competition according to studies. Oligopolies set price points slightly elevated, generating marginally higher profits for the industries overall, including the small competitor. Pure competition drives profits to near zero.

Distribution during the depression -- it went down proportionally for the rich as well as the poor. Overall wealth declined, yes. The rich weren't gaining during the depression.

Wine -- my favorite luxury that transfers wealth to the petite bourgeois wine oligopolists. They have done a great job making sure that there is never a shortage of supply. I applaude their tryanny!

Enjoy your journey to heart of the primary process. Has there ever been a more uncertain competition? I predict....well, I'll wait a few weeks for that. But I predict a Republican victory overall, no more, simply because we are in the middle of a war and Republicans emphasize Commander-in-Chief qualifications and attitude. Simple math in my view. Another Bush legecy that I'm sure doesn't go down well.

2:48 AM  
Blogger Cliff Osmond said...

Final comment: I'm not against Bush, business, corporations or capitalism: I'm against greed! And Republicans (the ones in their corporate guises) have been very greedy recently. While Reagan properly freed entrepreneurs to follow their heightened incentives, that freedom must not slip a letter away to Greedom...incentives should not free people to slip into the 'one-of-the-seven-sins' of greed.

'Greed is [not] good.'

6:38 PM  

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