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reminds me of the infamous argument made by some economist a few years ago claiming that the pre-civil war south was an "efficient" economy that was better at creating wealth than post-civil war south... Yuck. Yeah, it looked all fine and dandy if you don't factor in the wealth and efficiency that the slaves were experiencing.
For many capitalists, the presence of concentrated wealth (John D. Rockefeller, the Walton family [WalMart], or Bill Gates) and the overall GDP (which, of course, is concentrated into a small minority of the citizens) is *proof* that capitalism is the ideal system. This logic leads us to the absurdity of ignoring slaves when calculating the economic health of a region/country... and they still do it - ignoring the poor (U.S. has 13-17% below the poverty line and 40% dip below that line in a given 10 year period, according to Wikipedia... compare with a social democracy of your choice, and the picture for the U.S. is not so good). Poverty line for a family of four in the U.S. is only $22k/year ($10.8k/year for an individual), by the way.
Laugh all you want at Jamie's statement about the Constitution, but that is literally the developmental level of that argument. "If it is in the constitution, is is Good. If it is not in the Consitution, it is bad."
@abgemacht, Yeah, I didn't explain myself well on that... The poor are not ignored (unlike slaves) but are simply averaged in like everyone else... which, I think, makes the measure less instructive than it could be. If all we look at is a GDP/capita number it suggests that U.S.A. is #1 (rah, rah)... but when you have 40% of the population hovering around the poverty line the fact that you have numerous millionaires to "balance" them out in the calculation is hardly reassuring. As John Edwards said, there are two Americas (here's the quote: "...there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America - middle-class America - whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a president.") It is my opinion that if something like 40% of the population is teetering on economic disaster and a good minority of those are struggling to even feed and house themselves than that needs to be taken into account. GDP/capita, by averaging, ignores the extremes. I would argue that a country with a safety net that can help those in need get back on their feet is a more civilized country... indeed a wealthier country... than one that doesn't have the safety net and is satisfied with leaving families starving and on the street. I submit that wealth is not just about total GDP or GDP/capita - it is about everyone being provided for... having plenty. That is what was meant.
"America is pretty much defending the entire western hemisphere. And people wonder why we spend so much on our military. Maybe because we have to defend North America, Europe, and Oceania."
Master Warrior, did not it not occur to you that the US has bought into the biggest scam in world history? We've been paying for military power while other countries got to pay for stuff like health care and industrial capacity.
Well, health care doesn't protect against foreign invasion, and about the only thing still made in America is military hardware. Toy factories and flu shots won't do much against a T-72. Even if we had to import our military hardware, we have sufficient strategic reserves to outlast nearly any country.
...and any other fans of live WTA gunboat. I was wondering if anyone was interested in playing a live anon WTA gunboat starting at around 8pm CDT today (24th). I'll be out until then, but I hope to see you all there! Save me a spot!