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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyTue Nov 26, 2019 6:02 pm

I started reading Beaten Down, Worked Up by Steven Greenhouse. It's terrible reading about reading about people who work two jobs and can't make ends meat for their family. It's really terrible.

The book is going to cover what unions has done for America, what only having 1 in 10 workers in a union has done for America and what we could do to combat the inequality in this country.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyTue Nov 26, 2019 6:10 pm

The first (and only) book I've ever read in full was the first Song of Fire & Ice (Game of Thrones) book, which I read a few months ago. I started the second one, but I've been getting distracted from reading it a lot.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptySun Dec 22, 2019 9:45 pm

I just read the introduction for Can American Capitalism Survive? by Steven Pearlstein. It's interesting to read how we got to where we are today. Normally when people talk about The Reagan Revolution they don't talk about the context of what was happening back then and how not only were companies over taxes and regulated but they were unprepared for the upcoming competition from overseas.

Supply Side Economics worked great for getting the economy back on track but there was never any pullback from doing what should have been a temporary fix. As we all seen only a few have really benefited from this as we see worker's wages stagnate.

A phrase I've never heard before was Social Capital. I understand what Political Capital is but I've never heard of Social Capital. Basically what Pearlstein is saying is corporations and institutions have less Social Capital than they ever had before. Corporations ultimate goal is maximize returns to investors dispite the damage done to workers and people. We should know about these new one sided contracts that are forced onto us. People don't trust a government that is beholden to a few pay masters. And we see in polls that most young people do not favor Capitalism as an economic system.

In this book Pearlstein is going to challenge the notion that government was totally to blame for America's economic downturn in the '70s but is going to challenge liberals in how they plan to change it.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Jan 20, 2020 11:00 pm

Just finished chapter 1 which is called Is Greed Good? While I wasn't surprised that Adam Smith was brought up and the misuse of his Invisible Hand term was brought up. I read about that before in Ralph Nader's book Unstoppable. But I was surprised that Pearlstein brought up Charles Darwin. While perhaps The Theory of Evolution does suggest we live in a dog eat dog world works by Darwin suggest otherwise, pointing out how we evolved to work together and follow social norms. Another thing I learned is that when we are confronted with an act of kindness or trust our brains get a hit of Oxytocin, which are found to correlate with levels with happiness. I wasn't expecting this type of science to be brought up in this book.

Another interesting thing I learned is if you look at the annual return on stocks of The S&P 500 from 1932 to 1975 it was 7.6% during the period of managerial capitalism. While during the period of maximizing shareholder value from 1976 to 2011 annual return on stocks have been 6.4%.

He brought up the ridiculous ways corporations try to avoid paying taxes and the fact executives have been making more than ever. Of course he pointed out that corporations that got to become what they are thanks to America are not patriotic at all and will move jobs overseas at the drop of a dime. And we know this isn't a economic system that doesn't work because we've had several crashes and bubbles burst the past several decades.

He brought up how trust in corporations, institutions and government are low as it has ever been in America. He's given examples how a lack of trust has been bad historically in other parts of The World. And the fact that we have more people in prison than ever before shows that.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Jan 20, 2020 11:01 pm

Chapter 2 is called Not-So-Just Deserts. Pearlstine gives a bunch of different data and one of charts he brings up confirms what I said before that we'd be in a shithole without the welfare state.

I don't think I ever talked about this here and but it comes up at work that nobody is paid according to the work they do. We've always had to get higher wages through laws and union bargaining. Pearlstine brings up the example farmers and their use of labor in this country the past few centuries. In the beginning we had slaves and people thought that was just. And it didn't go away until we fought a war over it. And Jeff Bezos didn't get all his money through his own labor. He gets a bunch of tax breaks and free land.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Jan 20, 2020 11:01 pm

Finished chapter 3 Is Equality of Opportunity Possible or Even Desirable? There was a really interesting study done that went through data from the past several centuries showing the possibility of mobility between classes. And it showed that no matter what period or country that a family that made it to the top can be expected to stay there for about 10 generations.

And it's shown that for the past few decades in America that 45% of poor people who are born poor will grow up to be poor. I don't know how obvious it is but I knew a lot of where you go in life depends on where you come from. And it's a lot more than just genetics though data shows for every inch taller someone is they can expect to make $1,000 more dollars in salary. No patenting is a factor though poorer parents need to stress more when it comes to making ends meat. And it's true if poorer kids go to school with richer kids that may not have an immediate impact but they do better in life as an adult. Though schools are increasingly becoming segregated by class.

And we can't factor out what someone does with their own life but to steal a phrase from Pearlstein in a game of cards what's dealt to you does matter. I don't think most people's ultimate desire is to be a Rockefeller but would like security in their livelihood. It is unfair that what decides where you go in life is just dumb luck.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Jan 20, 2020 11:20 pm

Finally read Chapter 4 Fairness and Growth - A False Choice. There was an interesting experiment where people had to complete puzzles and rewards were given out differently. The group that did the worst had a communist reward system where everyone got an equal reward. The group that did slightly better was the one with everyone competing but only the person who solved the most puzzles got the reward. By far the most productive group was the one that the person who solved the most puzzles got the most reward but it was divided among everyone kinda like how the welfare state works.

Social Capital was brought up again and how it's important for any society and business. You can't really run a business if you're unable to trust the people working with you. Pearlstein also brought up Francis Fukuyama's book Trust. He said we're losing social trust because people are more focused on "individual rights, excessive demands for cultural diversity and inclusion, narrowly focused communities, both in the real world and in cyberspace." Looking at you IMDB V2! Anyway he says that our economic growth for the past few centuries wasn't driven by some individuals wanting more but rather from a moral community.

There's economists arguing that income equality is slowing economic growth, not incensing it. And moderate levels of redistribution don't have a negative effect on economic growth.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2020 12:44 pm

Finally finished the book and the final chapter listed policy ideas and I did steal some for the election game we have going on right now.

Of course we can't fix our problems with the system we have right now and it's one where you can spend as much money as you want buying our politicians. Pearlstine lists some other good ideas like UBI and ending class segregation in school districts but none of that will change until we get money out of politics. And with The Supreme Court we have it'll probably have a constitutional amendment.

I learned plenty reading this book and it's interesting that Pearlstine does list our problems but it's great he also asks what are we going to do about it.

The next booking I'm reading is Mark Green and Ralph Nader's book Fake President.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2020 11:21 pm

Started Fake President by Mark Green and Ralph Nader. I just read the introduction and the authors listed 20 different ways Trump lies. Some of our IMDB users favorite ways are cherry picking, what-about-ism and Rooster-Taking-Credit-for-the-Dawn. Just reading this part of the book reminds me how ridiculous the man is and how much he lies. I'm just so sick of him that I try not to pay attention or rather just hear what he did than get his take on it. And you know I do fall into the trap of calling Trump an idiot but his lies are deliberate. He knows what he's doing.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptySat Feb 15, 2020 4:44 pm

The first chapter was on Obamacare. I'll always remember Trump said in one of The Republican debates that no sick person was going to be thrown onto the streets if he became president. But I didn't know he made promises that everyone in the nation was going to get healthcare coverage under his administration. It was like he was promising Universal Healthcare lol. And a month into his presidency he said Healthcare was more complicated than anyone could have thought lmao.

And this is an indictment on The Republican Party as a whole. For years they said they were going to repeal and replace Obamacare but they never had any kind of plan at all. And when push came to shove the only idea Republicans had for healthcare for decades was just opening up borders between states. And Trump couldn't even get rid of Obamacare because he has to be an asshole and couldn't get John McCain's vote. Get job master troll!

When it comes to the nation's health Trump has been doing the opposite. Not only has he kicked people off their Obamacare coverage but his party is trying to declare it illegal. Not only that but they're making the opioid epidemic worse and more people are getting AIDS because Republicans don't like the idea of giving people clean needles.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Book You Read?    Last Book You Read?   - Page 3 EmptyMon Feb 17, 2020 5:04 pm

Chapter 2 was on Climate Violence. It's pretty funny Trump was so against wind mills because of how many birds they kill (even though tall building kill way more birds) but will tout "clean coal" again and again even though he's misrepresenting what it actually is. I remember watching one of his rallies and he talked about clean coal like someone is going around scrubbing all of them.

Anti-climate science is the dogma of The Republican Party today. There's been plenty of roll backs on Obama-era regulations.

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