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ECONOMY: Difference between greed and financial success

Letter by Jeff C. Swanson, Lake Stevens on Dec. 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm with 38 Comments »
December 5, 2011 12:48 pm

Whenever I hear individuals complain that President Obama is trying to punish people for being successful financially, I cringe.

Financial success is something to be proud of and praised, but greed is not. When some people do whatever it takes to get more money, even if it means people get hurt along the way, that is when there is a problem.

Greed is the problem, not financial success.

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Leave a comment Comments → 38
  1. Of course it is. And it would be grand if those who presume that successful people have been greedy in order to become successful. Sure some have. But many have not. Many successful and wealthy people are quite generous.

    I cringe when it is assumed that a successful business person is some kind of money-grubbing monster.

  2. Sorry, one line of my comment makes no sense. “It would be grand if those who presume greed on the part of successful people would stop making that presumption.”

    Just tired of the cariacature of both business folks and military folks.

  3. philichi says:

    I have a good friend that owned 12 harvest combines. He hired 10 students every year to harvest crops in Eastern Washington. Jimmy Carter and the Dems decided to raise taxes on “the rich”. In the late 70s he made the rational decision to only run 6 combines. He would have netted the same income either way. Six less kids got hired, 6 less combines were bought that year. That is the rational decision that a businessman makes when confronted with higher taxes and expenes.
    Is that the world you want? Was that greedy for him to work less and earn less? Imagine what the Obama economy will look like if he gets his way.

  4. Federal income tax bracket:
    1977,70.0% at $203,000 agi
    1978,70.0% at $203,200 agi
    1979,70.0% at $215,400 agi
    1980,70.0% at $215,400 agi

    And another right wing fantasy tale bites the dust.

  5. itwasntmethistime says:

    How do you define what is “enough?” I know families who live comfortably on $50,000 per year and others who struggle paycheck to paycheck with $150,000 per year.

  6. aislander says:

    xring: Get outta here, you knucklehead! Even YOU must know that there were many more ways to escape paying the income tax in the years you cite than there have been in recent years.

    The effective rate was around 16% of GDP(as it always is)…

    Tax rate comparisons are good only for creating invidious straw men…

  7. aislander says:

    The truly rich paid much less than the putative top rate, but the poor saps who couldn’t hide income or make use of tax shelters got stuck…

  8. beerBoy says:

    aislander….xring’s listing of tax rates directly follows, and disproves phillichi’s claim that “Jimmy Carter and the Dems decided to raise taxes on “the rich”.”

    You keep missing these things and I am going to start thinking that you really aren’t as quick as I thought you were.

  9. aislander says:

    Yeah, I realized I misconstrued xring’s comment and tried to save it with a followup. I thought he was recycling the old “the economy was better when tax rates were higher” argument, of which lefties are so fond. THEN I read the preceding comment…

  10. Well, regardless of tax rates during the Carter years…

    The bundling of sub-prime mortgages into Mortgage Backed Securities, and the selling of those phony securities over and over by financial corporations that knew they were garbage to begin with is a clear example of GREED by the rich in an effort to get richer at the expense of others. And that’s what got us where we are today in this country.

    And, don’t give me any of that junk about the government forcing financiers to loan money to people who couldn’t pay it back. That was as much a pack of lies as WMDs were in Iraq!

  11. beerBoy says:

    TARP gave $7 billion in loans to the Banks which they “repaid” without interest by accepting $7.7 TRILLION from the Fed in interest-free loans which they then turned around and loaned back to the government at 3% interest. The TARP was “paid back” by US paying interest on money that was ours already.

    It was just a shell game…..

    And even the Congress wasn’t kept informed.

    Just for a little perspective – the Fed gave half of the total US GDP to the Banks as an interest-free loan.

    And the Fed is doing it again (done it again) with the Banks of Europe.

    Trillions in fiat currency created out of thin air can do nothing but create hyper-inflation. Thank god for debit cards…..in the Weimar Republic they had to use cash so they had to bring wheelbarrows full when they went to buy a loaf of bread.

  12. beerBoy says:

    Meanwhile, indictments for Financial fraud from the DOJ is at a 20 year low at the same time Wall St. has broken records for funding Obama’s campaign.

    And qq claims that there have been no indictable crimes….those Occupy folks are just full of hot air….nothing to see, move along.

  13. qq98411 says:

    bb – don’t you dare put words to me that I never said… don’t do it.

    I never said their were no crimes… I am asking you to identify a specific crime… anyone of you yahoos… but you don’t. If you can do that the discussion moves on… but you dont’… you got anything besides rhetoric… besides pointing to Wall Street poop…? Anything?

    You keep point to the pile of poop in the carpet and say that is wrong and it shouldn’t be done…. blah, blah, blah…

    What friggin’ crimes were specifically committed.

    Does that really sound like I said there weren’t… and you claim to be a professor???

    The OWS folks are saying this is bad, bad Wall Street… but offer no solutions to the issue except occupy and poop somewhere. I’d give them some credit if they pooped in DC.

  14. qq98411 says:

    on a side note. I didn’t even post here and you call me out. that’s low budget bull dongers and you know it. bad form dude…

    I expect better from you. I guess not…

    Ok… moving on…

  15. philichi says:

    xring thanks for printing the tax rates. That meant that anything over $200,000 was taxed at 70%. I guess that I know what time of the year I would begin to stop working on Fridays. Heck, I would take the rest of the year off after $200k. Wouldn’t you?

    I suppose that you can see why businesses just stop expanding at that point.

    This is the perfect definition of greed. Allowing a man to work and produce and taking his wages and giving it to another. Isn’t that really slavery?

  16. beerBoy says:

    qq – Since the DOJ has been not indicting folks, let alone sending them to jail, it is difficult at best to provide you with specifics.

    And yes, I called you out on a thread you hadn’t posted on yet. Mea Culpa. It is just that you are one of the few here who is worth calling upon – you demonstrate a willingness to (sometimes) see a broader view than the ideologically defined politically correct right one (or left one). consider it a compliment.

    On this site I write about lots of things that aren’t within my narrowly defined area of professorial expertise. It is quick, it is for my amusement (and some edification), it is not careful, it is……just like everybody else here. My “research” for most of these posts is limited to quick google searches. I already devote way too much time to this stupid little site talking with folks who already “know” the “truth” and are (mostly) impervious to any facts that get in the way of the “truth”.

  17. Pacman33 says:

    Is Obama greedy?
    Last election 0bama accepted more money than any candidate in history from the folks on the other side of this contrived and conveniently vague greed scale.

    After #Occupying the White House, Obama displayed his gratitude by littering his administration and cabinet with Goldman Sachs cronies. Goldman Sachs was at the top of the list for Obama’s historic, record breaking contribution haul. In the first few day’s of Obama’s presidency, he made the Enron scandal look amateurish by receiving 10 times more than Bush did from Enron, along with a corresponding 10 times more acts of corruption. That was only the first few days …..

    I’m sure that is not “cringe”-worthy because it is factual. This letter is an example of leftist drivel that is manufactured for the purpose of justifying the deplorable actions of leftists in their own head.

    http://my.firedoglake.com/fflambeau/2010/04/27/a-list-of-goldman-sachs-people-in-the-obama-government-names-attached-to-the-giant-squids-tentacles/

  18. aislander says:

    If the experience with Obamunism proves anything, it is that envy is a much worse sin than greed. The former has NO redeeming characteristics, while the latter may result in benefits to others. Neither is good, but envy is the greater evil by far…

  19. If the experience with Obamunism proves anything,

    Unless you can very specifically define “Obamunism” and how it has been expressed you really are only proving your Obamaphobia with statements like that.

  20. qq – for some reason my response to you didn’t get posted.

    Short version – sorry for the out of thread shout out to you – it’s just that you are one of the very few from “the other side” who seems to be willing to do more than regurgitate talking points. And….I’m a lot more careful when writing/researching in a professional/professorial setting – this is just quick google searches and fly-by typing.

  21. philichi says:

    If it is greed that makes a man work harder and expand his business bring it on.

    However, it is envy that made Germans look the other way as their Jewish neighbors were robbed of their businesses and houses and sent to camps. It was envy that made Americans look the other way while their Japanese neighbors were herded off to camps too. Who do you libs want to haul off now?

    Lets see, which party always tries to promote envy anyway? Could it be the party of FDR and LBJ?

  22. Phillchi – Those high tax rates discouraged taking money out of the business as income, and encouraged using the money to grow and expand the business and reward the workers.

    Asilander – wrong again. Envy affects only the envious. Greed takes form many to enrich the one.

    I suggest the two of you look up greed and envy and use them in their proper sence.

  23. philichi seems to have some kind of obsession with WW II, and one wonders why he/she/it can be so wrong about the comments he/she/it makes concerning WW II.

    For the record, it was NOT “envy” that made Germans look the other way when their Jewish neighbors were robbed and sent to camps. It was FEAR! Same as it was FEAR when Americans of non-Asian descent watched as Japanese-Americans were sent to completely different kinds of camps than the German Jews ended up in.

    Now, in stating it the way philichi did, he/she.it would like people to believe that the German camps for the Jews were the same as the American camps for Japanese-Americans. They were not, and anyone with any rudimentary education about WW II knows that.

    And, what the heck does the last comment mean, bringing in the reference to LBJ (President Lyndon Baines Johnson)? FDR promoted recovery of America after a huge financial mess called The Great Depression, which is much like the situation we are in today. And, by the way, FDR was successful! LBJ’s great long lasting legacy is the passage of Civil Rights Laws that made America a more fair and equal country for all of its citizens than it had even been before in its entire history.

    philichi, the only thing you have proven by your comment is that you don’t know crap about American or world history.

    Which party tried to promote envy? Here’s your answer philichi: The party of George W. Bush and Haliburton!

  24. aislander says:

    People ACT on the basis of envy, xring, you utter…

  25. qq98411 says:

    the post are suppose to be short, if i take one position if does not mean it is to the exclusion of others. we cant make disclaimers for every position one takes…

  26. qq98411 says:

    then that was my fly-by butch slap… ;)

  27. philichi says:

    why is it that the left always gets upset when we talk about their guys? Hitler, using, National Socialism, was their guy. He killed Jews because they were rich and successful. They were merchants, doctors and business owners. Look it up. Moa,Stalin, and Castro etc are also lefties. They all came to power using envy. A lot of people died and always will when people like this get elected. Have you noticed that they always kill for the children?

    Have you ever noticed that a good Obama policy or program always has a bad guy? Millionaires, billionairs, jet owners etc. They always say to take an extra 3% from millionairs. Are you really fooled by this?

    As far as the business owners go, you make no sence. You’re telling me that if a man earns over $200,000 he must leave it in his business or pay taxes on it. That is wrong on a few levels. In an S corp, he pays taxes on it when he earns the money. However, if he can’t have his own money to pay for kids education or other things, what is the point of earning the money? You want to live in a country like that? I don’t.

    FDR prolonged the depression for many more years. It only ended when he died. Sorry, it is the truth. Just look at the dates yourself. It went from around 1930 to 1945. That is fifteen years in my book. He started one stupid program after another. Some programs we are still stuck with today. If he ended the depression he sure did a bad job of it. I hope that it doesn’t take 15 years this time.

    Tell me where I am wrong here.

  28. falkoja6 says:

    You did quite well in your assessment Phil…how does one play ball with the OWS?? They covet what you own and worked hard for and they aim to take it away form you even if they have to beat you over your head to take it!!!!

  29. philichi says:

    Btw, I am getting tired of people that don’t know anything about the TARP program, trying to explain it. Let me tell you why it was done and how it worked.

    The financial system was about ready to collapse. Hedge funds were shorting banks left and right. They were simply selling millions of shares of the stocks. they were than spreading rumors about the banks to get people withdraw their funds. It worked with WAMU. The hedge simply placed large bets that they could drive big banks out of business.

    The Treasury had a plan. They went to every major bank and told them that they were about to take loans for billions. It was a 5% loan. The treasury didn’t give them a choice. Because it was so much money, the hedge funds knew that they could no longer short these banks out of business. The treasury earned 5% on their money. Just about all has been paid back with interest.

    A man named Neal Kashkari devised the program. It worked. As a matter of fact, I really can’t say that I have ever seen another program work this well. Was this too advanced? Do I need to go over this again?

    Yes, the govt has lost on Fannie Mae and AIG. They will for sure lose on GM. They all demand a another post to explain each one.

    Now when you all talk about TARP, you don’t have to sound so stupid.

  30. Ortingmom says:

    And who decides what is greed and what is success? It really is not your decision as to where the cut off point is.

  31. Just about all has been paid back with interest.

    funny…Of the $245 billion handed to U.S. and foreign banks, over $169 billion has been paid back.

    Since when is owing $76 billion on the principal “just about all with interest”?

    And….since the Fed made those multi-trillion dollar interest free loans to the banks, it is hardly a huge accomplishment that the banks still owe about a third (not counting interest).

  32. philichi says:

    Beer boy,

    Most of the assets that you are referring to went to AIG, Fannie Mae and GM.

    AIG insured mortgages. They used typical loan loss ratios to determine their costs, expenses and required reserves. Life insurance companies do the same thing. If the whole east coast died because of a nuke, there wouldn’t be enough money to cover the loss. That is what took place with the mortgages. Unfortunately, many of the holders were foreign governments. The US had to decide if they were going to stiff them. If they did, they wouldn’t have been able to sell future bonds to finance the lefty programs. We chose instead to back the bonds.

    You know the story of Fannie Mae. It was pretty much the same as the AIG. A bunch of Democrats running a business backed by the treasury. Like Lefty Corzine’s MF global they brought it down.

    Finally we have GM. Zillions was given to them to keep their broken business model from being fixed. If they would have been allowed to go bankrupt, they could have reorganized and set up a more competitive labor system like many airlines have done. However, politics and union contributions ruled the day here. The unions were made whole. They were left in place. GM is now profitable because they chose to stiff all of the bond holders. Many of these were senior loans with first positon ahead of labor etc. Contract law be damned.

  33. Greed is good. It is the high octane fuel upon which free enterprise runs.

  34. aislander says:

    What is now being characterized as “greed” WAS (in a more rational time) called ambition, at worst, and also drive, initiative, enterprise, get-up-and-go, and other positive words that seem to have been left out of today’s conversation…

  35. Pacman33 says:

    ” … ambition, drive, initiative, enterprise, get-up-and-go …”

    These words are foreign to leftists. As foreign as the left’s ideology is to the United States. These words are what separates The United States from the sprawls of mediocrity and unions, their spore-like virus carriers, who share the leftist’s naiveté of these words.

    It is these terms that allow one to break the chains of the uninteresting meagerness and dare attempt to strive for greatness.

  36. beerBoy says:

    philichi – What got AIG in trouble were CDOs – insurance on derivatives, not insurance on mortgages. If they insured mortgages their crash would have had a much, much, much smaller impact – in fact, AIG probably could have easily covered their losses.

    Since you have so grossly mischaracterized AIG, it is safe to assume that none of your “facts” are, in fact, factual in nature.

  37. beerBoy says:

    We get it aislander and pacman – you like patting each other on the back for being morally superior because you are conservatives.

    Platitudes and put-downs….I guess you need them.

  38. Pacman33 says:

    Fabrications of non-existent back patting, pitiful distortions of accurate depictions and the astonishing projection of self-appointed superiority from the most pretentious pompous-ass ever to roam the TNT comment threads. All simply for one’s inability to address the content that initiated feeble and lowly response.

    Delusions, contradictions and lazy cop-outs ….. I guess you need them.

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