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Anyone care to defend civil rights leader Andrew Young?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by D.Sanchez, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. Heineken Man, I could applaud the sentiment if you kept it at your original point, that the media has been derelict in not going after companies for charging too much. At least I believe that's what you were getting at. There's no reason we in the media can't decide that our watchdog status includes outlandish prices, if we see fit.

    But if you're talking about actual price controls, then yeah, that's socialism and not going to fly, nor should it. I've had some pretty hearty discussions with people here on gas prices, arguing that - much like water - it's a product people really don't have much choices on, and government has an interest in the prices being reasonable. But hats at Disney World, hot dogs at baseball games, even drinks at the local Kwik-E-Mart, if you wanna use your columns to say it's ridiculous, by all means. But the govt. should stay away.
  2. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    You and some of the other posters have used some fairly sound arguments. The problem is that the premise is flawed in almost every case. That premise is that we live under a representative democracy where each vote is equal and where government intervention in private enterprise is to be avoided at all costs. This is the sort of short-sighted thinking that led to the robber barons of the early 20th Century, and it's the widespread neglect of the growing problem with modern-day robber barons that has made it acceptible by default.

    The reality, of course, is that big business has strangled the democracy out of our country. Today, most elections are won by the candidates who cater most to big business and, therefore, rake in the most campaign cash. Our environmental policy has been set by the very entities who pollute. Our foreign policy has been determined by men who used to work for one of the few American companies that profits from war. Our energy policy has been led by oil companies and the likes of Ken Lay. Our trade policy is determined by Wal-Mart and a host of other companies who benefit most by buying offshore and making cashiers and department store customer service managers out of men who put their lives on the line in Vietnam, men who have been busting their asses for good money in American factories for most of their lives.

    Big business has led a coup d'etat, and while everybody knows that it has occurred, few are storming the halls of justice to demand fairness. So if I'm taking up that fight, I do it with great deal of pride and much concern for the future of this country.

    As for socialism, it isn't merely identified by the public's right to be protected from unfair pricing. I agree that measuring what is really a vague proposed concept designed to protect the public may fall loosely under the socialist umbrella. But it doesn't identify the whole of the political philosophy. And the most likely cause for throwing the term around is that it has a negative connotation. A lot of folks are quick to sling labels. It's an easy way out. But tossing around naughty words doesn't solve a problem that most of you admit exists in this country. And I'm all about solutions.

    If it comes down to a dictatorship led by big business and governmental policy that smacks a bit of socialistic ideology, I'm all for it. If we can employ a nonpartisan, completely neutral governmental organization to root out the most egregious forms of price gouging, we can only then begin to rebuild this country as a true representative democracy.

    How do we tackle this? Certainly, the media must play a role. Not by harping on campaign finance reform; but by drawing the tangents, the clear lines that indicate how monopolozing the media (as the FCC did not long ago) has forced people into a corner where there are fewer options and where the price is the price. The country's leaders can rally the citizens against private business that fleece the public and insist upon pricing that is fair and just.

    But we also must fix our flawed democratic system so that the power is returned to the country's citizens. A representative democracy was designed to allow economic freedom because it was assumed that the people would be able to keep greedy business owners in check via the ballot box. But the greedy business owners now own the ballot box. In my neck of the woods, Disney World probably has more influence on votes than any combination of citizens. And the reality is that they just raised their prices.A one-day pass to the park now costs $63? They actually raised it $3 days after reporting favorable profits for the first half of the year.
  3. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Tell me, what should a "fair" profit margin be? And should it be the same for all businesses?
  4. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member


    Should Heineken cost the same as Milwaukee's Best?
  5. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    It's not Wal-mart's fault. It's not the mom and pops' fault. It's not Andrew Young's fault.

    We all know whose fault it is.
    Don't we, Mel?

    Disclaimer: I keed, I keed.
  6. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    My view is that it should be determined and tried on a case by case basis, just as criminal acts are. Every effort should be made to ensure that there is a high standard to meet before something is considered unfair. Of course, there is no way to ensure complete objectivity, as is the case in many other instances of law.

    But there are some hard-and-fast guidelines that can be developed. As I said, though, I'm not about to develop a 500-page policy guide for something upon which I'm not an expert. Someone with a doctorate in policy development is much more qualified to tackle that issue.

    It's definitely a fine question. I completely see the point of asking it. It's a complex matter. I just hope nobody is tossing out that question as if it negates the issue. i.e. There is no cure for cancer, so just shoot yourself.
  7. Overrated

    Overrated Guest

    Do you mind if I write this on my hand and use it the next time I'm at a party?
  8. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Small quibble, but I don't think the carmakers are ramming SUVs down our throats. They're making more (or were, at least) because demand, well, demanded it. When the OPEC embargo took hold in the 70's, Japenese models with great mileage hit our shores. American carmakers reacted by sticking shitty engines in muscle cars like the Corvette and Mustang while insisting that America didn't want a gas-sipping hatchback. Except, of course, it did, and they had to scramble to make up the ground.

    But eventually they did, and if it gets to the point where gas is so highly priced that the SUV isn't feasable as a daily-use vehicle by middle America, you'll see the pendulum swing (Ford has already discontinued the big-enough-to-rate-its-own-Congressman Excursion, for example). I think (hope?) they've learned their lession from the 70's that they won't wait for other manufacturers to make their decision for them.
  9. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    MM, it's been evident for more than a year now, when gas prices permanently crossed the $2 per gallon barrier -- they've only dipped below that for a week or so, if even that -- that the SUV and the big vehicles are not everyday vehicles the middle-class American can afford.

    Actually, they are -- as long as Soccer Mom still puts that gas on her credit card. A very small, partial reason for the ballooning of personal debt. When you're already making minimum payments, and then you add $20 in extra gas onto your Visa ... oy vay.
  10. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Actually, around here they dipped below $2 a couple times, once in the late fall and again in February. I gassed up at $1.73 at the very lowest. I don't know that I would *expect* gas prices to return to $1.xx, but I guess it's possible. And I think a lot of people still think it could happen, though clearly SUV sales are on the decline, and automakers are trying to make them a little better on gas mileage (Ford Escape Hybrid, for example) in hopes of stemming the tide. Also, SUVs are getting (relatively) cheap on the used car market because more people are selling than buying.

    Ugh, don't remind me. I had to put $100 worth of gas on my plastic because I had a 10-hour round trip for a job interview, and I'm po. In my defense, I purchased my SUV in 2003 when prices were as low as $1.09 in one town I drove through that spring. Had I known, I would have tried to find something with better fuel mileage that I could still fit in (I'm a big guy and I need a big cereal).
  11. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Yuck. Personal debt. Now I know why I sympathize with those on the lower end of the income scale.

    I have a Shell card. It was my wife's idea. (She doesn't play soccer ;-) I think the card is about maxed at this point because it became our crutch when gas prices soared. I believe it hit the credit limit during my U-Haul trip from the Midwest to sunny Florida.

    If you check the car ads, it's unbelievable. They're practically giving the things away, and the best deals are for the vehicles that suck the most fuel. These tend to be from the American manufacturers. I won't begin to add much to wicked's comments because I just don't know that much about it.

    But I can say this: With the huge rebates, I can afford to buy an SUV. I just couldn't drive it. My wife is the driver in the family. She drives 30 miles to work each day while I sit at home with the two munchkins. The fuel would be too expensive if we replaced her car, and I don't drive enough to make it worthwhile to pay big money for a car that would sit in the parking lot most of the time. So we're more likely to buy something that has good gas mileage. Of course, those vehicles aren't nearly as flashy, so I'm more likely to bypass the great car deals and keep driving our current vehicles until they spew oil.

    But I'm hopeful. The Orlando Sentinel reported today that people are stealing aluminum and copper to sell as scrap because the prices have shot through the roof. I just might get $500 for my Cavalier yet!
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