How and Why America became great


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    “The Iowa farm family who raised corn for cattle purchased from Wyoming and who lived in a farmhouse made of Wisconsin pine clothed themselves with Mississippi cotton that Massachusetts factory workers had woven into fabric, worked their fields with a plow manufactured in Illinois from steel produced in Pennsylvania, and ended their Sunday meal by drinking Venezuelan coffee after enjoying an apple pie made on an Ohio stove from fruit of a backyard orchard mixed with sugar from Cuba and cinnamon from Ceylon.”

    Nature’s Metropolis
    William Cronon


    I think of this entire, long, wordy, novel, that one paragraph sums up, very nicely, how America came to be the most powerful, influential market and nation this world had ever seen and why, now that we no longer do this, we are “tail spinning” from being the leader of the world to a rabble of bickering children without the sense enough to come in out of the rain as we wear our I-Pods and dance in the lightning storms.



  • Yeah but remember Jen it is the duty of the board of directors to ensure maximum profits for their shareholders.  :roll: Can’t do that if they are paying over inflated American wages.

    Everybody said Henry Ford was crazy when he paid his line workers so much to make Model T Fords they could afford to buy them. Looks like GM now has a surplus of Mexican made Chevies.

    Back when I was in high school in the '80s in economics they were touting about how the US was going to get rid of all those bad nasty factor jobs and become this whole wondefull service economy. I never saw how that could work out, and from the state of things it apears I was right unfortunately.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I agree.  The minimum wage laws coupled with the massive over taxation of businesses (compared to similar nations) has driven many businesses away.

    There need to be some laws to protect the common man from abusive businesses, but it needs to be in moderation.  What made us great was using the resources and labor of our people instead of paying others to do it for us.

    How great would America have been if we had paid the Chinese to make our pie pans, the Canadians to grow our apples and the Mexicans to drive our sugar too us so we could have Apple Pie back in the 1800s?  Would we have ever gotten off the ground as a nation?



  • I doubt the minimum wage laws have had that much of an affect on companies moving their production offshore. Most of the ones I am familiar with that have done so were not paying minimum wage to begin with. As a matter of fact I think we need some kind of MAXIMUM wage law in this country. Say something along the line of the bosses make x amount of times what their lowest earners make. Sheer greed and a lack of patriotism have all but destroyed this country.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    Well, in order to defuse any libel of making this political (since we are talking legal laws when we refer to minimum wage laws) let’s just say that the cost of doing business in the United States far exceeds the cost of doing business in other nations.  Taxes are higher (36% in Illinois versus 11% in Ireland), labor costs are higher ($7.25/hr in Illinois vs $3/wk somewhere else on the bottom end), etc.

    Perhaps if we focused more on making sure people were employed and less on the minute details of their employment we would have a more robust system of employment?  Perhaps if we cared less about the ability of the common man to live on the MINIMUM WAGE and used Minimum Wage as it was originally intended (to prevent CHILDREN from being abused for no pay) and we cracked down on the unions (some are insanely too powerful) and we made the criminals that run some companies do perp walks with really long jail sentences (and I am talking real jail, like the “Charm School of Joliet” not “Uncle Bubba’s Mansion on the Hill”) we could return to the society we had that made us great to begin with.

    It was, after all, the WWI and WWII generations that did most for us as a society.  This was partially because they were actually taught long division in high school where today, I can barely justify teaching division by graphing calculator.  It was also partially because most children were raised to be respectful of their elders, to follow secular and religious laws (whatever religion they were in) and were forced to work as members of the family, not ride free.

    Remember, most of these boys and girls had to work for the family business, whether that was import/export, craft, farming, whatever.  The nuclear family worked together to build up their estate, it was not Mommy goes to her job at the Law Firm and Daddy goes to his job at the Hospital while Billie and Mindy go to day care where their caretakers don’t speak the language nor do they necessarily give two hoots about the kids.

    Most of these boys and girls also felt BAD when they got scolded by their teacher and even worse if they failed to keep up with the material being presented in class!  There was no social promotion back then, if you flunked your studies, you were held back so you could study more. (Then again, classes in some of the more rural areas had one teacher teaching all grades first through sixth with the older kids assisting the younger ones.)  Where teachers were not abused because they held the children to a standard (today, you can actually be fired for holding children to a standard unless you have an incredibly strong argument to support you.  This is why no one teaches division anymore, it’s “too hard” for high schoolers.)

    These men and women grew up to deal with the good and the bad, to do the job they had to do, to accomplish the task as a team, and to be happy with what they had.

    Today’s generation, well, they cannot even handle getting a C on an exam without Mommy and Daddy crying to the school and you being called in to justify why the student got a C (when they should have gotten an F) to your union rep and the administration board to keep your job, all because a parent(s) complained and you are not tenured.

    It’s backwards, and that’s why American progress is backwards.  At the rate we are going, from the Education Reform bills written in the mid-1960s, again in the early/mid 1990s and again more recently - each worse than it’s predecessor, and the social promotion of unschooled children into positions as administrators, with the rewards for abusing the system our administrators get (my boss happens to earn $133,000+ as a department head for the district, he can’t teach because he never passed his APT exam, but he can still administrate and you can find what these people make using the Report Card functions for your state - worse still, that probably does not include bonuses, while starting teachers barely clear 28k a year and have to do the actual work with no support either from the legal system, the school administration or the parents of the children) and the corruption of the teaching unions which no longer serve to assist educators but rather to line their own pockets with graft and corruption at the expense of teachers - you have to wonder how we will ever regain adequacy in math and science, let alone the dominance we held for over 150 years. (From before Benjamin Franklin until after WWII and the Nuclear Bomb.)



  • A company I used to work for as a carpenter has a project engineer that was just promoted to superintendent.  All he was asked to do as a project engineer was to do building layout.

    He used to give me scale drawings (using the term loosely) to build footer or wall sections what ever we were doing that day.  One time his inside-to-inside dimensions were something like 12 feet larger then his outside-to-outside dimensions.  This was very common.

    I always got a kick when I would go up to him and say, “I only have an 11th grade education so I don’t have that big engineer stamp in my office like you do, but this doesn’t make sense.”  He would look at it and then ask me to take the architectural drawings and fix the numbers.

    He used to get so mad when I would tell him “I don’t care if you have more degrees then a thermometer let me do the job I’ll do it right the first time.”



  • There is one word that clearly spells out why America is “sinking” - globalization.

    It’s not so much that the country is falling, it’s that the rest of the world is catching up to us.  They are capitalizing on innovations we (and other nations) made, some industrializing; you could even say Americanizing since our presence is felt and seen everywhere.

    No amount of going back to our roots will change that fact, it’s simply how the world is now.

    My father gave me a great book on this a few years back, warning me that the world, country and economy was changing or had been and I should be aware about it.  That book is The Work of Nations by Richard Reich.  It really opened my eyes to how business works here and in the world.

    It has nothing to do with stupid people, lazy people, etc.  It has everything to do with money and where it’s from and where it goes.

    What it comes down to:

    *Nothing is truly American.
    *There will always be a foreign presence here in the terms of economics & business, just as the US will be elsewhere.
    *The shifting of jobs to other nations has less to do with company greed or government “driving business off” and more to do with Americans that expect everything and expect it cheap - this is business taking care of its bottom line while still serving the appetite of the greedy, priviliged average US citizen (but it happens elsewhere too).

    Just remember that the US has never had a free market, nor will it ever (and that’s a good thing); that business is not tied to a nation with the exception of where it produces it’s value and where that value is cashed in; that the world economy is changing, and if the US wants to stay a top dog, it will have to change it’s practices and goals.

    The best thing the US can do is focus on high skill/high value jobs and encourage the development of such here.  We will never win trying to compete with low/no skill jobs with other countries.  It just won’t happen.  We have to shift our vision that while low paying/low skill jobs are moving out, we are fostering growth of high skill/pay/value jobs here.


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    The world needs a new frontier.



  • Very good reply, Jermo, I agree  🙂



  • Well i can answer why the american economy hit a fall awhile back but ogt its grasp back but not to perfect shape.

    It was when the maericans changed the buying house system ( pay 2% 1st 2 years then 8% the rest of the years) this is what happened.

    So are canadian dollar went higher then yours and i was really happy because thats the second time in the 100 years it has done that.  Anyways the americans realized there mistake and grasped the american dollar higher + sorta fixed the mistake a bit (not all finished but close to a top dog spot)


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I agree.  There are plenty of graphs out there showing that when Freddie/Fannie started going insane (as opposed to using sound lending practices) the prices of homes grew much faster than inflation creating a market where homes were just flat out over priced which hurt young families forcing them to have either two person earners or rent (sometimes both.)

    With two parents earning a paycheck, no one was left to raise the children except people without a vested interest in the children’s best interests at heart. (Not saying they wanted to harm kids, just no one wants to make your child’s life as good as it can be except you or your genetic mate in MOST cases, yes, its a generality and yes, there are some off the wall, weird and uncommon examples where this is not true.  Please do not expound upon how evil XYZ Daddy was to illustrate that point.)

    With people paid to make sure you didn’t die and those who loved you (ostensibly) and wanted your best interests (ostensibly) forced to work to afford to purchase food, shelter and clothing (Maslow’s lowest priority on the triangle of needs) and maybe a few other echelons up the ladder, it can be easier to understand why children stopped doing as well as they did before it became commonplace, even expected, for two parents to be working.

    Which raises an interesting point, we are talking about the children of the Baby Boomers who seem to have an ill fitted grasp on reality.  These are the ones who think they should be able to afford a 52" LCD/Plasma HDTV with full 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround, a top of the line gaming laptop and a three quarter million dollar home working at Starbucks part time.  (Congratulations, that WAS an exaggeration being used to make a point.)

    So, perhaps, this collapse of the housing market is the best thing that could happen?  Especially if what I read to be true is going to be true.  Many banks are stashing the bailout checks instead of lending the money because they expect the market correction to continue.  Bank of America just released a press release (according to Quicken 2009 that downloads these things if you own the stock) that they expect the housing industry to drop another 35-45% before it bottoms out.  They say the bottom would be close to where housing prices would be if the value followed inflation like it did before the 1970s (give or take half a decade.)

    If that is the case, then it seems reasonable that we could have a decade and a half of resettling.  Many will lose their homes, only to get virtually identical homes for a third of the price (two thirds?) which on paper would look horrible (“You defaulted on a mortgage and lost your house!?!”) but in reality may not be too bad for the people (“Wow, you lost a 3 bedroom, 1000 square foot home, but you got a 4 bedroom 1750 square foot home!”)

    Of course, that assumes that small businesses are not crucified as the government attempts (and this is under either party, so not a political statement so much as a statement of fact) to balance the books.  Yes, big business would get hit too, but having owned a small business, I can tell you that 2% impact to small businesses is a lot worse than 2% is to a large business, even though the large business is shelling out more greenbacks, they have more ability to shrink to compensate.  Also, according to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ the vast majority of Americans right now, so if they start dropping like flies we could have a much more serious problem.

    However, assuming the government takes some Valium and relaxes (maybe some Tramadol or Vicodin for the pain as well) and small businesses survive we could have some new large businesses, a more realistic housing market (price wise) and be able to keep one parent at home to raise the children while the other works 60-90 hours a week to bring home the “bacon” as they say.  The parent at home could watch the children, handle their own cleaning and cooking, which in turn would be a healthier environment and probably healthier food which would help children be ABLE to learn better - not to mention having someone there making sure that homework is done and to help children understand the assignments better.

    With children better fed, living in healthier environments, around a person who (ostensibly) loves and cares for them, in a home reasonably priced; it seems logical that American’s “education” level would improve and thus we may experience a “Pax Romana” return to a society which made us great.

    (Above is red because it’s a long statement and some readers may only want the nugget, not the fruit around the nugget.)



  • @Cmdr:

    With children better fed, living in healthier environments, around a person who (ostensibly) loves and cares for them, in a home reasonably priced; it seems logical that American’s “education” level would improve and thus we may experience a “Pax Romana” return to a society which made us great.

    Not a Pax Romana, please, that was be able because of roman legions and lead to Middle Ages  :lol:

    But I think I get the idea. Family first, then money and properties. Pretty logical  🙂


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    🙂

    Sorry, Func.  I just used Pax Romana because it seems to be a term that is similar to “Utopia”.  It is, in my opinion, a way to represent a return to family, republic, strong national identity, strength compared to foreign nations, safety and security as well as high qualities of life.

    It was not to mean we should go around invading all our neighbors and force civilization on them.  (Besides, who would want too!  They need to bathe first! wink  That’s a joke btw!)



  • thanks for agreeing with my point i am happy that the canadians were not part of it since are economy is fragile and will be harder to increase then the americans!



  • @Cmdr:

    🙂

    Sorry, Func.  I just used Pax Romana because it seems to be a term that is similar to “Utopia”.  It is, in my opinion, a way to represent a return to family, republic, strong national identity, strength compared to foreign nations, safety and security as well as high qualities of life.

    Ah … the republic … I’d wish we the spanish could also choose our chief of state as you can in USA. But thinking in Spanish politicians, left or right, probably I’d vote Juan Carlos of Bourbon anyway as president of republic. Oh, life is a paradox  😄

    And I would not try invade Canada. You know, in Simpsons series say canadians have the bomb  😄  :lol:



  • I think it should be pointed out that for the last 90 years or so, while America emerged as a superpower (and has retained that status for decades), we’ve had progressive income taxation. Some might even call it… wealth redistribution 😮


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    Please refrain from using political arguments.  Progressive/Regressive taxation is a political term used to get a certain political party elected in the 1930s and 1940s. And your comment about “wealth redistribution” is a direct quote from one of the political candidates trying to get elected this year.


    As to the meaning of your point, in a general NON-political way:  Taxes did NOT make this nation great.  This nation was formed to get rid of taxes, many movements were based on the abolition of taxes, and taxes were generally thought of as a necessary evil during times of great need of the nation like the Spanish American War, the Mexican American War, the French and Indian War, the Civil War, etc.

    What made this nation great was not plundering the rich and hoarding by the government.  It was the innovation of the clever-minded and imaginative people with investments from the rich.  For instance, one could look only at the history of Chicago.  If it were not for the incredibly wealthy in New York flooding Chicago with capital, then Saint Louis really would have been the gateway to the west, Iowa would have MEGA Metropolis’s and Peoria would be the largest city in Illinois.  But since the wealthy in New York funded inventors like the ones inventing the grain elevator, the mail order catalog, and others as well as the ingenuity of Chicago to orchestrate with the rails to use geography to their advantage (which also could only be done by the ultra wealthy in New York giving loans to land prospectors to buy the land Chicago was built on) and on merchants working together to make, as Cronon says “…the greatest general store the world had ever seen…” referring to downtown Chicago.

    Then Chicago inventors came up with the Chicago Board of Exchange, which allowed the poor, for the first time ever, to invest in the markets to get themselves un-poor.

    Then, when Chicago burned down, they rebuilt, but they had the ingenuity and presence of mind to think of building it in uniform square blocks with roads traveling north-sout, east-west (and a few divergent streets) to make Chicago one of the most efficient cities on the planet at that time.  And, because they had the capitol during their founding from wealthy investors, they were able to grow the economy enough that the Chicago Fire did not obliterate Chicago from the annuls of history, but they could defy fate and restore the glittering city on the hill to its rightful place.

    Was it all cream and cake for Chicago?  No.  No city back then was cream and cake for every citizen.  Back then citizens worked hard, they played hard, they prayed hard. (Labore, Ludere, Orare) They understood that education was the key to success, not hand outs from parent/organization.  The boss was not the “enemy” he was the necessary evil keeping the business going so they could have a job and bring food home.

    Taxes?  Taxes have done nothing but stifle this nation and crush it.  What made this country great was the revulsion and repression of taxes so that the successful could thrive and in turn help their fellow man so they too could survive.  Our best years were in the early/mid 1800s, maybe up to the very early 1900s.  I’m not talking about the political reality of those times, I am referring to the attitudes and expectations of the people at that time, at all strata of civilization.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Smacktard: lets not bait others into political arguments.



  • @Cmdr:

    This nation was formed to get rid of taxes, many movements were based on the abolition of taxes, and taxes were generally thought of as a necessary evil during times of great need of the nation like the Spanish American War, the Mexican American War, the French and Indian War, the Civil War, etc.

    This nation was formed to get rid of taxes, many movements were based on the abolition of taxes, and taxes were generally thought of as a necessary evil during times of great need of the nation like the Spanish American War, the Mexican American War, the French and Indian War, the Civil War, etc. taxation without representation.

    Fixed that for you.  The authority for the federal government to levy taxes exists in the US Constitution.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    You are quite correct in your literal interpretation of the US Constitution.  But let us remember that the US Constitution was not imposed before, during or immediately after the American Revolution but at least a decade later.

    Anyway, I believe almost unilaterally most, if not all, of the authors of our freedom, from the layman with his rifle hiding in a muddy puddle along the road to shoot at red coats, all the way up to the lofty dignitaries like Thomas Jefferson would state, very emphatically, that taxation is a method to raise money in times of very dire need, not an existence that should be experienced on a daily basis as the “norm.”

    The reason I feel comfortable saying this is because of how loathe all the important men in American history have been to implement any form of tax throughout our early history.  This is not to make an argument that taxes are good or bad, but rather an argument to state that at the time this nation was building the foundation of itself that made us great, taxes were viewed upon with great distaste and, at times, hostile resistance.

    So it seems plainly obvious that taxes, levied on any portion or the whole of the people, were not the cause of us becoming a great nation, but rather, despite the very short periods of time taxes were levied on the people, we grew to greatness anyway.

    So what did make us great?  I think it pretty simple to see:

    1.  We relied on our own resources
    2.  We instilled in our children a strong work ethic from early in their lives
    3.  We rewarded success with greater power and influence while punishing failure with less power and influence
    4.  Those that chose to be educated were educated stringently in skills vital to the success of this nation (mathematics, science, literature, history, law and medicine {I know medicine is a science, but usually we discuss it as its own field}). 
    5.  Educators and those who were educated were held in great respect and regard.
    6.  Those elected to guide the nation did so at their own expense most of the time. (Salary was provided but it was never really enough to live on, rather an allowance to ease the costs of doing their jobs.  President Adams only earned $5,000 a year for instance, which forced him to work his farm throughout his presidency.)
    7.  Immigrants were brought in, but only those with strong work ethics survived in this nation. (Read Sinclair who attempts to portray business owners as evil and immigrants as virtuous, never-the-less he ends up showing how it was the family’s work ethic that earned them their successes, not gifts.

    In other words, friends, I believe what made us great is two fold:

    1)  Independence from foreign nations (Food, Manufacturing, Energy, etc)
    2)  Independence from meddling agencies (Unions, governments, churches, etc)



  • @Cmdr:

    You are quite correct in your literal interpretation of the US Constitution.  But let us remember that the US Constitution was not imposed before, during or immediately after the American Revolution but at least a decade later.

    Anyway, I believe almost unilaterally most, if not all, of the authors of our freedom, from the layman with his rifle hiding in a muddy puddle along the road to shoot at red coats, all the way up to the lofty dignitaries like Thomas Jefferson would state, very emphatically, that taxation is a method to raise money in times of very dire need, not an existence that should be experienced on a daily basis as the “norm.”

    We also weren’t trusted to vote for president back then. Times change. If you want to spend $12 billion a month on war, you gotta pay for it. Ditto for Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, the interstate highway system, trips to the moon, national parks, etc.

    As I said, we’ve had a progressive income tax in place for over 90 years (and no, “progressive income tax” is not political- the two major parties in this country are, and have  been, perfectly content to keep it in place), and it certainly hasn’t stood in the way of our progression to superpower.

    Correction: progressive income taxation started during the Civil War:

    “During the Civil War, a person earning from $600 to $10,000 per year paid tax at the rate of 3%. Those with incomes of more than $10,000 paid taxes at a higher rate.”

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005921.html

    So it’s been in place for the last 145 years.

    The reason I feel comfortable saying this is because of how loathe all the important men in American history have been to implement any form of tax throughout our early history.  This is not to make an argument that taxes are good or bad, but rather an argument to state that at the time this nation was building the foundation of itself that made us great, taxes were viewed upon with great distaste and, at times, hostile resistance.

    So were foreign entanglements. Is there a single successful industriliazed democratic nation without an income tax? I honestly don’t know. I know the norm is income taxation.

    So it seems plainly obvious that taxes, levied on any portion or the whole of the people, were not the cause of us becoming a great nation, but rather, despite the very short periods of time taxes were levied on the people, we grew to greatness anyway.

    Uh huh. So 140 years is a “very short period of time”? Riiight.  :roll:


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    too political-too contentious. Closed for business. So sorry. :mrgreen:


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