My discussion with an Occupy Portland Supporter, part 3.

Posted on October 13, 2011 by

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Part 2 of this 3-part series ended with me challenging my debate opponent’s assumptions and feelings.

In the final chapter, he admits that he’s a capitalist, but wants the wealthy to be forced to have more social responsibility.

He doesn’t quite get to the point where he is actually a Tea Partyer, but he does admit that the Occupy Portland protests are mostly pointless.

Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:04 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
The truly wealthy will eventually consume both the Middle Class and then the Lower Class and then each other. That’s just the way it is. If resources are not put back into the system to support the Middle Class then the system WILL fail eventually.Un-controlled Capitalism being used in the manner that we have been using it will result in our society turning into a bunch petty feudal lords, all walled off in their own little piles of wealth, comparing penis sizes.You can’t use the argument of people like the Occupy protesters behaving like they’re spoiled, entitled children, when the truly wealthy 1% are doing EXACTLY the same thing.”It’s mine! I deserve/earned it and you can’t have it even if I don’t need it” doesn’t help anyone.

Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:13 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
Please point out to me an example of when it’s ever happened in the course of human history where the truly wealthy have consumed the middle class. Maybe I’m ignorant, but I’m not familiar with a case where the middle class has been consumed by anything other than an oppressive government. You can say that resources need to be put back into the system, but there are a couple of problems with that statement:1. You don’t have economic proof that that is necessary;2. The only vehicle available to attempt such a thing, government confiscation, is thoroughly incapable of doing so without massive fraud, waste, abuse and cronyism. It always ends up as mere theft, doing more harm than good.We don’t have uncontrolled capitalism, and haven’t had for almost 100 years. There has been massive federal intervention into free markets ever since FDR tried (and failed miserably) to stop the Depression with more Federal Government. I would love to see what our society would look like with truly free markets, and I am fighting for such a society. Frankly, you sound like someone who would agree with that, and I hope you join me.

Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:17 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
I didn’t say resources were scarce, I said they were finite. Eventually they WILL run out, whether that’s a few years or hundreds.I’m all for investment and have nothing at all against Wall Street or the stock market IF the investments they produce trickle down and benefit everyone, not just the top tiny few.Quite often that isn’t the case. The really weathy give out in a way that only benefits themselves or other really wealthy. Hence that whole 1% argumet.Investing in Ferarri stock doesn’t benefit anyone unless they happen to be able to afford a Ferarri.I personally don’t think the Government we have today could scratch it’s own ass without detailed instructions. I sure as hell wouldn’t trust them with my money, I would much rather see the entire Government be taken over by Corporations frankly.Obviously companies like Google and Apple are doing something right considering their success, let them have the damn country. As long as the countries citizens are then treated as ‘share holders’ and benefit from the success of the whole.

As I said before, I’m against unbalanced use of wealth, I’m not anti-Corporation.


Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:23 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
Ok so there’s the nugget. You are mostly capitalist, but it sticks in your craw that the wealthy don’t use their wealth for the common good. Is that about right, or am I oversimplifying?(By the way, that investment in Ferrari absolutely helps lots of people – hundreds of auto plant workers and white collar employees of the corporation can keep their jobs if the corporation remains well capitalized. So does simply purchasing a Ferrari. But I digress.)

Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
Medieval Europe. All there was then was Lords and Serfs. The Upper Class and the Lower Class.Eventually the system completely fell apart because the Upper Class ran out of resources, i.e. the things the Lower Class could produce. Uncontrolled greed consumed itself and collapsed.I’m not really a Capitalist or a Liberal or a Conservative or any such narrow minded title. I am a Realist and whether it is Money, Food, Physical Belongings, ANYTHING when it is collected to the point where the individual has far more of it than they will ever use is a waste, period. That is reality.Mindless greed, consumption or accumulation WILL eventually consume everything around it, whether you agree or not. The entire Universe works that way.

Mike Rigsby <mike.rigsby@gmail.com>

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:32 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds <reynolds4metro@gmail.com>
That’s pretty much it and to try and ignore all the nutjobs in Occupy Wallstreet, that seems to be essentially their problem also. At least the rational few who actually have a grievance and aren’t just a bunch of rioting hippies with nothing better to do.The countries resources and wealth are being controlled by the top 1% while the 99% struggle to survive and supply their ever expanding consumption.The Ferarri comment was a vastly too simple analogy but I think you got the gist of it. Investing only in something that someone who already has the wealth can benefit from only benefits the group who already doesn’t need it.Pigeon-holing the entire Occupy movement into one narrow image of a bunch of radical self-entitled crazies is missing a much larger picture.

Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:34 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
Ok good example. However, I would point out that the Black Death had a pretty strong affect on a system that otherwise had been successful for hundreds of years. Only when pestilence wiped out 1/3 of the population did Feudalism die out.But you bring up a good point. Only nobles were allowed to own land at that point. This is a classic example, in fact, of what I’m talking about. Property ownership is one of the founding principles of the United States, and has been the backbone of our success. Indeed, it was massive governmental intervention in the form of a removal of a basic right from the majority of citizens that caused such a disparity in quality of life in Feudalist Europe.

Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:41 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
Ok we have a lot to chew on here, so I’ll go stepwise.”The Ferarri comment was a vastly too simple analogy but I think you got the gist of it. Investing only in something that someone who already has the wealth can benefit from only benefits the group who already doesn’t need it.”You still haven’t proven why this is a bad thing, and who’s job it is to judge what’s needed and what’s not.”The countries resources and wealth are being controlled by the top 1% while the 99% struggle to survive and supply their ever expanding consumption.”I believe this is a strawman argument. I don’t believe that there is any proof that the consumption of the top 1% is doing anything to hurt anybody else, or for that matter that it’s expanding at all. I’m open to examples.”Pigeon-holing the entire Occupy movement into one narrow image of a bunch of radical self-entitled crazies is missing a much larger picture.”

The problem is that the top 1% (leadership), to use your analogy, can’t control the behavior of the bottom 99% (the crazies). Now, I will freely admit that there is a kernel of truth in some of what the protests are pointing out as problems, and there are even some analogous complaints from the Tea Party movement. Unfortunately, what’s emerging as proposed solutions is simply more government, marxist talking points and a deliberate invasion of individual freedoms merely because someone is “wealthy”. This is supposed to be protected by our Constitution.


Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:43 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
The Black Death example actually proves my point more than disproves it. It primarily wiped out the Lower Class because they couldn’t afford to live in a manner that gave them clean houses, water, etc because they were over exploited. The noble class died by attrition.As far as land ownership goes, I make $50K a year and can’t afford to own my own house because the banks charge too much interest, property is too expensive, income taxes are too high, and I’m spending every dime just to maintain my current level. That is wrong, period.

Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
Dude, interest rates are around 4%. They’ve never been this low in the history of lending. That’s not the reason you can’t afford to own a home.As for property prices, you’re right even though they’ve taken a bath in this recession. The reason for this, again, is too much government. Oregon’s jacked up land use laws overinflate land values and cause price bubbles that pop on a regular basis.And I’m just going to leave that “income taxes are too high” statement alone 😉

Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
“The Ferarri comment was a vastly too simple analogy but I think you got the gist of it. Investing only in something that someone who already has the wealth can benefit from only benefits the group who already doesn’t need it.”You still haven’t proven why this is a bad thing, and who’s job it is to judge what’s needed and what’s not.If you openly admit that the truly wealthy is a minority of people in this country and they spend (or horde) their money in a way that only benefits themselves or their wealthy peers, then the only time that wouldn’t logically be “a bad thing” is if you’re a genocidal maniac who only cares about that small minority of people. No proof needed. If you don’t care about “the common people” then it’s not a bad thing. I, however, care about my fellow man.As far as who’s job. Who knows. That’s the problem and for that I have no answer.”The countries resources and wealth are being controlled by the top 1% while the 99% struggle to survive and supply their ever expanding consumption.”I believe this is a strawman argument. I don’t believe that there is any proof that the consumption of the top 1% is doing anything to hurt anybody else, or for that matter that it’s expanding at all. I’m open to examples.

The ever expanding consumption comment is simply a matter of logical progression versus a specific current status. Currently it’s more the lack of support and money being put back into the system than it is the actual level of demand being taken from it that is causing problems. The consumption comment is based on human nature. No one is ever content with what they have.

The Haves and the Have-Nots will naturally always want more than they currently possess but only the Haves possess the resources to get what they want with little to no real effort. So, eventually there won’t be enough left to satisfy that consumption.

The low interest rates is a relatively new situation while I’m struggling with the effects of years of the exact opposite.

A more accurate, although vague, statement by me would’ve just been to say that the current cost of living is too high for me to get ahead enough to afford a house.


Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
” If you openly admit that the truly wealthy is a minority of people in this country and they spend (or horde) their money in a way that only benefits themselves or their wealthy peers, then the only time that wouldn’t logically be “a bad thing” is if you’re a genocidal maniac who only cares about that small minority of people. No proof needed. If you don’t care about “the common people” then it’s not a bad thing. I, however, care about my fellow man.As far as who’s job. Who knows. That’s the problem and for that I have no answer.”So how much of your money do you spend on your fellow man, if you care so much? How much makes you not a dirtbag? How do you know the wealthy don’t already spend that amount? How do you know that spending a pile of cash even makes you someone who cares? How is not being made to spend a pile of cash on other people being genocidal? You’re off in the land of hyperbole now …”The ever expanding consumption comment is simply a matter of logical progression versus a specific current status. Currently it’s more the lack of support and money being put back into the system than it is the actual level of demand being taken from it that is causing problems. The consumption comment is based on human nature. No one is ever content with what they have.”Ok so you admit that it’s more a feeling than a fact. That’s a good start. Do you not understand that believing in a system that needs support and money being forcibly put back into it is inherently a marxist fallacy? The Constitution was specifically crafted to REMOVE the centralization of government that you describe. What’s so amazing to me is that when I give you specific examples of why centralization and envy and class warfare are bad, you agree with me, but your default position is still to favor sweeping solutions that remove personal liberty. Your argument really isn’t making any sense.As to consumption, yes, consumption is human nature. Again, I ask you, SO WHAT? You still haven’t given me a solid answer on that.

Regarding the current cost of living, I don’t know what your personal expenses are, but you might want to look into the Dave Ramsey course on personal finance. One can always save if one puts their mind to it.

There’s a reason that until the mid-90s most mortgages required 20% down. And there’s a very specific reason why that requirement was removed. Again, it’s a clear result of very deep tampering in free markets by the federal government. This crisis is 100% government caused, and politically driven.

You really should join the Tea Party movement. We’ve done a much better job of defining the precise problems and offering real solutions that expand the liberty of all individuals. The Occupy thing is just adolescent acting out against authority.


Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 2:35 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
From the fact that my entire income goes right back out again, I spend 100% to support my fellow man. I don’t have the luxury of unreasonable excess.Sure I don’t live in a fleabag apartment, we have a couple TiVos and a couple modest flat screen TVs and a Blockbuster membership. We have things we don’t absolutely need to survive but nothing too outrageous. If I wanted to live like a pauper for a few years I’m sure I could manage a house.Again, I’m not for taking away money from the wealthy to spread around. I’m simply for the same rules and regulations applied across the board. I’m against corporations like GE being allowed to export the majority of their manufacturing outside the US and then get away with paying literally no taxes because they exploit ridiculous loopholes.I’m sure as hell not for more Government control because they’re the reason we’re in this mess in the first place.I’m not going to toss out any ‘silver bullet’ of an example to back my claims because you and I both know there aren’t any. However, I seriously doubt you could give me any specific examples that back TeaParty claims that what they want is going to improve things either.What I see is an extremely top heavy society where the Wealthy and Powerful continue to get wealthier with very little restrictions and the Struggling Middle Class continue to get poorer. I still seriously can’t fathom how that can be argued against because even someone with no real knowledge to back my feelings can see it. If something is clear as day to an ignorant on politics like me, it’s rather blatant.

Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 3:04 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
I imagine one thing we can both agree on is that the current system is broken and seriously not what ‘the founding fathers’ had in mind when they intended to institute a capitalistic society.

Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 3:10 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
Join the Tea Party. You’ll be impressed with what you find.

Mike Rigsby

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 3:13 PM

To: Jeffery Reynolds
At the very least I’ve lost my ignorant preconceptions and will do some actual research.

Jeffery Reynolds

Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 3:24 PM

To: Mike Rigsby
I welcome that postivie development, and I will answer any questions you have.
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