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Socialism Doesn’t Pay: Britain is Poorer Than Any US State But Mississippi

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posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:02 AM

originally posted by: ScepticScot
a reply to: Gryphon66
Was highly dubious of your figures for U.S. defence (ahem) spending. However a quick google search seems to confirm. (apologies for mentally doubting you).
That seems a ridiculous proportion of government spending.

It is an utterly amazing figure isn't it? It's over five (5) times what the Peoples Republic of China spends, and almost ten (10) times what the Russian Federation spends. In fact, we spend more than the next EIGHT (8) countries combined!

However, you may notice in the somewhat broken US Political system, those who are typically against rampant spending "of our tax dollars" by our Government are generally all in favor of the spending on the War Department, er, the Defense Department and all associated contingencies, hidden budgets, etc.

It's an interesting not to mention disappointing paradox to those who aren't committed to one extremist "side" or the other in US Politics.

EDIT: Oh, and never feel that you have to apologize for thinking critically about something I post. The only important thing to me are the facts. Good on you for looking it up! You have my tacit permission to "slap me down" if I misstate facts! LOL

edit on 11Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:15:51 -050014p112014866 by Gryphon66 because: As noted.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:15 AM
a reply to: Gryphon66
I can understand why the U.S. has a high military budget. Biggest economy with high wages, training and equipment costs mean would have to spend just to be competitive never mind the top military power. However the level of spending as a proportion of budget is truly amazing. You can almost understand the political thinking behind using the military as a solution to any international problem. If you are spending that much you really want to get some use out of it.
From an outsiders point of view there does seem to be an idolisation of all things military within the US that makes military spending almost untouchable politically.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:23 AM
a reply to: Gryphon66

Dear Gryphon66,

Please call in if this thread is selected (and I have it on pretty good authority that it will be). I would like you to hear in my voice, if nothing else, that I have not taken offense or am upset. I will not even be snarky during our talk.

Do allow me one small observation.

I have to say, I am deeply troubled that you didn't see the very obvious and clear point being made here.....

I know this because it is very out of character for you......

and since I know you are a person that prefers facts over rhetoric and the truth over mere partisan agendas .....

You are really posting out of character Charles .......

That is just too obvious for you to have missed it .........

Surely, Charles must certainly have been familiar with the fact ........

Please believe me now. I will explain with as much honesty and respect as I would were I speaking with my father. No points to be gained, no snarky attacks, no playing to the audience. This is as straight as I can be. Please listen.

If I seem to be acting as strangely and as out of character as you are saying, might I suggest that you look into the reasons for that before making a final decision? It's up to you, of course, but you wouldn't have been hurt by asking what was going on.

There are three points of difference that we have, if I understand you. One is whether the article was talking about the entire wealth of the state or the average wealth of the citizens. I can see where you would think it is the total wealth of the state; after all, that is what the clip from the source article seems to refer to. But if I can show you a piece of the article itself?

Nelson calculated his statistic by the following method: “You take the US figures for GDP per state, divide it by population to come up with a GDP per capita figure. Then get the equivalent figure for Britain: I used the latest Treasury figures which also chime with the OECD’s.”

I see no way around the idea that we're talking about average wealth and not the total state numbers, sorry.

Now about the 10% figure.

I can understand why this would slip by as well, no problem, I probably would have missed it too. But all of these sources that talk about defense spending being in the 20+ % range, are adding one qualifier that everyone pretty much takes for granted. Except, I didn't take it for granted.

Some of our education is paid for by dollars raised from state and localities, same thing with prisons, same with health care. They're all government taxes.

All American government spending in FY 2014 is reported as $6.27 trillion. Defense is $ 0.82 trillion. Vets get $0.15. Totaled, that means non-veteran defense spending is $ 670 billion, slightly under 10% of ALL American government spending.

And, finally, your last complaint with me:

I can't believe that you were merely repeating such an oversimplified and hackneyed political statement so as to imply that the only options available to the American people are between taking money away from people to give away and buying weapons of war that have resulted in a minimum of 100,000 or so civilian deaths just in the last few overseas expeditions our government has undertaken.

I didn't think that I was the one taking that "either or" position. You said:

Are you more comfortable with the government taking stuff from other people and using that stuff to buy weaponry that is then used, either by our government or other governments that we, in turn, hand out these weapons to, to murder innocent women and children and call it collateral damage?

I myself would rather have my money taken to purchase a phone for someone rather than having it taken to rain down Hellfire from above on kids.

It sure sounded to me as though you were offering the choice between phones and Hellfire. But if you weren't asking that, what did you mean by "Are you more comfortable with the government taking stuff from other people and using that stuff to buy weaponry . . . ?" More comfortable with that than what? Come on, be fair here.

Gryphon66, I've just been as honest and respectful as I possibly could be. You were wrong in each instance, but I understand it. I'm still willing to talk. You've got an interest in this which is valuable, but, please, stop the attacking. And remember, any time I'm wrong I admit it in all caps. As you say, you know my character. Use that knowledge.

With respect,

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:24 AM
Slightly more back on topic the UK ranks either above or not far behind the U.S. On most quality of life indexes. Find it unlikely that UK would be behind all 50 states if looked at individually. Gdp per capita is a pretty poor tool to judge standard of living.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:27 AM
a reply to: ScepticScot

I can't confirm or deny your observations, but your words put me in mind of a warning that our President Eisenhower gave to the country upon his departure from office in 1960:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Of course, that's a well-known quote by President Eisenhower. Here's one from the same speech that is far less well-known but should be heeded by any and all who aspire to lead the American People:

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

We can guess which path America has taken, in light of the later quote: imbalance and frustration.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:33 AM
a reply to: ScepticScot

Dear ScepticScot,

Actually, you're quite right to be dubious of Gryphon66's figures for US defense spending. We play a little trick with the numbers here that sometimes doesn't matter, but sometimes it does.

Government in the US takes in money at all levels for all reasons, from small town taxes to international financial levies on mysterious investment instruments. The federal government can "encourage" smaller units of government to cover some expenses in health care, education, corrections, infrastructure construction, etc.

If you consider all of the money that American government takes from people in taxes, you'll find that just a hair less than 10% of it goes for non-veteran military expenses. You might want to take a look at my response to Gryphon66 on the next page, for a link and further discussion.

With respect,

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:38 AM
As pointed out already a few pages back the figures are wrong. UK would likely be a average state.

Plus there are other factors too. Its hard to make a direct comparison as certain culture, currently, political, social and geographic factors need to be considered.

Plus you have to take the wealth gap into account. In many of the "rich" states a very very few hold the majority of wealth warping the GPD average. Take new York, yeah its got wealth but its also got a awl full lot of poverty , poverty that's far worse than in most areas of the UK.

To put it another way. If you had a country with a combined wealth of $1 million and a population of 10 the average wealth would be $100,000 each. Sounds good. But what if only one person owned only $999,990 and the other nine had only $1 each? The GPD still comes out the same.
edit on 26-8-2014 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:55 AM
a reply to: charles1952

Charles, in the exact same level of directness and honesty, and in the interest of not allowing what is obviously some kind of blockade in your understanding of the points that have been made here so clearly to further distract from the discussion, allow me to say the following, and I will have done:

How in the world do you detect some kind of "attack" in what I said to you? I have only expressed appreciation for your well-known reputation here at ATS! Which is why I find what you've said here so utterly confusing and continue to find it so!

I'll be glad to withdraw from the conversation here, as my presence seems to continue to aggravate your intended pursuits in the thread, with only two direct and honest and factual observations:

1. The OP and the OP's linked article VERY CLEARLY STATES that the UK's financial position was inferior to Mississippi's and not by measuring or considering the individual lot of citizens. Besides that fact, if either the OP or the article author wanted to really consider the matter objectively, a more real world consideration like actual wealth distribution would give a far more accurate picture. It is the OP that made the claims about the State of Mississippi and the nation of the United Kingdom, not me.

2. If anything I have emulated your style and overt politeness in my responses to you Charles. I see absolutely no way that you can perceive this as an "attack" on you. Given, however, that is infinitely far from my intention, I will leave the thread and cease the irritation or confusion that my posts seem to be generating. If you choose to portray that as "running from the discussion" please have at it; nothing is farther from the truth.

edit on 11Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:57:07 -050014p112014866 by Gryphon66 because: As noted.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:58 AM
a reply to: ScepticScot

Dear ScepticScot,

I agree with you completely that GDP is not a perfect predictor of quality of life. (In my opinion, how widespread the use of dental anaesthesia is, has a certain appeal.)

The difficulty is, that it's pretty easy to count dollars, and a lot trickier to count bluebirds of happiness, especially if they're pooping all over your figures.

But for limited purposes like this, it does have some appeal. If I found, for example, that if the government started spending more than 40% of the total output, then GDP would start falling, i could use that in some policy decisions.

But, happiness? The best I can hope for is that government doesn't get in the way of my enjoying a few pints, a game of darts, and a smoke down at the pub with my friends.

With respect,

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 11:59 AM
a reply to: ScepticScot

Scot, one word to you before I depart the discussion: the best thing to do in these matters is to review the actual facts for yourself, as you already discovered.

Check the facts; ignore the hype!


posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 12:10 PM
a reply to: Gryphon66

How can there be so much misunderstanding between us?

I'll call a halt, right now. No attacks on you, I promise. Stick to the issues. I will assume you are not attacking me, if you make that claim.

Now, back to business, which is finding out what's true.

Do you understand the 10% is the non-veteran defense portion of all government spending in the US? Let's start there. We have no good reason to quit with unresolved questions. I don't want you to leave, and your departure does not assist anything.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 12:50 PM
a reply to: Gryphon66

Make sure you call in, now. I'd love to hear your explanation.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 01:01 PM
Oh gawd. Eight pages. Read the first couple... if any of what follows has been discussed already, I apologize.


History lesson. Britain didn't become poor because of socialism. It became poor because it had to fight two world wars. The cost of them didn't just beggar a country (the richest country in the world at the beginning of the twentieth century) but lost an empire, the biggest empire the world had ever seen.

The First World War ended in 1918. In 1919, the national debt increased from £650m in 1914 to £7.4 billion. By the end of the Second World War in 1945, the British national debt was 200% of GDP.


America, in contrast, grew rich on both wars, particularly the second. This was in part due to the $40bn or so Britain spent on American goods, armaments, bases, etc. during and after WWII, and interest on the S4.7bn loan made by the US to Britain to help pay for the war. Britain also bought and borrowed huge amounts from Canada. Source

And that was only the smallest part of the loss, really. Because, mainly in order to get America to support the British war effort, Churchill had to undertake that Britain would give up her empire. Source That was coming, anyway, but it needn't have come so soon, and it would have probably been better for the world, and particularly for India, if it had been delayed a little longer. Of course, once India was gone the rest of the empire soon followed. So Britain basically had all its imperial assets wiped out in the half-century between 1945 and 1997.


This much may be conceded: the Labour governments of early postwar era made public welfare commitments their successors have often had trouble meeting. This was partly what caused the sterling crisis of 1976 that sent James Callaghan to the IMF for a loan, and gave rise to the Margaret Thatcher phenomenon a few years later.

Since then, Britain has all but outdone America in its attachment to capitalism. Under Conservative, Labour or coalition governments, the broad outlines of economic policy in the UK have changed very little.

However, anyone who thinks of Britain as a socialist country is sadly mistaken. It was leaning that way for a while after the Second World War — though never as much as the rest of Europe — but the original home and nursery of free trade and capitalism is still, today, as profit-motivated as it ever was.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 01:19 PM

originally posted by: charles1952
a reply to: Gryphon66

Make sure you call in, now. I'd love to hear your explanation.

Out of interest Charles, what time using US Eastern is the call? It seems strange that this subject is fairly much about the state of UK finances, comparing them (using very poor data in my opinion) to individual American states and going by the OP states that the UK is a socialist country.............. but the call will probably take place at a time when it is at best inconvenient for anyone in the UK with a day job to actually join.

The implication being that a lot of people not in the UK will give an opinion on something they have no direct knowledge or experience of.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 01:21 PM

originally posted by: Gryphon66

originally posted by: xuenchen
a reply to: Gryphon66


even when I question the questions.

Oh, COME ON ... you posted bad information with an inflammatory title because it suits your political agenda.

Isn't there a T&C against posting intentional HOAXES as fact?


There is much more false than true posted on this website and almost all of it is allowed to stand. Ignorance has won a big victory on ATS.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 01:24 PM
a reply to: charles1952
Agreed that measuring as a % of budget is not ideal as what counts as national v local budget will vary from nation to nation. However the US by itself makes up over a third of world wide military spending. As I stated above there are some very valid reasons for higher expenditure in the US or any developed economy but you have to admit levels in US are exceptional compared to any other western nation.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 01:28 PM
We (The UK) are not a Socialist country, we're run by a right-wing government with an economy entirely based on international finance in London - we're a neo-liberal capitalist state, not a socialist one.

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 01:33 PM
a reply to: charles1952
Problem is GDP and more precisely GDP growth is somewhat of a policy obsession among governments. In truth it is often fairly meaningless in assessing the economic condition if a nation and certainly the economic health of its citizens. There is a lot of statistical problems with quality of life measurements not least adjusting for expectations.
Problem is most economic decisions are reached not by what is right but want can be sold to the voting public. The current austerity drive in the UK being a perfect example.

edit on 26-8-2014 by ScepticScot because: not finished

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 02:33 PM
Still waiting for answers....

Why haven't "Socialists" solved

the big Debt problems yet ?

But then again, there's no such thing as "Socialism".

posted on Aug, 26 2014 @ 02:43 PM
a reply to: uncommitted

Dear uncommitted,

You're right several times over, and that is a particularly good post, thanks.

Reality Remix is on at 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesdays. You're right. London time would be from about 4 to 6 in the a.m. Terrible hours. I'm not sure what we could do about that. The phone numbers, website addresses, and so forth can be found here:

(Not much consolation, but you can always dig the show out of the archives and yell at us if we make a mess of it.)

I was thinking that perhaps the thread, with it's focus on one country, and the use of the word "Socialism," should be broadened to result in something like:

"Resolved, that increasing the government share of GDP past a certain point, tends to reduce per capita wealth as measured by GDP." Clumsy, I know, but something along those lines.

As a possible idea, if someone who is particularly knowledgeable about the situation in the UK would care to bang out about 2 or 3 minutes' commentary (Heck, make it longer if it's really good.), I'd be glad to read it at the beginning of the topic to help clear away misconceptions.

My idea has always been to get reliable information out, and who can give us better "Man on the Street" information?

Thank you again, great post. We do get parochial, I'm afraid.

With respect,

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