Las Vegas Sun

March 29, 2015

Currently: 67° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Greed is not the problem; ethics are

I would like to commend O.T. Neal for his honesty about greed in his recent letter, “‘Greedy’ people can do good work.” There is nothing wrong with being greedy; it is their given right if they so choose.

What is wrong is when rich people are not only greedy, but also they lack ethics or compassion. Instead of paying their fair share of taxes to the country that allowed the free enterprise so they could accumulate their wealth, some people put their money in banks in the Cayman Islands and Europe. There are also rich people who hire illegal immigrants so they do not have to pay the minimum wage and Social Security. Then there are those who also want to eliminate food stamps for the poor and Medicare for the sick.

I am sorry that Mitt Romney appears to be Neal’s idol.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 60 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. I have a question for the letter writer, the President and Warren Buffett. Who detremines "fair" share? The people who reap the rewards of their labors or the people who don't?


  2. One great thing about America is that we have laws.
    The letter writer is another Leftist who thinks he should be able to decide what someone else does with their own property. It is not up to any "do-gooding" misguided liberals to decide what someone legally does with their own money. That's part of the "Liberty" aspect of America's traditional values. Have you noticed how the left is compelled to dictatate that others always do what "feels good" to the liberal, irrespective of the rule of law.

  3. I agree with the letter writer, although I believe his definition of "greed" is closer to what most of us would term "ambition", and that is an integral part of success. The poster birdiedreamin has correctly pointed out that the dictionary definition of "greed" is totally negative.
    We Canadians tend to view taxes as the necessary cost of a just society, so we are much less driven to move our assets out of our country in order to avoid or reduce the amount of taxes we pay. The insidious ways that so many large corporations have devised to eliminate the taxes they pay in America is disgusting, but your politicians have tweaked your laws to permit this injustice to occur.
    Although taxes are necessary, it would still be nice if our leaders didn't waste the money so flagrantly and overspend so viciously. We really are stealing from our children and grandchildren by perpetuating such enormous debt.
    Just like the Borg said on Star Trek, resistance is futile. Taxes will have to be raised and entitlement, military and other programs will have to be downsized. Arguing otherwise is foolhardy.

    Donald Desaulniers (FromBellevilleCanada)

  4. Ethics problems? How can we tell? The media spins things way to the left so that we cannot believe much of anything reported. There is so much emphasis and time given to minor and irrelevant "issues" that they don't bother covering things that matter--like why Congress has time for endless hearings but no time to budget.

  5. Good for you, Jeff. Now put your money where your mouth is and risk it by opening a business, then letting the employees have an "equal" say in running it whether they have the experience, skill, knowledge or background to do so. Obviously, you have never done so or you wouldn't advocate such a silly idea. Ever hear the old saying, Jeff: "Too many cooks spoil the broth?" "Greed" is in the eye of the beholder. I never met anyone who complained they were being overpaid for whatever it was they did and probably never will. But I've met many who were envious of others success and wanted to share in it regardless of the fact that they contributed little or next to nothing. Talk about "greed!"

  6. The real job creators are American middle class workers. Corporatists are liars, calling themselves "job creators". The corporatists have been freezing wages and firing American workers for decades, eliminating American jobs, building factories and hiring workers overseas. Now the corporatists are firing public workers. They've created more unemployment, not jobs. They've got what they want: plutocracy and usury, a decimated middle class, the unemployed and low-wage workers indebted to the corporatists for goods, services and education. The monster is eating its own tail.

  7. No amount of money, or anything else, could ever get me to intentionally post misinformation. Early on in my career, others tried. I didn't and never would cave. As an accountant/auditor, with a degree in Business and Economics, the one trait I possess that separates me from most all other vocations is my integrity. Lose that and nothing else matters. Least of all money.


  8. BTW, I'm always suspicious of one who accuses others, that they don't know, of being shills. Many many times in my life, the accuser is the guilty one.


  9. RefNV - "Obama'a class warfare tax plan that already failed to pass congress"

    Future - "385,000 Americans lost their job last week and Obama's answer is an envy tax on Job creators."

    If you care to remember, apparently not, it was GW Bush who initiated this so-called "class warfare" under the guise that tax cuts would create jobs, which we all know was bogus.

    If these people you support were so damned patriotic, why do they suck money out of the American economy to invest in offshore accounts and investments? The dollar rules their world and they care not what happens to American citizens in general. Taxes involved in this ridiculous argument is a whopping 4%, you have got to be kidding! A number of Republicans are now saying there is a need to raise taxes.

    By supporting those on the far right and their radical idepology, you people fail to realize you will lose too. The proverbial snake will bite you in the arse as well. The middle class has steadily lost income for a 35 year period and almost 50% of this country is at or near poverty levels. All due to extreme policies removing what were once safty mechanisms such as Glass Steagall. "Too Big to Fail" became "Even Bigger to Fail" with six banks controlling 67% of our economy. I can't understand why some of you ignore these facts or don't really give a damn.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The average American family's net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, according to a triennial study released Monday by the Federal Reserve.

    The stunning drop in median net worth -- from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 -- indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families.

  10. If you really want to know look on the net. All the acronyms you asked about are available with elaborate explanations. As are details about what adjusting and reversing entries are in accounting and presentation of balance sheets. The very first formula that accounting 101 teaches is Assets-Liabilities = Capital. That in short is the balance sheet.

    Any more questions?


  11. FYI for those interested:

    From any Introductory Microeconomics Book:

    Average Total Cost (ATC) = Total Cost / Q (Output is quantity produced or 'Q')

    Average Variable Cost (AVC) = Total Variable Cost / QAverage Fixed Cost (AFC) = ATC - AVC

    Total Cost (TC) = (AVC + AFC) X Output (Which is Q)

    Total Variable Cost (TVC) = AVC X Output

    Total Fixed Cost (TFC) = TC - TVC

    Marginal Cost (MC) = Change in Total Costs / Change in Output

    Marginal Product (MP) = Change in Total Product / Change in Variable Factor

    Marginal Revenue (MR) = Change in Total Revenue / Change in Q

    Average Product (AP) = TP / Variable Factor

    Total Revenue (TR) = Price X Quantity

    Average Revenue (AR) = TR / Output

    Total Product (TP) = AP X Variable Factor

    Economic Profit = TR - TC > 0

    A Loss = TR - TC < 0

    Break Even Point = AR = ATC

    Profit Maximizing Condition = MR = MC

    Explicit Costs = Payments to non-owners of the firm for the resources they supply.


  12. BTW, the real accounting knowledge doesn't come from knowing what adjusting, reversing, and closing entries are. It's knowing HOW to do them correctly.


  13. PS: HOW to do them [accounting entries] correctly, varies on a case by case basis depending on the financials.


  14. BTW NPV is relevant to financial statement analysis and investing. I have some experience here too: Net Present Value.


  15. Without having all the facts and circumstances:

    I would say whenever the relative risk [RR] is greater than the cost of K, where K is a constant cost, the best way for an investor to double his/her money is to fold it once and put it in his/her pocket.

    When you get to my age, memorizing minutia to answer questions like yours, as evidence of my expertise, is as useful as carrying around a hardcopy telephone directory all day.


  16. BTW, in the context of my answer "K" is the cost of capital.

    Which in reality is never constant. But in theory to answer your question I assumed it to be.


  17. Our posts passed in space.


  18. You didn't ask what K is? You asked what I would do if elative Risk [RR] was greater than the cost of capital. I answered correctly. Nothing.


  19. "Your reply started at 1:03, and you were quoting from a book."

    No. The acronyms I cut and pasted from the net, as I told you to do. The commentary answers on accounting entries and balance sheet, as well as the question you posed about relative risk to K were from memory. Albeit decades old.

    Keep in mind, young lad, that I worked for over 30 years in government service where acronyms were pervasive. Although some say I am smart, even I can't store and recall a lifetime of academic and work abbreviations at the tip of my tongue/mind for the asking. I can't even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.


  20. On second thought I recall. I didn't have breakfast yesterday. I had a huge lunch instead and, knowing I was, I skipped breakfast. Something I don't often do except when I plan for a big mid day meal.


  21. There are 2 trillion dollars sitting on the sidelines while we blab about job creators and socialism and all the rest of the irrelevant nonsense addressed on this blog. Here's the deal: "job creators" is a euphemism that is about as relevant as the planet Kolob. When I came up, jobs were just a part of life, you went out and got one. You settled down, raised a family, sent the kids to college and life went on. Those days are OVER. Today's paradigm is this: if you have a job, you better hang on to it. A college education costs tens of thousands of dollars and results in your kids moving back in with you because they can't find a job, much less pay off their student loans. The military looks good as a career choice, because they're always hiring (I should know as a 20 year military man COERCED INTO THE PROFESSION BY THE VIET NAM WAR). The economic situation facing this country will not be solved by the "job creators", as they don't exist except in the fevered minds of political ideologues, mostly on the GOP side. A more vapid mindless phrase has never before been coined, and yet people still buy into it. Yes, there are jobs to be had, but it will take more than political rhetoric to make it happen on a nationwide basis. John Boehner loves to wisecrack about "where are the jobs?". I would suggest he look in the mirror and ask "what have I done to create jobs since 2010?".....sound of crickets.

  22. Ref,
    How much of the top 10% of the population's wealth is in income versus other wealth vehicles?

  23. Re VidiVeritas. Thank you.

  24. Schaffer,

    How many calories do the top 10% of wealth earners consume? OR, how many cubic meters of air do the top 10% of wealth earners consume? questions are just as relevant and important as your "How much of the top 10% of the population's wealth is in income versus other wealth vehicles?"

    BECAUSE neither answer makes any difference to any of us...get it, Schaffer?

    Who the f**k cares? Just stop this madness of debating the inane and much useless energy spent...


  25. "385,000 Americans lost their job last week and Obama's answer is an envy tax on Job creators."

    This is a scam.

    Wanna hear how this scam works? The GOP gets elected promising to cut government spending. They eliminate spending, shedding state/local/federal jobs in the process. This increase in unemployment is a direct result of GOP policies at the state, local and federal level.

    Then, they get on stage and blame unemployment numbers on President Obama. And Future buys into the scam.

    How many of those jobs were lost due to the GOP platform being adopted in state after state, Future? How many of those were teachers or nurses? The policies of your political party are directly to blame for increased unemployment, yet you blame the President.

    Washington Post: "The unemployment rate would be far lower if it hadn't been for those cuts: If there were as many people working in government as there were in December 2008, the unemployment rate in April would have been 7.1%, not 8.1%. "

    We're not buying your scam.

  26. Mr. Traeger, Obama has called for aid for local and state governments to prevent layoffs. The GOP blocks that aid, then blames Obama for the layoffs.

    Those of us with a brain see right through your scam.

  27. edgewise,

    Since you are one "of us with a brain," the following question should be simple for you.

    Obama's call for aid "for local and state governments to prevent layoffs" comes from where and is paid for by whom?

    Thanks in advance for your timely answer.


  28. RR stands for both relative risk and rate of return depending on the context. Just as K stands for many things among which are cost of capital and constant. Acronyms usually do. One of the reasons it's non-sensical to use acronyms as a test of knowledge without proper context. And the reason I prefaced my answer with definitions of RR and K as Relative Risk and constant to explain my answer.


  29. "If your Rate of Return is greater than the cost of capital (K), you go for it."

    Not true in all cases. It depends on whether the investment has a fixed rate of return or variable. And it presumes all other factors for investments are equal. And that presumption rarely if ever holds true in the real world of investing.


  30. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that greed is an unethical trait.

  31. Oftentimes to avoid the confusion between rate of return and relative risk using RR, the acronym ROR is used for rate of return.


  32. Re Carmine. Right now the rate of return is zip.

  33. "Purgatory:" You have a very short memory. Obama's call for additional aid was coupled with offsets and revoking the Bush tax cuts on those making more than $1 million, annually.

    Then, the GOP denies the aid, ensuring layoffs, while simultaneously attacking Obama for the layoffs.

    This has been their game plan for years. Mitch McConnell: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

    Didn't want to help middle class families, or improve the quality of education or the environment. In his words: "the single most important thing" was to see Obama fail.

    You elected them, you should know this.

  34. dukeofdeath - "Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that greed is an unethical trait."

    Thank you, I was about to post the same.

    Gordon Gekko, "Greed is good."

    Gordon Gekko, "The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullsh*t. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it. You've got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I've still got a lot to teach you."

  35. Purgatory - "Obama's call for aid "for local and state governments to prevent layoffs" comes from where and is paid for by whom?"

    How about military spending? When Obama suggested budget cuts in wasteful military spending, the GOP/Tea Party blew their corks, even though Obama's track record on the war on terror is far superior than Bush the Lesser.

  36. "Re Carmine. Right now the rate of return is zip."

    Thanks to the Fed.


  37. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  38. "carmen; you're losing it,pal. yesterday jeff put you in your place and now vidi."

    My place is well above them and you. There is no losing that position by me or you and them gaining it. Never.


  39. Defense mechanisms are for those who lack self-esteem to prop them up. Never use them. I'm happy with standing tall on my own merits.


  40. edgewise, Branco, et al,

    ...weirdos...all of haven't yet chosen to understand that there is not an ounce of difference between Obama and Romney...nor is there an ounce of difference between entrenched Republicans and entrenched Democrats...they, coupled with your help are destroying the future of our Country...

    I wish I could follow my own advice and simply realize that those who refuse to use logic and reason need not be dealt with...

    I would if you weren't screwing up the world I live in and the world my children live in...


    p.s. Carmine, I forgot to include you in the list and yours, on the far right, are just as vitriolic and just as incapable of understanding what the political class is doing to us all...

  41. The difference between risk and uncertainty is risk can be measured. Uncertainty can't.

    Often defined as the standard deviation of the return on total investment. Degree of uncertainty of return on an asset. In context of asset pricing theory. The uncertainty associated with any investment. That is, risk is the possibility that the actual return on an investment will be different from its expected return. A vitally important concept in finance is the idea that an investment that carries a higher risk has the potential of a higher return. For example, a zero-risk investment, such as a U.S. Treasury security, has a low rate of return, while a stock in a start-up has the potential to make an investor very wealthy, but also the potential to lose one's entire investment. Certain types of risk are easier to quantify than others. To the extent that risk is quantifiable, it is generally calculated as the standard deviation on an investment's average return."

    Economics is more than micro and macro level. As your question was framed in microeconomics. It's also about price theory. As my answer was framed.

    Oftentimes, the limitation in understanding the correctness of an answer is based on the limitations of the knowledge and understanding of the questioner.


  42. "p.s. Carmine, I forgot to include you in the list above.."

    Thank you for remembering me. I'm glad you take notice of me. Sorry I don't of you.


  43. "You might be surprised and more mature."

    At my age nothing surprises me and maturity has provided me the way to wisdom.

    Someday maybe you too. But alas not yet lad.


  44. BTW whatever you call yourself, I forget your nom de plume, I'm an Independent.

    Perhaps you missed that little detail.


  45. If the top 10% of wage earners pay 71% of taxes, it fits the picture that the statistics show.

    While real wages have have practically be flat for the last 30 years, productivity and profits have increased dramatically.

    Income inequality is the reason for the 10% paying a higher % of taxes.

    If real wages had kept up the growth pace with profits, perhaps more than 10% of the taxpayers would be paying, which would take the burden off of the poor 10%er's.

    Since WWI the higher bracket tax rate has been elevated every time there was war or other financial crisis. Why we are now thinking that these tax increases are bad, in light of 2 wars and an economic crisis, is beyond my comprehension.

    Past tax increases did not hurt the country, rather spurred new growth.

    Before the 70's the growth in real wages gave people money to buy products businesses created. They didn't need to make up the disparity with credit card debt. Credit took the place of flat wages.

    History tells the reality and the solutions, no matter who is President. I think we should rectify the real wage disparity and raise the taxes on the highest income bracket, just as has been done by both Republican and Democratic Presidents.

    It makes no sense to create more poverty by maintaining practically flat wages, and reduce the taxes of the top 10%, while supporting the war machine and giving a free hand to the banks and investment firms to gamble with high risk endeavors using both their money and the money of bank depositors.

    After the country recovered the tax rate decreased.

    It make no sense to me to keep the real wages low, while giving tax breaks to companies so they can create off shore businesses and jobs in other countries.

    It makes no sense to me to ignore the decaying infrastructure that makes it impossible for business to function in this country.

    It makes no sense to me to defund our educational system and reduce substantially our ability to compete, to kill the ability of Americans to be capable of the scientific, mathematics, and technical skills that
    can compete on a global level.

    I see class warfare from a different perspective. It is the so called "elite" who are creating the abyss between the haves, have little, and have nots, with the haves growing smaller and the increasing have little and have nots having even less.

    Income inequality is a real problem. Who drives that? People need to think about how they have been able to seemingly maintain or progress by changing jobs, taking on more work, longer work hours, and using credit cards to make up the growing difference.

    The negligence of Americans is making us a second or third world country, as if we were a herd of cattle heading for the cliff. Both parties are to blame for contributing to our dilemma. They no longer work for the people, they work for business, banks, investment firms interests.

  46. "How many different professions have you stated you worked in?"

    Is this question a test too?

    If so lad, my answer is many started and many finished. That's what happens when you are old and wise. Keep at it. There's hope for all of us.


  47. 25 of 75, Jeffery your math is good too bad that's all.

    See what happens when an old man receives tests from a young lad. Experience always wins. Youth peters out.


  48. God is republican, Jesus is a democrat, and the Holy Spirit is an independent and the love that holds them toegther.


  49. It doesn't take an economist with fancy figures to look at the local construction industry and see reality.

    Little money, no buying new homes, construction businesses and suppliers have to close, more jobs lost, less income to buy homes, foreclosures being bought by foreign purchasers, which doesn't help the current construction industry, only the mortgage holders.

    As more businesses fail because products are not bought due to lack of money, you have a round robin of failure.

    Small business needs customers to survive, so a balanced system of good wages supports small business. It has nothing to do with conservative or liberal, just common sense.

    We need balance not a teeter totter!

  50. "Starting with the crook, Richard M. Nixon, to
    every republican president following him." Teamster

    Ironically President Obama likes to compare himself to republicans like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

    However WRT Nixon and President Obama, I'm hearing and seeing comparisons of both. Specifically with the DOJ and Eric Holder and Nixon's Justice department. Not a good thing politically for team Obama.

    I would not be surprised, if the calls for Holder, who I like and is a loyal soldier to Obama, to resign doesn't reach such a crescendo that he goes.

    I'm not saying he should or deserves to. What I'm saying, and I want to be very clear, is that the perception that Obama is protecting Holder is hurting Obama's reelection chances. And when that happens, a loyal soldier has no choice but to throw himself on the sword.


  51. Well if Obama and company could do something other than lip service about jobs: 7 million illegals in non-agricultural jobs and now they want to give x million younger illegals WORK PERMITS??? 14 million Americans face long-term unemployment, destitution, homelessness but we focus on illegals? At least ICE will know where they are in January when we round them up and ship them out.

  52. "Our country is dominated by large corporations. Their lobbyists and their PAC contributions shape how Congress spends large chunks of the federal operating budget to enrich the giant military-industrial complex and expand corporate welfare programs. These same corporate pleaders oppose an inflation-adjusted minimum wage. In fact, corporate lobbies have tied the hands of presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama.

    "To blame Mr. Obama so completely for the state of the economy is more than Mr. Romney trying to drape amnesia on the public about the role of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. It is to assume Mr. Obama has the power to control the Federal Reserve and the stubborn, corporate indentured members of Congress who constitute most members of Mr. Romney's party.

    "Blocking the repairing of America's public works has been the priority of John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell -- the Republican leaders. Mr. Obama's failure is not to take them head on for these community upgrades all over the country.

    "Mr. Romney wants Mr. Obama to cut spending. Yet he accuses Mr. Obama of under-funding the bloated, massive military budget. Mr. Romney, moreover, never spotlights the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways and outrageous tax loopholes to Mr. Romney's campaign paymasters.

    "The former "private equity" capitalist touts his experience in creating jobs as the reason for voters to choose him. Read "The Buyout of America" by Josh Kosman to really understand how these corporate strip miners arrange leveraged buyouts, load their acquisitions with large debt, drain off their borrowed dividends, lay off workers and often bury firms in bankruptcies after they have been sucked dry.

    "Stage Stores, Damon Corporation, Ampad, GS Technologies, Dade Behring, DDi and KB Toys all filed for bankruptcy after being acquired by Mr. Romney's Bain Capital."

    Romney's Campaign of Inanity, by Ralph Nader
    Published on Thursday, June 14, 2012 by Common Dreams

  53. Secrets and Lies -- New York Times Reporters Give Mitt a Free Pass

  54. I can't blame the Republicans or the Democrats for the shape our country is in. I can place the responsibility on the the people, like myself, who voted these greedy millionaires into office.

  55. Isn't profit an important consideration for private investment?

    I know negative profit is good for mergers and acquisitions.

    However, after all the investing, mergers and acquisitions, you are still left with selling products and services to make a profit.

    If you can't sell or sell less, profits suffer, you can't hire or expand? Back to mergers and acquisitions. Back to sacking employees.

    It sounds like a page from the food chain theory, with the worker's being what Marine privates in boot camp are called, "whale....", the lowest thing in the ocean, and the first to go.

  56. Maybe in the long term, the only security the American worker will have in the future is in business cooperatives, owned and operated by the employees.

    It certainly needs to be looked at closely and seriously considered.

    Let corporations deal their own game. Workers need to take control of their own lives and investment, outside of the current system.

    One of the best examples of that is Mondragon. It isn't a dream, it is a successful reality.

  57. TEAbagger:

    You missed the point of my postings, that is the deceitful parasite, M. Romney. If you are so with the program, you should change your own moniker, not mine. The TEA party has been absorbed into the GOP blob.

  58. Purgatory and Ref failed to answer my question about how much of the wealth of the top 10% comes from income versus other sources because on some level they know how dishonest the propaganda is they are either believing or pushing. Now the rest of the readers can view this graph and begin to understand how fundamentally dishonest conservatives argument are:
    The top 1% have over 50% of the stock market. This is not classified as income...get it?

  59. The author wrote: "There is nothing wrong with being greedy..."

    Definition of GREED from Merriam Webster:

    A selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.

    Another name for it is avarice, which is considered one of the seven deadly evils, poisons, sins, and vices by various traditions.

    It is often linked to other deadly things contrary to good or virtues.

    From a Christian perspective, it is contrary to moral ethics.

    It predates Christianity, and extends across various philosophies and religious traditions.

    So, the blanket statement about nothing being wrong with greed applies to an individual without moral ethics to many people.

    If you want to speak of various ethical philosophies without the term "greed", go ahead.

    Most understand the true meaning of greed and use it appropriately.

  60. Thanks for posting that graph, Mark!