Wealth Distribution

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ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 6, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
What do you think about this video?

freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/05/either-tax-the-rich-or-have-a-socialist-revolution/
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
I think it clearly shows the results of corruption in America. Imagine if we were all plants, and we all need water to live. If 1 percent of the plants got as much water as the 1 percent of our society get money, the rest of the plants would wither and die. The rich have built a Dam, and have collected all the water for only themselves.

Now imagine if all the water were to pour out of the reservoir and flow in a natural way, all the plants would thrive and flourish. The water cycle would resume, and we would see true growth.

Break the Dam and let the water flow.
Norwegian

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
Mar 6, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
in not good at wealth,

and really i couldn't give a f*#k,

but i can help a brother out
like this

ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Good to hear from you weeg. Now where is the prose? We been friends for how long...and I get no wordy response? Hmmm...feeling well?
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
This is a depressing topic.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
This is actually rather stupid. Wealth equality would be monumentally unfair. Imagine if we magically equalized all wealth. My 101-year-old mother, too old to work, would have the same wealth as my 20-something daughters, just entering the workforce. Someone who saved all his or her life would have the same wealth as someone with the same income who spent every last cent on transitory pleasure.

In fact, I'd bet that if we did a plot of relative wealth vs. age, there would be an exceedingly strong concentration of wealth in those of retirement age.

In addition, data on wealth has major inaccuracy issues. We have excellent data on income, since we tax on that basis. All we have on wealth are guesses, and often wildly wrong guesses, since the value of assets can vary so greatly.

To add to all of this, there is no good data showing how either the distribution of wealth or the distribution of income changes over time. The unstated assumption by those decrying income and wealth inequality is that "the rich" (however they're defined) remain constant over time. Reality differs rather greatly.

Finally, we should recognize the irony of complaining about inequality of wealth, while we tax income. Income is the change in wealth, and our tax structure puts the greatest tax burden on those whose wealth is changing the greatest. This would hinder, rather than promote, change in the identity of "the rich."

I know I'm preaching to deaf ears, so continue on.

John
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
John, it's not about wealth equality. It's about people retaining the fruits of their hard work, rather than having it confiscated by an upper class of layabouts.

That's why Chopin wrote the Revolutionary Etude!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:21pm PT
Gary, it's also about people retaining the fruits of their savings, investing (which, by definition, is deferring consumption), ideas, actions and labors, rather than having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it to buy their reelection.

John
OR

Trad climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
Very good points John.
nevahpopsoff

Boulder climber
the woods
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:28pm PT
i always ask, how much do you need? i think most here are happy to have a modest home, decent car, health insurance, and some time to enjoy our lives. i don't understand what's behind the need to accumulate massive wealth. greed, power, i've got to prove myself to daddy? i just don't get it.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
Its also about who has control of the power. Its about the simple fact that people are waking up to the wast wealth discrepancies which in America are growing at an incredible rate. Revolutions have occurred because of this discrepancy. The wealthy can wake up and do something about it before it comes down to a revolution, or they can suffer the consequences.

Do you think the poor have the power to make the rules? Nope.. the wealthy do. If you really believe that the poor have the power, then you are a fool. Ideas like flat taxes are propagated by the wealthy. Fair is fair they say as they make rules and regulations that keep the little guy from getting a foothold within their monopolies of power.

People who think I mean that all wealth should be equal are fools.

matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
Well put John (JEleazarian)

People aren't equal, why should wealth be?

What about people who are "whealthy" but whose wealth is tied up in investments that support other people and companies, should their money be given to other people who would not invest? What about the person with a big salary but who spends a lot more and is actually way in debt, should they be given more money? Trees and plants are not equal either, nor do they require or consume equal amounts of water, breaking a dam and letting the water loose will not ensure all plant get equal water or equal access to water. To me breaking a dam sets water free to flow as it may naturally, just like a society should have a fair set of rules governing the free flow of money.


"The Trees"

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw



Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
To add to all of this, there is no good data showing how either the distribution of wealth or the distribution of income changes over time.

I've seen some credible evidence that more wealth is concentrated at the top than it has been over the past century or so. (Don't have links and am not going to bother ...)

The curve is very steep and the trend is that it is getting steeper.

But I don't know if this fact alone is a problem, or even a symptom of a problem. And if there is a problem I don't see what can be done about it without likely introducing other problems that may be worse.


What am I doing about it? The only thing anyone can do about it:

Educate yer kids as best you can.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
America was better off when it had a strong middle class. That has been eroded and given away and those who are in the middle class now are asleep. They are afraid that they will lose what they have, so they do nothing as the edges are pulled away. They falsely believe that the wealthy have their best interest at heart. Some wealthy people are balanced, but there is a reason the bible says it is more difficult for a wealthy person to enter into heaven then it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

The wealthy have never been wealthier, yet for some reason we are worried that they are being taxed too much.

Mercy.. God save us from fools.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
In America, the poor have also never been wealthier.
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
not true.. but you go right ahead and continue believing that even though many people have attempted to help you understand.

Good luck with your position. Your going to need it.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
let them eat cake...
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:52pm PT
Dave,

Wealth concentration may have increased, but we don't know in whose hands that wealth belongs, because the data don't purport to reflect the same ownership of wealth. For example, the Mellon family was much more wealthy than the Gates family 40 years ago. Not so now. Are the rich getting richer, or is their identity changing?

In addition, I never know how the surveys that purport to measure wealth calculate their data. Is it, in effect, a mark-to-market? If so, what goes up can go down awfully quickly. If not, how do they measure it?

While I think John M raises a valid point, I find the idea that the wealthy determine elections and laws more an article of faith than one based on evidence. Certainly in California, the most powerful constituencies currently are the public employee unions and the plaintiffs' bar. In addition, the current Democratic Party fund-raising seems to have a rather good tap of the wealthiest Americans. Those on the left decry the use of Hunt Brothers' money, but ignore that of George Soros, not to mention a host of very high-earning (and often very wealthy) entertainment industry luminaries, among others. Besides, everyone gets only one vote -- at least in the absence of election fraud.

John
John M

climber
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
Some unions have gotten too powerful. That is true. Its also true that income disparity is growing.


There is a simple method to balance out the power of the teachers union. But its unlikely that the powers that be will heed it.

Create a fund that schools can apply to from which to pay for the lawsuits that will arise from firing poor teachers. Eventually the unions will wise up and stop defending every crappy teacher.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Mar 6, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
Gary, it's also about people retaining the fruits of their savings, investing (which, by definition, is deferring consumption), ideas, actions and labors, rather than having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it to buy their reelection.

Now there's a cup of total BS. The funny thing, people swallow this as if it were God's own truth.


Let's look at this statement more closely.

It's about people retaining the fruits of:

 Their savings. John, according to the video, those at the bottom 40% are unable to save--even if they work a full-time minimum wage job. The way it's now structured, minimum wage is not a living wage, those at this level live below the poverty line. Even those in the "middle class" can barely make it by.

 Investing - See above.

 Ideas. You're kidding, right? How many people are wealthy because of their ideas? From what I've seen, most are wealthy because they make money off other folks ideas. Certainly there's a few exceptions, but CEOs are rich because of exploitation of others. Prove me wrong.

 Actions. The action of deregulation and tax evasion has lead to many increases in wealth for the top 1%. I agree with you there. But, real actions that benefit the community as a whole? As SNL once gracefully put it: Bill Gates didn't get rich by writing checks. In other words, the actions of the rich is to figure out how to best hoard their wealth. Go ahead, prove me wrong.

 Labors. So, by this I'd figure that if I work hard I get rich, right?

"...having it confiscated by the political powers to distribute to others who didn't earn it ..."

Give me a Big F'in BREAK! How many Billion$ were wasted in no-bid contracts handed out to the firms that "rebuilt" Iraq? The whole military-industrial complex is one Huge funnel that takes from the US taxpayer and gives it to weapons firms, who don't earn it.

Let me ask, do you support a living minimum wage, or is that just giving away a business owner's hard earned money to those who don't earn it?
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