Wealth Distribution

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Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:46pm 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."

That is incorrect. There is abundant material showing that both have become much more highly concentrated in the uppermost percentiles.

At the same time that the rich started earning more, (CEO power, global corporatism, Wall St bailouts, deregulation and loopholes) they spent some of that on lobbying politicians to get even more loopholes, deregulation, and lower taxes. Now we have lower taxes on unearned income (Buffet was exactly right), "carried interest", pension defaults, FDIC bailouts, etc.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:14pm PT
To me the issue of wealth is about fair pay. IMO the average American works very hard at their job and is vastly underpaid. I absolutely disagree with a TGT JZ, et al that it is the lazy and "slackers" that are complaining. I see friends and family working 40-50 hours a week and can barely make ends meet and many of them have college degrees. The people that often get forgotten in all of this is the working poor, and the middle class which make up the largest % of the U.S. Population. These are not people sitting on their asses, these are people who serve you food, check you out at the cash register, work on your car, etc. These people are getting F*#KED given the current economics in America.

Because of the move to large corporations, the good and the ugly is cheaper prices, lower wages. When you are the only gig in town, you pay people what you want, not what the work they do deserves. The $$ they would've/should've paid to their employees goes to the wealthy via "profit" since they own the corporations in the first place. Why is a CEOs 40 hour work week worth 384X the average workers salary in the company? That's f*#king ridiculous. People will say, well they work more than 40 hours a week. Guess what??? EVERYONE DOES!!!

Corporations can further drive salaries down by either threatening or actually shipping your job overseas. The ones that stay here and are now part of a multi-national company get "compared" to the salaries people are making in 3rd World Countries where the cost of living is also a lot cheaper, and they pull the "you are already paid the most in the world" card.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or $15,080 a year for someone who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year (that means ZERO vacation) and that is under the poverty line for anyone other than an 18 year old boy.

This isn't about me and my problems. I am a top 8% single earner and top 5% married earner per whatsmypercent.com. The difference in a lot of these threads is I don't feel it is all about how much more I can get. How about some compassion and empathy. Oh yeah, f*#k the poor, they are just stepping stones to padding the bank account a little more right?
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:20pm PT
Let's hope the the indolent, insecure, and ignorant do not get there way with the ruinous redistribution they are being mass conditioned to desire. It would only lead to a stagnation of creativity, a decline in ambition, and the poor only getting poorer along with us all.

Absolutely, comrade! It's time for the fat cats on Wall Street to get off our backs and start pulling their own weight. That's what I'm talking about. Eugene Debs put it best:
“We propose to destroy the capitalist and save the man. We want a system in which the worker shall get what he produces and the capitalist shall produce what he gets.”

It's about time that honest work was respected in the USA.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
These threads are often more indicative of the various posters biases than any insight into the reality of the situation and any changes that should be made.

At the same time that the rich started earning more, (CEO power, global corporatism, Wall St bailouts, deregulation and loopholes) they spent some of that on lobbying politicians to get even more loopholes, deregulation, and lower taxes. Now we have lower taxes on unearned income (Buffet was exactly right), "carried interest", pension defaults, FDIC bailouts, etc.

That's really what this is about. It's not about making everyone's income/wealth equal and giving income to people who didn't earn it (when someone brings up this childish spoon fed bullsh#t it just shows how biased and/or brainwashed they are). It's not about welfare people vs. people who earn their money. It's about middle class people (the majority if not all the people posting here) vs. the 1/10 of 1% of people who are accumulating more and more of the income and wealth.

Ideologically I'm against things like the estate tax, higher taxes on capital gains, etc. but I know without them the people with a lot of money (I'm talking 100s of millions)(possibly not earned but just inherited) will continue to get a greater and greater percentage of all wealth/income and more and more people will struggle to get by. Right now it's the working poor who struggle to make ends meet and save anything for retirement, but if things keep going the way they are the middle and upper middle class will be stuggling too.

Look at what has happened over the last 15 years. Middle class income is stagnant, while the very rich (e.g. $10 million a year plus annual income) have seen their income grow a large amount.

I'm doing fine. I make good money. I'd prefer to pay less taxes but I'm ok with paying what I do now. What's messed up is the people making 100 times what I do and pay a smaller percent of their income as taxes because most of it comes from capital gains (money making money). But unfortunately you have the Repubs in congress and the conservatives (anyone who is ok with being a conservative is ok with being an ideologue instead of a moderate who knows being pragmatic is more important that sticking to your principles when they cause problems) saying you can't raise taxes at all. Nevermind taxes for the very rich are low historically and low among other 1st world countries.

The very rich have done a great job fooling otherwise smart people into buying the whole "Liberals want everyone to have the same income and take your hard earned money and give it to those who choose not to work". It's hard for me to comprehend that people can be that gullible.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
A whole precession of utopian socialists have killed how many hundreds of millions, and produced unspeakable suffering trying to change that?
Teedle Gee T

What socialist did all this killing??
Oh you mean the Nazis
Just because they used the word socialist in their title
It was German, it translates to something other than socialism
They were the exact opposite of socialist, they were Right wing Fascists.

No Socialist Country did any mass killing of hundreds of millions, I can't think of any mass killings by socialists

Maybe the Communists, but they weren't socialists either
read a dictionary before you spew this crap
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
The very rich have done a great job fooling otherwise smart people into buying the whole "Liberals want everyone to have the same income and take your hard earned money and give it to those who choose not to work". It's hard for me to comprehend that people can be that gullible.

Well said
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Mar 6, 2013 - 10:35pm PT
You mean like joe the plumber? that guy would be the guy TGT is reffering to if Obama would have lost!!
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Mar 7, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Dr. F- How about Joseph Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot for starters. They all, at one time or another spouted socialist ideals while enacting policies that resulted in the death of millions of their citizens. They also systematically murdered many millions of others who dissented.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 08:38am PT
They all, at one time or another spouted socialist ideals while enacting policies that resulted in the death of millions of their citizens.

Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. You can call yourself whatever you want, that doesn't make it so.

I've never read of capitalism being condemned as an economic system just because the majority of its practitioners have been murderous tyrants.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 7, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Short, well written, Bastiat's answer to Das Capital.

Still after more than 150 years one of the best answers to the collectivist.


http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:20am PT
This sounds like an excellent summation of Capital:

Property and Plunder

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.

That's the very heart of Marx's theories on capital and its accumulation:
Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

That's the very definition of capitalism.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Jeebus, TGT, did you read that link? It's a complete condemnation of capitalism. Dig this:
Victims of Lawful Plunder

Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws! Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.

It is as if it were necessary, before a reign of justice appears, for everyone to suffer a cruel retribution — some for their evilness, and some for their lack of understanding.
The Results of Legal Plunder

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are "just" because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Thanks for posting that link, Fellow Worker.
sempervirens

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Let's also remember that we in US do not have a capitalist system because we don't have a free market; it is all controlled by taxation and regulation. Who writes the tax law and regulations? Congress? Or the lobbyists? Do you conservatives want no regulation? No FDA, FAA, anti-trust laws, Glass-Steigel Act? Do you think that would promote a free and democratic society? Do you think the Koch brothers are really interested in your conservative values and your freedoms? How'bout the Fanjul family that controls the US sugar market? They contribute to both parties and have influence either way. That is the 1%. The conservatives are doing their bidding and swallowing the flag waving rhetoric.

As wealth becomes more concentrated what do expect will happen to the nice folks in the middle class who are pulling themselves up by the bootstraps? I think it will be more difficult for them. Who lost a huge part of their wealth in the economic fiasco of 2008? The 1%? Or the middle class? So as wealth concentrates it also pushes more middle class toward poverty and makes it harder to save and get ahead. Then there will be more people for you conservatives to spite for being lazy slackers seeking hadouts. Would that support your flag-waving freedom?

How can the liberal and conservative ideologists be so gullible that they don't realize they're both swallowing the same lie: that Obama operates according to liberal ideals.
bookworm

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:03am PT
the water analogy doesn't hold water...

see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

but there is no giant pile of wealth...wealth is created by individuals... bill gates didn't take anything from me or anyone else when he founded microsoft...instead, he provided a product that other people valued...all commercial transactions with microsoft are VOLUNTARY...i pay him for a produce that i hope will increase my own wealth, and when i buy a computer, i'm not taking anything from you or anyone else...your bitterness toward those who create wealth (whether by luck or hard work) says far more about you than it says about them


PLEASE, read Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom"...it's written in language that a high schooler can understand

why, with the full course of history from which to learn, do you still believe the government is immune to corruption and that bureaucrats are more trustworthy with your money?
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:12am PT
see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

You can cite that proposition, I assume? I'd be interested. I never read that in Harrington or Thomas.

why, with the full course of history from which to learn, do you still believe the government is immune to corruption and that bureaucrats are more trustworthy with your money?

And corporate bureaucrats are much more trustworthy? Having been involved in both systems, my experience is that government bureaucracy is benign, corporate bureaucracy is actively looking for ways to f*#k you over. They'd kill your grandma for a nickel.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:17am PT
Dr. F- How about Joseph Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot for starters.
Those were Communists, Not Socialists

and the farthest possible away from Progressive Liberals

They were Right Wing Tyrants using Communism to subjugate the people under Right Wing Totalitarian Rule.

No one would say that those Countries are anyway near a Liberal Democratic Socialist Government, like Norway and Sweden.

How many people has Norway mass murdered?

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:21am PT
Hookworm will never respond to a direct question
he just pops in before going to work at his Gov. job to poop some Breitbart BS propaganda that could be refuted by a kindergarten.

see, socialists conceive of wealth (NOT money(money is only one manifestation of wealth used to ease commercial transactions)) as finite: there's a giant pile of riches from which some people take more than they deserve or need or use unethical means to take from the pile or keep others from getting their "fair share"

No, that is not what socialists conceive

Socialists want the Government to control the commons, so it is available to all, rich or poor, like clean air, police, fire, health care.
You still have to work if you want money, but you won't starve in the gutter and infect your neighbors with TB.


What we have a Rigged Capitalistic system, the worst of all possibilities

sempervirens

climber
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:27am PT
THere is currently a system in place that is redistibuting wealth toward the 1% while the country argues whether or not redistributing wealth is morally wrong. Socialism and Capitalism don't exist.

If we continue to cconcentrate wealth we're moving closer to totalarianism (IMO) regardless of what we call it. Fewer people will hold power to make the rules. Why would they make rules that promote freedom when they can make rules to promote their own wealth?

What would happen if the wealthiest corporate bureaucrats and the top gov. bureaucrats merged forces while we argued over which are more trustworthy? Does anyone believe they have NOT merged forces?
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 7, 2013 - 11:32am PT
So you conservatives have no problem returning the the robber baron, monopoly days?

Let free market capitalism run unhindered. Everything will be fair.

You'll pay $300 a month for phone service. $20 a gallon for gasoline. $1000 a month rent for a small apartment. Sounds good. Reminds me of the movie In Time. Not the greatest movie but a good representation of what it sounds like the conservatives want.

Of course full socialism would be would be terrible too. Govt inefficiency in everything and lack of motivation for people to work and innovate and retain the fruits of their labor.

Hmm, could the best thing be somewhere in the middle? I guess not when it conflicts with your black and white ideology.
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