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Wealth Inequality

Old 03-03-13, 02:11 PM
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Wealth Inequality

Interesting short video that illustrates the wealth distribution of the US using graphs. I'm sure there will be some criticism of it here, so let's hear it.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QPKKQnijnsM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Old 03-03-13, 02:43 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

I don't find it surprising that most Americans have a skewed idea of this. I find it amusing that the narrator says things like "The 'dreaded' socialism, but we have to encourage people to work."

I had also hoped it would actually show geographically how the wealth is distributed by region. That would be neat to see.

But otherwise....nice video. Just information with a hint of socialist sarcasm. Goes to point out why I have been advocating a wealth tax. I'm sure all the politicians that scream about the rich will bring it up any day now.
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Old 03-03-13, 02:57 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

There really isn't much in the video that one can criticize. For the most part, the narrator is merely displaying data. I do agree with him that income and wealth should be distributed more fairly.

After WWII income and wealth disparities shrunk because 1) taxes were higher than today and 2) unions were stronger than today. Unions tend to raise everyone's wages, not just their members. Then in the 1980s the Republicans began reducing taxes and attacking unions, and income and wealth disparities exploded to pre-Great Depression levels.

Put simply, modern Republicans are undeserving of the title "public servants." They serve the elite. How do they get away with it? By pretending to be more concerned with principles than outcomes.
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Old 03-03-13, 03:13 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
There really isn't much in the video that one can criticize. For the most part, the narrator is merely displaying data. I do agree with him that income and wealth should be distributed more fairly.

After WWII income and wealth disparities shrunk because 1) taxes were higher than today and 2) unions were stronger than today. Unions tend to raise everyone's wages, not just their members. Then in the 1980s the Republicans began reducing taxes and attacking unions, and income and wealth disparities exploded to pre-Great Depression levels.

Put simply, modern Republicans are undeserving of the title "public servants." They serve the elite. How do they get away with it? By pretending to be more concerned with principles than outcomes.
The idea that taxes are a big part of this is silly. Today, those that don't pay any income tax is a huge percentage of the total. If income tax made for more equity in wealth, simply by never paying any, that group would rise. But it doesn't. The loopholes play a much bigger part than the actual rate. Obama had his chance to get rid of those with the first fiscal cliff, but he wanted a merit badge that really meant nothing instead. Now he is trying to go for loopholes when even supporters have said, "You asked for tax revenue increase in the last deal and you got it. Now you have to actually be a leader."

Democrats are truly undeserving of the title "public servants." They serve the elite. See where the wealth truly is and who those elite support. How do they get away from it? They are more concerned with symbolism over substance. But I'm sure your heroes will start talking about a wealth tax that will actually affect their elite supporters any day now.
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Old 03-03-13, 03:26 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

In our current condition, people are very negative and cynical. That is why we have such inequality. It's harder and harder to find team players anymore.
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Old 03-03-13, 03:42 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Democrats...serve the elite.
Well, you got one thing right. Both parties serve the elite (but not always in the same way or to the same extent).
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Old 03-03-13, 04:04 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Playing the lottery isn't such a bad idea.
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Old 03-03-13, 04:28 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

From looking at the video though it appears Obama is aiming to low at 250k per year. People in that range arent the problem.
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Old 03-03-13, 05:32 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

I agree that he is just showing data, but I don't get the point. Or the sarcasm.

"I'm sure the 1% work hard...." Wtf....

I mean is he saying all the other 99% is absolutely working hard?

Is he saying we should take from the top 1%.

And no I'm not in the 1%. But when I look at it, I think, "if I work hard and smart and maybe get a little help/insight I could be one of them. Or I can stay where I'm at and be happy".

I applaud the 1%. I don't hate them.
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Old 03-03-13, 07:56 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

I think we should take from the 1%. Definitely. But not through government regulation and taxation. It should be done by working alongside the ultra-wealthy - using their money to generate new productivity and then siphon the money off through the free market. Whether it's through manufacturing, commerce, philanthropy, whatever.

I do think that the current resistance to the tax increase is political farce. It is absurd, and the discourse is being caused by the media. Well, almost all current problems are being caused by the media. They are turning America against each other. And America cares, the same way they care about Honey Boo Boo. Cable news is no different than reality TV.

Right now, we have no certainty, and that is stalling progress. If we finish this fiscal cliff nonsense and get certain answers on taxes and healthcare, the wealthy will be more willing to loosen up some moneyand move forward (even at an additional cost).
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Old 03-03-13, 09:31 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

I think at least SOME of the antipathy toward the 1% stems from the fact that a certain percentage of them have INHERITED their wealth .... they didn't create it. I think it is easier to resent someone for being wealthy when all they did was be born to the right parents.

Not saying I agree with this resentment, but I can understand it somewhat.
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Old 03-03-13, 09:52 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

The gap--or more likened to The Grand Canyon--wouldn't be such an issue if the classes were proportionately represented in all sectors. Meaning, the poor could still afford healthcare, food, and so forth. Obviously, they cannot, and the gap is now taking over the middle class, who can barely survive.

Capitalism is inherently fated to eat itself. This is by design. We were taught in school the beginnings of Capitalism--but not how it would theoretically end. If we were to look several hundred years into the future...only a few people would own the land in The United States. These few would dictate politics and have influence worldwide as well (along with other countries where Capitalism had reduced itself to a mere handful of unrealistically-wealthy people).

If that isn't a reason to change how our society thinks about money, I'm not sure what will.
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Old 03-03-13, 10:28 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
I agree that he is just showing data, but I don't get the point. Or the sarcasm.

"I'm sure the 1% work hard...." Wtf....
Yeah, you did miss the point. The narrator went on to say that he seriously doubts that they deserve to earn hundreds of times what the average worker earns.

Back in the 1950s, CEOs generally made about 30-40 times what the average worker earns. In places like Japan, that is still true today. But in the US, CEOs now earn hundreds of times what the average worker earns.

And at the top end, there is no clear connection between productivity and income.
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Old 03-03-13, 11:15 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
I agree that he is just showing data, but I don't get the point.
The point is to educate people. People think the world should be one way. They think it is another way. The truth is that it is a third way, and that third way is very far from what people think the world is, let alone what they think it should be.

If we don't understand the way the world is, how can we have an informed position about policy?
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Old 03-03-13, 11:29 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis
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Old 03-04-13, 12:52 AM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
Yeah, you did miss the point. The narrator went on to say that he seriously doubts that they deserve to earn hundreds of times what the average worker earns.

Back in the 1950s, CEOs generally made about 30-40 times what the average worker earns. In places like Japan, that is still true today. But in the US, CEOs now earn hundreds of times what the average worker earns.

And at the top end, there is no clear connection between productivity and income.
No, I heard that. But again, what is the point? Have regulations on how much a CEO makes? Wouldn't it have more impact if we regulated what dr's, hospitals and drug companies make?

Tho my opinion, everyone gets paid exactly as the market holds.

The CEO thing is a farce. Just how many CEO are there total that make this "100's of times the average worker". Take them all down to minimum wage and what have you done? Nothing.
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Old 03-04-13, 01:12 AM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

To be honest my eyes glaze over after a while on the subject... I just don't understand the obsession over what other people make. Work hard, provide for your family and grow your wealth... pass it on to your kids.
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Old 03-04-13, 06:41 AM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
I think at least SOME of the antipathy toward the 1% stems from the fact that a certain percentage of them have INHERITED their wealth .... they didn't create it. I think it is easier to resent someone for being wealthy when all they did was be born to the right parents.

Not saying I agree with this resentment, but I can understand it somewhat.
As long as they spend their time driving their Ferrari and banging Hot Chicks were all good. Its when they start their on their high horse fucking guilt trip pretending they care for the 99% with "Other peoples money" I cant stand....
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Old 03-04-13, 07:36 AM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Artman View Post
To be honest my eyes glaze over after a while on the subject... I just don't understand the obsession over what other people make. Work hard, provide for your family and grow your wealth... pass it on to your kids.
Exactly.

That and the fact they are not rocket scientist's (most of them are not anyway). So there is a comfort in knowing anyone can achieve success. And that success can mean different things to different people at different times.

I don't have to "work my way up up the corporate ladder" if I don't want to. But it's there if I do.
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Old 03-04-13, 10:34 AM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

I just don't understand why such a simple concept is not understood. The problem is not just that CEOs make so much more now than before. It's that almost all profits now go to those few at the top rather than being distributed throughout the company. Raises are not even keeping up with the cost of living anymore. But we are able to concentrate more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands. It's a recipe for economic disaster.
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Old 03-04-13, 10:42 AM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
I think at least SOME of the antipathy toward the 1% stems from the fact that a certain percentage of them have INHERITED their wealth .... they didn't create it. I think it is easier to resent someone for being wealthy when all they did was be born to the right parents.

Not saying I agree with this resentment, but I can understand it somewhat.
I think that is true, and that goes back to loopholes in the tax system. Currently $5 million is exempted from inheritance tax. The rest is taxed at 40%. Does anyone believe that people with a net worth of 200 million are paying $80 million in tax on that? There are too many ways around it.
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Old 03-04-13, 12:11 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by arminius View Post
I just don't understand why such a simple concept is not understood. The problem is not just that CEOs make so much more now than before. It's that almost all profits now go to those few at the top rather than being distributed throughout the company. Raises are not even keeping up with the cost of living anymore. But we are able to concentrate more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands. It's a recipe for economic disaster.
Agreed, I don't think it is wealth envy or limited to anger over inherited wealth. I think most people look at the 1% (or top .01% really) and think that there is no job or role in society that is so important that a person deserves hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. Not when their $40k salary is being slashed and there aren't decent schools for their kids. Not when that money could be put to work to create opportunities for others. I think it is anger over a system that affords the wealthy control to accumulate ever more wealth and power, while millions of others work their asses off just to live paycheck to paycheck. And beyond that I think there is a sense that the wealthy aren't held accountable for their failures, which do tend to have broader consequences for society - after all, that's what justifies those high salaries right?

I'm not naive and I know society can't be engineered to be fair, and there are market forces at work, economies change over time, etc., and certainly rich people generally work very hard. I just think it's unfair to say most people are just envious of the ultra rich. I think most people understand it is hard to make lots of money, and they don't really want that lifestyle (unless its a lottery windfall). They just want a fair society that rewards their efforts. They don't want to live in an America where the best education and 80 hour work weeks can make you a millionaire, but everyone else makes minimum wage and are told to work harder.

I don't know how to solve this problem either, especially as companies grow larger and larger and their operations are global. At some point, these entities grow beyond the control of the US government.
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Old 03-04-13, 12:49 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
I think at least SOME of the antipathy toward the 1% stems from the fact that a certain percentage of them have INHERITED their wealth .... they didn't create it. I think it is easier to resent someone for being wealthy when all they did was be born to the right parents.
I would say that the antipathy towards those that have inherited their wealth is a much smaller percentage of the whole than in the past. Inherited wealth has been a reality for all of our history and just about all of western European history as well. People have long since come to terms with it, even if they do often continue to resent it.

There is a growing realization that the deck is stacked against the vast majority of Americans, and that the deck is becoming even more stacked as time goes on. I think this realization is the difference. Add in the very well-publicized profligacy of Wall Street and the health care sector and you have a lot of resentment brewing.
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Old 03-04-13, 01:22 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by hahn View Post
Interesting short video that illustrates the wealth distribution of the US using graphs. I'm sure there will be some criticism of it here, so let's hear it.
Thanks for providing that nice green link for the "Top Videos"!! Now what were you saying?
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Old 03-04-13, 01:27 PM
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Re: Wealth Inequality

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
More of the antipathy comes from pure jealousy, but I have no idea what to do about closing the gap.
I don't believe that to be true...it is the direction that conservative media wants to spin it in though. I think that the antipathy comes from the fact that the playing field is not level, that the rules differ depending upon one's wealth, and the belief that in order to break into those higher wealth levels one must game the system.

At the beginning of the mortgage crisis (2007-2008), there was talk of helping out homeowners by giving them funds to close the discrepancy gap between what they owed and what their homes were worth. Conservatives were in an uproar claiming that these irresponsible homeowners needed to experience the consequences of their poor choices.

But when things got worse and it was the banks that were in trouble, suddenly there was an outcry that the banks must be bailed out because they were too big to fail. No interest about them experiencing the consequence of their poor choices.

Given the magnitude of the mishandling, deception, and outright fraud perpetrated by these institutions which included criminal accounting practices, it is pretty shocking how many were convicted and actually sent to prison.
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