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Wealth Distribution in America

 
 
Lola
 
Reply Wed 6 Mar, 2013 09:14 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

This is a video every American should see. The difference in the perception and the reality is startling.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 1,961 • Replies: 19
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laurahunt
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:07 am
@Lola,
Thanks Lola. you have shared interesting and informative video.Its reality.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 07:34 am
@Lola,
Absolutely ridiculous.

One almost has to HOPE that we reach the tipping point soon...so that this house of cards comes tumbling down.
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:02 pm
@Frank Apisa,
With this reality, why isn't there more support for taxing the super wealthy? Amazing.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:43 pm
@Lola,
Easy. The portion of the middle class who listen to conservative media outlets are convinced that the poor are sucking them dry and that their lives would be oh-so-improved if only the poor would get off their lazy asses and get a job. They hear this message without realizing that the tax code has been intentionally manipulated to force them (the middle class) to pay the majority of the tax burden of sustaining the benefits given to society. The 1%ers (which includes those shilling this message via the media) then laugh all the way to the bank.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 01:48 pm
@Lola,
Considering the possible consequences...it is amazing to me that the super wealthy are not in the van of supporting more taxes for the wealthy.

They have a hell of a lot more to lose from a general collapse...which is goddam near inevitable if we stay on this path.

Warren Buffet seems to be the only one of those guys who gets it.
Lola
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:00 pm
@JPB,
I know, JPB. I'm presently living with my daughter and her husband. They have been suffering with the recession, just as I have. Jobs around here are few and far between for the time being. When I moved in my daughter's husband, who lives on conservative to fanatical media outlets had posted a sign in the front yard of the house. It said the following: "Taxed Enough Already"( =ing TEA party). Ok, I was embarrassed to be living in a house with such a sign. So after a few days, I pointed out that no one in the house was paying any taxes at all. As a matter of fact, my daughter gets food stamps for her family because she has a young daughter. Her husband has been collecting unemployment until recently. Not to mention that they drive on roads and bridges and receive mail from the post office, etc. Really. So, long story short, a few days later I noticed that the sign had been removed. However, I don't think my daughter and her husband understand the information included in the utube video above.

The truth is that the taxes I have paid throughout my life have been in far greater than would have been required if the filthy rich paid their fair share. Money is power. There has to be something other than money that exerts influence. It's got to be people power. There are a lot more of us than there are of them.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:12 pm
@Lola,
Lola wrote:
However, I don't think my daughter and her husband understand the information included in the utube video above.


Unfortunately your situation with your daughter and SIL is all too common. The explanation for why they don't understand the information is also easy. The same people who have been manipulated into carrying the burden of supporting the poor have also been manipulated into paying for the education of the masses. How often do tax referendums for property tax increases to benefit schools get approved in middle - low income areas? Very seldom. If those who are forced to carry the financial burden of society are also forced to pay for its education then before long one ends up with an ignorant populace, making it all the more easy to convince them they're being abused. It's intentional, it's deceptive, and (imo) the only way to stem it is through an emphasis on education.
0 Replies
 
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 02:18 pm
@Frank Apisa,
I agree Frank. In response to the financial collapse, Greenspan said,
Quote:
"In Congressional testimony on October 23, 2008, Greenspan acknowledged that he was "partially" wrong in opposing regulation and stated "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity – myself especially – are in a state of shocked disbelief."[56] Referring to his free-market ideology, Greenspan said: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Greenspan

Quote:
"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," said Greenspan.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/24/economics-creditcrunch-federal-reserve-greenspan

So, Greenspan was mistaken. He assumed that people with money could see their own self interest in doing what's best for the whole and denying every opportunity to advance their own personal position. He should have talked to Freud. Obviously, human beings are capable of all sorts of rationalizations and self destructive behavior. Hopefully there are enough reasonable people with something to gain that can continue to work together to interfere with the blind, spoiled fat cats and their selfish, blind sighted behavior.

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 03:19 pm
@Lola,
Lola wrote:
With this reality, why isn't there more support for taxing the super wealthy? Amazing.

I think you answered this yourself:

One post earlier, Lola wrote:
The difference in the perception and the reality is startling.

And why is there such a difference between perception and reality? I blame an arms race between conservative media pundits who prize radicalism and liberal media pundits who prize fairness, but implement fairness lazily by giving equal time to information and misinformation. Thanks to MSNBC, things are finally beginning to change on the liberal side, but they still have a long way to go.
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 12:54 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Thanks to MSNBC, things are finally beginning to change on the liberal side, but they still have a long way to go.

Yes Thomas, I agree. And look what I found tonight based on Lawrence O'Donnell's coverage of the Chained CPI

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/the-social-security-chain_b_888380.html

The "Social Security Chain-CPI Massacre": Underhanded, Unnecessary, Unfair, Un-American

Quote:
Underhanded

The "chain gang" insists that this wouldn't be a benefit cut, just a more accurate calculation. That's an attractive argument with only one flaw: It's wrong. The "chained" approach would understate the cost of living for the elderly and disabled people who rely on Social Security.

In plain English, it would gyp them.

In fact, even the current system for calculate COLAs gyps them. Retired and disabled people pay twice as much for healthcare as the average person. Healthcare costs have been rising three times as quickly as overall inflation, so their living costs are already understated. Transportation costs are a much bigger piece of their budget, too, which changes the numbers.

What's worse, two of the areas targeted for additional government spending cuts are ... healthcare and transportation!

The chained CPI would kick this gypping process into overdrive by reducing the increases in their benefits. And while younger Americans might make cuts in their travel and health budgets, that's usually not an option for the elderly or the disabled, so the calculations will be even more inaccurate under this system.

The math is what makes the chained-CPI approach a benefit cut.. But the chain gang knows that a lot people are intimidated by math, so they hope voters -- and a lot of lawmakers and journalists -- won't understand what's being done to them.

That's what makes it underhanded.


So it's lack of information and lack of action. Why do I have to pay for the rich to have more when they already have so much?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 01:11 am
@Lola,
I suppose you are unaware that "gyp" is now an ethnic slur.
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 01:21 am
@roger,
Quote:
I suppose you are unaware that "gyp" is now an ethnic slur.


Actually, no I am not. Thanks for filling me in. But I didn't write that word, the author of the article did that. Let's make sure he knows it.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 01:52 am
@Lola,
I knew you didn't. Millions of Gypsies will join you in the fight.
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 02:28 am
@roger,
I'll tell you a story sometime about a cultural tour in Sweden and racial comments about gypsies...........but not now. I am sympathetic with any maligned or otherwise mistreated people.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 08:36 am
@Lola,
I would like to hear that story....
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 09:58 am
@saab,
Meet me here http://able2know.org/topic/207441-66
and I'll tell you. See you at the cafe.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 06:00 pm
Interesting clip.

Assuming for the moment the data is accurately portrayed ...

How does one go about changing such a distribution of wealth, or, probably better, how does one go about achieving a specific desired distribution? As the saying goes, it may be easy to say, but hard to do.

In particular, while altering the distribution, through taxation or other wealth transfers may be easy, the actual short and long term effects of such actions, on the total wealth involved and the resulting distribution itself, can be devilishly difficult to predict, as the history of the last two centuries has amply demonstrated. Achieving a new, desired distribution that is stable over time, may be even more difficult. Wealth distributions are dynamic things that can change over time, based on both internal and external conditions, as was indeed pointed out in the clip itself for this country.

These distributions represent the net economic activity of hundreds of millions of people. As such they are dependent on the basics of human nature and the character of the government associated with each observable distribution. These represent constraints on what is actually possible - constraints not recognized at all in the clip referenced at the opening of this thread.

For example, the USSR achieved an income distribution which was much less steep towards higher incomes, and with a much lower peak. However, it was achieved with the cost of the freedom and personal security of its citizens. The people at the top enjoyed privileges and material advantages not counted in their incomes while those at the bottom (about 1.5% of the population were inhabitants of the Gulag) doing slave labor in harsh conditions. Equally importantly the economic system had built-in disincentives for the movement of labor which eventually condemned it to ever greater capital investments to get ever less income growth. As a result total incomes started a decline in the mid 1950s from which they never recovered and which contrtibuted to its collapse in 1989.

At high enough levels of wealth redistribution, the incentive for people to engage in productive work is diminished. There's ample evidence of this in numerous economic studies and it is a largely undisputed economic principle, though some argue about the value of the effect. In any event this side effect of redistribution tends to reduce the total wealth in any distribution.

The nations of the European Union are facing decreased labor mobility resulting from restrective labor laws, designed to "protect" workers, and high social welfare benefits. The result is the unwillingness of their citizens to accept less in adverse economic conditions, or even to move to a different job or industry when changed market conditions make it necessary to increase national wealth. Government ends up subdizing or otherwise protecting local industries that can no longer compete in international markets. That leads to a donward spiral that threatens the whole economy. Moreover, the new business enterprise creation required to achieve the growth needed to restore national wealth, is inhibited by the same wealth transfers and restrictive labor policies, and inportantly their effects on individual behavior. Shortages of skilled, willing labor now coexist in Europe with high levels of unemployment. This is also observably true in some industries in the United States.

Norway, which enjoys very high social welfare payments as a result of government income due to petroleum production, is now facing reduced interest in work by its population and resulting very high entry level wage demands that already are reducing the nation's economic competitiveness. They are now beginning to worry about their continuing economic competitiveness when the oil runs out in a few decades. It turns out that winning the lottery isn't good for one's work ethic.

Detroit Michigan has been in the news lately as the State governor has appointed a supervisor empowered to overrule the city council; break labor contracts for city employees and other powers (similar to those of bankrupcy judges) in an attempt to enable the city to avoid total physical and financial collapse and bankrupcy. There are many external factors that contributed significantly to that city's decline (though most also operated on other midwest cities that have fared decidedly better.) The unique factor was the 20 year rule of a racist, criminal mayor, Coleman Young, who added enormously to the city's debt and ran a corrupt government which stole much of what was left. City employment was operated as a Mayoral fief and spending on his cronies and supporters exploded. The result was that those who formerly produced the wealth of the city, simply left, depopulating it by more than half. With their departure, literally billions of dollars of wealth in the value of otherwise viable properties simply vanished because no one wanted to live amid the corruption, brutality and crime that increasingly characterized the city.

I believe there are several key factors in these stories that illustrate some hazards associated with misguided efforts to "help" people through government intervention. The "help" quickly becomes an entitlement, a "right" independednt of work or responsible action. Human nature is a complex thing, and it doesn't easily change.



0 Replies
 
Brown Antony Cruz
 
  0  
Reply Sat 8 Feb, 2014 04:19 am
@Lola,
Most Americans have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 May, 2014 10:47 pm
@Brown Antony Cruz,
How do you know that? Do you really "know" what most Americans know or believe? Indeed how well do you know the available statistics for the distribution of wealth in the country? Income distributions are one thing and fairly good (but not perfect) data is available for it. Wealth and property is quite another thing.
0 Replies
 
 

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