Nice video on wealth inequality in America
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04-03-2013, 09:27 PM
Nice video on wealth inequality in America






This basically highlights the inevitability of capitalism. There are no checks and balances on wealth, outside of you being a fiscal moron (pop stars), and so the rich will keep getting richer and passing it along to their family. Also, since the poor have no voice in a capitalist democracy (money votes), they are eternally doomed to their fate, outside of winning the lottery. Anyone notice any incorrect or exaggerated facts? What are your thoughts? Is it wrong to advocate for a redistribution of funds or a bigger spike in the progressive tax?

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04-03-2013, 09:41 PM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America




I've also been thinking about the whole, "if taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down" thing and it still baffles me. We are told that if you raise taxes on CEOs, they've got to cut jobs and fire employees to balance the budget. This is inaccurate. CEOs love money. They're not going to cut jobs then remain stagnant. They would expand and grow to bring in more money, creating more jobs. I feel like we're being held hostage by the rich. "You raise my taxes and I'll take away your jobs." We've been cutting taxes on the rich for the past 30-40 years and it hasn't worked. So let's try something different for once.

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05-03-2013, 08:17 AM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
There is nothing wrong with inequality of wealth. Capitalism is by its very nature reinforcing of inequality of outcomes, and that is a good thing. Not everyone puts forth the same effort towards improving their financial well-being. And despite intentions, not all economic efforts are worth the same compensation.

The US government defines poverty for a family of four at $23k/yr, or an income at exceeds the median income of all countries in the world except the top 15 or so countries ( ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income ). That's right, over half the industrialized world lives in poverty if we used the standards of the US economy as a measuring stick. You might be tempted to extol the socialist paradise of free services these other countries provide to its citizens. However assistance in the form of food, health, and housing assistance is available to the poor. These programs vary by state, but typically that family of four at a poverty level of income would get health insurance, supplemental food income, and assistance in paying their rent depending on the cost of housing in the area.

Answer yourself this one basic question. If the level of well-being of the poor were to double, but you had to accept that the well-being of the rich would increase by a factor of 10, would you oppose that outcome? Would you truly prefer, as Thatcher once chastised her opponents about, that the poor were poorer so long as the rich were less rich?

The focus on wealth inequality is the wrong focus. The focus needs to be equal protection of the law, and strong property rights. The focus needs to be on equal opportunity, not equal outcome. The US has lost it's way on excelling on educating its citizens so that equal opportunity was there for all. The US was in the past at the forefront of education, being one of the first countries to provide its citizens with public education. Ironically, it is the parties of the left and their union toadies who block much needed reforms. Although I disagree with Obama's politics in most areas, he deserves some credit for bucking his party on this front.
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05-03-2013, 09:33 AM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
I don't think there are any wrong or exaggerated facts in the video, but the idea that what's in the video is a result of capitalism is wholly misinformed. What the video represents is the result of corporatism, which is the collusion of the rich and the state. People who own the large corporations can't amass the kind of wealth they now have in the absence of the state because they got where they are through restrictive policies enacted by the very people you're thinking can save you.

Why is it so expensive to start a new business? Because the government, in the service of the rich, made it so hard. Bayer can't stop you and a small group of your friends from opening a pharmaceutical company... but the state can. Technically they don't stop you, they just put up barriers to entry in the form of regulatory compliance, licensing and excessively high costs of approval through the FDA. For instance, if a group of chemists on this forum were capable of creating a drug that would cure cancer (I understand this is an unlikely scenario), there's no way you could take it to market without selling it to Bayer or one of the other major pharmaceutical companies. This is not because the cost of marketing or manufacturing is too high. It's because the cost of compliance is too high. Moving down the scale a bit... wanna be a plumber or an electrician? Well, you have to work as a journeyman for a certain number of years before you can take the licensing test. In some states, you have to be licensed in order to open a home decorating business. As if throw pillows in the wrong place are going to hurt someone???

Let's say you drive a cab and you want to open your own cab company. Well, in a few places in this "free" country, you better have a quarter of a million dollars laying around just for the first year's license. And then maybe you can think about what it will cost you for a cab or two... or fifty. How many cabs do you think you'd have to have operating year round just in order to pay the cabby's salaries and the license fee? Forget profits, maintenance costs, advertising, etc.

The above is one of the main reasons why you see the lower and middle classes off the scale in this country. You can accuse capitalism if you like but the reality is that it is the restriction of capitalism that has caused it.

Lastly, if you think taxation is the answer, let me ask you this.... who do you think is going to pay for the additional taxes you want levied against the rich? Do you think they're just going to shrug and take that much off their balance sheet? Of course not, they're going to do two things if you raise their taxes. First, they will spend millions of dollars making sure the tax laws are so vaguely written that they have legal tax avoidance mechanisms in place which will allow them to keep their money. And second, they're going to raise the costs of their products/services to the end user. ← Better known as the middle class, the lower class, the consumer and, perhaps, you. When the local municipality raises property taxes, who do you think pays those additional taxes on my rental properties? Not me. My tenants do, through higher rents. They pay the mortgages on the properties as well, because that's how a business functions.... it must create more revenue than it spends. And when the state makes it cost me more to do business, my customers have to pay more. And as I'm sure you can guess, there are no one percenters living in my rentals.

I'm with you 100% that the income disparity (worldwide) is way off kilter. I also agree that something needs to be done about it. But you're never going to right that wrong by attempting to train the guns of the state on the very people who're financing it. As the old saying goes... he who pays the piper calls the tune. Well, the one percenters are keeping the people in government rich. Do you honestly think those people are going to slaughter a cash cow just because you're unhappy?

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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05-03-2013, 10:04 AM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
I don't believe wealth inequality is the problem. If the "poor" could live comfortable lives with financial security, and the middle class could afford lots of luxuries, who cares if the rich make ten million times the income of the average Joe? It would be unfair, but nobody would be held down by their financial situation.

The problem is that the rising cost of living is outpacing the rise in income for most people. Average income has stayed about the same for the past few decades, while home prices, car prices, food, and everything else has increased in price dramatically. Where I live, for example, average home prices have quadrupled in 30 years, while average income has increased by $3000. Having two sources of income is now mandatory for anyone looking to buy a house - only married couples need apply.

The difference between income and cost of living is what raises living standards. When income growth outpaces the costs, as it did until the late 70s, the baseline improves. What used to be middle-class standards would then be considered poor. Poverty would no longer mean hungry, homeless people, lower class would no longer mean someone who couldn't afford any luxuries. That has stopped. Income growth has stagnated since the 80s, while costs have soared. Instead of everyone getting wealthier and the baseline rising, most people are becoming poorer. In my city, earning $40k used to mean you could afford a nice house. These days it means you need a working partner to afford the cheapest house available.

If the "poor" could afford houses, everyone would be happy. But the situation that allowed for that to happen has changed.

$10/hour minimum wage is too low. It isn't even a living wage, and some people have the nerve to tell us that they can't afford to pay more? The simple fact is, businesses can afford to pay us more. But they choose not to, because they prefer to spend money on marketing, investment, and executive pay. The richest people increase their wealth dramatically at the expense of the average worker. CEOs get annual bonuses equal to the combined pay cheques of everyone beneath the franchise operators. If many corporations cut their annual bonuses, they could afford to more than double their workforces.

I'm fine with a CEO making several trillion dollars a year, as long as those trillions come to him after we all get paid what we need.
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05-03-2013, 10:17 AM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 10:55 AM by Full Circle.)
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
This is a topic I have given much thought to, especially since I have lived overseas, Venezuela to be specific, and seen what true wealth inequality looks like.

When things get really out of hand this is what I experienced:

In a plutocracy the powerful and wealthy rape the system, the natural resources, and ignore the masses.

Public works like road building, hospitals, schools, fire departments, parks etc. are underfunded if not totally abandoned.

The middle class shrinks to the point of non-existance.

The oligarchy and the few folks in the middle class live under siege; behind walls with broken glass cemented to
the top , barbed wire, 24/7 security forces - and all this leads to paranoia, even more greed, cruelty and anger.

The poor live in an ever increasing sense of desperation, anger and discontent.

All the above eventually leads to violence.


None of this happens overnight, it is a slow process that most don't perceive until it is well established. This is a point of contention I have with all my family and friends that are always harping on the "dead beats" and "parasites" here in the US.

To all I say be careful that the pendulum never swings too far to either side. Both socialism and plutocracy lead to anarchy.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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05-03-2013, 10:44 AM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
Here are a few articles regarding America's 1% and .01% I found interesting plus a few others of interest.

Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power


Who Rules America: An Investment Manager's View on the Top 1%


This is Why They Hate You and Want You to Die | The Reformed Broker


Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945 | The Big Picture


The U.S. Department of Labor Home Page


FedStats

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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05-03-2013, 10:47 AM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
(05-03-2013 08:17 AM)BryanS Wrote:  There is nothing wrong with inequality of wealth. Capitalism is by its very nature reinforcing of inequality of outcomes, and that is a good thing. Not everyone puts forth the same effort towards improving their financial well-being. And despite intentions, not all economic efforts are worth the same compensation.

The US government defines poverty for a family of four at $23k/yr, or an income at exceeds the median income of all countries in the world except the top 15 or so countries ( ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income ). That's right, over half the industrialized world lives in poverty if we used the standards of the US economy as a measuring stick. You might be tempted to extol the socialist paradise of free services these other countries provide to its citizens. However assistance in the form of food, health, and housing assistance is available to the poor. These programs vary by state, but typically that family of four at a poverty level of income would get health insurance, supplemental food income, and assistance in paying their rent depending on the cost of housing in the area.

Answer yourself this one basic question. If the level of well-being of the poor were to double, but you had to accept that the well-being of the rich would increase by a factor of 10, would you oppose that outcome? Would you truly prefer, as Thatcher once chastised her opponents about, that the poor were poorer so long as the rich were less rich?

The focus on wealth inequality is the wrong focus. The focus needs to be equal protection of the law, and strong property rights. The focus needs to be on equal opportunity, not equal outcome. The US has lost it's way on excelling on educating its citizens so that equal opportunity was there for all. The US was in the past at the forefront of education, being one of the first countries to provide its citizens with public education. Ironically, it is the parties of the left and their union toadies who block much needed reforms. Although I disagree with Obama's politics in most areas, he deserves some credit for bucking his party on this front.

We have never lived in a society were people are compensated according to their worth, effort or input. If we did, there wouldn't be a problem with inequality.

You should have just stopped at: "There is nothing wrong with inequality of wealth". You didn't have to pile bullshit on top of it.

I don't know why you would feel the need to use one way that our government defines poverty, in comparison with a completely different measure, to other countries, in order to try and show something that would be completely irrelevant to the point, even if true. I also don't know why you would use-- "If the level of well-being of the poor were to double, but you had to accept that the well-being of the rich would increase by a factor of 10, would you oppose that outcome?"-- that is just a false dilemma, that, also, completely avoids the problem.

The focus on inequality isn't the wrong focus. It's just one that, because of your worldview and ideology, you are personally opposed to and are, thus, trying to bullshit other people, probably even including yourself, in order to dismiss.

Equal protection under law, is a given, but I'd also assume that you would just ignore the fact, that is also related to class, when it's not related to ethnicity alone. Property rights are an underlying problem, i.e., people who think they deserve property rights, enough to actually mention it.

Education and opportunity are also problems with inequality. Blaming Democrats, even if they are stupid at times, is just another ideological move. You know a lot of our problems come from anti-intellectualism, religious beliefs and resistance to any proactive steps toward equality, access and addressing socioeconomic problems, and that almost, exclusively, coming from the right-wing, regardless of political party.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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05-03-2013, 10:48 AM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 10:53 AM by TrulyX.)
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
(05-03-2013 09:33 AM)bbeljefe Wrote:  I don't think there are any wrong or exaggerated facts in the video, but the idea that what's in the video is a result of capitalism is wholly misinformed. What the video represents is the result of corporatism, which is the collusion of the rich and the state. People who own the large corporations can't amass the kind of wealth they now have in the absence of the state because they got where they are through restrictive policies enacted by the very people you're thinking can save you.

Why is it so expensive to start a new business? Because the government, in the service of the rich, made it so hard. Bayer can't stop you and a small group of your friends from opening a pharmaceutical company... but the state can. Technically they don't stop you, they just put up barriers to entry in the form of regulatory compliance, licensing and excessively high costs of approval through the FDA. For instance, if a group of chemists on this forum were capable of creating a drug that would cure cancer (I understand this is an unlikely scenario), there's no way you could take it to market without selling it to Bayer or one of the other major pharmaceutical companies. This is not because the cost of marketing or manufacturing is too high. It's because the cost of compliance is too high. Moving down the scale a bit... wanna be a plumber or an electrician? Well, you have to work as a journeyman for a certain number of years before you can take the licensing test. In some states, you have to be licensed in order to open a home decorating business. As if throw pillows in the wrong place are going to hurt someone???

Let's say you drive a cab and you want to open your own cab company. Well, in a few places in this "free" country, you better have a quarter of a million dollars laying around just for the first year's license. And then maybe you can think about what it will cost you for a cab or two... or fifty. How many cabs do you think you'd have to have operating year round just in order to pay the cabby's salaries and the license fee? Forget profits, maintenance costs, advertising, etc.

The above is one of the main reasons why you see the lower and middle classes off the scale in this country. You can accuse capitalism if you like but the reality is that it is the restriction of capitalism that has caused it.

Lastly, if you think taxation is the answer, let me ask you this.... who do you think is going to pay for the additional taxes you want levied against the rich? Do you think they're just going to shrug and take that much off their balance sheet? Of course not, they're going to do two things if you raise their taxes. First, they will spend millions of dollars making sure the tax laws are so vaguely written that they have legal tax avoidance mechanisms in place which will allow them to keep their money. And second, they're going to raise the costs of their products/services to the end user. ← Better known as the middle class, the lower class, the consumer and, perhaps, you. When the local municipality raises property taxes, who do you think pays those additional taxes on my rental properties? Not me. My tenants do, through higher rents. They pay the mortgages on the properties as well, because that's how a business functions.... it must create more revenue than it spends. And when the state makes it cost me more to do business, my customers have to pay more. And as I'm sure you can guess, there are no one percenters living in my rentals.

I'm with you 100% that the income disparity (worldwide) is way off kilter. I also agree that something needs to be done about it. But you're never going to right that wrong by attempting to train the guns of the state on the very people who're financing it. As the old saying goes... he who pays the piper calls the tune. Well, the one percenters are keeping the people in government rich. Do you honestly think those people are going to slaughter a cash cow just because you're unhappy?

Quit blaming problems with capitalism on a damned state; it just makes you seem ignorant and stupid.

States just aren't going to randomly disappear, first, and there is a reason why they popped up, especially the way they did in modern times, in the first place-- capitalism. When you think you own property and have a "right" to own property, or you have capital, land, resources, that you think is to be used toward the end of money, eventually profit, for maintaining or increasing your living, you are not just going to sit around like a fucking dumb fuck. You are going to think about a means toward an end in which to protect that property and "rights" from other people. Even without a full, legitimate state, you would still, personally with others, form a group, militia, or any thing similar, in order to protect it, but very likely, when looking at history, especially when multiply people are involved, it would end up being a state, used, in order to expand and take from other people, or just to establish laws and protections within.

It might not be capitalism, in itself, as it's just a system like government, and should not be described as if it's a physical thing. The problem is the capitalist attitude, the fundamentals of the system when combined along with human nature. The values that some humans, one way or the other, under the system, allow into their minds, that results in destruction, when applied practically in society.

Capitalism was a revolutionary system, or at least can be described as being so, ignoring all of the imperialism, genocide, war, mass killings, slavery, starvation, desperation, etc., that went along with capitalism to get us where we are today.

Capitalism could be a system for us into the future, and it has to be the basis, even for any future system. The problems, however, have to be addressed and fixed. The problems can't be ignored, they can't be blamed on other things, and they can't be looked at and viewed as not a problem.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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05-03-2013, 11:37 AM
RE: Nice video on wealth inequality in America
"Capitalism was a revolutionary system,"

Sure was.... 100,000 years ago when the first human traded some of the fruits of his labor for some of the fruits of another human's labor. The rest of what you're talking about is a result of statism. You can deny it, demand that I stop saying it, ignore reality and scream about property rights all you like and it won't get you one inch closer to understanding the difference between capitalism and corporatism.

On an aside, since property rights are so devastating, I'm assuming that you don't claim any ownership to anything... including your argument.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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