wealth inequality in America is it really this bad?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MyMac1976, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

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    #1
  2. macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    Apologies for the long post; the entirety of the linked article gets the point across.


    I was about to start a separate thread on this, but it directly relates to it.

    funny you should ask this, the day of the 50th anniversary LBJ declaring an "unconditional war on poverty". So how far have we come? Have a look.

    http://www.npr.org/2014/01/08/26015...at-gave-war-on-poverty-a-face-still-struggles

    The looks on the children in the first picture in Fletcher's cabin really hits home for me; innocence at that age and having no business being that poor. I don't know how much they knew about their situation, but it was indeed tragic.

    One of the comments, while getting very political, hit home:

    Is it really that bad? Romney and the 47% quote says a lot.

    BL.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    In a word, yes.

    I haven't verified every detail, but, I have verified some of it. I like the way he re-presents the same data further on, with more dramatic results. I think it is a good presentation of the actual data.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

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    #4
    I think it's possibly worse in actuality.

    Growing up and playing countless games of the board game Monopoly taught me something the graphs are illustrating very well, that is, when all the money and property go to one person, it's game over.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    The problem is that we do not tax wealth. We tax income, and if the top 1% of Americans (or the top 1% of any country) make much more income after taxes than the rest of us, then that compounds over time and the rich become relatively more advantaged than the rest of us. That means they have disproportionate power, so they influence politics to protect their wanton and profligate way of life at the expense of the rest of us. The only thing that can stop this cycle is for Americans to start using the grey matter between their ears and start examining the quality of the evidence for and against various policies. They then need to vote. Unfortunately, my impression is that people are so alienated that they do not bother to engage in politics and they decline to vote. They view all politicians as equally corrupt, and they therefore fail to use their franchise to minimise the damage by electing the least horrible candidate.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

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    Why is it so difficult to understand that the outrageous disparity of wealth is a direct result of government and federal reserve bank policy?

    Several Congresses and Administrations have passed legislation to enable the giant investment banks to borrow money at essentially zero interest and then invest it in various debt instruments at higher rates of interest. QE is providing the billions of dollars for these money games.

    Expanding the number of dollars reduces the buying power. That's simple Economics 101. So, the buying power of the middle economic class has been in decline since the early 1970s.

    Not only are we replacing high-pay jobs with low-pay jobs, we need ever-fewer workers to provide necessities. And automation also reduces the need for workers in the "I want it" non-necessity sectors. This leads to what an acquaintance labelled back some twenty years as "surplus people". Q: What do we do with and for these unneeded people?

    I've yet to meet a conservative who was opposed to governmental safety net support of the truly unfortunate. I am among many who are concerned about the amount of money spent on "welfare" for those who could work but don't. At the same time, I'm aware of the "surplus people" problem, so there's a big "Damfino." But I see a lot of the spending as a mix of Danegeld and vote-buying.

    Poverty? Sure, I know and have seen many truly poor people. But to me, poverty is a boy of eight or ten years asking, "Hey, you like my sister? Only five dollars..." Or people fighting over waxed cardboard containers, to use as building material. Or rioting and violence over abandoned lumber. I've seen that, so I have difficulty with the label "poverty" when applied to people with TVs, cell phones, cigarettes, booze, other toys, much availability of food--and the all-too-common obesity.

    But as far as disparity of wealth, that will be an ongoing problem, regardless of who is elected to whatever level in government. It basically is official government policy, regardless of any electee's vote-hustling mouth music to the contrary.
     
  7. Ugg
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    Ugg

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    So in your mind definitions of class are absolute and bear no relation to the societies in which they exist?

    I really can't agree with that. Wealth in the USA is truly a matter of government largesse, while poverty is a matter of government stinginess. All we have to do is look eastward to see that poverty can easily minimized. The problem is, many Americans over the age of 45 and those who came of age south of the mason-Dixon line view poverty as a moral issue.

    BTW, glad to see you here again, hope allis well with you and yours.
     
  8. macrumors newbie

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    No, I don't think the definitions are at all absolute. And my preference is for a socio-economic structure which allows upward mobility.

    What I'm saying is that official government policies of one sort or another--both monetary and legislative--have created this disparity. And I don't believe that those will change.

    I"m making out okay. The old body is sorta tired, but at least the brain-box seems to be functioning okay. :) Boss-Lady isn't doing all that well, but we're coping okay.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    senseless

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    High net worth people primarily invest in stocks and real estate because the long term capital gains rate is much lower than their standard tax rate. Regular folks, in low tax brackets, buy 1% CDs and annuities and get almost no income. Over time this makes a huge difference in wealth accumulation.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

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    What this says to me is that those at the top are greedy and will take whatever they can unless a government policy stops them from doing so.

    It's almost like saying "The teacher decided not to pay attention, so we all cheated on our exams. But, it's the teacher's fault for not enforcing the no-cheating rule."
     
  11. macrumors newbie

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    "What this says to me is that those at the top are greedy and will take whatever they can unless a government policy stops them from doing so."

    And I don't for one moment believe that the government will do doodly-squat to change things. There will be no change in government policy. Goldman Sachs et al will continue to control monetary policy, as they have been doing for decades. Congress will continue its deficit spending. And we will continue to export our capital via our balance of payments deficit.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    You forgot the recent boom in shale oil and natural gas. The US will be exporting energy resources soon.
     
  13. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    I would say a lot of it is down to the unions not really being a voice for the poor anymore.

    Doing things like preventing teachers being sacked doesn't really achieve anything productive for the wider economy.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

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    VulchR, I doubt that our exports of oil and gas will be greater than our imports of "dang near everything"--including oil.

    Eraserhead, my only direct experience with unions comes from fifty years ago: I guarantee you that the UAW and the Teamsters were not interested in the poor--regardless of any mouth-music to the contrary. That was then, and your "this is now" is just same-old same-old. :)
     
  15. macrumors newbie

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  16. macrumors 65816

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    All excellent points in this article. It's manipulation of our money that is causing the disparity. Not the rich. The rich are just benefiting from it. Maybe they lobbied for it?

    An easier way to explain this is to look at what money was exactly 50 years ago. In 1964, the minimum wage was $1.25 and gas was $0.25 a gallon. Today, the minimum wage is about $8 and gas is about $2.50. Hardly enough to keep up with inflation (read debasement of the dollar by the Fed).

    But the difference is that in 1964, money was backed by silver and gold. So, if we stayed on the bimetallic standard, the minimum wage would be equal to $25 and gas would be $5. Silver is now $20 in 2014 vs. $1 in 1964. This tells me gas is actually cheaper than it was in 1964 but we feel poorer because our hourly wage is actually much less, in real terms. The minimum wage buys fewer gallons of gas than it did in 1964.

    Would a $25 minimum wage fix a lot of the poverty issues we have in this country?
     
  17. macrumors newbie

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    #17
    An increase in the minimum wage always leads to an increase in unemployment. In good times, of course, it's relatively short term. Now? We already have people who have been out of work for years.

    When you have minimum wage employees and the per-hour is increased, you also have to give raises to those just above minimum--or they get mad. The employer thus has more FICA to pay, higher unemployment compensation insuance premium and higher wages. A marginal business can easily go broke.
     
  18. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    #18
    So you're telling me that a job that requires 50 people will suddenly require 40 if minimum wage is increased?

    Edit: As for places going out of business, isn't that the vaunted free market at work? You have winners, you have losers.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

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    No, I'm saying that employers will lay off marginal employees and/or change the operation in order to maintain profitability. Cutting back from 50 to a more-likely 48 or 47 might not hurt output, and the cost saving could offset the otherwise higher overhead.
     
  20. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    True, but the unions used to represent the poor and not just the upper middle class.
     
  21. macrumors newbie

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    #21
    "....the unions used to represent the poor and not just the upper middle class."

    Maybe in the 1930s and possibly the 1940s. After that, unions' average wages became upper middle class, in many cases. Teamsters, UAW, steelworkers. Don't forget public employee unions, and look at the wage scales in Califolrnia.
     
  22. macrumors 68000

    Sydde

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    #22
    or not (pdf)
     
  23. samiwas, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014

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    #23
    Always? Not true. Sometimes, a rise in minimum wage correlates with a rise in unemployment. Sometimes, it correlates with a drop in unemployment. A rise in minimum wage does not "always" lead to an increase in unemployment, at least historically. IN fact, it appears that the highest minimum wage of the last 65 years correlates with the lowest unemployment in the last 65 years. Of course, American thinking nowadays is quite different from years past. Nowadays, consistently rising and windfall profits are the only name of the game.

    I've asked this on another forum, and it brought up some "lively" discussion. If some really large employers like Wal*Mart, Target, supermarket chains, etc were to raise their wages by $4/hour, how much would prices have to increase to absorb this change without affecting profits? I've heard people say constantly that a Big Mac will cost $15 and a gallon of milk will cost $10. But, how much would prices really have to change to solely cover the wage increase (not the "we should also pad our profits" increase). Note that I am asking about the large employers. I fully understand that smaller employers would have more trouble.
     

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  24. macrumors 6502

    lannister80

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    #24
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/20...-most-likely-threat-to-world-economy-wef-says

    Income Inequality Most Likely Threat to World Economy, World Economic Forum Says

     
  25. macrumors 68040

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    #25
    It's pretty bad right now and getting worse. What's really sad is that a great number of Americans not only have no problem with extreme wealth inequality but actually feel like its justifies their privilege. Wealth equals virtue.

    If we don't address this problem aggressively, things will start happening in this country that we used to think could only happen in the 3rd world. That being said, it's a complicated problem this isn't effectively dealt with in a partisan fashion.
     

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