The Wealthiest in the USA

Southern Dad

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There are some individuals that are better at accumulating wealth than others. Every year Forbes puts out its list of the wealthiest people. This is the top ten in the USA. In another thread we talked about the lack of savings by individuals in the United States. With such a large percentage of the USA having less than $1000 in savings, does it seem obscene for individuals to have billions of dollars in personal wealth?

Does the government have a right to cap wealth? Heavier taxes are favored by many but will that solve anything? We don't tax wealth, rather income.

  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffett
  • Larry Ellison
  • Charles Koch
  • David Koch
  • Christy Walton
  • Jim Walton
  • Alice Walton
  • S Robson Walton
  • Michael Bloomberg

Source: Forbes
 

noodlemanc

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Mar 25, 2010
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Just a little bit more force, just a little bit more socialism, just a little more violence and everything will work out just fine ;)
 

citizenzen

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Mar 22, 2010
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Does the government have a right to cap wealth?
Is there a government that is attempting to do so?

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Just a little bit more force, just a little bit more socialism, just a little more violence and everything will work out just fine ;)
Just a little bit more deregulation, just a little bit more capitalism, just a little more violence and everything will work out just fine. ;)
 

Southern Dad

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Is there a government that is attempting to do so?
No, and I'm not saying this Administration is trying to do so. It's a question. I've noticed in many threads that some people feel that the rich are just getting too rich not leaving enough wealth for the other 99%. I'm just starting a conversation.
 

miloblithe

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Nov 14, 2003
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We tax wealth in certain ways with things like property taxes and estate taxes. We used to have luxury taxes but apparently those have been repealed.

From an economist's perspective, perhaps that would make a lot of sense. There'd be zero disincentive to earn new money. There'd be an incentive to use money. But realistically, it'd be nearly impossible to implement. What assets are counted? Aren't wealthy people going to be incredibly good at hiding or off-shoring their wealth--to a greater degree then they already are if the incentives for doing so are greater?

Also, how would we switch from one form of taxation to another? Would older people (who paid income tax all their lives) be exempt from a new wealth tax? Would it be phased in by age?
 

Huntn

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May 5, 2008
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In the 1950s, the U.S. tax rate jumped to the 90% range at $400k. In an ideal society, excessive wealth must be capped and poverty must be eliminated. It's a no brainer for anyone who believes that for society "we" is just as important as "me". My sincere argument has always been, does anyone need to have more than $1-2m income per year? I don't think so. I realize all of the "it's all about me" crowd will scream bloody murder, but that is their issue. ;)
 

Michael Goff

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Jul 5, 2012
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No, and I'm not saying this Administration is trying to do so. It's a question. I've noticed in many threads that some people feel that the rich are just getting too rich not leaving enough wealth for the other 99%. I'm just starting a conversation.
I've noticed a majority of your "just a discussion" threads are worded in a way to start an argument between the two differing ideologies.
 

Southern Dad

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I've noticed a majority of your "just a discussion" threads are worded in a way to start an argument between the two differing ideologies.
Arguments are a form of discussion. There are many different ideas.

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In the 1950s, the U.S. tax rate jumped to the 90% range at $400k. In an ideal society, excessive wealth must be capped and poverty must be eliminated. It's a no brainer for anyone who believes that for society "we" is just as important as "me". My sincere argument has always been, does anyone need to have more than $1-2m income per year? I don't think so. I realize all of the "it's all about me" crowd will scream bloody murder, but that is their issue. ;)
How do we go about capping that? Just set a limit that is all someone can earn in one year?
 

mojolicious

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How do we go about capping that? Just set a limit that is all someone can earn in one year?
'Setting a limit' is rather draconian.

Introducing progressive tax rates that peak at 95% for incomes above $?m per annum isn't.

The problem, of course, is that very high earners have access to so many ways of concealing capital in 'non-income' forms.
 

Michael Goff

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Arguments are a form of discussion. There are many different ideas.

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How do we go about capping that? Just set a limit that is all someone can earn in one year?
Except this discussion is based on a fallacy. I can't remember anybody who said we should limit wealth. Enforce a progressive tax system, maybe, but there's a difference.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
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How do we go about capping that? Just set a limit that is all someone can earn in one year?
I don't have an answer for you. This is a philosophical position and with humanity as it is, I don't see it happening in my lifetime. We must evolve to something higher/better before this has a hope of occurring.

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Except this discussion is based on a fallacy. I can't remember anybody who said we should limit wealth. Enforce a progressive tax system, maybe, but there's a difference.
I do. Excess of any kind as a rule is bad. I dare anyone to argue this. :)
 

Southern Dad

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'Setting a limit' is rather draconian.

Introducing progressive tax rates that peak at 95% for incomes above $?m per annum isn't.

The problem, of course, is that very high earners have access to so many ways of concealing capital in 'non-income' forms.
Okay, so no limit but using the progressive tax system it would become useless to earn more than a certain amount ($XX million) per year because it would be taxed nearly to its entirety. Would this cause those with high incomes (pro athletes, movie stars, business tycoons, etc.) to only work part of the year or do you think that they would take a reduction in pay but work all year or pay the tax on additional earnings?

Except this discussion is based on a fallacy. I can't remember anybody who said we should limit wealth. Enforce a progressive tax system, maybe, but there's a difference.
You are not forced to participate in any conversation that I've started. If you disagree with the premise, throw your own out.

I don't have an answer for you. This is a philosophical position and with humanity as it is, I don't see it happening in my lifetime. We must evolve to something higher/better before this has a hope of occurring.

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I do. Excess of any kind as a rule is bad. I dare anyone to argue this. :)
In my experience it seems that most dream of having excess. The security that comes with having wealth is something many strive for. Look at the lines to buy lottery tickets when it hits a nine-digit figure.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
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Yes it is but I can tell you that I want to have more than I need so that I can pass some on to my daughter, making her life easier.
Let's get philosophical, does that help your daughter stand on her own two feet? I frequently see example of parents who think they are doing their kids a favor by carrying them to some degree or another. I understand that love is the motivation, but is it a real favor? Emotionally I can say I'd love an inheritance, but intellectually I question it.
 

Southern Dad

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Let's get philosophical, does that help your daughter stand on her own two feet? I frequently see example of parents who think they are doing their kids a favor by carrying them to some degree or another. I understand that love is the motivation, but is it a real favor? Emotionally I can say I'd love an inheritance, but intellectually I question it.
Truthfully, no it does not help her earn her way. I think that everyone wants their children to have it easier than they did. I've saved for her college because I don't want her saddled with student loans nor do I want her to have to have a job going through college.

I want her life to be easier than mine was. We can have thread about passing on wealth. It sounds like a great conversation.
 

Macky-Mac

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May 18, 2004
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...Aren't wealthy people going to be incredibly good at hiding or off-shoring their wealth--to a greater degree then they already are if the incentives for doing so are greater? ...
our tax laws encourage off-shoring, among other things.....it's a perfectly legal way to reduce your tax exposure. If you're wealthy, your objective is to get your income by means other than a salary so that you'll pay a lower rate than the typical wage earner pays (you'll remember the example of Romney and his secretary from the last presidential election)
 

G51989

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Feb 25, 2012
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No, and I'm not saying this Administration is trying to do so. It's a question. I've noticed in many threads that some people feel that the rich are just getting too rich not leaving enough wealth for the other 99%. I'm just starting a conversation.
I don't think anyone wants wealth seized.

And weather or not you agree with higher taxes on the super elite is another topic.


The problem is, so much wealth is being concentrated at the top, its being kept out of the market completely, interest, capital gains, things like that really don't help the economy over all.

Lets say you have 50 million dollars laying around?

Give the 50 million to a very wealthy person, he'll jam it into offshore accounts where it sits and does little.

Give 50 million to a large number of families and working class folk.

They'll buy cars, goods, food, houses, go out to eat and all that, go on vacation.

Which one do you think pumps more money into the economy?

The latter.

When you have so much wealth at the top, that money never goes to the working and middle class, so they have far less to spend, and that stalls the economy, which is what we are seeing today.
 

Macky-Mac

macrumors 68030
May 18, 2004
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....

Give the 50 million to a very wealthy person, he'll jam it into offshore accounts where it sits and does little.....
actually a fair bit of it will get used.......just not in the USA where it would help create jobs
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
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I don't think anyone wants wealth seized.

Yes they do. The wealthy have seized virtually all the productivity gains from the working and middle classes since 1980, siphoning profits upwards instead of sharing the gains to all. The minimum wage, calculated for inflation, has stagnated.





So, this talk of 'redistribution' is crock. Since the 1980's it is capital that has made the gains over labor, essentially appropriating the income of people's work. People are working far harder, for far longer these days, yet their slice of the pie has shrunk. What's more, in my lifetime, people have become debt slaves to maintain their living standards.

The only four things that have undoubtedly worked in the last 100 years in the Western world to offset this have been:

• full employment policies
• strictly enforced and generous minimum wage protections
• strong unionisation and labour laws
• progressive punitive tax rates over a certain amount

...all of which are strongly opposed by conservative parties in countries from the UK to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US... because when you strip away all the peripheral nonsense of social issues, all they care about is enriching those at the top of the pile at the expense of everyone else. And what's hilarious is reading people on this forum and elsewhere, giving tongue baths to the wealthy, who think it's a good thing, as if the United States will gain by becoming a low-wage economy.

History is littered with examples of what eventually happens if this continues unchecked.
 

Southern Dad

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Of course, that leads me to the question of how much is too much wealth? Is it a couple million? A hundred million? A billion? Where is the line that someone has reached that point where they have too much wealth?