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Author: Subject: Wealth Inequality in America - a must watch

World Class Peach





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  posted on 11/14/2013 at 10:06 PM
My reason for posting this video is not to assign blame. In all seriousness, it would be foolish to try an pin this problem on one side or one group of people. I would hope we can all agree that this is a serious problem in the US and the root for most of our conflict. The reason for posting this is to hear the different opinions on how to fix it. What do we do about it? Pesonally, I don't have a clue, so I'm hoping to hear some good ideas. Try to ignore the bias in the narrator and focus on the message and content.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

 
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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/14/2013 at 11:26 PM
There's two factors feeding this problem. First is the accumulated effects of Federal Reserve and gov't monetary policy. Issuing currency is only part of the Federal Reserve's power. Setting interest rates and banking rules are also their domain. And as central bankers have done throughout history, they have set up a system to benefit the banking and investment world in vast disproportion to everything else.

The greatest trickle-up policy in history has been underway via this administration, giving a trillion a year straight from gov't to the investment class via money printing, and virtually no where is it reported in those terms. While gov't suppresses the inflationary reality of this action, the net result is to rob the lower classes of wealth and purchasing power.

Setting interest rates combined with tax policy (specifically; 401k's) is another means to help the investment class. While the average joe thinks it's great to avoid taxes on a small portion of their income, gov't forces most of that money to be invested in the stock market, helping to drive up stock prices which helps the uber-rich first and foremost. And they virtually ensure your participation in 401k's by setting bank interest rates so low that any rational person understands their money will lose value sitting in a bank at those rates.

Through these policies - and make no mistake; they are govt's policies - the super rich are accumulating cash like never before. That permits them to purchase the hard assets that will be valuable even after our currency crashes. In short, they are setting themselves up for the coming economic realignment, and gov't is helping them in huge ways.

The second factor influencing this wealth inequality problem is balance of trade and trade policy. National wealth can not be retained or increased when you have an endless negative balance of trade. We have not had a positive balance of trade since the 70's.

The political pursuit of "free trade" policies over the last few decades have contributed greatly to the demise of US manufacturing. The free-trade mentality has excluded any common sense measures to protect US industries and jobs.

Job creation, increased wages, and the stability of the lower classes can not happen unless we pursue the economic goal of reversing our negative balance of trade. It is mathematically and economically impossible by any other means. Have you heard a single politician of any status talk in such terms? Until that happens and we align our policies to achieve that goal, nothing will improve.

 

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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 12:46 PM
The problem is not wealth inequality. The problem is economic mobility. You judge an economy and a society by the degree to which individuals can move up the ladder. A prosperous society needs wealth to generate economic activity which leads to innovation and jobs. By example Steve Jobs was a billlionaire. Look what he contributed. Is it somehow wrong that he was so much wealthier than almost everybody? So to reiterate the focus of a liberal society and the hallmark of true liberalism is that people are not locked into the roles assigned to them by virtue of their birth. To the extent this is the case, the less liberal the society is. Take a look at pretty much the entire third world to see this in action. Here, leftists typically equate wealth with class. A Wealthy person (like Jobs) can simply be an ordinary individual who made a lot of money.

 

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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 01:03 PM
The only thing that will get the US out this wealth gap is tax reform. Tax reform that will incent corporations of all sizes to expand their capital base by investing in there businesses not buying back stock and increasing dividends. Corporate tax rates need to fall while in the same breath, personal tax rates must increase. Sin taxes increased. Pot leagalized to bring in much needed tax dollars. Spending and entitlement programs need to be assessed and controls need to be initiated. Politicians need to have hard agendas to get elected and election spending right up to the President needs to be capped at million dollars. No more than that. The "lobbiest" needs to be put to pasture. If all this or even a percentage of it is accomplished jobs will be created standard of living for lower and middle class will increase as will the funding of health care be realistic. Oh then I woke up!!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 01:16 PM
Well, it needs to be reformed both ways. In Illinois, all the big companies threaten to leave the state, and get big tax incentives to stay....... there is a lot more 'corporate welfare' out there than people seem to realize..... ADM was the latest company to do this, and others are standing in line......

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 01:16 PM
how much is enough for you libs? I am paying 50% or more of my take home pay in taxes:

1) Federal Income Tax
2) State Income Tax
3) Real estate tax
4) Yearly personal property taxes (Automobiles)
5) Sales taxes
6) Capital gains taxes
7) Utility taxes
8) bottle deposit taxes
9) fishing ( fresh and salt water) and hunting and dog licenses
10) Liquor taxes
11) Gasoline taxes
12) Heating oil taxes


[Edited on 11/15/2013 by OriginalGoober]

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 01:41 PM
Goober, tax reform doesn't mean "more" taxes, it just means re-aligning it. And nobody is suggesting to tax the middle class more, or even the rich. As Chris Rock put it, we're not talking wealth as in Shaq's wealth. We're talking about the guy who signs Shaq's paycheck..."here, no go buy youself some more bouncing cars."

I think we need to crack down on the existence of monopolies in just about every economy. It is too easy for a wealthy person to takeover an industry and eliminate any competition. They already have the wealth to produce and market their product a million times better than anyone else. Monopolies are not supposed to be legal, yet they exist everywhere because there is a very fine line between free capitalism and monopolizing an economy. If the middle class had a chance to start a business and gain a nice share of an industry, we'd see the imbalance of wealth even out a bit. But nobody in the middle class has a true fair shot (yes, there are exceptions to this).

[Edited on 11/15/2013 by BoytonBrother]

 

World Class Peach



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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 02:00 PM


[Edited on 11/15/2013 by BoytonBrother]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/15/2013 at 04:58 PM
quote:
Goober, tax reform doesn't mean "more" taxes, it just means re-aligning it. And nobody is suggesting to tax the middle class more, or even the rich. As Chris Rock put it, we're not talking wealth as in Shaq's wealth. We're talking about the guy who signs Shaq's paycheck..."here, no go buy youself some more bouncing cars."

I think we need to crack down on the existence of monopolies in just about every economy. It is too easy for a wealthy person to takeover an industry and eliminate any competition. They already have the wealth to produce and market their product a million times better than anyone else. Monopolies are not supposed to be legal, yet they exist everywhere because there is a very fine line between free capitalism and monopolizing an economy. If the middle class had a chance to start a business and gain a nice share of an industry, we'd see the imbalance of wealth even out a bit. But nobody in the middle class has a true fair shot (yes, there are exceptions to this).

[Edited on 11/15/2013 by BoytonBrother]


I agree totally about the elimination of trusts and monopolies. I am a total believer in the power of free competition to improve the lives of everyone. But while for example the Clinton administration was worrying about Microsoft, these humongous finance companies were taking over everything and now are too big to fail. What's been done in the aftermath of the financial crisis to change anything at all?

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 01:27 AM
What CAN be done without half the country screaming about nanny-state government involvement?
 

Sublime Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 03:20 AM


[Edited on 10/12/2014 by jerryphilbob]

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 09:53 PM
Invest in stocks and buy a home anyone can do it don't have to be ubber rich.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 10:11 PM
quote:
Invest in stocks and buy a home anyone can do it don't have to be ubber rich.


+1

Don't worry about how much money someone else has, concentrate on growing your own nest egg.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 10:12 PM
quote:
how much is enough for you libs? I am paying 50% or more of my take home pay in taxes:


I'm a Progressive who doesn't understand why conservatives seem to be ok with subsidies to Big Oil, Big Agra, Big Pharma, GE, Apple, the Koch Brothers, Big Finance, Big Insurance, Walmart, Big Defense, etc...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 11:25 PM
quote:
What CAN be done without half the country screaming about nanny-state government involvement?


That's the thing. The federal government wants to take over the health care industry but doesn't want to regulate the financial industry that has the power to destroy all our lives.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 11:29 PM
quote:
quote:
how much is enough for you libs? I am paying 50% or more of my take home pay in taxes:


I'm a Progressive who doesn't understand why conservatives seem to be ok with subsidies to Big Oil, Big Agra, Big Pharma, GE, Apple, the Koch Brothers, Big Finance, Big Insurance, Walmart, Big Defense, etc...


They aren't. But the real question you should be asking is why liberals are ok with it. Despite the emonization of the Koch Brothers and every other industry in American for ginning up the base, liberals continue to support these subsidizations. Incidentally I was unaware that companies such as Apple and Walmart were subsidized. Please explain the source of that. And how is "Big Defense" subsidized. The government purchases their products. As for Big Pharma well who do you think invents the life saving drugs we all rely on? GE is subsidized? I mean its so easy to throw these things out without proof. And what about Big Agriculture? They get the biggest subsidies of all?

All subsidies should be done away with. The Government should stop demonizing productive companies that develop or make affordable products we all use.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 11/16/2013 at 11:47 PM
From 1947-1964 the United Staes reduced poverty by one percentage point a year. The so called "Great Society" and the Vietnam War (a.k.a. Guns and Butter the mainstay of Keynesian economics) under Johnson ushered in run away spending and forced Nixon under the strong advice of Connally and Volker to remove the United States from the "Gold Standard," which was tantamount to an international default. Since that time the game has been altered to allow Corporatism and entitlements to non tax payers to flourish. All of this was paid for and continues to be by the middle class. The welfare state is going both to the super rich and lower class both of which are the greatest recipients of the ever flowing income taxes heaved onto the middle class. Does anyone ever wonder why the 16th Amendment and the Federal Reserve Act (17th Amendments is for another time) were passed in the same year and America entered the war in Europe four years later? We have damaged the architecture of the Republican form of government and transformed it into a Social Democracy which is failing and in a slow death spiral. The question is do we have the gumption to change course before hitting the final iceberg. That is my opinion on the creation of the wealth gap in modern day U.S.A..

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/17/2013 at 12:20 AM
quote:
quote:
how much is enough for you libs? I am paying 50% or more of my take home pay in taxes:
I'm a Progressive who doesn't understand why conservatives seem to be ok with subsidies to Big Oil, Big Agra, Big Pharma, GE, Apple, the Koch Brothers, Big Finance, Big Insurance, Walmart, Big Defense, etc...
I'm a Libertarian who doesn't understand why Progressives aren't equally outraged by 20+% Medicare waste, the nepotistic cronyism of public sector unions, the administration's monetary policy that showers the rich with money and screws the middle and lower classes, the support of community organizing groups to encourage enrollment in every entitlement or welfare program possible, or the willful ignorance of 50 years proof that giving money to the poor doesn't help them. And that's just the economic issues.

Every subsidy concern expressed was only made possible because an ever-growing gov't put itself in control of policy affecting those entities, and then agreed to be manipulated in exchange for something. The corruption so despised is only possible because gov't expanded it's reach to make it so. If there is a key difference between Progressives and Libertarians/Constitutionalists it is understanding that you can't fix the corruption and influence of big gov't by adding more gov't.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/17/2013 at 01:33 PM
I didn't watch the video, but will. I did read the comments of our forum members here, and there are some good points and good discussion here. I agree with the sentiment most have posted.

How did our parents and grandparents save, invest and buy the things our families needed and wanted? The mentality was if you wanted something you saved up until you could buy it. People didn't go into debt to buy used cars, or have thousands, if not tens of thousands of credit card debt to simply buy 'stuff'. If there was disposable income it was more often than not saved, not spent. And interest rates were such that one could save, it paid to save.

Now, as fuji said, with interest rates being what they are there is virtually no incentive to save other than the peace of mind it brings some people to know they have a little bit of an emergency fund. And the other negative impact of the low interest rates is that people can spend away with money they don't have because it is so cheap to borrow. How many American's have debt that they will never get out from underneath?

To some extent the powers that be have led and pushed our society into debt, but also so many Americans have been digging their own grave so to say.

A key to any wealth inequality in our country is debt.

The other key most certainly is free trade. It has been a few years since I posted my anti-free trade rhetoric, but I still believe all of it. To be clear, it's not that I think American goods and services should be excluded from competition. It's that I think that trade policy should only be crafted and negotiated with core and vital American nationalist interests rather than conceding them to global corporate interests or those interests of foreign nations. We've had good discussions on the subject in the past, I'm sure Doug remembers some of our conversations.

Free trade policies have had an immensely damaging effect on the American middle class and hundreds of our communities and an immeasurable boon for American and Foreign Corporations and the people who head those corporations.

[Edited on 11/17/2013 by nebish]

 

Sublime Peach



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  posted on 11/17/2013 at 01:54 PM
quote:
how much is enough for you libs? I am paying 50% or more of my take home pay in taxes:

1) Federal Income Tax
2) State Income Tax
3) Real estate tax
4) Yearly personal property taxes (Automobiles)
5) Sales taxes
6) Capital gains taxes
7) Utility taxes
8) bottle deposit taxes
9) fishing ( fresh and salt water) and hunting and dog licenses
10) Liquor taxes
11) Gasoline taxes
12) Heating oil taxes





Like to see that math. I live in Canada and pay a boatload of taxes. Our fuel is half tax at $6.00 a gallon, our beers is 1/2 tax at minimum $2 a can in the beer store for crap beer, healthcare, etc. etc.. Milk is $5 a jug.

If you think the average American is overtaxed your not doing your math. Or you figure everyone should have a god given right to an F350, 2 ATV's and a bass boat in every garage.

I travel enough in the states to see that even a minimal tax on sin items like beer, ho-jos and smokes would save your ediucation system and upgrade your bridges. Probably reduce healthcare costs as well.

 

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  posted on 11/17/2013 at 06:37 PM
quote:
If you think the average American is overtaxed your not doing your math.
The average American is not over taxed, if by average we're basing that on medium income, which is currently about $51,000. Due to the steep progressivity of our income tax system, those at such incomes are paying about 10% in Federal taxes after all is said and done. At the top of the range, the rich are effectively paying in the mid-20's.

quote:
I travel enough in the states to see that even a minimal tax on sin items like beer, ho-jos and smokes would save your ediucation system and upgrade your bridges.
We already spend more per pupil than nearly any country in the world, so more money isn't the answer to "saving" our educational system. And if we're going to raise more taxes for infrastructure, we should apply that tax where it's used, as in higher fuel taxes. Further, removing the ridiculous subsidies in transportation items that can't support themselves and charging proper fares - like light-rail, Amtrack - would re-allocate road money where it should be.

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 11/17/2013 at 08:22 PM
quote:
The problem is not wealth inequality. The problem is economic mobility. You judge an economy and a society by the degree to which individuals can move up the ladder. A prosperous society needs wealth to generate economic activity which leads to innovation and jobs. By example Steve Jobs was a billlionaire. Look what he contributed. Is it somehow wrong that he was so much wealthier than almost everybody? So to reiterate the focus of a liberal society and the hallmark of true liberalism is that people are not locked into the roles assigned to them by virtue of their birth. To the extent this is the case, the less liberal the society is. Take a look at pretty much the entire third world to see this in action. Here, leftists typically equate wealth with class. A Wealthy person (like Jobs) can simply be an ordinary individual who made a lot of money.


Part of why Jobs got so much wealthier was by outsourcing his company's jobs to China so he could circumvent workers rights issues and use slave labor. He could have made a very nice profit while contributing jobs to his country but why make a profit and help your own country when you can make a much greater profit sending the jobs away to take advantage of slave labor. Hey, why not? It is the American way. The Gorden Gekko greed is good philosophy so the wealthy get wealthier and wealthier and the jobs are all gone and nothing will change this as long as companies are allowed and in some cases rewarded for doing so with lower tax rates. One out of every four major US companies don't pay a dime in Federal taxes yet are still allowed to send the jobs away. The American Dream??? If you are one of the company owners.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/17/2013 at 08:35 PM
quote:
One out of every four major US companies don't pay a dime in Federal taxes yet are still allowed to send the jobs away.
Any proof of that tax statement? What defines "major"?

"Allowed"? Let me ask; if you own something, don't you think you should be able to do what you like with it without getting govt's permission? (short of physically harming or committing some crime with it)


[Edited on 11/18/2013 by Fujirich]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/18/2013 at 12:20 AM
quote:
I didn't watch the video, but will. I did read the comments of our forum members here, and there are some good points and good discussion here. I agree with the sentiment most have posted.

How did our parents and grandparents save, invest and buy the things our families needed and wanted? The mentality was if you wanted something you saved up until you could buy it. People didn't go into debt to buy used cars, or have thousands, if not tens of thousands of credit card debt to simply buy 'stuff'. If there was disposable income it was more often than not saved, not spent. And interest rates were such that one could save, it paid to save.

Now, as fuji said, with interest rates being what they are there is virtually no incentive to save other than the peace of mind it brings some people to know they have a little bit of an emergency fund. And the other negative impact of the low interest rates is that people can spend away with money they don't have because it is so cheap to borrow. How many American's have debt that they will never get out from underneath?

To some extent the powers that be have led and pushed our society into debt, but also so many Americans have been digging their own grave so to say.

A key to any wealth inequality in our country is debt.

The other key most certainly is free trade. It has been a few years since I posted my anti-free trade rhetoric, but I still believe all of it. To be clear, it's not that I think American goods and services should be excluded from competition. It's that I think that trade policy should only be crafted and negotiated with core and vital American nationalist interests rather than conceding them to global corporate interests or those interests of foreign nations. We've had good discussions on the subject in the past, I'm sure Doug remembers some of our conversations.

Free trade policies have had an immensely damaging effect on the American middle class and hundreds of our communities and an immeasurable boon for American and Foreign Corporations and the people who head those corporations.

[Edited on 11/17/2013 by nebish]


I agree with you that trade agreements should be negotiated with our national interests in mind. And our national interests are to allow American companies to compete with foreign companies on an equal playing field. This is not something either Democrats or Republicans have been concerned with as they either don't care or want American industries totally protected from foreign competition to the detriment of consumers.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 11/18/2013 at 09:09 AM
quote:
quote:
Invest in stocks and buy a home anyone can do it don't have to be ubber rich.


+1

Don't worry about how much money someone else has, concentrate on growing your own nest egg.


I agree. No matter how much anyone wants to change the system, I can't see it changing. Just try to enjoy life as best one can, we've only got 76-81 years on average, which really isn't a long time. Rather than worrying about who has more than someone else, just be thankful and fortunate for what one does have because everything; money, possessions, family members, friends...life can all be gone in a flash.

 
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