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Author Topic: The Great Wealth Transfer
Echinodermata Q. Taft
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I linked to this article in another thread as an off-hand reference, but I think it really deserves its own discussion:
The Great Wealth Transfer by Paul Krugman, a NY Times columnist and Professor of Economics at Princeton. A few brief excerpts:

quote:
Rising inequality isn't new. The gap between rich and poor started growing before Ronald Reagan took office, and it continued to widen through the Clinton years. But what is happening under Bush is something entirely unprecedented: For the first time in our history, so much growth is being siphoned off to a small, wealthy minority that most Americans are failing to gain ground even during a time of economic growth -- and they know it.
quote:
Under Bush, the economy has been growing at a reasonable pace for the past three years. But most Americans have failed to benefit from that growth. All indicators of the economic status of ordinary Americans -- poverty rates, family incomes, the number of people without health insurance -- show that most of us were worse off in 2005 than we were in 2000, and there's little reason to think that 2006 was much better.
quote:
A generation ago the distribution of income in the United States didn't look all that different from that of other advanced countries. We had more poverty, largely because of the unresolved legacy of slavery. But the gap between the economic elite and the middle class was no larger in America than it was in Europe.

Today, we're completely out of line with other advanced countries. The share of income received by the top 0.1 percent of Americans is twice the share received by the corresponding group in Britain, and three times the share in France. These days, to find societies as unequal as the United States you have to look beyond the advanced world, to Latin America. And if that comparison doesn't frighten you, it should.

Even those of you who are skeptical of his facts and disagree completely with his conclusions, might want to have a look for some insight on why so many Americans don't seem to realize just how well the economy is supposedly doing.

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hoitoider
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I really don't get what he's talking about - what does he consider rich? I've seen plenty of households that are solid working class, where both husband & wife work, that surely have a net worth over $1 million. They aren't CEO's - one couple was a career Navy guy & his wife was an EMT. Usually (as with them) it's due to real estate; they got in on waterfront or other resort property in the early to mid 90's, when prices were deflated, then made smart decisions & kept putting the equity to work.

As far as Americans who don't know how well the economy is doing: isn't that the same group that can't do things like name the vice president of the U.S. or find Iraq on a map? As the saying goes, "The problem with opportunity is that it usually comes disguised as hard work." Though a brilliant economist like Krugman would probably attribute my success to the fact I have white skin & blue eyes.

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No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. -Wendell L. Willkie

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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I've been saying this for some time: the vast national debt is a mechanism for transfering money from the taxpayers (all taxpayers) to lending institutions. And who invests in lending institutions? The wealthy, naturally: who else has money to invest?

Silas

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Silas, the answer to your question is, everyone whose company has a 401(k) plan.

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"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
I really don't get what he's talking about - what does he consider rich? Usually (as with them) it's due to real estate;

They own property. That makes them far better off than many, many people, if not well-off.

quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:

As far as Americans who don't know how well the economy is doing: isn't that the same group that can't do things like name the vice president of the U.S. or find Iraq on a map?

Or, perhaps, it's folk like me who are better educated than 98% of the population, and quite aware, and still don't have a pot to piss in. To us, and our neighbors, and all of the victims of our "wonderful" economy, it don't seem to be goin' to well. But, then again, we don't really count, do we?

quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:

As the saying goes, "The problem with opportunity is that it usually comes disguised as hard work." Though a brilliant economist like Krugman would probably attribute my success to the fact I have white skin & blue eyes.

I would certainly attribute your endorsement of that saying to your white, male privilage, along with a fair measure of your sucess.

I've had this argument with my father a billion time. He always pulls the bootstrap argument, and refuses to recognize the comparative privilages and sheer LUCK involved in his father's rather modest sucess.

Also, there is the strict adherence to the sacridity of capitalism, in which nothing is as important as money, not your happiness, your family, your friends, the stability of the society, justice, or sheer humanity, which also assists people like dad's father in gaining stable ground.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
Silas, the answer to your question is, everyone whose company has a 401(k) plan.

And of those...how many make back (or will, in the long run) more than they pay in taxes toward the interest due on the national debt?

Again, only the wealthy.

Silas

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MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
I really don't get what he's talking about - what does he consider rich? I've seen plenty of households that are solid working class, where both husband & wife work, that surely have a net worth over $1 million. They aren't CEO's - one couple was a career Navy guy & his wife was an EMT. Usually (as with them) it's due to real estate; they got in on waterfront or other resort property in the early to mid 90's, when prices were deflated, then made smart decisions & kept putting the equity to work.

It seems to me that if they were in a position to be buying real estate, they were already doing well. A lot of people can't affort to buy their own home, let alone buy property on speculation.

And with the growth in real estate prices in a lot of markets, it's pretty easy for anyone who has owned their home for a while (or inherited one) to have a net worth over a million dollars. For those people, the money is tied up in an asset that isn't generating any revenue and won't unless they sell it.

quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
As far as Americans who don't know how well the economy is doing: isn't that the same group that can't do things like name the vice president of the U.S. or find Iraq on a map? As the saying goes, "The problem with opportunity is that it usually comes disguised as hard work." Though a brilliant economist like Krugman would probably attribute my success to the fact I have white skin & blue eyes.

Now you're just being insulting. The problem isn't a lack of hard work. The problem is generally a lack of money. The fact is it takes money to make money and many people don't have the seed money to do something like invest in real estate or start their own business or anything like that. They may be able to put some money into an investment account or something like that, but not in the amounts that will ever make them really wealthy.
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Spamamander in a pear tree
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Damn, I'll have to tell my husband who puts in 50+ hours a week as a corrections officer that he doesn't know the meaning of hard work because we're poor...

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"There is a race between mankind and the universe. Mankind is trying to build bigger, better, faster, and more foolproof machines. The universe is trying to build bigger, better, and faster fools. So far the universe is winning." -Albert Einstein

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
As far as Americans who don't know how well the economy is doing: isn't that the same group that can't do things like name the vice president of the U.S. or find Iraq on a map? As the saying goes, "The problem with opportunity is that it usually comes disguised as hard work." Though a brilliant economist like Krugman would probably attribute my success to the fact I have white skin & blue eyes.

But that is part of the problem. There is a myth here that hard work will result in wealth. It doesn't always (says she who is having her first weekend off for the month of December and is going to spend 2 hours of that in the plasma donation center).

I have been quite poor. I have been middle class. It is much harder work being poor.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Well, considering the the following:
The median household income in the US is $33,400
The average household income is $53,000
The top 5% makes ONLY $130,600
The top 1$ makes $355,000, then the number of people that are bazillionaires are pretty small.

To get to $1,000,000 annually, it is the top 0.33%

Even military enlisted careers are well above the top 50%... and that is with the old adage of "You'll be comfortable, but never rich in the military!"

The median household worth - that is the household in the exact center of the graph, where half the household's have more, half less, the median worth is $71,000
______________________

Hey Ryda, you must have a pile of graduate degrees, as ten percent of the US population has graduate or professional degrees.
______________________

Regarding the OP, this quote:
quote:
A generation ago the distribution of income in the United States didn't look all that different from that of other advanced countries. We had more poverty, largely because of the unresolved legacy of slavery. But the gap between the economic elite and the middle class was no larger in America than it was in Europe.

Today, we're completely out of line with other advanced countries. The share of income received by the top 0.1 percent of Americans is twice the share received by the corresponding group in Britain, and three times the share in France. These days, to find societies as unequal as the United States you have to look beyond the advanced world, to Latin America. And if that comparison doesn't frighten you, it should.

This makes me wonder... if we have twice the share of income in the top .1% than the top .1% in Britain, how much more is our GDP than Britain? According to the CIA Factbook, it is Britain/US $33,100/$41,600, so our GDP is about a third higher. This "disparity" isn't as bad as it is being related.

Secondly, the reporting is so obviously slanted that it reads more like propaganda...
quote:
In fact, once all of Bush's tax cuts take effect, it is estimated that those with incomes of more than $200,000 a year -- the richest five percent of the population -- will pocket almost half of the money. Those who make less than $75,000 a year -- eighty percent of America -- will receive barely a quarter of the cuts.
Um, no foolin'?
If (since she is so against equity) Ryda pays a dollar in taxes, and I pay $10,000, and we both get a 10% rebate... there are two very easy methods for looking at it - we both got ten percent back, OR, like this article shows, she only got a dime, but I got a full THOUSAND DOLLARS back!! HOW UNFAIR!!!

Sorry, but I don't see a problem with it. It's called equity.
quote:
The economic historians Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo call what happened between 1933 and 1945 the Great Compression: The rich got dramatically poorer while workers got considerably richer. Americans found themselves sharing broadly similar lifestyles in a way not seen since before the Civil War.
And children, this is called socialism. Not that it wasn't warranted, with people dropping over from starvation at about one per second in 1933... but it was still shoveling from the rich to keep the poor fed - socialism at its finest.

I also laugh at the discussion of Wal*Mart. Y'know, they are right. Just to get back at that dang CEO for being so horrifically rich, let's put an inept person to run the company and pay them $18,000. When the company goes under next year, that'll teach them for paying the CEO so much for running the company in a manner that actually keeps 1.3 million employees employed. Oh, yeah, about the 1.3 million employees... they can get work with the MUCH higher paying GM.

Gosh, I wonder why they didn't do that already...

This story is so blatantly disingenuous that it smacks of propaganda. Gimme a break!

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Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I know you shouldn't post right after your own post, but also, consider this:

All the Wal*Mart employees that they use as "statistical" information... how many are full time employees? In contrast - since the OP contrasted them - back in in 1969, how many GM employees were part timers?? According to my inlaws, who worked as GM employees in the '60's and '70's, they don't recall ANY part timers - and the full timers were overtimed to death, with 60 hours per week being an "easy" week.

Gosh, I wonder how annual salaries were different in these two cases...

A part timer versus a person working full-time with an additional 20 hours and more of overtime... I wonder who made more money annually.

Gosh, Mr. Apple, why are you so very different than Mr. Orange??

--------------------
Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
This makes me wonder... if we have twice the share of income in the top .1% than the top .1% in Britain, how much more is our GDP than Britain? According to the CIA Factbook, it is Britain/US $33,100/$41,600, so our GDP is about a third higher. This "disparity" isn't as bad as it is being related.

From what I found the CIA World Factbook says the UK's per capita GDP (when adjusted for purchasing power) is $30,100. The problem with using a per capita number is that it doesn't account for wealth distribution.

I find it interesting that the CIA World Factbook entry for the US includes the following statement: "Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households."

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:

Hey Ryda, you must have a pile of graduate degrees, as ten percent of the US population has graduate or professional degrees.

Hey, Malruhn, surely you don't believe that degrees equals an educated person, or that the only way to be an educated person is to complete a degree in said subject, do you? If so, I have some MBAs I'd LOVE you to meet.

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So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
If (since she is so against equity) Ryda pays a dollar in taxes, and I pay $10,000, and we both get a 10% rebate... there are two very easy methods for looking at it - we both got ten percent back, OR, like this article shows, she only got a dime, but I got a full THOUSAND DOLLARS back!! HOW UNFAIR!!!

If you take that thousand and buy, um, a flat-screen TV, and Ryda can't pay her heat bill, damn right it's unfair.

--------------------
So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo.:
quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:

Hey Ryda, you must have a pile of graduate degrees, as ten percent of the US population has graduate or professional degrees.

Hey, Malruhn, surely you don't believe that degrees equals an educated person, or that the only way to be an educated person is to complete a degree in said subject, do you? If so, I have some MBAs I'd LOVE you to meet.
Okay, I just gotta ask. So what education is it that qualifies you to be 'more educated' than 98% of the US population?

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Mistletoey Chloe
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Well, SO and I have eleven degrees between us, and last night we were unable to agree what the other meant by the very complicated word "middle."

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~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo.:
If you take that thousand and buy, um, a flat-screen TV, and Ryda can't pay her heat bill, damn right it's unfair.

It is his thousand to begin with. The government just didn't take as much of his money as they did before. To quote the grandfather from The Princess Bride, "Who said life is fair? Where is that written?"

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Okay, I just gotta ask. So what education is it that qualifies you to be 'more educated' than 98% of the US population?

I can find countries on a map.....

Yeah. [fish]

That was less a statement of fact than of frusturation that someone would assume that all who disagreed that the "economy" was doing well were stupid and uneducated.

It was hyperbolic, and I let Malruhn irritate me. My apologies, all.

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So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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Ben Who
Deck the Malls


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I don't know how OP this is, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat the First Law of Conservative Economics: "The rich are rich because they deserve it, the poor are poor because they don't work hard enough, and the homeless are homeless because they want to be." This is the reality accepted by economic conservatives and no other reality is ever postulated.

The Second Law of Conservative Economics is: "The stock market is a license to print money and anyone with a nickel to invest will be rich beyond their wildest dreams in a rather reasonable amount of time." I once read an article where someone suggested "buying cheaper brands at the supermarket, and investing the difference." All right, so I buy the cheaper toilet paper, take the thirty cents I've saved and...what, go long on T-Bills?

Using my personal experience as the only evidence, the opposite seems to be true. Stock market? My 401(k) was like shoveling money down a hole as long as I listened to what rich people were telling me to do with it. Jobs? The hardest I ever worked was at a McDonald's; now I get paid four times as much to work at a desk all day listening to audiobooks and occasionally doing an assignment if one happens to become available. My entire employment history is a history of getting paid more to produce less work,

So why are the First and Second Laws so attractive? Well, apart from fueling entitlement ("I inherited this massive fortune; that must mean I earned it. I mean, I have all this money; where else could it have come from?"), it absolves everyone of social responsibility. "It's your own damn fault you're poor."

For my next sacrelige, I want to question the idea that making decisions for 1.3 million people actually equals working harder. Such a person would have more influence, it's true, but under what rationale do we decide that more influence equals harder work? (I refer again to the 109th Congress.) Are we paying people for their work or for their influence, and if we're paying people for their influence, why did we decide that influence equals labor? We're now rewarding power, not labor. And if we're going to do that, we should go ahead and say that's what we're doing, rather than trying to pretend that the CEO does 4500 times more work than the rank-and-file.

Now, most of this has just been devil's advocacy, but these sacreliges of mine have never been exposed to the rigors of open debate. And I figure with people like Malruhn on the board, who shriek socialism at the idea of anything, no matter how fair, that might force the wealthy to part with a few dollars for the less-fortunate, they'll take a well-needed beating. So, have at 'em.

Love, Who?

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Il-Mari
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Ben Who:
For my next sacrelige, I want to question the idea that making decisions for 1.3 million people actually equals working harder. Such a person would have more influence, it's true, but under what rationale do we decide that more influence equals harder work? (I refer again to the 109th Congress.) Are we paying people for their work or for their influence, and if we're paying people for their influence, why did we decide that influence equals labor? We're now rewarding power, not labor. And if we're going to do that, we should go ahead and say that's what we're doing, rather than trying to pretend that the CEO does 4500 times more work than the rank-and-file.

Indeed, and the let's not forget that if a low-level worker makes a mistake that causes the company to lose money, they'll likely be monetarily punished or fired, whereas if the CEO of a major company is making mistakes that cost the company millions of dollars, about the worst they can expect is to be asked to leave with a golden parachute worth several million dollars.

- Il-Mari

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When you mix faith with science, you serve neither and weaken both.

- Richard P. Sloan and Larry VandeCreek

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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quote:
Orignally posted by Ben Who:
I don't know how OP this is, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat the First Law of Conservative Economics: "The rich are rich because they deserve it, the poor are poor because they don't work hard enough, and the homeless are homeless because they want to be." This is the reality accepted by economic conservatives and no other reality is ever postulated.

The Second Law of Conservative Economics is: "The stock market is a license to print money and anyone with a nickel to invest will be rich beyond their wildest dreams in a rather reasonable amount of time." I once read an article where someone suggested "buying cheaper brands at the supermarket, and investing the difference." All right, so I buy the cheaper toilet paper, take the thirty cents I've saved and...what, go long on T-Bills?

No offense, but what are you basing these "Laws" on? Who exactly holds these laws to be true (especially the second one...I have never heard anything like that before in my life)?
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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by El Camino:
quote:
Orignally posted by Ben Who:
I don't know how OP this is, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat the First Law of Conservative Economics: "The rich are rich because they deserve it, the poor are poor because they don't work hard enough, and the homeless are homeless because they want to be." This is the reality accepted by economic conservatives and no other reality is ever postulated.

The Second Law of Conservative Economics is: "The stock market is a license to print money and anyone with a nickel to invest will be rich beyond their wildest dreams in a rather reasonable amount of time." I once read an article where someone suggested "buying cheaper brands at the supermarket, and investing the difference." All right, so I buy the cheaper toilet paper, take the thirty cents I've saved and...what, go long on T-Bills?

No offense, but what are you basing these "Laws" on? Who exactly holds these laws to be true (especially the second one...I have never heard anything like that before in my life)?
Based on straw, lots of straw...

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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Seriously, the wealth gap is increasing and the middle class is declining. The numbers point to this overwhelmingly. I think a certain amount of disparity is a good thing, as if everyone got the same amount of money there would be little incentive to work hard. But I also think that it's going too far.

The fact is, bitching about it doesn't help anyone. Sure, we could just take the money from the rich and redistribute to the less-wealthy, but that obviously has its own downsides. It's not an ideal solution.

A better idea is to examine the system and see what is causing this increasing disparity. It wasn't always like this - why is it becoming more so? Why is the middle class declining? How can we structure things so that hard working people have a better chance at modest success? IMO, it is MUCH better to tweak the system so that more people can earn a reasonable living than to just give it to them.

One big reason for the increasing gap is the increasing availability of better technology at lower costs. In many cases, good technology operated by skilled, educated workers is much more efficient than unskilled workers using lesser technology. So we have previous middle class, union type positions like welders and such being replaced by people like engineers. The bulk of the more financially rewarding working class positions are being eaten up and replaced by technology.

One solution, something I tend to see as a panacea, is better education. Too many people get missed in our current education system and end up without the skills they need to succeed in the work force. Another thing that needs to change is this stigma against technical schools and the like. Not everyone has what it takes to go to college and be succesful, but many of these people have other talents and can be succesful in life. But because no one wants an applied education, too many people go down a road that's outside of where their talents lie.

There are obviously other things causing the increasing disparitiy. Of course wealth tends to concentrate, but it's always been like that, and the disparity was historically not so great. But we need to really look at what's going on and change things instead of just whining about the ebil rich people.

Posts: 1048 | From: Brunswick, Maine | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
El Camino
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by MaxKaladin:
quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
This makes me wonder... if we have twice the share of income in the top .1% than the top .1% in Britain, how much more is our GDP than Britain? According to the CIA Factbook, it is Britain/US $33,100/$41,600, so our GDP is about a third higher. This "disparity" isn't as bad as it is being related.

From what I found the CIA World Factbook says the UK's per capita GDP (when adjusted for purchasing power) is $30,100. The problem with using a per capita number is that it doesn't account for wealth distribution.

I find it interesting that the CIA World Factbook entry for the US includes the following statement: "Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households."

The Gini index is a measure of inequality in a region. The index is a scale from 0 to 1, with 0 being "perfect equality" and 1 being "perfect inequality." Although, like every scale it is not a perfect measure of equality, it is a useful one.

The Gini index scores by nation can be found here (it is found beginning on page 50 of the document, in the last column.

Here are some first world nations in order of increasing inequality by the Gini index:

Japan 24.9
Sweden 25.0
Norway 25.8
Germany 28.3
Austria 30.0
S. Korea 31.6
Poland 31.6
European Union 32 (est)
Spain 32.5
France 32.7
Canada 33.1
Switzerland 33.1
Australia 35.2
Greece 35.4
Israel 35.5
Ireland 35.9
Italy 36.0
United Kingdom 36.0
Portugal 38.5
United States 40.8
Singapore 42.5
Hong Kong 43.4
Uruguay 44.6
Costa Rice 46.5
Argentina 52.2
Mexico 54.6
Chile 57.1

This is obviously not every country in the world, nor even every first world country. I did, however, include every nation classified as having "High Human Development" by the HDI index who had a Gini index showing more inequality than the U.S. Based on this data, it really looks like the inequalities in the U.S. are far greater than comparable countries.


One caveat, however: note that, according to wikipedia, "The Gini coefficient measured for a large economically diverse country will generally result in a much higher coefficient than each of its regions has individually. For this reason the scores calculated for individual countries within the EU are difficult to compare with the score of the entire US."

Well, I already typed all that crap, but here is a much simpler and alphabetially ordered list of Gini indices. Bah.

According to that site, the Gini index of the entire European Union is 32, which I have now put in the list above.

Posts: 1048 | From: Brunswick, Maine | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Echinodermata Q. Taft
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
Just to get back at that dang CEO for being so horrifically rich, let's put an inept person to run the company and pay them $18,000. When the company goes under next year, that'll teach them for paying the CEO so much for running the company in a manner that actually keeps 1.3 million employees employed.

What bothers me is not that CEO's today are compensated better than the people they employ -- it's that they are far better compensated than the CEO's of even five years ago, let alone fifty years ago. Using the article's comparison, GM's cheif executive made about 100 times what his average production workers made; Wal-Mart's CEO makes over 1200 times as much as the typical store employee. (Adjusted for inflation, he also makes more than five times as much as GM's cheif made then; have executives really gotten that much better?) And this isn't just intended as an anti-Wal-Mart rant; it's the same story all over. We're constantly hearing about the tens of millions CEO's are paid, not to mention bonuses, stock options and other perks. Yet more and more front-line workers are not only not seeing increases in pay, but their benefits are being cut as well; more and more people are doing without health insurance. As for the education solution, college tuitions are up, and student aid is down, thus narrowing the path to upward mobility even further.

I'm not saying I, or Americans in general, hate rich people. But do conservatives seriously not see a problem with this growing gap? Is it beyond them to reason that maybe, just maybe, if they paid workers a little more and took a little less themselves, we'd all be better off in the long run?

But put that aside. Go on thinking Krugman is a propagandist, that poor people are just too dumb to figure out how to take adavantage of the economic boom, that ludicrous corporate profits and tax cuts during a time we're at war are all marvelous things. Fine.

But don't come complaining to me after the next election that I didn't try to warn you: if you believe all that, you are out of the mainstream.

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Spamamander in a pear tree
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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What EQ said. I can't speak well on economics, it's far from my forte, and what I say comes out jumbled. So I'll just agree wholeheartedly.

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"There is a race between mankind and the universe. Mankind is trying to build bigger, better, faster, and more foolproof machines. The universe is trying to build bigger, better, and faster fools. So far the universe is winning." -Albert Einstein

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by E. Q. Taft:
.....Is it beyond them to reason that maybe, just maybe, if they paid workers a little more and took a little less themselves, we'd all be better off in the long run?...

Can you give a specific example of this. It's easy to make these ascertions in the broad sense, but specifics don't always work out to such cut and tried blaming it on the man and conservatives thinking.

Wages are paid based on simple economics. If you're an unskilled employee working at McDonalds your not going to make much since there our millions of people qualfied to do the same job. If you are one of the few people qualified to run a corporation as big as McDonalds you're going to be able to ask for more money.

Beach...I suppose the big corporations could go on strike and refuse to hire CEOs until they are willing to take less pay....Life!

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Costco, Beach

quote:
While Wal-Mart pays an average of $9.68 an hour, the average hourly wage of employees of the Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse club operator is $16.

[snip]

For example, while CEOs at other major corporations average 531 times the pay of their lowest-paid employees, Sinegal takes only 10 times the pay of his typical employee. His annual salary is $350,000, compared to about $5.3 million awarded to Wal-Mart’s Lee Scott.

So, Scott makes about $2500/hour (5.3million/2080 hours in a work year [40 hours/wk*52 weeks]), which is about 250 times more than the average employee. Sinegal makes about $168/hour, or just over 10 times more than the average employee at that particular club.

I am under the impression that Costco is pretty successful.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Spamamander in a pear tree
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Remind me to see about getting a job at our local Costco.

--------------------
"There is a race between mankind and the universe. Mankind is trying to build bigger, better, faster, and more foolproof machines. The universe is trying to build bigger, better, and faster fools. So far the universe is winning." -Albert Einstein

Posts: 1058 | From: Yakima, WA | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Wow.. Costco operators make more then I do sticking needles into people.. But then I guess they don't have nearly as much fun.

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Did you guys read this part:
quote:
After three years a typical full-time Costco worker makes about $42,000, and the company foots 92% of its workers’ health insurance tab.
I have never seen a "now hiring" sign up at Costco, though.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Aimee Evilpixie
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Both my brother and my little sister's boyfriend work at Costco. It's a good job, if you can get it. Plus, you can put in for a transfer juct about anywhere in the country.

Another company that compensates its employees pretty well is Trader Joe's. At TJ's you can get health insurance working only 21 hours a week. (You have to pay part of it, but it still nothing to sneeze at.) Also, the employees get quarterly reviews, with a chance of a raise at each review.

I'm not sure how much the CEO makes, though I'm willing to bet it's closer to the Costco end of things than the WalMart end.

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MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr:
quote:
For example, while CEOs at other major corporations average 531 times the pay of their lowest-paid employees, Sinegal takes only 10 times the pay of his typical employee. His annual salary is $350,000, compared to about $5.3 million awarded to Wal-Mart’s Lee Scott.
So, Scott makes about $2500/hour (5.3million/2080 hours in a work year [40 hours/wk*52 weeks]), which is about 250 times more than the average employee. Sinegal makes about $168/hour, or just over 10 times more than the average employee at that particular club.
I am reminded of Peter Drucker, who has been called the Father of Modern Management. Hwe was pretty influential for a long time but he annoyed a lot of people in the 80s when he wrote an essay that made the case that the CEO of a corporation should never make more than 20 times what the average worker makes.

Edit: Fixed quoting

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educatedindian
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by El Camino:
quote:
Orignally posted by Ben Who:
I don't know how OP this is, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat the First Law of Conservative Economics: "The rich are rich because they deserve it, the poor are poor because they don't work hard enough, and the homeless are homeless because they want to be." This is the reality accepted by economic conservatives and no other reality is ever postulated.

The Second Law of Conservative Economics is: "The stock market is a license to print money and anyone with a nickel to invest will be rich beyond their wildest dreams in a rather reasonable amount of time." I once read an article where someone suggested "buying cheaper brands at the supermarket, and investing the difference." All right, so I buy the cheaper toilet paper, take the thirty cents I've saved and...what, go long on T-Bills?

No offense, but what are you basing these "Laws" on? Who exactly holds these laws to be true (especially the second one...I have never heard anything like that before in my life)?
El Camino, did you never hear any of Reagan's speeches?

Or Ben Wattenburg
Thomas Friedman
supply side economics
trickle down theory
arguments about "welfare queens"
etc, etc, etc.

Really, most conservative economics is closer to theology than social science, being ultimately derived from Calvinist ideas about "natural virtue".

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Regarding the Wal*Mart/Costco comparison:

How much does Wal*Mart make a year? What about Costco? Do you see a difference? What about number of stores or numbers of employees?

This is comparing apples and bananas.

If I supervise one person I should get paid X. If you supervise 30, should you get paid the same? I don't think so! If I get promoted to now manage 1000 people, I had BETTER get paid more than you managing 30!

Ah, this "You make more than me, so it's unfair," crap just ticks me off.

I used to get paid minimum wage. I worked my adze off and worked another job so I could pay for schooling to get out of my situation. I have continued to work my behinder parts off to get ahead... and now that I am seeing some return for my investment, I find out that my fellow man - who wants me to get ahead - doesn't want me to get ahead of them.

Sorry, but I don't see a problem with uber-salaries. Golden parachutes, on the other hand, tend to burn my ass with white-hot flames. Golden parachutes should be golden only when company returns are golden - otherwise they should be lead parachutes. You take the company into the black, you should share in the spoils of war... but if you take us into the red, you bleed along with us.

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Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

Posts: 5622 | From: Jax, Florida | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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