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Gee, Camp, what were you thinking?
07:12 PM on 06/26/2013
1. Inventors are a small part of the population. If you want to change income inequality, improve the promotion of creative thinking in schools.

2. Professional people may not work harder than minimum wage earners, but the work of professionals is worth more. It requires more skills and has greater effect. That merits higher pay.

3. Our current marginal tax rates may be too low, but raise them as high as this article suggests, and it will only promote growth in government spending on waste. Some increase would be useful for programs that actually are needed or beneficial.

4. Agreed.

5. Agreed.

6. You didn't answer the objection. If the poor can afford entertainment electronics, they can afford food and shelter.

Of the six, only two make any sense. Keep trying.
nothin' micro about my biology
09:59 PM on 06/26/2013
#2 - no one is arguing professionals shouldn't make more. It's the extremist 400x that the average CEO makes compared to the lowest worker that we object to. In Japan and Europe it's not any where near the disparity as in the US, and when was the last time you heard of their economies going down the tubes? Germany, for one, has a manufacturing sector that competes with China.
Gee, Camp, what were you thinking?
11:37 PM on 06/26/2013
When was the last time that I heard about their economies going down the tubes? Every time I hear about the economies of Europe or Japan. Germany's doing all right, but in true leftist fashion, it's having to prop up the dead weight of its continent.
Peanut Santiago
10:46 PM on 06/26/2013
#6. The fact that you have to ask means you have NO idea of the life of the poor.

Many things last a relatively long time.....TV's, X Boxes, etc.
Sometimes the person earns extra money, or has overtime, or simply puts it on credit.
But it isn't hard to have a few "nice" things.

So why can't they pay rent, food, utilities, etc?
Actually, they often CAN do so.
The problem is job and wage insecurity.

They may have a job today....and even manage to get that X Box or tablet.
Six months from now their hours may be cut, or the company lays off people, or the person gets sick and can't work for a few months.

It's underemployment and job insecurity.
What you buy today you may enjoy for several years.
But your job is often precarious.
Just get sick, have an accident, or lose your job....and you HAVE the goodies but NOT the money for necessities.

Does somebody really have to tell you this?
Are the well off THAT clueless?

Yea.....they think all poor and lower class people deserve what they get.
And sometimes the former well off. have something bad happen.... and join us.
06:37 PM on 06/26/2013
Anytime someone speaks out about income inequality they are branded anti business, anti capitalism, a socialist and someone that wants a welfare state.
06:36 PM on 06/26/2013
"inequality has not increased in most other developed countries"

Actually income inequality has risen in many other developed countries. Between 1985 and 2008, Gini coefficients rose in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria. From 1995 to 2008, Gini coefficients rose in Australia and Finland as well.
06:13 PM on 06/26/2013
The real income inequality is not the welfare queens vs Jamie Dimon, it's the disparity between the middle class now and the middle class as it should be. Most of the people in this country right now are struggling AND working, even with "real" unemployment at 15%, that's 85% working. Now consider that the poverty threshold for a family of 4 is $23,000. Is family income of $25,000 or $40,000 or even $60,000 "easy street" where you live? It is a false narrative to pretend that everyone with a job is having problems because of all the "takers" in the system, the middle class is disappearing because the system is broken! Things like: making healthcare affordable (we still have to buy it), raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing benefits like family leave; ONLY EFFECT PEOPLE WHO WORK, not people on welfare!!! They help all of US who work and still worry if we'll be able to feed our kids or pay the rent! There is no way to explain that to the 1% at the top but I personally believe that most of the people arguing here on BOTH sides are in the middle, and we should all quit letting rhetoric and talking points divide us. Americans should want other Americans to do well and be treated fairly! "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." - who said that again?
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retired engineer
09:58 PM on 06/26/2013
This is a better way of adjusting taxation knowing that the federal govt (a money creator) does not need taxes at all.

USA can fund all infrastructure without asking for dollars from anybody. The problem is people have been brainwashed with the nonsense that the US economy is similar to personal economics.

How to find the “fair share” of taxation? Here is an operational method.

Year1. Fund all infrastructure, supply money to the states generously, fund all university education, offer free medicare for all , fund SS with elimination of FICA ,a regressive tax. In addition zero the taxes for everybody including corporations. It should have dropped substantially at this step. Measure GINI index. If 1 year is not sufficient continue for another year.

Year2. If the Gini index is still high tax at the high end say the top 1%, progressively within each income range.

Year3. If the GINI index is still too high include the top 5%

Year4. If too high tax including the top 10% and so on

And so on till we have a reasonable GINI index , say, comparable to Canada. You can fine tune after year 5 to get close to Norway with the lowest GINI index.
03:30 AM on 06/27/2013
Well said.
06:11 PM on 06/26/2013
"We could start with the fact that in the early 1950s the top tax bracket paid 91% of their marginal income in taxes"

Yet after the JFK tax cuts, federal income tax revenues went up, which implies that the rich were able to avoid taxation on most of their income. We need to be intellectually honest that few people truly paid 91% on income, but instead passed their income through private corporations, avoided tax with shelters, or simply did not report all of their income.
retired business owner
08:54 PM on 06/26/2013
When the top rate was over 90%, top earners paid 55% on average after deductions, When it was 70% they paid 38% on average. An alternative minimum tax of 50% on all income (including capital gains and dividends) above $2 million would be close to what was actually paid when the rates were would bring in about $150 to $200 billion more a year too.
09:19 PM on 06/26/2013
It would not bring in anywhere close to that because the income would be moved off shore or kept in unrealized gains that are not taxed or some other method would be found to shift the income into untaxed money. Rates change behavior and the resulting change in rates would result in changed behavior.
04:49 PM on 06/26/2013
A couple things:
1. Lets face it. There will always be inequality of income. And it would be fair to say that
just about everybody (yes, even progressives) accepts that some inequality is both
inevitable and desireable. The key is HOW MUCH INEQUALITY is just and good for
the nation and economy as a whole?
2. Conservatives must admit that the income gap has not always been this wide, and
that when the gap was narrower, America was at its most prosperous, and that
was not due to socialism.
3. The income gap cannot copntinue to grow unabated unless one wants to live in a
nation that resembles Ecuador.
If these three mesely things can be agreed upon,
we can have a reasonable national discussion of this issue.
retired business owner
08:58 PM on 06/26/2013
Actually, Ecuador is now not doing too bad since the more left government came in. Real average incomes are rising at about 3% compared to zero real increase here. GDP is also growing at about 7%.
01:34 PM on 06/27/2013
I stand corrected! Perhaps South American societies will exchange roles with the US?
04:18 PM on 06/26/2013
Why are you people so jealous of what another human being makes?

Why do you feel the government should distribute money based on their interpretation of "fairness?"
06:19 PM on 06/26/2013
Why are youobsessed with the idea of jealousy? That isn't what motivates people. They aren't jealous of the super-wealthy, they are afraid of them, as they should be. Those ruthless, selfish, and uncaring enough to amass super-fortunes are likely to be sociopathic. Their influence upon our society is always aimed at improving their lot at the expense of everyone else.

What's truly sad is that doubling a billionaire's wealth actually makes no material difference in his or her life, lifestyle, or available choices, but that doubling requires millions of others to suffer needlessly in poverty.
09:21 PM on 06/26/2013
So when Steve Jobs doubled his wealth someone else lost it? Or did Apple stock just double in value and no one was hurt?
10:10 PM on 06/26/2013
So Bill and Melinda gates are so ruthless they donate hundreds of millions of dollars to charities worldwide......fool. Doubling ones wealth does not make someone else poor. Perhaps the 1 percent won't debate because they care not to be in the company of fools.
This We'll Defend.
06:35 PM on 06/26/2013
You truly missed the point of the entire post.

It's not that anyone is f_cking jealous of what another human makes - it's that people want to be paid a fair amount for the work they do.

If a person makes 200x what I make, they better be doing something 200x better than me or more productive than me. That's what people's problem is.

Most people have to keep working harder to MAINTAIN a standard of living, while the top is maintaining their level of work and seeing an exponential rise in their standard of living.
12:31 AM on 06/27/2013
How about they funded the company from the get go with 100% risk capital, worked insane hours for little to no pay. They take on debt that is personally liable to get the business to the next level - if it fails they are responsible, not the employees. They come up with a few brilliant ideas that the public likes. They grow the company. Hire more employees. The employees are only executing on what was put in place - very few are "inventing" new products, services or methods. Those who do are usually very well compensated.

You might want to understand how business works. Employees are only hired if the net of the work exceeds the cost to employ them. No one hires employees at a permanent loss - otherwise the business is gone.

This does not mean employees should be abused or underpaid - but what is a "fair amount"? Should a janitor make 100k? Should a secretary who answers phones and emails make 200k just because the business is successful. Should the junior account exec make 500k?

Everyone wants to share in the spoils but are unwilling to share in the risk. If you want to be paid 200k when the going is good you had better be prepared to make 25k when the going is bad or even go without salary.
03:57 AM on 06/27/2013
All work is not equal. A CEO could easily do the job of a librarian, food vendor, truck driver, but they would not be able to do the CEO's job (most likely ever). Not many people how the innate ability to be a CEO. That is why the CEO is paid more, his or her work CANNOT be done by just anyone. Unfortunately, work is not created equal, and most often the smart end up on top. Life?
04:13 PM on 06/26/2013
People are in-equal, they put forth unequal effort and thus some level of inequality should exist.

I like to illustrate with a friend from High School.
He dropped out of High School because he wouldnt show up in the morning, no big deal, he got a GED.
His dad worked at the local community college, so he got free tuition, could have gotten an associates degree for almost nothing....... he did not show up for class and had to drop
I drove his house to wake him up for 2 weeks, he would come to his first class and sleep on his desk, then skip the rest of the day (I had the same first class)

He moved to another local town and took out loans to start a automotive tech program..... he did not show up for class and had to drop.

He got a good industrial job, the kind that many modern middle class people base a good life on...... he did not show up and was fired.

He will spend the rest of his life working at pizza hut, will likely die of an obesity related disease if he doesnt die from drinking or drugs before then.

Its the life he has chosen, or rather, not chosen to avoid, so, anyone, tell me why he deserves some of your money, some of my money, or some of Warren Buffets money.
06:25 PM on 06/26/2013
And I knew a rich kid who did exactly the same, except he eventually graduated, thanks to tutors and the ability to pay for homework, then got an executive job with one of his daddy's friends. He still didn't do squat, rather relied on the staff to make him look good, and still thrives to this day.

The economy and taxation shouldn't be based on anecdotes, but on analysis of real data.
04:00 AM on 06/27/2013
Probably not true, and not the norm.
05:24 AM on 06/27/2013
Yep, sometimes the power of family can overwrite the wrongs done, but it wont happen forever, someday he will find he has no net and fall.

My point is that free riders do exist, and everyone has an anecdote (I have dozens, almost everyone I worked with in restaurants were like this guy, I just know his story better)
So, if you want to fight poverty, you have to recognize free riders, and find a way to let them fail out of the system.
06:34 PM on 06/26/2013
I believe in Meritocracy. The problem is that without an equal foundation it can't be based on merits. For example, most jobs in the future will require the use of a computer. If Child1 is not being taught to use a computer until (maybe) High School, but Child2 is on computers from preschool forward, who will be better suited for those jobs? Or take yourself for an example. If you could have had a free Associates Degree before moving forward in your life, would that have helped you move further up the ladder? Or me, I was on welfare as a child and then went on to a Private College, and I made all of my own choices, except that if I hadn't been able to eat, I wouldn't have ever gotten there. Maybe HE doesn't deserve any of our money, But if he has children they deserve an EQUAL education, and all of the healthcare and food that they need! We have to remember that we have to start equal for the game to be fair! Then move forward based on our own choices!
05:21 AM on 06/27/2013
This is all very true, no child should suffer because their parents are worthless lumps of garbage, breaking the cycle of poverty is important.
Unfortunately, handouts actually reinforce the cycle of poverty by supporting the fatalistic belief that most of those in poverty have, so beyond those to children and basic foodstuffs to prevent starvation, assistance should be tied to education.

Thats the problem I see, our system sees a retail worker and says "Oh, you dont make enough money, well here is some, problem solved"
Reinforcing the idea that their actions dont matter, and merely continuing their poverty.

While what I desire is more like "Of course you dont make enough money, thats unskilled labor, the pay will always be at the bottom, here is a list of training programs that all but guarantee a job, lets find one that works for you, the the gov will pay for both the training and the living expenses during it, with a cash bonus upon graduation"

Provide opportunities, not dependence.
Bayard Waterbury
social philosopher
04:00 PM on 06/26/2013
I am retired and living on Social Security. I worked productively my entire adult life. I have lived through lots of changes. I still remember when the middle class was being built, in the fifties and sixties, a time when the tax rates paid by those with higher incomes were 90% and higher. There were no special breaks for carried interest or capital gains, and CEO's were paid, oh maybe five times what their managers earned and were happy with that. A time when Glass Steagle made it impossible for a bank president to make millions, and stock brokers were mostly just well paid salesmen with reputations, in many cases no better than used car salesmen. In fact, at the very beginning of my earning days, I caddied at a local country club, and could make over $100 a weekend at the age of 16. I worked a union job in a warehouse and was paid nearly $9 and hour, more than the current minimum wage, and this was in the late 1960's. I feel really sorry for those caught in this 99% world in which nothing runs to their benefit because the wealthiest have become so bloated that they can hire the Congress and President they want to do their bidding, so that real tax reform can never happen, and no one, unless extremely lucky or talented, in the 99% can ever really get ahead.
There are other human values besides greed.
05:58 PM on 06/26/2013
We had so much promise in the 60s. We had put a man on the moon. Our middle class was booming, Unions were strong - our education system was advancing enormously.

We could have remained a great nation and yet the greed of the 1% has taken it all away. And the greed may have already altered our planetary ecosystem on a scale that will be disastrous for generations to come.

I cannot think of anything that will change the decline taking place right now. The 1% have captured our political system and our economic system. And also a good portion of our media, so we get the steady propaganda that the poor and the unemployed are too blame for the excessive exploitation and greed of the 1%.

I do not hold out much hope tbh. Politically the Democrats are now just as much in bed with the 1% as the Republicans. The idea that a third party can emerge seems impossible. Or that money will somehow be removed from Washington against all odds. Not sure what's up next for the Millenials - although a whole lot of suffering and economic injustice - just so the few can live the lives of untold wealth.
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retired engineer
11:25 PM on 06/26/2013
There is hope if a good many citizens can be taught monetary sovereignty. In brief,
Govt creates money to feed the economy.
Deficits = private savings + net imports.
Deficit is created money.
Tax money is not used to fund the federal govt. It is just trashed.
USA can work with zero taxes unlike states and counties which can't create dollars.
USA is monetarily sovereign.
03:23 PM on 06/26/2013
If you destroy the 1% you will now have a new 1%.
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04:22 PM on 06/26/2013
it is not that there is a top 1% in and of itself that is the problem. It is that the policy shift in this country over the last 30 years has only benefitted that group that is the problem.

The bedrock system the 1% took advantage of, cheap college, stable financial sector and on and on has been wiped out by reaganomics leaving the rest of us with declining wages and fewer real opportunities.
03:22 PM on 06/26/2013
Ordinarily I like the debunking of generics with specifics, sadly its prone to cherry picking and this article is a good example, still, you arent exactly wrong, just going about it the wrong way.

The methods that you fellows use amongst yourselves just dont work here, because they are typically based on the idea that the wealthy are evil and the poor somehow deserve things.
People in the middle and higher classes do have to put forth work to attain their status, its not handed to them, and ignoring this will drive them against you. You have to acknowledge this and rather than try to shame anyone, just talk about how they received opportunities that others do not, nothing more nothing less.
There are other human values besides greed.
05:22 PM on 06/26/2013
There is an ongoing evil in the amount of wealth inequality now present in this country. It is unfair and unjust to many ordinary Americans.
retired business owner
09:25 PM on 06/26/2013
Most here are just for a non-rigged system where the average guy participates in the growth of the economy instead of all of it being sucked up to the top. 80% of total personal income growth has gone to the 1% over the last 30 years while the average income of the bottom 90%, adjusted for inflation, hasn't budged much, if at all. 121% of total income growth has gone to the 1% since the "official" end of the recession in 2009. (100% of total growth plus even more due to decline in income for the bottom 99%). Real average incomes about doubled from 1950 to 1980.

There's nothing evil about being wealthy but when the wealthiest 1% (minimum net worth of $9 million) hold 40% of all the wealth or 2 1/2 times as much as the bottom 90% combined then something is wrong with that picture.
03:05 PM on 06/27/2013
Gross measures dont matter, because to appeal to the average american you need to do more than just show an inequality, you need to show an unjust inequality, that the people with wealth do not deserve it.
Anecdotes are a great way to do this, you have to find the ones that break down the Warren Buffet anecdote, more than just a "born rich" story, but born rich and entirely undeserving but continuing to be placed in positions of power and wealth because of family connections story.

BTW, FYI, the reason middle incomes grew so much between 1950 and 1980 is because WWII bombed all other industrial nations, america was making everything and the wages paid to employees didnt have to be watched since virtually any device you could produce would find a seller somewhere. The 80s brought competition back, so consider the last 30 years a correction from that explosive growth.

Finally, money != wealth, and wealth is not zero sum, "holding" it does not prevent someone else from making more.
04:01 PM on 06/28/2013
"Wage/GDP bubble?"

I was trying to use shorthand to say "You are correct, over the long term, if wages continue to stay depressed then the ability of the masses to purchase goods will drop and thus so will profits"
03:04 PM on 06/26/2013
What a simple minded attempt. If only it were that simple. Nice try. I could do a good job winning all my arguments and teaching others how to do it if I framed the other side's statement. Unfortunately for you, we 1 percenters (I'm not really in the 1% but have no problem if I were) aren't as simple as you. The truth is often more complex.
Now what?
03:47 AM on 06/27/2013
How is that? Because you say so?
01:27 PM on 06/26/2013
OK but would just like to point out on thing on the response to number 4. in these places with these labor rights, how is the economy and how is the inequality in those countries, as the people dont seem to be happy about the wealth at the top there either as seen by the protest in euorope
There are other human values besides greed.
03:12 PM on 06/26/2013
Europeans are for the most part protesting Austerity measures being pushed upon them by the Elites over there.
05:43 PM on 06/26/2013
thats because the moocher class has gorwn so large....
04:51 PM on 06/26/2013
The protests were generated by austerity budgets that allowed the wealthy to skate on mutual sacrifice.
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11:56 AM on 06/26/2013
You've really simplified things for the rest of us. We no longer ascribe to the notion of equality of opportunity as opposed to equality of outcome. All those immigrants who came to this country with absolutely nothing and clawed their way up by sacrificing, scrimping, saving, and experiencing deprivation would never have a chance today. Makes sense.

One person assumes risk, works longer and harder and smarter than the average bear, follows a vision for the future, puts a plan in motion, experiences failure and setbacks but pushes forward, and achieves success. Then he's obligated to part with profit in the name of utopian common prosperity. It's not good enough to donate to the charity of his choice, to put his money where he best feels it should be spent because, after all, he only succeeded where others have faltered and failed. The government can spend his money more wisely, efficiently, doling it out in the best fashion possible. We all see how that works out (Lavish’ IRS confab cost $2.4M)

And one wonders why there is an exodus out of California.
01:32 PM on 06/26/2013
And NY
04:53 PM on 06/26/2013
Only those who live very far from the tristate think we have become depopulated. NYC's
population is UP.
Cj Laycock
UC Berkeley 96 Tulane Law 2000
01:35 PM on 06/26/2013
Really? Our Presidents father was an immigrant that came over with nothing yet despite him abandoning his half caste son to be raised by a single mother that child went to the best law school in the world, became a lawyer, became a millionaire, a senator and then President. That proves it is possible. The woman I am dating is a Russian immigrant that now has a MBA and is a CPA making a six digit income. Another of her immigrant friends came over with nothing, not even a highs school education. That young lady just started medical school. Colin Powell is the son of Jamaican immigrants and rose to be a general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Sec State. All these people and 10's of thousands like them have proven that if you have brains, work hard, work smart and refuse to accept no for an answer you can achieve your dreams. I'm a dyslexic, high school drop out who broke his back as a child, who was born to parents that lived in a single wide, that went on to graduate from US Berkeley and Tulane Law school. It has been done which proves it can be done.
04:59 PM on 06/26/2013
As with with conservatives since at least the late 19th century, you confuse individual stories of success (microeconomics) with the macroeconomic tale of an entire nation's economy and how it is failing the vast majority of the population. The increasing income gap is not a fantasy, nor will it be solved by exorting the populace to work harder, as if their falling behind was only due to some sort of personal failing. Anymore than America's succes story from 1945 to 1980 was because everyone was simply smarter and working harder until Reagan came in.