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Rigadog
08-16-2009, 09:21 PM
Concentration of wealth in hands of rich greatest on record Published on 08-16-2009 Email To Friend (javascript:emailthis("16886");) Print Version (javascript:printthis("16886");)
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Source: Raw Story (http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/08/15/concentration-of-wealth-in-hands-of-rich/)
The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now have a larger share of total income than they ever have in records going back nearly a century — an even larger amount than during the Roaring Twenties, the last time the US saw such similar disparities in wealth.
In recent years, the fact that differences between rich and poor are the greatest they’ve been since the Great Depression has become a popular talking point among liberal-leaning economists.
But an updated study (http://elsa.berkeley.edu/%7Esaez/saez-UStopincomes-2007.pdf) (PDF) from University of California-Berkeley economist Emanuel Saez shows that, in 2007, the wealth disparity grew to its highest number on record, based on US tax data going back to 1917.
According to Saez’s study, which Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman drew attention (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/even-more-gilded/) to at his New York Times blog, the top 10 percent of earners in America now receive nearly 50 percent of all the income earned in the United States, a higher percentage than they did during the 1920s.
“After decades of stability in the post-war period, the top decile share has increased dramatically over the last twenty-five years and has now regained its pre-war level,” Saez writes. “Indeed, the top decile share in 2007 is equal to 49.7 percent, a level higher than any other year since [records began in] 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the ‘roaring’ 1920s.”
By comparison, during most of the 1970s the top 10 percent earned around 33 percent of all the income earned in the United States.
The contrast is even starker for the super-rich. The top 0.01 percent of earners in the US are now taking home six percent of all the income, higher than the 1920s peak of five percent, and a whopping six-fold increase since the start of the Reagan administration, when the top 0.01 percent earned one percent of all the income.
There is no consensus among economists on whether large disparities in income lead to economic disruption, but it is hard to ignore the correlation between rising income inequality and the onset of economic crisis. The last time the US saw similar differences in income was in 1928 and 1929, just before the start of the Great Depression.
Saez also broke the numbers down by administration, and found that while the wealthiest few saw their incomes rise as quickly during the Bush years as they did during the Clinton years, the same was not true for the rest of the population.
Saez suggests that the economic growth seen on paper during the Bush years was little more than an illusion for the vast majority of Americans, who saw their income grow much more slowly in the 2002-2007 period than they did during the Clinton years.

During both expansions, the incomes of the top 1 percent grew extremely quickly at an annual rate over 10.3 and 10.1 percent respectively. However, while the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew at a solid pace of 2.7 percent per year from 1993–2000, these incomes grew only 1.3 percent per year from 2002–2007. As a result, in the economic expansion of 2002-2007, the top 1 percent captured two thirds of income growth.
Those results may help explain the disconnect between the economic experiences of the public and the solid macroeconomic growth posted by the US economy since 2002. Those results may also help explain why the dramatic growth in top incomes during the Clinton administration did not generate much public outcry while there has been an extraordinary level of attention to top incomes in the press and in the public debate over the last two years.
Saez, who this spring won (http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2009/04/24/emanuel-saez-wins-big/) the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal for economists under 40, links this disparity to the Bush tax cuts, noting that “top income tax rates went up in 1993 during the Clinton administration (and hence a larger share of the gains made by top incomes was redistributed) while top income tax rates went down in 2001 during the Bush administration.”
TWO MORE RECESSIONS?
The economic crisis that has taken hold over the past year isn’t over, and the world could in fact see two more recessions before the crisis is finally over, says the chief economist of Germany’s influential Deutsche Bank.
Norbert Walter told CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/id/32396144) that investors are worried about the health of the US dollar, and many countries are facing difficult financial problems because of overspending by governments on bailouts and stimulus. Those things combined could push the world economy downwards not once but two more times in the near future, he said.
“I believe that the rescue packages brought on have been so costly for so many governments that the exit from this fiscal policy will be very painful, very painful indeed,” he said. “Some of us are already talking about a W-shaped recovery. I’d probably talk about a triple-U-shaped recovery because there are so many stumbling blocks here to get out of this.”
“The world is in trouble,” Walter told CNBC.

George Roberts
08-16-2009, 09:47 PM
"There is no consensus among economists on whether large disparities in income lead to economic disruption"

I thought the current problems were caused by banks loaning money to the poor. The poor who demanded easier access to money.

Keith Wilson
08-17-2009, 11:44 AM
“After decades of stability in the post-war period, the top decile share has increased dramatically over the last twenty-five years and has now regained its pre-war level,” My, what a surprise (heavy irony). This coincides exactly with resurgent conservatism; Ronald Reagan was elected 29 years ago. One of the unspoken central tenets of modern conservatism in the US is "increasing income inequality doesn't matter" - if not actually "increasing income inequality is a good thing". The effect of conservative polices - lower taxes, less progressive taxes, fewer government transfers of income, weaker unions, to mention a few, is what the article describes. What is surprising is that it's news.

John Smith
08-17-2009, 12:37 PM
Yep. Somewhere along the line America began to believe it's own hype and every joker on the planet decided he was going to live the life of the rich and famous. It was an impressive achievement in Marketing. Virtually everybody bit on the bait. All the economists (the few and ridiculed) who accurately predicted this downfall have more to say about our future, and the "bottom" is still much deeper and painful, and still in our futures.

Hopefully our children will have imbued upon them, a better sense of values, modesty, and happiness with fewer material goods (though all indicators are opposite in the circles I turn in....). I believe the last generation who understood this where those raised during the first big depression.
I think this reflects a very poor understanding of how things work. Those rich who keep getting richer NEED the poor to keep buying things whether they can afford them or not.

If a car salesman is working on commission, he will do what he can to sell his customer a more expensive vehicle (bigger commission), and he gets that commission whether car is repossessed in a year or not.

The problem with the poor folks, no offense intended, is they continue to be sold things through advertising. Who is sitting home, watching QVC all day and spending money?

I used to tell all the younger folks who got jobs where I worked that, on the other side of the door to outside, there's a world dedicated to separating you from your money. Once in a while it reaches inside via someone selling fundraisers.

The big failing of our educational system is in not providing basic money handling knowledge.

I'd also like to point out here, as it comes to mind, that eating healthy is more expensive than eating less healthy. If you have a family and wish to make turkey sandwiches, you can get processed turkey breast for $4 a lb. Real turkey breast is $8 a lb.

Uncle Duke
08-17-2009, 12:59 PM
George Roberts:

the current problems were caused by banks loaning money to the poor. The poor who demanded easier access to money. Not quite correct. Some of the current problems were, indeed, caused by a vast surge in risky loans. But "the poor" were not exactly lining up and picketing to get it, nor were they using the power of the ballot to vote in people who would mandate it.
The issue is that financial services companies discovered that they could bundle risky loans and get money for them, and therefore went on a binge of aggressively marketing risky loans to "the poor".
Agreed, "the poor" might have known better than to buy into the whole thing of "hey, you get a paycheck? Then you can buy this huge house in a rich neighborhood!!!", but this didn't start because they were "demanding" it. They were specifically marketed to and sold - convinced to buy into the fiction.

cbcc
08-17-2009, 01:38 PM
You can bet your ass the rich aren't spending their time in the bilge whining about how much money everybody else makes.

TimH
08-17-2009, 01:41 PM
Hey, what the hell. Stratified society works great in Mexico doesnt it?

LeeG
08-17-2009, 01:45 PM
You can bet your ass the rich aren't spending their time in the bilge whining about how much money everybody else makes.

possibly not, more likely they are creating shell think tanks and media outlets that are purveyors of disinformation.

cbcc
08-17-2009, 01:47 PM
25,701 posts? Have you no life outside this forum?

Keith Wilson
08-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Ah, the traditional answers - "You're just jealous", or, "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"

LeeG
08-17-2009, 02:10 PM
25,701 posts? Have you no life outside this forum?

no, but if you want a date I'm already taken.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
08-17-2009, 05:06 PM
I'd also like to point out here, as it comes to mind, that eating healthy is more expensive than eating less healthy. If you have a family and wish to make turkey sandwiches, you can get processed turkey breast for $4 a lb. Real turkey breast is $8 a lb.

I agree with all of your points in your post except the above, partly. The dollar specials at McDonalds are cheaper than much healthier food, but not by much. Organic food is more expensive than, well, "inorganic". :) Look at recent immigrants. They (and I) shop at ethnic markets in bulk and cook very healthy meals from fresh or dried vegetables for much cheaper than the domestic poor eating unhealthy processed foods. The problem is people have forgotten how to cook, or rather, the skills have not been handed down. (Strongly encouraged by Madison Avenue selling "Hot Pockets" amd "Rice a Roni", et al.) I frequently buy good beef for $2 a pound and chicken for 75 cents (whole, I have to cut it up), at an expensive local market; they frequently have "specials" (with their "card", which I filled out the app for with phony info, I hate tracking), the specials are their loss leaders to pull people in. I don't buy anything except the specials. I can make a great, healthy meal consisting of a large portion of braised beef and vegetables or chicken cacciatore, for $3 a head. Only slightly more for NY steaks, when they are on special for $6 a pound (half price, with card).

George Roberts
08-17-2009, 05:39 PM
George Roberts:
Not quite correct. Some of the current problems were, indeed, caused by a vast surge in risky loans. But "the poor" were not exactly lining up and picketing to get it, nor were they using the power of the ballot to vote in people who would mandate it.
The issue is that financial services companies discovered that they could bundle risky loans and get money for them, and therefore went on a binge of aggressively marketing risky loans to "the poor".
Agreed, "the poor" might have known better than to buy into the whole thing of "hey, you get a paycheck? Then you can buy this huge house in a rich neighborhood!!!", but this didn't start because they were "demanding" it. They were specifically marketed to and sold - convinced to buy into the fiction.

You might review history. There are at least several historical complaints that the poor were locked out of home ownership and the financial system. The poor were begging for money. Perhaps not the poor, but advocates for the poor.

On the other hand the bailout seemed to benefit the rich and middle class much more than the poor.

---

My solution was simply for the government to pay off the loans for the poor (and any middle and rich) who fell victim of the situation.

John Smith
08-17-2009, 06:17 PM
I agree with all of your points in your post except the above, partly. The dollar specials at McDonalds are cheaper than much healthier food, but not by much. Organic food is more expensive than, well, "inorganic". :) Look at recent immigrants. They (and I) shop at ethnic markets in bulk and cook very healthy meals from fresh or dried vegetables for much cheaper than the domestic poor eating unhealthy processed foods. The problem is people have forgotten how to cook, or rather, the skills have not been handed down. (Strongly encouraged by Madison Avenue selling "Hot Pockets" amd "Rice a Roni", et al.) I frequently buy good beef for $2 a pound and chicken for 75 cents (whole, I have to cut it up), at an expensive local market; they frequently have "specials" (with their "card", which I filled out the app for with phony info, I hate tracking), the specials are their loss leaders to pull people in. I don't buy anything except the specials. I can make a great, healthy meal consisting of a large portion of braised beef and vegetables or chicken cacciatore, for $3 a head. Only slightly more for NY steaks, when they are on special for $6 a pound (half price, with card).
A single working mom may not have the time to do all that cooking and shopping. Also, Penn & Teller did a nice half hour on the myths of organic foods.

I'm just pointing out that if you buy beef, the leaner the meat, the higher the per lb price. Processed cold cuts are cheaper than non processed cold cuts. Rye bread costs more than white bread.

When one has a very limited budget, Hamburger helper feeds the family. Hot dogs are still pretty cheap, too. The healthier the food, the more time and money it costs.

When I was a boy, my grandfather raised his own chickens. He'd kill one and grandma would cook it for dinner that night. She spent her entire day working on dinner.

Uncle Duke
08-17-2009, 06:43 PM
George Roberts:

You might review history. There are at least several historical complaints that the poor were locked out of home ownership and the financial system. The poor were begging for money. Perhaps not the poor, but advocates for the poor.
You might review reality.
At least you admit that maybe the "poor" were not begging, but now saying that that advocates were - different than your original "The poor who demanded easier access to money". Sure.
In reality, advocates for solving ( or at least mitigating ) poverty have said for years that home ownership would be a good step.... but to extrapolate that to say that the current economic crisis is caused by poor people demanding free money (which you did) is not only wrong but indefensible. Advocates for home ownership for the poor have been around since the 1960's and nothing happened until mortgage brokers, bankers and traders figured out how to make money by selling risky debt to the "next sucker" who would sell it to the "next sucker", etc., until there were no suckers left.
[edited to add] And you need to remember, George, that housing advocates never pressed for insane loans to be made - they pressed for affordable housing. Very different.

If you feel better blaming the crisis on "poor people", well then, go ahead. But it is not supported by reality.

Driver Mark
08-17-2009, 06:44 PM
You might review history. There are at least several historical complaints that the poor were locked out of home ownership and the financial system. The poor were begging for money. Perhaps not the poor, but advocates for the poor.

On the other hand the bailout seemed to benefit the rich and middle class much more than the poor.

---

My solution was simply for the government to pay off the loans for the poor (and any middle and rich) who fell victim of the situation.
George,
I must've missed out on something, please explain....
How did the middle class benefit from the bail out?

George Roberts
08-18-2009, 05:46 AM
George,
I must've missed out on something, please explain....
How did the middle class benefit from the bail out?

At least some of the middle class held worthless assets that became more valuable because of the bail out.

George Roberts
08-18-2009, 05:56 AM
George Roberts:

You might review reality.
At least you admit that maybe the "poor" were not begging, but now saying that that advocates were - different than your original "The poor who demanded easier access to money". Sure.
In reality, advocates for solving ( or at least mitigating ) poverty have said for years that home ownership would be a good step.... but to extrapolate that to say that the current economic crisis is caused by poor people demanding free money (which you did) is not only wrong but indefensible. Advocates for home ownership for the poor have been around since the 1960's and nothing happened until mortgage brokers, bankers and traders figured out how to make money by selling risky debt to the "next sucker" who would sell it to the "next sucker", etc., until there were no suckers left.
[edited to add] And you need to remember, George, that housing advocates never pressed for insane loans to be made - they pressed for affordable housing. Very different.

If you feel better blaming the crisis on "poor people", well then, go ahead. But it is not supported by reality.

Actually I said "The poor who demanded easier access to money." Later I included "advocates for the poor."

Lots of blame to go around. Feel free to blame those you wish to.

C. Ross
08-18-2009, 06:12 AM
My, what a surprise (heavy irony). This coincides exactly with resurgent conservatism; Ronald Reagan was elected 29 years ago. One of the unspoken central tenets of modern conservatism in the US is "increasing income inequality doesn't matter" - if not actually "increasing income inequality is a good thing". The effect of conservative polices - lower taxes, less progressive taxes, fewer government transfers of income, weaker unions, to mention a few, is what the article describes. What is surprising is that it's news.

With all due respect, the income inequality has nothing to do with any of the things you mention, except maybe weaker unions.

Tax rates for the upper brackets would have to be negative, not reduced or less progressive, to generate the results we've seen. Government transfers of income, other than Social Security, are simply not material in this comparison. Moreover, if you tried to use government policy alone to redistribute income, the policies would be confiscatory and socialist.

The cause of this inequality (read the article and similar literature) is massively increased compensation for executives and professionals and lagging wages for other working people. This is a serious cultural problem, not a government policy problem, that comes from over-rewarding charismatic individual leadership and under-valuing teams.

Driver Mark
08-18-2009, 06:54 AM
With all due respect, the income inequality has nothing to do with any of the things you mention, except maybe weaker unions.

Tax rates for the upper brackets would have to be negative, not reduced or less progressive, to generate the results we've seen. Government transfers of income, other than Social Security, are simply not material in this comparison. Moreover, if you tried to use government policy alone to redistribute income, the policies would be confiscatory and socialist.

The cause of this inequality (read the article and similar literature) is massively increased compensation for executives and professionals and lagging wages for other working people. This is a serious cultural problem, not a government policy problem, that comes from over-rewarding charismatic individual leadership and under-valuing teams.




Over rewarding charismatic individual leadership no matter how miserably they fail

George Roberts
08-18-2009, 08:10 AM
The cause of this inequality (read the article and similar literature) is massively increased compensation for executives and professionals and lagging wages for other working people. This is a serious cultural problem, not a government policy problem, that comes from over-rewarding charismatic individual leadership and under-valuing teams.

One could argue that the minimum wages laws over-reward those doing the lower paid jobs.

But there are other issues also. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet have become rich without much complaint. "over-rewarding charismatic individual leadership" seems to be relevant there as well.

---

But a lot of complaints simply depend on where you sit in a transaction.

The trader who made $100 million this year looks over paid by most people here. But the people he made $2 billion for seem happy to pay him.

Airlines seem to be a money losing business. The CEOs get paid not so much to make money for the company but to provide air service to those wishing to fly.

John Smith
08-18-2009, 08:26 AM
Actually I said "The poor who demanded easier access to money." Later I included "advocates for the poor."

Lots of blame to go around. Feel free to blame those you wish to.
I don't think that's exactly right. If you take the time to really look into the history of this, you will find, I believe, that perfectly qualified buyers were unable to get mortgages because they were not white.

This practice was illegal, and the banking industry go caught. This led to an overreaction, possibly intentionally, of giving mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, under the subterfuge that "they had to".

In my opinion, this was designed to create statistics to show minorities are a bad credit risk.

C. Ross
08-18-2009, 08:27 AM
One could argue that the minimum wages laws over-reward those doing the lower paid jobs.

Not for most people in lower paid jobs. But for the deadbeats, absolutely.


Bill Gates, Warren Buffet have become rich without much complaint. "over-rewarding charismatic individual leadership" seems to be relevant there as well.

---

But a lot of complaints simply depend on where you sit in a transaction.

The trader who made $100 million this year looks over paid by most people here. But the people he made $2 billion for seem happy to pay him.

Airlines seem to be a money losing business. The CEOs get paid not so much to make money for the company but to provide air service to those wishing to fly.

Of course, and I'm completely in favor of truly exceptional performers being paid exceptionally. I point this out to my boss every year. <grin>

But there is no proof that executives and other highly compensated individuals, as a class, have generated value increases relative to their compensation increases over the last two decades. This is bad for stockholders and for the stability of the businesses that employ them.

John Smith
08-18-2009, 08:29 AM
One could argue that the minimum wages laws over-reward those doing the lower paid jobs.

But there are other issues also. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet have become rich without much complaint. "over-rewarding charismatic individual leadership" seems to be relevant there as well.

---

But a lot of complaints simply depend on where you sit in a transaction.

The trader who made $100 million this year looks over paid by most people here. But the people he made $2 billion for seem happy to pay him.

Airlines seem to be a money losing business. The CEOs get paid not so much to make money for the company but to provide air service to those wishing to fly.
I'm going to be redundant here, but what pisses me, and I suspect others, off is the guy, years back, who worked at Disney for a year that didn't work out well at all. He left with a $97 million package. AFTER A FAILED YEAR?

Cheney left Halliburton with a $22 million parachute AFTER cutting health benefits for retired employees. He could have done fine with $20 million and given the retirees better benefits.

George Roberts
08-18-2009, 11:09 AM
Not for most people in lower paid jobs.

I agree. But you do see the parallel in the government determining the fairness of compensation.


But there is no proof that executives and other highly compensated individuals, as a class, have generated value increases relative to their compensation increases over the last two decades. This is bad for stockholders and for the stability of the businesses that employ them.

But the point is that the owners of the company - stockholders, can control compensation and the stability of the business. It seems reasonable to let them manage their business. At least, more reasonable than having the government do it.

One problem we have with publicly traded companies is that the owners tend to be individuals with no ability to run a company. The owners let management do as it pleases. Certainly a problem, from my point of view, but one that the owners need to address rather than the government.

That is a big reason to not invest in publicly traded companies. It is much better to invest in something you know and have control of.

BrianM
08-18-2009, 11:15 AM
I think this reflects a very poor understanding of how things work.......

John,

Your reply is not only condescending, but confusing, because we AGREE.....

"Yep. Somewhere along the line America began to believe it's own hype and every joker on the planet decided he was going to live the life of the rich and famous. It was an impressive achievement in Marketing. Virtually everybody bit on the bait."

"The problem with the poor folks, no offense intended, is they continue to be sold things through advertising. Who is sitting home, watching QVC all day and spending money?"

How are you defining "poor folks"? Driveways all across this land are filled with brands of cars once considered the "high end" (ala Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, Audi, BMW).

Millions of "Poor People" took out equity lines of credit and bought these brands, many of which specifically created a "Down Market" subset (Mercedes sold $28-35 "low end" cars specifically to perpetuate the "Myth"... "we are all wealthy"...) This end of the market were not Doctors, Lawyers, and other traditionally high incomed people, but instead, tradesmen, non-management white collar ext.


My point is that the "poor" (as opposed to the "rich who keep getting richer"), also include the "middle class" who by definition, are better educated, and presumably have the tools to make more responsible purchasing decisions. The "middle class" made the decisions to make very poor bets on the future, and take equity out of their homes and piss it away on the "trappings" of the "wealthy".

Let's talk a little about personal responsibility. Some people embrace the idea, some people take a view that life washes over them, and that their situations are a result of somebody else s actions. Nobody is forcing anybody to live beyond their means. To think of the "poor" as uneducated group of "victims" is also a condescending attitude. Some of the world's most ambitious and successful people come from very modest means.

Milo Christensen
08-18-2009, 11:33 AM
. . . Will the Coca Cola candidate prevail over the Pepsi candidate? . . .

Give me Pepsi or give me heartburn and gas. What is it about Coke anyway?

John Smith
08-18-2009, 01:20 PM
I agree. But you do see the parallel in the government determining the fairness of compensation.



But the point is that the owners of the company - stockholders, can control compensation and the stability of the business. It seems reasonable to let them manage their business. At least, more reasonable than having the government do it.

One problem we have with publicly traded companies is that the owners tend to be individuals with no ability to run a company. The owners let management do as it pleases. Certainly a problem, from my point of view, but one that the owners need to address rather than the government.

That is a big reason to not invest in publicly traded companies. It is much better to invest in something you know and have control of.
Yeah, Enron did a great job.

Why do you believe, in 2009, that a private business with no government oversight is going to be well run, be honest, and pay its workers decently?

How can anyone in any corporation justify a million dollar raise or bonus without giving his employees anything?

John Smith
08-18-2009, 01:26 PM
John,

Your reply is not only condescending, but confusing, because we AGREE.....

"Yep. Somewhere along the line America began to believe it's own hype and every joker on the planet decided he was going to live the life of the rich and famous. It was an impressive achievement in Marketing. Virtually everybody bit on the bait."

"The problem with the poor folks, no offense intended, is they continue to be sold things through advertising. Who is sitting home, watching QVC all day and spending money?"

How are you defining "poor folks"? Driveways all across this land are filled with brands of cars once considered the "high end" (ala Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, Audi, BMW).

Millions of "Poor People" took out equity lines of credit and bought these brands, many of which specifically created a "Down Market" subset (Mercedes sold $28-35 "low end" cars specifically to perpetuate the "Myth"... "we are all wealthy"...) This end of the market were not Doctors, Lawyers, and other traditionally high incomed people, but instead, tradesmen, non-management white collar ext.


My point is that the "poor" (as opposed to the "rich who keep getting richer"), also include the "middle class" who by definition, are better educated, and presumably have the tools to make more responsible purchasing decisions. The "middle class" made the decisions to make very poor bets on the future, and take equity out of their homes and piss it away on the "trappings" of the "wealthy".

Let's talk a little about personal responsibility. Some people embrace the idea, some people take a view that life washes over them, and that their situations are a result of somebody else s actions. Nobody is forcing anybody to live beyond their means. To think of the "poor" as uneducated group of "victims" is also a condescending attitude. Some of the world's most ambitious and successful people come from very modest means.

Many people want "status". It's expensive. Most people live ahead of their income, which is different, I think, than living above it. Living ahead, buying today based on future income is expensive.

No one in my neighborhood is driving a Lexus or a Mercedes. You will find Toyotas, Hondas, Hyundais and such in the communities driveways.

However, if you take a ride to any harbor, you will find lots and lots of VERY expensive boats/yachts. Seems there are still a lot of people with a lot of money.

I suspect, however, for every person who makes more money, there are many making less money. Assuming money is a finite resource, if someone gets more, someone else must get less, no?

Getting to the vehicles. I have no doubt the salesperson will try to sell the customer a Lexus rather than a Toyota, as he gets a larger commission. He'll help get the financing. He doesn't care if you can afford it or not, as he gets his commission whether you pay off the loan or the car is repossessed.

We both know many people who have a chamaigne taste on a beer bank account.

Keith Wilson
08-18-2009, 01:42 PM
The middle class borrowing too much money during the housing bubble has essentially nothing to do with the increasing concentration of income.

C. Ross
08-18-2009, 03:04 PM
I suspect, however, for every person who makes more money, there are many making less money. Assuming money is a finite resource, if someone gets more, someone else must get less, no?

Oh my. No.

You are kidding, right?

High C
08-18-2009, 03:10 PM
....Assuming money is a finite resource, if someone gets more, someone else must get less, no?....

Oh boy....

Kaa
08-18-2009, 03:15 PM
Why do you believe, in 2009, that a private business with no government oversight is going to be well run, be honest, and pay its workers decently?

:eek: :eek:

And once more -- oh, boy...

Kaa

Art Read
08-18-2009, 03:21 PM
"Assuming money is a finite resource, if someone gets more, someone else must get less, no?"

_______________________________________________

PLEASE google "Zero Sum economics". Please... That is not only a common and erroneous myth, it's a destructive one.

Captain Blight
08-18-2009, 03:23 PM
I'm not jealous. I'm outraged and madder'n dammit.

I'm not rich because the Gizmo patent hasn't been filed yet ;). But that isn't all of it: There seems to be a theory--completely ungrounded, btw-- that if you're smart, you'll make money. Well, I have plenty of mental horsepower; but I also never finished my degree, have worked blue-collar trades all my life and HOLY **** now I'm almost 42 with a job-hopper resume.

Wanna give me a job? I'll do the very best work I can do. Oh, no, that's OK; I understand. No, really. I know it's more important that your CEO gets to get that third beach house. I'll just stand over here and watch my relationship fall completely apart because my fiancee can't take the strain any more.


Sonsabitches. I'm all for free enterprise, but I think there is something seriously rotten at the heart of a culture when ANYONE can defend the actions of those dickheads at Bear, Stearns and their assorted ilk.

Kaa
08-18-2009, 03:28 PM
There seems to be a theory--completely ungrounded, btw-- that if you're smart, you'll make money.

Being smart is generally necessary but not sufficient.

Case in point: :-P


Well, I have plenty of mental horsepower; but I also never finished my degree, have worked blue-collar trades all my life and HOLY **** now I'm almost 42 with a job-hopper resume.


I'll just stand over here and watch my relationship fall completely apart because my fiancee can't take the strain any more.

Dude. It's your life. It's up to you, personally, to deal with it, and fix it, and live it. No one owes you anything and whining is kinda unbecoming.

Kaa

Rigadog
08-18-2009, 03:38 PM
We're already a plutocracy.... and the overwhelming influence of insurance companies and big pharma, in the current health care debate, more or less proves it. Presuming the trends of the past several decades are unchanged, we're pretty soon going to see political candidates identified not by their party, but by their corporate affiliation. Will the Coca Cola candidate prevail over the Pepsi candidate?

Well, democracy was great... while it lasted.

And they will appear on the floor of Congress wearing Nascar jackets with the names of their corporate sponsors plastered over every square inch.

Rigadog
08-18-2009, 03:42 PM
BTW, as I understand the Banking debacle it was caused by a relaxation of oversight and "Fractional reserve banking practices" where there was very little real "capital" behind our Capitaliam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional-reserve_banking

donald branscom
08-18-2009, 03:52 PM
My, what a surprise (heavy irony). This coincides exactly with resurgent conservatism; Ronald Reagan was elected 29 years ago. One of the unspoken central tenets of modern conservatism in the US is "increasing income inequality doesn't matter" - if not actually "increasing income inequality is a good thing". The effect of conservative polices - lower taxes, less progressive taxes, fewer government transfers of income, weaker unions, to mention a few, is what the article describes. What is surprising is that it's news.

I will never forget Reagan.
He passed a law saying that Medical patients could not have a tooth repaired if it needed a root canal, and that it could only be pulled out.
Also he tried to stop Social Security as did Bush SR. and Bush JR.
Of coarse Bush junior want all Americans social Security to go into stocks.
of coarse we know how that has gone.
Like the average American worker would know how to invest in stocks.
Of coarse the wealthy invest in Bonds because they get paid BEFORE stockholders if there is trouble.
Also Reagan said in the SF Chronicle in 1989 that there were too many blacks in the military and it was threatening the US security. He recommended more white babies. Of coarse most of the men i served with during the Viet Nam war were blacks.

Captain Blight
08-18-2009, 04:12 PM
No one owes you anything and whining is kinda unbecoming.

KaaBut whYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????

Kaa
08-18-2009, 04:20 PM
But whYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????

'cause life sucks and then you die :D

Deal.

Kaa

Captain Blight
08-18-2009, 04:21 PM
I do deal with it. This is how I deal with it.


Deal.

Kaa
08-18-2009, 04:23 PM
I do deal with it. This is how I deal with it.


Deal.

I do deal with it. This is how I deal with it.

Deal.

:D

Kaa

Captain Blight
08-18-2009, 04:33 PM
But WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY ?!?!?!?!?


Okay, we'd better stop now.

Keith Wilson
08-18-2009, 04:41 PM
Assuming money is a finite resource, if someone gets more, someone else must get less, no?Several other people have already addressed this, but this is quite spectacularly wrong. Wealth increases as human knowledge of how to do things and make things increases. It is most certainly NOT a zero-sum game.

Dan McCosh
08-18-2009, 04:47 PM
The creation and distribution of wealth are two different issues, not necessarily related. Redistribution itself is a zero-sum game, while the creation of wealth is not.

Art Read
08-18-2009, 05:58 PM
"Redistribution itself is a zero-sum game, while the creation of wealth is not."

________________________________________________

And the most effective means of discouraging that creation mankind has ever devised is to "redistribute" it!

High C
08-18-2009, 06:19 PM
Funny, I'm not rich, but I'm getting richer. That's the general trend around here, too. Seems it's good policy to not live beyond your means like so much of the country got caught doing. A touch of poverty might be good for you after all.