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Americans watch protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands...

Americans watch protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in the U.S., 1% of the people take nearly 25% of all income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret, Joseph Stiglitz writes. The top 1% may have the best houses, educations and lifestyles, but "their fate is bound up with how the other 99% live."
Comments (53)
  • Stiglitz too is in the top 1% but you would be hard pressed to find it unfair unless he is on a board of directors that rewards its corporate executives with obscene pay packages and hobnobs with politicians. Socialism or confiscatory taxation will take down the truly productive along with the corporate and banking parasites. The problem is corruption at every level of society and complacency of the sheeple. Without integrity in our institutions, nothing else matters.
    6 Apr 2011, 06:01 PM Reply Like
  • But we don't have socialism. We have banksterism. The profits are privatized. And Marx predicted the demise of capitalism because he did not foresee social safety nets.
    7 Apr 2011, 04:17 AM Reply Like
  • Yeah but here is the good news:
    99% of Americans have their I-Pads, I-Phones and Facebook to keep them happy and provide for their retirement right?
    I mean they can sell those items and maybe lease their Facebook pages out for $$ so they can eat during retirement.
    I mean there are so many reality TV shows out there to keep the masses pacified, why worry when there are so many other things to watch on TV and worry about...like Kirsty Alley falling down right?

     

    Like i have said many times...life is about one word: choice.

     

    Choice is going to come back and haunt people, a lot of people for many years to come.
    6 Apr 2011, 06:03 PM Reply Like
  • A very thoughtful article, for anyone who bothers to click on the link and read it before joining the debating club.

     

    The article notes that we have government of, by and for the top 1%. Their children do not serve in the armed forces. Any taxes required to fund foreign adventures are easily paid, or for that matter evaded by means of any of the many loopholes built into our codes. So our rulers have every reason to get involved in thinly disguised resource grabs over oil.

     

    Government is now run for the benefit of the wealthy and by extension for the benefit of large multi national corporations. Recently both MMM and HON bullied their state governments over taxes, threatening to leave if they didn't get concessions. It goes on and on.

     

    The investment implications are, to own or control as many shares of large multi-nationals as your resources permit. Corporations don't get old and die and leave their money to heirs who squander it. They just keep growing and getting more powerful.
    6 Apr 2011, 06:24 PM Reply Like
  • Is this a revision to the Pareto Principal? If so I'd like to see more data. And while we are at it, would someone please explain the correlation between oppressive regimes and over-achievers?
    6 Apr 2011, 06:29 PM Reply Like
  • ...and we pay 38% of all the income tax. Let's repeat that...ok?

     

    So we receive 25% of the income and PAY 38% of all Income Tax.

     

    What could be fairer?

     

    I listened to some fool opining recently about how I must pay my "fair share" - so tell me what is fair? I paid over $120,000 of income tax last year. I am one person. I have a wife. That's it. Don't get Medicaid, Medicare, or any other sort of payment, never receive welfare. Even had to pay for my own green card - there are plenty of fees with that. My Company is not the benficiary of any corporate welfare program.

     

    As far as I can tell - The US government spent about $3T in 2010 - my fair share is about $9,000 - for me and my wife that's $20,000 for the two of us. I will round up.

     

    Ok. quadruple it - I want to be fair - $80,000. Plus there's interest on the debt.

     

    Not enough? Raise it by 50%.

     

    Still not paying my fair share?

     

    Do you understand why people are angry?
    Do you see get this?

     

    Here's another debate that is emblematic of the problem -
    NPR - should it be funded by Government? I love NPR - it is very good. Sure it has a bias. So what. They do a good job. Let them be

     

    But I want to defund it - why? Three reasons -
    1. Government has no business subsidizing media. PERIOD. The Soviet Union had Pravda - and we know how that ended.
    2. In 2011 there are dozens of media outlets available to you - government does not need to provide this -
    3. but the most compelling reason to defund it - is to take the $600m which is basically a subsidy to the middle class - that's who listens to NPR - take that money away - let the middle class pay for it - and put that money to work helping people who are truly poor and in need.

     

    The issue is not that government is the enemy - the issue is that all the subsidy and entitlement and safety net that was supposed to be for the old and sick and the poor is now like a warm blanket for the middle classes - "entitlement creep" - and the inability to say no - that is what has caused the bloat. That is why my fair share has to get bigger.

     

    I am NOT ok with that.. I am ok with paying more than my fair share to cover the folks who need it and who cannot live without - heck give them more - but not to pay for middle class welfare programs.

     

    And another thing. Just say thank-you and stop beating me up for being more successful than average and more successful than you. I may just stop. Some overrated right wing philosopher/novelist once wrote a long boring book about somehing like that - be careful you don't want to get stuck in an Ayn Rand novel.

     

    E
    6 Apr 2011, 06:31 PM Reply Like
  • The tax one pays should be proportional to what they consume & receive benefits for. Revoke income tax and replace with a sales tax. Exclude food items if you want to as they already in states with income tax. Afraid the sales tax is going to be too high? Well, you are welcome not to buy things you do not need!
    6 Apr 2011, 06:47 PM Reply Like
  • Congratulations on your success.

     

    Are you hiring?
    6 Apr 2011, 06:50 PM Reply Like
  • If you're so successful why are you wasting your time on a bush league blogging site?
    6 Apr 2011, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • If the tax is proportional to what one consumes then we wouldn't need a tax since it would be a wash. I agree, but keep in mind that taxes are confiscated for a reason. If it was as fair as you suggest, then there could be no redistribution. If there was no redistribution, then the politicians couldn't lie anymore to give free shit, stolen from you to give to someone else, for votes. They need to steal from you in order to 'give' it to someone else. This is called democracy.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:03 PM Reply Like
  • Others like you are more noble than you are, Econdoc. Perhaps you are not high enough on the food chain to really be in that top 1 percent. And income isn't the key, it is total wealth. The top 1 percent control about 40 percent of the wealth, so they are under taxed. And they are undertaxed because many were engaged in ponzi housing and other scams that were not prosecuted. The government used to be able to take down banks, with the S and L crisis. Now they have lost that power. It is a fascistic reality.
    7 Apr 2011, 04:21 AM Reply Like
  • If he only paid 120k in taxes he is a small fish. He thinks he is a big fish, but he isn't.
    7 Apr 2011, 04:23 AM Reply Like
  • Couldn't agree with you more, E.

     

    I'm tired of paying more than my fair share. I just don't want to pay everyone elses. I'm not wealthy, just very comfortable. But I've been working a full-time and a part-time job since I was 18, which was 35 years ago. I went to school 2 nights a week for 16 years and worked many long hours on the road. Now that I am getting ready to retire, I get even angrier when I see what our government is doing.

     

    I get tired of the "Tax the rich" rhetoric. The thing that has always made this country great is that if you want to work hard, you can enjoy the rewards. Why should I provide rewards for someone who does not want to work hard. I have no problem helping those who truly can't provide for themselves, but I do have a problem with providing more than temporary help to those who have the ability to do something with their lives but choose not to.

     

    Right on about taxes. Why should I pay a larger percentage of my income just because I make more money? Am I a larger drain on society? That's why I'm all behind some form of flat tax and/or consumption tax. Tax me on what I use, don't tax me because I work my butt off and am successful because of that.

     

    OK, I feel better now.
    9 Apr 2011, 08:59 AM Reply Like
  • you want to know what is unfair....over 50% of the people in this country pay NO INCOME taxes....over 50%...they should pay something...no skin in the game...no risk...
    6 Apr 2011, 06:39 PM Reply Like
  • yes. everybody must pay something.

     

    if you want fair - then what could be fairer than that?

     

    E
    6 Apr 2011, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • Careful. Broaden the base too much and democrats will never get elected ever again. Can't have that. We need our zit-faced vaudeville carnie operators, barking into megaphones to the smell of 4H hog shit and deep fried churrohs. Dumb zombie voters must be retained at all costs to keep the game show hosts in power.
    6 Apr 2011, 06:59 PM Reply Like
  • They have risk. They have the risk of being ripped of by ponzi banksters. Daily.
    7 Apr 2011, 04:24 AM Reply Like
  • That's the problem, I would support a raise on income taxes on the wealthy ONLY if we can get the actuarial 50% who paid taxes to above 75%.....
    Let's stop the freeloading and all the inconsequential loopholes.....
    6 Apr 2011, 06:43 PM Reply Like
  • Today's poor are some of the richest in America's history so if they want to bitch, fine, bitch, but understand that when you get your food stamps and 2 years unemployment(or better an extension from the Health & Human Services) and then go waddle back in front of your 60 inch flatscreen with a malt liquor from the government then you better thank duh RICH for your lavish paradise, bitch.

     

    I agree. Taxes need to be higher for EVERYONE. Rich, middle and especially 'poor'. Broaden the base, especially if 'the base' wants more 'free shit'.
    6 Apr 2011, 06:45 PM Reply Like
  • Taxes for wealthy are at a 50 year low. Top 5% tell us everone must pay more taxes but not them.
    6 Apr 2011, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • Yeah, let's go back to 90% marginal rates. HAHAHAHAHA!
    6 Apr 2011, 06:55 PM Reply Like
  • Terry330

     

    "Taxes for wealthy are at a 50 year low. Top 5% tell us everone must pay more taxes but not them."

     

    Obviously you are talking about rates not dollars paid because the top income earners pay more than ever. You have no chance of winning that arguement. What do you prefer a higher rate and less dollars or more dollars?

     

    But since we are throwing out high level statements then here is a few more. GNP hovering near 50 year highs also. USSR face down in the gutter. Berlin wall down and out. China going capitalist. India coming out of too smart by half fling with socialism and avoiding starvation. Cuba still an armpit under Castro. North Korea another centrally planned and controlled armpit. Americans standard of living up across the board even with all the recent pain. Americans fatter than ever.

     

    Centrally controlled economies not looking good over the past 50 years.
    6 Apr 2011, 10:01 PM Reply Like
  • Not for 90 percent, but too much excess wealth at the top fuels speculation that is hurtful to the rest of us.
    19 Jun 2011, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • Only if you believe in fixed pie economics, which is believing in a world where there is no growth. I want the rich to get richer. It helps the poor become less poor even as the definition of 'poor' gets diluted more and more into insignificance.

     

    Egalitarianism is another word for envy. And the egalitarianists would have us all suffer under equal misery rather than unequal yet wealthier results.

     

    Your ideal world is Cuba. Your utopia, North Korea. Everyone has the same grass for dinner. Equal & fair.
    19 Jun 2011, 03:42 PM Reply Like
  • Growth in our environment, Wyatt, is suspect. Speculative growth is false growth Wyatt. You must distinguish between spec growth and sound growth. You don't see the difference Wyatt?
    25 Jun 2011, 11:38 AM Reply Like
  • Terry,
    If that's your real Picture, I will excuse you from having to pay taxes.

     

    www.cnbc.com/id/42251744
    6 Apr 2011, 06:58 PM Reply Like
  • I do not know if anyone else read the following but it was not long ago i either read or heard this somewhere:

     

    Many, many people in the US who earn only $20K per year, receive govt housing (or help with it), receive govt help for energy costs, food stamps, other subsidies, etc, are in fact actually earning and living the equivalent life of an American family that earns $60K per year though the family that is earning $60K per year is going out everyday and working for it.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:06 PM Reply Like
  • Don't tell that to Tommy boy, AI.

     

    He wants the 90% marginals back!

     

    At that point we could just run a blood funnel into the neck of Billy Gates and Warren Buffet and drain them out into a lard vat for the gimme gimme DNC chad yanker.

     

    Like bleeding out a goat at a Marilyn Manson concert.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:10 PM Reply Like
  • Yep, Archman...you are spot on...
    What is happening to this generation of Americans that need their Nanny Government for everything...what happened of hardship, individualism, success?

     

    What signal are we sending to our kids? We are encouraging the parasites to suck more wealth and in the process destroying the pillars of our Nation...
    6 Apr 2011, 07:16 PM Reply Like
  • If the top 1% does it legally and adds to our quality of life by creating new products and such, I say "Great, let them have it." That 1% includes a number of celebrities - do they deserve the money? I don't think so, but I ain't the one paying them. Then again, that top 1% also includes derivative traders, drug dealers, politicians and likely the guy who invented MBSes. I'm not so crazy about them doing so well, either, but that's just me.

     

    So what is the point? Well, an article about how "1% of the population makes 25% of the income" is great for stoking the old class war bullshit fires, but outside of that it tells us nothing new. Stiglitz doesn't really present a "solution" but if he thinks taxes are it, we once had a 90% marginal tax bracket in this country and what happened was that the big money invested in municipal bonds or non-income generating collectibles or else they just lobbied their pals in congress to give them a big tax deduction for their Irish setter or something. But it fixed nothing. And if he thinks communism is the "solution", I got 4 letters for you: USSR. If one resents rich people that much, maybe they'd like lining up for bread better. North Korea still presents the chance to sample that lifestyle. Folks like Oliver Stone sing its praises but I don't see them moving there.

     

    So outside of doing a bit of "been there, said that", I'm not sure why Stiglitz bothered writing this. Maybe the magazine is the clue: Vanity Fair.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:23 PM Reply Like
  • It would be hilarious to just have a national debate about taking all the wealth from all the people with net worths over let's say $5 million. Leave them $1 million to live on.

     

    We would have more congressmen and Hollywood types joining the Tea Party than we could imagine. Abandon ship!!!!
    6 Apr 2011, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • I have a funny story that Terry 33D won't like, but some of you might. A doctor acquaintance of mine had a thriving practice that earned him upwards of $1M a year. He often worked 16 hour days and made hospital rounds most weekends. A large national medical chain was interested in buying his practice and hiring him to run it. They paid him a multiple of his gross billings for his practice and a salary of $650K. After the first year, the national chain was flummoxed. The practice was grossing less than half what it had before they bought it and they weren't even covering their overhead. The doctor was making less money but he no longer worked nights or weekends. Oh, I almost forgot. He was paying less taxes too.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:32 PM Reply Like
  • Just Socialist Talking Points, and already tiresome.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:33 PM Reply Like
  • The guy who wrote the article, Joseph Stiglitz, is a complete biased idiot trying to pass himself off as a journalist. I do recall back in college that nobody with any real brains was going into journalism so I should not be surprised. The blind leading the blind.

     

    There are too many examples to mention but let's start with him hitting hard on capital gains as people getting a free ride. Perhaps it is if you don't want anyone to get rich and are a socialist but it also creates a lot of jobs in startup companies and that is the focus of this particular tax law. If he wants to complain he should go after favored tax treatment of municipal bond interest which has more moldy money and old line democratic supporters than we can list on this site. But instead let's go after whatever job engine we have and take that down because someone might get rich. And BTW, the number of companies that fail and never reach capital gains status is many multiples of the ones that succeed.

     

    I travel to other parts of the world and if you want to see inequality and poverty by every measure then hop on a plane and tour the world. If the USA is a failure then sign me up for the remake.

     

    Our biggest problem in the US is that a lot of people are not educated enough to compete as I see and know all kinds of Asians here in the US doing quite well and they were not even born here but they have an education. Advanced education or a trade like plumbing is an absolute necessity if one wants to succeed. If people don't want to work at getting and education or a skill than they made their own choice.

     

    Also our poor are middle class elsewhere. I see people living on garbage dumps in other countries with a handful of kids milling around. That is poor.
    6 Apr 2011, 07:58 PM Reply Like
  • Americans watch protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few
    ======================...
    Classical flow chart of Marx doctrine
    1. Source of wealth nationalized
    2. Government runs economy and grow itself into elite
    3. Wealth concentrated in hands of few Government officials
    4. Masses revolt

     

    Classical Liberal spin
    Read Joseph Stiglitz
    6 Apr 2011, 08:14 PM Reply Like
  • Anyone who believes that having a higher marginal tax rate is going to detour someone to want to work or earn more money is delusional and doesn't realize we live in the United States.
    6 Apr 2011, 08:31 PM Reply Like
  • discipline

     

    Maybe or maybe not but certainly you will have capital flight which is tremondously damaging. You cannot find a country with a good economy and capital flight.
    6 Apr 2011, 10:10 PM Reply Like
  • Well, the income distribution is a problem - and thats coming from someone that has no issue with men/women building vast business empires that make them fabulously wealthy. It has several sources.

     

    Technology allows people today to capture more of the value of a business or idea that they originate. In the past you might create a local business and expand regionally. By then others saw what your doing and then went and did the same thing or something similar. The benefits went to more people. Today more of the benefits go to the first or the first with the deep pocket connections.

     

    The government creates crony capitalism which ensures those that are in a certain business will be the ones "winning". No new competition. That allows for outsized salaries and bonuses to people who aren't "earning" anything. Think top management at Fannie/Freddie, banks, etc, etc.

     

    The global nature of business also allows people to start businesses and earn money all over the world.

     

    I view the change in technology as the one area that we haven't really grasped in terms of its impact on the society in terms of employment and income distribution. But it can be addressed. The global nature of business is just addressing how we tax income and ensuring that America sees the benefits of large companies expanding overseas.

     

    Crony capitalism is the problem which can lead to an upheaval in society. We all know that men like Dick Fuld, Mozzillo, Charles Prince, etc, etc have made no contribution to anything other than their own wallets (and their friends wallets). Society has paid the price for their actions, yet they are personally rich. This is simply wrong and we all know it - we can make excuses for the fact that no system is perfect, and the laws didn't strictly forbid it, etc, etc..... to that I say "whatever". Its still wrong.

     

    Think about how perverse things have gotten. Marketing executives put up slides saying GP can be increased from 22% to 29% if we just close a plant in Oklahoma and open one in China. That person gets a big bonus and a promotion before anything is successfully moved. The 300 people working in that plant get 30 days notice and are shown the door. That is what passes for talent these days. And its happening all over the place. Look at J&J, executives have constantly "reduced headcount". They get their 5-10 million (and the CEO 30 million), after 7-8 years of this cycle what happens?? 10's of thousand of people out of work....10's of thousands of people have hips that not only don't work but cause extreme pain and yet the executives remain with their private wealth only growing each day.

     

    Our corporate governance structure is broken. Our political process is broken. How long do you think our judicial process is going to be viewed by the majority as something they should respect?

     

    Can you honestly say that if you happened to live next to that AIG guy who ran the London operation (for this imagine he moved to your middle class neighborhood) and you saw some folks outside his house one night.... and found him hanging in the backyard the next morning.... that you'd be letting the police know who committed the crime? Or would you think he got what he deserved, knowing the system is rigged.

     

    I'd state we aren't far away from a large % of people deciding he got what he deserves.

     

    We need to shrink the size of government. We need to "clean it up" and remove the influence of lobbyists. We need to reform the tax code and get rid of subsidies and deductions - you spend your money how you see fit and I'll do the same. We need to clearly tell people that safety nets are just that - a sparse unpleasant way to live. And what social programs we have need to be focussed on the very young.

     

    So yes, Lets create some new tax brackets at $1 million, 10 million, 100 million in recognition that the world has changed over the past 40 years. But lets be clear that everyone is responsible for their own well being and recreate the system where people make it more on their merits than if they are part of the triumvirate of the policitians, bureaucrats, and financial elite.

     

    Imagine how many of the "best and brightest" would be doing other things today if we had allowed failing banks to fail? They'd be off engineering new products, technologies...... instead they still sit on Wall Street collecting their tax-payer provided multimillion dollar bonuses.

     

    American's don't resent wealth when its earned. We aspire to it. But we also don't respect wealth that a result of crony capitalism, corporate misdeeds, and political graft.
    6 Apr 2011, 08:32 PM Reply Like
  • One reason that companies are constantly cutting costs is because they are in mature industries and growth is tough to come by and capital return goals are aggressive. Layoffs is another form of reallocating labor to other industries that can absorb them and use their talents. Think what will happen if we increase taxes on corporations very aggressively............. out below!

     

    All in all very disruptive and painful but the other extreme of stagnation is worse. People should look at getting fired as an opportunity to do something new and more valuable not a judgement call on them as a worker. Wear it as a badge of honor that the prior employer could not get their crap together to even grow enough to support the workforce.

     

    But the managers who do this are a bit distasteful I agree and flat out liars as they lead on the employees until the day they cut them.
    6 Apr 2011, 10:18 PM Reply Like
  • I agree with some of what you said. But the issue is that in a "mature" industry cutting labor costs doesn't create any growth for the business. It simply allocates more of the revenue into upper management's wallets.

     

    Layoffs when there are no longer profits available are fine and part of the capitalist system. Layoffs as a way to line upper management's pockets are another matter altogether IMO.

     

    Layoffs should be viewed as a failure by upper management. What happened to their strategies? Why couldn't they execute? Why were they beaten to market or not in touch with what consumers want? Proper corporate governance would mean layoffs for upper management (along with layoffs in the middle and bottom if the firm was not profitable as is). What happens in today's world is layoffs of those with little/no input to the strategy or the big decisions relating to allocating capital and continued bonusses to the very management teams responsible for the company's problems!!

     

    I laughed at the Cisco memo that was made public either today or yesterday - "we've lost accountability" says the CEO!! And who exactly is responsible for that? Where does the buck stop? Well it seems it stops in upper management's wallets irregardless of how well they perform.

     

    Job destruction due to changes in demand and efficiency is totally different than job destruction to boost short term bonusses for today's management team.
    6 Apr 2011, 10:30 PM Reply Like
  • David

     

    I agree.
    7 Apr 2011, 10:10 AM Reply Like
  • Yes, things are perverse. The company I work for recently reported record profits, increased revenues, highest ever ROI, but then announced a layoff of 20% of the workforce because "we have to do better". Many more remaining jobs are being outsourced to an off-shore firm. The remaining executives are getting a bonus in the neighborhood of 50%. I'm not unhappy personally because I am getting a nice severance. I feel very badly for the younger workers who do not have the luxury of retiring. If the company was hurting, I'd have no problem with taking a pay cut, etc. I have no problem with corporations making money. That's what makes this country great. However, at what point does it stop? When there are no more jobs at all?

     

    Size of Government? Could write a book about that. Not just at the federal level, but it seems as though every public-sector hierarchy has grown bloated. A local school system here is cutting teachers to deal with budget shortfalls. Twenty years ago the system had 3 principals. Today they have fewer students but now there are 5 principals. They say they are needed in order to keep up with state-mandated programs.

     

    You are right. What happened to personal responsibility. Yep, let's help those who truly need help. Let everyone else take care of themselves. I am not my brother's keeper. Get rid of the safety nets, or at least shorten them. Years ago when someone lost their job they knew they had to find something else to do. Now with 2-years of unemployment available, along with a multitude of programs like WIC, HEAP, Food Stamps, etc. that incentive to move, start a business, go to school, etc. has been reduced.

     

    All for getting rid of subsidies. Get rid of mortgage deduction, tax credits for electric cars, farm subsidies, etc. Let the market control what happens. Why should I subsidise someone elses purchase of an electric car?

     

    It seems there is a growing number of people who feel like I. Not sure if any major changes will happen in my lifetime, but perhaps we have an opporunity to right this ship before it keels over.
    9 Apr 2011, 09:33 AM Reply Like
  • I agree with Stiglitz point. However he makes such a point to interject socialistic policies that havent worked.

     

    The things that are going on today that shouldnt be allowed are

     

    1) Perpetual trusts

     

    2) Government moving Trillions from the population to grant benefits to the Mortgage fraud perpetrators.

     

    3) The politicians such as a Missouri Senator whose relative got a $100 Million gift to create a wind farm.
    6 Apr 2011, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • I would venture that most of the people who post here don't belong to the top 1% of incomes.

     

    Those people are too busy making money to be bothered with the rest of us.

     

    Which I suppose was the point of Mr. Stigliz's article.
    6 Apr 2011, 09:34 PM Reply Like
  • The real point of the article was several paragraphs in and where he stated "not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong." From there Stigliz ran on about his view of how things should work.

     

    This starting point is where Stigliz is wrong. The size of the pie is absolutely critical to support a large economy and population. It is not the end of the world if someone becomes very wealthy but it can be the end of the world if everyone is starving. The US has the largest economy in the world and our population is only 300 million people. Our poorest people live like middle class in other countries around the world.

     

    Since Stigliz also quotes Alexis Tocqueville he would do well to recall that Tocqueville said that "Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom." That is everyone has to be at the same level or they would sacrifice freedom to get to some equality. That is what has grown the cradle to grave welfare state and is breaking the country financially.

     

    From another angle this whole 1% argument needs to be broken down. The 1% that collect 25% of the income in the US each year is coming from IRS tax filings. The top 1% starts around $270K per year and up in household income. There is likely a very large portion of this group that is husband and wife filing jointly. Punitive taxes against this group will likely result in less effort as they adjust their lifestyle or look to file separately. Or perhaps professionals just wont get married any longer.

     

    It would also be interesting to know in a time series study if this 1% is the same people or how many people are rotating in and out. By the rhetoric it seems that there is a belief that this is a static group.

     

    Finally concentrating wealth is very different than concentrating income. Income is not a proxy for wealth. I can come out of college and make $250K as a doctor but with student loans I may have a negative net worth. People with high incomes will undoubtedly gather wealth over time if they work at it but it is a mistake to automatically believe that all the people in the top 1% of the IRS tax roles own a huge swath of the country's wealth. I would suspect that there is a much smaller percentage of people that own a huge chunk of assets and their names are well known. They have libraries and centers named after them, etc.

     

    More study needs to be done in this whole area or we could make some big policy mistakes.
    10 Apr 2011, 08:10 PM Reply Like
  • You make some excellent points. Particularly by questioning the implication that the 'one percenters,' whether income or net worth, represent a static group. While I tend to agree with you that people rotate in and out of both groups relatively fluidly, it seems that some commentators (Stgliz among them), posit that both groups are static, and striving to join them is futile.

     

    If that's the case, why bother striving?
    11 Apr 2011, 12:13 PM Reply Like
  • By the way it is also worth looking at how much of the country's assets are held by large pension funds like CALPERS which is mostly government workers in CA and I doubt if Stigilz is considering them 1%'rs.

     

    It is really not convenient to the arguement that "someone is getting rich and you are getting screwed" if the people getting rich every year is changing. That is detail that dilutes the impact of the outrage. Journalists are in the business of getting eyeballs first and informing second. And they are usually the most envious because most journalists don't have the opportunity to join the 1%'rs and generally are suspicious of everything and everyone except themselves.

     

    What is worth knowing about the 1%'rs is their characteristics so people understand how they are successful and can emulate or say no thanks. If it is 80% husband and wife professionals filing joint tax returns that is a different view than the demagogue view that the 1% are unknown capitalist sharks preying on the middle and lower classes so let's figure out a way to get rid of them. This lack of information really makes it hard to conclude anything other than someone is successful and I am jealous.

     

    The supposed 1% that own the vast majority of the country's wealth is another analysis.

     

    I don't believe Stigilz has any evidence that any 1% group is static and I have not seen it anyplace else either. Although I suspect that the 1% income group is the most fluid. So I will say it is worth striving if you want to pay the price. Being in the 1% is acheivable but it takes dedication and committment that at times becomes irrational and you need an education which means you have to invest up front. I would not look at the 1% crowd as having it all figured out. Many of them just have figured out how to work hard and make money. That is why I believe there is a fair amount of rotation as it is too difficult to stay at that level at least if you are working for someone else.

     

    However if taxes on the 1% income group becomes punitive than I am not sure it is worth striving at all. That would be a big problem for our economy.
    11 Apr 2011, 02:47 PM Reply Like
  • I don't think the democrats, by and large, want us 'to strive'. It is much better for them to create dependency which guarantees a lock on a core political base from which to generate further promises for ensured power. Indeed, this is a serious problem for our economy. However, we have passed that dangerous rubicon since FDR. Later it was LBJ who deepened the dependencies even further, ingraining them. It was only until Carter that we began institutionalizing them, entire blocks of public sector 'employees' most notably with the DOE who in turn began the formal relationship between buying votes from this newly constructed union base to the DNC in an on-going incestuous blood drain on the taxpayer.

     

    Now, it has come to the point where we have these same cretins saying how we need to raise the debt ceiling so that we can 'invest more in education'. As if we haven't been all along with horrific results.

     

    It has nothing to do with 'investing' or 'education', but rather enlarging the public sector pensioneer's racket, in exchange for more guaranteed votes.

     

    The media very, very rarely paints it this way. Instead, they take the DNC's talking points and say how the evil GOP 'hates teachers'.

     

    Well, you get the idea.

     

    Most people are in a coma of denial anyway. This will not get better. We are in too deep now. The core has rotted out. The mainstream is now ... the problem. We are living in latter day Roman times.
    11 Apr 2011, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • Promote the general welfare creates dependency. Israel allowing part of their fields to be harvested by the poor in the OT creates dependency. How about Wyatt that sometime in your life you will be dependent on someone.

     

    And how about babies being dependent on parents. It is just life and a fact of life. Govermment has a role especially when banksters are taking wild risks in today's market. I say they are dependent upon their addiction to gambling. That is very hurtful to society Wyatt. That is the most hurtful dependency there is.
    19 Jun 2011, 12:22 PM Reply Like
  • No. The most hurtful manifestation of dependency is coercive socialism which is what the housing crisis was with 98% of all mortgages originating from the federal government's very own self created SOEs. C'mon, you must remember? Zero down, no job mortgage notes? Where did that come from if not from our friendly market leader Fannie and Freddie Kruger?

     

    Independence is the best thing you can do for the human spirit, and Christ came to set us free, not enslave us. There is no such thing as charity if government becomes the vehicle in order to 'force it' down our throats. By definition it then becomes robbery.

     

    The most dangerous christian is the one who comes in communist's clothing. Say that with me slowly until you understand.
    19 Jun 2011, 03:38 PM Reply Like
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