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(Washington Post)   Rich people are not the reason poor people are poor, so let's stop victimizing the rich through draconian taxes and inflammatory rhetoric and work on real solutions for income inequality, like giving the top 1 percent a tax cut   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 29
    More: Obvious, income inequality, poor people, tax cuts, wealths, disposable income, rhetoric, labor force  
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1575 clicks; posted to Politics » on 03 Feb 2014 at 2:42 PM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
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vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-03 09:29:02 AM
5 votes:
Economic inequality is usually a consequence of our problems and not a cause.

Yes, it's a consequence of wealthy people having too much control and little people not having enough.

For starters, the poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The two conditions are generally unrelated.

Except in reality, which isn't important apparently.
2014-02-03 03:48:08 PM
3 votes:
Poor people are poor because our cultural defines "fair" with "the outcomes of free market capitalism", mistakes "free market capitalism" ideology for the corporatist reality, and absolves itself of any moral consequences of it's economic priorities and activities by ascribing them to the unfortunate necessary consequences of the invisible hand of the market, if they even believe that the free market can produce negative consequences.  If they don't, they are forced to conclude that person's poverty is a failure of will, morality, or constitution... why else would a free, fair market discard someone unless they were somehow defective?

It's an obnoxious and insidious meme-complex.
2014-02-03 02:50:09 PM
3 votes:
Perhaps if the rich stopped demonizing the less fortunate by calling them lazy, mooching welfare queens buying lobster with their food stamps who should probably work another job if you can't feed your family oh and if you just got married all your problems would go away plus you've already got a refrigerator and anyway you could have it worse somewhere else, all while loudly proclaiming their own righteousness as "job creators" and fighting tooth and nail against or actively trying to dismantle programs that help people, poor people might stop punching back.
2014-02-03 02:49:56 PM
3 votes:
For starters, the poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The two conditions are generally unrelated. Mostly, the rich got rich by running profitable small businesses (car dealerships, builders), creating big enterprises (Google, Microsoft), being at the top of lucrative occupations (bankers, lawyers, doctors, actors, athletes), managing major companies or inheriting fortunes. By contrast, the very poor often face circumstances that make their lives desperate.

These circumstances were created by rich people to make themselves even richer.

The poor are poor because the rich are obscenely rich.
2014-02-03 06:08:57 PM
2 votes:
I always love the, "Rich make better decisions than poor people argument."  because it just is so wrong.  I know two guys who were born into wealthy families, not 1%ers but well off.  These two guys have made more poor decisions than any dozen poor people I know.  Time after time when presented with a good choice or bad choice they will choose the one that hurts them most.  A poor person making the exact same choices would have devastating effects.  The reason they can make poor choice after poor choice is they have more cushion to fall back on.
Recent examples;
Send $3000 to internet 'girlfriend' so she can buy a plane ticket to visit.  No big deal, pocket change.  Poor person, that is 6 weeks pay, going to miss lots of bills and eat Ramen for a couple months.
Walk of a job in the morning...have a friend they met at the rich kids club in college get them a management position in their firm(even though they have never worked in the field).
One just up and disappeared for a couple weeks.  No phoning work or telling friends and family where he was going.  Came back and all was fine.  Still had a job, someone had paid his bills, fed his dog, watered his lawn and plants.  Poor guy does this, there is no job when he returns, plants and lawn are dead, and bills were not paid.
Same choice by a rich and poor person, the poor person is worse off and 1 step closer to being destitute.  Rich person makes the same choice and it is business as usual for them.
2014-02-03 04:28:18 PM
2 votes:
If you think that someone who got injured in a car wreck deserves to be poor because he's unable to work because he made the poor choice to drive, then god help you.

If you think some people are poor because they looked at the wealth of educational options their rural or inner city guidance counselor told them about and said, "nah, fark it, paycheck to paycheck it is!" then god help us all.

Even if someone makes a stupid choice (running up a moderate amount of credit card debt when young, or getting addicted to drugs, or a bad relationship), then seriously fark you if you would write someone off for a mistake.

I'm sure you've lived your life careful and cautious and error free, always making perfect decisions and always doing everything for yourself without no help from nobody, but seriously, quit extrapolating your situation to everyone else. Try seeing stuff from the other guy's perspective and for god's sake look at your own privilege before you start yanking those bootstraps.
2014-02-03 03:18:18 PM
2 votes:

Saiga410: Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: ikanreed: whistleridge: Flawed premise: rich people are in fact a big part of the reason poor people are poor. If you believe otherwise, I have a bridge to sell you; send me an email and we'll close this deal.

Well, it's not so much that it's not true, as it is unprovable.

Between the two of us, there is a table with 50 burgers on it.  Through various means, I obtain 49 of those 50 burgers, leaving you with 1.  It's not "unprovable" that I am the reason you only have 1 burger.

If you did not try to get more than one hamburger then, ya it is kinda your fault


I tried to get more, but the system for dividing up burgers requires that you put two burgers down to get to the table. Thanks to your parents, your family had six burgers. You put two down and were able to start grabbing. My family only had two, but I have two brothers. Eventually when it was my turn, I put my two in, but was only able to grab one because I had a significant barrier to entry.

Afterward, you thought it was unfair that the restaurant owner asked for one and a half burgers back, so you got together with your buddies and agreed to send your burgers to Table 2. You got your burgers off of Table 2 any time you needed to grab a new batch of burgers at our table, thus ensuring that you never had to give any to the owner and always got first pick. I still had to wait my turn, and found it really hard to save my burgers.

"Just go hungry," you said. "Don't eat for a few turns and you can save!"

Which is an easy thing to say when your Table 2 burger stack is overflowing and you've sent people to the other burger joint over there, bringing some back for you. You've never had to wait a whole turn with just one burger.

All the while, your little echo chamber of friends congratulates each other about how good with burgers you are, never realizing that you've been playing a rigged game since the start. It's just rigged in your favor. So while you get upset because you're playing fair, you refuse to realize that simply by playing, you have a natural advantage to those playing with a handicap.

And as long as you keep the rules the way they are, the game can never be fair.
2014-02-03 03:00:20 PM
2 votes:
So, the rich people who, I am assured, are the job creators, who hire (or don't hire) poor people and who pay them (or don't pay them) a living wage, suddenly aren't the reason poor people are poor?

Someone should come down to the WaPo offices and slap the Koch out of Samuelson's mouth.
2014-02-03 02:57:15 PM
2 votes:

Mr. Eugenides: FarkedOver: The rich need people to be poor.  They need the unemployed.  The fact that they need these things is exactly why they do everything in their power to make sure it is that way.

Care to explain why the rich need people to be poor and unemployed?


It drives down wages.  When more people are competing for jobs.
2014-02-03 02:53:21 PM
2 votes:
The rich need people to be poor.  They need the unemployed.  The fact that they need these things is exactly why they do everything in their power to make sure it is that way.
2014-02-03 09:53:33 AM
2 votes:
"The Congressional Budget Office examined income trends for the past three decades. It found sizable gains for all income groups."

Was he hoping nobody clicked the link? It says nothing about the past three decades, but does have this:

www.cbo.gov

"As a result of the uneven growth from 2009 to 2010, the share of income for the top 1 percent increased by 1.6 percentage points, and the share for the middle three quintiles taken together fell by 1.3 percentage points.  "
2014-02-03 09:20:46 AM
2 votes:
Among men 25 to 55 with a high school diploma or less, the share with jobs fell from more than 90 percent in 1970 to less than 75 percent in 2010, reports   . For African American men ages 20 to 24, less than half were working.

Reasons aside, those numbers - if accurate - are farking frightening.
2014-02-03 08:07:20 PM
1 votes:

rvesco: Yeah. Why pay attention to the opinion of an award-winning business journalist?


are the people he is carrying water for giving out the awards?
2014-02-03 07:59:02 PM
1 votes:

Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: ikanreed: whistleridge: Flawed premise: rich people are in fact a big part of the reason poor people are poor. If you believe otherwise, I have a bridge to sell you; send me an email and we'll close this deal.

Well, it's not so much that it's not true, as it is unprovable.

Between the two of us, there is a table with 50 burgers on it.  Through various means, I obtain 49 of those 50 burgers, leaving you with 1.  It's not "unprovable" that I am the reason you only have 1 burger.


Except that the only reason the 50 burgers exist is because you invented the concept of burgers in the first place.

It's not zero-sum, we've got a fairly good idea about how to create wealth, and the price that you pay for it is that someone(s) end up with way too damn much of it.  But if you actually do something about that, then they stop making wealth, and you get the massive income disparities between the first and second world that were the result of the Cold War and Communism (and honestly, the existing difference between Europe and the USA.  Just saying, $20K/year/person plus much lower taxes buys a LOT of inequality).

The price for Windows was Bill Gates (and Microsoft Millionaires)
Apple - Jobs/Wozniak
Facebook - Zuckerberg
Netflix guys are worth a few hundred million at this point.
Repeat for every single big tech company.   There's a billionaire or two combined with a few hundred or thousand millionaires.  The price you pay for fast, accurate search is Larry Page.

At least on the tech side (ignoring niggling anti-trust issues), it's not like they sat down and stole money.  They created awesome products and worked 100 hour weeks doing so (and paid in stock so that their employees went along for the ride) and everyone agreed that they were awesome, and paid them a bunch of money because they were awesome.  And the founders took a risk in part because they thought that they could get super-rich doing this and would on average get richer than working an actual job.  And the VC's took a risk in part because they thought that, on average, they would make their investments back plus a bit plus a bit more as compensation for risk.

And if you don't have startups, you don't have as much tech, partly because of corporate politics (Look how much trouble Microsoft had creating a phone), and partly because you can invest a couple million dollars to a hundred teams trying a hundred different ways, make a 30000% return on the successful ones, and then have BigCorp buy out the best 2 or 3 a couple years down the line.  Low cost, high reward, high inequality technical development.  And the price you pay for startups is billionaires.

IT and China killed off manufacturing.   Computers increased income disparity because the winners won that much more (and economies of scale and network effect exist with avengeance), and it was that much easier to go off on your own.  That's the unfixable problem, and your current ways of trying to do it will just destroyAmerica'sentrepreneurial and technical leadership (and the corresponding brain drain).  Because while the current world sucks, you REALLY don't want to see the alternate world where Silicon Valley is based in [Not-USA] (or worse yet, doesn't exist at all, and we're stuck in the 1970's).  Because then we don't have our software engineers to make up for all the out-of-work manufacturers.

Besides, while wealth doesn't trickle down, tech does.  A Nexus 5 is $400 + $60/month to have the internet in your pocket.  Smartphones didn't exist 20 years ago.  Repeat for every single thing being developed since about 1975 until you hit some physical limit.


Mind you, I'd be for a *Getting you to poor* guaranteed minimum income if that was the entirety of the American welfare state (and people would stop  biatching about the inequality, because the inequality is  cool,because it says that people are/were doing cool things (or are providing the necessary "least evil" that is the investor class that actually funds all this crap in the hopes of making even more money)).  We're just about to the point where the GMI's cheaper than all the welfare anyways, so I'm kind of surprised we don't see a Republican bringing it up.  Paul Ryan's almost there with his "Seriously, with all the money we spend on poor people, how are there still poor people?"

And corporate welfare and unnecessary regulations are more or less the root of all evil because they DON'T create the even playing field that's necessary for the startups.

/And since someone's about to talk about equality, part of the defacto definition of capitalism is unequal reward for unequal value (as determined by what people are willing to pay).  And the general push of the 20th century was that the more inequality you were willing to accept (right up until you walked off the curve and hit Africa levels), the generally better off you became.  America > Europe > Commies > Africa.
//And since someone else is going to complain about government policies and corporate welfare, then I'd say that your problem is not wealth, but the conversion rate from wealth to power.  Figure out what to do about that.
2014-02-03 06:28:37 PM
1 votes:
The reason  specific people are poor?  Usually no.

The reason that there are poor people around in general?  Most definitely yes.

The fact that responsibility and the consequences are distributed (i.e. an individual rich guy isn't responsible for an individual poor guy's poverty) doesn't mean that there isn't a problem, that it isn't caused by the rich, and that you don't bear some responsibility for it if you're in that group.
2014-02-03 04:30:09 PM
1 votes:

Lcpl_Dunno: To be fair the "poor guy" probably lives an overly lavish lifestyle (considering his income) to make this happen.


"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed." -Herman Melville
2014-02-03 04:22:17 PM
1 votes:

inclemency: I'm terribly sorry that the rich are ashamed at having so many more magnitudes of obscene and unnecessary wealth. The fleeting guilt mixed with greedy sociopathy is not enough to save their souls however, no matter how many bullshiat articles apologists write.

Own it: you think you deserve to be above all others, ethics apply not if there's money involved.... YOU ARE SPECIAL and obscene wastes of money or hoarding it are your BIRTHRIGHT. Sure, people are starving or out of work, fark 'em!

You got yours, that's what's important.

Greedy, sociopathic narcissists. I'm getting tired of these 'don't be mean to the wealthy, proles' submissions. Push that camel through the needle farkers.


"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..."
2014-02-03 04:20:39 PM
1 votes:
I'm terribly sorry that the rich are ashamed at having so many more magnitudes of obscene and unnecessary wealth. The fleeting guilt mixed with greedy sociopathy is not enough to save their souls however, no matter how many bullshiat articles apologists write.

Own it: you think you deserve to be above all others, ethics apply not if there's money involved.... YOU ARE SPECIAL and obscene wastes of money or hoarding it are your BIRTHRIGHT. Sure, people are starving or out of work, fark 'em!

You got yours, that's what's important.

Greedy, sociopathic narcissists. I'm getting tired of these 'don't be mean to the wealthy, proles' submissions. Push that camel through the needle farkers.
2014-02-03 04:00:55 PM
1 votes:

Lcpl_Dunno: Stop demanding that they should get punished for success


No one's suggesting they are or should be.  What we're saying is that their incessant demands that they pay a smaller and smaller share of the tax burden is more than a little disingenuous.  The obscenely wealthy did NOT get that way (by and large) by their own hard work (People like Buffet, Gates, Bezos, etc.etc are exceptions) They got that way the old-fashioned way:  They inherited it, or only had the opportunities they did because of mommy and daddy's connections. When I hear them whine about their tax rate, I can't help but think of a few quotes from history on the subject.


"I love paying my taxes.  With them, I buy civilization"
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Aristotle, etc.etc.  Many variants of this theme throughout history, but none more perfectly summed up than in an 1848 memo to the US congress regarding taxes

"Taxation is the price of social order"

Or this one, from an 1863 committee report:

"If we are correct in the position that taxation is the price or penalty exacted by the requirements of civilization and the necessity of regulated liberty of thought, action and property, we cannot conclude that such price or penalty should be as light as possible compatible with the ends in view; ..."

Perhaps this one from an 1866 book "Christian Ethics":

A man's taxes are what he pays for the protection of his life and property, and for the conditions of public prosperity in which he shares. He ought to pay his just portion of the expense of government.

or in 1903:

Taxation is the price which civilized communities pay for the opportunity of remaining civilized.

or 1916:

"Only the savage pays no taxes."
2014-02-03 03:58:49 PM
1 votes:
Since I'm on my phone and can't selectively quote:

Table 2 is an offshore bank account. You know, the kind you can't open without substantial capital.

My analogy is: some people are born on third, but believe they hit a triple because they stay on third. They're not stealing home, they say, so why should they be "punished" by being ever so clever?

It's facile to say that everyone can be a capitalist in a capitalist society. It's true in general terms, yes, but EXTERNALITIES make it an outright lie. Some people are born poor. Some people miss opportunities for various reasons, not all of them blameworthy. Sometimes shiat just happens in people's lives. A random illness. Car wreck. Bad emotional breakup in college. Whatever.

Other times people have the talent and smarts but not the opportunity, through accident of birth. It's all well and good to say that if you try really hard, you can succeed, but that's a lie, and anyone saying it has started on third while believing he hit a triple.

So when you ask, "well why doesn't our poor burger grabber cut a deal with the restaurant owner?" Because the owner (federal government) doesn't want to cut a deal with the poor guy. The poor guy has fark all to offer the government. The rich guys are financing reelection campaigns and lobbyist positions. The poor guy has a family to feed and a sick mom without health insurance whose house is underwater on the mortgage.

The rich guy asks the poor guy why he doesn't just turn his yearly income into stock and live off the residuals from an interest bearing account in Switzerland. The poor guy says, "because my father wasn't rich!"

The rich guy counters, "well neither was my dad, but thanks to the post war opportunity he got he was able to build himself up!"

The poor guy reminds the rich guy that the dream of rags to riches died in the 80s when the rich decided they were good and weren't accepting new members.
2014-02-03 03:54:27 PM
1 votes:

Lcpl_Dunno:
1. I don't think the rich should get some massive tax break for no damned reason

The rich do, and have been lobbying hard and successfully to ensure that their gains from other people's productivity are explicitly taxed less. This is a way of rigging the system.

2. Stop demanding that they should get punished for success

When "success" includes being bailed out by the tax payer, sweetheart Federal contracts, rampant cronysim, lobbying to create barriers for new market entrants, and assorted overseas banking shenanigans, it's well past time people were punished.

3. While your analogy is still stupid, thinking even remotely outside the box has given options to your poor kid in which much risk is involved, but will turn reward if fruitful ... kinda like any other business venture.

We're not talking about getting rich here, we're talking about keeping afloat, and when that's not a tenable situation for an American working any full time job, that's a serious systemic flaw. The degradation of bargaining rights has robbed the average worker of leverage in labor/salary negotiations.

4. The truly poor generally are in that position due to a systemic issue of bad choices. Staying there or getting out are equally available options if one wants to put in the work.

This is not true. The whole fundamental promise of the American dream is available to fewer and fewer Americans as wages stay depressed, and jobs remain scarce. Blaming the victim is about the fastest way to convince the poor that the rich have no interest in good faith negotiation with the working class, and that the system is and will continue to remain rigged. 

Lcpl_Dunno: All of this is a pretty ridiculous set of assertions.


Pot, meet kettle.
2014-02-03 03:25:58 PM
1 votes:

nmrsnr: When defending the richest Americans, try not to have a comically villainous mustache.

[www.washingtonpost.com image 114x80]


blogs.ajc.com
2014-02-03 03:25:56 PM
1 votes:

A Cave Geek: llortcM_yllort: MrBallou: "The Congressional Budget Office examined income trends for the past three decades. It found sizable gains for all income groups."

Was he hoping nobody clicked the link? It says nothing about the past three decades, but does have this:

[www.cbo.gov image 600x403]

"As a result of the uneven growth from 2009 to 2010, the share of income for the top 1 percent increased by 1.6 percentage points, and the share for the middle three quintiles taken together fell by 1.3 percentage points.  "

The actual report (which can be found in the sidebar) does show an increase in after tax income over the last three decades for the bottom quintile.

/Fun Fact: Chrome spellcheck doesn't think quintile is a word.

DNRTFA, but is that adjusted for inflation?


It keeps mentioning real income, so I'm assuming it does include inflation.  However, the article defines labor income in the following way:

Cash wages and salaries, including amounts allocated by employees to 401(k) plans;  employment-based health insurance premiums; the employer's share of Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment insurance payroll taxes; and the share of corporate income taxes borne by workers.

It would not be surprising if healthcare costs ate into a lot of the income gains described in the report.  This seems consistent with other reports I have seen where median household income has remained flat but household income + employer health insurance has increased alongside productivity.
2014-02-03 03:05:33 PM
1 votes:

ikanreed: whistleridge: Flawed premise: rich people are in fact a big part of the reason poor people are poor. If you believe otherwise, I have a bridge to sell you; send me an email and we'll close this deal.

Well, it's not so much that it's not true, as it is unprovable.


Between the two of us, there is a table with 50 burgers on it.  Through various means, I obtain 49 of those 50 burgers, leaving you with 1.  It's not "unprovable" that I am the reason you only have 1 burger.
2014-02-03 03:01:07 PM
1 votes:
I would say the poor are poor because a change in technology allows for a race to the bottom mentality that is perpetuated by all layers of the economy.  The poor are outbidding each other for lower paying jobs and the rich are more than happy to go along and to give it a shove now and then.
2014-02-03 02:55:46 PM
1 votes:
Leaving aside that the total wealth of a society is a fixed amount...

The reason joblessness is high is because we have so many people and have gotten so damn good at doing the work we have to do that we simply cannot employ everyone. It doesn't work like that. We are in a post-scarcity, post-growth economy.

UBI or bust. Your other option is violent revolution.
2014-02-03 02:50:30 PM
1 votes:
*sigh* Solutions to income inequality do not elude us, there are vast numbers of solutions to this problem everything from the government guaranteeing jobs for every able body adult over the age of 18 to just taking the money directly from the rich and giving it to the poor.  What eludes us is the collective will to implement a solution.
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-03 11:16:41 AM
1 votes:

abb3w: vpb: Yes, it's a consequence of wealthy people having too much control and little people not having enough.

It's not so much "control", as the allocation of social costs leaving the wealthy with disproportionately large discretionary incomes and the poor disproportionately small discretionary incomes. Though I suppose that can be argued to lead back to increased ability of the rich to spend money in politics towards increased social control by the rich as well as increasing that disproportion.


Precisely, the fact that the wealthy have disproportionate influence is why they are able to bear less of the costs while getting more of the benefits.

t is also the reason that public policy tends to favor the wealthy and ignore the middle class and poor.  It used to be that in order to sell your products in the US you had to either make them here or pay significant income tariffs.  Basically the nations control of the largest consumer market in the world was used to benefit the middle class.

After free trade policies became popular, this control was used to gain access to foreign markets.  It stopped being used for the benefit of the working classes and was used to benefit the businesses.

Claims that it would benefit workers because we would export more were nonsense because the products that US business were making were increasingly made overseas anyway.

It may be that the gains of free trade were larger than the sacrifices, but the sacrifices were made by the middle class and almost all the gains went to the people who owned the businesses.

And that's just the biggest example.
2014-02-03 10:14:31 AM
1 votes:
Draconian?

The rich have never had it so good.
 
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