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CLASS WARFARE: Something's Very Wrong When Only the Rich Get Richer

Business  (tags: CLASS WARFARE, class warfare, economy, business, americans, news, politics, society )

- 2013 days ago -
The poor have struggled mightily while our rich have become phenomenally flush. But middle-income Americans haven't been able to jump off the treadmill either

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Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday November 20, 2012, 5:24 pm
Noted. Yes, individual states can raise taxes on the wealthiest to help this gap. Along with Congress ending tax cuts for the 1%, we desperately need an increase in minimum wage.

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday November 20, 2012, 6:27 pm
There definitely is something wrong when only the rich get richer. It means that this rich get richer, as almost always is the case, but in general the economy is poor.

I should probably point out, though, that one of the central thrusts of this article is thoroughly wrong. The rich and the poor often actually have the same problems, but they are affected differently. A better-educated workforce is more productive, allowing those among the rich who live off of capital gains, investors, to get a better return on their investments. It's not about their own kids so their priorities may be different from those of the poor, but the investors, at least, are directly interested in the economy, and through that the well-being of the poor.

Regarding the final conclusion, that states which narrow rather than widen the income-gap will benefit, I would not be so certain. Income-inequality is itself harmful, but it is also an inevitable side-effect of economic growth. Measures which really succeed in narrowing the gap are those which harm the economy for everyone. The trouble is that it takes a roughly fixed amount of time for prices of goods and services to come down from being a major luxury to being affordable for everyone. I understand the time is about 15 years. This is just a consequence of the rate of technological advancement, marketing, finding of uses, retooling, and whatever other factors may be relevant. I can't draw a picture here, but imagine (or draw for yourself) two curved lines, one for the real wealth of the poor as a function of time and the other for the rich. They have a fixed horizontal separation of those 15 years. The faster they rise, the larger the vertical separation is for a given horizontal one. That vertical separation is the income-inequality. The faster everyone gets wealthier, the larger the inequality. As long as technology moves forwards and production-prices drop, there is no way around this.

That does not mean there can be no good policies to address the issue. It just means that their effect on income-inequality is not how to measure their success. What we need are policies which reduce the horizontal separation, not the vertical one. We should seek an economy where prices come down faster, enriching poor and average people, not worry so much about the rich. I will let others here imagine what sorts of policies would hasten research, innovation, retooling, and other steps in the process of making luxuries affordable for the poor.

Jason S (50)
Tuesday November 20, 2012, 6:36 pm
The system has failed and can't be fix, good posting, thanks

pam w (139)
Tuesday November 20, 2012, 6:43 pm
I disagree, Jason.....the system CAN and WILL be fixed! It will never be perfect (what system is?) but we can overthrow the attempts at OLIGARCHY and expand opportunity to build a strong middle-class.

Susanne R (235)
Tuesday November 20, 2012, 10:38 pm
I came across an interesting article, "5 Ways Most Americans Are Blind to How Their Country Is Stacked for the Wealthy," which addresses this issues. It appeared on AlterNet on 11/15/12 and was written by Paul Bucheit. Here's an excerpt:

"The greatest misconception: The rich are being soaked.

Redistribution has not spread the wealth, it has concentrated the wealth. Conservative estimates say the richest 1% have doubled their share of America's income in 30 years. It's worse. From 1980 to 2006, the richest 1% actually tripled their share of after-tax income.

The real problem is tax avoidance: lost revenue from tax expenditures (deferrals and deductions), corporate tax avoidance, and tax haven losses could pay off the entire deficit. But the very rich refuse to pay. They have their own safety net in the House of Representatives."

If anyone is interested in reading the article, here's the link: 5 Ways Most Americans Are Blind to How Their Country Is Stacked for the Wealthy

Elle B (84)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 1:51 am
Ty Cal.

“The Greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment's hesitation to crush beauty and life.” ―George Eliot

“We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.”
― Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“A Native American grandfather talking to his young grandson tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness. The other wolf is fear, Greed and hatred. "Which wolf will win, grandfather?" asks the young boy. "Whichever one I feed," is the reply.” ―1st Nations

David C (131)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 2:06 am
everyone above is very eloquent, but I can't send stars since already did this week.....whatever happened to United and the country of/for/by the people????

Elle B (84)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 2:08 am
"Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid down, does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth." ―Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Seek not greater wealth, but simpler pleasure; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity.” ―Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” ― Albert Einstein

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ―Albert Einstein

“Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of...” ― Viktor E. Frankl

Past Member (0)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 2:09 am
So true,noted thanks.

Nikolas K (94)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 2:10 am
The problem will only be fixed is when we learn to live by the 7 laws of the universe and to stop thinking we are separated and having an us and them mentality, and to realise we are all one and to start acting as One.

Siti R (12)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 3:09 am
the rich has been having so good that greed only begets more greed unless the government is clean and firm in its policies.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 3:45 am
Only Love makes one Happy.

Thank You for this, Cal.


Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 4:14 am
Thanks Cal. I really don't mind staying exactly as I am, no richer, no poorer!

Past Member (0)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 4:24 am
And why would we think that governments are any better?

cecily w (0)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 5:16 am
Suzanne R.--Thank you for linking to the "5 Ways. . ." article. (I printed it.)

The article is correct the real problem is tax avoidance by the wealthy through various devices. But that is the fault of the legislation that permits these means. Of course, the wealthy control our legislators. We definitietly need extensive campaign finance reform and revised taxation laws.

Mike M (40)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 5:29 am
Just be thankful that the wealthy let you continue your life and do not make the class war go away and little kingdoms rise.

James Travers (6)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 5:54 am
In a way the Conservative talking point that increasing taxes on the wealthy will not help the situation very much is accurate. It's rather like raising taxes or fees on industry, they only find a way to make that loss up by passing it on to the rest of us. We are in a very tenuous situation now and the ultra rich have too firm a hold on the system. I don't know a good method to fix that

Gloria picchetti (304)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 5:56 am
Society is going backwards to the days of Charles Dickens, the Dark Ages, something sinester. Very few get it. I can't send a Green "Star to Lois Jordan who said to raise the minimum wage!

Angelus S (119)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 6:05 am
Look at all of the CEOs out there..are they really worth hundreds of times the pay of their lowest workers? No way. I have never known a rich person who was concerned with my struggles as a lower middle class person.Retailers are among the worst employers the USA has to offer yet the American public and the government could care less. When you go shopping at Walmart,Home Depot,Target,Menards,Kmart,etc. youare enriching the CEOs. When you find bargains there, these bargains come at the expense of employee pay and benefits. When you buy and return products you hurt the low level employee, not the executives.

greenplanet e (155)
Wednesday November 21, 2012, 8:23 pm
Sad situation.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Thursday November 22, 2012, 8:23 am
A law that maxes CEO compensation at 100 time the compensation of the lowest paid employee might not hurt.

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday November 22, 2012, 4:17 pm
Hi Joanne :)

Such a law may not be possible. The trouble is that a lot of CEOs are paid in stocks. A company does not control its valuation by investors, so it might not directly control its CEO's compensation.

I can think of several changes in the law which would massively benefit the poor, but folks on Care2 might have heart-attacks upon reading them.
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