Wealth Inequality (Read 403 times)

    How do people just decide how wealth should be distributed? How should, let's say, bodyweight be distributed? How many really skinny folks should we have and how many obese folks? How many talented people who play professional sports, and how many really uncoordinated, untalented people should we have?

     

    The narrative of the video seems a little whiny... so how many whiny, negative people should we have, and how many positive, motivated people should we have?

     

    All of these things should be put to a vote and the government should then make it happen. It's just SO UNFAIR!


    A Saucy Wench

      Wow, that's what you got from that?

      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

       

      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


      Right on Hereford...

        Not meant to be a Democrat vs. Republican issue (though I am sure folks will disagree about the extent to which this is a problem and also the means of addressing it <----this is sticky.)

         

        Just thought this video did a nice job of displaying the reality of wealth distribution in America -- and noting the difference between perception and reality.

         

        I just want to say that when I watched this the other day, I paused it at the beginning when he asks the first question: how is the wealth in this country divided? I guessed that the top 20% of Americans own 85% of the wealth. Looks like I was only about 1% off.

         

        MTA: Oh, and I guessed that the 4th 20% own 10% of the wealth. Spot. On.

         

        Boo-ya!


        Prince of Fatness

          Not meant to be a Democrat vs. Republican issue (though I am sure folks will disagree about the extent to which this is a problem and also the means of addressing it <----this is sticky.)

           

          Just thought this video did a nice job of displaying the reality of wealth distribution in America -- and noting the difference between perception and reality.

           

          Interesting.  Thanks Jeff.  Agree on the sticky ..... fodder for debate for sure.

           

          And I was a little off but not enough to be surprised by the actuals.

          Semi-retired.

            Yeah. Jealous?  This video is clearly political. "We certainly don't have to go all the way to Socialism to find something that is fair for hardworking Americans..."  Where do we go then?  If not all the way, then closer than we are?

             

            The implication is that the ones at the top of the chart have too much, but based on what? How much is enough? How much is too much? Who decides? I don't have what the top 1% has because I haven't done what they did to get there, not because the system is beatin' me down.  I think it's just a bunch of jealous, hate the rich whining.

             

            Wow, that's what you got from that?

              The implication is that the ones at the top of the chart have too much, but based on what? How much is enough? How much is too much? Who decides? I don't have what the top 1% has because I haven't done what they did to get there, not because the system is beatin' me down.  I think it's just a bunch of jealous, hate the rich whining.

               

               

              Based off of what 5,000 randomly polled Americans across the political spectrum think is a healthy distribution curve for a thriving economy. The fact is wealth distribution has been rapidly getting more skewed toward the very rich for more than a decade now, and it is in large part the result of tax policies. The richest 1% didn't suddenly become that much more talented than you (and everyone else) over the last 15 years--they got tax breaks.

               

              Pointing out that it is not a good situation for the long term success of our economy to have more and more of the nation's wealth concentrated with the top 1% while at the same time the middle class shrinks and the percentage of people below the poverty line grows is not a bunch of "jealous, hate the rich whining." Particularly since plenty of rich people would agree this is not a sustainable situation--I doubt they are jealous of or hate themselves.

              Runners run.

                Slippery slope here.  I agree with mikey and what Jeff has argued previously, that this is not long-term sustainable for our country.  Eventually it ends in revolution or other sort of self-implosion, or at least it should.

                 

                I do take issue a bit with the use of "talented" or trying to boil things down to wealth being directly correlated to how hard you work (380x).  Many of these people have risked everything they had several times over (a business owner, maybe) and made critical (correct) decisions at key junctures of their lives going back to childhood.  Maybe they don't appear to work all that hard now because of those decisions.

                 

                Certainly you can argue that there are millions of folks who have never had a realistic chance, who were not even aware of how to succeed in the system the way it is.  But there are also millions of people who made other choices with their lives all the way back to high school or whatever, knowing that they were not maximizing their potential future choices.  That's a trade-off they made willingly, and potentially for very good non-financial reasons.    

                 

                I'm rambling, but the work/talent/wealth correlation without acknowledging risk/decision making gets under my skin.  But again, I agree in the macro sense that it is unhealthy for the country.  Not sure how you fix it other than to penalize those who made those decisions and took those risks, so that may have to be what happens.  Granted, I recognize that there are those who simply "lucked" into their money as well.  Perhaps much larger estate taxes (I mean MUCH larger) would be a solution.

                 

                  Many of these people have risked everything they had several times over (a business owner, maybe) and made critical (correct) decisions at key junctures of their lives going back to childhood.  Maybe they don't appear to work all that hard now because of those decisions.

                   

                   

                  Of course you could say the same of people who've made it big through gambling. There are lots of gamblers who lose everything, but a few who make millions. This will be true in the absence of any particular skill where outcomes are distributed according to entirely random factors.

                   

                  The trouble is we tend to view things through 20/20 hindsight. Two guys might make different business decisions that on the information available at the time look equally rational. Some subsequent external events operate to mean that one of them makes millions and the other ends up bankrupt. But in reality it may be no more than blind luck.

                    To argue the other side for a change:

                     

                    1) While the video does a really nice job of displaying the difference between reality and perception, there's no argument given that the perceptions of ordinary Americans regarding wealth distribution ought to govern actual wealth distribution.

                     

                    2) Even if we agree that this is a problem, the video gives no real positive ideas for addressing the problem -- and it's here, I think, where liberal and conservative intuitions might diverge (though perhaps not as radically as we might imagine in our most inflammatory moments.)

                     

                    3) The US remains a hugely dynamic place for innovation of new products -- could this be tied to these radical wealth differences? Is there a link here? In other words, we have radical wealth and (relative) economic freedom -- thus we have radical inequality, but perhaps this is not so bad?

                     

                    4) Perhaps this wealth inequality is less a function of domestic law and more a function of exposure to a global economic wealth distribution that I imagine is somewhat similar...or even more extreme. Maybe this is not a US problem but a global problem...

                      Lots of reasons for the acceleration of inequality. And we are discussing this acceleration, not inequality itself, which is inherent in capitalism. We accept that as a consequence in an open market system. But the degree of inequality dos matter. I think this article explains part of the reason for the acceleration over the last several decades and I know many people can relate to it.

                       

                        To argue the other side for a change: 

                         

                        Personally, I think this is great and more of us need to do this more often (including me).

                         

                        Regarding #3, I think this is true, but you have made very convincing arguments in the past about how this not a viable long term path for the country as a whole.

                         

                          The silver lining here is that 53% of income comes from the bottom 90%.

                          I believe that a good portion of the bottom 90% income earners could do more to increase their wealth (even if it doesn't put them into the top 10%).  Invest wisely, spend wisely, and don't gamble.

                           

                          My Dave Ramsey inspired financial principle.... "Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else"

                           

                          2014 Goals:

                          #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                          #2: 365 Hours training

                           

                             

                            Personally, I think this is great and more of us need to do this more often (including me).

                             

                            Regarding #3, I think this is true, but you have made very convincing arguments in the past about how this not a viable long term path for the country as a whole.

                             

                            When arguing the other side, the main thing I do is abstract away any of my social values and look at things from a purely economic standpoint. Radical wealth inequality has proven to be economically stable through human history. The problem, to me, is that it's not democratic. Its plutocratic.

                              I don't believe that chart.

                               

                              And while I agree that many Americans have a spending problem which results in their wealth not correlating with income, I think the bigger issues with the vast middle class is that incomes have not nearly kept up with the costs of some basic items like insurance, child care (required for dual-income households), fuel and higher education.

                               

                                2014 Goals:

                                #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                                #2: 365 Hours training