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Wealth Inequality


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#1 The Eternal White Belt

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:45 AM

So, I'm sure many people have seen this video that's been spreading around the internet the past few days.

A lot of the information in there isn't news to anyone. Everyone knows that the wealth divide between the rich and the middle class has been growing rapidly for the past few decades. What I found interesting is what this video shows in regards to our perceptions of the distribution of wealth vs. the actual distribution of wealth in this country. Would anyone argue that that this is not a problem?

Honestly, I have plenty of poor friends and family and I generally have little sympathy when they complain about their situation. All of them are poor because of the decisions they made. I also have friends and family who grew up poor and pulled themselves out of their situation by making good decisions and working hard. The reason I'm saying this is to illustrate that I am not a bleeding heart when it comes to income in this country - IMO (for the most part) your living situation is a direct result of your own personal choices and not the government, affirmative action, illegals, Donald Duck, etc.

That being said, I can not look at the widening gap of wealth distribution in this country and think that it's a positive thing or that it's something we (individually) have control over. What's more disturbing (as a capitalist) is that this wealth distribution issue seems eerily similar to the same issue that pushed the Marxist revolution that occurred at the turn of the 20th century. Some would welcome such a revolution, while the majority of Americans (currently) would not.

So the question is... are we heading towards another true socialist revolution (not the BS foodstamps = Marxism argument of the far right)? When American's perceptions of wealth distribution matches reality, how can we remain complacent? Is revolution avoidable? What the hell can we do to prevent it without giving up on Capitalism? I'm not talking about some doomsday scenario that going to play out in the next 5 years. I'm thinking this is a slow build-up for the next 10-20 years before everything boils over.

I'm kinda scuuurrd. :(

Edited by The Eternal White Belt, 04 March 2013 - 01:31 PM.
correction to title


#2 Fang

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:34 PM

Assuming the video is correct it is pretty disturbing. But what are the answers? As long as our politicians are backed by big money this will never change.

#3 The Eternal White Belt

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:37 PM

That is my question: what the hell is the answer??? Is anyone working on an answer? Because the only 2 answers I've heard are "start over from scratch" and "continue on with the status quo."

Neither answer seems to be very viable to me. :(

#4 Fang

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:47 PM

I think most people from both parties would like to see that graph a little more even. But how do you get there? That's really the million dollar question.

Raise taxes on the rich? Possibly, IMO the $250,000 number is absurd. But everyone probably has a number they like that someone else thinks is absurd.

How does the extra cash get distributed and in what form? How do you prevent people from gaming the system and not contributing back?

Most importantly for me, how do we know our politicians will spend the money wisely? Who defines what is wisely? To me "wisely" is anything someone needs to live. But we can't even agree on that.

#5 Rael

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:53 PM

Raise taxes on the rich? Possibly, IMO the $250,000 number is absurd. But everyone probably has a number they like that someone else thinks is absurd.


It gets more complicated when you factor wealth, rather than just income into the equation. The woman I'm seeing has a low income but a high net worth. She technically qualifies for quite a bit of government assistance (She DOES NOT use it). So even if that number is changed from $250,000 (and I think $1,000,000 is far more appropriate) it isn't as simple as playing with the numbers.
Pessimism is just an ugly word for 'pattern recognition'.

#6 slapshot

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:59 PM

So, I'm sure many people have seen this video that's been spreading around the internet the past few days.

A lot of the information in there isn't news to anyone. Everyone knows that the wealth divide between the rich and the middle class has been growing rapidly for the past few decades. What I found interesting is what this video shows in regards to our perceptions of the distribution of wealth vs. the actual distribution of wealth in this country. Would anyone argue that that this is not a problem?

Honestly, I have plenty of poor friends and family and I generally have little sympathy when they complain about their situation. All of them are poor because of the decisions they made. I also have friends and family who grew up poor and pulled themselves out of their situation by making good decisions and working hard. The reason I'm saying this is to illustrate that I am not a bleeding heart when it comes to income in this country - IMO (for the most part) your living situation is a direct result of your own personal choices and not the government, affirmative action, illegals, Donald Duck, etc.

That being said, I can not look at the widening gap of wealth distribution in this country and think that it's a positive thing or that it's something we (individually) have control over. What's more disturbing (as a capitalist) is that this wealth distribution issue seems eerily similar to the same issue that pushed the Marxist revolution that occurred at the turn of the 20th century. Some would welcome such a revolution, while the majority of Americans (currently) would not.

So the question is... are we heading towards another true socialist revolution (not the BS foodstamps = Marxism argument of the far right)? When American's perceptions of wealth distribution matches reality, how can we remain complacent? Is revolution avoidable? What the hell can we do to prevent it without giving up on Capitalism? I'm not talking about some doomsday scenario that going to play out in the next 5 years. I'm thinking this is a slow build-up for the next 10-20 years before everything boils over.

I'm kinda scuuurrd. :(




Excellent video. Lays out the crisis in very easy to understand graphic form.
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#7 NCBirdfan

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:02 PM

It's very rare when I say this, but...

Thank you for starting this thread an providing the video link. I haven't heard of it before now, but it definitely put things in perspective.
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#8 zenwalk

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:08 PM

A short video worth the moment it takes that graphically explains our real economic crisis.

https://www.youtube....&v=QPKKQnijnsM#!
"A screaming comes across the sky. . ." -- Thomas Pynchon

#9 Fang

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

Are you serious?

http://talk.baltimor...ad.php?t=328489

#10 Retired Ramp Guy

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:34 PM

Interesting presentation. Wonder at what dollar value does one become wealthy/rich in this graph?

#11 The Eternal White Belt

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:35 PM

What flaws in our system allow this to happen?

IMO, taxing the rich isn't the solution (although it might be PART of the solution).

#12 slapshot

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:36 PM

That is my question: what the hell is the answer??? Is anyone working on an answer? Because the only 2 answers I've heard are "start over from scratch" and "continue on with the status quo."

Neither answer seems to be very viable to me. :(



I would start by trying to understand the reasons why the middle class has fallen so far behind in the last decade, or two? There is no one, or two answers to solve a complex issue like this. This is a multi-variable problem that will need focused, specific solutions, rather than one solution that tries to address everything.

I think some of it is due to external (economic) reasons, and the fact that there's been a constant outward of US jobs. Loss of jobs coupled with pressure to keep wages low inorder to compete with labor costs in developing countries. Are tarrifs and taxes on companies that go over seas the answer?

Why have housing prices, in some markets, increased so much, as to drive many middle class families out of the market, entirely? A major catalyst for that was the emergence of the two wage-earner household. In large measure, house prices are determined by what people can afford...In 2011, the median household income in Maryland was nearly $69K...in 1984 it was $29K.Incomes have been adjusted to 2011 levels. Two wage earning families, just a generation (or two) ago were quite rare. My point being - as the number of people looking for work has dramatically increased in the past 30+ years, combined with more jobs going over seas....it's easy to see why the middle class has fallen behind. Without the two incomes provided when both mom and dad are working....life is a struggle.
You miss 100% of the shots you never take.
I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.

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#13 The Eternal White Belt

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:37 PM

Interesting presentation. Wonder at what dollar value does one become wealthy/rich in this graph?


Does it matter? I mean, it's all focused around the distribution of wealth and not arbitrary terms like poor/rich. Looking at that graph, it could mean that we are all dirt poor compared to the top 1%.

#14 banner1124

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:40 PM

I think most people from both parties would like to see that graph a little more even. But how do you get there? That's really the million dollar question.

Raise taxes on the rich? Possibly, IMO the $250,000 number is absurd. But everyone probably has a number they like that someone else thinks is absurd.

How does the extra cash get distributed and in what form? How do you prevent people from gaming the system and not contributing back?

Most importantly for me, how do we know our politicians will spend the money wisely? Who defines what is wisely? To me "wisely" is anything someone needs to live. But we can't even agree on that.


i think you already touched on what's the biggest part of the problem... all the danged money in politics. It's so much harder for the average joe to get ahead because he doesn't have the money to influence the rules of the game. For instance, the tax code is the way it is today mostly because the folks who are benefiting from it the most have lobbied their arses off and spent countless millions if not billions or more dollars to make it that way.
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#15 Contumacious

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:43 PM

What the hell can we do to prevent it without giving up on Capitalism? . :(


HUH?

"We" gave up on Capitalism circa , 1913.

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Illegal and Undocumented Alien
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."It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men." -- Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

#16 The Eternal White Belt

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:44 PM

Well, whatever the cause, I think people need to wake up and fix it now... because if people wake up 20 years from now, it's going to be way worse, and people are going to be way more pissed off.

#17 Fang

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:45 PM

i think you already touched on what's the biggest part of the problem... all the danged money in politics. It's so much harder for the average joe to get ahead because he doesn't have the money to influence the rules of the game. For instance, the tax code is the way it is today mostly because the folks who are benefiting from it the most have lobbied their arses off and spent countless millions if not billions or more dollars to make it that way.


Stop it banner. I don't think I can stomach telling you twice in one day you sound reasonable.

#18 banner1124

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:48 PM

HUH?

"We" gave up on Capitalism circa , 1913.

.


More accurately, we gave up (for the most part) on the laissez-faire style of capitalism... we've dabbled in it from time to time but it's bitten us in the arse every time.
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#19 banner1124

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:50 PM

Stop it banner. I don't think I can stomach telling you twice in one day you sound reasonable.


LOL :D

I try to be as reasonable as I can most of the time although I must admit from time to time I'm probably not the most reasonable person in the room.
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#20 Retired Ramp Guy

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

Does it matter? I mean, it's all focused around the distribution of wealth and not arbitrary terms like poor/rich. Looking at that graph, it could mean that we are all dirt poor compared to the top 1%.


See your point.... Just wondering at what point is one wealthy - middle class - poor.




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