I have nothing against the super rich. I've broken bread with multiple men worth more than 100 million and one billionaire who made more than 11 billion in a single deal. They earned their money and I applaud them. But there is a terrible trend that is happening. We have developed a class of the super rich at the expense of the middle class. The idea that it trickles down is a fallacy and it can be shown through data. The truth is that much of this money is used to create more super rich people widening the gap between the haves and have nots. 

The landscape for the middle class began to change during Regan. In 1980, the first year of Regan, the top tax rate was 70%. By the time he left it was down to 38.5%. If you go back to 1963 you'll see that the top tax rate was 91%.Source  Did this tax rate prevent people from becoming wealthy? Rhetorical of course. That trend continued until Bush who got the rate down to 28%. Did that make the middle class wealthy? No. As a country we have less money in the bank than many other first world countries. We are #28 in personal savings compared to countries with higher tax rates. So lowering tax rates haven't given us more money in our pockets. 

What did lowering the tax rates do for personal income for the average? Chart Here is what I take away from this chart. Between 1950 and 1970, personal income in 2004 dollars rose by 47%. Between 1980 and 2000 that number rose by a paltry 12%. and it dropped between 2000 and 2004. What changed? Union Membership declined from 24% to 13% during that same time. Union Busting was one thing Regan was known for. You can see what the results are from the stats in this paragraph. 

So what's wrong with being super wealthy? Aren't they good for society? They create the private plane industry, yachts, estate managers, etc. These are precisely the problems. There is a finite amount of money. If there is a group taking and hording the pile, there is less to spread out for education, income for the middle class. If you can simply invest it worldwide, the money isn't spent manufacturing products here, it goes to companies that are cutting our financial throats outsourcing jobs in manufacturing and service to the lowest bidder. Picture the Waltons with a net wealth of approximately 80 billion dollars. What do they produce? How many jobs do they provide that you can raise a family on? How many 30 million dollar jets do they have where that money could be put to use creating jobs. Estates? Art? Cars? Yachts? etc etc. and the rate of the transfer can't be ignored either.

 
The super rich see a 16% growth and pay us .6% less. That's Laissez Faire at it's best. 

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where this is going. There are many uninformed people out there ignoring the sign posts. There is even a guy here that speaks of morality with a straight face and how we need less government. How long will the Tea Party march with signs and then go back to their two jobs to make just enough? How long will they be the pawns of the super rich like Murdoch? Only a fool wouldn't see what is happening. If you are a tea partier or a Fox News supporter buying the rhetoric, what would it take for you to see the big picture? You are a group with foot on the floor driving toward the cliff chanting about how great you are. Reminds me of the O'Doyles and you don't want to end up like them do you?


Tags: Decline of Middle Class, Laissez Faire, Morality, Reaganomics, Wealth

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Thanks. Deregulation and the protection of wealth has become a problem. Take the Deepwater Horizon not having a functioning automatic shutoff valve, or even the piece in place (history will sort out which claim is true) . We have to have our houses inspected before we put up drywall, but you don't have to inspect a oil well as it's set up? And then there is a $75,000,000 cap on damages. Let's not forget, BP can profit $75 million in a day.

In construction we have people operating cranes capable of lifting a 100,000 1000 feet into the sky, over people, and they aren't licensed? But then they need a license to drive a car? That's industry regulating itself.
Regarding this subject, I remember in the 1980s when in the UK the dustman went on strike, and I was sitting listening to some people, very rich people, and I overheard them saying that even if the dustman got a rise they would not know how to spend it'.
Nothing against the rich, who do a lot for the good of others, but the rich get richer and the poor, etc.
Cant see a change at the present time.
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Surely we should not have to stand for this gap between,rich,middle class, and the poor -'I hate the word class', as I know money does not make an upper class just by the status of how much money you have, or do not have. .
What can be done I am not sure but we must bring to the notice of governments how the average 'John' feels, and top make a fairer Society for all.

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Another link but Jan.2010.
I am busy signing petitions and writing to MPs to act. They say they want to get rid of poverty by 2016, not soon enough for me. I just wonder why we have a United Nations, do they do anything but talk.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7003694.ece
So what can be done is the question. There are many options, but I'll be brief.

I'm self-employed, but pro-union. Today you'll hear many say that the need for unions time has come and gone. Negative. Injury Rates amongst the non-union is the highest. Where it says Hispanic workers, read non-union and look at the injury rate difference. Construction unions are not protectionist. You can be fired at the drop of a hat (almost universally). Your skill set is guaranteed to the employer, and for that your minimum wage is set. You can ask for more at any time. Compare a Texas Iron Worker (non-union for sure) salary of 45k to my last year as an iron worker at around 120k. For safety, skills, and pay, you need unions. Where it goes wrong is in protectionism. Railroads, police, Boeing, etc These unions can be set up to drive people to the lowest common denominator. That's not good for anyone. Boeing in Washington is deservedly seeing the results of their actions as plants are being opened in S Carolina. We refer to that place as "The Lazy B". So that's what workers should be doing in places where they no longer get their fair shake. The whole "right to work" state group all make less and they need to open their eyes. We need to repeal right to work states. That's union busting at it's best.

The tax structure needs to be re-written. I'm for flat taxing. Maybe a rate reduction for under the poverty level, but if you have big dollars to work with, you can make money off your money and not pay taxes. The richest people that I know pay into the single digits as a percentage. GE got a 1.1 billion dollar refund last year. Exxon paid a zero tax liability while profiting about 40 billion. A real estate developer and landlord that I know gets annual refunds. Pumps money into his land and buildings, constantly re-investing to generate more wealth (went from 40 to 325 million in roughly ten years) and pays no federal taxes. I don't blame him, it's the tax structure. I'm a little guy biz owner and my tax liability is less than a third of what it was 5 years ago. It's simply not fair.

CEO Perks and pay is now at about 319x the average worker salary. We need a cap on how much of that the company can write off. Sure, pay what you will, but you won't see a write off for more than 50x the average workers wages. Private jets. There is no reason why the US should be crediting the $10,000 an hour cost of flying a business jet. It's your money, but it's not necessary. It's not a loss. It's a frivolous expenditure that you should have to explain to your share holders. Think of it this way... a CEO hops in a business class jet. He flies from Tampa to Seattle and back. $120,000 (landing fees, hangar, fuel, maint., pilot, training for pilots) and we credit them three average workers tax liabilities. That's three workers whom have effectively not paid taxes to the government so that he can save four hours at the airport. It's just how business is done. I went to NYC to meet with a client at their request. So they chose the hotel room. $550 for the night. Of course it's NYC, but why $550? It's that or give it to the gov.

I'll stop myself at a full page of ranting. I'd be fine paying more myself. I'm fine with the poor staying where they are. But corps and the rich need to start paying their fair share. If we have no middle class, we will all suffer the consequences. Think Detroit.

Ok... I can't be brief :)
The best way to fight this gap isn't from the middle-class, it's from the upper-class. Think about it... More money=more power= more say in what's happening in the economy. If you want to fight the super-rich, become one, and fight from the inside... I found my 'in,' (ask me about it, if you dare) and that's what I'm attempting to do. In my eyes, it's a losing battle, trying to fight people with MUCH more influence and resources than you have, in any capacity. There ARE ways to create change, but I believe the best (and most influential) ways to do so are from the top down...
You forget that the relationship between the rich and working class is symbiotic. They aren't exactly tightening the bolts on the machines that make them all the money. People forget the power of a good strike. Though, they are more effective in Europe, it seems. Here the govt doesn't fear the people. The people fear the govt. They claim not to, but their actions speak louder. They feel helpless. The voice of the people can be heard.
We speak the same language here. I say the same about the fear of government and it's ills.
To me, the heart of the problem is more controversial. Money itself is the problem. It is more than a little ideological to hope for a world without it, but a fiscal anarchy would alleviate the strain. We have reached a point where we can develop technology to do most and eventually all of the work for us. We can focus on art, literature and a bright future if we weren't focused on obtaining an imaginary source of self worth. Money is simply a way to raise yourself above others. I will repeat that I have no delusions of a world without it, but plainly, it is the problem. The handling of money is not the problem it is the existence of it in the first place. Just like religion. Mankind should purge itself of the disease of politics, religion, money, culture, class, nationality etc. They are imaginary lines in our minds that we can eliminate if we choose to.
...and race. We should all fuck a person of a different race, just to blend it all together. It has been shown that children of mixed races are more resilient to diseases and have a stronger immune system.
So, how would one regulate one's self or motivate themselves to do the things like say be a lawyer or a doctor? I think that you know what my objection would be as it's a hopeful concept. That doesn't mean that I won't think about it... I just can't imagine how that would work. That feels like a Utopian thought. Can you elaborate on what you would hope the motivations would be?
Your point is well taken. There are other duties that would be left unaccomplished if there were no monetary reward, garbage men and the like. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is Utopian, but there are glaring questions and problems. I hesitated putting it on there in the first place.

The answer is not an answer we have now. The idea, and it's not my own, is that technology would take the place of menial tasks. I strongly believe people would continue to practice medicine without the promise of riches. And, half joking, without money would there be need for lawyers. And even in that I believe there is a percentage of people who truly enjoy law and arguing it. I don't have a comprehensive list of shitty jobs, but I believe that keeping the workforce stocked has been, in part, a reason we haven't sought to load up the jobs with robots and similar automated machines. Again, I know that these would have to be maintained.

The other point is that, in this concept, people would be required to work, but everything is free. You can choose to become educated and be a doctor because of stature and self fulfillment, but there would be plenty of people who would be content to work and live as they wish. Even though there is no REAL wealth in a monetary form, the wealth is evenly distributed to everyone. I would also imagine that laziness would be one of the worst crimes. And is that so bad. I would love it if people were allowed the freedom to pursue art, music and literature along side their jobs because of less hours dealing with manual labor. Maybe they can graduate to a level where they make the art their daily focus based on it's popularity or merit and not monetary accomplishments. Again there are glaring problems, but if you put the best minds on it I don't think it's far fetched.

www.thevenusproject.com

This is where the idea originates from. Feel free to analyze it and get back to me. I haven't done a comprehensive examination of it. That's why I probably should have followed through with my hesitation earlier. Oh well, at worst it's a very interesting conversation. I hope I'm not hijacking your forum. That's not the intent. If so, I'll just create a new one after I do some more research.

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