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03-07-2011, 10:18 AM   #31
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I would think that nobody would have problems with the rich getter richer if they did not seem as a group to insist that not only are they entitiled to that extra money but that they should be able to keep an ever increasing amount of that money by cutting services to those who are have nots. Almost all government cut backs affect the poor much more than the rich and the poorer you are the greater the effect. The rich are paying less taxes than in some of the past and making a larger proportion of the wealth so I think it is dishonest to state that your current tax system is keeping the wealthy from becoming even more wealthy.

But where does it stop. Taxpayers, including the extremely rich, would have more monies if there was less taxation and you could have less taxation with less services. So if one was to cut say all social programs that would save you money but what about education, and do you stop providing fire and police protection to the many to save money for the few. It appears that those who can afford anything they want have managed to create a divide with amonst the working and middle class, having one against the other in order to avoid looking at the wealthy.

The United States is number 94 in the world as far as wealth distribution goes. That means that 93 countries have a more even wealth distribution that does the US. The products of this gap are felt in life expectancies, crime, general safetly of citizens and really in the long term a lack of consumers for many products other than the bare necessities. If 93 countires, including probably all of the rest of the developed world (do not know as have not looked at the entire list but the US is considered a third world in distribution) can survive and thrive with less of a disparancy they why should Americans work hard at making theirs greater. There will always be poor as they will always be rich, it is just a matter of do you wish to make it systemic that the rich get richer by making the poor even poorer and more abundant?

03-07-2011, 10:30 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
First of all, your talking to an atheist so you can take your sins and shove em... Second of all, it is Lundi Gras and tomorrow is Mardi Gras so that means all of the catholics in my city are busy racking up as much sin as they can before Ash Wednesday when they think the holy zombie, Jesus Christ, will dust their foreheads with some magic dust that forgives their gluttony, lust, and greed.
You're no atheist. You just believe in an invisible hand.
So you pick on Catholics? Sad........
03-07-2011, 11:06 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by redrockcoulee Quote
I would think that nobody would have problems with the rich getter richer if they did not seem as a group to insist that not only are they entitiled to that extra money but that they should be able to keep an ever increasing amount of that money by cutting services to those who are have nots. Almost all government cut backs affect the poor much more than the rich and the poorer you are the greater the effect. The rich are paying less taxes than in some of the past and making a larger proportion of the wealth so I think it is dishonest to state that your current tax system is keeping the wealthy from becoming even more wealthy.
How does and INCOME tax affect WEALTH distribution? It doesn't, the more progressive an income tax is the more difficult it is to accumulate wealth because windfalls in your life get wiped out by taxes.

If you don't think states should worry about balancing their budgets like wisonsin is trying to do, than you shouldn't have a problem with the ultra rich buying up those tax free municipal bonds. Cuts to tax breaks like mortgage interest are off limits to tax rate setters even though they mostly go to the rich and hurt the poor. Making social security means-tested is off limits too for some reason so Warren Buffet will keep getting his social security check.

The ultra rich are not insisting as a group that they need to be exempted from taxes and the republicans are not the only ones shielding them.

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
Mike I think you underestimate the strata of these 400. They don't have a paycheck and don't live from paycheck to paycheck. You also overestimate what minimum wage will get you. The bottom 30-50% has little choice but to live paycheck to paycheck.
Statistically speaking those people are outliers, and I do not concern myself and I do not think that the government needs to spend too much time concerning itself with them. I am not really concerned about "what the minimum wage will get you" because the people who earn minimum wage are usually working for some reason other than just a paycheck like getting some experience (young people) or keeping busy (older people or spouses of high earners). There are some people whose only job is a minimum wage job but they too are outliers. If after having years of work experience and being a reliable worker you are only able to command minimum wage, there is something wrong with you.

As far as the bottom 30-50% (or even bottom 0-30%) having no choice but live hand-to-mouth it is not true, the mean and median net worth of every income decile is positive. As unbelievable as it might sound to compulsive spenders, it is a fact that regardless of how much they earn most people spend less than that and end up with some savings.

You always have a choice.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Of course, who says Americans are entitled to any sort of luxury? If you don't have the means, don't have cable TV or any TV, pack 20 to a tenement apartment or live like the Unabomber... walk to work, eat rice and beans, wear 1 set of clothing, freeze in winter... what was good for us in the 1800s is good for us now
I agree about the cable TV, and I still don't have it. But those extremes are not necessary, for single people it is quite easy to find 2-3 roommates and have affordable, comfortable, and safe housing in almost any city. For married people or couples, it is a little more of a stretch if both are low earners but hopefully you have lower expenses as you don't need to go out for entertainment. You must either wear very expensive clothes or be a pauper if you can only afford one set. And as far as winter goes if you live in a cold climate insulate, insulate, insulate. Start insulating with your clothes. People lived in those climates for centuries without electricity, natural gas, or heating oil.

Sometimes it feels like I am living in an idiocracy when I read stuff like that.
03-07-2011, 11:18 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
As far as the bottom 30-50% (or even bottom 0-30%) having no choice but live hand-to-mouth it is not true, the mean and median net worth of every income decile is positive. As unbelievable as it might sound to compulsive spenders, it is a fact that regardless of how much they earn most people spend less than that and end up with some savings
C'mon up to Detroit. I wanna see you fix up a 100yr old house on minimum wage.
I wanna see you heat it in the winter. plus feed some kids, keep an old car running, so you can get to your job and actually save money and invest it wisely in the "market".

Once again........30+ years of tax breaks to the rich have not done what was promised.

It was 8 years of the Bush Idiocracy that put us where we are now.

Do you have anymore denial? Platitudes?
Anything at all to help the lower 50%?

03-07-2011, 11:33 AM   #35
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Don't forget to save some more money for health care. Say for a family of four.

Do the math.............it won't work.
03-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote


First of all, your talking to an atheist so you can take your sins and shove em... Second of all, it is Lundi Gras and tomorrow is Mardi Gras so that means all of the catholics in my city are busy racking up as much sin as they can before Ash Wednesday when they think the holy zombie, Jesus Christ, will dust their foreheads with some magic dust that forgives their gluttony, lust, and greed.
Sure your not talking about WALL STREET types........
do you not understand that to these MONEY is a RELIGION????
03-07-2011, 12:59 PM   #37
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Mike, your post is a wealth of undocumented assertions. It looks to me like the median net worth of the bottom half has been hugging zero for a while. File:MedianNetWorth2007.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Whether their net worth is zero or not, they are still living from paycheck to paycheck without much there to save.

Of course, as you suggest, half the country could simply live as a third world nation and save more. I'm sure that would help our business climate.
03-07-2011, 01:20 PM   #38
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Mike

Progressive income tax is the only fair tax. Why should a person making 10 million dollars a year pay the same rate or the same amount as someone making 10 thousand? If taxes make it difficult to aquire wealth that goes against the whole body of evidence that the weathy are getting richer compared to the middle and working classes. I am not addressing your estate taxes as personally I know little about them. But I do read the messages that the rich are issuing to cut government services so their taxes can be lower and lets face it their after tax income is not very low, especially those who make their money from capital gains means. There are no reason to feel sorry for the rich, they are taxed less than the rich were a generation ago.

In the 1990s both the Canadian and Alberta governments cut back benefits to their workers and cut services and went from deflicits to surplus budgets. None of them eliminated exisiting contracts which is what Wisconsin did as well as in reality eliminated the rights of the state employess to bargain a collective agreement. In addition the proposed law eliminates a city's right to raise property tax even if its citizens would perfer increased taxes over deceased services. In other words all local governments are legally bound to balance their budgets using only the method that Governor Walker wants. This is not so much about balancing budgets as it is of enforcing ideology for example he aslo limites the ability of future legistlatures to raise taxes if they need to do so. From now on only by cutting services and public servants wages and benefits can the future government cut their budget and lowering taxes is now made much easier than raising taxes.

As far as the bond holders go why should the government even honour the tax free basis (I again do not know the details) or even pay the full interest rate? They have shown that contracts have no meaning to them. Personally I am not saying they should be Walker has shown that contracts he does not like are worthless and not to be honoured by those who negotated and signed the contracts.

The 'well the Democats do similiar" is a null agruement. First of all the Democrats are a slightly right of centre fiscal party regardless of all the marxism, communist, socialist labels thrown at them, secondly when something is wrong it is wrong no matter who does it. As a non American I do not have to believe in one party always right and one party always wrong. Bush did some good things and Clinton and Obama have done some things that I do not agree with and thing are wrong. Other governors, Dem or GOP have worked with their unions, business groups etc to solve problems. Walker is just making a mess as he pits one set of workers against another on money issues when he was already offered the concessions he asked for without legistaltion. For the record I think the union had a deal that was extremely good as far as pensions go however I do not know what amount of wages if any they originally gave up for those pensions. I do know that at work here we get paid less due to the benifits and if we were to lose those beneifts it would mean that we worked for less with the promise of more in our retirment and the govt would have had us work for less for broken promises.

It is not true that everyone makes enough to support themselves unless you count food banks etc as part of their incomes. Those at the bottom often end up needing to go to food banks, church and other charities and in some cases never ever having a place of their own to live in and I do not mean owning their own home but actually having enough money to rent an apartment.

03-07-2011, 01:31 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
Mike, your post is a wealth of undocumented assertions. It looks to me like the median net worth of the bottom half has been hugging zero for a while. File:MedianNetWorth2007.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Whether their net worth is zero or not, they are still living from paycheck to paycheck without much there to save.

Of course, as you suggest, half the country could simply live as a third world nation and save more. I'm sure that would help our business climate.
I am basing this off of some proprietary information that I happen to have at my fingertips, I work with a lot of demographic data that has this data broken down to a finer grain. The tipping point where the cumulative net worth of US households breaks the $0 threshold is between 28-29%, but you will just have to take my word on that.

I can corroborate my statement by following your own link, go to the link then click on wikipedia's data source (FRB: 2007 SCF), choose "Estimates inflation-adjusted to 2007 dollars" (http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/oss/oss2/2007/bulletin.tables.int.xls), and go to the worksheet "Table 4."

Scroll down to the bottom of that worksheet and you will see the "Percentile of net worth" data table. This means that they sorted households by net worth and broke it out into brackets:
In 2007 the mean net worth of households in the 0-25% of net worth group is -$2100. That means combined, their net worth is Negative $61MM.

If you look at the top you will see "Percentile of income" this is where they sorted households by income and derived some net worth statistics:
In 2007 the median net worth in households in the lowest 20% of earners was $105,900 and the median net worth was $8,800. Refer back to Table 1 and you will find that the income of this lowest 20% is a mere $12,300. But still they manage to save.

In fact, table 1 even has it broken down by what percentage of each group saved money. 34.1% of households earning $12,300 or less managed to save some of that money! 15.2% of households earning $120,000 or more managed to save NOTHING!

Of course tendency to save increases with income but the data does show that it is quite possible to live within your means regardless of your income level.
03-07-2011, 01:56 PM   #40
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bill gross "of course" the wealthy should pay higher taxes corporations too: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

QuoteQuote:
Add PIMCO founder Bill Gross to the list of wealthy Americans who think they aren't being taxed enough, already.
"Of course we should" pay higher taxes, Gross says. "Higher income groups have enjoyed an enormous privilege ever since the Reagan tax cuts...and actually ever since Kennedy began the process back in the ‘60s."

Gross admits it's difficult to know what constitutes "wealthy" in America or what federal income tax rate serves as a disincentive to those at the top of the food chain. "But I don't think it's 36%," he says. "I think high-income earners would work well into the 50% tax rate. That would certainly help balance the books going forward."

In addition to tax hikes on the wealthy, "let's raise corporate taxes too," the famed bond fund manager says, a view that runs in direct opposition to the current discussions in Washington.


The point about the real estate market article I posted on the previous page is that without the conditions to better economics for the 'middle class', many markets will a) languish and thus be a drag on local and state governments (at the least) and b) points to the increasing fragility of domestic finance - the reliance on a minority of the population for the majority of income, investment, spending and buying.

"Corporations complain and complain and complain and have got the Obama administration suggesting there should be some corporate tax reform," Gross notes. But at just 1% of GDP, corporate taxes are "historically low."

Gross goes on to accuse corporations of "holding governments basically hostage" by threatening to move to another state, or country, if taxes go up. "That's faulty logic and should be tested by politicians going forward. "

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Of course tendency to save increases with income but the data does show that it is quite possible to live within your means regardless of your income level.
Mike this is true enough - I was being draconian with the unabomber and tenement cracks

It does not change social effects of an increasing polarization of wealth and income; nor does it address the (seeming) fact that even with a modest positive net worth, once you lose your health insurance and then experience a health problem, all that saving and living within your means is likely gone.
03-07-2011, 02:23 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
In addition to tax hikes on the wealthy, "let's raise corporate taxes too," the famed bond fund manager says, a view that runs in direct opposition to the current discussions in Washington.
A view that is mindlessly parroted by a financial reporter. Quick question, Mr. Nesster... all other factors remaining unchanged, if corporate tax rates go up does that make issuing bonds or stock more attractive to a corporation looking to raise capital?

QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Mike this is true enough - I was being draconian with the unabomber and tenement cracks

It does not change social effects of an increasing polarization of wealth and income; nor does it address the (seeming) fact that even with a modest positive net worth, once you lose your health insurance and then experience a health problem, all that saving and living within your means is likely gone.
Some people are dead serious that it is "impossible" to save money and for them it is, its just a psychological impediment that they just spend and spend until nothing is left. There are some legit reasons like medical expenses that cannot be accounted for, but often enough it is just addiction to shoes and hopelessly chasing an aspirational lifestyle that is marketed on every level of society. I don't think this psychological weakness is the fault of 400 people, or 1% of the people, or 10% of the people at the top. I might be "blaming the victim," but in this case the victim is usually their own financial saboteur.
03-07-2011, 02:45 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Some people are dead serious that it is "impossible" to save money and for them it is, its just a psychological impediment that they just spend and spend until nothing is left. There are some legit reasons like medical expenses that cannot be accounted for, but often enough it is just addiction to shoes and hopelessly chasing an aspirational lifestyle that is marketed on every level of society.
I think that's an unfair characterisation of the poorest people in society, who probably struggle and strive more than you imagine to be able to buy the basics. And it's ironic that the people being characterised as 'financial failures' here are being caught out by the same system that is making the top 10% so rich in the first place.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I don't think this psychological weakness is the fault of 400 people, or 1% of the people, or 10% of the people at the top. I might be "blaming the victim," but in this case the victim is usually their own financial saboteur.
Is it psychological weakness, or is it 'human nature' in a consumerist society that constantly encourages people (through subtle, and not so subtle means) to view owning stuff as the route to happiness and status? And makes credit freely available? A situation that the top 10% have done very well out of, thank you very much.
03-07-2011, 03:52 PM   #43
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I hate to say this but you, statistically speaking will never be "them"......Below is unrelatedto that stat, BUT the "mobility" statistics have already been posted.
QuoteQuote:
Moore is almost right when he said the Forbes listers have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the population. As you can see from the chart below, in 2007, the bottom 50% of American households (that is about 57 million households) had $1.61 trillion in wealth in 2007, the latest period for which such data is available. The Federal Reserve defines wealth as all financial and nonfinancial assets, including bank accounts, investments, houses, cars and debt.

The net worth of Forbes listers was a combined $1.537 trillion that year, but their wealth fell to $1.37 trillion for the 2010 list. (In an email, Moore cited The Campaign for America’s Future for his source).

We don’t know the current numbers for both groups. Presumably the Forbes listers are worth more today than they were last fall, given the stock market run-up. And the wealth shifts of the bottom 50% are unclear, though a report from the Federal Reserve shows the bottom 40% lost less on a percentage basis than any other group, simply because they had less real-estate and stocks).

As Moore, not a Forbes Lister but a self-confessed millionaire, told me, “Robert, please note: in my speech I used the words ‘more than’ but I had written ‘as much as.’ As that was the last year stats were available, I would guess that the 400 now have ‘more than,’ as most of the worth of the bottom 50% is in their homes, which have sunk in value since 2007.”.............The stats are undeniably troubling. But the fact remains that the wealth shares of the rich haven’t diverged from the bottom since the early 1980s. (The top 1% have also held roughly the same share of wealth since the the late 1980s.)

Stories of sudden wealth gaps funded by tax bailouts, of Wall Street heists and financial “coup d’etats” make for rousing speeches. But unfortunately, it is nothing new.

Do you think America could or should rebalance the wealth of the Forbes listers and the bottom halfers?
Are Bailouts to Blame for Billionaires Owning as Much of the U.S. as the Bottom 50%? Not Exactly - The Wealth Report - WSJ
If the WSJ says it's "troubling" then you can bet it really borders on "disasterous"..........
03-07-2011, 05:46 PM   #44
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So, mike?
When you gonna put yer' numbers and invisible hand to work in Detroit?
How about a job on the fryers at Popeyes?
If you ask the boss real nice you might get 3% over minimum to start.
In 6 mos., if you do a great job, you can ask real nice for another 3%.

If? That's a big IF, he graces you with it, you might have enough money to cover gas for work now.

I know this is all silly. You would never do this. It's not a reality for you. you make enough money to cover such things. Plus a little on the side, I'll venture.

The problem is, it's a major problem for the people you say there is "something wrong" with.
Your position offers no solution. NONE. Just vague blame.
Convoluted numbers.
The charts I've posted don't lie. They don't convolute. They are reality.

I don't particularly like Democrats, but I vote for them because they at least pretend to offer solutions. I believe those solutions are often diluted by vested interests and of course the "other side".

Republicans? I don't even know what to say about them anymore. I used to vote for some of them, but today they seem to thinking in reverse.
You can never go back. Fact of life.

Libertarians? I used to be one. I discovered their social side is at war with their economic views. It's pie in the sky. It would only work as a pure system and pure systems don't work, without a certain purity of spirit among it's members. Not likely in a diverse society, of which we are one. It also believes in the "invisible hand". The real deal breaker.

So mike?
My question to you is this.
How will your view help those people who for a number of reasons, both valid and as result of "bad choices", keep slipping off the ladder to riches? Or even a reasonable level of comfort.
Because, I'm not hearing it in your rhetoric.
03-07-2011, 07:04 PM   #45
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QuoteQuote:
that the income of this lowest 20% is a mere $12,300
That's sad enough......
QuoteQuote:
I am basing this off of some proprietary information that I happen to have at my fingertips
Does that come w/ a secret decoder ring??? Sorry just had to.

Final Savings Balance: $41,994.46
that's what you would have after 30 yrs. saving $100/month compounded at 1% per month for 30 years..... That's about a year in a nursing home...
Double that @ 200/month.......Final Savings Balance: $83,987.56
http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/simple-savings-calculator.aspx

Last edited by jeffkrol; 03-07-2011 at 07:12 PM.
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