The Real 'Re-Distribution' of Wealth

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Registered: 06-28-1997
The Real 'Re-Distribution' of Wealth
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Wed, 05-01-2013 - 12:10pm

I'm intentionally stealing the Conservative meme about how Liberals and Socialists are always trying to unfairly re-distribute the wealth from the rich to the poor -- and how that inevitably makes middle class people work harder to support a bunch of slackers and moochers..

Think of the revenue (Earnings) our economy generates like an enormous wedding cake that is divided up to feed everyone at the reception. 35 years ago, families in the top 1% of our society got about 9% of the cake - leaving the other 91% to be shared by everyone else.  In 2011 the top 1% received 21% of the cake.  This means that in addition to the overly large piece they got 35 years ago, they also got an additional 1/8 of the cake (12%).  To put that into perspective, 12% of our national earnings is just about exactly the TOTAL income of the bottom 50% of American families. To put that into clearer perspective, the income for someone at the TOP of the 50th percentile is about $33,000/year (about twice the official Poverty level for a family of 4) -- all of the remaining 49% of Americans have gradually LESS income. Think real hard about those last numbers the next time you see some pundit on Fox complaining about how the 'poor' (the bottom FIFTY PERCENT??) don't have enough 'skin in the game' because they don't make enough income to owe any Federal taxes.

This redistribution of an extra 12% of our total national income to the top 1% earners is the greatest 're-distribution' of wealth in American history. Taking a look at the state of our economy is all the evidence you need to see exactly how giving all this extra income to the 'job creators' has worked out.

The Conservative argument is that you 'can't tax the rich enough to balance the budget'. Really?  National earnings last year were around $13.4 Trillion.  The extra 12% of our national income that is now going to the top 1% totals $1.6 Trillion.  Since the 2013 US budget deficit is currently running around $1.2 Trillion, it is evident that just the extra amount of personal income the 1% have added over the last 35 years is enough to not only balance the Federal Budget, it would also pay down the National Debt by $400 Billion.

My object in this little exercise is to hopefully get you readers to WAKE UP!!!  Over the last 35 years our system has been systematically skewed more and more to the advantage of the uber-wealthy minority of our society - mostly the top  0.1%.  The increase from 9% to 21% of our total national earnings represents a 133% increase in their share of the 'cake'. Over the same period, median income after inflation has FALLEN by almost 7%. And the inevitable result of this massive redistribution of wealth is a staggering economy -- where the bottom 50% of our population doesn't have enough money in their pockets to sustain Demand for products and services.  And this lack of Demand means that there is no incentive for manufacturers/employers to provide the Supply of goods and services necessary to keep people employed -- which is why we have REAL unemployment in the US at close to 16%.

This is NOT rocket science ... it is Economics 101.  And it is why Conservative politicians just HATE raw, uncooked numbers -- because they so clearly expose the damage their policies have done to our nation. Just this year, THEIR solution was to fight to preserve the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while re-instituting the Payroll Tax on the people who actually buy the products and use the services that stimulate employment.  They recently allowed the FAA to redirect the Sequester budget cuts that were causing flight delays - just before they adjourned Congress and started flying home to their districts.  But they didn't bother to redirect the cuts that have caused thousands of senior Medicare patients to lose their Chemo-therapy drugs, or to the over 4,000,000 economically challenged seniors who have lost access to Meals on Wheels, or to the 70,000 economically disadvantaged schoolchildren who are losing their Head Start program.

I'm 65 years old, and I am both DISGUSTED and EMBARRASSED at the state to which we have let our society fall.  We are no longer the 'land of opportunity' I grew up in, where the American Dream was vibrant and real.  Instead we have become the 'land of the greedy rich and influential'.  And I'm mostly embarrassed because this is STILL A DEMOCRACY.  Apathy and laziness have caused the American people to accept being spoon-fed lies and mis-information -  while generations of our elected Representatives have sold out our future - and most importantly OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE - to a corporate and financial Aristocracy that spends a lot of the wealth they are taking out of our society to make sure that only the Representatives that support their continual wealth and power grab get re-elected.  You can all sit back and listen to pundits pontificate, or you can WAKE UP and use your power at the ballot box to reclaim our national heritage -- before it is too late.  If you don't, your grandchildren will look back at these moments and curse you.  And they will be justified.

~ SW

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2006
Sun, 05-05-2013 - 8:55am

Yes Song, wages have stagnated over the last several decades for the majority of workers in this country.  The people in the top 1% are those who make their money off of the financialization of the economy or should I say the backs of those who produce something for our society be it products or some type of service as long as it's on the stock exchange (hence the desperate push to privatize all things that were once publically owned).  Labor of any sort get the short end of the stick and then are expected to pay out more while those who made their earnings on their backs get special benefits.  Must be nice to be able to buy politicians.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Sat, 05-04-2013 - 11:59pm

I'm intentionally stealing the Conservative meme about how Liberals and Socialists are always trying to unfairly re-distribute the wealth from the rich to the poor -- and how that inevitably makes middle class people work harder to support a bunch of slackers and moochers.

A sad fact.

Think of the revenue (Earnings) our economy generates like an enormous wedding cake that is divided up to feed everyone at the reception.

Your premise is flawed from the start.  Wealth accumulation…notice I didn’t say “re-distribution”…is not a zero sum game.  There is no finite “pie” or “wedding cake” from which all wealth is allocated.

35 years ago, families in the top 1% of our society got about 9% of the cake - leaving the other 91% to be shared by everyone else.  In 2011 the top 1% received 21% of the cake.  This means that in addition to the overly large piece they got 35 years ago, they also got an additional 1/8 of the cake (12%).  To put that into perspective, 12% of our national earnings is just about exactly the TOTAL income of the bottom 50% of American families.

So what?  Angelina Jolie making $12M to make a movie doesn’t make me poorer…unless I pay for a ticket to see it.  And the top 1% don’t “get” an “overly large piece of cake”…they EARN it…and NOT at the expense of anyone else.

To put that into clearer perspective, the income for someone at the TOP of the 50th percentile is about $33,000/year (about twice the official Poverty level for a family of 4) -- all of the remaining 49% of Americans have gradually LESS income.

They have gradually less income by COMPARISON, not BECAUSE the top earners have more.

Think real hard about those last numbers the next time you see some pundit on Fox complaining about how the 'poor' (the bottom FIFTY PERCENT??) don't have enough 'skin in the game' because they don't make enough income to owe any Federal taxes.

Identifying someone as “poor” is arbitrary, as is the claim that they “don’t make enough income to owe any Federal taxes.”  One only has to look at the lifestyles of the “poor” across the world to see how applicable that characterization really is.  And yes, having “skin in the game” is important.  We have a society where half the population are takers, feeding off the makers.  And with no “skin in the game,” what is their incentive for joining the other side just to be preyed upon?

This redistribution of an extra 12% of our total national income to the top 1% earners is the greatest 're-distribution' of wealth in American history.

What a ridiculous point of view.  There is no “extra 12% of our total national income”…it simply represents a larger piece of a larger pie.  And there was no “re-distribution” of wealth to the top 1%...which is taking money from one person and giving it to another...the top 1% EARNED it…and the bottom 90% benefitted from the means by which the top 1% acquired their wealth.

Taking a look at the state of our economy is all the evidence you need to see exactly how giving all this extra income to the 'job creators' has worked out.

The state of our economy is the direct result of liberal social engineering policies.  And it’s pitiful maintenance is also the direct result of liberal policies inflicted by Obama and the Democrats.

The Conservative argument is that you 'can't tax the rich enough to balance the budget'. Really?  National earnings last year were around $13.4 Trillion.  The extra 12% of our national income that is now going to the top 1% totals $1.6 Trillion.  Since the 2013 US budget deficit is currently running around $1.2 Trillion, it is evident that just the extra amount of personal income the 1% have added over the last 35 years is enough to not only balance the Federal Budget, it would also pay down the National Debt by $400 Billion.

Again, ridiculous…and a completely inane perception of wealth and it’s social distribution and social impact.

And the inevitable result of this massive redistribution of wealth is a staggering economy -- where the bottom 50% of our population doesn't have enough money in their pockets to sustain Demand for products and services.

The plight of the 49%...heck the 90%...is the direct result of failed liberal policies.  Pushing huge increases in the minimum wage and heaping tons of regulations has forced businesses to raise the price of their goods and services, to limit their ability to grow and hire, or has pushed them out of the country altogether.  Then heap on the grossly anti-business environment created by Obama and you’ve got a real recipe for recession and high unemployment.  Enjoy the pain.

And this lack of Demand means that there is no incentive for manufacturers/employers to provide the Supply of goods and services necessary to keep people employed -- which is why we have REAL unemployment in the US at close to 16%.

Their own existence is the incentive for businesses to supply goods and services.  As I said before, it’s the onerous regulations and taxes, like Obamacare, etc, that are the cause of the high unemployment and stagnant economy we’re enjoying today.  Obama creates an oppressive, anti-business environment…so businesses hold back, keep reserves of cash, don’t expand…which naturally means that unemployment will remain high…until the people have enough sense to vote in a pro-business, Republican administration.

This is NOT rocket science ... it is Economics 101.  And it is why Conservative politicians just HATE raw, uncooked numbers -- because they so clearly expose the damage their policies have done to our nation.

We love uncooked numbers…so why not give us some, rather than the skewed, partisan tripe we’ve seen so far?  As I said before, the condition of the economy is DIRECTLY attributable to left-wing policies…and who are equally responsible for the continuation of that sad condition.

Just this year, THEIR solution was to fight to preserve the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while re-instituting the Payroll Tax on the people who actually buy the products and use the services that stimulate employment.

Actually, it was Obama who said “you don’t raise taxes in a down economy”…right before he extended those horrible tax cuts.  Then, a year later when the economy was even worse, the moron, along with his idiot Democrat compatriots, fought to raise those taxes…to predictable results.

As far as the payroll tax increase in concerned, it was Obama and the Democrats who didn’t include them in their fiscal fight in late 2012.  They were quite happy to raise the taxes on 80% of the population…which cause quite a bit of consternation after promising NOT to raise their taxes.  But to be fair, it would have been devastating to Social Security to have allowed the tax cuts to continue as the payroll tax directly funds SS, which is already in financial trouble.

They recently allowed the FAA to redirect the Sequester budget cuts that were causing flight delays - just before they adjourned Congress and started flying home to their districts.  But they didn't bother to redirect the cuts that have caused thousands of senior Medicare patients to lose their Chemo-therapy drugs, or to the over 4,000,000 economically challenged seniors who have lost access to Meals on Wheels, or to the 70,000 economically disadvantaged schoolchildren who are losing their Head Start program.

You probably didn’t notice, but the FAA exception was a strong bipartisan vote.  You probably also ignored the Republican attempts to give Obama the authority to manage the sequester cuts to minimize the pain felt by the American people.  But Obama, dirt-bag that he is, wanted to maximize the pain inflicted on the American people so he could use it for political reasons and threatened to veto any bill that came to him giving him that authority.  So if a cancer patient loses their Chemo drugs or some senior doesn’t get their meals on wheels, they can thank Obama personally, who cares more for his politics than he does about the health of real people.

Btw…Head Start…proven to be a complete failure.

I'm 65 years old, and I am both DISGUSTED and EMBARRASSED at the state to which we have let our society fall.

Vote Republican.

We are no longer the 'land of opportunity' I grew up in, where the American Dream was vibrant and real.  Instead we have become the 'land of the greedy rich and influential'.

We’re always been the “land of the greedy rich and influential.”  Do you imagine this country became great because of poor, lazy slackers?  Just look at our Founding Fathers…millionaires all.  Landowners…entrepreneurs…risk takers.  Not a welfare queen or nanny-statist in sight.  And the “opportunity” is still here, every day, it’s just tougher now that liberals have put so many roadblocks in your way.

And I'm mostly embarrassed because this is STILL A DEMOCRACY.  Apathy and laziness have caused the American people to accept being spoon-fed lies and mis-information –

This is the age of the low-information voter.  Fed promises and given hand-outs by a liberal government, they’re so stupid they’ll even vote against their own interests for something as insipid as “hope and change.”  Even after four years of abject failure they’ll still re-elect the same fool again.  What’s the definition of insanity?

while generations of our elected Representatives have sold out our future - and most importantly OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE - to a corporate and financial Aristocracy that spends a lot of the wealth they are taking out of our society to make sure that only the Representatives that support their continual wealth and power grab get re-elected.

I’m afraid it’s the government that has sold out our children’s future…especially the Democrats.  Heaping debilitating debt onto the backs of our children with absolutely no intention of stopping or even slowing down.  Tax and spend, that’s their mantra…no matter what the cost.  Then they attack American business, the backbone of the country…and scratch their heads wondering why the economy sucks, unemployment is high and cry when businesses head overseas.

You can all sit back and listen to pundits pontificate, or you can WAKE UP and use your power at the ballot box to reclaim our national heritage -- before it is too late.  If you don't, your grandchildren will look back at these moments and curse you.  And they will be justified.

VOTE REPUBLICAN!

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