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Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby AgentR » Tue 20 Jul 2010, 15:47:53

On the tax thing, while personally I don't really care, in order to formulate policy you have to understand that there is a difference between how the wealthy perceive and react to changes in taxation versus Joe Middleclass.

Joe Professional makes as much money as he can within the limits of his tolerance for labor and his ability to perform. The more he makes, the better his lifestyle, and he pays a little bit more in taxes as well.

Joe WealthyDude has more money in his generic bank accounts than he will ever spend on personal activities. He could earn zero dollars for the rest of his life, and have absolutely no changes in his lifestyle as a result. His estate is held in a variety of corporations and trusts and whatnots, likely in several countries, invested in various activities. He pursues these ventures because it is what he does, not because he needs the income. If the government comes along and sets taxation policy in such a way that removes his ability to grow his estate by participating in economic activity X... he will simply stop doing X. This is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen. You want owners of capital to have a reason to WANT to risk their existing assets in an effort to create more assets.

So its a balance, set taxation rates too low on the upper 5%; and the civil society simply can not function. Set it too high, and the only people who will have an interest in employing people will be government agency heads.

Policy wise, I don't think its the amount the wealthy pay that is the problem, but rather what they are taxed on and what they are NOT taxed on. Particularly these huge "non-profit" trusts, land holdings, etc.

You want to hit the wealthy without really punishing Bob the GoGetter? Asset Tax... exempt first $5 million (inflation indexed) and 500 acres of land; then a flat x-odd tax per dollar *AND* acre; assessed regardless of income tax status of the holding organization, Bobs Benevolent Band of Buddies pays the exact same rates as Industrial Idgits Inc.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby americandream » Tue 20 Jul 2010, 17:39:32

This is the weak drivel of the ineffectual. I don't need any one individual to create my ideal world. I would rather my tax dollars worked as they were intended within my social economy and not bail out these "entrepreneurs" who had fallen on hard times, which is increasingly the case these days. A time where we are assailed by a plethora of salesmen selling anything from safety pins that play a melody as they are fastened, to incontinence pads that whistle whilst you drop a load. All utterly surplus to our needs as a collective of organisms and an utter waste of the resources we squander to both subsidise and sustain these snake oil salesmen.

AgentR wrote:On the tax thing, while personally I don't really care, in order to formulate policy you have to understand that there is a difference between how the wealthy perceive and react to changes in taxation versus Joe Middleclass.

Joe Professional makes as much money as he can within the limits of his tolerance for labor and his ability to perform. The more he makes, the better his lifestyle, and he pays a little bit more in taxes as well.

Joe WealthyDude has more money in his generic bank accounts than he will ever spend on personal activities. He could earn zero dollars for the rest of his life, and have absolutely no changes in his lifestyle as a result. His estate is held in a variety of corporations and trusts and whatnots, likely in several countries, invested in various activities. He pursues these ventures because it is what he does, not because he needs the income. If the government comes along and sets taxation policy in such a way that removes his ability to grow his estate by participating in economic activity X... he will simply stop doing X. This is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen. You want owners of capital to have a reason to WANT to risk their existing assets in an effort to create more assets.

So its a balance, set taxation rates too low on the upper 5%; and the civil society simply can not function. Set it too high, and the only people who will have an interest in employing people will be government agency heads.

Policy wise, I don't think its the amount the wealthy pay that is the problem, but rather what they are taxed on and what they are NOT taxed on. Particularly these huge "non-profit" trusts, land holdings, etc.

You want to hit the wealthy without really punishing Bob the GoGetter? Asset Tax... exempt first $5 million (inflation indexed) and 500 acres of land; then a flat x-odd tax per dollar *AND* acre; assessed regardless of income tax status of the holding organization, Bobs Benevolent Band of Buddies pays the exact same rates as Industrial Idgits Inc.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Pops » Wed 21 Jul 2010, 10:47:18

I think the idea of jobs and innovation driven by the wealthy investor may be too "last century".

Back in the days when starting a new business meant building a factory down by the river and hiring a bunch of farmers from the countryside, "investment" meant local jobs and outside money enriching the local market. People still griped about the fat cats but they were beneficiaries of the local investments.

Today, investment - big time investment anyway, means building a factory in a cheap labor market overseas or betting on some abstract financial "product" that adds little more than froth to the markets. The old adage that a rising tide lifts all boats is still true but because we are in a global market the investor can ride the tide while us little guys sit here high and dry.

In other words trickle down isn't working anymore in the US (if it ever did) unless you are a dry cleaner or domestic servant.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 21 Jul 2010, 18:11:02

In other words trickle down isn't working anymore in the US (if it ever did) unless you are a dry cleaner or domestic servant.


i.e. illegal immigrant worker.....the backbone of the nation!
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby MarkJ » Thu 22 Jul 2010, 05:12:54

A rising tide only offers opportunity for people with the right education, skills, knowledge, businesses, savings, credit, assets etc to take advantage of the rising tide.

For example, we have many high tech, nanotech and high skill jobs coming to the tech valley area of Upstate New York, but it's not like they're going to be filled by all the unemployed manufacturing workers and tradesmen in the surrounding regions.

Although we have incredible commercial growth in some regions, many builders and tradesmen are unqualified, too small or lack the capital to take advantage of this growth.

The rising tide actually drowns many of the unskilled and uneducated as well as the income and credit challenged as they're pushed out of job markets and priced/pushed out of land, housing and rental markets due to competition, new construction, gentrification etc.


Jobs used to trickle down to the poor, but now they often trickle down to the teens, college students and 20 somethings living in middle class and upper middle class households in prosperous job markets.


Jobs that once trickled down to 30 somethings, 40 somethings and 50 somethings often trickle down to lower risk, younger, healthy, energetic workers.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby PrestonSturges » Thu 22 Jul 2010, 09:30:16

The concentration of wealth in the top 1% of the population is definitely on the minds of the corporate elites, which is why Fox News and the right wing are all over the Negro Menace virtually 24/7, which has replaced the Liberal Menace, the Gay Agenda, Muslim Americans, and Feminism as their boogeyman.

Even abortion and Bin Laden have vanished from the media.

They are using every ugly trick, every Mein Kampf propaganda tactic to get the middle class to cut their own throats and keep shoveling tax cuts to the wealthy. And they are going all in on round-the-clock racism. And the wingnuts are responding in classic lynch mob fashion. Wind people up enough, and it's all one big celebration of stereotypes and hatred.

But there will always be whites that would rather go homeless than imagine one black child gets a free measles vaccine. And you can bet that Social Security is the next thing that will be described as "reparations for slavery."

The long con is to make the (formerly) middle class bear the burden of paying off those deficits caused by tax cuts for the wealthy..
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby gollum » Thu 22 Jul 2010, 11:16:36

For a working person to vote for either a Republican, or a Democrat is just insane! It's a shame that the republican party has been able to coopt the Tea party movement.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby AgentR » Thu 22 Jul 2010, 15:23:08

The fallacy going on here is a combination of human lust for vengeance, and vague belief that if we just tax the crap out of Bob the Billionaire, somehow that will make us lowly slobs more prosperous.

I can sorta see the entertainment value of tormenting the ultra rich, and if thats all the result one expects, its easy enough to accomplish with jacking up the taxes on random high end incomes or whatever.

The torment that you are inflicting however, does not usually result in the ultra wealthy paying more money, it results in them going to where they can pay less, or doing activities that cause them to pay less. The guys you *DO* hit with these kinds of tax policies are the fairly wealthy guys who are participating in the economy, but don't have the huge asset base that lets them take their ball and go play where ever the weather is fairest. Unfortunately, these are also the guys that own the 1-3 franchise stores, a small business, modest construction company, etc.

All I'm suggesting, is that instead of whining "lets lynch the rich", focus more on, what policies can we create that will elevate the impoverished and underperforming.

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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Pops » Thu 22 Jul 2010, 17:26:00

You're right, that fairly wealthy guy is the one we all think of when we dream about being successful. He's probably a member of the Chamber and whatever other lobbying group that takes up his causes and thats great but he isn't the one that I think of necessarily - he's really just an average guy with gumption or luck or both.

The money I think about is the kind on the 1" line in the chart Ludi linked. That kind of money, as you say, is beyond the reach of most influences and yet can exert fantastic influence, that is exactly my problem.

The guy that for example seeks to limit abortion but is able to fly his daughter to france or wherever when she gets in "trouble", presses for war whit no chance his son will go, seeks to limit gun rights because he has a security team and has had his money where it can't be touched for generations - you see what I men.

The regular rich guy is just like us except he can buy more stuff - including lawyers, sure, but that's one of the perks of being a rich guy - the people with real money though are beyond the law for the most part.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby americandream » Thu 22 Jul 2010, 18:08:14

Bingo!. These new rules against public bailouts will be shot full of holes, of that you can be sure. One of them being the "national interest" which is a favourite elite ploy when it comes to sucking the average person.

PrestonSturges wrote:The concentration of wealth in the top 1% of the population is definitely on the minds of the corporate elites, which is why Fox News and the right wing are all over the Negro Menace virtually 24/7, which has replaced the Liberal Menace, the Gay Agenda, Muslim Americans, and Feminism as their boogeyman.

Even abortion and Bin Laden have vanished from the media.

They are using every ugly trick, every Mein Kampf propaganda tactic to get the middle class to cut their own throats and keep shoveling tax cuts to the wealthy. And they are going all in on round-the-clock racism. And the wingnuts are responding in classic lynch mob fashion. Wind people up enough, and it's all one big celebration of stereotypes and hatred.

But there will always be whites that would rather go homeless than imagine one black child gets a free measles vaccine. And you can bet that Social Security is the next thing that will be described as "reparations for slavery."

The long con is to make the (formerly) middle class bear the burden of paying off those deficits caused by tax cuts for the wealthy..
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby MarkJ » Fri 23 Jul 2010, 08:12:15

Bashing the upper middle class, wealthy and ultra-wealthy is the way much of our employment, income, credit, education and skill challenged local population vents the frustration they feel due to their shortcomings, the changing economy and changing job/housing/rental market.

Of course they never accomplish anything by venting, but it's healthy to release bottled up frustration and anger, or share anger and frustration with others in the same boat.


Locally, we see more class warfare between the lower classes vs middle/upper-middle classes.

The lower classes seem to hate the increasing amount of middle and upper middle class households in the areas competing for jobs, increasing traffic and driving up the cost of land, housing, rents etc.

Many also seem to hate the middle/upper-middle class tourists and seasonal residents in the region, although they create jobs, spend money and contribute to much of the local sales and property tax revenues.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby ian807 » Fri 23 Jul 2010, 14:06:31

Communism failed. Class warfare, in contrast, is alive and well.

Wealthy self-interested individuals will inevitably try to maximize their own wealth. Despite propaganda to the contrary, this rarely serves anyone but themselves.

When we had a high tax rate on the wealthy in the USA (70 percent in the 1960s), and the government was worried about the USA, Europe, et. al. adopting communism, the budget was closer to balanced, and the middle class were grudgingly given limited workdays, weekends off, vacations, insurance, social security and limitations on child labor. This happened via the legislature, not due to the beneficence of corporate owners.

Everything changed after the Soviet Union collapsed, and China became capitalist. Nobody worries about communism now, and the world's wealthy are all too happy to push governments into pushing the "little people" back into serfdom through chronic indebtedness.

This may backfire. It remains to be seen. When China's banking system collapses (See today's Bloomberg story) and ours happens to go at the same time, the wealth destruction may be severe and sudden enough to translate into political action in some countries.

But there's always going to be country or two with lower taxes where, roach-like, the world's wealthy will scurry. Until extreme wealth confiscation via taxes is universal, we're doomed to a world where excessive, unelected power is concentrated in the hands of a self-interested few.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Sun 02 Aug 2015, 15:58:27

Model shows how surge in wealth inequality may be reversed
July 30, 2015
Image
For economic data up to 2010, the model (red line) closely matches the actual wealth inequality (blue line), which is measured by the share of wealth owned by the top 10% of the population. After 2010, possible scenarios are those described in the graph above (where α represents an increase in the dominance of capital income over labor income), as well as a simple linear extrapolation of the wealth inequality during 2000-2010 (dashed blue line) and predictions based on the model (dashed red line). The results suggest that, by increasing private savings to 10% in 2030 (squares), wealth inequality can be reversed. Credit: Berman, et al.
...
The research was led by Eshel Ben-Jacob, who was Professor at the School of Physics & Astronomy at Tel-Aviv University, but passed away unexpectedly before the paper was published. Ben-Jacob was perhaps best known for his work on bacterial self-organization and its applications in complex systems.

The paper is free here:
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... ne.0130181

But, if everybody saves more and spends less, what happens to the economy?
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 03 Aug 2015, 11:06:11

americandream wrote:The choice is a simple one. It's either capitalism and the profit rationale with all that entails in terms of self interest, or a system which elevates the common good above personal gain.

If one opts for the former, one cannot complain about its natural consequences. What does one expect? Ethical self interest? :lol:

Thanks AD for summarizing a facet of your philosophy (Marx philosophy). I agree wholeheartedly, the basic premise of capitalism is profit and greed without which capitalism would never have taken off. It is about maximizing individual gain/profit which obviously is about self-interest. So aptly put by AD, the common good is the best manner to quell natural human selfishness and greed. Of course a cynic would say why would someone chose the good of his/her community over his/her own good? From AD I understand it as a rational objective exercise whereby Man understands that the good of the whole corresponds to his/her own good and vice-versa. I think those of us who rail against capitalism have understood the essence of it as being ruthlessly selfish and short sighted. Capitalism basically pits everyone against everyone. This is diametrically opposed to the common good.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 03 Aug 2015, 13:02:46

midnight-gamer wrote:
Income distribution in the US:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woIkIph5xcU


Nice video, the visual aid makes the comparison shocking. I think the argument that the rich should have fewer impediments to wealth accusation is distasteful. I personally, would think it vulgar if I had all that cash while others made due without. But that's just a projection on how I might feel, if my position was reversed with a billionaire.

"Acquisition" is not "accusation".

"Made do" is not "made due".

More work (and education to leverage the ability to get a good job), less spending. More saving and long term investment, less energy wasted with envy. These things could do a lot for much of the middle and lower middle class that claims they are "poor" because they are very unwise in their financial habits.

But let's not admit that. And let's not admit that the huge computer boom since the time Reagan came into office likely accounts for much of the wealth concentration to the more educated (information is power, and a spreadsheet or a database are tremendous ways to leverage information (to cite two obvious examples among many)).

Instead, let's follow Cid and dream of wealth confiscation, as though places like Russia, Venezuela, Greece, Puerto Rico, Cuba, (which have too little economic freedom to support much wealth) etc. were bastions of economic strength. Sure. That ought to work real well, as always. :roll:
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 03 Aug 2015, 13:25:30

Outcast you are trotting out the same old tired arguments neo-liberals and their captive media have since at least the 70's. Sure trickle down economics , all boats lifted. Lazy bums on welfare. Tired cliches which do not address factors such as your computer boom which is taking more jobs away then creating. The American dream is dead RIP. What you have now is things like temporary part-time work, contracting work such as Uber and people basically leaving the work force not so voluntarily. Check out cities like Detroit or Flint- Michigan. Now tell me where the high-tech fancy jobs are. What you got are abandoned lots and drug addicts. In your world Outcast, everyone is born with a silver spoon. So you justify that by saying that with some work and education people rise up. That could be in a fantasy ideal world, but in the real world some are not born with a silver spoon which includes the overwhelming portion of humanity who lives in poor countries.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 03 Aug 2015, 15:38:05

onlooker wrote:Outcast you are trotting out the same old tired arguments neo-liberals and their captive media have since at least the 70's. Sure trickle down economics , all boats lifted. Lazy bums on welfare. Tired cliches which do not address factors such as your computer boom which is taking more jobs away then creating. The American dream is dead RIP. What you have now is things like temporary part-time work, contracting work such as Uber and people basically leaving the work force not so voluntarily. Check out cities like Detroit or Flint- Michigan. Now tell me where the high-tech fancy jobs are. What you got are abandoned lots and drug addicts. In your world Outcast, everyone is born with a silver spoon. So you justify that by saying that with some work and education people rise up. That could be in a fantasy ideal world, but in the real world some are not born with a silver spoon which includes the overwhelming portion of humanity who lives in poor countries.

I'm not talking about the third world. The context here is the first world.

So in your world, there are no full time jobs and everything is bad. The same song the doomers have been singing for 75 months as the economy has been improving overall. OK. :roll:

I'd like to see more meaningful chances to give everyone who is newly unemployed better educational opportunities (instead of a large pile of obscure programs which don't work well), where objective standards for success are upheld to stay in the program. Now good luck getting the Democrats, the party of the "little guy" to push hard for something MEANINGFUL there.

But just constantly complaining that everything is bad and there is no hope and no one can help it is the same liberal claptrap we've been hearing since (in my direct experience) Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in 1957.

And if in your world no one can make ANY effort to do better, including moving away from Flint Michigan if there are "no good jobs there" -- then you've just made my case. No effort does indeed correlate well to little success.

Most of the people working at minimum wage (training) jobs for half a career and have made little to no effort to move up, get more training, etc. have earned their place. But in your world it's all the fault of technology. Sure.

The poor will be with us always. And they, and their apologists will always blame it on the hard working successful people and the mean old GOP and bad luck. Funny how that works.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 14 Nov 2017, 14:50:06

I wasn't sure where to put this, but this looked at least related. If mods want to start another topic or move this to a better place, please feel free.

So Credit Suisse now says the top 1% of the wealthiest people now own 50% of the world's wealth, per this CNBC story:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/14/richest ... ealth.html

A few thoughts:

1). I've been doing some reading on the impacts of all the automation and AI. Multiple dispassionate authors claim that a big part of the trend of widening inequality since the Reagan era is the technology boom (i.e. not primarily a conspiracy of the "elite" or politicians). To me, this makes a lot of sense. The classic early example I noticed was the spreadsheet. There was a tool that was cheap and widely available that provided a LOT of earnings power to anyone educated enough to use it, and with access to it.


With the rise of the PC, that was just one early example. Now multiply that manyfold as robotics, etc. requiring lots of education (and commanding big salaries and growing lots of new companies) come increasingly to the fore.

2). To the extent that this is a "political problem", I don't believe the idea that it is a left or right wing problem is credible. BOTH the left and wings of politics in major first world countries tend to do more mouthing of platitudes re the evil rich than actually make meaningful structural change with good policies and laws and regulations.

Example: Look at the US tax code. Despite all the jawboning about the evil rich, etc. -- neither the left nor the right are willing to SERIOUSLY cut back on all the special interest write offs that benefit the wealthy and upper middle class, in a meaningful way. Pointing fingers and yelling at each other doesn't count, by the way.

I still say a flatter tax code where EVERY NICKEL you earn from salaries and from investments is taxed with only one exception -- a single substantial personal exemption -- would do FAR more to meaningfully make a difference than all the complexity and arm waving being bandied about could ever hope to.

A). With a seriously high personal deduction, NO one who is below upper middle class would pay any federal income tax.

B). EVERYONE, whether a billionaire, or just someone making well into six figures would pay the top rate on ALL their income beyond some certain threshold. (And if the top rate were moderate, like 25% or even 30%) it wouldn't be high enough to discourage hard work and further productivity, but wouldn't allow ANY shielding/hiding/deferring, etc. that the rich do, using the complexity of the tax code. The effective tax rate paid by the rich should rise without impeding the economy -- and everyone but the rich would agree that's a good thing.

C). With a greatly simplified tax code, the IRS could use its resources to more easily go after big cheaters. And people could save a ton of money and time when preparing their taxes. Only the tax preparers/lawyers would object.

But look at the mess going on now. The tax overhaul Trump is trying for either won't pass at all, or by the time it does, it won't be meaningfully simpler, since virtually everyone is clamoring to ensure THEIR tax break is preserved (as usual). And the left is yelling louder than the right about preserving those tax breaks, per the news I read, so blaming this resistance to change on the GOP doesn't fly, BTW.

...

Unless and until people quit imagining and moaning that it's all a rich / political consipracy, and understand that it's mainly technology and tax preferences, and really leans on those they elect to DO SOMETHING about it -- aside from the moaning and blaming, little will change.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby GHung » Tue 14 Nov 2017, 15:07:31

Unless and until people quit imagining and moaning that it's all a rich / political consipracy, and understand that it's mainly technology and tax preferences, and really leans on those they elect to DO SOMETHING about it -- aside from the moaning and blaming, little will change.


Until corporations and PACs are prohibited from throwing unlimited amounts of money at campaigns, I doubt we'll get much change on anything. Citizens United needs to be addressed and overturned. Money is not the same as free speech.
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Re: Wealth inequality and 'explosive compensation processes'

Unread postby Cog » Tue 14 Nov 2017, 21:12:18

Corporations have free speech rights since they have personhood. The personhood of corporations has been established by Supreme Court precedent 150 years ago. Or you just don't like certain corporations and PACS donating money? Going to stop SEIU or the NEA unions from donating to Democrat politicians? I didn't think so.
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