Do you believe wealth inequality in the United States and Canada is too extreme?

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#1 Posted by chrisrooR (9027 posts) -

Just wondering how OT feels about this. I'm currently writing a paper on it, and some of the research on it is pretty amazing.

The top 1% of earners own 50% of all stocks, bonds and mutual fund assets.

Top 10% of earners own 90% of all stocks, bonds and mutual fund assets.

Do you think that this sort of wealth is justified, or is there some sort of optimal level of wealth disparity (in your opinion)?

Do you believe people need more than 200 million dollars?

I don't really think it's a bad thing, it's just the way it is.

#2 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -
Yes. I think that people should be allowed to be wealthy but they should shoulder a bigger tax burden. Hence, higher rates and NO loopholes.
#3 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

#4 Posted by comp_atkins (31877 posts) -

interesting.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw

#5 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

Pirate700
Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.
#6 Posted by bnarmz (1370 posts) -
If the 1% has no control over the 99% than I'll have no problem with them at all. If you can earn yourself some big bank Im happy for you, just dont go looking for sly ways to have your money manipulate the country in a way that will have you controlling my life in the way you see fit.
#7 Posted by Guybrush_3 (8308 posts) -

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

Pirate700

Impossible to do with so much wealth consentrated at the top and considering how much of that wealth is built on the backs of the poor.

#8 Posted by Aljosa23 (25783 posts) -

Why are you placing Canada in the same category as the US?

#9 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

Why are you placing Canada in the same category as the US?

Aljosa23
You are not really that different......being in Canada isn't like being in a foreign land.:P
#10 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

LJS9502_basic

Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

#11 Posted by Aljosa23 (25783 posts) -

[QUOTE="Aljosa23"]

Why are you placing Canada in the same category as the US?

LJS9502_basic

You are not really that different......being in Canada isn't like being in a foreign land.:P

Well as far as I know wealth inequality isn't really an issue here and our poor are only in concentrated areas of the three big cities.

#12 Posted by chrisrooR (9027 posts) -

Why are you placing Canada in the same category as the US?

Aljosa23
Because levels of inequality in Canada are just as bad. Overall our poor and middle classes are better off, but the rich are proportionally in the same region (actually, I believe the gap is greater) in Canada. (I'm Canadian by the way).
#13 Posted by Aljosa23 (25783 posts) -

Because levels of inequality in Canada are just as bad. Overall our poor and middle classes are better off, but the rich are proportionally in the same region (actually, I believe the gap is greater) in Canada. (I'm Canadian by the way). chrisrooR
Interesting.

Do you have a link or something I can check out? Not saying I don't believe you I just want to read more into it.

#14 Posted by Laihendi (5834 posts) -

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"][QUOTE="Pirate700"]

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

Pirate700

Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

And make it impossibly expensive to hire workers.
#15 Posted by thegerg (15855 posts) -
no
#16 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"][QUOTE="Pirate700"]

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

Pirate700

Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

Raising minimum wages increases cost......make the wealthy pay their share of the cost and not put it all on the middle class. If you look at income per year the middle class (and poor) pay more of said income in taxes then the wealthy do. The percentage may be higher for the wealthy but they keep more of their money. The tax system is set up in such a way that the working/poor have no recourse to holding on to their money.
#17 Posted by chrisrooR (9027 posts) -

[QUOTE="chrisrooR"]Because levels of inequality in Canada are just as bad. Overall our poor and middle classes are better off, but the rich are proportionally in the same region (actually, I believe the gap is greater) in Canada. (I'm Canadian by the way). Aljosa23

Interesting.

Do you have a link or something I can check out? Not saying I don't believe you I just want to read more into it.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1223391--tackling-the-income-gap-in-canadian-cities http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/income-inequality-rising-quickly-in-canada/article618311/ And here's a nice video done by a student at ryerson that highlights the income gaps http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/updates/income-inequality-numbers
#18 Posted by Guybrush_3 (8308 posts) -

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"][QUOTE="Pirate700"]

Yes, but not because OF the wealthy. There's too much focus on trying to bring the wealthy down. The poor need to be brought up.

Pirate700

Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

Increased revenue can be used to invest in education and infrastructure which helps the poor and middle class. a flater income distribution also greatly benefits total quality of life in a country and encourage growth, even when it is brought on by higher tax rates. Lower taxes just cause wealth to be consentrated upwards (it does not trickle down) I do also agree that minimum wage should be considerably higher.

#19 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"]Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.Laihendi

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

And make it impossibly expensive to hire workers.

Increasing minimum wage would not make it impossibly expensive. Minimum wage in this country is an absolute joke. Especially if you live in CA or NY, making your $8/hour won't even pay your rent.

#20 Posted by thegerg (15855 posts) -
[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"]Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.LJS9502_basic

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

Raising minimum wages increases cost......make the wealthy pay their share of the cost and not put it all on the middle class. If you look at income per year the middle class (and poor) pay more of said income in taxes then the wealthy do. The percentage may be higher for the wealthy but they keep more of their money. The tax system is set up in such a way that the working/poor have no recourse to holding on to their money.

While the wealthy earn much more than others, they also pay much more than others. To feel that they don't pay "their share" is silly.
#21 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"]Kind of hard to do when the wealthy hold more of their money then the middle class and poor.LJS9502_basic

I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

Raising minimum wages increases cost......make the wealthy pay their share of the cost and not put it all on the middle class. If you look at income per year the middle class (and poor) pay more of said income in taxes then the wealthy do. The percentage may be higher for the wealthy but they keep more of their money. The tax system is set up in such a way that the working/poor have no recourse to holding on to their money.

The only tax increase I could support would be for the super wealthy. The six-figure folk are more than paying their share currently. If they want to impose a super wealthy tax, I guess I could get behind that.

#22 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

[QUOTE="Laihendi"][QUOTE="Pirate700"]I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

Pirate700

And make it impossibly expensive to hire workers.

Increasing minimum wage would not make it impossibly expensive. Minimum wage in this country is an absolute joke. Especially if you live in CA or NY, making your $8/hour won't even pay your rent.

Economically proven that increasing minimum wage increases cost of living. So while they make more money....they aren't any better off than they were before.
#23 Posted by Zeviander (9503 posts) -
People are entitled to success. They are entitled to everything they can and will produce. Whether a person "needs" $50 billion dollars is irrelevant (FYI, Bill Gates has donated over $50 billion to charity in his lifetime, and created many of his own charities). The government placing regulations on who can and cannot do business with the consumer is the problem. It allows those who have already penetrated the market to control most of it, and it prevents new, startup companies from entering the same market and offering competition. It's because there is too much government control of the economy why there is such a huge disparity between rich, and not-so-rich (to call them "poor" is not appropriate, as they not only have basic food, water and shelter, but healthcare, entertainment luxuries and many other services not available to the "poor"). The idea that we should take away people's hard earned money, because someone decides they aren't "deserving" or don't need "that much" is anathema to the idea of capitalism. Just get rid of government regulations and let the market sort itself out. Humans can be reasonable people when they don't have regulations breathing down their necks and actually have something of value to sell.
#25 Posted by nocoolnamejim (15136 posts) -

[QUOTE="chrisrooR"]Because levels of inequality in Canada are just as bad. Overall our poor and middle classes are better off, but the rich are proportionally in the same region (actually, I believe the gap is greater) in Canada. (I'm Canadian by the way). Aljosa23

Interesting.

Do you have a link or something I can check out? Not saying I don't believe you I just want to read more into it.

I was curious too so I googled it and turned up this. Link I haven't had a chance to go through it completely and unfortunately have a work meeting that I have to run to, but I'll peek back later.
#26 Posted by Guybrush_3 (8308 posts) -

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"][QUOTE="Pirate700"]I fail to see how taxing the wealthy makes the poor have more money. What needs to be done for starters is increase minimum wage...buy a lot.

thegerg

Raising minimum wages increases cost......make the wealthy pay their share of the cost and not put it all on the middle class. If you look at income per year the middle class (and poor) pay more of said income in taxes then the wealthy do. The percentage may be higher for the wealthy but they keep more of their money. The tax system is set up in such a way that the working/poor have no recourse to holding on to their money.

While the wealthy earn much more than others, they also pay much more than others. To feel that they don't pay "their share" is silly.

The wealthiest americans have a lower total tax burden as percentage of their income than much of the middle class. Which should not happen.

#27 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

[QUOTE="thegerg"][QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"] Raising minimum wages increases cost......make the wealthy pay their share of the cost and not put it all on the middle class. If you look at income per year the middle class (and poor) pay more of said income in taxes then the wealthy do. The percentage may be higher for the wealthy but they keep more of their money. The tax system is set up in such a way that the working/poor have no recourse to holding on to their money.Guybrush_3

While the wealthy earn much more than others, they also pay much more than others. To feel that they don't pay "their share" is silly.

The wealthiest americans have a lower total tax burden as percentage of their income than much of the middle class. Which should not happen.

Exactly. You can't look at the percent taxed. You have to look at the percentage of income they are able to keep. Which is higher for the wealthy than the middle class and the poor. And there is something totally wrong with that picture. That's what I was trying to say to pirate....you said it better.
#28 Posted by thegerg (15855 posts) -

[QUOTE="thegerg"][QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"] Raising minimum wages increases cost......make the wealthy pay their share of the cost and not put it all on the middle class. If you look at income per year the middle class (and poor) pay more of said income in taxes then the wealthy do. The percentage may be higher for the wealthy but they keep more of their money. The tax system is set up in such a way that the working/poor have no recourse to holding on to their money.Guybrush_3

While the wealthy earn much more than others, they also pay much more than others. To feel that they don't pay "their share" is silly.

The wealthiest americans have a lower total tax burden as percentage of their income than much of the middle class. Which should not happen.

I agree, it should be as equal as possible. That doesn't change my point.
#29 Posted by GazaAli (23565 posts) -
Wealth inequality is absurd in the U.S, I don't know how a profiled first world state would let it happen.
#30 Posted by comp_atkins (31877 posts) -
we just need some honorable politicians.. ones who seek to serve the good of their constituents as a whole, not just the ones who write them checks... but i may as well be asking for the oceans to be boiled using a lighter.
#32 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -
Wealth inequality is absurd in the U.S, I don't know how a profiled first world state would let it happen.GazaAli
WE can't all be wealthy like Gaza....
#33 Posted by Jebus213 (8919 posts) -
Wealth inequality is absurd in the U.S, I don't know how a profiled first world state would let it happen.GazaAli
Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. When the rich make mistakes they don't suffer. Anyone of lower class that makes a mistake suffers.
#34 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

#35 Posted by Guybrush_3 (8308 posts) -

[QUOTE="Guybrush_3"]

[QUOTE="thegerg"] While the wealthy earn much more than others, they also pay much more than others. To feel that they don't pay "their share" is silly. thegerg

The wealthiest americans have a lower total tax burden as percentage of their income than much of the middle class. Which should not happen.

I agree, it should be as equal as possible. That doesn't change my point.

No it shouldn't be, and here is why. Countries with relatively flat levels of wealth have higher individual quality of life (based on life expectancy, education, violence, imprisonment, tust, overall happiness and other factors) and higher levels of growth than countries with high income inequalities like the US. This scientifically backed fact. Inequality is devicive and socially corrosive. Therefor someones "fair share" (taken as the share that helps increase quality of life for individuals as well as society) increases as a percentage of income as overall income increases.

#36 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

Pirate700
I'd rather they did that. Though I don't think I'd put it on food that one purchases in a grocery store.
#37 Posted by Guybrush_3 (8308 posts) -

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

Pirate700

The economy would crash. The tax burden on the poor and middle class would increase dramatically and the consumerism that drives the american economy would decrease drastically.

#38 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

LJS9502_basic

I'd rather they did that. Though I don't think I'd put it on food that one purchases in a grocery store.

Agreed.

#39 Posted by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

Guybrush_3

The economy would crash. The tax burden on the poor and middle class would increase dramatically and the consumerism that drives the american economy would decrease drastically.

What proof do you have of that? It would only make your average item cost a few extra cents. It probably wouldn't be noticable on most items. And the extra they're spending on items would be made up by them not paying income tax.

#40 Posted by Kamekazi_69 (4704 posts) -

No.

If I open a business that delivers a service or good to the public and I become a billionaire because of it, I shouldn't be comdemned wrongfully based on my wealth alone. A honest self made millionaire shouldn't be penalized and I believe its unfair if hes making a living as equal as a grocery bagger. Its corruption within politics and rich CEOs with pocket senators that allow for a vast amount of outsourcing and higher poverty rates. The consumer or the people are the ones that have the final say and they allowed this situation to get like this in some way.

#41 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

No.

If I open a business that delivers a service or good to the public and I become a billionaire because of it, I shouldn't be comdemned wrongfully based on my wealth alone. A honest self made millionaire shouldn't be penalized and I believe its unfair if hes making a living as equal as a grocery bagger. Its corruption within politics and rich CEOs with pocket senators that allow for a vast. The consumer or the people are the ones that have the final say and they allowed this situation to get like this in some way.

Kamekazi_69
You don't create the product yourself....you have a lot of help.
#42 Posted by Kamekazi_69 (4704 posts) -
[QUOTE="Kamekazi_69"]

No.

If I open a business that delivers a service or good to the public and I become a billionaire because of it, I shouldn't be comdemned wrongfully based on my wealth alone. A honest self made millionaire shouldn't be penalized and I believe its unfair if hes making a living as equal as a grocery bagger. Its corruption within politics and rich CEOs with pocket senators that allow for a vast. The consumer or the people are the ones that have the final say and they allowed this situation to get like this in some way.

LJS9502_basic
You don't create the product yourself....you have a lot of help.

And one pays it by paying for labor work and providing jobs.
#43 Posted by GazaAli (23565 posts) -
we just need some honorable politicians.. ones who seek to serve the good of their constituents as a whole, not just the ones who write them checks... but i may as well be asking for the oceans to be boiled using a lighter.comp_atkins
Not really since there are nations in the world that do that to a much greater extent than their American counterparts.
#44 Posted by Guybrush_3 (8308 posts) -

[QUOTE="Guybrush_3"]

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

Pirate700

The economy would crash. The tax burden on the poor and middle class would increase dramatically and the consumerism that drives the american economy would decrease drastically.

What proof do you have of that? It would only make your average item cost a few extra cents. It probably wouldn't be noticable on most items.

To make up for the income tax it would have to be a decent amount. Also it would greatly shift the total tax burden to the middle class and poor, and they would end up paying a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than the rich (there are many other taxes other than the federal income tax) Growth is driven by the middle class because they create demand (often by buying sh*t they don't need) and considering current growth rates are very low even a small decrease in consumer spending could be disastrous. It's even worse for the poor. Most poor people have to spend every cent they earn just to get by, adding to their burden (going from not paying federal income tax to having to pay extra tax on pretty much everything but food) would stop them from being able to afford living expenses and would cause even greater reliance on the government which would increase government spending which in turn would require the government to raise taxes or keep increasing the deficit. It's a viscious cycle.

#45 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"][QUOTE="Kamekazi_69"]

No.

If I open a business that delivers a service or good to the public and I become a billionaire because of it, I shouldn't be comdemned wrongfully based on my wealth alone. A honest self made millionaire shouldn't be penalized and I believe its unfair if hes making a living as equal as a grocery bagger. Its corruption within politics and rich CEOs with pocket senators that allow for a vast. The consumer or the people are the ones that have the final say and they allowed this situation to get like this in some way.

Kamekazi_69

You don't create the product yourself....you have a lot of help.

And one pays it by paying for labor work and providing jobs.

Inequality is still inequality. Your investment probably came with loans. Which is money from the workers. Why should you have a higher percentage of the profit?

#46 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -

[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

[QUOTE="Guybrush_3"]

The economy would crash. The tax burden on the poor and middle class would increase dramatically and the consumerism that drives the american economy would decrease drastically.

Guybrush_3

What proof do you have of that? It would only make your average item cost a few extra cents. It probably wouldn't be noticable on most items.

To make up for the income tax it would have to be a decent amount. Also it would greatly shift the total tax burden to the middle class and poor, and they would end up paying a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than the rich (there are many other taxes other than the federal income tax) Growth is driven by the middle class because they create demand (often by buying sh*t they don't need) and considering current growth rates are very low even a small decrease in consumer spending could be disastrous. It's even worse for the poor. Most poor people have to spend every cent they earn just to get by, adding to their burden (going from not paying federal income tax to having to pay extra tax on pretty much everything but food) would stop them from being able to afford living expenses and would cause even greater reliance on the government which would increase government spending which in turn would require the government to raise taxes or keep increasing the deficit. It's a viscious cycle.

It doesn't shift it. One pays for what one can afford. You don't HAVE to buy everything you see.
#47 Posted by thegerg (15855 posts) -

[QUOTE="thegerg"][QUOTE="Guybrush_3"]

The wealthiest americans have a lower total tax burden as percentage of their income than much of the middle class. Which should not happen.

Guybrush_3

I agree, it should be as equal as possible. That doesn't change my point.

No it shouldn't be, and here is why. Countries with relatively flat levels of wealth have higher individual quality of life (based on life expectancy, education, violence, imprisonment, tust, overall happiness and other factors) and higher levels of growth than countries with high income inequalities like the US. This scientifically backed fact. Inequality is devicive and socially corrosive. Therefor someones "fair share" (taken as the share that helps increase quality of life for individuals as well as society) increases as a percentage of income as overall income increases.

Is there anything showing a causal relationship as part of that correlation?
#48 Posted by GazaAli (23565 posts) -

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

Pirate700
A better thing is to have a varying sales tax on items and to tax luxurious items so much more. If someone wants to own a private jet, fine, but you will have to pay 100% taxation. Maybe this way the rich can actually contribute to economy and maybe we would cut on needless items too.
#49 Posted by LJS9502_basic (152242 posts) -
[QUOTE="Pirate700"]

I wonder what would happen if they went back to no income tax and just imposed a nationwide federal sales tax on all purchases for everyone.

GazaAli
A better thing is to have a varying sales tax on items and to tax luxurious items so much more. If someone wants to own a private jet, fine, but you will have to pay 100% taxation. Maybe this way the rich can actually contribute to economy and maybe we would cut on needless items too.

Problem with that is it might not generate income.
#50 Posted by Megavideogamer (5522 posts) -

Eventually this will lead to another great Depression. But the inequality of wealth is extreme, But has it ever not been? 1% of the worlds population controlling 99% of the economy. will eventually lead to it's collapse.

How much money does one person require?