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Political Talk
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:57 PM   #81
Green_Shine
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Indeed I do, through the taxes I pay to our county's Constitutionally established, democratically elected representative governments. That, and through various charities too, both being important avenues to support and strengthen our society and fellow citizens.

I'm certainly not scared of capitalism but consider it the very heart of our economic engine. That said though, I do think there is, too, a vital and parallel roles for our government in appropriately regulating and modulating that capitalism to assure the free market does not degenerate into a free-for-all market subject to exploitation, dangerous instability and a threat to other broader aspects of our society.

Whether we, through our government, spend to much certainly is a debatable point (and often and vigorously is), but our tax rates are at a fairly low point, historically, especially for higher income brackets and also relative to other advanced industrialized societies.

As for the contention that higher rates are to "keep the wealthier in check," I think I would see it as not so much that but rather, that the benefits of our society are a bit more broadly shared for the overall benefit, stability and sustainability of our society over the long term. More progressive tax rates might be a component of that overall goal, but only that.

Better would be that the benefits of our economy and society were more broadly shared in the first place to (re)create a much broader, robust and vigorous middle class that I think is the greatest guarantor of our long term viability as a nation. At present, we seems to be devolving towards a more third-world situation of a small but extremely wealthy elite presiding over a very large and stagnant (our vaunted social mobility is now lower than many/most European countries) lower class with a somewhat small and nominal middle class in between. We all know how stable and enduring such third world countries tend to be.

This is by no means to argue a full swing to full-on socialism from full-on laisez faire capitalism, but rather, a more complex, sophisticated and mixed model somewhere in between that actually has been the character of the American economy and society from the beginning.
You pay taxes at a lower rate than those who make more money than you, how do you incorporate the philosophy of "paying more for making" in your daily life? Surely when you buy a product at the store which is available to everyone you don't pay more for it. When you go out to eat with friends who make less money than you, do you pay a percentage of their dinner bill because you have the extra cash?

Middle Class is 35K - 75K. Without seeing factual data I can only assume what you call a shrinking middle class could be attributed to people achieving above the middle class and people underachieving below the middle class. People today are more educated than ever.

I think your fear of an elite group of people having all the money is similar to the people who who build bunkers and fear the government.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:16 PM   #82
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as for the shrinking middle class, the largest growing group in America is the upper class. The second largest growing group is the poor. More people are moving from middle class to rich than middle class moving to poor, or we are simply importing tons of poor people as well.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48754974/Did_...me_Upper_Class
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:02 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Green_Shine View Post
You pay taxes at a lower rate than those who make more money than you, how do you incorporate the philosophy of "paying more for making" in your daily life? Surely when you buy a product at the store which is available to everyone you don't pay more for it. When you go out to eat with friends who make less money than you, do you pay a percentage of their dinner bill because you have the extra cash?
I also pay, willingly, a higher rate than those making less than I do and of course much more than those who pay no income taxes at all. However, I certainly don't begrudge the gentlemen who collect my trash for paying less or for perhaps availing themselves of more government services. While paying a higher level certainly does take more money out of my own pocket and, in a myopic and short-sighted perspective, represent a net negative on my own financial well being, I see it as a broader, longer term investment in our overall society that in the end reaps a multitude of less direct benefits that allow me and Americans in general to prosper as they do.


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Originally Posted by Green_Shine View Post
Middle Class is 35K - 75K. Without seeing factual data I can only assume what you call a shrinking middle class could be attributed to people achieving above the middle class and people underachieving below the middle class. People today are more educated than ever.
I won't say with 100% certitude, but my recollection of the data indicates that the greatest migration in terms of wealth and income is downwards and that wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated in a small percentile of the American population.


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I think your fear of an elite group of people having all the money is similar to the people who who build bunkers and fear the government.
I would disagree with that overly broad analogy. The significant growth in income and especially wealth disparity is a factual thing rather than a vague paranoid confabulation. Too, I think history, even American history, is replete with what can and often does, both socially and economically, to a society where that occurs, all negative. One may wish to review the history of the Progressive era at the end of the 19th and into the 20th centuries, a period of social and economic unrest that grew out of the disparities of the Gilded Age.

Perhaps you might argue that high levels of income and wealth disparity are benign, I'm not so sanguine about that. The Occupy Wall Street movement was but a crude and clumsy first rumbling of what might be in store should these more recent trends continue. The 2012 voters reaction to Romney's (and, generally the GOP's) embrace of the noble and lofty status of this monied elite, along with its commensurate disdain and dismissal of the "47%" might indicate that I'm not alone in this discomfort and discontent.

To be sure though, to argue that too great a level of income/wealth disparity is NOT to argue for absolutely no disparities, ala communism, but rather, that there is a more ideal middle ground that we're in danger of drifting too far from. Just as total income/wealth equality can perversely sap initiative and drive because you'd get the same regardless of what you did, so too can too high a disparity for people will come to realize that they can't better their condition and share the fruits of our economy regardless of their efforts and productivity (which has been increasing even as middle-class income and wealth have not, certainly not in step).

If the benefits of our economies increasing productivity are seen as being siphoned off to only those at the very, very top, then why work harder? I'm all for climbing up the ladder, but it seems those at the top have grabbed away and kept for themselves many of the rungs below them making it increasingly difficult for the rest to climb higher. I don't necessarily begrudge those at the top, many or most have deservedly reached it, just don't hog all the rungs on your way up.

Statistics have clearly shown that our vaunted social mobility has been greatly eroded and is now less than in many "socialist" European and other countries. That can not be a good thing and may well signal a more stagnant and permanently stratified society. This is not to say we're resembling, say, the Edwardian England of Downton Abby, but neither do I even wish to head in that direction.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:11 PM   #84
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I won't say with 100% certitude, but my recollection of the data indicates that the greatest migration in terms of wealth and income is downwards and that wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated in a small percentile of the American population.
You are wrong, and we've discussed it before here. If you take the three income groups we seem to go with: Lower class, middle class, upper class over the past decades the middle class has shrunk. The lower and middle class have gotten bigger and the largest gain has been in the upper class. This means more people are becoming part of the upper class than any other group. Mind you, this is with America basically importing poor people since the Immigration Act of 1965.

As such, your false statement that upward mobility is a farce is moot.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:15 PM   #85
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How do you know the increase in upper class is coming from the middle with certainty? Can it not be the upper class breeding? Fair question
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:20 PM   #86
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How do you know the increase in upper class is coming from the middle with certainty? Can it not be the upper class breeding? Fair question
Statistically, rich people have less kids than poor people. Statistically, white people have less kids than minorities. The link I provided goes into it and there is a thread about this here as well from months ago.

http://money.usnews.com/money/busine...nto-real-terms

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According to a recent Stanford University study, 44 percent of U.S. families lived in a middle-income neighborhood in 2007. In 1970, 65 percent of Americans lived in these neighborhoods. And while just 15 percent of families lived in affluent neighborhoods in 1970, 33 percent of Americans now reside in rich areas. Areas of poverty have grown significantly as well.
This basically means that the oft-parroted narrative that a few select people are getting all the money while everyone else sinks simply isn't true. More and more people are becoming wealthy, along with people that become/stay poor. We don't guarantee outcomes in America, you either got it or you don't.

http://freemarketmojo.wordpress.com/...ss-is-growing/
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From 1980 to 2006, the percentage of US households earning $100,000 or more (in constant 2006 dollars) grew from 8.6% to 19.1%. The percentage between $75k and $100K grew from 10.3 to 11.3 percent. At the other end, the percentage under $15K fell from 16.6% to 13.4% and the percentage between $15K and $34K fell from 26.2% to 23.3%. Thus all three categories below $35K fell a total of 6.1 percentage points.

The middle classes fell too, though by less. The sum total across the $35K to $75K categories fell by 5.4 percentage points. In other words: the net movement of households was an 11.5 percentage point gain in households above $75K and a net reduction of 11.5 percentage points in houses below $75K. So the percentage above $75K rose from 18.9% to 30.4%. That is, it increased by over 50%.

Let me repeat that: over 30% of US households in 2006 earned above $75K compared to under 20% in 1980. Over the same period, the percentage of US households earning under $35K fell from 42.8% to 36.7%. Fewer households are poor, fewer are middle class, and a hunk more are above $75K. (And in case you were wondering, those general trends hold for black and hispanic households too - with the percentage of black households under $35K falling by 10.9 percentage points and the number above $75K increasing by 8.9 percentage points, for example.)

Throw on top of this the fact that most everything people buy costs less in real terms and you have a recipe for increasing wealth across the board. Not bad for what so many people claim is 30 years of stagnation.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:44 PM   #87
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Thank you for the link. At work but will definitely read
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