Comments about ‘Gap widens between U.S. rich, poor as top 1 percent controls 25 percent of wealth’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 27 2011 9:36 a.m. MDT

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KM
Cedar Hills, UT

I think that statistics, like poles, can be manipulated. America is not a country that was set up to give everybody equal results, I.E., no poor and no rich - just all the same. It is a country where all have equal opportunity. If you want to devote all of your energy, education and life to becomming as rich as possible...have at it! As for me, I am trying to find a balance between eternal priorities vs temporal priorities. I actually feel sorry for those uber rich who have given their lives and their souls for something as fleeting as worldly possessions.

DanielWayneLewis
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

All I'm going to say on this matter is that when the pioneers came here, they lived under an equitable system of wealth. The reason the pioneers were able to survive here in a relatively inhospitable climate- and thrive- was because they worked together. Were they communist? No, but private accumulation of wealth was not priority number one. The desire for excessive wealth has led to the downfall of many a man; and a society is only composed of it's members, so the logical (and obvious) conclusion is that our society is replacing the desires of goodliness with the pursuit of mammon.

KM
Cedar Hills, UT

one last thought...

Those who spend too much of their time coveting the riches of another have spent their lives as imbalanced as the super rich that they despise so much.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@LDS Aerospace Engineer,

I have no idea who you work for, but whoever it is, you are being ripped off at those rates which equate to $35K to $73K per year. Before I retired as an Engineering Manager (Aerospace), I was hiring newly graduated engineers out of college and was offering them starting salaries at about $50K per year and that was over eight years ago. $75 to $90K per year was the norm for journeyman engineers - higher for senior/lead engineers.

Engineers are not wealthy, but they are not starving to death either.

cpafred
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

In almost every country on the face of this earth (and certainly all the "successful" ones), high personal incomes are taxed at higher marginal rates than low personal incomes. I believe this has absolutely nothing to do with what is right or wrong; it is solely the result of economic and political expediency. Wealthier people are taxed at higher rates to raise enough revenue to finance common projects and to keep the poor from rising up and seizing the means of production (by the way Russia is one of the few countries on earth without graduated individual income tax rates). In short, graduated rates (right or wrong) keep the peace and allow capitalist democracies to exist. It's the price we pay to have our republic. Plato had it about right when he claimed income imbalance was the fatal ailment of all republics.
So to those who argue graduated rates are unfair, I say duh, so what. Move to Russia, comrade, and enjoy their flat tax rate.

cpafred
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

To set the record straight, the idea that taxing capital gains represents double taxation is completely wrong. Taxing dividends received from public corporations does represent double taxation because the corporation paid tax on the income before it was distributed.
Capital gain income is totally different than dividend income. If I buy 100 shares of stock from some guy, hold it for a while, and sell it to some other guy, the spread between my purchase price and my selling price has never been taxed. The "double taxation" argument only applies to dividends; not to capital gains.

worf
Mcallen, TX

What is it about yelling politians at a pep rally, which make people so gullible? Making villains out of successful Americans? What kind of president would do this? Does he want to transform America to a Somalia or Kenya?

BO is not trying to create jobs, but save his own.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:the truth
Who are the recipients of govt aid? It is primarily the elderly, the disabled and children. People don't choose the circumstances of their birth, there is a certain amount of luck involved in being successful.

Some poor could get "richer" when they have high quality education, a safe place to live, food security, community/family support, job training, adequate healthcare, including mental health services and hope. The wealthy can contribute to Improving schools, to funding college grant programs, after school programs. CEOs can increase the wages of their employees, provide high quality daycare facilities, college scholarships for employee's children. They can sacrifice a little more in the form of taxes, especially now when some responsible people lost their jobs through no fault of their own and maybe nobody wants to hire them because they're too old. Maybe they can contribute to the sustainability of Social Security or Medicare. Increasing their taxes won't change their standard of living while cutting programs for those at the bottom may close doors, forever.

Poverty is a moral issue, especially in a society where people have the privilege of voting and shaping their society.

Christy
Beaverton, OR

Rifleman | 10:52 a.m. Sept. 27, 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Pagan | 9:55 a.m. Sept. 27, 2011

The rich have it and the poor want it. Only problem is that the poor aren't willing to put forth the same effort that the rich did who earned it.

============

And what of a child born into wealth, and a child born into poverty? Is it really your belief that the child born into poverty isn't as willing to put forth the same effort as the child born into wealth?

What exactly did Paris Hilton do to earn all that money she's got?

The greatest indicator of a child's future economic success is that of his parent's success (or lack thereof). Not everyone is born with the same opportunities.

The 'poor are poor because they are lazy' and the 'rich are rich because they're industrious' meme is sold by the likes of Limbaugh (who today had to say that the word that has had 'the most disastrous effect on the advancement of everybody in this culture' is 'compassion') and is lapped up by the likes of you, Rifleman.

Wake. Up.

common sense in Idaho
Pocatello, id

Christy

Well Said.

Christy
Beaverton, OR

KM | 9:32 p.m. Sept. 27, 2011
Cedar Hills, UT
one last thought...

Those who spend too much of their time coveting the riches of another have spent their lives as imbalanced as the super rich that they despise so much.

==============

The majority (2/3 of Americans) who agree that the 2% wealthiest Americans be taxed once again at 1990's levels (back up from 35% to 39.6%) are not 'coveting' anyone's riches. When the tax rates go back to what they were under Clinton, none of us are going to get rich from it. Rather, we hope our country can begin to eek out some semblance of economic fairness in that the jobless can actually find some work and pay their bills, 1 in 4 children maybe not have to live in poverty, our senior citizens not have to chose between medicine and food, and not one single veteran ever be homeless.

C'mon conservatives. How can you claim to be the 'moral majority' when you fight only for the people who want for nothing?

JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt
Beverly Hills, CA

Loo at all the uprisings on history and you will see that when the rich poor gap got out of control the poor rose up and took the rich peoples stuff. Be rich, fine, but a little back for the roads, police, fighfighters and other thing society provides with taxes.

Vince
the boonies, mexico

These comments and disagreements are getting out of control. Please re-read the article commentors. It says that in the past 25 years the top 1% has gone from controlling 12% of wealth to 25% today. Now does that mean that in 25 more years the top 1% will control 50% if this trend continues? Where would an economy be then? There's a reason government regulates some things and needs too! Lying, stealing, cheating, decieving and jamming power down others throats needs oversight. Just look at wealthy dictorial run countries in the middle east today that a small percentage control the finances and what is happening. Is that where we are going?

abinadi
Magna, UT

Many people probably don't know the history of democracy. A prince who would be king led a Spartan attack on Athens and killed off all the aristocracy. The outraged citizens counterattacked the next day and defeated the Spartans, but when they returned to their city, there was no one to lead them. They debated it for several days when someone suggested, "Why don't we just govern ourselves?" The upper class would never have allowed it to happen had they not been dead. Sure, the rich are hard working. Aren't we all? They are also greedy and they think we are all too stupid to govern ourselves or our property. That is why they want total control and why eventually everything will go back to default.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

The big error in judgment being made by the neosocialists on here is that economics is a zero-sum game..."if a rich man gets more, then a poor man gets less." That idea, right there, which has been enshrined as a Moral Truth by the left, is perhaps the biggest, most economically dangerous fallacy to come along since 20th Century Communism...not really though, since that was the foundation of 20th Century Communism.

In reality, if you destroy the rich, you literally destroy the economy. Rare Paris Hilton freeloader exceptions notwithstanding, the rich are generally rich because they have grown the economy and created jobs...that is the only, repeat only, way an economy can grow.

And Pagan, oh skeptical Pagan...the data source for my post showing that the poor's incomes grow much faster under GOP Congresses came from (Glenn Beck? Limbaugh? Charlton Heston?) that hotbed of right-wing spin...the IRS.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"The rich have it and the poor want it. Only problem is that the poor aren't willing to put forth the same effort that the rich did who earned it."

You tell that to the people here in this state (NC) whose jobs went away when the mills shut down and moved overseas. Or try telling that to the people in West Virginia who grew up in small mining towns - working underground for hours in unbelievable conditions - only to make just enough to make ends meet, less alone send their kids to college. Tell them that the only problem is that they "aren't willing to put forth the same effort that the rich did who earned it".

The advantages my kids have compared to those who live across town are almost embarrasing. To say the opportunity is the same - just desire is lacking - is a statement of either real ignorance or arrogance.

Really folks, life just is not that simple. Do you really think the only difference between you conservative commentors and people like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison is "Desire"?

Really?

carman
Wasatch Front, UT

To UtahBlueDevil:

The folks in NC and WV need to get an EDUCATION! We live in a knowledge based economy, where most of the value comes from the development, application and support of applied science and technology. But too many folks are coasting through our sub-par high schools, avoid taking challenging math and science classes, take a job right out of high school so they can by their "truck", and are generally unwilling to make the personal sacrifices necessary to get and utilize a modern education. We are buried in a 1940's style public education system that prepares barely 20% of our students for success in a knowledge based economy. Pining for the mid-to-late industrial period manufacturing and mining jobs that were more prevailent in the middle part of the 20th century is folly. It won't bring either social advancement or prosperity to the poor.

The real answer is addressing the education gap, including teaching our students life skills like 1) How to think critically 2) How to focus on customer value and 3) How to keep your skills current. Even among the skilled, too many have lazily let their skils become obsolete.

worf
Mcallen, TX

This philosophy is destroying our education. Students with high grades are put into groups with the lower and are stifled. The focus of education centers on the under-achieving.

By stifling the rich, we'll have a level playing field of a third world country. There is a pattern to all of this.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Worf - do you really think the rich are putting their kids in under performing public schools? t is the middle class kids that are kept in underperforming schools - not the rich.

Carman - you are absolutely right. But how do you build up education in these areas that are 1) economically depressed and hence have no money to improve their schools and 2) culturally education to make a living has never been a need, and these kids only point of reference is their own parents, who themselves have little education.

Yes, you get the occactional exceptional kid who has vision beyond their own circumstances. But unfortunately that is the exception, not the rule.

Hey, I agree that we are competing in an ever more knowledge based world... and were not competing within our own boarders anymore. And education is not the only key - look up the back grounds on the two I mentioned, neither has a college degree, yet are both in the top 5 richest people in the country.

It is a complex issue, not easily or simply decomposed into those who are willing to work and those that aren't.

Stiffling rich - that is funny.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:Voice of Reason
Nobody is advocating "destroying the rich." Do you believe returning tax rates to Clinton levels will destroy the rich?

Maybe you can provide your sources, so we can read it too. I came across an article from Princeton, "Partisan Politics and Income Distribution" which says exactly the opposite of what you are asserting. The researchers found that under Democratic Administrations income growth has been more vigorous among the poor; and during Republican Administrations the reverse is true.
BTW
I don't believe liberals adhere to the notion that economics is a zero sum game at all. It is conceivable that poor and rich can both prosper. And concentrating most of the nation's wealth in fewer hands isnt going to grow the economy. When a larger percentage of the populous has income to spend, the economy grows.

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