Comments about ‘My View: Tales of spending, saving, regulation’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 3 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"What we refer to as the free market is a rigged game that the rich can't lose and workers can't win."--John Campbell, conservative British author and journalist, best known for a very positive biography of Margaret Thatcher. He said that as a lifelong conservative, he had reached this conclusion with great regret, but that it was nevertheless true. (I was going from memory so the quote may be a slight paraphrase, but its meaning was not changed.)

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

I agree with the analysis. I am less sure of the author's prescribed cure. Govt. needs to be involved, but I don't think through taxation.

Taxing the rich to boost wealth transfers to the poor is an ineffective means of reversing this unwholesome trend. The correct prescription would be better paying jobs and a more robust economy generally (and no, even lower tax rates won't produce that).

Here is where govt. should be part of the answer - to support and expand manufacturing as well as a wholesale change in vocational education (making it an attractive and viable alternative to the college track). We can (gasp!) learn something from the Europeans here - especially the Germans who have been more successful at keeping their manufacturing base and have a strong non-college educational track. Note to say we can or should simply copy it, but we need to look around and see what can work for us here.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Thank you Ronald for trickle down theory.

Roger Terry
Happy Valley, UT

I would agree with much of what Twin Lights writes. Unfortunately, the DNews chopped off the end of this "My View," which mentioned that there are better solutions than redistribution through taxation, but word limits prevented me from going into any detail. As I've been writing for years, the only real solution to economic inequality is to reform ownership conventions so that those who actually produce the product and create the profit share in the ownership of the enterprise. But this must also stem from government, because business will not do this on its own.

I disagree with the notion of simply expanding the manufacturing sector to create higher-paying jobs. Having taught production and operations management, I understand well that businesses have two incentives: to reduce costs, particularly labor, and to maximize shareholder wealth. Manufacturing firms will always seek to reduce, not increase, labor costs, either through technology or building factories abroad. Either method funnels a larger share of profit to the top. This is why the only sane solution is to spread ownership more broadly, which is actually a very American idea, if you go back far enough. In the meantime, we tax.

Moab, UT

Lots of numbers, stats and percentages. The rich get richer because they continue to do what made them rich. The poor get poorer because they continue to do what made them poor.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY


I have no problem with better distributed ownership. Some companies actively promote this as well. Not sure if Govt. should be driving this.

Reference manufacturing, it is not a panacea. And there is ALWAYS the drive to cheaper. But many countries (such as Japan, Germany, Switzerland, etc.) do a better job here. We need to as well. We need options for the kids who are quite capable but not interested in the careers that require university.


Your point is certainly applicable to individuals. The question is, why is this manifesting itself now and why is it a general trend (not simply individuals)?

Roger Terry
Happy Valley, UT

In the long term, if we want a long term, we do need to deal with the cause of the inequality, not merely its effects. In the short term, we have few alternatives other than to equalize the playing field through taxation.

Some may wonder why increasing economic equality is important. It's not really about class warfare. That is just a political talking point. All you have to do is look at our current economy. We have piles of investment money doing nothing. The investors (so-called job creators) are waiting for demand to justify investment. In the meantime, many are effectively paying a negative interest rate to government to hold their money safe. Demand comes from the consumer classes. And as all the statistics in the editorial attest, disposable income among those classes is shrinking. It is actually in the best interest of the wealthy to equalize things, but they tend to be a bit myopic. I could use the analogy of a parasite that thrives by killing its host, but that would be unkind.

Casa Grande, AZ

The disparity is driven by the low (nearly free) interest rates with which the 1% can buy land and capital and labor without really risking their own money.

Now you try borrowing 10 million from a bank at near 0 percent interest rates. But it's so easy if you know the right people. And if your venture fails, no worries it's insured by the government.

Now get out there, work hard (giggle) and be rich. Oh, you don't know the right people? Sorry then.

Ogden, UT

Wow, KDave, you masterfully prevented information from corrupting your world view. Stats, figures, and analysis? Irrelevant! The rich earned it, the poor deserve it, end of story, close the door on that business. We don't need facts getting in the way of what our gut instincts tell us. But I have to second Twin Light's well reasoned question: why is this now a systemic trend when it was not before?

I'm going to argue that KDave's point has only limited applicablility when it comes to individuals. The circumstances you are born into are a large factor affecting personal financial success. A child born into poverty is far less likely to achieve the same level of success (or proportional increase in success) than a child born into a wealthy, influential family given the same level of work and iniative. For an extreme and oversimplified case, think G.W. Bush.

Salt Lake City, UT

The huge increase in economic inequality in the past few decades is worrisome. I don't need perfect equality, that would be bad, too, but the extreme concentration of wealth in such a small percentage of the population is frightening for many different reasons. I don't know if it's cause or effect, but the ratio of executive wages to labor wages has increased from a few dozen in the 1960s-70s to several hundred now. Do CEOs really deliver that much more value to their companies now than then? Who will have the income to buy the products if 90% of the people have only 10% of the money? Inequality doesn't seem sustainable in the long run. Something has to give.

Note to the DesNews moderator: I hope you see fit to waive the four comment limit for Roger Terry, should the need arise. It's appropriate that he have the opportunity to respond to comments on his column. Besides, this thread so far has been one of the more rational and cogent ones to appear in this forum in a long time. Good ideas and sane, reasoned thought throughout (mostly, so far). Let's encourage that.

USS Enterprise, UT

Wow, not supprising to see the standard lot of socialists commenting here.

The problem is the regulations. Just look back to when you think the income equality was better. Was our society more or less regulated then? Was government trying to "fix" the wrongs of society as much then as they are now?

This isn't a problem that you can legislate away. If you look at where the nation is headed we will be just like every other communist nation. There will be the uber wealthy that are the party elites, and everybody else. Why do you progressives think that the government is the solution, when history shows us otherwise?

burnt bacon

The bottom 40% have less than 3% of the wealth in this country. Part of the story is that the rich have rigged the system but the other part is that the bottom 40% have made very bad economic decisions over the last thirty years.

Six people in the Walton (Walmart) family have more wealth than the lower 40% of America. 400 people at the top have more wealth than 50% of America. You can blame part of this on a system that is rigged but if we are really going to fix this let alone survive as a nation, the bottom half has to wake up and make better economic decisions for themselves.

Education should be at the top of the list. If you are going to survive in our global economy you will need more than a high school education. Utah won't prosper spending the least of any state on education!!!!!

Where you spend you money matters. Money spent locally is more valuable than giving you money to out of state and nation concerns. Saving pennies in big boxes while sending jobs over seas is not a smart investment!!!!

Your economic decisions are creating the world we live in!

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

burnt bacon:

Yes, many of the poor have made bad decisions. We have a whole subculture of low aspirations, crime, and intergenerational failure to correct. Where to start? Education is indeed essential. But Mitt Romney's advice to young people--to borrow money from their parents to fund a college education--illustrates how out of touch the advantaged often are regarding the hurdles faced by those who don't know where to begin or how.

This is why the notion of worker ownership holds promise. It allows those with little education but a desire to work hard and contribute a greater chance to receive a more fair share of the wealth produced by businesses. Then, when they are in less desperate circumstances, they may be able to think about getting a better education.



First, I don't think calling everybody 'socialists' is particularly constructive. Second, I note that you shot down other posters' ideas but did not provide any of your own. If government regulation of some sort is not the answer (or a partial answer) then what is? What do you suggest or do you not acknowledge the problem exists?

@ others

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to legislate or otherwise effect shared ownership in today's multinational corporate environment. If I am required to share ownership in my US corporation I will simply organize elsewhere and form a tiny US subsidiary with few assets and little value to do business here.

Scandinavian countries have realized great success through providing free public education through college (even if students attend outside their home country). We should do the same. Eventually the competitiveness of our country will rely almost wholly on our infrastructure and education system, so the sooner we become more competitive the better.

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