Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Create wealth before distributing it’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

This editorial is almost too flawed to comment on.

"The countries where the statistical gap between rich and poor is smallest tend to be those that are the poorest."

Wealth inequality is the REASON that countries are poor. Just look at Mexico, a country with huge human capital, and mineral resources, that is held back by a corrupt, wealthy, minority.

Is this the latest in international trickle down economics?


"The countries where the statistical gap between rich and poor is smallest tend to be those that are the poorest."

Ummm, incorrect.

According to the Gini co-efficient, a measure of inequality, the most equitable countries are the Scandinavian countries. Rwanda has a World Bank Gini co--efficient of 50.8, the U.S:45, Denmark:24. The higher the number, the more unequal. Inequality has been increasing in the U.S. as a result of wealth accumulation for the top .1%. Tax policy can affect inequality--such as low capital gains tax rates, or the carried interest rule. Low/depressed wage rates also increase inequality.

Bountiful, UT

I look forward to Senator Bennett's next column, as he tends to be thoughtful and insightful, but a few observations:

The CIA using an index to assess social stability inside nations called GINI, which is a measure of economic inequality. Like golf, lower GINI scores are better, higher scores are not desirable.

Not surprisingly, the best score is Denmark, a Scandinavian country, with a score of .23. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, have a score of .32. Mexico is .48 - not so good. The US GINI score is .45, much closer to Mexico's score than Canada's.

This should be concerning to anyone who thinks about the future of the US.

Nations with greater economic inequality tend to have more social and health problems. The epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson has done some impressive statistical correlation across a great number of nations. His TED video is a must, for those who care about these things.

I work with a number of Indians who note that the economic tiers in the US are a reminder to them of the caste system that India is trying to eliminate. As mobility between our tiers becomes more difficult, the analogy becomes more apt.

Pleasant Grove, UT

Great. We get a lecture on free markets, from the guy who used billions of our tax dollars to bail out his cronies when their banks got in trouble. I'm sure it will be fascinating.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

In all cases, GOVERNMENT is the cause of poverty. GOVERNMENT creates the laws under which companies operate. GOVERNMENT redistributes wealth.

Who controls the oil in Mexico?

Who dictated what workers would do and what businesses would pay in Russia?

Who created havoc so that other nations would not trade in Vietnam and North Korea?

When GOVERNMENT dictates, people suffer. India is proof of that. Russia is proof of that.

Mr. Bennett is correct. Nit picking does not change the fact that the people in Russia and India and China have prospered when GOVERNMENT allowed free enterprise.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

30,40,50,or 60,years ago,the U.S. was a prosperous, capitalist country. Wealth then was much more equally distributed than it is now. Capitalism is not incompatible with a decent income for most people. The richest people in the country have rigged the system so that an ever increasing share of the wealth goes to themselves.

This system is not sustainable. When a few people can live like Roman Emperors, wile the majority of the county struggles to make a living, that majority will not continue to support the system. The people at the top know this, and they will impose a police state on everyone else to protect themselves. We are already travelling in this direction.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

2 major flaws to this article --

1. The Wealth IS being created. 85% of it belongs to the 1% who have quadupled their earnings over the last 10 years.

2. The Wealth IS already redistributed. Look at how the uber-wealthy have sent that money to Communist Red China and grown THEIR ecoomy.

It's like the Communists have knocked one right over the right-wing fielders narrow-minded heads without them even noticing it.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

In America, anyone is allowed to own a business. Those who keep telling us that business owners are "evil" and "corrupt" because those business owners have risked capital to create a business (when MOST businesses fail within a few years of their start-up), obviously have never risked capital to start a new business. They demand that those who have risked money hand those profits over to those who will not take a risk. That is not the way things are done in America. There demands are the demands of those who believe in some form of communism.

A worker is entitled to be paid for the VALUE of his work. He is not an owner. He has no right to demand a share of the profits made by that business. If he wants a share of the profits, he needs to risk part of his wages to buy shares of that business.

Bob Bennett is correct. Capitalism is correct. Anyone in America can join - if they are willing to risk their money.

Saint George, UT

Former Senator Bennett: My only wish is that you had been willing to stand up for that during your tenure as Senator. Your actions needed to correspond with your words. Perhaps you did more than I know, but when I look at the policies and the growth of government, spending, etc. it is difficult to believe that you were for Free markets. Period. Not kind of, not with stipulations, not temporarily, not until the squeaky wheel stops squeaking, but Free Markets, now and forever. Free markets,not crony capitalism (which is what I believe you supported), but Free Markets, the best tool for wealth creation the world has ever known!

Saint George, UT

Roland & LDS liberal: No one disagrees with you. Please get off this mantra and return to fundamentals of why. It is government intervention and crony capitalism and corruption of public officials that created the mess and the only way to get rid of it is to return to Free Markets where the rich and powerful can't manipulate the corrupt politicians to keep them rich and powerful. Quit treating the slaves of the rich and powerful as if they can't think and and act for themselves. They don't need to you to enact some law to confiscate the wealth of these people. They need you to tell them that their future is as bright as their faith if they will support the principles that made it possible for the wealthy to become wealthy.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

This article is really a microcosm of every pro-conservative economic policy piece I have ever seen: caricature the world as a choice between two and only two outcomes – laissez faire economics or abject poverty.

Very few serious political thinkers argue against free markets as the best means of bringing people out of poverty and releasing creative human potential, but there is a vast spectrum between the two ends of the Randian cartoon Bob sketches for us here.

For example – does it make sense to allow an economic system to remain totally unchecked that rewards a small number of individuals with ~10,000 times the wealth of millions of others (i.e., does anyone work 10,000 times as hard as millions of others)?

Unless we are willing to have these discussions in a rational manner, we will continue to elect politicians who serve one small end of this spectrum, and given the flaws in each of these one-sided views, these politicians will never command a filibuster proof majority (something sadly necessary in our country today in order to govern) and gridlock will be the new normal.


"In America, anyone is allowed to own a business. Those who keep telling us that business owners are "evil" and "corrupt"

Are you saying I can put up a sign at my house tomorrow and whatever I want without govt involvement?

What would you call business owners like Bernie Madoff? Or the owners of Enron. There are many, many examples of corruption which have caused not only economic harm, but death.

"worker is entitled to be paid for the VALUE of his work"

Who determines the "value" of work? I suppose Hollywood stars and professional athletes are more valuable to society than teachers, firemen and law enforcement officers?

Nobody is against capitalism and a free market economy. But some of us recognize there needs to be an "umpire," such as the govt to protect against harm caused by greed, and unethical practices.

Salt Lake City, UT

"The countries where the statistical gap between rich and poor is smallest tend to be those that are the poorest."

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (the nations that do have the lowest income inequality) are not poor and Rwanda does not have one of the smallest statistical gaps.

Salt Lake City, UT

"the only way to get rid of it is to return to Free Markets "

Completely the opposite. It'd be even worse if we loosened regulations. Let's take a simple example. Get rid of the minimum wage and a company could pay their workers less, increasing wealth inequality.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To banderson: The facts contradict your argument. During the period I am referencing 1940-80, taxes on the rich and on business were much higher than they are now. 37% of American workers belonged to a union vs. about 7% now. Glass-Steagall was in effect and the financial system was much more regulated than it is today. In other words, the free market was less free, yet we obtained better results for the vast majority of American workers.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

All wealth is created from the mental and physical labor of human beings.

Civilization made it possible for some individuals to benefit from the wealth produced by others and thus the businessman was born, along with wars and other forms of competition between businessmen.

Early on the technology was such that the creator himself was the beneficiary and his efforts enabled him to live. Today technology allows businessmen to store up that wealth and use it over and over without further compensation to the creator. Not so for songs, writing and inventions, the worker who builds the machines that duplicate his labor is paid only once.

We need not do away with private enterprise capitalism, however, the rules for capitalism needs to be changed to compensate for the lost component.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Just remember you - "Free Market" capitalists, keep the Government out of my affairs,
Business is Babylon,
anything for a buck,
He who has the most gold, makes the rules...

Drugs and Prostitution shoot the very first hole and slam the brakes on your Free Market fantasy world.

salt lake city, UT

I would think attaining a better understanding of what the pope meant would be a better place for Bob and anyone else to start. It's been facisnating to watch conservatives response to this issue over the past few weeks. Nothing fears the establishment more than the force of religon and it's potential to stir the masses. It's almost as if Bob, Rush and the others speaking out have a greater concern for what the political implications are on the church's stance vs. what is really being said.

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

I grew up in the Soviet Union and know first-hand about the forced equality. In one joke a Russian peasant receives a visit from an angel who tells him he would give him anything, but he would give twice that much to his neighbor. The peasant thinks, then tells the angel to poke out his eye.

I think both income equality or inequality can come from multiple causes, and either is not necessarily bad. Instead of worrying about equality we should focus on raising the standard of living for everybody. What is better - if you have no car just like your neighbor, or if you have one but he has three?

Consider the problem of equally dividing a pie. By the time you figured out a fair way to divide it you could have baked ten more.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To Sasha Pachev: In 1950, or 1970, our society was much more equal than it is now, yet it was nothing like the Soviet Union. No one is arguing that we should emulate the Soviets or that everyone should have the same. But it is profoundly destructive to society when a small group seizes control of all the nation's wealth.

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