Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Re:MikeRichards"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.
"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.
@bandersen"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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