Comments about ‘Americans can agree that there's inequality, it's why that divides us’

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Published: Wednesday, April 30 2014 9:24 p.m. MDT

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anti-liar
Salt Lake City, UT

I have noticed that many Republicans (and some Democrats) falsely judge the poor as to why they are poor. Some even "despise the poor" accordingly, based on that misjudgment.

A very interesting article in this regard, entitled, "How the rich view the poor," by John Hoffmire and Adam Turville, published in the Deseret News last December.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

It is abundantly clear that income (and wealth) inequity has widened in the last 10 years. And in the last 20 years. Anyone who thinks differently has just not looked objectively at it.

And it is not because of one thing.

But there is a bigger question.

If this inequity keeps on the pace it is going, what is the effect for America going forward?

Look at the countries with income inequities greater than ours and see if that is what you think we should be striving for.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

“Democrats believe an unfair tax system is to blame for rise of economic inequality . . .
Republicans believe inequality stems from congressionally enacted policies.”

Both are right.

Reagonomics/Voodo Economics/Trickle Down Economics/Supply Side Economics could NEVER have been enacted without congressional approval.

OBVIOUSLY, congressionally enacted tax policies that reduced taxes for the rich on the premise that money would trickle down to the middle class is the culprit, because it DOES NOT WORK.

Think about it.

The Problem: The richer get richer and the poor and middle class do not.

The Solution: Give more money to the rich.

Conclusion: The Reagonomics solution is ridiculous on its face.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

Why do all the studies about "income inequality" completely ignore the movement of people between classes? People move up or down all the time. Many of the wealthiest people today come from middle class families and some come from poor families. Likewise, some very poor people (homeless, prisoners, etc.) come from families who at least once had financial means.

When I was a kid, our family was poor. Now I am either in the upper middle class or the lower upper class (I don't know where the line is). I still have aspirations of being even better off in the future, although I know the opposite can happen.

Yet every time a discussion about wealth is raised, the same mantra about "the rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer" is trotted out about how unfair our society is. I guess it just fits someone's political agenda to convince everyone that we are all stuck in some kind of caste system even though facts prove otherwise.

If anything limits a persons ability to be successful, it is most likely government interference.

airnaut
Everett, 00

According to the poll, Republicans are also just as likely to believe that inequality stems from a bad work ethic among the poor

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This just proves how clueless Republicans really and truley are...

This shows they think that 99% of us are all a bunch of lazy mooches,
whilst the upper crust 1% who OWN 85% of the welath are the ones out busting the behinds doing all the production...

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have them all brainwashed.

a bit of reality
Shawnee Mission, KS

There are lots of reasons, many of which go beyond politics, such as changing technology and demographics. There is a shifting supply and demand for people who can do different things, and people ultimately get paid what they can negotiate, not necessarily what the true economic value of their labor is.

I want to live in a country with a large and strong middle class. The trickle-down economic policies of the last 35 years haven't helped.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Forty years ago 60% of GDP went to the wages of the bottom 99% of the population. Today that figure has shrunk to 50%. The 10% of GDP that used to go to the bottom 99% has gone to corporate profits and into the bank accounts of the 1%.That's the biggest reason for inequality, jobs no longer pay what they once did. Working hard is no longer a guarantee of economic security.

(As a comparison 10% of GDP is more than we spend on social security, medicare, and medicaid put together)

SEY
Sandy, UT

The Federal Reserve's zero interest-rate policy (ZIRP) has been the greatest gift to the super-wealthy imaginable. Wealthy investors can borrow money at an almost zero interest rate and invest in stocks, bonds and real estate, causing what is now probably the largest asset bubble in our history. ZIRP has enticed ordinary Americans to borrow until they hit their limits in trying to keep up with the wealthy, but they often end up losing in those asset casinos. Meanwhile, the super-wealthy make more in a single hour or single day than the rest of us make in our lifetimes. As long as ZIRP exists, the spread between the wealthy and the rest of us will continue to grow.

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

It's an old human logic problem. The poor are considered outsiders, unclean, undesirable and deserving of their station.

What it really is, is tribalism, unholy judgement and self preservation. The very anti-Christ in human psychology.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

@JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

When I was a kid, our family was poor. Now I am either in the upper middle class or the lower upper class (I don't know where the line is).

========

You are not as "rich" as you think your are --

Upper middle class = $250K
Lower Upper class = $300K

The 1% of the 1% increased their wealth by a staggering 54% last year,
did your portfolia do that well?

And if you want to talk "Law of the Harvest",
then getting money from stocks and investments is not "WORK".

So, in reality -- the rich are even much lazier (idle) than the wokring poor.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Re: "26 percent of Democrats believe an unfair tax system is to blame for rise of economic inequality"...

So if the tax system being unfair is to blame... WHY did Democrats campaign AGAINST a flat tax??

And if the tax system being "unfair" is to blame... why did Obama campaign on making it MORE un-equal??

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IF Democrats can define what "Fair" is... and what rate would be "Fair" to tax some people at (while others pay ZERO Federal Income Taxes).... we could find out if we agree that what THEY think is "Fair" is fair to us... and vote for it (or against it).

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I honestly don't see how anything but a flat percentage of your income can be considered "Fair".

And yet... Democrats fight tooth-and-nail AGAINST any flat tax proposals Republicans bring before Congress.

They claim they want a "FAIR" tax system... What is "FAIR" to them???

A small group of Americans paying... while others pay zero or get money FROM the tax system??? That seems to be what they campaign for each election...

They certainly don't want a "FLAT" tax (which is most "fair" IMO)...

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ
It's an old human logic problem. The poor are considered outsiders, unclean, undesirable and deserving of their station.

What it really is, is tribalism, unholy judgement and self preservation. The very anti-Christ in human psychology.

8:12 a.m. April 30, 2014

=======

Agreed.

Some look for the Anti-christ in a man.
Some think it may be a computer.

Lately, with the Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme Court rulings granting "Corporation" entities Consitutionally guaranteed "rights' -- it appears to me that perhaps the Anti-Christ is in fact a "Corporation".

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

You know who doesn't want a flat tax?
The wealthy, who are able to use those 1000's of loopholes, and deductions, that no average American would ever use, to make their tax burden lower than someone a dollar above poverty.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@LOU Montana

Redefine
Redistribute
Recreate
Reefer

The Four R's of "success" in Colorado.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

2Bits,

Lets look at the flat tax and put some numbers to it. Given the widening income gap, lets look at the effects of a flat tax.

I assume that by flat tax, we are talking about one tax rate that everyone pays, regardless of income.

I have heard lots of different numbers, but lets just look at a 15% flat tax rate

A family of 4 making $40,000 per year is certainly struggling. While they probably pay no federal income tax, they do pay payroll taxes.

So, they get an $6000 tax increase.

Now look at a family of 4 making $250,000. Most likely they are going to get a tax cut.

This just does not seem reasonable to me. What are your thoughts?

Samson01
S. Jordan, UT

A lot of comments today talking about the wealthy. Our poor today have more security than at any other time in history.

Do I think the poor are lazy? No. I think that they have skill sets that are not worth much in the free-market. We see this happening in many professions. As a cabinet maker (hobbyist only) I appreciate the craftsmanship that many of our talented woodworkers have. Unfortunately those skills just are not in high demand as we prefer the prefab IKEA garbage instead.

The answer? Evolve. I am a software developer. I hate my profession. I would much rather be using my original degree and teaching US history. Doesn't pay enough. Should society be forced to pay me more than what I am worth so I can go teach? Nope. I had to adapt. So do the poor.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Happy Valley Heretic,
Who cares what the wealthy want?

If it's fair... then we should be for it... not AGAINST it (Democrats).

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Not all "Wealthy" are Republicans you know...

There are wealthy Democrats out there too.

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And if you think the wealthy don't like a flat-tax... how do you think they felt about Obama's plan...?

I would think they would like a flat tax better than what we have today (which can change on them whenever politicians want to, or the majority wants to, at the drop of a vote).

Tax rates can change. They are not bad today. But they have been bad in the past... and they can go there again IF the government gets into trouble...

This is a quote from Wikipedia...
"During 1944 and 1945, the top rate was its all-time high at 94% applied to income above $200,000"....

Do you think they want THAT Heretic? Paying 94 cents of every dollar they earn to the Government.... and only keeping 6 cents of every dollar they earn???

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@JoeCapitalist2
"Why do all the studies about "income inequality" completely ignore the movement of people between classes? People move up or down all the time."

Actually they do look at that (income mobility) too and the U.S. also scores near the bottom of industrialized nations in that too.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

To explain what is going on, Karl Marx must be consulted. But there are two problems with that 1) Marx is by no means easy to read - one should read Marx in consultation with somebody else who's familiar with Marx and 2) most higher ed economics departments are COMPLETELY unfamiliar with Marx.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

JoeBlow,
My thoughts on it are... if it's "fair"... it's fair.

A flat percentage is not biased towards... OR against ANYONE. That's "fair".

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IF making the tax code "fair" results in somebody losing their advantage... they need to realize they were lucky before... because the tax-code was "unfair" in their favor. But that benefit may go away by making it really "fair".

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Your tactic... pointing out that the current (unfair) tax-code benefited someone... so we can't change it.... is using FEAR of tax increases to keep us from making progress towards a more "fair" tax-code (because you present a hypothetical case where it would not benefit a hypothetical sympathetic family).

Arguments like yours just instill uncertainty that a sympathetic family (or even MY family) may see a tax increase IF we change. And uses that fear of losing that advantage... to shoot down the more fair tax-code.

These type or arguments are generally used by Democrats to shoot down flat-tax proposals.

It may also raise taxes on the wealthy... but they never mention that... because they aren't sympathetic figures. So the FEAR and sympathy tactics don't work.

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