Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Fair money — Wealth must be created before redistributed’

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Published: Monday, May 19 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The four highest paid hedge fund managers earned as much last year as all of the nation's 160,000 kindergarten teachers combined. Four people make more than 160,000 people. And those 160,000 people tend to be well educated and productive.

David Tepper, the nation's highest paid hedge fund manager, made 3.5 billion dollars last year. That comes out to $1,750,000 an hour. Mr. Tepper made more money in one hour than an average American worker will earn for a lifetime of work. If you have ever studied the business model of hedge funds you will find that they create nothing of value. They simply vacuum money out of the top of the economy leaving less for everyone else.

This is what the inequality discussion needs to be about, not gas station attendants.

park city, UT

I think Mr. Bennett is talking about the economy. US jobs have been off shored not due to taxes, but due to cheap overseas labor and US environmental laws. That will not change until the Congress figures this cost into import duties on cheap overseas goods. Mr. Bennett doesn't say how a 15% tax on hedge fund managers results in more jobs for the poor, but I doubt that it does. Even Mitt Romney talked about raising revenue by closing loopholes, but he never said which ones, his or mine? Fair taxes means closing those loopholes written into law by a Congress responding to those who give the biggest political donations. This group includes the big Wall Street banks who are responsible for crashing the world economy and other special interest loopholes sold by Congress, but Mr. Bennett didn't mention any of that.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

I think Mr. Bennett is missing the point of President Obama's ideas on income inequality.

I think Obama is referring to tax policies which enable Billionaires, and people like Mitt Romney, to find ways to shelter large portions of their incomes from taxes altogether, and then magically convert the rest of their earnings into "capital gains" which are taxed at a measly 15%,

Tax fairness is when the CEO of Fed Ex is taxed at the same rate as the people who deliver the packages.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

"the fundamental truth remains -wealth must be created before it can be redistributed."

I think that is the argument. The wealthy keep getting wealthier, but the middle and lower classes seem to be left out of the economic boom they've enjoyed.

While I'm not a fan of "redistribution" per se, I do believe it is in the best interest of society to create opportunities for the middle and lower classes to enjoy economic freedom and opportunities through education, job training, and government service (for training and job experience).

I was reading that it may have been a anomaly in our history that post WWII, the GI Bill created a booming middle class to foster rapid economic gains for lower and middle classes in this country by offering low-cost/free education for the masses. As the wealthy have moved manufacturing off-shore and conservative legislatures across the country have cut higher ed funding, that engine for economic opportunity has evaporated, and so coming generations of Americans will be less well-off compared to their parents and grandparents.

It's a free country, so the wealthy can work against the nation's interests...

Salt Lake City, UT

Bennett focuses on taxes but ignores the fact the rich have made incredible gains regardless of tax structures. And, after accumulating more wealth, the rich have not raised the wages of their workers the way "trickle down" economics dictate. If Bennett is right saying we help the poor by making the rich richer - where are those improvements? Show us the stats that indicate supporting the rich is justified and good for our poor.


Wise Words... Actually basic financial sense.

This is exactly what Mitt Romney was trying to incorporate. His Big Bird moment as an example of how little America cares or understands its situation.

Fix something before adding to it. Ahem... Healthcare!
Earn it before spending it. Ahem... Nearly everything the government tries to do.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

However, the fundamental truth remains -wealth must be created before it can be redistributed.


Where have you been?

The Wealth has indeed been created - in record amounts.
Look at WallStreet.
Look at Corporatate earnings.

For crying out loud - YOU of all people - helped "bail" them out.

The point you should be making is this

-- Greed knows no bounds!

Virginia Beach, VA

"There have been plenty of other factors involved in turning California’s business climate into the worst in the Union"

Yes, the devastating reign of the Republican strongman, Arnold the Gubernator, almost terminated California's economy, didn't it?

Now, under Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, California produced the first budget SURPLUS in many years.

“ . . . academic support for the call for hefty increases in . . . taxes on the rich.”

HISTORY shows us that the country has done much better overall (everything else being more or less equal) when taxes for the highest earners were high.

We won WWII when the taxes for the higest earners was 94%. We went to the moon, fought a war, AND had a budget surplus in 1969 when those taxes were 77% . At 91%, we built the interstate highway system, fought the cold war, had surpluses and low deficits when Eisenhower was Pres.

But since the beginning of the GW Bush administration, with the highest tax rate at only 35%, everything good has gone downhill in this nation.

So why not do what works for a change? . . . and RAISE taxes back where they should be for the highest earners?

Salt Lake City, UT

Of course capital will always seek the best tax deal, among the states and among the nations. Bennett says nothing about the accelerating maldistribution of wealth. One doesn't have to be a Marxian theoretician (though it helps) to appreciate that capitalism will choke itself if this continues.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Excellent article! If you tax them too much, they will leave, because they are forced to leave! Is this the reason liberals are called the "left"? When the government takes too much, producers, job creators and innovators will leave and take their money and jobs with them and guess who is "left"? Detroit is an excellent example as is much of California. This is real world wealth re-distribution and it happens all the time. Mitt Romney was a prosperity creator and how we needed him instead of what we got; prosperity destroyers!

Salt Lake City, UT

Mr. Bennett, real wages for middle-class Americans have stagnated in the last 30+ years while the income of the top 1% has skyrocketed. That's a straightforward fact.

The US economy grows when wage earners spend their wages, not when billionaires create new tax havens in the Caymans and move their factories to China.

If the minimum wage kept pace with inflation, it would be about $10.50 per hour today.

States and municipalities that have raised their minimum wages have _not_ seen a decline in employment, in fact the opposite. Local economies become healthier.

US Corporations are sitting on record-setting cash reserves, executive pay as a multiple of front-line employee pay is at all-time-high levels, the hyper-wealthy have never been hyper-wealthier, and Wall Street behaves as though they've learned absolutely nothing from the crash of 2008.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Agreed that wealth must be created. Distribution should not (other than a reasonable safety net) be the province of govt.

But this leaves business. We used to have (in this country, not some foreign or socialist nation) am idea of community involvement and fairness that began with the business community. Not to say all were saints - but there was a prevailing standard that most adhered to. Now, not so much. That is where the change must be - in what business leaders do and say.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Wall Street allows anyone to risk money. What too many people fail to understand is that there are a lot of people who have lost a lot of money on Wall Street. Stock prices do not always go up. Hedge fund managers also lose a lot of money. The headlines only tell us who the "winners" are, but there are a lot of losers.

If you want to make money, you fill a need. It's that simple. Ask the kids who sell lemonade on a warm summer afternoon why they don't sell lemonade in December. If kids are able to recognize a need and then find a way to profit from satisfying that need, shouldn't adults be adult enough to watch and learn. Kids don't expect the government to force people to buy their lemonade. Kids don't expect the government to subsidize their lemonade stand or transfer income to them. Kids find a small table, a few chairs, some clean cups and some lemonade. They know the secret.

Why do so many adults look to Washington when the wisest of the wise are the kids selling lemonade?

Huntsville, UT

Mr. Bennett ignores the fact that those "creating" the wealth are the people actually doing the work down in the trenches. Without these people, there would be nothing at all for those at the top to take. Fairness, imo, would be for those making the [insert product/service here] to receive the lions share of the proceeds from their efforts; those who skim at the top should skim quite a bit less.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Senator Bennett clearly hasn't read Piketty's book, which most emphatically does not suggest income distribution in pursuit of 'fairness.' Piketty's evidence clearly demonstrates that we're approaching a point where the return on capital exceeds the return on industry. In other words, money accumulates at the top in such quantities that it chokes off investment and economic growth. And, as capital is concentrated in the hands of a few super-wealthy inheritors of wealth, debt accumulates among the poor and middle class. The richest people are, increasingly, not job creators at all, but are heirs to vast fortunes. Read the actual book. It's brilliant, convincing, and quite terrifying.

Roosevelt, UT

Mr. Bennett you make some great points in your article, in that there has to be some money or funding to squabble over, a pie in order to cut up the pieces and divy them out.

One point this article touches on but did not really addresss is that the money made to this point and there has been alot of it is now residing not with those who earned it but with the upper 1%.

This country and the workers can make more money but without some directional change the result will be the same.

The tax breaks George W. Bush used to pay off the voters has cost the country in excess of 1 trillion dollars, that money would put a great beg dent on our deficit, or pay for healthcare for everyone in the country under 40 years of age.

Of course we know had the tax break not been handed out that money would still have been spent and not on either of those two valuable ideas. However the money was given back and it migrated right into the hands of those elite who hold it now.

Fix the system or repeat history.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The government cannot give to one without taking from another. Only the most foolish and gullible cannot see that irrefutable truth.

West Jordan, UT

A simple fix to all of this is a flat tax. no if and's or Butt's. eliminate the loopholes, seriously simplify the tax code.

Phoenix, AZ

In the past the nations financial sector was around ten percent of the nations economy, today it is near thirty percent and it is a sector that produces no product but over lapping services of skimming and scamming the working mans wages. For every hard working American earning ten bucks an hour there are three worthless financial types ripping off apiece of the pie. Today there are more (so called) money managers than there are accountants.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

@ Ranch. "Mr. Bennett ignores the fact that those "creating" the wealth are the people actually doing the work down in the trenches."
Totally backwards! Who signs their paychecks? Who gives them a job in the first place? Those creating the wealth are the innovators, those who take the risks of actually producing products and services that are in demand so they are able to HIRE workers! People have to have a job before then can work in the trenches! Our problem is that too few jobs are available and too many people are unemployed, on food stamps and have given up looking for work therefore they are unproductive and only consume the fruits of other people's work! Mitt Romney is a prosperity and job creator! Obama never created a job in his life at least that some other worker didn't have to subsidize.

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