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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:49 AM

Five Facts About America's Pathological Wealth Distribution


Published on Monday, December 3, 2012 by Common Dreams
Five Facts About America's Pathological Wealth Distribution

by Paul Buchheit


Most people associate inequality with the income gap. As distorted as the distribution of income may be, our wealth distribution is even more extreme. Americans are beginning to realize that years of preferential tax treatment for the rich, under the guise of "supply-side job creation" nonsense, have bloated the fortunes of the super-rich to a level that would make Rockefeller and Carnegie envious.

1. We're close to being the most unequal country in the world.

Among countries with at least a quarter-million adults, only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon are more unequal, according to the most recent figures from Credit Suisse Research.

An earlier report by the same research team had indicated that Denmark and Switzerland were more unequal than the United States. While Switzerland is still high in the new data listing, ranking 18th, Denmark is actually rather equal relative to other countries, and received its dubious earlier position due to its own accurate reporting of household debt, as will be noted in Fact 5 below.

2. Wealth accumulation has been rigged for the rich.

The richest quintile of Americans owns 93% of non-home wealth. For Americans with incomes over $10 million, nearly half of their income comes from capital gains and dividends, on most of which they pay only a 15% tax. From 2002 to 2007, two-thirds of all income went to the richest 1%. Then, in the first year after the recession, a startling 93% of all new income went to the richest 1%. .........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/03




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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Five Facts About America's Pathological Wealth Distribution (Original post)
marmar Dec 2012 OP
lonestarnot Dec 2012 #1
xchrom Dec 2012 #2
dkf Dec 2012 #3
marmar Dec 2012 #4
Johonny Dec 2012 #36
leftstreet Dec 2012 #5
Jazzgirl Dec 2012 #9
byeya Dec 2012 #11
dkf Dec 2012 #15
femrap Dec 2012 #23
dkf Dec 2012 #24
femrap Dec 2012 #40
LiberalLoner Dec 2012 #35
dkf Dec 2012 #12
leftstreet Dec 2012 #17
dkf Dec 2012 #26
daleanime Dec 2012 #32
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #33
Vincardog Dec 2012 #34
leftstreet Dec 2012 #37
Rex Dec 2012 #42
Puzzledtraveller Dec 2012 #6
HughBeaumont Dec 2012 #7
dkf Dec 2012 #10
femrap Dec 2012 #27
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #14
JDPriestly Dec 2012 #16
sulphurdunn Dec 2012 #18
Yavin4 Dec 2012 #19
femrap Dec 2012 #28
Madmiddle Dec 2012 #21
leftstreet Dec 2012 #41
LiberalAndProud Dec 2012 #22
devilgrrl Dec 2012 #31
Ikonoklast Dec 2012 #38
Dustlawyer Dec 2012 #8
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #13
byeya Dec 2012 #20
brewens Dec 2012 #25
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #29
raouldukelives Dec 2012 #30
Tierra_y_Libertad Dec 2012 #39

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:53 AM

1. They haven't been fooling me.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:55 AM

2. du rec. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:13 AM

3. Would we prefer the rich people in this world be Chinese?

 

It's a global economy people. Success means you sell your product to billions instead of the 330 million in the US.

So yes the rich are only getting mega rich and they won't necessarily even sell to you or have anything to do with you.

If you prefer they be the Carlos Slims of the world that you have no chance of benefitting from then so be it. But if they are Americans you have a chance at taxing their wealth.

You are better off with the wealth belonging to a fellow citizen. To chase wealth out of this country means you will never get any piece of what they have.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:19 AM

4. So we should be happy with feudalism, just as long as the feudal lord shares our nationality?


Sacre bleu.


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Response to marmar (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:50 PM

36. +1

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:23 AM

5. I can't believe you just said that n/t

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:55 AM

9. I do.

n/t

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Response to Jazzgirl (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:59 AM

11. Unequal distribution of wealth gives inordinate power to the few who've rigged

 

the system for their selfish benefit. And, the more wealth they have, the more they can rig the system.
There are remedies for this and the ultra-wealthy aren't going to like them.

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Response to byeya (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:11 AM

15. Unequal distribution or unequal revenue?

 

Yeah some other guy made more money than you because he sold his product to millions and you didn't.

What did you do that you deserve the same revenue?

Would you prefer he/she be limited to selling to 10 people so that you can be equal? Or do you think he/she should give you money?

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Response to dkf (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:49 AM

23. The article (if

 

you read it) states that most of the wealthy are making their income from capital gains and dividends. THEY ARE NOT MAKING ANY PRODUCT/WIDGETS AND SELLING THEM.

They are simply sitting on their asses and counting their money. They're not creating jobs except the ones in Under-Developed countries via exploitation.

Just how does a Derivative create a job? The American Economy has become a Financial Roulette Wheel. We are 'The New Service Economy.' Remember?

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Response to femrap (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:54 AM

24. Capital gains are one way you realize the revenue from selling to millions.

 

Zuckerberg got millions of people to use his services, then eventually he sells part of his stock and realizes capital gains.

He did create jobs.

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Response to dkf (Reply #24)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:28 PM

40. Well, I hope you

 

didn't buy in on the IPO.

You get capital gains from sitting on your ass....everyone who invests in stocks, real estate, bonds, whatever, can get capital gains....just like RobMe does. It's just the passing around of papers....or digitalized papers. And the gov't says the selling of the stocks, etc. are taxed at such and such. 85% of the NYSE is traded by machines.

I don't know what you're trying to get at...but anyone who does NOTHING BUT SIT ON HIS BUTT can have capital gains and dividends. Go back to Ike's tax rates....he was a good Republican.

And Facebook's revenue comes from advertising crap not made in this country....and some services here in the US as well.

I don't use Facebook. I enjoy my privacy and see it as pretty much a waste of time. I waste enough of it here.

Did you buy some Samsung yet? Have you watched the S. Korean video 'Gangham Style?' You must have if you like Samsung. He makes fun of the rich of S. Korea.

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Response to femrap (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:48 PM

35. +1

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:01 AM

12. Dec 3, 7:47 AM EST AP IMPACT: CHINA OVERTAKING US AS GLOBAL TRADER

 

In just five years, China has surpassed the United States as a trading partner for much of the world, including U.S. allies such as South Korea and Australia, according to an Associated Press analysis of trade data. As recently as 2006, the U.S. was the larger trading partner for 127 countries, versus just 70 for China. By last year the two had clearly traded places: 124 countries for China, 76 for the U.S.

In the most abrupt global shift of its kind since World War II, the trend is changing the way people live and do business from Africa to Arizona, as farmers plant more soybeans to sell to China and students sign up to learn Mandarin.

The findings show how fast China has ascended to challenge America's century-old status as the globe's dominant trader, a change that is gradually translating into political influence. They highlight how pervasive China's impact has been, spreading from neighboring Asia to Africa and now emerging in Latin America, the traditional U.S. backyard.

Despite China's now-slowing economy, its share of world output and trade is expected to keep rising, with growth forecast at up to 8 percent a year over the next decade, far above U.S. and European levels. This growth could strengthen the hand of a new generation of just-named Chinese leaders, even as it fuels strain with other nations.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINAS_REACH_TRADING_PLACES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-12-02-11-05-45

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Response to dkf (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:21 AM

17. Oh Noes! We'll lose our national healthcare

If we're not NuMBeR #1, we'll lose our guaranteed affordable shelter, food and security

Oh wait....

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:59 AM

26. Who pays the income taxes in this country?

 

For all the rhetoric, almost half don't. The rich make a lot and they pay more of their % than they represent in revenue.

No more rich, who pays that?

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Response to dkf (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:19 PM

32. You really should stop watching faux news...

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Response to dkf (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:35 PM

33. Actually, Ma'am, That is Not True

Or rather, contains some 'truthiness' only if you do not view capital gains as income, and restrict cconsideration of the question to income taxed as wages....

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Response to dkf (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:45 PM

34. Are you trying to pretend that the rich have paid over 93% of all taxes paid since

the recession was (cough cough) over?
Please enlighten us with a link to that factoid.

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Response to dkf (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:08 PM

37. Thx for giving us the Ruling Class perspective

It's so rare at DU that we're allowed an opportunity to empathize with your plight

And I think it suckz that you can't buy Samsung stock. That should be a Constitutional right...or in the Bible or something



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Response to leftstreet (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 02:04 PM

42. Are you kidding? That is just a run of the mill

post for said poster.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:29 AM

6. reality, thank you dkf

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:50 AM

7. Plutocracy is Plutocracy no matter what flag one pledges allegiance to.

As long as we have a bought Congress who will do everything in their power to ensure that the precious and pampered wealthy not be asked to pay even one red CENT extra in taxes, this isn't a Democracy OR a Republic . . .. it's a Kleptocracy that pilfers at the behest of the CEO Larceny Industry.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:57 AM

10. Tell that to Samsung.

 

We can't even buy their stock.

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Response to dkf (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:00 PM

27. You buy Samsung stock...

 

http://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/ir/irfaqs/stockdividend/IR_StockDividend.html

It's traded on exchanges.

It's Derivatives you can't buy....you poor dkf.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:08 AM

14. I don't find "what about the Chinese?" arguments to be that much more compelling...

than "what about the children?" arguments.

Just sayin'

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:17 AM

16. I'd rather they leave.

I've lived in Europe. They would have to reduce their lifestyle to live there.

I would make it really hard to live in America if you are rich and don't pay hefty taxes. We still have a wonderfully open, free, relatively uncrowded country. Hard to find another place to live with our natural beauty and our open spaces. It's for those things that rich people live here. Where else can they buy property in an area that is both pleasantly warm and clean? The climate in La Jolla cannot be beat in any other area where you can pretty much isolate yourself from the ordinary folks. You'd have to buy an island in Greece to live like you can in certain parts of the US, and that is where wealthy Americans live.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:30 AM

18. I'm willing to take that chance.

I have a sneaking suspicion that actually getting rid of rich parasites would be more difficult than prying barnacles off rocks, especially if they knew they were being banished overseas.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:33 AM

19. Every Time Someone Screams China. I Scream Germany.

Germany has more equitable distribution of wealth. They have labor unions. They don't have debt. They make high quality products that the world loves to buy. They have a national healthcare system, and their workers work less hours than many of their world's counterparts.

Our choices are not limited to skewed distribution of wealth or submission to China. It's a false choice. Moreover, if this were 1988, you would be screaming, "Japan"!

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #19)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:03 PM

28. I'd gladly live

 

in Germany or France or Denmark instead of the US. These countries have an appreciation for the quality of life...no GMO foods are allowed there, for example.

Life over $. That appeals to me.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:44 AM

21. Let the rich leave

then they would either end up in a country that will tax them at a much higher rate than the USA. This country would be just fine if the rich all left.

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Response to Madmiddle (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:45 PM

41. +1

Welcome to DU!

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:46 AM

22. I would prefer that our government stop underwriting the rich.

It should be impossible to be too big to fail, but consolidation accelerated after the big banks got bailed out. By us regular folk. I think we'd do much better if we would chase the robber barons out, as Iceland did.

I would prefer that labor were valued equally with capital as far as wealth-building potential, because you can't build wealth without labor. All that, I'm sure, will hold no sway with you. It isn't even worth arguing. I really wonder what possible use you have for politically liberal values given your posting history here. Yet, here you are.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)


Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:20 PM

38. Same argument the Oligarchs used to create the Mega-Banks.

Except it was, "THE JAPANESE WILL HAVE ALL TEH LARGEST BANKS ON EARTH!!1!!1 OH NOES!!!!11! WE MUST STOP THAT FROM HAPPENING, OR WE'LL NEVER BE COMPETITIVE AGAIN!!11!! AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!1111", not the Chinese Boogey Men.

And soon after rampant speculation by those Japanese banks crashed their economy, we followed by doing the same thing here.


Mitt has a lot of wealth, but we still can't seem to get him to pay taxes, he just hides it.

We do NOT need more Mitts.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:55 AM

8. Don't forget, they do not go to jail either, ever!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:05 AM

13. It's simply a race to the bottom which ultimately benefits neither the rich or poor

As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the rich will always pay more taxes as a function of the overall tax bill. The tax code was never designed to be fair, it was designed from inception to be progressive, and it can't work any other way UNLESS you have true classless society (think stone hard extreme socialism that terrifies the right).

Wingnuts that believe the tax code should be "fair" should learn basic math. Total federal tax revenue is $2.5 trillion. Divide that by 300 million people and you get a $8,333 tax burden for every man woman and child. That's $33.3K of federal taxes for a family of 4 in a country where the median household income is $50K. Evidently wingnuts aren't smart enough to use a calculator. So either the rich should pay more or you get a country with less roads or schools (and dog forbid no military) or everyone should make the same amount of money (classless society) so they can pay the same amount of taxes.

What I find amusing (albeit sadly pathetic) is a portly drug addict was able to convince millions of wingnuts that the rich should pay less while they should pay more.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:36 AM

20. Corporate profits are at record highs while wages continue to fall relative to inflation.

 

Workers used to share in their increased productivity. No more, the grossly overpaid execs and boards of directors siphon off as much as they can and the rest goes for stock buybacks or dividends.

And, this enormous compensation is mostly or entirely, tax deductible so we're paying for our own decline.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:55 AM

25. I don't think that last line about creating a category for the magical accumulation of wealth

is accurate. It's more like new ways the people at 1% have found to rake right off the top. Financial maneuvers that didn't even exist 30 years ago before the internets.

What's called a naked short sell would have required actually counterfeiting stock shares in the 70's. Anyone stupid enough to try it would have been caught and prosecuted.

The kind of computerized front running that goes on, you'd have had to bug someones office 30 years ago.

The fact that those kind of things never even existed until fairly recently means that it's not necessary for Wall Street to operate.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:08 PM

29. Emphatic K&R! Full article is well worth the read, imho - n/t

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:10 PM

30. It's nice to see such a large swath of America isn't in Wall St.

Probably not by choice in most cases but I'll take what I can get. I hope those people don't despair and realize that they are doing more for the children and grandchildren of tomorrow than those in the stock market could ever hope to do.
Choosing not to live a life in servitude to Lockheed, Wal-Mart & BP is the only choice a liberal has. Many hope to work 40 hours a week, if not more, for those doing the most critical damage to our warming planet. Choose to have funds deducted from each hour of service to support the ends of Monsanto and Apple over Redwood trees and less acidic oceans. Prefer the profits from helping the 1% rape what little is left of our planet to actually living a life that benefits all people, that leads people out of servitude and slave labor, that puts a higher value on nature and wildlife than dividends and ROI.
They don't give money to the stock market to get back nothing. They give because they want to share in the proceeds. They give because they know the more money Wall St has, the more it can grease palms and deregulate what limited environmental protections we have to make a quick buck. Heck, they may even speak publicly like they actually consider climate change to be a problem but in private they are investing and hoping for more wealth for themselves and a less hospitable world to all life as a legacy.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:22 PM

39. "The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor." Voltaire

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